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Authors: Kerry Barrett

A Step In Time

BOOK: A Step In Time

The time of her life!

Following a (totally justified) ugly, public brawl with her love-rat boyfriend, soap star and paparazzi darling Amy Lavender’s TV career is over.

Her agent assures her that winning a glitzy TV dancing competition will put Amy back on top. But Amy has two left feet, and her hot dance partner, Patrick, seems to think that she’s behaving like a superficial spoiled brat (also totally justified).

At rock bottom, Amy is now living in a rented room when she encounters her upstairs neighbour, an elegant older lady with a mysterious, tragic air who knows more than a thing or two about the foxtrot.

But it’ll take more than a couple of dance lessons to get Amy back on the leaderboard and ready to cha cha cha her way to glitterball glory!


‘It was just lovely! I loved the plot, I loved the spells and the magic, I loved the characters and I loved the writing. Kerry Barrett is a talented writer’ – Girls Love to Read on
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered


‘Thoroughly enjoyed
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
… couldn’t put it down’ – A M Poynter*


‘I was absorbed from the first page’ – Pass the Gin on
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered


‘This was a joy to read, clever, witty and fun. I would thoroughly recommend it and am looking forward to seeing what happens next??!!’ – Mrs Ami Norman on
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered


‘For lovers of witches, strong female characters who you really root for, good writing and great storytelling this is a must’ – Caz on
I Put a Spell on You


‘A little romance, a little danger and a whole lot of fun make this an unparalleled reading experience’

cayocosta72 on
I Put a Spell on You*


‘I recommend this to anyone wanting to escape to a wintery witchy romance’ – Splashes into Books on
Baby It’s Cold Outside*


*Amazon reader reviews

Also available by Kerry Barrett

Could It Be Magic

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

I Put a Spell on You

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I’ll Be There for You

A Spoonful of Sugar

A Step in Time

Kerry Barrett


was a bookworm from a very early age, devouring Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfeild, before moving on to
Sweet Valley High
and 1980s bonkbusters. She did a degree in English Literature, then trained as a journalist, writing about everything from pub grub to
. Her first novel,
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
, took six years to finish and was mostly written in longhand on her commute to work, giving her a very good reason to buy beautiful notebooks. Kerry lives in London with her husband and two sons, and Noel Streatfeild’s
Ballet Shoes
is still her favourite novel.

Lots of people have given their time to help me with this book and I am immensely grateful to them all. Firstly, thanks to Victoria and the team at Carina for their words of wisdom regarding Cora and Amy. Thanks also to my fellow Carina authors, who have all been a great support, providing laughs, advice, ideas and pictures of buff men whenever needed. My lovely friend Aimee has been a sounding board, reader, editor and cheerleader, and I am very grateful for her unwavering support.

I also need to thank Jo Willacy and Laura Marcus for their brilliant insights into learning how to dance, Carena Crawford for sharing some of her own research with me, and Eileen Brockwell and Jack Bridges for the tiny yet vitally important details about the Second World War that made Cora’s story come alive.

And finally, to my grandma, Jess Rogan, who I thought of a lot throughout the writing of this book, who loved to dance, and who will be much missed.

This book is dedicated to the people who choose who gets to be on Strictly Come Dancing. Pick me! Pick me!





Book List

Title Page

Author Bio




Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four






Afterwards I realised I was far, far drunker than I thought I was and that’s probably why it all went so badly wrong. But at the time, I thought it was a great idea. Matty, my boyfriend, was out at the opening of a new club and I wanted to see him. So I left the hotel where I was oohing and ahhhing over a fancy brand of hairbrush, jumped in a cab and headed to the West End to catch up with my man.

I posed for the photographers outside the club, giving them a beaming smile and a cheeky look over my shoulder so they captured the back of my mini dress, and then I trip-trapped down the stairs in my super-high heels to find Matty.

At first, I couldn’t see him. It was dark in the club and the flashing lights on the dance floor meant I took a while to get my bearings. But then I spotted his best mate, TJ, chatting to a girl I didn’t recognise, and Matty’s broad back in a tight white T-shirt, his head turned away from me, his tongue firmly stuck down another woman’s throat and his hands all over her bum.

People talk about a red mist descending, don’t they? I never knew what they meant until that moment. All I could think about was that some two-bit reality TV starlet was snogging my boyfriend. The man I loved. The man I intended to marry – just as soon as we agreed terms with
magazine for the engagement photo shoot that would cover the cost of the huge rock I had my eye on.

Shrieking with rage, I launched myself at the girl. I took a fistful of her hair extensions in my hand and pulled her face away from Matty’s.

‘Get your lips off my man!’ I screamed. And then – and believe me, I’m not proud of this – I pulled my arm back and punched her. Right in the nose. I honestly didn’t know there would be so much blood.

Everything stopped. I couldn’t even hear the music any more. It was like the whole room was suddenly in slow motion.

‘AAAAAMMMMMYYY!’ Matty was yelling. ‘Whaaaat have you dooooonnnne?’ He had blood all over his white T-shirt.

The girl he’d been kissing was squealing as TJ shoved napkins at her, and out of the corner of my eye I could see other clubbers filming the whole sorry escapade on their phones.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Really bad. But that’s not even all of it.

Realising I’d gone too far, I turned to leave. But like I said, I’d had quite a lot to drink at that hairbrush launch (honestly, it’s the only way to get through things like that – the free booze) and I was wearing really high heels.

As I spun round, my foot caught on the edge of the dance floor and suddenly I was face down in a puddle of pina colada with my super-short dress up round my hips and my Hello Kitty knickers on display.

Lying there, my cheek stinging from the pineapple juice, I watched two men compare photos on their phones’ screens and high-five each other. And then firm hands lifted me up.

‘Out!’ said one of the two bouncers who were either side of me. They were both twice as tall as me and seemingly three times as wide. They’d lifted me so high that my feet weren’t even touching the floor.

‘Don’t worry, I’m going,’ I muttered to the bouncer on my left. ‘I just feel a bit …’

And then I puked. All over his trousers.

Chapter One

‘Get your lips off my man.’ My boss, Tim, threw the paper down on his desk and glared at me. ‘Amy’s meltdown. Full story continues on pages three, five, seven and nine.’

I glanced down at the photo on the front of the paper and winced as I saw the now familiar shot of me face down on the dance floor, bum in the air, as a blood-splattered Matty gazed on in horror.

‘Today’s news, tomorrow’s fish and chip paper,’ I said hopefully.

Tim rolled his eyes and turned his computer screen round so I could see it.

‘You are the only person who’s ever made every single thumbnail on the
’s Sidebar of Shame,’ he said. Sure enough, the column of pics down the side of his screen replayed each moment of that awful night in full technicolour glory. It was like a flipbook animation of the punch, the blood, the fall and the vomit.

‘I’m sorry,’ I whispered. ‘I just really loved him, you know?’

Tim’s face softened.

‘I know you did, sweetheart.’

‘So what happens now?’ I asked, scared to hear the answer. Tim was the producer of
Turpin Road
. It was the biggest soap in Britain and I was arguably its biggest star – at least I liked to think so. I played Betsy, a damaged but sparky barmaid at the Prince Albert pub. I’d been on the show for three years and I absolutely loved it. And Tim loved me. I’d had some brilliant storylines and I was tipped as the next big thing. At least I had been, until I punched a reality TV star called Kayleigh and showed my knickers to the world.

I gave Tim a sheepish grin.

‘Suspension?’ I suggested. ‘I’ll go to my mum’s in Spain for a month, stay out of everyone’s way, and when I get back all this will have blown over and the tabloids will have a new victim. Just write me out for a bit.’

I was wearing a scarf round my neck – I’d hidden my face with it when I’d come into the studios earlier to avoid the paps waiting at the gate. Now I wrapped it round my head like Dolly, the actress who played my on-screen granny, and picked up the phone on Tim’s desk.

‘Oh, hello, Betsy,’ I said, in what I thought was a pretty good impression of Dolly’s shrill cockney voice. ‘Oh, your uncle’s broken his leg, has he? Of course you should stay and look after him. About a month, you say? We’ll miss you.’

I put the phone down again, pulled the scarf off my head and stared at Tim, waiting for the axe to fall.

I knew how these things worked. One of my co-stars had sent a photo of his willy to a fan via Snapchat, she’d screengrabbed it, shared it, and it was all over the internet about thirty seconds later. He’d been suspended for a while but he was back now and it was like nothing had happened. Tim adored me. The
Turpin Road
viewers adored Betsy. Surely my punishment would be similar?

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