I’m so pleased to be featuring Little Pink Taxi by Marie Laval today and sharing an extract with you. Not only have I met Marie in person, but I have been able to interview her here on Linda’s Book Bag.
Little Pink Taxi was published by ChocLit on 20th February 2018 and is available for purchase through the links here.
Little Pink Taxi
Take a ride with Love Taxis, the cab company with a Heart …
Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline.
Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too.
On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …
An Extract from Little Pink Taxi
Oblivious to the rain running down his face and soaking his hair and coat, he walked back along the road and cut through the undergrowth towards the pine tree where the woman had been standing. A huge raven, perched on a nearby treetop, stared down at him with beady eyes. The woman, however, had gone.
Puzzled, he peered through the shadows and walked into the woods. If there was a path, he couldn’t see it. He breathed in mixed scents of rain and rotting vegetation. Above him the raven flew off with a shrieking call and a loud flapping of wings.
‘Monsieur Petersen? Are you all right?’ Rosalie Heart called from the road. She had put her hood up so as not to get drenched.
He turned and walked back to her. ‘She’s gone, and yet I was sure she needed help.’
Rosalie Heart smiled. ‘If it was who I think it was, she does indeed need help, but not of the kind you, or anyone of us, can give her.’
‘What are you talking about?’
She sighed. ‘Forget it. You won’t believe me.’
She took a deep breath. ‘You just saw the ghost of Isobel McBride.’
He narrowed his eyes, and dug his fists into his coat pocket. His shoes were soaked and muddy. Icy water trickled down his face, his neck and the collar of his coat. He had the migraine from hell. And this small woman dressed in marshmallow pink was babbling about ghosts?
‘Are you serious?’ he asked, between clenched teeth.
She nodded, turned away and walked back to the cab, leaving him behind. The woman was making fun of him, that much was obvious. He followed her back to the taxi, slung the door open and sat down. His wet clothes stuck to the pink plastic seat with squelching sounds. Water dripped from his coat and trousers and pooled at his feet. The windows steamed up, and it was like being enclosed in a cosy bubble of gum.
Rosalie Heart pulled her hood off and shook her curly brown hair. As it tumbled around her shoulders he caught the scent of the rain and a deeper, fruity fragrance. She smiled again, and he couldn’t help but notice she had a very attractive smile indeed. In fact, he thought, looking at her properly for the first time, she was rather pretty with her eyes a warm chestnut colour, and her cheeks glowing pink from the cold.
‘It’s a long time since anyone reported seeing Lady Fitheach,’ she remarked in a thoughtful voice as she started the engine.
‘Lady Fitheach? I thought you said her name was Isobel McBride.’
‘Fitheach is Scottish for raven. People call Isobel Lady Fitheach because of the raven that never leaves her side. You saw the bird, didn’t you?’
There had indeed been that huge raven staring down at him from a nearby branch. He dismissed it with a shrug. ‘It’s a wood. There’s bound to be all kinds of birds there.’
She gasped. ‘So you did see it! When I tell everybody at the Stag’s Head you’ll be so famous you won’t have to pay for a single pint for the duration of your stay.’
‘There’s nothing to tell. It was a rambler, that’s all.’
He probably would be the talk of the local pub before long, but it wouldn’t be because of Isobel McBride’s ghost – or whoever had been standing by the side of that forest road.
‘It was Isobel,’ she insisted. ‘You said she had a hooded cloak, didn’t you? That’s what she always wears. Actually that’s all she ever wears. Apparently she is stark naked underneath.’
He sighed, impatient. Did the woman actually believe this nonsense? ‘I don’t believe in ghosts. It was a hiker, or some new age hippy … or some Isobel McBride ghost impersonator.’
She burst out laughing. ‘Now you’re being funny.’ She glanced at him and grimaced. ‘No, you’re not … Anyway, I hope you don’t see her again.’
‘Men who see her more than once usually end up drowned in the loch.’
He shook his head. This had to be the silliest conversation he’d ever had. ‘They probably had too much to drink.’
‘Well, that too.’ She reached out to switch the radio back on.
‘No.’ His sharp voice stopped her in her tracks. ‘No music, no singing, and no more talking.’
She glanced at him in surprise. ‘Don’t you like music?’
‘I like civilised music, not what you’ve been playing.’
‘And what do you call civilised music, Monsieur Petersen? No! Let me guess. You like classical music and jazz, am I right?’
He looked surprised. ‘How did you know?’
(Argh! And now I want to know what happens next!)
About Marie Laval
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for a number of years. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors, she writes contemporary and historical romance. Her native France very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!