Jenny's Books

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Resistance Is Futile

Orbit

28 May 2015

9780356505374

Connie’s smart. She’s funny. But she’s only human . . .

As a high-ranking mathematician in a male-dominated field – with bright red hair – Connie’s used to being considered a little unusual.

But she’s nowhere near as peculiar as Luke, who is recruited to work alongside her on a top-secret code breaking project.

Just what is this bizarre sequence they’re studying? It isn’t a solution to the global energy crisis. It isn’t a new wavelength to sell microwave ovens. The numbers are trying to tell them something . . . and it seems only Luke knows what.

The truth is out there. Will Connie dare to find it?

In this whirlwind adventure, Sunday Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan boldly goes where no author has gone before . . .

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Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery

Sphere

February 2015

9780751553918

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

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Polly and the Puffin

Little Brown Young Readers

February 2015

9780349131900

Polly heard a CRASH downstairs. Was it a monster? NO! Was it a spider alien? NO!
It was a little puffin with a broken wing…

When Polly discovers an injured puffin, she and her mummy look after him in their cottage by the sea.

Slowly, Neil’s wing heals and Polly must prepare herself to say goodbye to her new friend. Will she ever see him again?

Perfect for bedtime stories and early readers. From the author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.

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The Christmas Surprise

Sphere

23 October 2014

9780751553956

Includes mouth-watering recipes

Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it’s going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together.

After all, don’t they say it takes a village to raise a child?

Treat yourself and your friends to Jenny Colgan’s heartwarming new novel this Christmas.

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The Little Beach Street Bakery

Sphere

13/03/2014

9780751549218

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

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Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop

Sphere

7 November 2013

9780751551815

Curl up with Rosie and her family as they prepare for a very special Christmas . . .

Includes mouth-watering recipes!

Curl up with Rosie, her friends and her family as they prepare for a very special Christmas . . .

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She’s going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can’t wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie’s plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what’s best for the sweetshop also what’s best for Rosie?

Treat yourself and your sweet-toothed friends to Jenny Colgan’s heart-warming new novel. The irresistibly delicious recipes are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and will warm up your Christmas celebrations.

Standalone sequel to the much-loved and bestselling Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, winner of the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013

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The Loveliest Chocolate Shop In Paris

Sphere

14th March 2013

9780751549201

Mouth-watering recipes inside!

As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris.

It’s a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime – to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.

With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate – and herself – than she ever dreamed.

More information

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Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe

Sphere

25th October 2012

9780751550337

Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn’t be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don’t seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe – with its increased demand for her delectable creations – begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.

This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another. . .

Indulge yourself and your sweet-toothed friends with Jenny Colgan’s new novel, simply bursting with Christmas cupcake recipes and seasonal sugar-fuelled fun.

Read the first chapter
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Were you a sherbet lemon or chocolate lime fan? Penny chews or hard boiled sweeties (you do get more for your money that way)? The jangle of your pocket money . . . the rustle of the pink and green striped paper bag . . .

Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian’s sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong.

Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton’s sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets.

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams – a novel – with recipes.

Read the introduction from Jenny
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Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe

Sphere

9780751544497

Ever dreamed of starting over?

Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe. It should be a piece of cake, right?

Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?

More Info on Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe

Read the first chapter

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The Good, The Bad and the Dumped

Sphere

13th May 2010

9780751551099

Posy is delighted when Matt proposes – on top of a mountain, in a gale, in full-on romantic mode. But then disaster strikes and he backs out of the engagement. Crushed and humiliated, Posy starts thinking. Why has her love life always, ALWAYS ended in total disaster? Determined to discover how she got to this point, Posy resolves to track down her exes …

Is there hope for Matt, or will she fall back in love with an old flame? What about Lord Voldemort, the old boyfriend that cannot be named? And could Posy face up to the idea that, actually, one day she could live life on her own terms?

More Info on The Good, the Bad and the Dumped

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Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Sphere

7th May 2009

9780751551082

What does an It girl do if she loses all her money?

Sophie Chesterton is a girl about town – she knows all the right people, goes to all the right parties, and wears all the right clothes. But deep down she suspects that her best friends are actually rather nasty, and that her lifestyle doesn’t really amount to much. Her father wants her to make her own way in the world. to make him proud. But after one shocking evening her life is changed for ever.

Scraping a living as an assistant to a ‘glamour’ photographer; living in a hovel on the Old Kent Road with four smelly boys; eating baked beans from the can – this is one spectacular fall from grace. Sophie is desperate to get her life back – but does a girl really need diamonds to be happy?

Full of warmth and humour, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend is the charming new comedy from the wonderful Jenny Colgan.

More info on Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

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Operation Sunshine

Sphere

12th June 2008

9780751551068

Evie needs a good holiday. Not just because she’s been working all hours in her job, but also because every holiday she has ever been on in her life has involved sunburn, arguments and projectile vomiting – sometimes all three at once. Why can’t she have a normal holiday, like other people seem to have – some sun, sand, sea and (hopefully) sex?

So when her employers invite her to attend a conference with them in the south of France, she can’t believe her luck. It’s certainly going to be the holiday of a lifetime – but not quite in the way Evie imagines!

‘Colgan at her warm, down-to-earth best’ Cosmopolitan

‘A Colgan novel is like listening to your best pal spilling the latest gossip – entertaining, dramatic and frequently hilarious’ Daily Record

‘Chick-lit with an ethical kick’ Mirror

‘With scalpel-sharp dialogue and witty one-liners, this will have you grinning from ear to ear’ Daily Record

‘An entertaining read’ Sunday Express

‘Jenny Colgan’s latest novel will not disappoint her legion of fans. This fast-paced, easy-to-read book will have readers turning pages with anticipation . . . A witty, fun read’ Ulster Tatler

More Info on Operation Sunshine

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West End Girls

Sphere

24th April 2007

9780751537635

The streets of London are paved with gold . . . allegedly.

They may be twin sisters, but Lizzie and Penny Berry are complete opposites – Penny is blonde, thin and outrageous; Lizzie quiet, thoughtful and definitely not thin. The one trait they do share is a desire to DO something with their lives and, as far as they are concerned, the place to get noticed is London.

Out of the blue they discover they have a grandmother living in Chelsea – and when she has to go into hospital, they find themselves flat-sitting on the King’s Road. But, as they discover, it’s not as easy to become It Girls as they’d imagined, and West End boys aren’t at all like Hugh Grant . . .

‘A brilliant novel from the mistress of chick-lit’ Eve

‘An inspiring, uplifting, feel-good feast’ Company

‘A hugely entertaining, witty read’ Closer

‘A chick-lit writer with a difference . . . never scared to try something different, Colgan always pulls it off . . . West End Girls is very funny, very sweet and very entertaining’ Image

‘West End Girls is the perfect summer sunbather, easy to read, packed with gags and truths’ Irish News

‘Jenny Colgan brings us yet another feel-good indulgence with this fabulously quirky read . . . full of laugh-out-loud observations . . . utterly unputdownable’ Woman

More Info on West End Girls

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Where Have All the Boys Gone?

June 2005

9780007159000

Katie’s glad it isn’t a man’s world any more. That said she’d be quite pleased if there were more men in it – or at least single ones, anyway. With the media happily telling her she’s more likely to get murdered than married, Katie resigns herself to the fact there’s no sex in the city and heads for the hills – or the Scottish highlands, to be precise. Despite the fact she’s never been a girl for wellies – and Fairlish is in the middle of nowhere – the tiny town does have one major draw: men. Though not necessarily the right ones …

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Do You Remember the First Time?

August 2004

9780007153855

Ever wished you could turn back time? Flora’s wish is about to come true.

As her best friend Tashy cuts into a wedding cake, thirty-two-year-old Flora realises she is disillusioned with life. What she wouldn’t give to be sixteen again . . . she’d give anything for a life less complicated – a life a little more, well, fun. But when her wish comes true, things don’t turn out quite as she expects. In the world of ten-odd-years-ago, Flora’s in for the shock of her life . . .

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Working Wonders

September 2003

9780007105557

Laughs, loves, office life. And just a little touch of magic . . .

Something magical has just entered Arthur Pendleton’s dull life. Or rather someone magical – the gorgeous, clever and totally enchanting Gwyneth Morgan. As head of a team of management consultants, Gwyneth is way out of Arthur’s league. But can he find a way to win her heart?

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Looking for Andrew McCarthy

June 2002

9780007105533

Eighties child Ellie really thought life was going to be like Pretty in Pink, St Elmo’s Fire and all those other movies – movies where everyone was astoundingly glamorous, popular, successful, had huge apartments and lived Happily Ever After. But now that she and her gang are thirty, she has to admit that things haven’t quite turned out that way.

Determined to find some answers, Ellie sets out to track down Andrew McCarthy – wherever he is now. Ellie’s epic journey will take her all across the USA . . . and on the trip of a lifetime.

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Talking to Addison

January 2001

9780006531777

Holly is a frustrated florist whose life doesn’t exactly seem to be coming up smelling of roses. Fleeing the house share from hell, she moves in with Josh, Kate, and the gorgeous Addison. But Addison keeps himself to himself, and Holly’s determined to get to know him better. Can she drag him away from his internet ‘girlfriend’ Claudia, or will they just continually get their wires crossed?

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Amanda's Wedding

January 2000

9780006531760

Mel and Fran can’t believe it when their old school friend Amanda, Satan’s very own PR girl, pulls off the ultimate publicity stunt in getting herself engaged to a Scottish laird. Who cares that Fraser McConnald has worn the same pair of Converse trainers for the last three years and that his castle is a pile of rubble with one Calor Gas heater – she’ll be titled!

Gentle, decent Fraser is clearly ignorant of Amanda’s wiles, so Mel and Fran, still smarting from the memory of all the mean things Amanda put them through in their days at Portmount Comprehensive, set out to sabotage this mismatch of the century.

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Mrs Harmon wasn’t particularly pleased to be forced out of her cosy caretaker’s cubby-hole to show yet another newbie around, and she wasn’t afraid to show it.

‘Here’s the main office,’ she said with bad grace. So far this week it had been generally polite young men with shy smiles or clever, blinking eyes.

This lanky girl with bright red hair didn’t fit the pattern at all, so she wasn’t going to waste half her morning in the freezing corridors pointing out toilets.

She sniffed, regretting as she did so eating her lunchtime KitKat at 9 a.m. again. At least when she worked in a prison there had been a bit of banter from time to time. But academics – bloody hell.

How was it a job anyway? Sitting around, drinking coffee and leaving their cups unwashed for her to collect like some kind of cup fairy. And they got paid way more than her, she was sure of it. For scribbling their funny signs everywhere.

Sometimes Mrs Harmon wasn’t entirely sure academics weren’t just all pretending, like a very elaborate form of benefit fraud.

It would have surprised her to know that Dr Connie MacAdair, PhD in probability algebras, Glasgow, post-doctoral scholar in probabilistic number theory, MIT, tipped as a possible future Fields medallist and with an Erdös number of 3, sometimes felt exactly the same way.

Connie blinked.

‘Sorry, did you say this was the main office?’
If asked to describe what she was looking at, the first phrase that would have occurred to her would probably have been ‘bunker, following a nuclear attack’.

‘Open plan’ sniffed Mrs Harmon, as if this were an excuse.

The grey room was beneath ground-level in the ugly modern block; its few bolted windows showed people’s feet tramping to and fro in the rain. It was large and dark and square, very gloomy, lined with tables like a primary school classroom.

There were no computers, just rows of empty plug points. The most overwhelming impression was of balled-up paper
and wadded, overflowing bins. Blackboards and whiteboards lined the walls. Several of the latter had print-out facilities, and great curls of paper rolled across the floor like unfurled tongues. Connie has seen pictures of the maths department: it was beautiful. This was clearly some overflow holding area.

There were paper cups and paper plates, often holding the trace of previous meals. It smelled of mathematics, which felt comfortingly familiar to Connie: a mixture of dusty, crumbed calculators; hastily applied deodorant; old coffee with, underneath it, an unlikely yet undeniable whiff of Banda paper ink.

It was currently empty. And not at all what Connie had expected after the flattering interview, the amazing offer of a post-doc fellowship in her very own specialty, in one of the most beautiful academic cities on Earth, digs included, no teaching, just pure freedom to work for the next two years.

This, she reminded herself, was a dream job, an unexpectedly amazing opportunity in these days of cut research
budgets and straitened universities. She’d been on cloud nine since she got the letter.

‘So, here you are,’ said Mrs Harmon, pointedly looking at her watch.

‘Oh yes,’ said Connie, her heart suddenly beating a little faster. She’d thought this job was too good to be true. Maybe she’d been right. ‘Um, yes, I suppose . . . is there a desk for me?’

Over in the far corner was a small cleared space, with one dead pot plant sitting in the middle of it.

‘Okay,’ said Connie, turning round, perplexed. ‘I just have a few more questions . . . ’

But Mrs Hubble was gone. She moved, Connie noticed, surprisingly fast for someone with such a low centre of gravity.

Connie glanced around, just in case her new colleagues had decided to hide under their desks and jump out and throw a
surprise welcome party for her that would then go awkwardly shy and wrong. It had happened before.

But the room was deathly silent. She crossed it and looked up at a window and the grey paving stones. Then she pulled
up a little chair and hauled herself onto it. Well, that was better, if still not the beautiful book-lined office in an ancient sun-dappled tower that she’d allowed herself to imagine.

Just beyond the pathway that bounded this big, ugly building was straight countryside: they were on the very verge of the campus. In the distance, nearly hidden by the drizzling rain, were the rolling gentle fens that surrounded the college town; closer in, a patch of grass criss-crossed with muddy paths gave way to fields – real live fields with sheep in them.

After three years in a grey, sooty, vibrant Glasgow faculty, it was a revelation. Connie looked for a window to open. They didn’t.

The rain was coming down stronger and stronger, although through the distant low hills, the occasional slant of sunshine was visible. Suddenly, at the end of the far field, she made out something through the rain. It was moving very slowly. Very slowly indeed. At first it looked like some kind of odd, slow-moving square robot, lumbering under its own steam, but she realised it couldn’t possibly be. For starters, it was brown. Who would ever make a brown robot? Eventually the visual clues coalesced: what she was in fact looking at was a piano. A piano moving across a field. In the rain.

Was this rag week? Had they motorised the piano? Was this some kind of ridiculous stunt? Connie had been in academia
long enough to have seen them all and wasn’t really in the mood. She was about to turn away when the piano trundled
forwards a little more and she realised that there was somebody out there. Someone – a slim figure, tall and lanky as a Giacometti – was pushing the piano. He – it appeared to be a he – was absolutely soaking wet. His white shirt clung to his back and he was wearing a pair of heavy-rimmed glasses which were dripping.

But she knew for a fact that pianos were heavy instruments. They weighed a ton, there was nowhere to get a grip and they were resolutely unwieldy. Yet this big, scrawny drink of water out in the field by himself seemed to be hoofing it along absolutely fine.

Drama soc., she thought with a sigh. There was probably a drunk medical student inside shaking a bucket for rag week. The setting of her new university might be very different, but students didn’t change much.

She turned back round to the room. There was a large unsolved equation on the massive whiteboard at the far end, and a brand-new whiteboard pen laid out temptingly. Unable to help herself, Connie went forwards and deftly and tidil
solved it. Until it came to putting up the solution of 8.008135.

‘Ah,’ she said out loud. ‘Very funny.’

She re-solved it to 04.0404 just as the door creaked open tentatively.

Connie smiled patiently, although inside she still felt nervous. Since she was six years old, at the mathlete-for-tots conference, she was used to being the only girl, or thereabouts. It still boiled down to people at parties introducing her as some kind of perpetual student, or her freaking out men who, when she told them she was a mathematician, tended to stutter a lot and talk about their GCSEs as if her job was a direct challenge to their masculinity.

And here she was again, the new kid, in another classroom, in another town. It was meant to get easier, but it didn’t, particularly.

A large man entered. He had frizzy hair, glasses and a huge beard, and resembled a friendly bear. He glanced around nervously, then smiled as his eyes rested on her.

‘Whoa,’ he said. ‘You.’

‘Hello?’ said Connie. She didn’t recognise the man at all and wondered who he was looking for. ‘I’m Dr MacAdair.’

The man’s large brown eyes widened.

‘And they keep on coming. Nikoli puzzles, right?’

Connie stiffened.

‘Might be. Who are you?’

‘I’m Arnold,’ said the man, not at all put out by the brusqueness of her question. His accent was American. ‘Arnold Li Kierkan.’

‘Oh, I’ve heard of you!’ said Connie, relieved. They shook hands. ‘The cake cutter. BM Monthly.’

He beamed.

‘Oh great! Want me to autograph that for you sometime?’

‘Uh, I’m not . . . oh. Right. I got you. Very funny. But hang on.’ She paused. ‘We’re in the same field.’

‘Yeah, actually I’ve seen you at about nineteen conferences.’

Connie went a little pink. Being a female mathematician in an unusual field was a little like being famous, except without the money, adulation and free clothes.

‘Uh, yeah,’ said Connie. ‘But . . . I mean, I don’t understand . . . I mean, I thought this was a statistical analysis fellowship. Like, one fellowship.’

Her heart suddenly plummeted like a lift. She couldn’t have misunderstood, could she? Was this the final stage after
all?

‘I mean . . . I thought I passed the interview. I mean, I’ve given up my car . . . I’ve moved out of my flat . . . I mean, if we’re in competition now—’

‘Uh, do you want to breathe into a paper bag?’

‘What? No! I want someone who can tell me what’s going on.’

‘Calm down,’ said Arnold. ‘It’s all right: we’re all here. Nobody knows. Evelyn Protherowe . . . ’

‘You’re not serious?’

He had named the acknowledged leader of the field, whose last job as far as Connie was aware was Professor Emeritus at the University of Cairo.

‘Ranjit Dasgupta . . . ’

‘Cor!’

Then it struck her.

Connie took a deep breath before she mentioned the next name herself. As it happened they both said it at the same
time.

‘Sé Weerasinghe . . . ’

‘Oh, you known him?’ said Arnold pleasantly.

Connie gave him a narrow look.

‘Well, so obviously, you, Complete Stranger, already know that I do.’

Arnold raised his large hands in a gesture of appeasement.

‘No, no, no.’

His round smiling cheeks went a little pink, and Connie looked around for something to else to do or, if all else failed, fiddle with.

It had been the pairs conference in Copenhagen. There had been something local and revolting called eau de vie. And
dancing. Mathematicians dancing was rarely a good look, so there’d been more eau de vie to make the dancing better, which also somehow improved the taste of the eau de vie.

And then . . . a very tall Sri Lankan boy with cheekbones that could cut glass and a charmingly deep voice. A primes
race which had ended up upstairs. The seduction had taken place in front of everyone she’d ever collaborated with in the history of the world.

But that was not the worst of it. The worst of it was, when she left his room the next morning and went back to her own to change and wash her face, by the time she got down to breakfast it was entirely clear from the looks everyone gave her and the large collection of guys round Sé’s table that he’d already told everyone.

But he did not stand up to greet her, nor did he say anything. She had looked at him and he had blushed to the roots of his dark hair. She had simply turned around and left the dining room. He had contacted her later to try and explain, to apologise, even to ask her out again, but she had never replied: the awful humiliation of walking into that room full of everyone discussing her was behind Connie’s deep and utter commitment to never ever dating other maths people, even though it was four years ago now and they were still the only people she ever met.

She still flushed bright red to think about it, which she tried her best never to do. And what had been huge anger at Sé’s behaviour had mellowed now, of course – but she wasn’t keen to be working with him again, not a bit.

‘Beautiful country, Denmark,’ mused Arnold.

‘Hmm,’ said Connie.

Grinning (and, Connie suspected, getting his own back for her not recognising him), Arnold extended an arm around the
room.

‘Well, anyway,’ he said. ‘Welcome to the bunker.’

‘How long have you been here?’

‘Um, three . . . four days?’

‘Fast work.’

Arnold nodded.

‘It is a bit of . . . well, totally . . . a bunker,’ Connie went on.

‘I know,’ he said. ‘Those bastard physicists get all the good stuff. Did you see their new facility? Ludicrous big white thing, looks like they all work in a gigantic Apple Mac.’

‘Haven’t seen a thing,’ said Connie, yawning. ‘I took the sleeper. I haven’t even found my rooms yet.’

Arnold cheered up a little. ‘Oh, they’re a lot nicer than this.’

‘Less nice than this is quite a concept. Seriously, everyone thinks I’ve moved to some kind of amazing castle. With a
portcullis in it. And battlements.’

There was a sudden shouting down the hallway, and a large banging noise.

‘What’s that?’

Arnold popped his head back out the door.

‘Hey! You can’t bring that in here.’

‘Well, obviously I can,’ came a laconic voice. ‘The real question is, how far?’

Connie followed Arnold out of the bunker and into a corridor, where a large grand piano was tightly wedged. Standing in front of it, dripping wet but seemingly completely unperturbed by this fact, was the exceedingly tall, slender man
she’d seen in the field.

‘Uh, hi?’ she said tentatively. The man stared at her curiously. His eyes were dark and intense, behind thick-framed
glasses.

‘Oh yes,’ said Arnold. ‘I knew I’d forgotten someone.’

‘You have . . . ’ The strange man made a gesturing movement to the side of her head. He seemed to be groping for the
word, and Connie wondered where he was from. The amount of people who felt the need to point out that she had bright
red hair never ceased to surprise her. ‘. . . hair,’ he settled on finally. He couldn’t seem to take his eyes off it.

‘This is Luke,’ said Arnold finally. ‘I’d like to say he’s not normally like this, but so far . . . ’

‘Hi there,’ said Connie politely. ‘What’s your field?’

Luke squinted at her, like he was trying to take his eyes off her hair but couldn’t quite manage it.

‘Oh, this and that,’ he said vaguely.

‘Luke, you’re wet,’ said Arnold, changing the subject quickly. ‘You need dry clothes. You’ll freeze.’

Luke glanced down as if he’d just noticed.

‘RIGHT,’ he said. ‘Clothes. Yes.’

And he turned around and marched off, ducking under the piano, which he left wedged in the middle of the corridor.

‘Mrs Harmon isn’t going to like that,’ predicted Arnold. ‘Particularly after the whole . . . nest incident . . . ’

Connie blinked.

‘This isn’t going to be like other maths departments, is it?’

‘No,’ said Arnold sadly. ‘Cardiff’s got a lacrosse team.’


Resistance is Futile is available 28 May

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