Love, Lies and Lemon Cake

By: Sue Watson


This story is about a woman’s journey and, as with all my heroines, I have travelled with her. Along the way, some very special people joined us, bringing their own brand of help, humour, love and lemon cake...

A huge thank you to Oliver Rhodes at Bookouture for his wisdom, guidance and belief in this book from the very beginning when all I had was a handful of thoughts and cake crumbs. Thank you to Emily Ruston, my fantastic editor who put zest in the lemon cake, cream in the frosting and transformed my ingredients into a delicious read.

A very big thank you to my friend Louise Bagley for her hilarious and fascinating insights into hair and beauty salon life, to Emma Richardson for the dating dramas, and Lesley Mc Loughlin, Sarah Robinson and Liz Cox for advice, inspiration and everything in between.

Lots of love and very large glasses of wine to Jan Holman, Jackie Swift, Sheila Webb, Diane Tilley and Sarah Douglas, who have all contributed thoughts, malapropisms and brilliant anecdotes. Love and hugs to friend and ‘Book Whisperer’ Kim Nash and my girls and cheerleaders Alison Birch, Sharon Beswick, Sue Johnson and the legendary ‘Literary Ladies Wot Lunch’.

Thanks as always to my mum Patricia Engert, who started me on my own journey by always telling me anything is possible. And last, but never least, my love to Nick Watson—what would I do without you?

For Eve Watson, wherever you go and whatever you do, know I’ll always be there... with cake.


Film Star Fingers and Fake Bake

‘I want you,’ he breathed, sliding his warm hand under my gown, then slowly, sensuously along my thigh. I lay back on the white sunlounger, the infinity pool lapping at my toes, him lapping at my neck, all hot breath and sensual friction. Dressed only in diamonds and Fake Bake, I smiled provocatively, playing hard to get and stirring on the lounger so he could enjoy me in the best possible light. In his free hand he held a dirty martini to my lips and I swallowed gratefully, framed perfectly by the Hollywood sign nestling in those star-studded hills.

‘Ryan... I shouldn’t be here,’ I said, admiring the way he held his glass and moved his hand around my body at the same time. It can’t have been easy, like rubbing your head and patting your stomach in sync.

‘I have washing to do,’ I panted. ‘Then I have to.... ah... clean the windows, and then I’m... oh... making the tea.’

He didn’t care; he was too wrapped up in lust, his twinkly eyes and film star fingers caressing my whole body, and aching for the moment I would be his. I wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last he made passionate love to by an aqua infinity pool in LA. With total disregard for my washing pile and in complete denial of my filthy windows and uncooked tea, he gently pushed his knee between mine, panting in my ear about just what we would be doing next. The stars were out and I lay back in his arms, waiting for the passion to explode, when the sound of Craig’s voice bore through the air like a bloody bullet.

‘Are you going to spend all day in that bath?’

I looked up. Ryan Gosling’s twinkly eyes faded through the mists of steam and foamy bubbles, along with the dirty martinis, white leather sunloungers... and hope.

Unlike Ryan, the last time Craig had touched my thigh was about two years before when his hand had slipped as he turned over in bed... asleep. We’d been married for about a hundred years so romance was a distant memory and sex something I only saw fleetingly on TV. After the usual passion and wanting of the early days, we’d settled down to married life. The chaste goodnight kiss, the ‘did you have a good day?’ for a while, which then petered out into nothing and, like siblings sharing a house, we carried out our rituals and roles independently, while pretending to ourselves everything was fine.

While my daughter was growing up and I was juggling work and childcare, I was happy to live like this, with no distractions, but recently I’d begun to question where my life was going. Was this it? A life lived on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was? Craig lived for his work and had long ago given up on romantic evenings fuelled with wine and sweet nothings; he was always too busy. For my part, I’d given up competing with his plumbing business and the sheer excitement that leaking stopcocks and faulty faucets brought him. Faced with the glittering prospect of a flange crisis at seven a.m. the next morning, Craig found it hard to contain his excitement and had little left for a night of marital sex with his middle-aged wife. Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and the boys, however, had plenty of time for me, even if it was only in the Hollywood of my head.