by Ellie Gray
Having escaped an abusive relationship, Chloe MacGregor is determined to put the past behind her. The little cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Whitby is her safe haven, somewhere she is free to be herself.
When the arrival of her new neighbor and boss, Luke Warwick, threatens her peaceful, sheltered life, Chloe is forced to confront her past and to re-evaluate who she really is. Falling in love with Luke is not part of her plan but, to her surprise, Luke is falling for her too. The only thing preventing their happy ever after is Chloe herself. Will she ever truly learn to leave the past where it belongs?
“Oh, Jasper, what was I doing? I made such a fool of myself last night.”
The German Shepherd looked up expectantly on hearing her name, thumping her tail on the carpet as Chloe sank onto the sofa and dropped her head in her hands.
“I can’t believe I kissed him. A complete stranger, and I kissed him!” She squeezed her eyes shut, her cheeks burning as she remembered vividly what it had felt like to be held in his arms, and her own completely unexpected response to his passionate kiss. She looked up when Jasper whined and pushed a wet nose against her fingers.
“Okay, you’re right; think positive.” Chloe took a deep breath, and straightened up to address her dog. “So, lessons learned from last night. Number one, Lucie is a total bitch…excuse my language.” She grimaced apologetically at Jasper. “But she is. She is definitely not a friend, and you’d better remind me of that the next time she rings or texts me.”
“Lesson number two.” She counted off on her fingers. “Chris…Chris is…” Her chin wobbled and she paused, taking a moment to bite back sudden tears. Jasper shuffled closer as if sensing her distress, resting her head on Chloe’s knees.
“Thank you, Jasper. I love you, too.” She scratched Jasper’s ears before nodding her head. “Lesson two. Chris is a complete and utter bastard, and obviously still has the power to hurt me, if I let him. But I won’t, I can’t. Otherwise, this last year has just been a complete waste.”
“Lesson number three. Not everyone is like Chris; there are still some good guys out there. Guys like Luke Warwick, for instance.” She paused, head on one side as she considered. “At least, I think he’s a good guy. Not that I’ll ever see him again, thank goodness.”
She blew out a long breath. “Ohhhh, and lesson number four. Do not go around kissing said good guys. Just because I found out that I do actually like kissing some people, it does not change the fact that I am no good at the whole kissing and sex thing.”
Chloe smiled and lifted Jasper’s furry face, looking into the dog’s beautiful, brown eyes. “And finally, lesson number five. The same lesson as every other day. I am a good person, and just because I’m rubbish in bed, it does not give someone the right to treat me like dirt.”
“There.” She let Jasper go and walked over to the window, looking out over the cliffs. “I think that’s more than enough lessons for one day, don’t you? How about going down to the beach?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I love to write heartwarming, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense novels, with characters I really want my readers to engage with. I live in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire in the UK and, although I work full-time in the public sector, my favourite pastime, when not writing, is wandering around old stately homes and castles, or sitting at a pavement café in the sun and watching the world go by – always on the lookout for something that might spark the idea for my next novel.
I enjoy engaging with both readers and other authors, and am a proud member of the Romantic Novelist Association. Feel free to contact me and chat about all things romance through my social media pages, which you can find at the bottom of this page.
Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR
Are you a Plotter (one who plans or plots out every detail of the writing process) or Pantser (one who writes by the seat of his/her pants)?
Whenever I’m asked this, my immediate thought is that I’m a bit of both! However, on reflection, as I tend to ‘write’ the full story and plot in my head way before I ever get to putting anything down on paper, I guess I’m more of a Plotter in that sense, although perhaps I’m a virtual Plotter as I usually don’t actually write the plot down. I do write down my character bios and any specific technical information I need or have researched, for example in my next novel, Winter Storm, due to be published later this year, my heroine had to disarm a gun and so I needed to research that.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
That getting down the first draft is just the beginning – when I first started writing I was naïve enough to think that, once I’d typed ‘The End’ and had a read through to check for typos, it was ready to send off to an agent or publisher. How wrong I was…... I wish I had known the technical aspect to writing – editing (and not just for grammar and spelling), character arcs, point of view, etc. And also that it is okay to think your first draft is rubbish because it is just that – a first draft and probably the first of many…. Also, the writing community is incredibly supportive – you will be supported by so many people who know exactly how you feel and are a fabulous resource.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
The ‘plotting’ part – writing the story in my head. I love this process – I work and re-work my story in my head until I know every aspect from beginning to end. The fact that, when I come to actually write it down, I know it will change in all sorts of ways, and probably go off in different directions, doesn’t bother me – I know the characters will find their way to the ending in the way that works best for them.
What is your favorite part of this story?
My favourite part of the story was actually the setting. I love Whitby, and I had fun trying to bring it to life, and to add in little ‘check-points’ so that readers can follow Chloe’s journey – almost literally when she is running headlong along the old town and up to the Abbey itself.
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
I enjoyed writing Chloe. She’s a survivor, having been through an abusive relationship with her ex boyfriend, but it hasn’t broken her, and she is determined to live her life. Seeing her blossom and achieve her dream of selling her own bespoke jewellery was something I was keen to explore, and she blew me away with her determination to succeed. Chloe really is one of my favourite characters.
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
Chloe’s mother, Claire, was difficult to write. She has been through her own trauma as a young woman, which has deeply affected the way she has parented Chloe. I tried hard to make sure that, although she has damaged Chloe, my readers would ultimately empathise with Claire and feel satisfied with the ending.
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