Today is Charlie Cochrane Day: Giveaway of Horns and Haloes

Today I have one of my favourite authors, Charlie Cochrane, on the blog. She is offering a giveaway of a copy of her book, Horns and Haloes, published by MLR Press. Charlie assures me school governors can be sexy! Leave a message with your email below to enter the draw. Do you remember the governors at your school? What were they like? The draw will be picked on Tuesday 15th April at midday GMT.

Horns_and_Haloes_1_16_2014

 

What do you do when finding a new boyfriend is like conducting a job interview?It’s Jamie’s idea of torture—a training course about selection and interviewing and on February the fourteenth! Everybody’s going to be full of romance and he’ll be playing gooseberry as usual. When Jamie finds himself sitting next to the gorgeous Alex, who seems to hate the day as much as Jamie does, will he turn out to be the ideal candidate for the vacant position of boyfriend?
Who’d want to be a school governor? No pay, little thanks, plenty of red tape. And yet they’d all volunteered to be on this course. Altruistic. Or gluttons for punishment. And on Valentine’s Day, just to rub things in.
“So just work with the person next to you.”
The tutor’s words brought Jamie back to the present with a bump. Work with the person next to you to do what?
“I hope you know the answers because I’m stuck.” The bloke next to Jamie — Alex, according to the hand written sticker on his shirt — grinned and brandished a worksheet.
“I do, but only because I’ve done this bit before, on another course.” Jamie returned the smile.
“You write the answers in, and I’ll read them and try to look intelligent.” Alex’s eyes twinkled.
Why weren’t there any blokes like this on the Cattlebridge Primary Governing Body, with brown eyes lively enough to make the interminable meetings worth sitting through?
“Deal. They’ll give us an answer sheet later, anyway.” Jamie scribbled down some key words, just so it wasn’t obvious that his mind wasn’t on the questions.
“I don’t think they’ll let me have one, punishment for sneaking in late.” Alex smiled again.
Jamie filled in some more answers, trying hard not to write “Do not flirt” on the page.
What point would there be in flirting, anyway? Alex was bound to be married, with two kids in school and one more to come. Typical parent governor. The handsome ones always were.


Excerpt:

“Direct or indirect discrimination related to protected characteristics is illegal at any stage of the recruitment process.”

“Protected characteristics.” Score one for the buzzword list. Jamie tried to keep a straight face, but it wasn’t easy.

“A candidate’s gender or sexual orientation is less important than the impact they’ll have on standards in your school.”

“Sexual orientation” and “impact on standards.” Two more phrases for Jamie to mark off his hypothetical card. If he got a full house, would he be allowed to shout “bingo”?

He took what he hoped was a casual glance around the room, to see if anyone else looked like they were feeling a bit cynical, but most of the other course delegates appeared gravely interested, as though showing any degree of ennui was itself discriminatory. There were the odd one or two who clearly disapproved of anything smacking of political correctness – you could spot them a mile off – but Jamie wasn’t in the mood for fighting them, even if he’d needed to. The woman leading the training had already administered more than one metaphorical slap to the wrist, so the dinosaurs would soon keep their heads down, with any luck.

Jamie decided he’d cut the non-dinosaurs a bit of slack, given that they’d probably not come across any of this stuff before, and people were getting very twitchy about possible court cases. His governing body had gone over some of the work when the Equalities Act came out, but it was likely to be all new and frightening to the other people on the course, especially when the terrible realisation struck that if they didn’t play everything absolutely straight, their school would be up in front of some sort of tribunal – worse still, all over the local papers – accused of prejudice.

Who’d want to be a school governor? No pay, little thanks, plenty of red tape. And yet they’d all volunteered to be on this course. Altruistic. Or gluttons for punishment. And on Valentine’s Day, just to rub things in.

“So just work with the person next to you.”

The tutor’s words brought Jamie back to the present with a bump. Work with the person next to you to do what?

“I hope you know the answers because I’m stuck.” The bloke next to Jamie – Alex, according to the hand written sticker on his shirt – grinned and brandished a worksheet.

“I do, but only because I’ve done this bit before, on another course.” Jamie returned the smile.

“You write the answers in, and I’ll read them and try to look intelligent.” Alex’s eyes twinkled.

Why weren’t there any blokes like this on the Cattlebridge Primary Governing Body, with brown eyes lively enough to make the interminable meetings worth sitting through?

“Deal. They’ll give us an answer sheet later, anyway.” Jamie scribbled down some key words, just so it wasn’t obvious that his mind wasn’t on the questions.

“I don’t think they’ll let me have one, punishment for sneaking in late.” Alex smiled again.

Jamie filled in some more answers, trying hard not to write “Do not flirt” on the page.

What point would there be in flirting, anyway? Alex was bound to be married, with two kids in school and one more to come. Typical parent governor. The handsome ones always were.

“Which school are you at?” Alex asked.

“Cattlebridge Primary. Community Governor.” Drafted in because his mother was pals with the Chair of Governors, a woman who was desperate to get some young blood on a board dominated by people who either wanted to bring back the cane or spend every meeting picking apart the three pound seventy five overspend on glue sticks. “You?”

“St. Paul’s, Heathfield. Foundation governor. The vicar put me in a half Nelson until I volunteered.” Alex reached across and picked up the worksheet. “Looks like you’ll get ten out of ten. Glad I sat here -I’ll copy off you.”

“Feel free.” Don’t flirt, Jamie reminded himself. Even if by some miracle he isn’t straight, he won’t fancy you. The nice ones never do.

Old bossyboots at the front of the room clapped her hands, as if she was addressing seven year olds.

“Sit up straight and behave,” Alex hissed out of the side of his mouth, “or else we’ll get detention.”

“We’ll just go through the answers,” Bossyboots said, brightly. “Sorry to be making you work so hard when you’d probably rather be out buying boxes of chocolates or receiving them,” she added, with a simpering grin.

“And if she mentions bloody Valentine’s Day once more,” Alex hissed again, “I’ll…”

Bossyboots giving him the sort of look which could have curdled milk at ten yards stopped Alex in his tracks.

“Detention for certain,” Jamie whispered, with a snigger.

Author bio:

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice–like managing a rugby team–she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries, but she’s making an increasing number of forays into the modern day. She’s even been known to write about gay werewolves–albeit highly respectable ones.

She was named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name but her family still regard her writing with a fond indulgence, just as she prefers.

Happily married, with a house full of daughters, Charlie tries to juggle writing with the rest of a busy life. She loves reading, theatre, good food and watching sport. Her ideal day would be a morning walking along a beach, an afternoon spent watching rugby and a church service in the evening.

16 thoughts on “Today is Charlie Cochrane Day: Giveaway of Horns and Haloes

  1. Sounds good. I’m in the US so not entirely sure what a school governor is but we moved around alot while I was in school,so didn’t really have time to notice how people were. They all seemed nice though. Thank you for the giveaway.

    marsh10(at)netzero(dot)com

  2. I would like to read this story since I love all of Charlie Cochrane’s stories I have read so far and of course hope to win a copy of this book. 🙂
    (Sadly, I can’t offer any answer to your question since I went to school in Germany and we don’t have “school governors” and I don’t know if we even have any equivalent.. (There’s not really much volunteer work going on in our schools, except perhaps sometimes parents initiatives that (financially) sponsor certain things, but even that is rare).
    I even had to ask Wikipedia to know what school governors are and didn’t completely get it. Maybe reading the story will help me understand – like reading the “Cambridge Fellows Mysteries” teached me what “punting” is 😉

  3. Oh this looks like fun 🙂 School boards here can be appointed or elected – depending on the district. I don’t remember from when I was in school who they were and I don’t have any kids so I can’t say I pay that much attention now, but I know we have gone through Superintendents since the last good one retired. The next one seem to have spent all the money and nobody knows where it went.

    sxswann(at)gmail(dot)com

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