Summer Moved On – Final day at special Easter price…

Jo Lambert Easter Banner 2018

To celebrate Easter Summer Moved On, the first book of my South Devon Duo is on special offer over the holiday weekend.

For each of the four days this offer is posted I will be including an extract from different parts of the book as a taster…

 SYNOPSIS

a0e31-81imft4sfdl-_sl1500_After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

BUY LINKS:

 ️http://amzn.eu/fClL0V7 http://a.co/6iMotg7

 

EXTRACT

Talún covered his eyes with his hands, wanting the world to go away. In all his emotional turmoil over Jess he had nearly forgotten the date, something that made him angry with himself as well as with her. He had vowed never to forget his mother, the woman who gave birth to him, who had devoted her whole life to raising him – someone who he still believed was out there somewhere and would return one day. In crazier moments of wishful thinking he’d dream of returning to the cottage to find her in the kitchen baking bread, her wild, brown hair tied back, and a smudge of flour dusting her cheek. Ellie had been responsible for teaching his mother to cook and, like everything else she turned her hand to, she had excelled.

And now, just when he thought he’d successfully hidden himself away here alone with his memories, Jess Hayden had turned up with her soft words of apology. His reaction to her intrusion and to the words he never imagined her ever saying to him resulted in one volcanic, emotional outburst as he hurled the axe at the nearest tree.

Afterwards, awash with misery and confusion, he slumped onto the nearest thing he could find: a hard, uncomfortable, fallen log. And now he was aware of warm pressure on his thighs and a soft voice breaking into the blanket of fog shrouding his thoughts. Pulling his hands away from his face, he found himself looking down into huge, brown, anxious eyes.

‘Talún, please, it’s all right.’

His first reaction was to push her away but he hesitated as he found himself unable to tear himself away from her concerned gaze.

‘Please I want to help,’ she said, her expression gentle as her hands covered his.

‘I don’t need any help; and why should you care anyway?’ he snapped, pushing her away and springing quickly to his feet.

‘Because I know how you must be feeling,’ she said quietly, as he moved away from her.

‘Jess, you haven’t the slightest idea how things are,’ he threw right back at her with a wave of his hand. Heaven help him, the last thing he needed was this sudden sympathy to make up for all her previous insensitive words, however well-intentioned. Who had told her why he was here, anyway? George, he expected; someone else with misplaced good intentions.

‘I lost my mother too.’

As he heard her words he stared at her blankly. It was the first time he had ever considered her situation. ‘Yes, I realise Amber was your stepmother. I’m sorry,’ he said quietly.

‘I was thirteen.’

Again he digested her words: a terrible age for a child to have their mother die.

‘She had an affair with a man almost half her age.’

Those words destroyed his previous thoughts and also made him realise why her reaction to his relationship with Leanna had been so hostile. He went to open his mouth but she clearly had not finished. ‘They eventually married and moved abroad,’ she continued. ‘I’ve not seen her since she left. In fact,’ she said with a small heave of her shoulders, ‘she didn’t even say goodbye. I came home from school one afternoon to find she had packed her things and gone.’

‘Gone?’ He looked at her in surprise.

‘Yes. The divorce had come through, she had remarried, and left for her new life in Mexico.’

‘How could she do that?’

Jess gave a strange smile. ‘You have to understand I never had the same sort of upbringing as other kids. Leo worked abroad for most of my childhood, we hardly saw him. I lived with my mother, although…’ she hesitated, ‘…I never saw much of her either because most of the time she was out – shopping or lunching with friends or at some evening thing she’d been invited to. I had various babysitters and went to sleepovers with school friends. So I would think leaving me behind was probably quite easy for her.’

Talún stood watching as she settled herself on the log he had been occupying. He had been eighteen when his mother had left. He still had the note she had written telling him she loved him and would be back in a few weeks. In contrast, Jess had simply been abandoned by a mother wanting a new life without the burden of a child.

‘And after she’d gone?’ he prompted.

‘Oh, Leo returned to sort things out, but he made it clear he was remaining abroad and I would have to board at my school. If it hadn’t been for Rufus I don’t know what would have happened.’

Talún paused for a moment. ‘I’m so sorry, Jess. I had no idea.’ This new awareness of her situation made him abandon all previous thoughts he’d had about who and what she was. Materially she seemed to have had it all but emotionally her growing up must have been tough. At least his childhood had been a happy one. Suddenly he wanted very badly to reach out and give her a simple hug. However, although he sensed things might be changing between them he was smart enough to know exactly where those new redefined boundaries lay. ‘I know our situations are slightly different,’ he added quietly, opting for a safe halfway house as he settled beside her on the log, ‘but I can see how it must have been very painful for you.’

‘It was,’ Jess nodded, tucking her hair behind her ear, intense brown eyes fixing themselves on him again. ‘But for me those bad memories are no longer an issue. For you, however, they are. You’re still hurting and you shouldn’t be here on your own today.’

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Easter Promotion: Special offer – Summer Moved On 99p/99c…

Jo Lambert Easter Banner 2018

To celebrate Easter Summer Moved On, the first book of my South Devon Duo is on special offer over the holiday weekend.

For each of the four days this offer is posted I will be including an extract from different parts of the book as a taster…

SYNOPSIS

a0e31-81imft4sfdl-_sl1500_After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

BUY LINKS:

 ️http://amzn.eu/fClL0V7 http://a.co/6iMotg7

EXTRACT

The day after the incident at the waterfall, three very determined thirteen year olds were busy plotting again. In Amanda Lee’s bedroom with the Sugarbabes playing in the background, they had been brooding over their recent failure. Their plan to be the envy of their classmates by displaying Talún in all his glory on social media had bombed miserably.

‘If only Jess Hayden hadn’t come barging out of the wood on her great snorting horse,’ Amanda complained, a pinched expression on her face. ‘We almost had him, you know.’

‘Well, it’s a waste of time trying again. He’ll be expecting us, won’t he? And he’ll probably wear his pants from now on.’ Kimberley pouted as she sat cross legged on the floor, twirling a finger in the curl of her dark brown hair.

‘I think she ought to be taught a lesson,’ Hayley, lounging on the bed next to Amanda, announced. ‘We need to give her a bit of a fright. After all, I lost my mobile because of her.’

‘Yeah, right.’ Amanda rolled over and sat up. ‘Like I’m sure she’ll be scared of us. And why are you moaning about the mobile, Hay? Isn’t your dad going to stump up for a new one? I don’t think you’ve got any reason to complain.’

The room fell silent for a moment and then, as the CD came to an end, Kimberley got to her feet. ‘I’ve just had the most amazing idea,’ she said with a wicked grin.

‘I know your ideas, Kim, they usually get us into trouble.’ Amanda eyed her anxiously. ‘My Dad plays golf with Rufus Hayden; if this goes wrong…’

‘Oh shut up, Amanda, you’re such a wimp at times. Nothing will go wrong because she won’t even know it’s us.’

Opening her mouth to protest, Amanda found Hayley’s hand on her arm. ‘At least let us hear what Kim has to say and then we can decide if we want to do it, okay?’

Reluctantly, Amanda nodded. With a spiteful smile, Kimberley leaned towards her two friends. ‘Right, now this is the plan…’

-o0o-

Kimberley and Amanda were crouched together, hiding in undergrowth above the track along the ridge. ‘Are you sure this is going to work?’ Amanda looked at her friend sceptically. ‘What if she’s taken a different route this morning?’

‘This is the main track through the wood, she always comes this way,’ Kimberly insisted, in a voice that indicated she was rapidly running out of patience with her friend.

The appearance of Hayley, running through the trees towards them, suggested their quarry was not far away. ‘Told you,’ Kimberley said, giving her friend a smug grin.

‘She’s stopped to give the horse a drink,’ she said, settling herself down with them and getting her breath back.

‘Right Amanda, get ready.’ Kimberley handed her a black hooded cloak and mask. ‘And make sure you completely cover your head.’

Holding on to her doubtful expression and trying to bury her annoyance at being the bait for this trap, Amanda slid down to the path, pulled on her disguise and carefully positioned herself on its rough, flat earthen surface.

‘Move out to the middle,’ Kimberley instructed, as she gazed down at the prone form of her friend, ‘that’s right. Pull the hood over your head a bit more and tuck your hair in. Good, now stay there and don’t move!’

Moments later they heard the distinctive sound of a horse’s hooves approaching. Jess rounded a bend in the pathway, riding slowly, her attention fixed on the river below. Kim and Hayley pulled on their own similar disguises of dark cloaks and masks, waiting until she got close enough to become aware of Amanda’s prone form lying in the dirt.

Eventually, Jess switched her attention back to the track, her eyes widening with surprise as she saw what looked like a heap of black rags lying on the path. Kim saw her frown as she dismounted and led the horse closer. Nudging Hayley, they crept quietly down the bank, positioning themselves directly behind her.

Dropping Skylark’s reins, Jess leaned over the body, her hand only inches from the mass of black material when it unexpectedly came to life. As she lurched backwards with a horrified shriek at the white faced monster that rose up before her, the two girls struck from behind. One heavy shove from Hayley knocked her completely off balance. Stumbling towards the edge of the pathway, her foot caught in an exposed tree root. Another push from Kimberley sent her tumbling down the steep bank towards the river, her scream echoing through the trees.

Kimberley grinned and pulled off her mask. ‘I knew these Trick or Treat outfits would work,’ she said, waving it at her two friends.

‘Kim, I thought we were only going to frighten her,’ Hayley said, with a worried look towards the river.

‘So, she’ll get a good soaking as well. Seems only fair, doesn’t it, after what she did?’ She glared at Hayley, daring her to argue.

‘I suppose so.’ The other girl shrugged uncomfortably.

‘What are you doing?’ Kimberley now turned her attention to Amanda who was leading Skylark towards a nearby tree.

‘Tying him up, of course. He might run off. We can’t expect her to walk home from here, not after…’

‘Of course we can,’ Kimberley interrupted, giving Skylark a sharp smack on his rump and sending him cantering off down the track. ‘Come on, let’s go home before she climbs back up,’ she said, pulling off her cloak with a grin.

Five minutes into their walk, Amanda halted. ‘My mask!’ She turned her black cloak over in her hand. ‘It’s gone. I must have dropped it.’

‘Leave it,’ Kimberley snapped at the panic stricken girl, ‘we can’t go back. She’s going to be as mad as hell when she gets out of the river soaking wet and finds her horse gone. The last thing we want is to run into her. She’s bound to know it’s us.’

-o0o-

Talún was almost home. It had taken less time than he anticipated for Joe Sellars, the blacksmith, to re-shoe Lukas and he knew it meant he would be arriving back at Manor Farm well in time for lunch. As he turned into the country road leading to the village, movement to his right made him look up. ‘Skylark?’ he said under his breath, as he recognised the riderless horse that had just emerged from the wood. A second thought colliding with the first reminded him George had selected the gelding for Jess to ride that morning. Urging Lukas forward, he went to intercept the animal, now busy cropping grass.

Skylark raised his head as Talún approached, patted the animal’s neck and retrieved the reins. ‘What’s happened to Jess, then?’ he asked gently, checking the horse over to make sure he wasn’t injured. ‘Let’s go take a look, shall we?’ he said, leading him back to where Lukas waited. Remounting, he followed the trail of crushed grass back towards the trees. Entering the wood, he decided to follow the high ridge track that ran parallel with the river, which he knew to be her usual route.

As he rode, he repeatedly called out her name, disappointed and frustrated when all that greeted him in return was the rush of the river below and birdsong in the trees above. Then, as he rounded a bend, he saw something white lying in the middle of the pathway. Dismounting, he walked forward and picked it up, turning the hideous skeletal mask over in his hand. All at once the implications of such an item lying here changed everything. He tied both horses to a tree and scanned the water below, but from this height and with the overhang of the bank he realised he was only viewing the far half of the river bed. Sliding down through ferns, soft earth and rock, he hovered on the lip of the bank and saw her, lying face down in green vegetation on the edge of the river, her legs immersed in water.

‘Jess!’ he called, lowering himself into the river and wading towards her. Turning over her lifeless body he knelt beside her and lifted her wrist, giving a huge sigh of relief when he found her pulse beating strong and steady. As he moved her onto a large slab of dry rock, he realised how lucky she had been. If she had landed the other way round with her head in the water she would most probably have drowned.

Setting her down gently, he began to pat her face. ‘Jess,’ he whispered, ‘Jess, come on, wake up,’ but she remained unresponsive. ‘Shit!’ He inhaled an agitated breath and pulling his phone from the back pocket of his jeans quickly dialled 999. His actions, however, drew another curse when he realised here in the middle of the wood he was in a mobile blackspot. Pocketing the phone, he lifted Jess gently into his arms. Keeping close to the bank, he made his way upriver, looking for a place that would allow him to reach the track above. Eventually he saw a break in the bank and headed for it, splashing through the shallows.

When he reached the horses he placed her carefully onto Lukas’s back, hauling himself up behind her. As he secured a steadying arm around her waist he felt sure he heard a slight groan. ‘Jess?’ He leaned forward in the saddle, his face next to hers, hoping to hear some response. When there was none he dug his heels into the roan and with Skylark in tow began making his way as swiftly as he could back along the track. As he rode, the first spots of rain came hissing through the foliage above, splattering his shoulders and face. The shower intensified and he urged the animal forward, eager to reach shelter as quickly as possible.

 

The Easter Weekend offer continues…Summer Moved on at 99p/99c until Monday…

Jo Lambert Easter Banner 2018

To celebrate Easter Summer Moved On, the first book of my South Devon Duo is on special offer from Friday to Monday.

For each of the four days this offer is posted I will be including an extract from different parts of the book as a taster…

 

a0e31-81imft4sfdl-_sl1500_After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

BUY LINKS:

 ️http://amzn.eu/fClL0V7 http://a.co/6iMotg7

EXTRACT

Standing at the bar with George, Talún nodded a greeting to Adrian as he arrived. Pulling a handful of coins from his pocket, the Hall’s head gardener ordered a pint of best bitter.

‘Heard from Jess lately?’ he asked, watching Rufus as he replaced a bottle of brandy in the row of optics behind the bar.

‘Yes, she’s fine; she called earlier this afternoon.’ The publican turned to face him as he finished securing the bottle. ‘She’s out with her boyfriend this evening. I’ve invited him along to the restaurant opening. Seems like a nice lad.’

Talún absorbed all this information, watching as Sally placed Adrian’s beer in front of him and took his money. Nice lad. Not exactly his description of the muscle-bound blond who had been in the car with Jess back in February. Arrogant bastard seemed more appropriate, especially after his prejudiced remarks.

As Adrian wandered off to chat to a couple of locals, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small square card, placing it on the bar where he studied it for a few moments. If Zac Rayner was going to be at the restaurant opening then he sure as hell wanted to stay away.

‘Where did you get that from?’ George’s eyes widened with surprise as he lowered his pint and gazed at the invitation with a certain amount of longing.

‘Oh, it’s Adrian’s. Remember, he won it at the Pub Quiz? He won’t be able to make it so he gave it to me.’

‘And now you’re looking at it as if you’re having second thoughts about going.’ George smiled and ran his tongue slowly over his bottom lip, with the kind of expression that said he was keen to get his hands on it.

‘Well.’ Talún screwed up his face thoughtfully. ‘Yes, I had thought about going but…’ he picked it up, ‘now I don’t know whether I want to. Maybe,’ he swivelled around, leaning his back against the bar to look at the other occupants of the room, ‘I could offer it to someone else.’

George raised covetous eyes towards the invitation. He lifted his hand and was about to snatch it from Talún’s grasp when a voice from behind stopped him.

‘George, have you got a minute?’ Laurence Godwin, one of his farming neighbours, joined him, leaving Talún alone to peruse his ticket.

‘I’ve just been watching you. Not having second thoughts are you?’ Adrian materialised out of nowhere, his eyes on the invitation.

‘Do you want it back then?’ Talún waved it at him.

‘No, I wanted you to have a good night out, enjoy yourself.’

‘What, in a room full of stuffed shirts?’ He laughed as he placed the invitation back on the bar.

‘Ah, but Jess will be there too, won’t she?’ Adrian grinned and took a mouthful of beer.

‘Yeah. So?’

‘Just saying.’

‘Saying what, exactly?’

‘Saw you looking at her.’

‘Yeah, like everyone else in here does.’

‘You’re touchy tonight, laddie.’

‘I’m not touchy, so stop grinning like a moron. If I’m having second thoughts it’s because her boyfriend Zac will be there. Remember what he called me? If I see him again I just might be tempted to punch him.’

‘I still think you should go,’ Adrian insisted, ‘if not for the good food and wine then for the company of my three friends over there.’ He indicated the trio of gardeners in the corner then picked the invitation off the bar and handed it back to him. ‘Don’t ruin a good evening on account of one ignorant shite.’

George, having finished his conversation with Lawrence, turned his attention back to the question of the ticket. ‘Now about that ticket. How much do you want for it then, lad?’ he asked, rummaging in his trouser pocket and pulling out a note. ‘It’s worth a fiver of anyone’s money.’

‘A fiver?’ Adrian echoed, rolling his eyes. ‘You’re all heart, George.’

Talún thought for a moment, running his fingers along the edge of the card. Adrian was right, he thought. Sod Zac, why let him spoil a free night out with the lads? ‘Sorry George, I’ve changed my mind,’ he said, giving him a friendly slap on the back. ‘I think I deserve an all-expenses paid night out. Tell you what, I’ll buy you a drink instead to make up for the disappointment.’

George eyed him suspiciously. ‘A drink you say? You never buy anyone drinks, Talún. You’re usually scrounging them off me.’

‘Ah well,’ Talún laughed, producing a handful of change from his pocket, ‘there’s a first time for everything.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Moved On only 99p/99c over the Easter weekend…

Jo Lambert Easter Banner 2018

To celebrate Easter Summer Moved On, the first book of my South Devon Duo is on special offer from Friday to Monday.

For each of the four days this offer is posted I will be including an extract from different parts of the book as a taster…

 

a0e31-81imft4sfdl-_sl1500_After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

 

EXTRACT ONE – TAKEN FROM CHAPTER 1

Jess, her father Leo and boyfriend Zac are with her uncle Rufus who is showing them over the pub he has just bought in the South Devon village of Lynbrook

Jess followed the others towards the back of the lounge and through a half-glass door where a narrow passageway led to the bar. She stopped and stared at this very different world they had stepped into. The large square room had a flagstone floor and scrub-topped tables; a wall of assorted sepia photographs giving it the atmosphere of a time long gone. To her left there was a huge stone fireplace similar to the one in the lounge, where flames licked greedily over thick, fat logs. Rufus had been right; it would be a huge mistake to change any of this.

Behind the copper edged bar, warm light glowed off the optics and the place buzzed with cheerful conversation – raised voices with the occasional burst of laughter and clink of glasses. Yes, this had all the ingredients of a comfortable, rural, social cocoon occupied by a mixture of wellington or boot-clad locals, most sporting wax jackets or sheepskin coats. Heads turned, conversations halted and glasses hovered halfway to mouths as the four emerged into the bar. A few eyed them curiously; others gave an acknowledging nod or verbal greeting to Rufus as they passed through. Although he had not yet taken over the pub, it appeared many already knew him. He stopped at the end of the bar for more introductions and another quick chat. After a few moments he stepped towards the door indicating they were about to leave and they departed to a flurry of raised hands and goodbyes.

‘I’m thinking of having a welcoming party,’ Rufus said, stopping to hunt for his keys as they crossed the car park. ‘I’ve decided it would be a great way to break the ice properly and for them to get to know me. They seem a friendly lot but I know how apprehensive villagers can be about change. But I’ll be bringing good change and I think it’s something they’ll realise when I’ve had a chance to tell them my plans.’

‘You be careful they don’t see you as a soft touch,’ Leo warned, somewhat smugly. ‘These country types can be crafty bastards.’

Jess held her tongue, blowing out an angry breath instead. She waited while Zac opened the rear door of her uncle’s Volvo Estate and then eagerly slipped inside. As he joined her and slammed the door, a maroon Land Rover Defender swept into the car park and pulled up next to them. A solid, middle-aged, balding man emerged from the driver’s seat. Dressed in overalls, a battered wax jacket and with mud-splattered wellingtons on his feet, he levered a worn, tweed cap onto the top of his halo of brown hair before raising a hand in greeting.

As he slammed the door, another younger figure materialised from the passenger seat. Tall, with thick, black, wind-teased hair falling untidily over his collar, he made such a compelling sight that Jess felt unable to tear her eyes away. Pulling on a well-worn wax jacket, he stood for a moment appraising the small group. His penetrating gaze settled on her father and uncle, making her aware of arched brows over smoky brown eyes and a firm mouth that angled slightly upwards at each corner – something that told her he probably owned a killer smile. The swathe of shadowy stubble which graced his jaw put the finishing touches to his dark gypsy looks, giving him the brooding quality of a Bronte hero.

The older man smiled and began a conversation with Rufus, who indicated her father to his right. Nodding a greeting to Leo, he then beckoned to his young colleague to join them. Farmers, Jess decided, noticing his dress mirrored the older man’s, although from the condition of the jumper he wore – which seemed more darns than garment – he resembled a…

‘What’s that? The local scarecrow?’ Zac’s warm breath on her cheek interrupted her thoughts as he leaned forward to whisper in her ear. ‘No, wait a minute, it’s a farm boy, isn’t it?’ He pressed his lips to her cheek and nuzzled her gently.

‘Scarecrow? Farm boy? That’s an appalling thing to say.’ She twisted her head to look at him.

‘Sorry,’ he said, in the kind of tone that indicated appeasement rather than apology, his lips briefly brushing hers.

Jess turned her face away from Zac and gazed out of the window only to find the subject of their conversation staring directly at them. For the briefest moment his eyes met hers, dark and expressionless. She attempted a smile but he simply drew a deep breath and turned away, a look of boredom on his face. No killer smile today then, she thought, feeling strangely disappointed as she watched him zip up his jacket. He said something to the older man before turning to make his way across the car park towards the pub. This seemed to draw Rufus’s conversation to a close and, with a friendly nod and a few parting words, the older man turned to follow his younger companion who now stood in the middle of the car park waiting for him.

‘Sorry for the delay,’ Rufus apologised, leaning back to look at Jess as he slipped behind the wheel and fastened his seat belt. ‘That’s George Selby; he farms on the edge of the village. Mostly dairy, some beef, and if you need a horse stabled he’s your man. His companion is Talún Hansen, he…’

‘A foreigner?’ Leo almost spat the words out as he climbed into the passenger seat. ‘Typical. Someone else here taking our jobs.’

‘Talún is English,’ came Rufus’s unusually sharp response. ‘He was born in this country. God, Leo, sometimes you are such a small minded bastard!’

Jess held her breath. Given the whole atmosphere of today’s outing, she guessed her normally easy-going uncle had at last run out of patience.

As Leo turned his head to respond, she noticed a slight pink stain had begun to creep into his cheeks. ‘Rufus…’ his tone, level and reprimanding held its normal condescending superiority, ‘…do you really think it’s appropriate to react quite so violently in front of Zac and Jess? Let’s not argue over such a trivial thing, eh?’

Rufus didn’t reply. Through the gap in the seat, Jess could see where his hands were gripping the steering wheel, his knuckles white as he backed the car out of the parking space. Leo expelled a harsh breath and tilted his head back against the headrest. Jess felt Zac’s hand sneak over hers, his interlocking fingers giving hers a reassuring squeeze. She returned his gesture with an uneasy smile as they began moving forward.

As the car passed George Selby, she saw him raise a hand in farewell. Beside him, Talún stood watching them, his hands deep in the pockets of his wax jacket. Exiting the car park, she took one last opportunity to glance back at the pub, noticing both men had now disappeared into its interior, leaving her with the memory of dark windswept hair and a hard, measuring stare.

BUY LINKS:

 ️http://amzn.eu/fClL0V7 http://a.co/6iMotg7

 

 

 

 

 

A New Beginning…

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Just dropping in on this cold, snowy evening to confirm that book number nine is at last underway.  There’s been a lot going on at home at the moment which has to some extent delayed its start.  The biggest thing is my OH redecorating our bedroom which is right next door to the office where I write.  Usually he’s in the garage under the bonnet of his beloved MGB but the beginning of the New Year saw a plan to completely overhaul our room, redecorating and replacing furniture. In this case it’s short term inconvenience in exchange for a great new look.  The radio is on and he sings…badly.  As a consequence I’ve completely rescheduled my writing life.  During the time he’s got his decorating hat on, I sort out my social media, read, write reviews or take myself off to the kitchen to cook. Then in the evening when everything is quiet once more, I’m up here when hopefully the muse will be with me and the words will flow.

New books are always difficult.  By the time a novel is finished, characters are old thSVOCR1XPfriends.  Embarking on another project is like walking into a room full of strangers and not all of them are smiling at you.  As I think I mentioned before I’m setting the new book on the south coast of Cornwall.  Not saying too much at this stage but I’ve settled into the location quite well, now it’s all about getting my head around the characters.  I did have them sorted out, names, jobs, relationships, bios completed but as I began to write I could see there were some who weren’t going to be needed after all.  That’s the trouble with my writing, I have an idea and I begin.  I know the ending but everything else is, in parts, a bit of a journey of discovery. Names are changed and sometimes I even find myself modifying the role a certain character has in the story or even, as above, cutting them out altogether. There are probably writers who are holding up their hands in horror at the fact my planning is fairly loose, but hey! it works for me and I feel comfortable with it.

thM43O64CFI soon began to realise that my starting point, those first few paragraphs which are so crucial when someone picks up a book and begins to read, weren’t working.  As is always the case, one of the best times of day for any positive creativity comes first thing each morning when I wake.  I think it’s all about the mind being clear then. Once you’re out of bed it’s all about what’s happening on that particular day and the things you need to do.  In those first quiet moments of each morning, writing is all I think about and for me it’s when the most inspirational stuff hits.  So now I’m 4,000 words in; a few steps forward in a new and exciting writing journey.  Wish me luck!

The Boys of Summer – Location, Location, Location…

In January 2016 I was invited onto writer Lynn Shelby’s blog to talk about the importance of sense of place.  My books are set in the West Country in villages and  provincial towns – some real, some fictional.  With such close knit communities being involved it’s very important to get the location right before I bring my characters to ‘live’ there.

When I chatted with Lynn I had just published Summer Moved On the first of my two linked novels set in South Devon. South Hams, or to be precise the area where Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Totnes are situated, is a regular holiday destination. Over the years I’ve become familiar with the various places – towns, villages, countryside, and of course the river. This made it easy to visualise places and set scenes.  Last October the second book Watercolours in the Rain brought my stay in Devon to a conclusion.  So where did I plan to set the next book?

I guess it was natural to move on to Cornwall.  North Cornwall in particular had been theannie-spratt-382617 place where we’d enjoyed family camping holidays when I was young.  It meant I’d  become quite used to the unpredictable nature of the weather – waking up one day to brilliant sunshine, the next to rain or even sea fog.  However if the weather was bad on the north coast, it was relatively easy to simply get in the car and drive to somewhere like Fowey, Looe or Mevagissey on the south coast where the sun would almost certainly be shining.

There was also another huge factor influencing my choice of location – Poldark. How could you not fall in love with the coastline after watching Aidan Turner riding across the cliffs each week in a hurry to be somewhere?  The cinematography for the series has been amazing, with sparkling blue seas and the surge of white edged waves against the cliffs. No doubt since the series began it has been influential in luring even more tourists to the county of Cornwall.

So with my cast and location sorted, next I needed to decide where to set my characters. Well this time I wanted to create a fishing port, one which also attracted tourists during the summer months.  Somewhere similar to Mevagissey (below) was exactly the kind of place I had in mind.

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Central to the story was a hotel. This I set on cliffs overlooking the harbour. After working through a series of ideas for a name I eventually settled on the Tarwin House Hotel.  The clifftop inspiration came from the The Headland Hotel and Spa which overlooks Fistral Beach in Newquay (pictured below).

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However, although the setting was just right, the building wasn’t.  For that I had to go back to Richmond upon Thames, where we’d spent some time earlier in the year.  The Petersham Hotel (pictured below), near to where we stayed, ticked all the  boxes and became my muse for Tarwin House.

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Everything was now in place for the writing to begin and nearly a year later, the project is almost complete.  It’s been an interesting journey this time around, with lots of stops and starts. Having said that, I have been away a lot in 2017 – a situation which has, at times, proved quite disruptive to the writing process.  With The Boys of Summer almost complete, I’m already turning my attention to the next book. This time I’m heading across the Cornish peninsular to the south coast.  At the moment the characters are still in the melting pot and the story is only a very rough outline.  So it’s very much a case of watch this space!

Coastal shot courtesy of Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Writing Update: THE BOYS OF SUMMER

thM43O64CFToday 18th August I’m nearly at the end of my first edit of my current WIP The Boys of Summer, a contemporary romance set in North Cornwall.  The new book has 37 chapters and I’m currently working my way through 31.  The edits have thrown up a couple of rewrites on sections which need tidying up but other than that it’s going well. And when I’ve reached Chapter 37 (hopefully by Monday) I’ll be going over the whole thing again. Yes it’s tedious, but such a necessary part of the writing process.

The deadline for handover to my editor is 9th September and I’m currently on target.  I have fought this book all the way.  There were times when I honestly believed it would never be written. Two bouts of a very bad throat virus and moments when inspiration seemed to have deserted me were only two of the huge bumps in the road which I hit on the way to where I am today.  This meant it’s taken far longer to get to this stage than normal.  My original plan was to have everything ready for professional editing by end July/beginning August.  The book thought otherwise. There were times when I was convinced this whole project was doomed; that it wasn’t meant to be.  I tried to brush away the thought that my last book, Watercolours in the Rain, would be it; that there simply were no more stories in me.

For me the translation of the idea into scenes and dialogue is never easy and I do envy those authors who seem to produce books so c2d3ff204460cece31eba2e38ff07217effortlessly.  In the beginning you have your storyline and your characters and off you go. But on the way there are dead ends and elephant pits a plenty and during this writing project I came across more than usual. Some of these really pulled me up and caused me to question whether I should continue.  I think two bouts of a viral infection had really messed with my energy levels over the winter. Where I would usually simply ride out the negative moment, there were times when it caused real problems. Anyway I’m pleased to say I hung on, walking away and abandoning the whole thing when it got too much (sometimes for nearly a week) and coming back when ‘the force’ was with me once more.  Of course as is usually the case there were solutions to each of the problems  I encountered, but on this occasion sometimes they took longer than usual to come to me.

th4JGBSWQYNow, I’m happy to say the story is complete and in another three weeks the MS will be leaving here for  professional editing.  And the most interesting thing of all?  Far from this book being the end, I’m now working on a storyline and characters for my ninth book. My energy and inspiration have returned. Watch this space.