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HEAVENLY PLEASURES – Release Blitz

*** RELEASING TODAY !! ***
At Heavenly Pleasures, quite a lot of things are possible…
Heavenly Pleasures COVER
HEAVENLY PLEASURES
Isla Dennes
Series: For Heaven’s Sake Book 1
Genre: Chick Lit, Comedy, Romance
Publisher: Totally Bound
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Meet Brooke, a self-confessed shopaholic turned reluctant brothel receptionist, as she stumbles through life, trying to live up to her parents’ and fiancé’s high expectations—at the cost of her now low self-esteem.
Who would have thought a group of working girls would help her rediscover her inner strength and finally tackle her personal demons? But at Heavenly Pleasures, the rules are made to be broken and new opportunities are just around the corner…

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Excerpt

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Scarlett asked, taking in my pale face and trembling hands.
“Some bloke just walked in here and asked me to have sex with him!”
Uggh! And he’d been all greasy black hair, gold fillings and overgrown ’tache, like an aging porn star. I stifled the urge to throw up.
Shaking her head in disgust, Scarlett rolled her eyes. “Hate to break it to you, precious, but you are working in a brothel, you know.”
“But—”
“But nothing. What the hell did you expect him to ask for, a burger and fries?”
“I kept telling him I was only the receptionist, but he didn’t seem to care. He told me he’d pay extra if he had to.” I fought to calm my racing heart and queasy stomach.
Scarlett’s eyes narrowed. She didn’t look happy. It occurred to me that maybe I should have kept my mouth shut.
“What do you mean extra? How much extra?”
“Um…” I swallowed hard. “Three hundred dollars.”
The temperature in the room plummeted as a blast of ice-cold fury filled the air.
What!” she screeched. “And you turned him down?
“But—”
“Jesus Christ!” she hissed and bolted over to the waiting room. “Shit, where the hell is he now?”
My glance flickered toward the door. Scarlett’s followed. For the briefest of moments, I thought she was going to drag him back in and make him apologize for being an insensitive bastard.
Instead her eyes widened in shock. “What! You let him walk out of here? You selfish fucking cow. You mightn’t have wanted him, but what about the rest of us girls? Three hundred bucks and you just let him walk out of here? Jesus! Prue is going to go off her nut when she hears about this.”
Prue was the Madame and owner of Heavenly Pleasures. An outwardly serene woman with immaculate hair, but nonetheless seriously scary with a sinister reputation, not unlike Cruella DeVille on a bad day, and therefore someone I did not want to cross.
“Oh, please don’t say anything,” I begged, on the verge of tears. “Look, I promise if he comes back in, I’ll call you out straight away—before JoJo. Just don’t mention it to Prue. I was just a bit taken aback, that’s all, and didn’t know what to do.”
This part was true. Haggling for sex wasn’t something we’d covered in secretarial college. Maybe it was the look of pure terror on my face or possibly Scarlett was in a rare compassionate mood, but after a moment’s hesitation she stopped scowling, her expression softening in what could well have been pity.
“Okay. I won’t say anything—this time,” came with reluctance. “But of course I’ll expect some more bookings, if you get my meaning.”
Yes—her meaning was loud and clear. She was blackmailing me, but I was in no position to protest. I nodded.
Her mood lightened. “Hey, cheer up, will you? So what if some ugly punter wanted a poke? Jeez, you’re not the first one to have the hard word put on them by some tosser, believe me. Guys come in here, think they’re God’s gift to women and although they know you’re not a worker, it gives them a sick thrill to think they can convince you to drop to your knees for a blow job—even if it is for three hundred dollars.” She threw me a disgusted look and shook her head in disbelief. “I reckon in their pathetic little minds they’re convinced they’ve seduced you with their hot looks and charm. Losers, that’s what they are. Anyway, I suppose it’s probably just as well you didn’t take him up on it.”
“Really?” I brightened, seeing it as a sign I was forgiven.
“Yeah, the girls would have flattened you if you had.”
Oh, God. I felt ill. What on earth had happened to my perfect life?
Two months ago, I had never met or even spoken to a prostitute. Two months ago, I’d had no idea brothels even existed outside the red light district of King’s Cross. Two months ago, I’d thought French, Spanish and Greek were southern Europeans rather than hooker code for certain sexual practices. And two months ago, I’d been happily looking forward to marrying my fiancé, Brad, an up-and-coming lawyer who planned to be the youngest junior partner in the law firm where he worked.
Yes, two months ago my life had all been mapped out before me.
But that was before a day out in the city to catch up with an old friend triggered a series of events that would ultimately bring about my downfall. Yep, it was at that point I can honestly say my life had bit the big one, nose-diving to newly discovered depths of desperation and despair. I was completely screwed and I didn’t have anyone to blame but myself…
Heavenly Pleasures Tour Graphic

About Isla Dennes

Isla Dennes

Married, mother of one son and three daughters, Isla Dennes developed a love for writing while employed in her dream job as the owner of a book shop situated in a seaside resort town in NSW, Australia. Not content in simply reading every book in the store, she found herself compelled to create novels of her own.
Had she concentrated more on sales and less on writing she might well have retired a wealthy woman, but writing won out in the end, with the result being a lifelong passion for creative writing across a number of genres, including a brief but regrettable sojourn into horribly sentimental New-aged poetry which is best forgotten.
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

WIN $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD
Heavenly Pleasures Giveaway Graphic
Contest runs from January 15 – February 1, 2018.

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HEAVENLY PLEASURES – Pre Order Blitz

*** PRE-ORDER ALERT ***
Releasing January 30, 2018
Heavenly Pleasures Tour Graphic
HEAVENLY PLEASURES
Isla Dennes
Heavenly Pleasures
Series: For Heaven’s Sake Book
Genre: Chick Lit, Comedy, Romance
Publisher: Totally Bound
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
At Heavenly Pleasures, quite a lot of things are possible…
Meet Brooke, a self-confessed shopaholic turned reluctant brothel receptionist, as she stumbles through life, trying to live up to her parents’ and fiancé’s high expectations—at the cost of her now low self-esteem.
Who would have thought a group of working girls would help her rediscover her inner strength and finally tackle her personal demons? But at Heavenly Pleasures, the rules are made to be broken and new opportunities are just around the corner…
Enter Praise1
– Enter Praise1Author
Enter Praise2
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Enter Praise3
– Enter Praise3Author

Excerpt

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Scarlett asked, taking in my pale face and trembling hands.
“Some bloke just walked in here and asked me to have sex with him!”
Uggh! And he’d been all greasy black hair, gold fillings and overgrown ’tache, like an aging porn star. I stifled the urge to throw up.
Shaking her head in disgust, Scarlett rolled her eyes. “Hate to break it to you, precious, but you are working in a brothel, you know.”
“But—”
“But nothing. What the hell did you expect him to ask for, a burger and fries?”
“I kept telling him I was only the receptionist, but he didn’t seem to care. He told me he’d pay extra if he had to.” I fought to calm my racing heart and queasy stomach.
Scarlett’s eyes narrowed. She didn’t look happy. It occurred to me that maybe I should have kept my mouth shut.
“What do you mean extra? How much extra?”
“Um…” I swallowed hard. “Three hundred dollars.”
The temperature in the room plummeted as a blast of ice-cold fury filled the air.
What!” she screeched. “And you turned him down?
“But—”
“Jesus Christ!” she hissed and bolted over to the waiting room. “Shit, where the hell is he now?”
My glance flickered toward the door. Scarlett’s followed. For the briefest of moments, I thought she was going to drag him back in and make him apologize for being an insensitive bastard.
Instead her eyes widened in shock. “What! You let him walk out of here? You selfish fucking cow. You mightn’t have wanted him, but what about the rest of us girls? Three hundred bucks and you just let him walk out of here? Jesus! Prue is going to go off her nut when she hears about this.”
Prue was the Madame and owner of Heavenly Pleasures. An outwardly serene woman with immaculate hair, but nonetheless seriously scary with a sinister reputation, not unlike Cruella DeVille on a bad day, and therefore someone I did not want to cross.
“Oh, please don’t say anything,” I begged, on the verge of tears. “Look, I promise if he comes back in, I’ll call you out straight away—before JoJo. Just don’t mention it to Prue. I was just a bit taken aback, that’s all, and didn’t know what to do.”
This part was true. Haggling for sex wasn’t something we’d covered in secretarial college. Maybe it was the look of pure terror on my face or possibly Scarlett was in a rare compassionate mood, but after a moment’s hesitation she stopped scowling, her expression softening in what could well have been pity.
“Okay. I won’t say anything—this time,” came with reluctance. “But of course I’ll expect some more bookings, if you get my meaning.”
Yes—her meaning was loud and clear. She was blackmailing me, but I was in no position to protest. I nodded.
Her mood lightened. “Hey, cheer up, will you? So what if some ugly punter wanted a poke? Jeez, you’re not the first one to have the hard word put on them by some tosser, believe me. Guys come in here, think they’re God’s gift to women and although they know you’re not a worker, it gives them a sick thrill to think they can convince you to drop to your knees for a blow job—even if it is for three hundred dollars.” She threw me a disgusted look and shook her head in disbelief. “I reckon in their pathetic little minds they’re convinced they’ve seduced you with their hot looks and charm. Losers, that’s what they are. Anyway, I suppose it’s probably just as well you didn’t take him up on it.”
“Really?” I brightened, seeing it as a sign I was forgiven.
“Yeah, the girls would have flattened you if you had.”
Oh, God. I felt ill. What on earth had happened to my perfect life?
Two months ago, I had never met or even spoken to a prostitute. Two months ago, I’d had no idea brothels even existed outside the red light district of King’s Cross. Two months ago, I’d thought French, Spanish and Greek were southern Europeans rather than hooker code for certain sexual practices. And two months ago, I’d been happily looking forward to marrying my fiancé, Brad, an up-and-coming lawyer who planned to be the youngest junior partner in the law firm where he worked.
Yes, two months ago my life had all been mapped out before me.
But that was before a day out in the city to catch up with an old friend triggered a series of events that would ultimately bring about my downfall. Yep, it was at that point I can honestly say my life had bit the big one, nose-diving to newly discovered depths of desperation and despair. I was completely screwed and I didn’t have anyone to blame but myself…

Pre-order your copy today!

About Isla Dennes

Isla Dennes

Married, mother of one son and three daughters, Isla Dennes developed a love for writing while employed in her dream job as the owner of a book shop situated in a seaside resort town in NSW, Australia. Not content in simply reading every book in the store, she found herself compelled to create novels of her own.
Had she concentrated more on sales and less on writing she might well have retired a wealthy woman, but writing won out in the end, with the result being a lifelong passion for creative writing across a number of genres, including a brief but regrettable sojourn into horribly sentimental New-aged poetry which is best forgotten.
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

WIN $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD
Heavenly Pleasures Giveaway Graphic
Contest runs from January 15 – February 1, 2018.

In partnership with
Book Unleashed Logo

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HIS REDNECK GIRL – PROMO BLITZ

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Possum Hollow Series, Book One
Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance, Chick-lit
Date Published: October 2017
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Jimmie Joe Johnson has spent years living up to his hound dog reputation. If he can’t have the one female he truly wants, then any female will do. When he isn’t off diddlin’ some female, he’s practicing for pool playoffs, determined to get his pool team to Vegas. Not only for bragging rights, but for the free trip to ‘Sin City’ and cash prize that comes along with it.
Baylee Jean Brown has never gotten over her first and only love, Jimmie Joe Johnson. So when she discovers the truth about why he really ended things with her all those years before, she sets out to get her man back. And no other thigh-parting female is going to stand in her way. She just has to find a way to make him take notice of her, considering he’d been avoiding her since that day her spell-threatening aunt (yes, she does come from a long line of witches), threatened to place his man-parts in a jar on her windowsill.
Avoiding Baylee Jean Brown in a town the size of Possum Hollow is hard enough, but all of the sudden she’s dressing sexy and aiming all that female heat in his direction. He tries to convince her that she’s better off without him, but how can he expect her to listen to reason when his own heart and body refuse to? Now his man-parts are in a whole different kind of danger. Not because her aunt might still carry through with her threat to pickle them, but because he knows no other woman will ever do.
Recent Praise for His Redneck Girl:
 
“Irreverent, bawdy, laugh out loud funny. The most hilarious book I’ve read in years–maybe ever! In fact, I’m pretty sure this book is the reason the term “ROFLMAO” was invented. If you combined Jeff Foxworthy’s humor and Jason Stackhouse’s good looks and libido, you’d end up with Jimmie Joe Johnson, one smokin’ hot hound dog and one hilarious read!” –New York Times bestselling author C.L. Wilson
 photo His Redneck Girl by Lindsey Brookes print on wood_zpsjf3dowqa.jpg
Excerpt
 
“Hey there, Jimmie Joe.” A hand grabbed my ass through my jeans, giving it a firm squeeze.
The cue ball missed the rack completely, bringing about another round of snickers from my teammates. I knew, even without lookin, who that sugar sweet voice and bolder-than-hell hand belonged to. Memories from the past came rushing back. Baylee Jean always knew just how to touch me to drive me wild.
I turned to face her. “What the hell…?”
My eyes bugged out just like one of them there cartoon characters. And I was pretty sure my mouth was hanging open, too, but I couldn’t say for certain. All my thoughts were centered on the female standing in front of me. My gaze slid down Baylee Jean’s curvy form. Where the hell were her bibs? They hid a lot more flesh than what she was wearing and the last thing I wanted to be at that moment was tempted.
“Baylee Jean?” I choked.
Smiling, she tucked her hands into the back pockets of the cut-off jean shorts she wore, drawing my gaze back up to the pair of tits ready to burst out of the Bedazzled halter top she had on. Big, round, make-a-man-want-to-nibble-on-them kind of breasts.
Her smile widened. “You like? Randi Lynn gave me a few fashion tips.”
The words—Hell, yeah! —ricocheted around inside my brain. Instead, all that came out was, “Does your aunt know you’re runnin’ around town dressed like that?”
Her smile sagged for all of about two seconds, then it returned full force. She tipped her chin upward. “I’m old enough to dress like I please. And I decided it’s time for a new style.”
It had been hard enough avoiding her all these years the way she used to dress. My gaze slid over her again and I bit back a groan. Now, it was gonna be damn near impossible.
Bo let out an appreciative whistle. “I like your new style.”
The rest of my team, nodding in agreement, stared at Baylee Jean like she was the last beer left in the cooler.
“Thanks,” she said and then her gaze slid back to me. “You ain’t said what you think ‘bout my new look, Jimmie Joe.”
I was thinking that her breasts would be way too easy to access in that top. And damned if I wasn’t tempted to run my hand up between those tanned thighs and feel the heat I knew existed there.
“It looks good on you,” I muttered, trying like hell to tamp down my desire.
Her lips parted, drawing my gaze. The tip of her tongue slid out, moving over her lips in a slow, deliberately teasing swipe that had my cock stirring beneath the fly of my jeans.
Think of anything but how damn good she looks standing there, I told myself. The only thing guaranteed to come out of my diddling with Baylee Jean Brown was trouble.
She reached up to run her fingers back through her long, silky black hair. Not the straight hair I had always seen her with, but hair that had been curled just enough to make it look soft and touchable.
“I’ve been dreamin’ ’bout you,” she said with a sexy smile.
Damned if her words didn’t send a bolt of sexual hunger straight to my cock. I didn’t wanna hear about her dreams. Didn’t wanna think about her sprawled naked across her sheets period!
“Ooh,” Hit Man said with a grin. “Ain’t you a lucky son of a bitch? Havin’ a woman dream about you.”
“Most women do,” I replied, shooting a cocky grin to my buddies. Besides, it wasn’t the first time a woman told me she dreamed about me. I couldn’t help that I was the kind of man female fantasies were made of.
“Reckon so.” She moved to brush up against me like a cat in heat. “So watcha doin’?”
I knew what I wasn’t doing. I wasn’t gonna give in to my thumping cock. And I sure as hell wasn’t accomplishing what I’d come there for—shooting pool.
“Gettin’ drunk,” I replied stiffly as I set her away from me. I already had a laundry basket imprint on my ass. I sure as hell didn’t wanna add Callie Rae’s talon marks to my already-tender flesh.
“So I can take advantage of you?” she asked, not the least bit deterred in her pursuit. “’Cause I would, you know?” she said, not giving me a chance to reply. And followed that up with another dart of her pink tongue across those glossy lips.
Thump. Thump.
Hearing her say those things, all grown up and dressed like that was threatening my sanity. With a curse, I tossed the bar stick down on the table and walked back to the bar. “Duffster, you’re up.”
“Reckon I ain’t the only one,” he said with a grin as he walked past me.
I looked down at the fly of my pants with a groan.
“Not gonna take her up on her offer?” T-Bone asked as she reached for her beer.
“Hell, no.” I was glad I didn’t have to ask a Magic 8-Ball that question, because I had a gut feeling its response would be—SIGNS POINT TO YES. And there was one big sign doing the pointing right at that moment, just below my favorite GOT BEER belt buckle.
The front door swung open and Randi Lynn stepped into the bar.
“Well, if it ain’t little Miss Smell-Good,” Skeeter hollered.
“Better than smellin’ like a stinky ol’ fish,” she replied with a toss of her long black hair.
He sniffed himself with a grin. “You mean my catch-of-the-day cologne ain’t makin’ you wanna strip me naked?”
“Only thing I’d be strippin’ you naked for would be a bath.”
“You offerin’?”
She muttered something under her breath I’d have guessed was a curse or two if she were Baylee Jean. But Randi Lynn’s mouth was about as clean as they come. I reckon their momma had used up all the cursing genes on Baylee Jean.
Ignoring Skeeter, who tended to set her off anytime they were near each other, Randi Lynn scanned the room. “Baylee Jean,” she said. “Aunt Callie’s lookin’ for you.”
“Shit,” Baylee Jean cursed with a frown. Every bit the girl I remembered. Gotta love a female with a dirty mouth.
“She’s drivin’ around town. I cut through the woods to warn you.”
“I’ll be right out,” Baylee Jean replied, the frustration clear in her voice.
With a nod, her sister turned and disappeared behind the closing door.
Baylee Jean’s toe-peeping, red high heels clicked across the cigarette-butt-littered floor as she moved toward the front door. Halfway there, she stopped and turned.
I might have had my back to her, but I knew she was looking my way and wanting what she couldn’t have. It was a family gift all us Johnson men had. E.S.P—Extra Sexual Perception. We knew when a woman wanted us.
“One of these days, Jimmie Joe,” she said, “you’re gonna be servicin’ me again and only me.”
She had no idea how close she was to being serviced right then and there. The second the door closed behind her, air whistled through my teeth.
“Holy shit, Jimmie Joe,” Bo said, dragging a hand down over his bushy beard.
I reached for my beer, taking several long swallows. Holy shit was right. The button at the top of my fly was about to give in to the pressure beneath it and launch across the smoke-hazed bar.
What the hell was going on? Baylee Jean had barely spared me a glance for the past ten years—deservedly so. Now, all of a sudden, she was oozing honey and coming after me like a Bluetick coonhound fixing to tree a coon.
My cock twitched. I wanted to be that coon. And despite knowing it was best to keep things the way they had been between Baylee and me, I had to admit I was real tempted to let myself get treed by her. Just once. Maybe then I’d finally be able to get her out of my blood—for good.
 photo His Redneck Girl by Lindsey Brookes on tablet by wine glass_zpsber77e2s.jpg
 
About the Author

Award-winning romance author Lindsey Brookes is a four-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, as well as a past American Title III finalist, and winner of Harlequin’s Great American Romance Novel contest. She has written for, Kensington Publishing, Amazon Publishing, and has indie-pubbed several of her young adult and adult contemporary romances. She is represented by Michelle Grajkowski with 3 Seas Literary Agency.
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And a Sixpence for Luck – Blitz

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Chick Lit
Date Published: 9/30/2017
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Curl up in front of the fire, with this fun, festive read.
Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.
A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother’s loved-up, newly-wed status and brand-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects, isn’t what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas, is just around the corner!
Daisy, bless her, thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, but when her ancient great-grandmother persuades her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck, Daisy is about to discover that they most definitely can.
About the Author

Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!
She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…
When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing (she meant to say “borrowing”) her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.
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UNDER THE CHERRY TREE – BLITZ

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Chick Lit
Date Published:  05/31/2017
Only $0.99!

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“A feel-good, heart-warming, tear-jerking love story.”
The best sort of holiday read, recommended for fans of Jane Costello, Erica James, and Lucy James
“My dog didn’t like men. Actually that was a lie – she didn’t like the men I chose. The only ones who rocked her world had been my father (who was no longer with us), Ross (who was gay), and the butcher on the high street (for obvious reasons).
When Jenni Meadows has the opportunity to expand her dog-grooming business she takes it, and when a nice man appears on her horizon but fails to make any sparks fly, she decides she has enough on her plate with her business without adding a boyfriend into the mix.
Besides, Millie doesn’t like him and when her dog doesn’t like a man, Jenni knows all about it. So why does Millie take a very strange liking to the new vet, especially since he has a taciturn expression, wears a wedding ring, and wields a needle?
Under the Cherry Tree is a tale of love and hope, waggy tails, and cold noses.
Excerpt 
 
His name was Rupert, and that should have told me all I needed to know. Not that I’m nameist or anything, but with a name like that there was no way he came from the council estate up the road; the other kids would have decimated him! And he wasn’t a kid, not by a long stretch, not if that chest and those arms were any indication. He was tall too, like many rowers tend to be.
Rupert and I moved in entirely different circles, and I don’t know what on earth possessed me to agree to go out on a date with him, though the three glasses of white wine I’d drunk may have had something to do with it. I was drinking for two, because Amber had just that morning found out she was pregnant, and that meant I had to drink her share. Oh, and don’t forget that chest. It bulged and rippled and clung to his body like I wished I could. I only took my eyes off it long enough to make sure he didn’t have two heads. The face above a set of extremely broad shoulders looked nice enough, so I didn’t bother to check again.
But why the hell had I agreed to let him take me shooting? Who actually did something like that on a first date? Dinner, a drink, maybe a concert, ice-skating at a push – but definitely not clay pigeon shooting.
The only redeeming thing was that he told me I could bring Millie. And did I mention his chest?  If that’s what rowing did for a man, I made a vow to meet more rowers (if this one didn’t pan out).
Rupert the Rower. I should have realised, even without the accent, that he was way out of my league. He was an ex-Kings student (private school – very private, because mummy and daddy had to have a great deal of money to send their children there, and he was the youngest of three boys).
Then there was the house, or should I say, mansion. As I trundled up the gravelled drive in my little Micra, Millie panting on the passenger seat, I was under the impression this was where the shooting meet was taking place, not that Rupert actually lived there.
I pulled my ten-year-old car into a space between a brand-new Range Rover and a top-of-the-range Jag, and clambered out. Hollington Hall. Nice. I wondered if they did wedding receptions. Not that I had any plans on getting married any time soon (had to find the right guy first), but it was something to consider for the dim and distant future. At least I wasn’t like some of my friends who had picked the dress, the shoes, and the bridesmaids’ outfits, all before their sixteenth birthdays! I was merely mildly interested.
Surprisingly, for a hotel, the front door was firmly closed.
After unclipping Millie from her harness, I carried her up the steps and placed her gently on the ground between a pair of tall columns, and tried to turn the door handle. Locked.
There didn’t appear to be a bell, but there was a huge knocker in the shape of a lion’s head, so I banged it a couple of times and waited until  it was opened by an elderly woman in a pinny. She frowned at me.
‘I’m here for the shooting,’ I said.
She gave me a blank stare.
‘With some guy called Rupert? Sorry, I don’t know his last name.’ Perhaps I hadn’t got the right place either, because the large hallway behind her looked nothing like a hotel reception area. It lacked a front desk, for starters. A sleepy spaniel lifted its head and blinked, but made no move to get up. It was probably so used to guests that another one, even one with a dog, was nothing to get excited about.
‘Master Rupert,’ the woman said, issuing me with a stony stare.
‘Pardon?’
‘His name is Master Rupert Hollington.’
‘I thought Hollington was the name of this place?’
‘It is.’ She opened the grand door a little wider, and moved to the side with a sigh. ‘I’ll let him know he has a guest.’
I stepped into the hall, my eyes on stalks. Rupert Hollington of Hollington Hall. Rupert the Rower, who’d gone to Kings and had a plummy accent, and who thought taking a girl clay pigeon shooting on a first date was a good idea.
I wanted the highly polished, black-and-white tiled floor to open up and swallow me.
The maid/servant/housekeeper (I had no idea what to call her – she might be his long-suffering nanny for all I knew) stalked down the hall and disappeared through a door at the far end, leaving me to stare up at the sweeping staircase with my mouth open. The place was huge!
‘Jessie, how lovely you could make it.’ Rupert strode up to me, both hands outstretched, and moved in for a double cheek peck.
‘Jenni,’ I corrected him, mortified.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Erm…yes?’
‘Jenni it is then, though I could have sworn you told me your name was Jessie.’
‘It was noisy in the pub,’ I said, trying to make him feel better, though to be fair, he didn’t seem in the least bit fazed that he’d got my name wrong.
Never mind, it was an easy mistake to make.
‘I see you’ve brought your dog,’ he said. ‘Does it retrieve?’
I glanced down at Millie, with her white fluffy fur and pink diamante collar. ‘Not even a stick,’ I admitted, wondering why he thought a West Highland Terrier would double up as a retriever. Now if he’d asked about her ability to dig holes…
Rupert looked a little put out, but recovered quickly. ‘No bother. Just don’t let it off the lead, or it might interfere with the real dogs.’
Was he calling my dog fake? Huh! She was as doggy as any other canine.
I had a feeling this date wasn’t going to go as well as I’d hoped, especially when he asked, ‘Are your wellies in the car?’
Wellies? What wellies? Oh dear; I hadn’t thought to dress for mud, assuming my leather boots and chunky jacket would be outdoorsy enough. Clearly not. When I took the time to really look at him, I realised he was wearing a Barbour jacket and a pair of green Wellington boots. Both the jacket and the wellies were liberally spattered with mud.
‘Is the shoot in a field?’ I asked, pleased to be able to display some shooting terminology.
He gave me an odd look. ‘Where else would it be?’
Maybe I should have done a bit more research on Google. ‘I’ve never handled a gun before,’ I admitted. ‘The only thing I know about it, is that you call “pull” and then do your best to hit the thingy.’
I was unprepared for his sudden burst of laughter. ‘Oh, my dear girl, you’re priceless!’
‘Eh?’ So what if I didn’t know the correct term for those flying disk things? I’d already confessed I knew nothing about shooting.’
‘We’re shooting pheasant,’ he said, taking my arm and guiding me towards the door he had appeared from.
I pulled back. ‘Wait. What? As in real, live birds?’
He nodded.
‘Ew. No thanks.’
‘You don’t have to touch them,’ he said, giving my arm a tug.
It wasn’t the touching which bothered me – it was the killing itself. Millie, close by my side, gave a small grumble in the back of her throat, half warning, half concern, and nudged my leg with her nose. I bent to pat her, using the movement as an excuse to shake off his hand.
‘Is it friendly?’ he asked, leaning forward and holding out his fingers for her to sniff.
Millie drew back behind my legs.
‘She,’ I emphasised the word, ‘is perfectly friendly.’ And Millie promptly made me into a liar by emitting a low growl.
I tugged at her lead in annoyance, vowing to give her a good telling off later. Not that it would do any good; if a dog had to be admonished for bad behaviour, the ticking off had to take place immediately after the event, else the dog would have no idea why its owner was cross.
‘I don’t think shooting is for me,’ I said, and turned to leave. Even if Rupert suggested doing something else instead, I wasn’t sure he was my kind of guy.
Millie simply confirmed my thoughts when I glanced down at her.
She was weeing on his wellies.
About the Author
Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!
She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…
When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing (sorry – “borrowing”) her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.
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