Hello and welcome to this brand-new page for subscribers; thank you for joining me! This is where I’ll be sharing exclusive content from my books and my writing life with you. Please do drop me a line if you have any suggestions for content you’d like to see here, or have any questions you’d like to ask me. I very much appreciate being able to stay in touch and email you with my news; and I hope you find these posts and extras fun to read.
This first post is a test, so thank you if you’ve got in touch for the password and are reading this snippet from The Cottage of New Beginnings! There weren’t many deleted scenes from the book when I was editing it and this excerpt is a longer glimpse into Annie and Jon’s first date in Whitby, and Jon is explaining his choice of venue to Annie:
‘The restaurant is on the other side of the river. If you’re happy to walk round I thought it might be nice to see some of the town.’
‘Love to.’ Annie was glad she was wearing pumps, not heels, as she collected her bag and got out of the Land Rover, Jon already there to open the door for her. He took her jacket from the backseat and she slipped it on. It was a beautiful evening but breezy, the sun sliding into the landscape behind them with the smooth, calm of the sea stretching far ahead. Across the river she saw people strolling from the Abbey now it had closed for the day. The call of seagulls and that typical briny smell made her smile in delight.
‘I can’t remember when I last came to a seaside town like this,’ she told Jon as they set off. ‘It must be nearly twenty years.’
He nodded with a grin. ‘Me neither. Actually I’m not sure I’ve ever been before.’
‘Don’t think so. Whenever I was in England as a kid, I was at home with Dad most of the time and when he took me on holiday we usually went sailing around the Med. But the smell of fish and chips never changes, does it?’
‘No. But it’s best by the sea. If you’ve never really been before then we should go to the amusements and ride dodgems and eat candy floss.’
‘Sounds great.’ Jon checked his watch. ‘We have about forty minutes until we need to be at the restaurant.’
‘Better hurry up then.’ Annie increased the pace and they walked into the first arcade they saw, laughing as they quickly made their way around, stuffing loose change into machines. They had to dodge teenagers and families, raising their voices over the music as they raced miniature horses along a Derby course. Annie’s first horse won and then Jon beat her twice more before she insisted on another go and won all three, turning to him with a grin as they high-fived. Neither of them were much good at Pac-Man and it was two one to Annie after they tried a quick game of air hockey.
‘Let’s go.’ Jon was leaning over Annie’s shoulder as she tried one last time to retrieve an ugly yellow teddy from a heap of other stuffed toys in a glass case and she nodded, turning to him with a roll of her eyes as the teddy fell off the claw. Jon reached for her hand as they made the way to the door and she loved how his fingers felt folded between hers.
‘Okay, so that was fun,’ he said with a grin. ‘Definitely a first for me, including the sticky carpet.’
‘All part of the experience. Tick it off your bucket list.’
‘Done.’ Hadn’t even known arcades were on it until I came here with you, so thanks. Candy floss later.’
Annie still didn’t know what to expect for dinner and when they halted, she looked up and laughed, thrilled with his choice. They were outside a glass-fronted American diner with white lettering on a red background, close to a bridge on the other side of the river. Quirky pubs and seaside attractions stretched across each riverbank, clinging to the hillside rising behind them.
‘So I’ve never been here before, but it’s meant to be really good and I loved the idea of bringing you somewhere America meets Yorkshire. It’s kinda the two halves of me.’
I hope you’ve enjoyed this extra peek into their evening and if you’ve read the book then you’ll know how the rest of their date turns out!
Thank you for testing this post for me; I’m looking forward to creating more and there’s a short prequel from Annie’s life for you to download, right before she moves to Thorndale, and the epilogue to the book. Look out for the prequel to The Garden of Little Rose, way before Flora discovers the lost garden, coming soon.