To anyone as long as they aren’t ginger.
The character Charlie Wallis has ginger hair in A Proper Charlie. I’ll never understand why ginger-haired people are ridiculed. I think red hair is gorgeous. Soon it won’t be around naturally for long and we’ll all remember back fondly.
The acknowledgement in the book reads: To anyone as long as they aren’t ginger. It’s tongue in cheek and, going by the emails I get from surprised readers, well received.
Gingers know they are beautiful. The rest of us are jealous.
Charlie Wallis is an ordinary girl living in the ‘gritty’ side of London. She isn’t rich or even beautiful. She’s even a little bit fat! She wears a crazy cocktail of clothes, oblivious to fashion rather than conscious of it. But what she does want is recognition. Brought up in a children’s home, she wants that more than anything.
She’s an office clerk for the newspaper London Core, and wants to be a journalist. Prostitutes are going missing on the streets of London and the police fear it’s another ‘Jack the Ripper’ although no bodies have been discovered.
Charlie has a crazy idea of getting a story and recognition at the same time—double whammy!
But then she sees her gorgeous boss kerb-crawling. What’s a girl to do? Turn herself into a honey trap, that’s what.
She really should’ve stayed home.
Charlie watched as he fell back onto her settee, and then straddled his lap. Oh my God! What was she doing! She was having an out-of-body-experience, she thought. Only she wasn’t dead. She was alive. Very much so. She wriggled against him wonderingly and excitement flared in her body as his own rose to her teasing.
Charlie Wallis has everything a girl could wish for. A loving boyfriend, a nice flat and a fantastic job as a journalist for London Core. Trouble is, Charlie's boyfriend isn’t at all ‘loving’, her job title really reads 'office assistant' and her flat, at the top of a high-rise, isn't that nice either.
Her new boss, Ben, is a huge bear of a man. A gentle giant, with chocolate brown eyes that hold a secret.
While London Core investigates the disappearances of local prostitutes, Charlie wants in on the action, deciding that dressing as a hooker and walking the streets is good research.
Bumping into Ben was the last thing she expected.
‘Sorry,’ Charlie said to Melvin’s back. ‘I’ve been a bitch all morning. Let me make it up to you and get you a coffee.’
Melvin swivelled round on his chair, his eyebrows raised. ‘Bitch ain’t the word, doll,’ he said. ‘I can think of several stronger adjectives.’
‘Feel free to throw them at me.’
He smiled and then flapped a hand. ‘Babe, you don’t need to apologise. You’re having a bad day, and we all have those.’
She smiled weakly, wishing she could tell him the truth. She pushed back her chair and went over to the vending machine.
‘Got a new headline!’
Charlie swivelled round, her eyes searching for the shouter as her heart knocked against her ribcage.
Mikey was pointing at his computer. ‘Email here that says two old dears began bashing one another with their handbags and brollies over an eighty-nine year-old man who had been leading a secret life with both women.’
There were shouts of laughter, and Charlie turned back to the vending machine. For a moment, she’d been expecting another abduction and the victim’s name to be Jan. The girl hadn’t been seen on the streets for a while, and Charlie was becoming seriously concerned.
Her idea popped up in her mind again. It was dangerous and foolish, but when had that stopped her before? She pressed a button and watched as a paper cup dropped out of the machine and hot coffee spurted into it. The idea was simple. So simple it was bound to work. She was going to do it! She was going to make a honey-trap for the abductor with her as the honey!
Where to find Louise: