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Rhapsody of Succession

RoS Web

Published in print and kindle editions and available on Amazon

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Rhapsody of Succession – Description

Following confirmation, scientist and Cassini Chairman Lauren Hind adjusts to the realities of becoming pregnant with triplets at the age of forty-three. But husband Philippe, struggling to return to normality after the trauma of Murmansk, loses communications on an extended hunting holiday in Siberia. Whilst her news filters out, he remains unaware of Lauren’s plight, adding to her frustration and growing alarm with unresolved dilemmas, as she falls back on past affections to try and come to terms and understand.

In the midst of this and grappling with continuing international success, Lauren suddenly finds her daughter, friends and colleagues making their own declarations of pregnancy as a veritable epidemic ensues, with major consequences  as daughter Charlotte announces it’s time to wed again and step-daughter Svet abruptly ends family ties.

When a mysterious Russian gas engineer, Olga, appears from nowhere into her life, she is reluctantly forced to reassess her foundering marriage and make an array of life changing decisions. An unexpected phone call triggers a journey to the darkest interiors of Central Africa. Why must she go, given her condition? And can anyone confront the murky plot and consequences that await and save her before the nightmare of the last nine months finally knits together for a devastating conclusion?

RHAPSODY OF SUCCESSION is the fourth book of the Rhapsody series, continuing the science adventures and romantic journey of Professor Lauren Hind

Piece from Rhapsody of Succession: As the applause resounded, three guys appeared all dressed in identical smart casual black shirts and jeans and took stools behind the synthesiser, drums and double bass respectively. Jock McIntosh then sauntered in, flashing a broad smile and picked up his Gibson semi-acoustic guitar off the stand. He stood in front of the mike, legs apart, adjusted the strap and his glasses, as the keyboard player and drummer began a slow blues intro. Then he launched together with the bass player into an accompanying set of complicated fast riffs, the room descending into reverential silence with the mellow sound, disturbed only by a slight background of clattering knives and forks.

Lauren, sitting between Mila and Eva, had been distracted at the start fiddling with her phone which had vibrated in her bag, realising that Charlotte had tried to call but the signal inside the room was decidedly poor. She would call Charlotte when she’d eaten. She looked up casually towards Jock McIntosh, appreciating the musical talent. She loved this type of jazz, when immediately she almost choked on her portion of rice.

She could not possibly be seeing who she was seeing … the idea was so surreal as not to be within the normal bounds of probabilities … but rewinding back her sixth sense she decided it was an acceptable outlier after all and smirked. She knew, as a former occasional performer, that he would struggle with the spotlights to make out the near-audience properly but equally she knew she couldn’t be missed in her stunning blue dress … and waited for his gaze around the audience to settle on her table. When he looked her way, she noticed his face, just for a micro-second, perceptibly twitch and he dropped a note which her sharp musical ears caught and then he resumed, looking the other way. This was definitely going to be a fun evening, to be followed up at the first break.

Mila noticed a larger than normal grin across her face. “Out with it,” she whispered in Lauren’s ear. “You know that guy don’t you. Former conquest then?”

“Well, he certainly knows me very intimately indeed.”

Mila was uncharacteristically flummoxed. Perhaps also, Mila pondered to herself, it was not the best time for old flames to be turning up, especially as Lauren’s hormones were obviously flying all over the place.

“Ok, Mila, you look pathetically beaten so I’ll put you out of your misery,” Lauren whispered back. “By night, you see the crooning sophisticated jazz guitarist, Jock McIntosh. By day, he is better known as Edward Jones, with a somewhat different and more sombre occupation.”

“Jesus Christ Lauren … not your fucking gynaecologist?”

“The very same.”

Eva, antennae always well tuned into Mila’s asides, looked across. “That’s Edward Jones, your gynaecologist? Adèle’s boss, who sends me his bills? Crikey.” She turned to Helena to tell her but immediately saw Helena in another world altogether, tapping her feet rhythmically to the beat, totally absorbed with the amazing Jock McIntosh, musician extraordinaire. Eva turned back to Mila and Lauren and they all raised their eyebrows and laughed.

“He can have that George Clooney effect on women I’m sure,” Lauren remarked.

“But this is not like Helena … one little bit,” Eva whispered concerned, with Mila grinning broadly.

Following a further set of soul-jazz classics, in which Jock McIntosh also sang in the definitive mode of George Benson, the first break came as the plates began to be cleared away for desserts, cheese and coffee. The wine on their table was duly replenished. Bhavika still looked as sprightly as when she came in, obviously hardened over many years by harsh Indian liqueur, but Juliette had become rather worse for wear, talking far too loudly, whilst Bella and Eva began hard to distract her from any conversation.

Lauren turned to Mila and whispered. “I suspect Juliette is reacting in some way to her divorce just finalised, but we have to stop her drinking any further. She simply can’t take it.”

“I know. I’ll keep an eye on her. Her ex-husband was a barebacking addict, treated her and the kids like shit.”

“What’s barebacking?”

“Later Lauren, later.”

“Anyway, whilst Jock the Jones is ensconced in a huddle by the bar, I’m just going to have a little fun. Watch me.”

Lauren raised herself up from the seat and began a slow and casual stroll to the bar, all eyes turning. Jock McIntosh looked up furtively, fear creeping distinctly across his worried expression, but he had nowhere to run as he was on again in ten minutes.

“Jock McIntosh, how lovely to see you again, may I introduce you to someone at my table?”

His band members and friends looked around, and it was obvious they were wondering how on earth Mac could know someone so gorgeous and sophisticated.

“Yes, certainly Professor … a pleasure.”

He whispered to his friends that the woman was a Brussels University academic he had met at a recent gig there, and they all nodded. Wiping his sweating brow, they began walking over.

She linked her arm into his and whispered. “Don’t worry Edward, your secret is safe with me. I can see your fellow musicians have no idea of your daytime alter-ego. You really are a fabulous musician, I love it. And I do seriously want you to meet someone.”