Friday, June 26, 2015

First Fight Friday: The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot

Goats solve their differences head-on. They don’t give the silent treatment or yell, they butt heads then it’s over.

Cowboy Marvin has learned humans resolve issues differently especially those romantically involved. His curiosity sparked, he has invited authors to stop by on Fridays and share the first fight out of their latest book.

Fellow Harper Impulse 
author and a Fire Writer for
Written Fireside 
Of The Storm 

Jane Linfoot 
           is here for ...

First Fight Friday 

with a scene from

The Vintage Cinema Club 

The Vintage Cinema Club is a story about three friends, Izzy, Luce 

and Dida, and their fight to save their lovely vintage shop in an 

old cinema. Local property developer, Xander, is moving in to buy 

the cinema building, and he and Izzy are at loggerheads 

throughout the story. This is their first meeting, 

and the first of their many fights. 

Xander finds Izzy dumpster diving on his building site. 
Needless to say, he isn’t very pleased...

And sassy Izzy isn’t about to back down...

‘Hey, you! Get out of my skip.’

Izzy froze, rammed her shoulder against the rusty metal container side, and crouched lower, cringing as the male voice resonated above her head and echoed across the building site.

Damn it. She kicked herself for coming back for one last look, when she should have got away. In some ways this afternoon’s bombshell news that the cinema building was up for sale made it more important than ever for her to get her hands on stock. They weren’t going to give up, they were going to fight to survive, and tonight’s skip raid was a symbol of that determination. Ever since she, Dida and Luce had launched Vintage at the Cinema, they’d dreamed of a time when business would be booming, and it was ironic that now it was actually happening, it looked as if it might be snatched away.

Something about tonight’s desperation spun Izzy back to the time when she’d first discovered the joys of skip scavenging, when her mum walked out on her dad. With four kids and an empty flat, skips had provided Izzy with most of her bedroom furniture. Those fledgeling finds had kick started Izzy’s love of rescuing what other people threw away. It turned out she had a flair for making old, unwanted things beautiful. At least one good thing had come out of her parents’ break up, and the talents she’d discovered back then had exploded with the opportunity of Vintage at the Cinema.

A stripped out cinema building was a big place to fill, especially when the furniture you put in there was flying out as fast as it went in. But ending up on a building site, in a skip, with some guy yelling at you, wasn’t the best of places to spend a Wednesday evening.

‘Oi! I said move it!’ 

He was still there then. Izzy shuddered.

Luce, always teased her about her compulsion for searching through skips, but it was true that Izzy found it very hard, if not impossible to pass a skip without diving into it. In her experience, there was often treasure to be found, but right now, with an angry man bearing down on her, she was wishing she hadn’t let that last glance into the second, almost empty skip, entice her. She closed her hand around the small carved plaster cherub she’d found lurking at the bottom. Dusk was no time to get caught in the act, even if she had okayed it with the builders earlier.

‘Think you can come round breaking my windows do you, just because the house is empty?’ Enter one apoplectic guy, who’d totally got the wrong end of the stick. He didn’t sound too close, but he only had to walk across, and peer over the skip edge, and she’d be done for. ‘Did you hear me? I know you’re there.’

Fierce and well spoken – they were the worst sort. 

Izzy grimaced, braced herself for trouble, and began to unfold her legs. Time to face whatever was coming her way. It was a daily hazard of skulking round skips – sometimes it was inevitable, you pissed people off. And Izzy couldn’t bear to see old pieces with the potential to be pretty being tossed away. It broke her heart to think of lovely old things being smashed up by ignorant people who didn’t know any better. As she saw it, she was on a rescue mission here, and no one in their right mind would object to that, once they saw reason. Although from the way Mr Shouty was limbering up, she wasn’t sure reason was going to have much to do with this.

Slowly, she unfolded, to get a peep at what she was dealing with here, and as her nose drew level with the skip edge, she got a full frontal view of the man she was annoying. Talk about chiseled cheekbones. Add in eyes the colour of darkness, a body that would have made most women she knew ache to peel off his well-cut clothes, and for a fraction of a nano second she fell resoundingly, heart-stoppingly, scorchingly in love. She’d always wondered what her friends meant when they talked about thunderbolts, and now she knew. Before she could say “oh my sweet jesus”, her lips had parted, and she was letting out a long, wavering sigh.

Smitten or what?

‘You little vandal.’ The guy’s scowl darkened as he whipped his growl into overdrive. ‘I won’t tolerate trespassing scumbags, get off my site, and I mean now.’

Phew. That went some way to blasting away the cupid dust.

Izzy straightened, poked her head and then her shoulders above the edge of the skip, and watched with satisfaction as the guy’s jaw dropped. That would be surprise. And then his gaze honed in on her cleveage. That would be....

Oh shit. Nothing like eye-glue stuck on your boobs to give a girl yet another reality check. And her reality was the one where love and men were top of her Things-To-Avoid list. Yay! to Awful Alistair, who had messed with her heart for three years before stomping on it with the “it’s not you it’s me” thing, throwing in the added rider of “but you are coming over quite possessive” when what it turned out he really meant was he’d been shagging someone else for months. Enough said about that one.

Meanwhile, there was no point wasting her time explaining to this perfect specimen in his impeccably cut suit that she had okayed all this with the builders here earlier in the day. She shuddered to think what his reaction would be, if he knew her van was round the corner, full of things she’d dragged out of his other skip, only minutes before. Driving a van plastered with signs saying “Vintage at the Cinema, Everything Retro” might be great for publicity on a day to day basis, but it was hardly going to help her make an anonymous getaway.

The knot in her stomach tightened. She liked to think of herself as cool in the face of provocation, not that Luce would agree with that, but his unwarranted verbal attack had sent her almost as apoplectic as him.

Behind him, parked next to the house, she glimpsed the over-blown tank of a car he’d just arrived in. Nothing like a gas guzzler to add fuel to her fire. So, not only was he rude and aggressive, he was also that arrogant type who thought he could rule the road, as well as the world, by swanning round in one of those “the rest of humanity can fuck off” vehicles. Izzy always saved her savagest contempt for that kind of guy.

She might be in his skip, behind his hedge, on his building site, but he had it coming to him.

‘If you weren’t such a wasteful and ignorant prat, people like me wouldn’t have to go round rescuing the perfectly good stuff you’d discarded, would we?’ Catching another glimpse of the half renovated house in the background, with piles of discarded floorboards in front of it, gave her a second wind. ‘People like you, who rip the guts out of everything, with complete insensitivity, deserve a lot worse than thieving vandals.’

As she paused for breath, teeth clenched, she noticed he was scrutinising her, and that the thunder on his face had moved on like a passing storm. Wonders never ceased, but she suspected it was her chest popping into view that was responsible. Sad to say, she found her D cups often smoothed the way, although she always preferred to make her progress on a gender neutral footing, on the basis of her own merits. It was a depressing fact of life that some men were remarkably a) shallow and b) susceptible, and Mr Shouty was obviously one of them.

‘So, it’s a female dumpster-diver – and dressed for a party too.’ His tone had morphed from angry to mocking, as he strode across and peered in at her.

Izzy glanced down at her frock. Okay, maybe her flowery fifties tea dress was a bit close fitting, and it might be incongruous, but was there really the need for the attitude? She was only picking up a few bits and bobs – well a van full actually, but that was beside the point. It should have been a piece of cake, in a skirt and heels, without this unwelcome spectator.

‘So what? Are you telling me there’s a dress code now?’ She swished her skirt, and an unintentionally vigorous jerk of her head dislodged her hair comb, and next thing her unruly curls were cascading across her face. Damn. Now she was essentially fighting with one eye.

‘Marilyn Munroe curves, and a red head? Who’d have thought.’ He was almost laughing now.

One raised eyebrow? Curves? She needed to close this down.

‘Whoa, can we cut the sexual harassment?’

Her protest seemed to work, because he baulked momentarily, blinked, and when he looked up again the lust had reverted to bad temper.

‘You’re on my land, you’re invalidating my insurance cover.’ His glare sent her insides onto fast-spin. ‘Just get out before I throw you out.’

Izzy took that as a dismissal. Great, time to go.

She put her hands on the skip edge and pushed, but nothing happened. She tried again, scrabbled with her feet, and winced as the lemon leather of her pointy shoes scraped down the skip side. Authentic fifties footwear hadn’t been the best choice.

She’d got into the skip by climbing on a pile of pallets, then dropping over the side, with no thought to getting out. Now the sides of the skip had her trapped, like a hedgehog in a cattle grid. Clenching her teeth, and forcing her shoulders down, she let out an exasperated sigh.

The guy’s hands were on his hips now, resting on his high end leather belt.

‘Get on with it then.’

Could he not see she was trying to? His attitude was definitely not attractive, she noted. Except he was. He was horribly attractive in fact. Everything about him, from his stubble shadowed jawline to his muscular thighs tensing against the grey wool of those ├╝ber expensive suit trousers, screamed SEXY, with the caps lock on. She gave herself a mental kick. What the hell was she thinking? After Awful Alaistair, she was steering clear of men. Especially men with choppy brown hair, and definitely arrogant gits like this one. Her resolve was strengthened now she was well on her way to the financial independence she’d always craved. She bit her lip, and blew again.

‘Well, what are you waiting for?’

His gravelly voiced query sent goosebumps scurrying up her arms, hotly pursued by a large dose of self disgust. She was in the shit here on every level, and it was time to admit defeat.

‘Actually, I can’t get out.’

She lowered her eyes, tried to swallow the shame-faced words, desperate not to acknowledge the gleeful sneer chasing across that disgustingly beautiful face of his.

‘Not so stroppy now, then.’ He gave a low grunt that might have been a laugh. ‘What do you suggest? Shall I come to help you, or will I get accused of sexual harassment?’ His tone was lazy, and he didn’t move, but the flash of humour in his eyes had Izzy’s heart skipping a beat.

‘Just sling me a pallet, stop gloating, and shut up. Please.’ She watched him stroll forward, grasp a pallet, and swing it high into the air with brutal ease. A hollow clang rang out as the wood thumped down on the skip base, and sent reverberations through the soles of her feet.

‘Thank you.’ She pulled herself up to her full five foot four inches. Then grasping the pallet, she heaved it into position against the skip side, and checked out its stability with one foot.

‘Careful. If you’ve invalidated my public liability cover, I don’t want any accidents.’

God, this guy was a stuffed-shirt. She let out another impatient snort. ‘If you don’t stop going on about insurance, I might have to squash you on my way down.’ And it was bad news that he made her even more insolent than usual, but at least she hadn’t sworn at him yet. She already owed Luce, and her Customer Service Initiative swear box a bomb as it was.

Izzy clambered up the pallet, nudged her way onto the skip edge, and it was just too bad that her skirt was riding up somewhere around her bottom as the guy looked up. She really hadn’t planned to give him an eyeful of underwear.

He staggered backwards, clearing his throat and looking away quickly. ‘Alright up there?’

She dreaded to think what kind of acreage of her knickers she was showing, but frankly she no longer cared. Two kicks sent her pumps flying through the air, then as she splayed her legs, ready to jump, she heard a rip. Crap. The last thing she needed here was to leave her skirt behind her.

‘Hang on....’ The guy sprung towards her with a strangled squawk.

‘Okay, keep your hair on.’ Izzy gasped. Two strides later his hands closed around her waist. The breath left her body as he spun her through a glorious crazy arc, before setting her lightly and neatly on the ground beside him. For a moment she wobbled against the soft fabric of his jacket, getting a blast of aftershave that was way too delicious for someone so bad tempered. And then he stepped away, and she was the one left with wide eyes, and a sagging jaw.

Copyright © Jane Linfoot

The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot  

Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have 
time to date. Could a fabulous 
French proposal change her mind?

Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going 

to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, 
one night kind of woman – 
or so she thinks… 

Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?

Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, 

run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued 
cinema. When that dream comes under threat,
they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

Fans of Lucy Diamond, Michele Gorman and Milly Johnson 

are going to love this heartfelt, funny story.

"A witty, warm-hearted romp through the lives and loves of
three friends – with a cool retro vibe, and a sense of fun 

that will never go out of fashion."Debbie Johnson

author of the best-selling ‘Cold Feet At Christmas’.

The Vintage Cinema Club 
is available on 
Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Harper Impulse 
iTunes ~ Sainsburys ~ Nook ~ Google play 
POD paperback available July 30th

Like Jane's style? Check out her previous First Fight Fridays ^_^

I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and a bit of an edge.

I live in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, England, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos – happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket. For me, writing romance is cool because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. 

When I’m not on facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

Follow Jane Linfoot online
( Lots of Vintage Cinema Club character pages on Pinterest)

Thanks for sharing Jane!

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