You’re all aware mostly that I’m running a book promotion at the moment for my second novel, Charming Mr Stewart. Its free for anyone to download and start reading right away! What better way to take the plunge and discover a new book, or a new writer. Of course I’ll be saying that, right?

Kindle eBook Giveaway: Charming Mr Stewart 

Promotion ends: 3rd December (midnight, US time)

Why don’t you give the story a go? Here’s a little excerpt to get you started, help you in making that decision.

 

Chapter ONE: Too Many Boxes

The medieval-looking wine goblet, with its talons holding the glass vessel, gleamed as Elle slid it into a far corner of the cupboard with a shiver. “Trust Uncle Steve to give such a gift,” she mumbled. She wanted to throw them out, or give them away, but she knew her uncle. It was just a matter of time before he’d ask for wine in those very things. She unwrapped the last of them and slides it next to the other three. They would sit in that dark corner till Elle deleted them from memory.

Hopping off the step ladder, she eyed the disaster zone. Piles of cardboard boxes and countless crinkled newspaper littered the kitchen floor like an aftermath of a badly orchestrated explosion. There were still two more boxes labelled ‘Kitchenware’ to unpack.

It could take her days at the rate she was going. The house was teeming with boxes of various shapes and sizes, itching to be unpacked. For the first time since the move, she wished she’d taken up her mother’s offer to come and help for a few days.  It was almost eleven at night and she’d been working in the kitchen for four hours straight. By God, she was kaput.

“Should you or shouldn’t you, Elle?” She eyed the two untouched boxes and sighed, pulling one to her. “Only two to go.”

An hour later, she didn’t give a hoot about the misaligned glasses unlike most days. She stepped off the ladder, crunched her way through the piles of newspaper, and headed down the corridor to her bedroom, buggered as hell.

Elle relished the silence as she stood before the closed door for a moment. Neighbour’s dogs were having a barking fest, nor were there highway traffic whizzing past. No blaring of sirens, keeping her awake most nights thinking if Blake was in amongst them. Nor would there be any more phones ringing in the middle of the night making her minds rush to all sorts of mishaps.  Not anymore.

The shrill ring of her cell phone startled her then and sent her scrambling into the room, stumbling over a suitcase in the dark.  She dove next to the bed and found her handbag, fishing out her phone with annoyance. “What is wrong with you?” she eyed the figure on the bed that slept undisturbed.

“I was worried. You hadn’t called yet.” Trish asked.

“It’s almost midnight Mother…”

“So you see why I was beginning to panic?!” her mother interrupted. “I wanted to see if you both have settled in okay?”

Elle tiptoed out of the room, pulling the door close behind. “I was a busy unpacking, Mum.”

“Of course, you wouldn’t have all that unpacking to do if you were still here!” Trish fired sarcastically. “Is Maya in bed yet?”

“Sleeping already, Mum, or I hope she still is.”

“Why didn’t you say so in the first place? It’s getting late. I would have called tomorrow.”

Elle leaned against the wall.  “That would be better, Mum.”

“Well, get some sleep then. You’re probably tired. You know, your dad and I still think you shouldn’t have moved away….”

Elle slid all the way to the floor and massaged her temples.  She’d heard this before. Many times in fact.  “Mum, we’ve been over this.”

“Moving her across the world from her family and all…” her mother continued.

“An hour away is not across the world, Mum!” Elle clenched her jaws, holding back her anger.  “Now, will you hang up, or do I have to sit here in my dusty clothes listening to you rant for another hour about the same things? I’m tired.”

“Fine, you always do whatever you want anyway. Goodnight.”

The dial tone beeped in Elle’s ear. She knew her mother; this argument was far from over. She wanted to hurl the phone across the hallway and watch it shatter.  No phone, no one to bug you with constant calls of paranoia and concern. Right? She pushed off the dusty floor.

“I’m only a widow, for God’s sake, not dying of an incurable disease and leaving my child to fend for herself.” She walked back into the bedroom, relieved to hear the soft rumble of Maya’s breathing. She peeled off her dusty, sweaty clothes, grabbed a towel and an oversized shirt from her overnight bag and walked to the bathroom.

She stood for ages in front of the mirror. Her hair dripping, her eyes sunk, her lips a pale pink. The only thing she liked was the shirt. The shirt that was several sized too big for her. She wrapped her arms around herself, wishing it were a pair of strong arms wrapped around her instead, smelling of pine and musk. She’d always liked how Blake had smelt. She sniffed the sleeve, breathing in the scent of him. I miss you.

“Mummy?”

“Yeah hunny?” She called from the bathroom, flicking off the bathroom light and plunging the room into darkness She felt her way to the bed and slithered in.

“Mummy” Maya stirred under the cover.

“I’m here, honey. I’m here.”

“I miss Daddy.”

Elle blinked back the sudden tears that flooded her eyes and kissed Maya’s soft curls. “I miss him too, baby,” she whispered. “Now, get some sleep, baby. It’s late.”

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