"A real feel good romance with a good splash of humour."
This is a young adult book as it involves two families with teenage children. The subject is a bit difficult but never gone into explicitly and there is no graphic sex.Summer is here, festival season is underway and the hard work is only just beginning, but with the help of music boss Will Adam’s new P.A. everything is sure to run on schedule.
Thrown in at the deep end in her first fulltime job in years, Ava is pulling out all the stops. She needs this job and nothing is going to stop her from earning enough to send her sister on the performing arts trip of a lifetime.
But Ava hasn’t reckoned on her violent past catching up with her. When her terrifying secret gets out Ava is desperate to protect not only herself but all those around her, including Will and his son.
Can she accept the help and love Will is offering or will she be unable to stop her past ruining what should be...
A Perfect Summer
Get Your Romance on for less than a cup of coffee: http://bit.ly/1rjH0Pa
Ava was dishing up Sunday lunch when the doorbell rang. She put down the Yorkshire pudding tray and was about to go to the door when she heard Kate running. She turned back to the oven and brought the joint of beef to the table. She had just put the gravy on to boil when she heard familiar voices.
“No, you’re not interrupting anything. Come on in. Ava! Your boss is here.” Kate called out.
Ava felt a strange flip in her stomach and she had to swallow before she could reply.
“You’ll have to come through, Will. I can’t stop at the moment,” she called back.
Ava smiled to herself, her stomach continued flipping over as she carried on stirring the gravy. It boiled quickly, the bubbles bursting on the top of the thick liquid, reminding her of how her stomach felt. She moved to another pan, tipped the minted peas, and buttered broccoli into a serving. She drained the baby carrots and then took the crisp, roast potatoes from the oven. By the time she turned back to her visitors, she was red in the face.
“Phew! It’s hot.” She fanned her face with the oven glove as Will, followed by Jake came through to the kitchen.
“Oh sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt. Kate said it was okay.” Will immediately started backing out of the doorway as he saw the kitchen table laden with food, all ready for their meal. “I only came round to give you the new office keys. I had to have all the locks changed and I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. If I’m held up at all, you won’t be able to get in. I’ve left you a great list of things to do so you won’t be idle while I’m not around.” He put two keys on the worktop and took a quick step back. Ava saw his eyes slide to the joint of beef as he spoke again. “Come on Jake, we must let Ava and Kate get on with their lunch.” Will was already turning away.
Jake was hanging onto his father’s shoulder, his dark eyes wide with envy.
“Cor Dad, just look at those Yorkshires! Are they home-made?” He was almost drooling at the sight of the crisp golden batter.
“Of course, whatever else would they be?” Ava replied, looking surprised.
“You can get frozen ones.” Jake was still boggling. He licked his lips. “But they don’t look anywhere near as good as those. I love Yorkshires.” He reached forwards automatically, his long fingers stretching towards the piled plate. Will slapped his hand down abruptly.
“For goodness sake Jake, can’t you control your stomach?” Will looked hard at his son, but Jake licked his lips again and ignored the pressure his father was putting on his shoulder to turn him around. He stood stubbornly facing the table.
“Not when there are Yorkshires like that about. And don’t you try and look so innocent either. I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’d pinch one too if you thought you could get away with it.” Jake took his eyes off the batter and stared right back at his father. Will blushed furiously but couldn’t deny the accusation.
“We don’t use the dining room much. It’s too big for just the two of us, so if you don’t mind squashing up in here, why don’t you both stay, if you don’t have anything else planned that is. I’ve made plenty…” she gestured towards the laden table. “Come on let’s eat while it’s all good and hot.” She encouraged when Will didn’t answer immediately.
Jake immediately slithered around his Dad, and sat at the table before anyone could stop him. Kate giggled madly and went to the drawer for more cutlery.
Will grabbed Jake’s shoulder again.
“Jake! Get up. We can’t invite ourselves like this, and I’ve got a table booked at Ritchie’s for later.” He tried to drag his son from the chair. Jake hung on hard, his knuckles white as he clung to the tabletop and refused to move.
“Cancel it. We didn’t enjoy it there the other night and there’s no way I’m missing out on a dinner like this. It looks fab, and just look at those roasters too, come on Dad, roast beef is your very favourite. You know you want to stay.” Jake pleaded.
Ava laughed as Kate put out two more plates, knives, and forks.
“Looks like you’ve been out voted Will, come on sit down. You can carve.” She handed him a long knife.
He looked hard at Jake for a long moment and then his eyes moved back to the joint of beef on the table. Ava saw the tip of his tongue run round the inside of his lips as he hesitated for just a moment too long.
“Yay! Your Dad’s stomach has won. I think you can stay Jake,” she cried and Jake whooped in delight.
Will was still slightly reserved.
“Are you sure you don’t mind Ava? I feel terrible just butting in like this.” He sounded embarrassed, but looked longingly at the piece of meat on the table. She stuck a large fork into the joint of meat and the juices began to run. Will’s stomach chose that exact moment to let out a huge, loud rumble.
Ava raised an eyebrow.
“Of course I don’t mind, especially as your stomach sounds as though it’s starving. You can see I’ve made loads. Come on, or do you need me to carve. It can be awkward if you’re not used to it.” She went to take the knife back from Will, but he turned it expertly in his hand, grabbed the fork handle and leaned over the meat. Jake let out a great sigh of relief and let go of the tabletop as Will began to carve with enthusiasm.
“No, it’s okay. I can manage.” He sliced off the outer crisp layer and groaned longingly as he saw the delicate pink meat beneath.
“Just rare, my favourite.” He cut several slices and then sat down with the others.
Kate flapped her hands.
“Now we all have to say Grace.” She put her hands together as if in prayer and winked at Jake once while everyone joined her. Jake pulled a knowing face at his Dad.
“Grace!” They all cried together and then fell about laughing.
“I can’t believe you do that too.” Will passed round the plate of beef. “I think we saw it in some film once years ago and it’s just stuck.” He loaded his plate with roast potatoes and vegetables, then tipped on a good helping of gravy.
Jake passed the plate of Yorkshires and pinched another off the top as he realized there was enough for two or three each.
An hour of clattering, munching and happy chatter later, Ava stood up to clear the dirty dishes from the table, but Will pushed his chair back and took the plates from her hand as he stood up.
“Jake and I will wash up. You sit down for a while longer.” He turned to the sink and began to run hot water into the bowl.
Ava protested immediately.
“No, sit back down. We can do it later. It’s not often we have guests, we’re enjoying the company.” She caught him about the waist and turned him back round to the table. She was surprised at how hot and hard the muscles in his stomach felt under her hands and she blushed as she realized what she had just done.
Will drew in a deep breath as her slender arms wound around his body and he tried to not to wish that he wasn’t wearing a shirt. He suddenly wanted to feel her gentle hands touching his naked skin. He gulped hard, fighting to stay in control of his breathing. He forced the ridiculous thought to the back of his mind.
“Okay.” He gave in and moved back towards the table so that she would let go of him. He didn’t think he could stand her touching him for much longer without scooping her up into his arms and kissing her passionately. “I’ll do as I’m told. That was so delicious, Ava. Better than any restaurant. You’ve really spoiled us.” He sat back in his chair and stuck his feet out under the table, letting the tension drain from him. He didn’t know what was happening to him, but he felt almost too relaxed. He gave up wondering about the reasons why and went with the feeling of contentment that he had rarely experienced.
Jake looked at his Dad a little warily and then suddenly spoke.
“Dad, are you going to ask Ava to marry you?”
The relaxed feeling disappeared instantly. Will shot up in his seat again and nearly choked as he took an unexpected gulp of air.
“What?” He stammered as his eyes bulged at his son. “Well, perhaps not right this minute. I was just letting my dinner go down. Why?” His cheeks were turning redder by the second and Ava fanned her own face again. She was too embarrassed to speak.
Jake grinned widely.
“Good, I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes here so I was just checking.” He turned to Ava and slid out of his chair, then very seriously, he bobbed down on one knee in front of her and grabbed her hand. “Ava, that was the best dinner I’ve ever had. I want to eat dinners like that forever. Will you marry me?” He looked up at her hopefully, dark eyes as soft as a puppy’s.
Ava put her free hand to her mouth to stop the giggles.
“You might want to know what the pudding is first. Kate made it.” She wriggled her hand out of Jake’s. She turned to the oven again, brought out the apple crumble and wafted it under Jakes nose. He followed it greedily with wide brown eyes. “There’s homemade custard too.” She added as an incentive.
Jake’s shoulders slumped in mock despair.
“Oh no! Crumble, my favourite!” He gazed longingly at the steaming, pale gold dish. “Ava, I’m sorry to let you down so badly so soon, but if you don’t release me from our recent engagement, I may have to commit bigamy. Kate will you marry me too?”
I hope I have tempted you with this short excerpt from A Perfect Summer. The book is suitable for anyone aged 14 upwards.
If you want to sample more you can read the whole of the first chapter of A Perfect Summer at: http://bit.ly/24NPFI2
or buy the book directly at: http://bit.ly/1rjH0Pa
I always think that I was blessed growing up in a home where reading was endlessly encouraged and bedtime stories were a delightful trip into dream world.
Only a few books stand out in my mind from that pre teen time, but I am sure that these have been an influence in my own writing. Whatever your age, being swept up in a story is the key to a brilliant read. The best are where you finish the book with maybe a tear in your eye or a smile on your lips, but always with a heave of your chest and a huge satisfied sigh.
In my youth I loved reading an adventure. The Three Investigators by Robert Arthur kept me turning the pages as Jupiter, Pete and Bob investigated themselves into and out of one scrape after another. Another of my favourite books was Walter Farley’s ‘The Black Stallion’. First published well before I was born, the book never felt old. I remember lying in bed imagining the wind racing through my hair as I was carried away over the island sand on the back of the magnificent Shetan.
I first dipped my toe into romance when my sister became misty eyed while reading an intriguing, cloth bound, gold leafed book. She coveted it and wouldn’t let me see what it was, but after a few days irritation at her smug smirks and deep, heartfelt sighs, I managed to discern the title and author. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The words didn’t mean much to me, but I was impressed that a lady had apparently written the book and, undaunted by my sister’s reticence to share, I bided my time. One morning before school my sister foolishly left the book on the bedside table and that was it...I scooped it up and ran for the bathroom. Locking the door behind me, I reverently thumbed the cover before opening the fine, almost silky pages.
On first sneaking a peek into her book, I wondered what she had made all the fuss was about. Long words, unfamiliar surroundings, strange ways of addressing your father and a lot of chattering women, but by the end of the chapter I was already seduced. The book barely left my hands until I had finished it and I’m not even sure that my sister ever had it back!
I feel sure that these early encounters with adventure, mystery, and romance have influenced my own stories, but writing a book feels a little like inventing a perfect recipe; a dash of this, a pinch of that, all mixed with a good dollop of something else to enhance the flavour before serving up your best attempt. I call it cooking up a storm.
I only hope everyone enjoys my recipes for a good read as much as I enjoy writing them.