Liz, who reviews books, considers herself to be a plain woman. Not ugly, not even mousey, just not pretty, and certainly not striking. She is unremarkable in every way. Except… the books that she reviews are what, back in the day, Uncle Joe would refer to as bodice rippers, whilst winking in that oily way of his and digging her in her teenage ribs, revelling in the red heat that would rise on her cheeks like a hormone-induced tidal wave.
Strangely, once Uncle Joe discovered that racy literature was her bread and butter, he left her alone. Sometimes, she would find him in the kitchen with Mother and sense that the privacy she had unknowingly breached consisted solely of his unadulterated opinion of her eminently unsuitable job. Not a career mind, just a job, whilst she waited to settle down and produce babies for a grey accountant in the City.
Liz had taken up the Argentine Tango not long after reviewing her first book for Forbidden Fruit. She knew, self-aware that she was, that in the heady environment of swirling skirts and impossibly intimate leg flicks, she truly came into her own. She had found her métier, at last.
Little did Uncle Joe realise that she had spotted him once, not quite hidden at the back of the dimly lit audience at the Meppersley Wood Working Men’s Club. as she swirled, cavorted and leaned in to the tight body of Pablo, her dancing instructor and on-again, off-again fervent and temperamental paramour.
She had seen the sheen of sweat on Uncle Joe’s brow and temples, watched with satisfaction as his cheeks glowed with desire. He had failed to recognise her as he lusted after her full breasts and sinuous, writhing hips.
Oh yes, she is a plain woman in every respect, except that is, on the dance floor.