Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt






Title: Kiss Me at Willoughby Close
Author: Kate Hewitt
Part of a series: Yes but can be read as a standalone
No. of pages: 206
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Format: eBook only - will be available on NetGalley
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick-Lit


 Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

After her husband unexpectedly dies, Ava moves to Willoughby Close, trying to keep her chin up and herself to herself as she’s always done—not answering questions, not making friends, and not seeing much of a future. Her marriage was far from perfect, but it offered her a much-needed security that has now been ripped away. She’s not sure what to do now that she’s thirty-five, widowed, penniless… and unexpectedly pregnant with her late husband’s child.

Jace Tucker is the over-the-top sexy caretaker of Willoughby Manor, and he can see beneath Ava’s glamor girl act to the hurt she’s been hiding for so long. She has secrets for a reason—and so does he. The last thing she needs right now is a fling with a man who hides a past as regrettable as her own.

But with a baby to think about, and neighbors determined to be her friends, Ava finds herself starting to change and even more alarmingly, beginning to hope. Can Willoughby Close work its everyday magic on a woman like her? And when the past comes calling for both her and Jace, will they have to answer for their previous mistakes?

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“I’m sure you understand.”
     Four words, Ava Mitchell decided then and there, that were code for "you’re screwed and I don’t care". So she did the only thing she could in response and lifted her chin a little, curved her lips in a small smile, and said, “Of course.”
     Nigel Farraday, her husband’s solicitor, a man she and David had had over to dinner several times, gave her a quick, answering smile [MS1] of apology before dropping his gaze. Bastard. Not that there was anything he could do. He was just the messenger. It was David, her husband of five years that had left this world a week ago, who had really screwed her over.
     How could he have done this?
     “I hope,” Simon said, clearing his throat, “you don’t have any notion of contesting the will.”
     Ava swiveled to give her stepson—not that either of them would have ever referred to their relationship that way—what she hoped was a scathing look of disdain. It was one she’d mastered a long time ago, practicing it in the mirror, making sure she got it right. Mouth pursed, eyes electric before the lashes swept down, dismissing the person in question. It was important to have a look like that in her arsenal, to be able to dismiss someone before he or she dismissed her.
     But now, for some reason, she couldn’t quite manage it. She did the downward sweep of her lashes and felt [MS2] her eyes fill. No. No, no, no, she was not going to cry here, not in front of Simon and Emma, who had hated her from day one of her marriage to their father[MS3] . They’d probably given each other a victory high five when they’d found out about the will.
     Or maybe they’d already known? No, Ava didn’t think they had. Otherwise, she would have sensed it over the years—the smugness, the certain knowledge that all would be made right in their eyes. They just had to wait for their father to die first.
     “Ava?” Simon sounded impatient now. “I’d advise against taking legal action, if you’re thinking about it.” He pressed on, an iron edge to his tone. “The will is watertight. Isn’t it, Nigel?” He glanced back at the solicitor, sounding so smug it made Ava want to choke.
     Next to him Emma sat ramrod straight, her hands clenched together so tightly her knuckles were white. She hadn’t said a word to Ava since she’d entered the room ten minutes ago and had been lobbed this emotional grenade.
     The solicitor shifted in his seat. “Ah… yes, I would say that it is. More or less…”
     Ava almost felt sorry for him, squirming in his chair. He obviously didn’t want to be party to Simon and Emma’s—and David’s—ruthlessness. Or maybe it was just uncomfortable for him to feel so much hostility in the room. Either way, Ava didn’t have the energy to pity anyone else—her own situation was too dire.
     She blinked rapidly, willing her eyes to clear, and then lifted her chin. Again. “I won’t contest the will.” She didn’t have the money for a court case, and she had no doubt Simon and Emma would fight tooth and nail to make sure she didn’t get another penny, a penny they didn’t think she deserved. Brother and sister, they were a perfect pair, each as bitter and resentful as the other, at least when it came to her.
     The trouble was, she had no idea what she was going to do. How she was going to survive. After five years of fidelity, loyalty, and, yes, love, David had left her with ten thousand pounds, her clothes and jewelry, her car, and her Yorkshire terrier, Zuzu.


 [MS1]Noted for repeat use a little soon.
 [MS2]Noted for filter words / extra layer.
 [MS3]Noted for reference. I added this to avoid confusion. I didn't realize Emma was Simon's sister until later in the narrative.
About Kate Hewitt



Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.

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