Author: Caroline Batten
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Getting divorced at twenty-five sucks.
Teaching over-confident rich kids instead of designing handbags for Mulberry sucks. In fact, every single aspect of Daisy Fitzgerald’s life is one big…
Enter Xander, a veritable Knight-in-Shining-Cricket-Pads, who knocks her off her wedge heels and into his world of It-girls, players and Michelin stars.
Buoyed up on cocktails & escapism
Daisy agrees to play Forfeit, the ultimate game of dares, where a simple kiss sparks her relationship with Xander. But £25,000 is up for grabs and the game’s called Forfeit for good reason.
Blackmail * Betrayal * Revenge
Move over Gatsby, there’s a new bunch of bored young things in town.
Perfect for fans of Jilly Cooper, David Nicholls, Fiona Walker and Jo Carnegie, #Forfeit’s an contemporary romance from a No.1 and ‘Most Read’ Wattpad author with over 3,000,000 online reads.
“#Forfeit will make you laugh, cry, question your sanity and wish for your very own Knight-In-Shining-Cricket-Pads.” – cosyingupwithbooks.blogspot.co.uk
Daisy rolled the Teetotum ball, praying for a pleasant dare, and when it landed on twenty-five, she smiled. Her age, surely that was fortuitous? She took the card out of the Forfeit box and read the dare.
Lust: Kiss another player for five minutes. Don’t tell anyone what you’re doing, or why.
‘This is nuts,’ Xander said, shaking his head as he rolled the ball.
Totally nuts, Daisy mentally replied. The dare was doable, absolutely doable, but who the hell was she going to kiss? The obvious answer was Xander.
He laughed as he read his dare card. The obvious answer, but should she? He’d stuck by his no shagging promise and hadn’t been even slightly flirtatious all night, but what if he got the wrong idea? Or got pissed off because he thought she had? She couldn’t ruin their new best friend relationship, or her chance to live in the dream cottage.
‘Mine’s a piece of piss,’ James said, grinning.
Maybe she could kiss James. She could walk right over and just kiss him. As if he’d read her mind, he glanced at her, his face crumpling with disdain as he checked out her chest. What the hell? They might not be enormous, but her boobs were one of her better features. Clearly, she couldn’t kiss him. He might tell her to piss off. That would be horrific. Not James.
‘Twenty-to-one,’ James said. ‘One hour. Let’s do it. Tab, give me your bra.’
‘Not wearing one. I need a bottle of Jack and a shot glass,’ Tabitha purred to James, showing him her card.
‘Unlucky.’ He laughed, already heading for an open cabinet crammed with spirits. ‘It says whisky, spelled without an e. How about a sixteen year-old single malt?’
Tabitha’s smug smile faded. ‘But you know I can’t stand scotch fucking whisky.’
‘Aren’t you doing your dare then?’ Daisy asked sweetly. Wasn’t payback a bitch?
Tabitha snatched a bottle of Jura from James. Game on. Daisy grinned, appreciating Tabitha manning up, but she couldn’t help wishing that knocking back ten shots of top-quality whisky were her dare. It’d be a lot easier than kissing one of the other players for five minutes.
What about Marcus? He grabbed a guitar that stood propped beside the piano – because what respectable bachelor pad didn’t have a Steinway to hand? Casually, he sauntered up to a pretty girl with a dark, elfin cut. Any conversation she was having with her friends dried up as Marcus took her hand, kissing it briefly, before bursting into song. And not just any song. He’d chosen One Direction’s Little Things.
Daisy would’ve giggled at the cheesiness, but Marcus knew the words and he could play the chords. Better still, despite being off-key and horrifically flat, he delivered the song as if he were Harry Styles himself. The pixie girl never dropped eye contact with him. He’d so pulled. Daisy wouldn’t be kissing him.
Which left Xander.
He’d settled back on the sofa with his eyes closed. Was his dare to go to sleep?
‘If I die, I leave everything to my cat,’ Tabitha said, lifting the first of the ten shot glasses James had lined up on the table.
It had to be Xander, but what if it all went wrong? God, she was acting like a twelve year-old over a stupid kiss-dare. Wasn’t that the point of a dare, to do something humiliating? And she had to do it – no way would she flake out in front of Tabitha bloody Doyle. Then Daisy had a brilliant idea; how to make it a lot less messy – she’d cheat.
Buoyed up on cocktails, coke and escapism, she sat astride a somewhat stunned Xander.
‘Help me?’ she whispered, surreptitiously showing him the card.
Tabitha groaned as she sank number four. She was so going to be sick, but Daisy’s stomach churned too. What if he said no?
Clearly fighting a smile, he gave a slow nod and Daisy stared at him, her nerves building. Oh God, she was about to kiss Xander. He raised his eyebrows, his eyes twinkling as he waited. She’d have to start this – it was her dare, not his. Tentatively, she brushed her lips against his, testing the water before she set the timer on her phone.
Five minutes, easy-peasy.
It all started harmlessly – even a little mechanical, but after the first minute, Xander’s hands moved up her back, his thumbs caressing her skin through the thin silk and shivers surged over her. He’d done the same on the one night stand, just before he’d undone her bra.
And I want him to do it again.
What the hell was that drumming noise inside her head? Was that her heartbeat? She wanted to pull away, desperate to breathe, to take control of her head, but her hands still held his face and his Bulgari aftershave still sent her senses reeling.
Slow, sweet, teasing, this was no teenage kiss-dare. Xander’s hands had moved up her bare shoulders, his fingers doing wicked things to her neck. How long had they been kissing for, three minutes, maybe four? Why wasn’t it thirty seconds? Then she’d have four and half minutes still to go.
Tequila body shots. Oh to lick salt off his abs again.
‘Supposed to be just friends,’ Tabitha slurred behind her. ‘That doesn’t look like friends.’
Daisy’s phone beeped. The five minutes were up, but no way was she stopping.
I want more.
‘I bet it’s her dare,’ James replied.
She dragged her lips from Xander’s, looking down, watching his chest rising and falling. It was just a stupid dare. How had she got so carried away? How had they got so carried away? Oh God, what if he wasn’t carried away? What if he thought she were some desperate cow, throwing herself at him? Mortified, she closed her eyes, her head dropping. How could she laugh it off, put on her bravest of brave faces when she’d made such a fool of herself?
Xander dropped a kiss on her neck.
Itching with a masochistic desire to read the HeatWorld article, Daisy unlocked her phone, but the first notification waiting for her was Forfeit invited you to like the page Forfeit – the Ultimate Game of Dares. Her finger shook as she clicked the link. Eighty-one Likes. What the hell? Liked by who? Who knew about it?
On Saturday 24th June, five hedonistic twenty-somethings each tossed fifty pounds into a pot, gambling on their ability to do a dare. Follow their progress as they get ready to play the final round.
Who the hell would be interested? Eighty-two people, one of them a friend of hers. Clara had liked this nonsense?
In Round One, birthday boy James Dowson-Jones collected bras…
The names were hyperlinks. Daisy clicked hers. Daisy Fitzgerald – Forfeit Player. It wasn’t her own Facebook page, but another set up by someone else. It had a shot from James’ party as the profile picture. Vague details about her. And comments. People had posted comments on her wall.
Do the dare!
Hope you play!
Do the dare #forfeit
It had a hashtag? Oh God. It did. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be real. But over on Twitter, @ForfeitHost had almost a hundred followers, the hashtag dozens of tweets.
@polilrichgal: Daisy’s a Fugly Ho. #forfeit
@1_D_fangirl_1990: hate her too, but so want to play #forfeit
@skizzerd_love: bet they don’t turn up on NYE #forfeit
@wineinachippedmug: she’s alright, I reckon. Daisy to win.
At least someone was on her side.
Daisy scoured the tweets, the comments, the messages. Ninety percent of it was people discussing dares they’d done or forfeits they paid, but the other ten percent? Bitchy comments, mostly decrying her as totally unfit to kiss the feet of Xander or Finn.
By the time she’d chain-smoked her way through half the bottle of wine, the Facebook page had almost three hundred Likes and @ForfeitHost over five hundred followers. This crap was going viral before her eyes, not hurt by the Daisy/Finn/Brittany story.
Pay the stake, Roll the dice, Do the dare.
The tweet had come from @jellyfishmommie at 10:45. By 11:30 that quickly became a mantra tweeted and retweeted with horrific regularity. Daisy hoped the jellyfish mommy had her jellyfish babies taken away from her. Pay the stake…
‘I don’t have five thousand pounds, you stupid cow.’
The Book Trailer:
About Caroline Batten
Born in the United Kingdom, Caroline lives in the Lake District with her husband, small child and two Kune Kune pigs.
She daydreams of one day owning a pair of Louboutin’s and having somewhere fabulous to wear them. Until then, she’ll be found plodding up a mountain in her trusty hiking boots.
#forfeit is Caroline’s debut novel. Her second novel, Distraction, is due for publication in February 2015.