Victoria Blisse – Her Secret Past Blog Tour
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I’m not a collector per se, but I do collect odds and ends. I love owls and because people know I love them I get lots of lovely cute owls for presents and occasionally I’ll buy them for myself too. Today’s blog isn’t about that particular obsession of mine, no it’s a strange compulsion I have to collect something which is to all intents and purposes, completely useless.
I love’em. Decorated or not, new or old, I love boxes. Coming up to Christmas I hoard them to fill with pressies to give to friends and family. Empty boxes just take up space, but the great thing about them is you can fill them up and then you have a storage solution.
Mary, in Her Secret Past, seems to have my attraction to boxes. As Katrina and Ryan are cleaning out her house they find many boxes filled with things. Including one battered up suitcase that contains something incredibly precious.
The bedroom was less packed than the other rooms, though that wasn’t saying much. Clearly Mary had had to sleep in the room so she had left just enough gap to get from the door to her bed.
“She was definitely a well-read lady,” I stated as I piled more magazines into a bin bag.
“Indeed. She must have read every magazine on the market for years. And there are books in that corner too.”
“She was very clever, was Mary. I suppose her life here might not have been challenging enough for her. She could have made a lot of her life, but she was too involved with her family.”
“How can you be too involved with your family?” Katrina snapped. Obviously I’d hit a nerve with her.
“I suppose I don’t quite mean it like that. She put her family first, always. Her husband, who was a bit of a prat, if truth be told, and her son, who was also a rum’un. Not everyone would have taken what Mary took and hung around. But she loved her family, and her granddaughter especially. She probably used these books and magazines to escape from the mundaneness of life once she grew up. Me and Janet were a handful as kids, constantly pulling her gran into our make-believe shenanigans. I think we kept her well occupied, well, until we hit our teens anyway.”
“What happened then?” Katrina asked, pulling a suitcase free from the surrounding flotsam.
“Oh, well, we went our separate ways, really. We went to the same school but got different sets of friends, you know? We kinda lost touch.”
“That’s sad.” She fiddled with the old-fashioned catch and the retro blue-green case popped open.
“Yeah, it is. I regret it. I miss Janet a lot, we were such good friends. But then I met Eve, fell completely in love so, you know, I’m conflicted.”
“Well, the past is the past, I guess,” Katrina responded, distractedly.
“You’re right.” I flipped through a dog-eared Mills & Boon book then flung it in the rubbish bag. “I can’t change it now. But if I could have my time again I’d have done things differently.”
“I think everyone would, given the choice.”
I pushed a few more paperbacks into the bin bag and looked over to Katrina who was stroking something woolen and mustard-colored against her cheek.
“Wow, I remember that jumper.” I gasped. “Mary wore it constantly when Janet bought it her for Christmas one year. God, she loved that thing. She’d knitted us some the same color—you remember, right? I showed you that photo.”
Katrina nodded. I saw tears in her eyes.
“Are you all right? Has something upset you?”
“I’m fine.” She gulped, more tears trickling down her cheek.
“No, you’re not.” I moved my arse up the bed a few inches and put my arm over her shoulder. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, nothing.” She wriggled and tried to dislodge my arm from around her. “Really, I’m fine.” The last sentence had come out as a whine and had ended with a sob.
I held on, my heart thumping, my dick interested in her soft curves. I tried with all my mind to not think about that and embarrass myself.
“It’s definitely something.” I kept my voice low—I hoped it was soothing. “But you don’t have to tell me what, if you don’t want to.”
“Thanks.” Katrina sniffled and rubbed her face with the back of her hand in a most unladylike manner. “It’s just, this jumper. My gran had one just the same color. It brought back memories, that’s all.”
“Hell, yes. I think everyone’s granny had one,” I chirped, arm still around her.
My lips had joined in with the rebellion. They wanted to push themselves against Katrina’s mouth but I knew that would be a very bad idea indeed, so I kept them occupied by talking. “Mary loved this one, well, you can tell, it’s well worn, and it’s got them navy patches on the elbows. She was not impressed the day me and Janet used it to cradle the cat we found on the side of the road. It’d been hit by a car and we needed to keep it warm.”
“Ha, she shouted a lot.” Katrina chuckled and sniffed. “I mean, I bet she did. My gran would have.”
“Oh yeah, she did. But she still helped us get the cat to the vets in the town. Even adopted it once it was fixed up. But I got a flea in my ear over taking that jumper off the line and not one of her vests.”
Katrina laughed and rested her head on my shoulder.
“She was a great lady. Well, sounds like it.” She coughed. “Wish I’d met her.”
“The best. Mary was the best—and Janet too, actually.”
“Sounds like it.”
“Hey, what’s these? More books?” In the suitcase were some photos and letters, but among them were three old, faded books.
“Oh yeah.” Katrina let me pull out the books then snapped shut the case.
“Poems. Emily Dickinson and another two volumes. These look well old.”
“They do, don’t they?” Katrina took one from me. “They might be first editions even.”
“Hang on.” I took out my mobile and typed the name into Google.
“Bloody Nora, look at this.” I showed her the page I’d found. The books we’d found were displayed there with a price tag of over nineteen grand associated with them.
“Yeah, apparently they’re dead rare. They printed just five hundred of the first editions.”
“God, well, yes. I better put them somewhere safe. They belong to her family really.”
“You’re just going to give them away?” How could she give so much away without blinking?
“Yes, well, they’re not mine, are they?”
“But they kind of are,” I argued. I couldn’t believe something so small, something I had in my hands, could get me out of all my debt. “You bought the house and its contents.”
“I know, but they are clearly precious, the family should have them back. The amount they’re worth just isn’t relevant.”
“But you could seriously do a lot with that kind of money. It’d change my life if I had it.”
“Well, exactly, that’s why they should go back to their rightful owners. When I’ve finished renovating I’ll contact the solicitors, get all this personal stuff back to the lady’s family.”
“I guess. Where you going to put them?” I tried not to sound too interested but I really was. Obviously close to twenty grand was nothing to Katrina. She was a bloody millionaire. Would she miss the books if I took them?
“I’ll find somewhere.” She put them back in the suitcase and carried it out of the room.
The rest of the day I fought with myself over those books. Three books, simple and plain. They wouldn’t be missed, would they? If I had them I could clear the debt, might even have enough left over to have a half decent Christmas.
Do you collect anything that’s a bit unusual?
Like the sound of Her Secret Past? You can buy it here.
Title: Her Secret Past by Victoria Blisse
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Chicklit
Length: Super Novel/Word Count: 77506
A past she wants to forget, a secret that will change everything and a hunky guy who should have known better.
It’s no secret that Katrina Quinn has been caught having an affair with her hunky co-star. Hounded by the press she has escaped to Yorkshire, England and the remote seclusion of Copse Cottage. It’s a house packed full of junk and memories—far too much for one woman to handle.
For odd job man Ryan Taylor, being hired to clear clutter while ogling one of Hollywood’s hottest stars seems like easy money. A good way to escape his jealous, drunken girlfriend, Eve, who seems intent on making his life a misery. But Copse Cottage is haunted with his happy past, stirring anew his longing for the girl he used to call the best in the world.
A stolen beat-up suitcase is going to change everything—secrets will be revealed, hearts will be broken all over again and the biggest mystery of all will finally be answered.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence and bullying.
Purchase Link: Totally Bound