#Blogtour #Spotlight #Extract: Christmas At Lock Keeper's Cottage by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #ChristmasAtLockKeepersCottage #BoldwoodBloggers
Release date - 3rd September 2020
Book length - 331 pages
Publisher - Boldwood Books
UK - www.amazon.co.uk
US - www.amazon.com
I want to thank Rachel from www.rachelsrandomresources.com for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with an extract for you all to enjoy.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina.
Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in.
When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.
But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget - for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?
As we take our seats, Gray holds up his beer bottle and we chink.
‘That’s good news… that you can stay over.’ I’m trying not to sound as excited as I feel, but my heart is pounding in my chest and suddenly I’m full of the joys of Christmas. ‘Let the festivities begin!’
Our eyes lock and I can see how much he’s missed me and feel that sense of regret for the time we’ve lost. Sometimes life seems too complicated and it’s hard to avoid feeling a bit depressed. Fortunately, my other part-time job, at the Lockside Nurseries, spirits me away to my happy place. When people, or the world in general, are getting me down, then nurturing nature’s bountiful gifts is spiritually healing. I can lose myself for hours in the greenhouses deadheading, or re-potting and watering. It’s the only place I can really switch off the emotional turmoil for a while.
Gray is gazing at me and I feel my cheeks begin to glow.
‘I’m just happy to see you. Is that a crime?’ He laughs and I want to hug him all over again.
‘That’s not a smile, it’s a mischievous look you’re wearing. It’s great to see you so relaxed, Gray.’ I reach forward and graze my fingers over the back of his hand.
‘Ma is doing well. She’s even started driving again. I’ve left her with a packed weekend planned. So, here’s to lovers of Christmas everywhere and to a very special one for us this year Immi.’ The optimism in his voice as he makes a toast touches my heart. ‘Who is this little boy you were telling me about on the phone, who made my Immi cry, then?’
Taking a quick sip of beer, I’m pleased that it isn’t too strong, or overpowering. This is going to be a popular one; Pete and David have done The Bullrush proud.
‘A hint of fennel, hmm… I like that,’ I confirm, placing the bottle firmly back down onto the tabletop. ‘The little boy’s name is Billy Davis.’
‘And he’s seven, you said?’
‘Yes. He was nominated by his grandma for a silver ticket. Watch this clip.’ I pull out my phone and flick through to find the email.
Mrs Price, Tollie’s former housekeeper, is the official contact for nominations for two very special boat trips we run for the Santa Ahoy Little Stars. All the other trips are run in aid of charity, but the silver tickets are for children who deserve a little extra spoiling.
As I click on the attachment, Gray pulls his chair up alongside me.
The picture is dark and a little grainy, but it’s just possible to make out a child’s bed and the distressed sobs emanating from a heap in the middle. It’s a pitiful sound in the soft grey light and it’s a wail that comes from deep down inside the poor little mite. The young boy is crouched down on the floor next to his sister, his voice calm and reassuring. He’s trying to comfort her, but I don’t think she can even hear him above the noise she’s making, so great is her distress. Only the odd hiccough breaks the constant sobbing.
‘She’s lost her Noo-Noo, apparently,’ I explain to Gray. ‘It’s a little blanket, like a comforter, with an animal’s head in the centre.’
Rather unexpectedly, the boy lies down on the floor and begins, very softly, to sing. His voice rises up in the darkness hauntingly, with the most beautiful ring to it. It’s the voice of an angel. ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star—’
At first, it’s hard to hear him but gradually the crying begins to subside. It reduces to a heart-rending, intermittent sniffing sound and the boy slowly snakes his hand up onto the bed. When he covers her hand with his she throws it off, unwilling to be pacified in her anguish. He waits a few seconds and then tries again. This time Billy begins to gently stroke the back of her hand with his fingertips. The little girl, who, I know from the email, is three, is no longer thrashing around inconsolably, having run out of steam. She lies there, prostrate and exhausted.
He continues singing for several minutes, the sound of his achingly beautiful voice so soothing and empathetic that my eyes begin to prickle with tears once again. The creak of a floorboard confirms that this is being filmed through the partially opened bedroom door. When it ends my heart feels full, so great is the love and caring in that little boy’s actions.
Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling author of contemporary romantic fiction. In 2013 she won the UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction Award. Originally from Bristol, she now lives in the Welsh Valleys with her husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy.
For Lucy, life is all about family, friends and writing. She is a self-confessed hopeless romantic and an eternal optimist. When Lucy is not writing, she spends time in the garden weeding or practising Tai Chi. And she is often found with a paintbrush in her hand indulging her passion for upcycling furniture.
Her novels have been translated into Italian, Czech and Croatian. She also writes as Linn B. Halton.
Lucy is represented by Sara Keane from the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.
To keep up-to-date with this author, follow here:
Website - linnbhalton.co.uk
Twitter - twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth
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Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger, wife & mother who loves all things books!
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