Book Extract: The Accidental Housemate by Sal Thomas

I am pleased to welcome Sal Thomas to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Accidental Housemate.

Cath Beckinsale is in a jam. She’s a single mum of three, with her 40th birthday in sight and a precarious hold on employment. And she can’t quite let go of her late husband Gaz, whose ashes are still in an urn on the kitchen table.

To make ends meet a student lodger seems like the perfect solution – after all, what’s one more child in the house? But when Dan flies in from the US, complete with guitar and chest hair on display, it’s immediately clear that he’s no teenager, but someone who quickly sends life in an unexpected direction.


Sal has shared an extract today. We hope you enjoy it. 

(Warning: Language.) 


*****beginning of extract*****


Widower and mum of three Cath has agreed to take in a student lodger to help make ends meet. Recommended him by a colleague, she spends a tipsy evening with best friend Sindy looking up the American teenager she thinks she’s getting, as well as ogling over a same-name-but-different-state guy. However, a misunderstanding about Kansas vs Arkansas means she’s in for a surprise….

Of course, it’s only the following weekend as I’m on the way to the airport that the full force of what I’ve let myself in for comes rushing at me like a tidal wave of WTAF? I’ve left Jack and Eric at home with Sindy, who assured me that inviting someone I know barely anything about to come and live in my house, without so much as having had a conversation with him, is a great idea. I guess it happens all the time on Airbnb, right? Still, my stomach is doing all manner of odd things as I pull into the car park.

Minutes after I get to the gate a stream of people starts to emerge from the exit, their weary faces lighting up as they spot waiting relatives. I check the photo of Dan I saved to my phone. No sign yet, but he’s probably slowly lolloping his way from the plane, peering through his hair curtains and taking in a brand-new country. As I’m watching it all unfold, a man, I’d say in his mid-thirties, emerges from the exit carrying a large rucksack and a guitar. He’s over six-feet tall and archetypically handsome, a mop of loose brown curls framing an elfin face rescued from femininity by a defined jaw and strong straight brows. His cheeks dimple as he smiles at the striking young air stewardess walking alongside him. I can’t make out what he’s saying, but she is lapping it up as she overtly throws her head back in amusement and lightly touches him on the arm.

As he gets closer, I have the strongest sense I recognise him, which is odd because I don’t tend to knock around with tall, dark, handsome men. He could be a former school friend, one of the pupils from the boys’ school next door, older now and hard to place in this incongruous setting. But that can’t be right because I’ve seen this face more recently. He could be someone well-known, off the television perhaps? But that doesn’t check out because whilst he’s drawing a few subtle head turns, they don’t seem to be of the tap-the-person-next-to-you-because-that-guy’s-famous variety.

He gets closer still and I take in the whiter than white teeth, the full mouth with the natural upturn at the edges. And then he unzips his puffer jacket and I spot a shell bead necklace poking out from the collar of his T-shirt. Oh. My. God. It’s not possible, is it, that when Sindy and I were messing around online that night, we got the wrong guy? That Little Rock Dan is my new lodger? A wave of sickness engulfs me. I break into a hot sweat and my hands go clammy. It must be a coincidence. Or I’m mistaken. Shell necklaces may be all the rage in America. It only looks like him. Any second now, Kansas City Dan will appear, pushing the hair out of his face, and Sindy will howl when I tell her what initially went through my head. But this guy really does look like the guy we saw online that night. And what of my message exchange with Daphne. Did I ever ask for definitive details? Not that I recollect. Shit! Why did I not think to check exactly who he was? Why did she not tell me he was a mature student? Why would someone like him come to somewhere like this? And why do I not have a cyanide pill tucked about my person for this precise eventuality? I would run away, but my legs have stopped working, and besides, Little Rock Dan has spotted the bloody sign I’m still holding up, bids farewell to the stewardess, and makes a beeline for me.

‘Hey, you must be Cath.’

Before I realise what’s happening, he leans in for an air kiss, but a combination of misjudging his angle of descent and having to stand up on my tiptoes to try and greet it means I land a smacker straight on his mouth.

‘Shit! Sorry!’ I’m only wearing a baggy sweatshirt and some leggings, but it is several layers too many for how hot I’ve gone.

He steps back. ‘Wow. Fine. Okay.’

The distance gives me a chance to take him in properly. He’s ridiculous. He’s just stepped off a flight and yet could equally have stepped out of a frigging photo shoot for some hipster magazine. I, by contrast, look like I’ve just stepped out of a hedge.

‘I wouldn’t normally … I wasn’t expecting a…’ I’m doing so much gesticulating I’m creating a draught. ‘Honestly. Even a handshake is practically foreplay for me nowadays!’ WTF? I am only two sentences in, and not only have I accosted him, but I’ve also told him I have no sex life. What if he thinks the two things are related? ‘Shit! That’s not the reason why I … you know, I wasn’t trying to…’ I need to stop digging—figuratively, and with my hand movements.

He smiles broadly. His teeth are so straight. ‘It’s fine. Do you want to start over?’

‘No, I want a plane to crash on my head.’

‘Continue to wave your hands around like that, you might attract the attention of one.’

He has a mild southern accent. Not even close to cowboy, but the faintest of drawls that rounds out into such a softening of the ‘s’ into ‘shh’ that he could probably whisper a horse into submission.

‘Do you have a ride?’ he asks, ‘or should I climb onto your back and you’ll fly us home?’


****end of extract*****




About Sal Thomas –

Sal Thomas likes to string words together, hopefully in an amusing order.

BBC Comedy once described her as ‘that woman who keeps on sending us scripts’. She has performed as a stand-up, starred in an Edinburgh sketch show, tried her hand at film writing and sitcoms (all to zero financial acclaim) and finally settled on romcom novels as her genre of choice after realising the world can never have enough of the mirth-filled mushy stuff.

She lives in Manchester, UK, with her husband and son – the two loves of her life. Her side hustle is managing her rampant anxiety.

Say hello to Sal via Instagram and Facebook.

The Accidental Housemate was released by One More Chapter on 17th August 2023. Click here to buy on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Waterstones.




Would you like to win a Signed copy of The Accidental Housemate, a £15 coffee shop voucher and a heart shaped box of chocolates? 

All you have to do is enter via this link. Open to UK only.

*Terms and Conditions

UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. 

The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner.

Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information.

This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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