Celia J. Anderson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Digital Price: $4.99 (99c/99p Kindle sale through 14 Jan)
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* This is the prequel to Little Boxes
Together since their teens, Molly and Jake have four children, a house in a sleepy village, and jobs that bore them to distraction. Their marriage is an accident waiting to happen.
When Nick arrives in Mayfield, young, disturbed and in desperate need of mother-love, Molly doesn’t realise that he will be the catalyst that blows everything apart.
Add a headmaster whose wife doesn’t understand him, and Molly’s unpredictable, frustrated best friend to the mix, and the blue touch paper has been well and truly lit.
Driving along the narrow country lanes into town, Jake’s anger develops into a huge black cloud of self-pity. Why did Molly have to go off the rails on a school night when they’ve both got a hard day at work to get through?
He sighs heavily, feeling the snatched bowl of Weetabix beginning to churn in his stomach. Being a foreman at the brewery is a steady job, even if it’s not that exciting, but he needs to be alert to do it properly. It’s not his dream job – not even close – but it pays the mortgage. Last night’s broken sleep was as bad as the early days with teething babies. Jake doesn’t need this. He loves Molly and his four kids, his home, his allotment and his prize-winning leeks; in that order, usually. He likes to cook, if somebody else has done the shopping and if he can use his home-grown vegetables.
He looks after his pride and joy carefully – an ageing Range Rover, temperamental but solid. At weekends, he gives a hand with the cleaning, if he’s not at work or on the allotment. In all his thirty-nine years he’s never really wanted more than a quiet life. Is he demanding? Jake thinks not.
The September morning sunshine is breaking through the mist, but Jake’s mood darkens even more as he drives along the winding lanes to Hopton. The early rays warm the freshly-cut grass along the verge, the evocative smell bringing unwelcome memories of a time, years ago, when he lay in the wild meadow at the edge of the sports field, trying to persuade Molly to let him see her new bra.
‘Honestly, Moll, you can’t get pregnant just by taking off your PE shirt,’ he’d said hopefully. Molly’s aertex PE shirt was all that lay between Jake and the wonderful lace and wire construction that kept her chest in order, but there was no way she was letting him do more than stroke the bare skin of her back.
‘Look, it’s all right for you, no one calls you a slag if you let them feel your… you-know-whats…’
‘But I haven’t got any you-know-whats.’
‘Don’t be pedantic.’
‘How can I be pedantic? I don’t know what it means. Anyway, I only want to give them a bit of a rub – over your bra, not even under it.’ He’d shuddered at the wonderful thought of actually being allowed underneath a girl’s bra.Jake sighs as a sharp pang of nostalgia for such simple times brings a lump to his throat.
Celia J Anderson spends most of her spare time writing in as many different genres as possible, including children’s fiction. In her other life, she’s Assistant Headteacher at a small Catholic primary school in the Midlands and loves teaching literature (now comfortingly called English again but still the best subject in the world.)
She tried a variety of random jobs before discovering that the careers advisor at secondary school was right, including running crèches, childminding, teaching children to ride bikes (having omitted to mention she couldn’t do it herself) and a stint in mental health care. All these were ideal preparation for the classroom and provided huge amounts of copy for the books that were to come.
Celia enjoys cooking and eating in equal measures, and thinks life without wine would be a sad thing indeed. She is married, with two grown up daughters who have defected to the seaside. One day she plans to scoop up husband and cats and join them there.
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