‘This book is a delight! Warm, funny and full of love!’ – Katie Fforde
‘[A] lovely sunshiney book . . . A treat’ – Carole Matthews
– Summer At Sandcastle Cottage
Summer at Sandcastle Cottage by Christina Jones, a stalwart of modern rom-com fiction, will be published with Headline Accent on March 18th and is described as ‘the PERFECT joyful read for summer 2021!‘. I am delighted to be kick-starting the blog tour today sharing a wonderful extract with you all so I really do hope you enjoy.
[ About the Book ]
After trials, tears and a torturous break-up, Kitty Appleby has finally found where she’s meant to be. Tumbledown Sandcastle Cottage, in the delightful seaside village of Firefly Common, is home, and Kitty’s eccentric band of friends and neighbours are enjoying a glorious summer.
There’s just one tiny little problem. Sandcastle Cottage doesn’t belong to them. And Mavis Mullholland, Kitty’s landlord, is on her way home from her round-the-world cruise . . .
Kitty can’t bear to lose the community that’s welcomed her in. But secretly, she can’t bear to leave Sandcastle Cottage without finding out more about the mysterious and enigmatic Vinny . . . Why can’t she stop thinking about him, when she’s faced with losing everything?
[ Extract ]
Kitty shivered. It was scary how easily a plain blue airmail en- velope, liberally decorated with foreign stamps and addressed to Ms K Appleby in very curly black writing, could instantly take the warmth out of the gorgeous June morning.
She knew instinctively exactly what it was. It simply couldn’t be anything else. It was the letter she’d been told to expect but had hoped upon hope would never arrive. The letter from Mavis Mul- holland, Sandcastle Cottage’s owner, telling Kitty when she was intending to come home.
Kitty’s heart sank. She knew only too well that the letter would tell her when she and Jemini and Apollo – not to mention Teddy and the dogs – had to leave. When they’d first rented Sandcastle Cottage on a temporary basis it had simply been their refuge, but had rapidly turned into their home – just when they’d all needed one most: a home they’d fallen in love with, in a village they adored. And now, before long, they’d be out on the streets again. It was something they’d all known would happen – and they’d all known when the tenancy would expire – but foolishly they’d all pretended the problem might just go away, and had made no contingency plans whatsoever. They’d all simply tried not to think about it. But now burying their heads in the sand had come back to bite them with a vengeance, Kitty thought miserably, truculently mixing her metaphors and clichés.
Careful not to slop coffee over the airmail letter, she pushed it into the pocket of her Silver Fish Bar tabard, then deposited the rest of the post on the hallstand. She’d read Mavis’s letter later. When she was properly awake. And had had her coffee. And maybe felt a bit braver.
Outside, after having settled the dogs with water and a handful of biscuits, and placing her coffee and the chocolate digestives care- fully on a rickety bistro table, Kitty sank into one of the mismatched cushioned rattan chairs that lined Sandcastle’s front porch. All the porch needed to make it absolutely perfect, she’d always thought, was a rocking chair and one of those hammock swings that you saw in American films . . . and maybe if Sandcastle Cottage was her permanent home, and she’d earned enough money waitressing at the Silver Fish Bar, then she’d buy one . . . but there was one huge ‘but’, as always, and the reason for it was practically burning a hole in the pocket of her work tabard.
She cupped her hands round her coffee mug and stretched out her long legs in their ankle-grazer jeans, as the dogs investigated new scents that had appeared overnight in every corner of Sand- castle Cottage’s pretty front garden. Kitty smiled, watching them. That garden, which had been so bleak and overgrown and un- loved when Kitty had first seen it, now had tidily mown grass, was edged with neatly pruned shrubs, and had borders of colourful tumbling perennial cottage-garden flowers lining the sandy path. A low, freshly painted wooden fence made the garden complete.
The mowing, pruning, planting and painting had been a shared springtime venture, overseen, helped with, and loudly advised on by Mr H next door. Which, they’d all admitted at the time, was just as well because between them they knew diddly-squat about gardening.
Mr H had been just as useful in the back garden too, which was surrounded by a tall honeysuckle-covered trellis, and had been restored from a rather tangled jungle to a neat lawn, curving shingle paths, and fruit trees. They’d discovered a large wooden patio table with folding chairs and an umbrella in the shed and, once renovated, they now took centre stage. Apollo had also built a bird table and a hedgehog house, as well as a sandpit and tree swing for Teddy, much to her delight.
Kitty savoured her coffee and the gentle early morning warmth, as on the other side of Sandcastle’s newly painted fence, Firefly Common began to wake. Dog walkers from the other cottages dotted along the lanes amongst the tall pine trees smiled and waved at her; the milkman, escorted by Zorro and Honey, clat- tered up the path and deposited glass bottles with his usual ‘gonna be a right scorcha, duck’ greeting; several commuters said their good mornings as they hurried past Sandcastle Cottage en route for Firefly Common Halt and their rail journeys into Bourne- mouth or Christchurch, or maybe even further afield.
The dogs, deciding that they’d had enough snorting and exploring in the garden and had satisfactorily seen off the milk- man, clambered inelegantly up the low flight of wooden steps that ran the length of the porch and looked hopefully at Kitty. She laughed at them, and threw down a handful of dog biscuits. With much huffing and puffing they hoovered up the biscuits at the speed of light.
If only, Kitty thought, I could join in. Oh, but not with dog biscuits, obviously . . . She eyed the packet of chocolate digestives. No, it was no good – Mavis Mulholland’s unread letter had robbed her of her appetite . . . Damn it.
She took another mouthful of coffee and watched the early morning sun cast lattice-work patterns through the trees. Snaking off into the distance, the tiny shingle paths and narrow rutted lanes, dark with blackberry bushes and overhung with fern fronds, twisted away across the common towards the roads which led to the clifftop in one direction and Firefly Common’s High Street in the other.
Bees and butterflies danced in and out of the gorse and heather, and the only sounds were that of birdsong and the distant hush- shush of the sea. The air was soft, and sweet with the scents of blossom and warm sandy soil. This really was the most glorious place to live.
Ah,well. . .
Taking a deep breath, she reached into her pocket for the air- mail letter.
Copyright © 2021 Christina Jones
Preorder here: https://smarturl.it/SummeratSandcastle
[ Bio ]
Christina Jones has written all of her life (as well as having millions of Proper Jobs including factory worker, secretary, nightclub dancer, blood donor attendant, barmaid, waitress, civil servant and fruit picker) Christina first had a short story published when she was just 14 years old. She has written for teenage and women’s magazines – fiction and non-fiction – for a number of years, had her own humour column in The Oxford Times, and has contributed to national newspapers.
Twitter ~ @ChristinaJ2021