Christmas is not far away. I love this time of year. Lot’s of great things happen don’t they?
So, what better way to celebrate than this!
Today for one day only my new Christmas novella ‘A Christmas Romance’ is only **99p**
I couldn’t let Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and go without doing something special could I?
So hurry over to Amazon here and get yours.
Coming soon is my Christmas newsletter. So if you haven’t signed up for that then please do. Just go to the right hand side and scroll down to the newsletter subscription and simply click.
Meanwhile here is a little extract from the Christmas novella … Enjoy.
A Christmas Romance
Lynda Renham writing as Amy Perfect
Frankie opened the oven door and gently prodded the fruit cake, the rich aroma making her mouth water. Fruit cake was her favourite. She wiped her hands on her apron and began cracking eggs into a bowl. There were just the fairy cakes to make now; the mince pies to go into the oven and the filling into the sponge, and she would be finished. She turned from the bowl and stopped to drink in the view from her kitchen window, the smell of a freshly baked Victoria sponge wafting past her. The tree in the garden twinkled under the dusting of snow that had been falling gently all morning, and she reminded herself to get some Christmas tree lights to go around it. This was going to be one of the coldest winters in years. The weather forecast predicted a white Christmas and Frankie was looking forward to cosy evenings by the fire with a hot chocolate and a good novel. The kitchen was lovely and warm with the heat from the oven but she still shivered at the sight of the falling snow. Then, not for the first time, she wondered what Paul was doing right now. Of course Christmas in Australia would be very different from Little Perran. Frankie couldn’t imagine Christmas on the beach. It seemed unnatural. She shook her head, irritated with herself for thinking about Paul, and turned back to the bowl of eggs. She didn’t need a man in her life. She was coping very well, thank you very much. Her eyes fell on the small Christmas tree in the corner of her living room. Buster slept happily underneath it. It was no good telling a dog that only presents go under the tree. I wonder if they have a Christmas tree in Australia, she thought idly. Of course they do, she reprimanded herself. After all, it wasn’t the back of beyond was it? She beat the eggs angrily. She must stop thinking about Paul. He was most likely sunning himself on the beach with …
Her thoughts were halted by a tapping on the back door. Birdie popped her rosy cheeks around it and sniffed appreciatively.
‘Primrose Cottage always smells good,’ she said, quickly closing the door. ‘It’s bitter outside. I went to the library but you weren’t there.’
‘I took the day off to bake cakes for the Christmas fete.’ Frankie felt the cold air brushing against her bare feet.
‘And fabulous they look too,’ said Birdie, pulling off her wellies and throwing them outside the back door.
Birdie’s thick brown hair had been wound into a tight plait which she had secured at the nape of her neck with a hair pin. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold and her lips pink where she had applied some lip salve.
‘I’m knackered. I’ve been cleaning out. That’s the trouble with having the animals inside. And the tractor is knackered too. Ben has asked Joe to come and look at it for us. Aren’t you glad you’re not a farmer? I wish I worked in a library. Mind you I’d be reading all day.’
‘You’d be bored to death. You know how you love the outdoors.’
Birdie spotted the Christmas cake on the kitchen counter and gasped.
‘You’ve made it?’ she said, looking at the cake admiringly.
‘That was the easy bit. I’ve got to ice it now. I’m nervous about being too experimental though.’
‘Don’t be silly. It will be great. I so want you to win. I heard Cynthia is hiding hers.’
Frankie felt her heart sink.
‘I bet it’s lovely. That’s why she wins every year.’
‘A bit of cheating helps,’ scoffed Birdie.
‘Birdie, I’m sure that’s not true.’
‘As sure as eggs is eggs, it’s true,’ she laughed.
Frankie carefully pulled a sketch pad from the kitchen drawer and opened it.
‘This is a rough plan of my theme, Santa falling down the chimney. What do you think?’
Birdie’s eyes widened.
‘Oh Frankie, that’s amazing.’
‘It will be if I can recreate it with icing,’ Frankie said worriedly.
‘You can do it, I know you can. Any chance of a cuppa and a piece of that sponge?’ she smiled licking her lips. ‘We should celebrate.’
‘No.’ Frankie wagged her finger. ‘That’s for tomorrow’s fete. But I have some chocolate cake?’
She opened a Quality Street tin. Birdie peeked inside and sighed.
‘I love your chocolate cake. Now, I have some exciting news. But I think you already know don’t you?’
Frankie’s heart skipped a beat. Was this something to do with Paul? Of course it wasn’t. When would she stop thinking about him? It had been almost a year now since he broke off their engagement. When would she accept that he wasn’t going to come back to Little Perran? More to the point did she even want him back?
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about Birdie.’
‘Really? I had a feeling you didn’t know. Otherwise I’m sure you would have told me. That’s why I popped round really. Make a cuppa and sit down. I’m not telling you until you do. I don’ want you going into a dead faint.’
‘Ooh heavens, what is it?’ asked Frankie, her hand poised to whip the eggs. Maybe it was to do with Paul after all. Her heart fluttered in her chest.
‘Sit down. Leave those eggs for a minute, they won’t go off.’
Frankie did as she was told and sat down. It was a relief to get off her legs. She pulled the scrunch out of her curly auburn hair and twisted it neatly into a bun before securing it again.
‘Okay,’ said Birdie, tapping a drum-roll with her hands. ‘The Biggest heart-throb ever is only coming to live at Little Perran. He’s moving into Briar Lodge in a few days’ time.’
She looked at Frankie with wide eyes.
‘Briar Lodge, are you certain?’ asked Frankie.
If anyone was coming to live at Briar Lodge then surely she of all people would know.
‘Isn’t it exciting? He’ll be here for Christmas. Every single woman in the village will be after him, except me of course, as I’ve got Ben, but I’ll be tempted.’
Frankie stared at her.
‘Well, what do you think?’ asked Birdie, pouring water into the teapot.
‘You haven’t told me who it is?’
‘Oh, I thought I did. I’m so excited that’s why. Roux Lockhart, can you believe it?’ said Birdie slicing into the chocolate cake.
‘Roux Lockhart, the film star do you mean?’
‘In the flesh,’ Birdie swooned.
‘But why is he coming here?’
‘They’re making a movie. He’ll be staying here for the filming. I’m not supposed to be telling anyone this yet. It’s top secret. The parish council will be delivering letters today. I’ve brought yours. We’re not to talk to the press, or anyone outside the village who asks about him. Only a few of us have been told he’s staying at Briar Lodge. I thought you of all people would have known.’
Frankie felt her blood boil.
‘But Aunty Rose never mentioned renting out Briar Lodge while she was in the States.’
‘Oh dear,’ said Birdie, her face flushing.
‘I can’t believe it,’ exclaimed Frankie, jumping up to beat the eggs.
‘Were you planning on using the Lodge over Christmas?’ asked Birdie worriedly.
‘Don’t be silly Birdie. You know I’ve got no one coming for Christmas.’
‘You can come to us, you know that? We’d love to have you.’
Frankie forced a smile.
‘I know, but I don’t want to leave Buster.’
‘He’ll be okay for one evening.’
‘I’ll see. I just can’t believe Aunty Rose didn’t tell me about Roux Lockhart. I’m supposed to be watering her plants. How could she forget to tell me a famous film star was coming to stay?’
‘Ooh you’ve got a good excuse to go over there then,’ Birdie grinned.
‘All the same she might have told me.’
‘I think it was all done very suddenly. Your Aunty Rose told the parish council. You know what she’s like. She probably thought she had told you. Can you imagine though? He’s got pots of money. I bet Stella will be round there before he’s even got the kettle on.’
‘I bet he’s got pots of ego too,’ she said, rescuing the fruit cake from the oven.
‘I wonder if he’ll go to the Christmas ball?’ said Birdie thoughtfully. ‘Hey, he can be your date.’
‘Very funny.’ Frankie hurriedly dropped the hot cake onto a place mat. ‘Anyway, I’ve decided I’m not going to the ball this year.’
Birdie’s mouth dropped open.
‘But you always go.’
‘I’ve always had a partner,’ Frankie tried to keep her voice upbeat but felt sure she was failing miserably.
‘You can still go without a partner,’ insisted Birdie.
‘I’m going to put that on your tombstone,’ laughed Birdie, getting up. ‘Right I’d better get back. Ben will want to fix the tractor. You’re still coming to The Hand and Shears tonight aren’t you for pre-fete drinks.’
Frankie nodded, although the truth was she didn’t really want to go. She’d got into the habit of staying home these days with Buster for company. In fact she quite liked cosy nights in Primrose Cottage, doing her cross stitch while watching some rubbish on the tele. Honestly, she couldn’t get more boring if she tried. She’d be drinking Horlicks next and going to bed at nine o’clock.
‘Great see you later,’ waved Birdie, stepping into her wellies.
Frankie cleared away the dishes. It occurred to her that she ought to check Briar Lodge. Maybe leave a couple of mince pies there. At least someone famous in the village would stop her thinking about Paul. With that in mind, she placed the mince pies in the oven, switched on the radio and forced herself to sing along with the Christmas carols.
To read more, get your copy here.