Title: Sweet Proposal by Celia J. Anderson
Publisher: Piatkus Entice
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 226 pages
Books, chocolate and a Jacuzzi: could there be a better combination? Gorgeous Geordie Leo arrives in Clayton-on-the-Bream with a mission to make his mark. When he reveals his ideas for a bespoke bookshop and chocolate-themed cafe, struggling writer Mab can’t resist his plea for help.
However, Leo’s timing is disastrous. Engaged to flighty, super-thin Sophie and knowing that Mab is up to her neck in a mysterious scheme of her own, Leo fights hard to ignore the warm, sensual friendship that is growing between them. When their eclectic mix of family and friends weigh in to help, the dream seems almost possible, but can Leo ignore Mab’s shady past? As they battle with sabotage, jealousy, vindictive neighbours and unpredictable relationships, Mab and Leo find that even chocolate can’t always make miracles happen . . .
Here, Leo arrives in Clayton-on-the-Bream, keen to put his plans into action. He has always been unaware of his physical charms and causes a stir in the sleepy market town without even noticing. He is about to enter the local wholefood cafe to get some much needed energy before looking for Mab (who his much loved but recently deceased Godmother Anjelica recommended to help with the launch of Leo’s new business.)
Leo parked his van in the shade of a huge horse chestnut tree, right at the edge of the market square. He was so hungry that the smell of paella from a nearby stall was making him dizzy. The empty shop was only just ahead of him, but right next door was a quaint little café with a chalk board outside that promised ‘Hot vegetable soup with a wholemeal crusty roll and a free pot of green tea’. Half an hour’s break wouldn’t hurt. Then he could concentrate on looking for Mab – there was no point in having an energy crisis. Leo headed for the café, unaware of the stir he was causing as he strolled across the cobbled square, hands in the pockets of his faded Levis. His short black curls and five o’clock shadow gave him the air of someone who’d stepped straight out of an old Western, an image reinforced by the battered cowboy boots and ancient checked shirt,
‘Isn’t that what’s-his-name?’ murmured an elderly lady to her friend.
‘What, the one off that soap? The American one?’
‘No – you know, that other one, from the programme where they tell people they can’t sing.’
‘Don’t think so, but it must be somebody famous – he’s got his sunglasses on and the sun’s gone in.’
‘Hmmm – might be a friend of the Crabtrees. I reckon Edward’s got a bit above himself since he was on that programme last month.’
‘Was he? I didn’t see that. What was he on the tellyfor?’
‘You know – it was the one where they go to each other’s houses for dinner and poke around in the bedrooms and then make fun of the food and get drunk.’
‘Oh yes. Well, that one looks like a telly person to me.’
A small bunch of teenage girls watched with calculated lack of interest as Leo stopped by the menu board. They giggled. The first lady nodded. ‘See, those girls recognised him. Told you he was famous. Wonder what he’s doing in Clayton? Nothing much ever happens here.’
‘Fancy a cuppa, love?’
‘Don’t mind if I do.’
The ladies made their way to the café doorway and Leo turned and waved them in front of him with an easy gesture. ‘After you, ladies. Is this a good place to eat? I’m a bit out of touch. I’ve not been to Clayton for a while.’
‘Oh, we thought we’d seen you somewhere before,’ said the braver one, smiling up at him. ‘I hope you don’t mind me asking, but aren’t you on the TV?’
‘No, sorry to disappoint you, I’m just a stray Geordie looking for some dinner.’
When she’s not marking children’s work, or writing stories involving pants, Celia spends far too much time on Facebook (Celia Joy Anderson) and does a lot of walking to counteract the cooking, eating and drinking which form another of her hobbies. She blogs as part of the Romaniacs online writers’ group – http://theromaniacgroup.wordpress.com and tweets as @CeliaAnderson1. Her own website was recently launched thanks to Lucy Felthouse – http://celiajanderson.co.uk and she has an author page on Facebook (Celia J Anderson)
Her ultimate dream is to have her children’s books published too. Usually sea-starved in the depths of the Midlands, she can often be found wandering happily around Brighton visiting her two daughters and pretending to collect ideas for her next book.
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