2018, august, Monthly Wrap Up, Uncategorized, update, wrap up

What did I read in August.

Now I was overly optimistic with my TBR for August with so much happening it was obvious to me that I wouldn’t have completed it.

However, I sure did read some beauties that have left their mark on me.

I loved each of these for different reasons and they are all authors I adore. I must admit I have a few more of Catherine’s on my Kindle but that’s the first of hers I’ve devoured and what a fantastic start….

My thoughts on these 📚

Rewind By Catherine Ryan Howard

One Winter Morning By Isabelle Broom

The Turn of the Key By Ruth Ware

I’m hoping to have my Miranda Dickinson review up for publication day tomorrow. I started September with a few short reads which were ace and I’m now in the midst of Zoe May’s When Polly Met Olly which I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I feel like my time away caught up with me and last night and this morning I’ve had a massive headache – so I’ve only managed a little reading. I have two very different audios on the go and one is for a blog tour.

I’m hoping that seeing as I’m on holiday until the end of Saturday and I have a little downtime in September that I can read a lot more than I managed in August. I like being optimistic but I also like getting more reading into my month.

Two of my August reads were buddy reads and I’m pleased to say that myself and Catriona have a few ideas up our sleeves and one includes one of my fave authors.

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2018, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: The Helpline By Katherine Collette

Today I’m back to my Exercise to Music course and there is a multitude of emotions for me. It will be great to be back with the girls but I don’t feel I’ve had enough time for my routine and I’m still lacking music argh.

That’s not the reason for this post….the lovely team at Simon & Schuster always have time for us lovely bloggers and I was chuffed to be included in some of the info on this book.

So without further ado and I’m super sorry for the delay I had started this post before I got to my classroom this morning but exam prep and stuff just got in the way….

Now I don’t know about you but I could murder tea and Jammy dodgers right now. This debut will be hitting the shelves in June 2019. If your not sold on the cover here’s a bit more to wet your appetite.

Blurb: NEVER PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD …

Germaine Johnson may not be all that good with people but she’s great with numbers. Unfortunately, as she discovers after ‘the incident’ at Wallace Insurance (and the subsequent disputed allegations), there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians. Then her cousin gets her a job at the council. On the Senior Citizens Helpline.

It’s not the resumé entry Germaine wanted – but it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridge has something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project involving the troublemakers at the community centre and their feud with the golf club next door. Which is run by the strangely attractive Don Thomas.

Don and the mayor want the seniors closed down. Germaine wants what Don and the mayor want. But when she’s forced to get to know the ‘troublemakers’- things get more complicated.

Witty, big-hearted and hugely enjoyable, The Helpline is what you might get if you crossed The Rosie Project with The Office.  If you have ever wrestled with the world of office politics, this charming debut novel is for you.

So what are your thoughts?

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Little Christmas Charm By Kathryn Freeman

Now before I talk of anything to do with this blog tour I need to mention how fabulous Kathryn Freeman is. She’s been so supportive of me as a blogger especially of late when I’ve felt extremely belittled. As soon as this book was announced I knew I had to make sure it was in my festive reading. I’ve loved Kathryn’s brooding males although Owen is a totally different breed but I will get to that later.

I’m ashamed to say I still have a number of her books in my ever expanding TBR.

Blurb: Would you swap sea and sunshine for tinsel and turkey?
Gabby Sanderson is used to being let down – even at Christmas. Which is why she’s happy to skip the festive season completely in favour of a plane ticket and sunnier climes.

But this Christmas could be different, because this time she might not be spending it alone. Can Owen Cooper charm Gabby into loving Christmas in the same way he’s charmed his way into her life, or is he just another person who’ll end up disappointing her?

Review: Now I’m not sure how I can truly do this festive treat justice? I will also do my utmost to not ruin the story.

From the off I warmed to both Gabby and Owen the banter and camaraderie along the way had me smiling and laughing out loud a lot. I loved seeing these two blossom and the many hurdles that they had to overcome but did they? I hear you say. You will have to read it to find out. I adore Christmas especially as an auntie to five but I love how Kathryn has encompassed how Christmas should be with traditions etc etc and how that is not always the case for all families.

I cannot begin to understand Gabby’s childhood but I know it happens. The other aspect that Kathryn has done amazingly well is that of grief. We lost my Nan to Cancer which is partly my reasoning for working for Cancer Research.

Christmas is a time of reflection I always have Boxing Day as another family day as that was when we visited Nan & Grandad I miss them terribly especially then but just like Owen & Sidney life goes on and we would be doing a disservice to their memories.

Kathryn manages to write a love story amongst a Christmas tale that will have you swooning for your very own dreamboat. Owen is completely different to the men I have read of hers before and not only making Gabby laugh he had me on tender hooks. There were so many character duos that I loved in this book.

Kathryn please please take us back to these again.

A Little Christmas Charm is everything you want in a festive read and more so much so I went straight into Costa and got a Gingerbread latte….this has really got me in the mood for the festive season even though I’m as stressed as the next person in regards to spending – as ever we probably all spend too much but I love making people’s day.

Do make sure you check out the rest of this truly fabulous tour for one of my most favourite authors.

Purchase Link 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Christmas-Charm-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B07GNL7VN8

Author Bio – 

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero. 

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links – 

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

For your chance to win a paperback copy of A Little Christmas Faith which was Kathryn’s offering last year click the link below and GOOD LUCK!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494161/?

Massive thanks to Rachel for organising this festive tour of one of my favourites and what a gorgeous story it was.

2018, Blog Tour, Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: What Are You Like By Shelley Day

Happy Monday I’m back to work, have my headphones in listening to my main man on Magic as I walk into work. It’s been an enlightening and crazy week away studying – don’t get me wrong I Have coursework to be doing this week and practice so it’s to be another crazy one. Plus I also have to factor in payday madness to get organised for Christmas as well as those boring bills.

Enough about me today I am pleased to share a cover reveal thanks to the lovely Kelly at Love Books Group. Kelly is one of those bloggers who manages to empower others so when I can help her out I’m pleased to be on service.

Without further ado here is the cover.

For me this cover is simple and effective it would definitely make me reach to read the blurb so here it is.

Blurb: These stories ask us: what are you like? Watch the characters grapple with what life throws at them, never quite sinking under the weight of it all. Shelley Day’s stories explore what we can’t quite grasp. They celebrate the uncertainties of language. The settings here are exquisitely imagined no-man’s-lands- at once strange yet oddly familiar. Here are worlds where the improbable becomes possible: a mother finds herself living on a library shelf, a diner finds words sliding from his menu into nothingness, a psychiatrist cracks up in front of his patient, and there’s a stain on the wall that won’t stop spreading. These extraordinary stories take us to the psychological hinterlands that make us who we are. What are you like? Do you know the answer?

Bio: Shelley Day is an award-winning writer, a European totally opposed to Brexit, a Geordie lass, a lapsed lawyer and academic psychologist. She was named as an Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature ‘emerging writer’ in 2013 and has since appeared at numerous literary festivals. Her debut novel The Confession of Stella Moon (Saraband, 2016) won the Andrea Badenoch Prize and was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize. In 2015 she won a Northern Writer’s Award to support this debut short story collection. Represented by Jenny Brown.

Kelly thank you for including me in this cover reveal this sounds like a truly fantastic book.

 

2018, Author Love, Review

Book Review: One Perfect Christmas and other stories By Paige Toon

Blurb: One year after movie star Joseph Strike swept schoolteacher Alice off her feet, they are spending Christmas together in snowy Cambridge. But despite the romantic setting Alice can’t help but question whether life in the spotlight is really what she wants. Will a Christmas provide some perspective? Or will the life she’d be leaving behind be too much to lose?

Review: Paige Toon is one of my most favourite authors and I instantly want to read anything and everything she writes. I started this on publication day and due to a number of reasons I’ve been in and out with it but I’ve loved it all the same.

Of late I’ve been criticised as a blogger and as I stated last week was my initial week of my Exercise to Music course – this week I’m back to work but have a lot of revision and practice to do. I do hope to be on here more though as I still have a whole host of posts sitting in drafts. If anything I hope to have posted them this week.

I’ve not read One Perfect Summer but that didn’t hinder me devouring One Perfect Christmas. It feels strange to be reading Christmas books in October but I just cannot resist a Paige Toon novel.

How I still have unread books I don’t know but I’m also kind of glad as there’s always a new friend to give me a warm hug when I need it most. I love that Paige has added in little explanations before each story – makes me feel like Paige is telling me about them over a coffee all warm and cosy.

I warmed to Alice instantly and I can’t wait to go back and be fully immersed in Jesse and Emily too. I’m not really a fan of the cold but Paige describes the settings and the scenery of Cambridge in the snow so beautifully and the cottage omg I want one. I love that the story doesn’t really end which means Paige may return to Alice and Joe at a later date.

Johnny’s Girl – Johnny Be Good has been on my radar for a while esp as there are the YA books connected to that which I have a few of. Another I haven’t read but if anything it’s made me more excited to read them. I can see why everyone loves Johnny I’m a sucker for a singer. I’m also super excited to read more about Jessie. I must say I instantly adored Meg.

Daisy says Goodbye- This was truly gorgeous and heartbreaking at the same time. I’m going to have such a hard time working out what Paige book to devour next.

When Lily Met Alice – Now this short story had all the feels.

Rose’s Big Night Out- The one we fell in love with is a book that truly sucked me in and spat me out and I had such a book hangover that I never wrote a review on this because I just didn’t know how.

Bridget’s Beach Proposal – Bridget will always have a special place in my heart as The Last Piece of my Heart was my first Paige Toon read and what a way to start. I finished reading it late night/early hours of the morning and I sobbed my heart out. It’s been great to have Bridget back and I would love Paige to bring her back again.

A Christmas Wedding – When I first met Paige July 2017 we spoke about this as she was writing it and I was told but Paige and a few friends to read Thirteen Weddings first. I truly loved it and in this collection re-reading A Christmas Wedding gave me all the feels. I would love to read more of Bronte and Alex everyone needs that kind of love. Le sigh.

Laura’s Longest Day – now this was a beauty of a short and I look forward to spending more time with Laura and Leo.

I’ve loved The Hidden Page and I hope that Paige continues to extend her gorgeous stories. I always get so invested in her stories and characters so I’m glad I still have lots to read. This is a beautiful book to read at anytime but also around the Christmas period. The cover is gorgeous my one upset is the silver has started to fade on my book but I will end up re-reading this in later years.

What should I read next of Paige’s?

I’ve read The Last Piece Of My Heart, The One We Fell in Love With, Thirteen Weddings, and Five Years From Now.

2018, Fitness, personal, Uncategorized, update

A brand new journey – Exercise to Music

Today I’m embarking on a brand new journey and I’m scared and excited.

Since I was a kid I’ve always loved Sporty Spice aka Melanie C. I adored everything she stood for, a kick ass female who proudly sported a football shirt in a society where girls are expected not to understand the beautiful game.

Ever since taking GCSE PE I always thought I would do more with it. I’d lived and breathed Netball, running and trampolining to name a few of my favourite sports. I don’t know what changed I guess I became overlooked and then my love of writing and of all things media overtook and as I got older I started going out and my exercise regime slowly diminished.

Earlier this year I learnt more about myself and how I treat my body. Not only have I started eating foods I would never have imagined and lessened foods that I’d ate in excess I also discovered fitness sessions that I adore and for me that’s what has changed. I’ve been doing Zumba on and off for years and I’m not saying I don’t love it but for me it wasn’t enough and now that my food is a lot better alongside that a stupid amount of walking and Fight Klub I now feel like I get proper decent workouts. I’ve also just recently started Piyo which I also love – it’s bloody hard work and takes it out of me but it’s so good for the strengthening of my body.

I’m now on my lunch break and I’ve learnt so much already.

Find what you love and run with it.

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour

Guest Post: Finding Jess Blog Tour By Julia Ibbotson

Today I’m pleased to share with you a truly gorgeous guest post by Julia Ibbotson….so without further ado…..

Location Ghana, West Africa

My latest novel, published this summer, Finding Jess, http://mybook.to/FindingJess the third of the Drumbeats trilogy, is set in Ghana (West Africa) and starts with: “Outside, the sun is beating down pitilessly, that sweet-sour stink of rotten meat and putrefying vegetables in the open drains at the side of the road. Yes, she knows that intense heat, that smell, the sound of the kpanlogo djembe and the donde, those kente-clad mammies, from all those years before …”

Jess is haunted by her experiences in Ghana when she was an 18 year old on a gap year, the basis of the first of the trilogy, Drumbeats, http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy where she is fascinated as a girl in 1965, by the whole idea of Africa: she looks around her in wonderment: “The streets were incredibly noisy, smelly, and bustling with people calling out to each other across the streets, jostling Jess. Swarms of little boys were again surrounding her, pushing at her for attention. The hot thick air stank of rotting vegetables, spices, melting tarmac. Jess pressed herself against the safety of the wall as plump women swathed in bright Ghanaian cloth swept haughtily past her. Their babies swaddled on their backs blinked passively at her with glassy eyes and long black eyelashes. Shallow platters piled high with tomatoes and mangoes were balanced on turban-bound heads, as the women made their way gracefully up and down the dusty streets, taking no notice of the foul open drains and the begging children around their feet.”

Ever since I spent time working in Ghana, I’ve been driven by the desire to write about this fascinating country. As a writer, I like to create stories set in a particular time and location, as those are the books I love to read myself, such as Dinah Jefferies’s far eastern novels and Kate Mosse’s Languedoc series. Wonderfully evocative!

I try to use all the senses to make the reader feel as though they are actually there, to make it as vivid as possible. I was therefore thrilled to have reviews that said: “beautifully written, conjuring up the colour and culture of the country”, and “feel the searing heat of Ghana burning off the pages.” How lovely! Then I had: “It’s a brilliantly crafted book where sights, sounds and even smells of the Ghanaian way of life are conjured up quite vividly… details … woven so well into the fabric of the story it becomes an essential part of the read” and even “Julia Ibbotson’s descriptions of Ghana instantly transport the reader there… It is very clear that the author has spent some time in Ghana as her knowledge of the country and its political strife is extensive. I love the symbolism of the drums throughout the book, making it so atmospheric.”

Many thanks to those readers, whoever they are! If my readers can feel the location too, I’ve done my job OK.

Drumbeats: http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy

Walking in the Rain: http://myBook.to/WalkingintheRainDrumbeatstrilogy

Finding Jess: http://mybook.to/FindingJess

All my books are available on Amazon, in ebook and paperback editions:

http://Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

But do check out my other sites:

Author website: https://juliaibbotsonauthor.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/juliaibbotson

Thank you Kelly, what a gorgeous guest post that I’ve been able to read alongside my Beanies coffee.

2018, Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Blood White and Blue By James Silvester

I’m so sorry I had two content slots and a review that should have been posted up yesterday and this one was sadly forgotten so without further ado here is the extract that I’m hosting. Though she had only intended to be out for an hour, several more had passed before she had put the key in her lock and begun the unfairly tortuous climb up the stairs to her flat. She had left Della still in top form, throwing back shots and chatting up waiters and waitresses alike, but while her new friend appeared able to weather the storms of excessive alcohol consumption, Lucie knew her body well enough to know she needed at least some sleep if she were to make it to the airport with the clear head she always needed to travel.

She awoke with the entirely expected but always unwelcome dry mouth and unsettled stomach, thanking The Lord in her morning prayers for at least sparing her the chore of packing, having not yet emptied her bag from her unexpected move. Eschewing her typical shower and barely rubbing her toothbrush against her teeth, lest it trigger another round of the pounding in her head which had failed to endear itself to her moments before, Lucie settled for a quick basin wash and a good dose of deodorant. Likewise, she reasoned that a change of underwear was not yet essential and certainly not worth the nausea inducing neuralgia it would provoke. Keeping her neck as immobile as possible she dressed herself in jeans and patterned shirt, texted for a cab and made her way slowly downstairs.

After having directed the cabbie through the drive thru window of the nearest fast food venue and having swiftly consumed something vaguely egg flavoured atop something else the talking box into which she had placed her order insisted to be sausage, Lucie began to re-join humanity. The cab driver was friendly enough and sufficiently worldly-wise to understand Lucie’s delicate state and so kept his cheery banter to a minimum, rightly expecting that the size of his tip would correlate significantly with the brevity of his conversation.

The car eventually swept into Heathrow and after suitably rewarding the driver for his understanding, she made her way into the terminal and through to the Departure lounge. Lucie took her time, still not wanting to aggravate the debilitating ache across her eyes with excessive movement, all too reluctant this morning to bear the punishment of a body whose warnings she had ignored the night before.

Walking too slowly to politely avoid the grim faced and despondent newspaper vendor, she took the proffered free copy and slipped it into her bag while she searched the terminal for the increased rarity of a coffee large and strong enough to satiate her, but which would not require a mortgage application and three forms of ID to procure. Finally locating something on the more modest side of overpriced, Lucie squeezed between the bickering couples and drunken groups to perch herself on a wooden stool beside the border rail, from where she could view the departure boards and observe the multitudes as they dashed from here to

there, desperate to embark on what, depending what provision the far from secure ‘Brexit Deal’ made for airspace agreements, could be their last foreign trips for some time. Taking a sip from the scalding coffee, she pulled out the freebie paper and grimaced, immediately regretting her decision.

There they were, lined up between the pages, pontificating on the economic downturn that was beginning to bite and leaving readers in no doubt which people – or groups of people – were to blame. Quotes were fired like inflammatory bullets, as though those speaking them were engaged in some hateful competition, the winner of which would be crowned undisputed champion and defender of the ‘Will of the People’, whatever that was interpreted to be that month, with all who defied them forever condemned as traitors and enemies to be vilified and loathed.

Lucie scanned their comments, which variously within the same article condemned immigrants for laziness and benefit dependency, while taking jobs away from the indigenous population and pressurising emergency services, despite the NHS relying on them to function. One particularly fatuous remark sought to blame certain communities for wasting police time by insisting on reporting hate crimes against them. The ignorance did little to ease Lucie’s hangover and she was about to toss the paper to one side when she turned the page and her eyes were drawn to a picture of the man she was flying to meet, Sir Geoffrey Hartnell MP.

The picture took up a good portion of the page’s top half and was accompanied by a ‘humorous’ feature line reading ‘A Grave Affair’ and a few reams of text, short on minutiae but knowledgeable enough to sketch an outline of the bizarre scenario. The infamous Alexander Huxley – a man thought to be dead – had threatened Hartnell’s life and with the popular MP about to fly to Prague on a personal mission of goodwill, was the government right to be treating this lightly?

Thank you Kelly for this slot and I’m so sorry for the delay…

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland By Heidi Swain

Better late than never I’ve been sooo excited by this gorgeous book and my oh my it did not disappoint. So without further ado.

Blurb: After calling off her engagement, Hayley, the Wynthorpe Hall housekeeper, wants nothing more than to return to her no-strings fun-loving self, avoiding any chance of future heartbreak. Little does she know, Wynbridge’s latest arrival is about to throw her plan entirely off course . . .

Moving into Wynthorpe Hall to escape the town’s gossip, Hayley finds herself immersed in the eccentric Connelly family’s festive activities as they plan to host their first ever Winter Wonderland. But Hayley isn’t the only new resident at the hall. Gabe, a friend of the Connelly’s son Jamie, has also taken up residence, moving into Gatekeeper’s Cottage, and he quickly makes an impression on Wynbridge’s reformed good-girl.

As preparations commence for the biggest event of the season, the pair find themselves drawn ever closer to one another, but unbeknownst to Hayley, Gabe, too, has a reason for turning his back on love, one that seems intent on keeping them apart.

Under the starry winter skies, will Gabe convince Hayley to open her heart again once more? And in doing so, will he convince himself? ~*~

Review: Long before I’d read a single word of any of Heidi’s books I was a fan of the lady herself. Heidi is a people person who instantly puts you at ease in her presence. Not only does she put you at ease she makes you feel like you’ve known her forever. So when her festive feel good treat came up I jumped at the chance of being on the tour. I had hoped to have read this with many a Cinnamon swirl but that didn’t happen. Just like her previous novel I ended up listening to it even though I have a paperback too which looks truly gorgeous on my shelf. It’s the second time I’ve listened to Karen Cass and I must admit I really am a fan of hers also, if you’ve read my blog before I have listened to some really good and really bad audiobooks but this sure was a hit. When a woman can have a variation of voices well that’s a win in my book.

So Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland takes readers back to Wynbridge I had hoped to have devoured last years festive treat before diving into this but in Hayley style that didn’t happen.

I am looking forward to going back to it as I was pretty taken with my namesake – Hayley is a loveable character who I was rooting for from the off. Without spoiling any finer details her life changes quite quickly and dramatically early on into this novel. I just loved how she picked herself up and realised a lot more about herself. Which is something I’ve done in my life this year also.

What I truly love about Heidi Swain’s writing is how she creates a community you wish you were a part of. The characters from Wynthorpe Hall are an eclectic mix who feel like family.

In this gorgeous Christmas tale she has also touched on loss – the festivities often have us thinking of our loved ones who are no longer with us, and Gabes story really hit home for me. It’s hard to carry on and to smile when you’re grief stricken for a loved one and I totally understand that not in the same way he did though.

A sparkling tale that will leave you reminiscing of times gone by, looking forward to the future and reaching for a pastry. Heidi Swain has it all drama, blossoming romance, villains, you name it she’s got it.

This is the second story that I’ve read of late with a Hayley she’s also not really like me but she did make me smile from head to toe. If you’re looking for a book to get lost in this Christmas look no further.

2018, Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Picking Up the Pieces By Jo Worgan

I have a number of posts that will come up today. Please bare with me but first up is Picking up the Pieces. I’m lucky to share with you an extract from Picking up the Pieces.

The book on Kate’s lap remained unread, a Nordic noir thriller that no longer held her interest. She was restless. Shadows flickered on the walls from the glare cast by the small round lamp that was nestled among the yellowing paperbacks on the bookshelf. She should really be writing up her articles, but she couldn’t concentrate. All she could think about was the phone call, and if she was being truly honest, those piercing blue eyes belonging to the new next-door neighbour.

The phone call had unnerved her, shaken her. It had taken her back to all those years ago, when she had been a different person, a completely different person to the woman she was now. She did not want to be that woman again. She had checked her phone, once Sam was safely tucked up in bed, to see if there was a number logged, but it had been blocked. That’s what really bothered her. The fact that whoever it was didn’t want her to know their identity. It had to be Jake; she couldn’t think of anyone else who it could be. But how did he get hold of her number?

Kate pulled the crocheted blanket, a mess of woollen blues, yellows and reds, that scratched her skin, further around her shoulders. She was far too tired to think straight but although exhausted, she knew that sleep would not come.

Jake, her ex-partner, the man who had made her life a living hell. It could very well be him. She thought that she had got away with it. How stupid was she? Nothing was ever that simple. After six years, she had grown complacent. She was less careful; she should never have let her guard down. Paranoia was beginning to set in. Kate had made sure that all of the windows were locked when she came home with Sam; she had checked twice. Now, she could feel the fear overcoming her once more, and she could not let it, not again. He would never again have that power over her.

No, it wasn’t Jake. It wasn’t him. Kate kept repeating this mantra to herself, in the hope that she would believe it.

It was nearly 11:00 p.m., but Kate decided to make herself a cup of tea to take up to bed with her. Tea always had the power to soothe. She was not sure why that was so. Perhaps it was the ritual of making it? Or the fact that she could drink it from a sturdy brown mug, with two teaspoons of sugar. She switched the kettle on and hunted out the teapot. Staring out of the kitchen window, she saw the trampoline bathed in shadow; it looked so forlorn in the darkness. She shook her head; she would need to fix the fence tomorrow, meaning that she would have to go to the large industrial park at the edge of town and pick up some large wood screws, or whatever they were called. It was her responsibility, the fence; it was on her side of the garden. Perhaps she could ask Matt to help? But no, Kate thought, that wouldn’t be fair. If she asked him then he would probably feel obliged to do the work, so no, she would fix it herself.

Kate heard Sam shuffling about above her in his room – he’d not yet settled. She had left him to settle himself. She would check on him in a little bit. Sometimes she found him asleep in his sensory den, lying on all the soft cushions, toys draped over his sleeping body. It was always a military operation trying to gently lift him back into bed without waking him.

The kettle beeped. Kate picked it up and poured the boiling water into her bright yellow teapot. It was one of the very first items that she had bought when she moved into the house all those years ago. She loved the colour – it was bright, cheerful, carefree. It was how she wanted to be, how she wanted to feel.

She waited for the tea to steep, the water slowly turning brown.

She thought of Matt. His eyes, his eyes were so blue. She had never seen eyes quite so blue before and they stirred something deep within her, within her soul, something that had long been buried. It would, however, take her a long time to trust another man, and anyway, she had Sam. He was her priority. He was her life now.

She picked up the teapot and sloshed the brewing tea about a bit before pouring the scalding liquid into her favourite brown tea cup. She spooned in two heaped teaspoons of sugar and then taking the cup, went up the creaky stairs to the safety and warmth of her bed. She believed that there was something quite magical about lying in a warm bed, nestled under the covers. Nobody could get you there; the outside world was miles away. Maybe these thoughts stemmed from childhood? Hiding under the bedcovers so that the bogey man couldn’t get you. Many emotions, thoughts and feelings came from those hidden recesses in the mind, locked away from childhood days gone by. Kate knew that they made us who we are.

Her thoughts then drifted to her gran, and of how she would tell Kate bedtime stories about the times when she was a little girl, growing up in the war. Kate smiled at the memory. She missed her gran.

Kate switched on the bedside light and picked up her tea. Everything was now quiet from Sam’s room. She sipped her tea,

enjoying the sweet bitter taste. She briefly closed her eyes and an image of Matt appeared. She hated to admit it, but there was an instant invisible attraction between them. But she had been so flustered, so preoccupied with finding Sam and making sure that he was safe that she knew that she had come across as rude and almost aloof. What must he have thought of her? Did he see a worried mother, or a woman who appeared cold and uncaring? Kate had no idea, she just hoped that he didn’t think that she didn’t trust him. Could he have thought that? Kate held her head in her hands, suddenly weary with it all. She felt awful now; she didn’t even thank him properly. She was just so frazzled, with the phone call and then not seeing Sam. If she hadn’t received that phone call, then things would have played out very differently. He may even have liked her.

Thank you Kelly for including me once again…