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Tactfully Naive

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Unlocking Carol's Smile
by Tactfully Naive   

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Publisher:  Trafford Publishing Type: 


Copyright:  March 2006 ISBN-13:  9781412055505

This revised (2009) true to life gritty love story is replete with many conflicts involving disparate individuals. The central conflict threading its way through these involves an unexpected - and taboo challenging - relationship between a hard bitten charity worker, Ian, and a homeless woman named Carol. He believes the answer to her problems lies trapped behind the closed smile. She's more in touch with her situation and their relationship than he realises. Probing the depths of her emotional upheaval unearthed more than Ian had bargained for - more than they both did.
Trafford Publishing

'Man is a wandering soul without love in his life.'(Augustine)      


Further tensions

It was late afternoon. The weather was still pleasant. The number of pedestrians strolling down Victoria Street grew fewer and far between. Shops were closing up for the day as surrounding theatres; pubs and clubs began to open up for the night. The Foundation had already been closed a few hours. Relaxing in the downstairs lounge sipping coffee and drawing on a Gettane and also listening to music was Ian. This was not an unusual activity. He often unwound alone to the sound of music at the end of a trying day before going home. A firm knock on the glass door distracted him from savouring the raucous beat of The Jean Genie. It was Carol. Ian didn’t mind his solace being disturbed by contacts. He turned down the music volume and opened the door to let her in:
‘Hello there, didn’t expect to see you down this neck of the woods at this time of the day.’
‘I fancied a walk and thought I’d see if you were in. The sound of the music was a giveaway.’
‘That loud is it? Fancy a coffee?’
‘Thank you very kindly. Is that David Bowie?’
‘You like his music?’
‘Some of it. Do you have China Girl?’
‘Yeah, it’s on this CD.’
‘Could you play it? I used to love dancing to it.’
Ian traced the track and pressed play.
‘Turn it up, please,’ Carol called out as her body instinctively reacted to the beat.
Ian placed the coffee on the table then stood and watched her move. He was quietly delighted to find her still in a state of sobriety. Moreover, the energy she displayed in response to the music indicated that she was also well nourished. The loud, steady beat of the song combined with Carol’s increasingly sensual body movements gradually mesmerised him.
She started with jaunty left to right sidesteps then moved seamlessly to spontaneous but measured leaps, swivels and spins. Her hands were held loosely above shoulder height while her eyes supervised her steps. The introduction of the driving rhythm guitar mid-way through the song heightened the intensity of her actions. She suddenly turned towards Ian, captured his gaze with hers and started to move seductively towards him. She reached out both hands and signalled him to take hold of them. The power of the beat, raw vocal and Carol’s alluring performance had done the work of surrendering Ian to her control. Transfixed, he obediently took hold of her hands and allowed himself to be guided on to the floor and began dancing with her. Locked into each other’s fingers palms facing, they began pushing each other backwards in turn a few steps, staring into each other’s eyes as they did so. The knot in Ian’s stomach re-emerged and tightened as the excitement of the situation heightened. As in the dream, he was utterly unable to resist Carol’s seductive advances. A sensual climax beckoned. Suddenly, the phone rang...

Professional Reviews

Love in cardboard city
'It seems a terrible taboo for a careworker to fall in love with a homeless woman. That's what makes Unlocking Carol's Smile a shocking and compelling read...'
Emily Pykett. The Big Issue In the North (29th May - 4th June)

Unlocking Carol's Smile
'An honest and introspective account of a world we seldom deal with first hand, but often wish away'
Verushka Louw
Ottakars (now Waterstones)26th July.

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