Chrissie Bradshaw shares an extract from her latest novel, The Barn of Buried Dreams.
Since losing her mother and being dumped by her fiance, Erin Douglas has buried herself away in the family home. Jackson McGee, a Texan with business interests in Whych Elm Hall, comes across her Pilates class.
A flyer about local Pilates classes caught Jackson McGee’s attention as he stood in line at the post office. Wouldn’t that make a good addition to the spa programme at Whych Elm Hall? He saw that there was a class in the village hall so he crossed the square to the hall and strolled along the outside of the building looking for the entrance.
He came to a line of floor to ceiling windows and could see that the class was still going on. Everyone was intent upon their exercise and he recognised the instructor, the woman who had been wrestling with her phone and the contents of her holdall in the churchyard last week.
As he walked along looking for the main entrance, he could see that she had all of the class working with her, she joined in and, every now and then, she moved to a student to make a minor adjustment to their position. She sure seemed to be good at what she did. That glossy hair, in a short feathery crop, had a copper sheen to it that reminded him of bird’s feathers. He found the main door and waited for the class to end.
The start of ‘Afterglow’ playing through the speakers signalled to Erin that she was nearing the end of the session. She balanced in bridge position, on her shoulders and feet, while she talked through the final exercise. ‘Stay in bridge and slowly, to the count of five, take your hands over and stretch them above your head and to the floor. Stay there for another count of five. Five…four…three… two and one.
Minutes later, Erin ended the session with everyone on their feet, standing tall and taking a deep breath. As usual, she received a round of applause from her well-stretched class and took a bow. It was the only applause she got nowadays. She did miss being on stage, maybe one day she’d go back. She joined in chatting with her regulars as they packed up and the hall emptied.
Erin walked over to the far side to pick up a student’s abandoned bottle of water. Someone always forgot something.
‘May I come in now?’
The deep voice startled her and she turned to face her visitor. Broad shouldered, he was filling the doorway. She recognised her resistance band rescuer from last week. When his face broke into a smile, she couldn’t help thinking that he looked even more handsome than she remembered.
‘Who is it you’re waiting for?’ she asked, as she crossed over towards him. ‘Everyone has gone now.’
‘It’s you I’d like to talk to actually,’ he said as he held out his hand.
Flustered, she rubbed her hands down her leggings. She had been rolling up exercise mats so tried to get rid of the smell of rubber before she took his outstretched hand.
‘I’m Jackson… Jackson McGee.’
She had been right about the accent; he was from the States. His handshake was firm, not the macho knuckle-clencher that she hated from men who were trying too hard to be manly. ‘Pleased to meet you again. I didn’t get a chance to thank you properly for helping me last week. I’m Erin Douglas.’
‘I hope you may be able to help me this time around, Miss Douglas. I have a proposition, a business proposition, that I’d like to discuss. Do you have time for a coffee over the road, or shall I call by your office later in the week?’
Erin didn’t have an office and she was curious to know what he could possibly have in mind. ‘I’m free for the next hour. I’ll grab my gear and we can walk over to The Singing Hinny.
He smiled at her and Erin took in a sharp breath. With his even white smile, dark cropped hair and hint of a Texan drawl, he certainly had charisma. Too bad that all of that charm was wasted on her because, after being scorched by Damien’s antics, she was keeping well away from men.
WIN! WIN! WIN!
A read, a cuppa and a treat.
Win a paperback copy of The Barn of Buried Dreams, limited-edition mug featuring both of Chrissie Bradshaw’s novels and a box of fresh macarons delivered from Urban Cakehouse. (Open to UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then the giveway organiser reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time data will be deleted. Chicklit Club is not the organiser of this competition and is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Enter here: Rafflecopter giveaway
Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams.
Erin has buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is evading the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?
Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her ask, would Mark cheat on her?
Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?
Chrissie Bradshaw, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends. Her new release, The Barn of Buried Dreams, is a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. It starts in Dunleith, the same Northumbrian setting as her debut novel A Jarful of Moondreams.