The Three Musketeers

Sukie McClaren and Elsa Clairmont are best friends who first appear in ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’. 

Elsa is a young widow and we pick up with her story in ‘An Artisan Lovetyle’. 

Harry was her childhood sweetheart.

This small, three-part series / prequel, is the story of how they first met and how they became friends.


“Thank you, Mrs McClaren. We’ll look after Suzette. School finishes at 3.30pm. You may collect her then.

“Thank you Miss Graham.” Beth McClaren stood up and walked to the door of the headmistress’s office. She looked back and caught the forlorn look on her seven year old daughters face. “Oh, Miss Graham, Suzette prefers to be called Suze or Suzie.”

“I don’t agree with shortened names, Mrs McClaren. Suzette will be called by her full given name.”

Beth walked back over to the large, mahogany desk and gave the officious woman behind it a hard stare. “My daughter prefers to be called either Suze or Suzie. I would ask you to please respect that. She is called these names at home and I want her to be called them at school. Have I made myself quite clear?”

She watched as the headmistress bit down the reprimand she clearly wanted to administer. “Yes, Mrs McClaren. I will ensure the form teacher is told.

“Thank you.”

Beth bent down and tweaked one of her daughter’s pigtails. “You have a good day darling. I hope you make some new friends. I’ll meet you at the gates this afternoon. I love you.” She gently stroked her daughter’s cheek before rising and, giving the headmistress a curt nod, she left the room.

Suzie walked down the corridor behind Miss Graham. Everything was quiet and the only sound was the squeak of the headmistress’s shoes on the polished linoleum. They came to a door and Miss Graham barked “Wait here!” before she knocked and entered. She left the door open when she entered the room and Suzie could see the children in the classroom staring at her. She looked at the headmistress talking to the lady at the front before turning and beckoning Suzie into the room.

“Suzette… Err… I mean Suzie, this is Miss Ross and she is your form teacher. She will look after you from here.”

Miss Ross crouched down to Suzie’s level as Miss Graham left the room. Suzie looked at her. She had short, dark brown hair, brown eyes and a soft smile on her lips. She had a nice face and Suzie felt herself beginning to like her.

“Shall we find you a desk to sit at Suzie?” she whispered quietly. “I’ll sit you next to Elsa because she’s a nice kind girl. I think you’ll like her. Come with me.”

She took Suzie’s hand and walked her over to the second row of desks. She stopped next to a girl with blonde hair and the biggest blue eyes Suzie had ever seen.

“Elsa, this is Suzie McClaren. Suzie, this is Elsa Benton. Elsa, do you mind showing Suzie the ropes and taking care of her until she has settled in?”

“I’ll look after her, Miss Ross.” Elsa gave Suzie a big smile and revealed a mouth full of metal. Wow, thought Suzie, those are one big set of braces!

Elsa patted the seat next her and said “Sit here Suzie.”

Suzie smiled back as she sat down. She took her pencil case from her schoolbag and turned her attention to the teacher who was now talking at the front of the class.

The bell rang for lunch and Elsa turned to Suzie as she slipped her jotter and pencil inside the desk. “Do you have a packed lunch Suzie or are you going to the canteen?”

Suzie leant down and took out the lunch box her mum had prepared for her this morning. “Packed lunch.”

“Oh goody, that’s what I have. Would you like me to show you the tree where I like to sit to eat mine?” Not waiting for a reply, Elsa took Suzie’s hand and pulled her from the classroom. It was a warm day outside and the two girls were soon settled, in the shade, under the tree. “What have you got for lunch?” Elsa asked.

“Cheese sandwiches, a packet of crisps, a Kit-Kat and an orange.” Suzie tried to hide the supermarket own brand crisps underneath her sandwich.

“I’ve got peanut-butter and jam sandwiches, Monster Munchies, grapes and a packet of Rolo’s.”

“That sounds lovely,” replied Suzie, trying not to feel envious of her classmate’s much more exciting lunch. It wasn’t her mum’s fault that she didn’t have much money and could only provide a basic lunch.

“Would you like to share? If I put my jacket on the grass, we can pretend it’s a rug and that we’re having a picnic. We can each have a bit of everything if we do that.”

Suzie felt her envy disappear and quickly agreed to Elsa’s plan.

They hadn’t long finished eating, and were sitting chatting, when three boys approached them.

“Hey, Metal Micky, give us a smile. Let’s see your big rabbit teeth,” jeered the boy in the middle, who was considerably bigger than his two puny friends.

“Go away Sid Miles. Leave me alone.” Suzie watched Elsa’s happy face change and become sad.

“Oh, go on! I want to see if they’ll blind us when the sunlight hits them.” Sid kicked Elsa’s foot as he spoke.

“She said ‘Go away’! Are you deaf?” Suzie felt her temper begin to rise. She tried not to let it, her mum had told her she must learn to control it, but sometimes that was really hard.

Sid turned his attention to Suzie. “Who do you think you’re talking to?”

Suzie got to her feet and made a big show of looking Sid up and down.

“I don’t actually know. Has the research scientist given you a name yet?”

Sid went puce with rage as his cohorts let out a snort. “Oooo, you’ve had it now. No one ever speaks back to Sid,” they sniggered.

Sid stepped forward and grabbed one of Suzie’s pigtails. Before he could pull it, however, he received a hard thump on his nose and a sharp kick in his shins.

“OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW,” he squealed, as tears began to run down his face. He quickly stepped back and Suzie stepped forward.

“How dare you pick on girls and how dare you pick on someone younger than you. I hope you’ve enjoyed having a taste of your own medicine. Now go away and don’t ever come near us again. Have you got that?”

Sid hobbled away with the sound of Suzie’s and Elsa’s laughter in his ears.

Elsa stood up next to Suzie. “Wow! That was amazing. You were so brave.”

“I don’t think my mum will call it that when she finds out I’ve been fighting on my first day.”

“Oh, you’ve no need to worry, he won’t tell anyone because everyone will laugh at him.”

Elsa turned and looked at Suzie. “Suzie, do you have a best friend?”

“No, I don’t. We’ve just moved here and I don’t know anyone yet.”

“Would you like to be mine?” Elsa asked her shyly.

“I would love to be your best friend Elsa.”

“Pinkie shake?”

“Pinkie shake!”

The two girls hooked their pinkies together and sealed the beginning of their life-long friendship.

Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?

Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.

Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.

On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.

Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree
to complete three tasks.

They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.

If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.

If they should fail however…

‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of
finding true love before their time runs out.

Will they do it?

Can they do it?

After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…

You can buy The Artisan Lovestyle here on Amazon: 

As mentioned before this prologue is just part 1 of 3, read the next two over on these blog’s on the dates below. You can follow the whole tour if you wish and find out more about Kiltie and her work, her new release and more.

Harry can be read on Six Tinder Weeks on 10th July

Elsa can be read on Ali – The Dragon Slayer on 15th July – 

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