Published by Avon
ebook: 9 October 2017 | Paperback : 2 November 2017
A new book from Sue Moorcroft is always a treat and I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the eBook release. The stock picture doesn’t do the actual book cover justice; it’s so glittery and sparkly and would make the perfect Christmas read. For my turn on the tour, I have an extract to share.
| About the book |
Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it’s always dreamed of.
After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.
But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.
However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…
Settle down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine as you devour this irresistibly festive Christmas tale. The perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.
Alexia’s best friend, Jodie, appeared at her side, her long dark hair overlaid with a cobweb, and pushed a cold can into Alexia’s hand. ‘Here. You deserve a drink.’
Alexia pulled the ring tab with satisfaction. ‘We all do. I love this village. Forty people have given up their Saturday to help us.’
‘They want a community café and they like free beer!’ Jodie raised her voice to match the increasing noise. ‘Shane says he’s stowed the mirrors, tiles and etched glass screens upstairs so there’s nothing to damage if folk let off steam. He’s gone to fetch the burgers and sausages from your fridge. Shall we find someone to help us set the barbecues up? Seb’s around somewhere.’
‘Not Seb,’ Alexia protested. ‘I don’t need my ex breathing down my neck. There must be someone else mug enough to sacrifice drinking time in favour of carting more heavy stuff.’ Alexia’s gaze shifted to the only person in the room she didn’t know, a man with tousled corn-coloured hair. She’d watched him help take up the black and white tiles to be stacked in the back of Shane’s truck and moved off-site to be cleaned. Most people had joked and chatted as they worked but the fair man had offered only the occasional reply if a remark was tossed in his direction.
Now, T-shirt and jeans dusty, he was alone, leaning on a wall. ‘Him,’ she suggested.
Jodie followed her gaze. ‘Two minutes single and you’ve got your eye on the brooding stranger?’
Alexia grinned. ‘It’s four weeks. And what’s the point of being single if you can’t show interest? Come on.’ She cleared the dust from her throat with a swig of beer before threading her way towards the man who was idly watching a group of four laughing women trying to dance on the mortar where the floor tiles had been. His gaze focused in on Alexia only once she was standing in front of him.
She introduced herself and gave him the benefit of her best smile. ‘I’m project-managing the refurbishment of The Angel. And this is Jodie, who’ll run The Angel Community Café when it opens.’
Alexia disregarded the economy of his reply. It was probably overwhelming to be the only person here who didn’t know every other person here. ‘Thanks for helping. Aren’t you Gabe Piercy’s nephew?’ Gabe had been uncharacteristically reticent about why his nephew had turned up on the edges of Middledip village and then kept almost entirely to himself.
‘That’s me.’ His hair slid over one eye as he nodded.
‘Gabe’s probably told you that he’s bought The Angel because the village can’t sustain a coffee shop unless it has some community value—’
Ben finished for her. ‘So he’s set the rent low to make the café viable and the book club and all the other local groups are going to bring business in.’
Alexia took a step back. There was ‘brooding’ and there was ‘abrupt’ and in her eyes Ben had just crossed from one to the other. ‘Sorry if I’m being boring, but this is such an amazing building, I’m excited to see it brought back to life. And,’ she added tartly, ‘in case you’re worried that your uncle’s being ripped off, the village has raised money towards the refurb. Gabe will end up with a sympathetic restoration, and a share of the profits from the café that’s far in excess of what he’d earn if he kept his money safe in the bank.’
She prepared to turn on her heel and find someone friendlier to haul barbecues around for her but Ben put out a hand, looking rueful. ‘No, I’m sorry. Like Gabe, I’m a bit of an oddball and, worse, I’m an oddball having a bad day. My mind was on something else when you came up.’ He managed a faint smile. ‘Let’s begin again. It’s a great community effort and Gabe tells me you’re not charging for managing the project.’
Before Alexia could protest about Gabe being termed an oddball or explain why she was working gratis, Jodie jumped in to claim a vicarious share of the accolades. ‘And my boyfriend Shane’s doing the building work for “mates’ rates” because I’m in partnership with Gabe for the business side of the café. By the way, thanks for taming the jungle at the front so we can actually see The Angel from the road for the first time in decades.’
At this reminder, Alexia forgave Ben his earlier instance of gracelessness. Twice on site visits she’d enjoyed watching him dangling from a harness, not above wondering what his face was like without his hardhat and visor. ‘In that case you’re practically one of us boring community volunteers so I don’t feel so bad about hitting on you to help drag barbecues about.’
A brief pause as he stared at her. Then, ‘Hit on me? Lead the way.’
| About the author |
Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for others, including a ‘RoNA’ (Romantic Novel Award). Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.
She also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.
The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She likes reading, Zumba, FitStep, yoga, and watching Formula 1.