Greetings!! Happy Tuesday one and all!! And I have a real treat for you today, with an exclusive extract to share from FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by the lovely KIRSTY FERRY, which is celebrating PUBLICATION DAY today!!! Go grab your copy now!!!
Publication Day Extract: Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry
To celebrate the release of Kirsty Ferry’s fun and festive Christmas novel, Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings, here is an exclusive extract from the book!
In this short excerpt, we join Flora for ‘her Christmas that Never Was’ – but is Flora destined for bad Christmases forever more? Hopefully not! Have a read and see …
(Which was horrible and turned into the Christmas that Never Was)
I hated January!
I hated London!
And I definitely hated Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith.
Because, dear reader, I was that girlfriend.
Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith (okay, let’s just call him Carter from now on) did the deed on Christmas Eve.
Bloody Christmas Eve.
I had wondered, I must say, as the days wore on, where my Christmas present was. I’d given him his so it wasn’t like I was being selfish; more just curious, as we’d originally intended to exchange them at the same time.
I started thinking that perhaps he just wasn’t as super-organised as I was, on the basis that, for days after I’d given him his gift, he kept saying stuff like, ‘Oh Flora, I’ll get around to it. I’ve just been … busy.’ Then he’d smile at me and try to distract me by snogging me or similar.
We’d arranged to spend Christmas together and everything. He’d booked lunch at a restaurant in Mayfair (he said), and apparently the destination was going to be a big surprise. I’d always had my Christmas lunch at home, or with my parents, and, if I was very honest
with myself, I didn’t feel I was really a “Hotel Christmas Lunch” sort of person. But he made it sound really exciting and fun and easy, so I agreed.
Due to this plan, my parents decided to have Christmas at the other end of the country – my sister Beth lives in a tiny village in the Lake District with her partner and two small children – and they checked and double-checked that it was okay to go.
‘Beth said she’ll come to us,’ Mum had said, looking super-concerned, ‘but if you’re definitely going to have Christmas with Carter, we’ll go there. It’s better for the children if they think Santa is coming to their own house. Routine and all that.’ Mum was a great one for “routine”, and it had obviously ingrained itself into her daughters. I worked in events management at Bloomsbury Bright’s in, well, Bloomsbury, obviously, and that involved a lot of organisation and planning; and Beth was a teacher, so she spent weekdays herding small children, and evenings and weekends herding even smaller children. I didn’t know how she managed. Her house ran like clockwork and I was sure that Trixie and Tabitha would have been perfectly compliant if Beth and Tony had decided to drive to Pinner and ensure Santa showed up there instead.
I’d always failed to see why she’d given her children the same names as the cats we’d had when we were kids though.
But, anyway, off to the Lakes they went on the 23rd, and I promised I’d send them a photo of my lovely Christmas lunch.
Then on the morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up to a text from Carter:
Babes. Been thinking. Getting too serious for me, y’all know I’m scared of commitment lol lol lol. Christmas Day together, man, just seems kinda – intense. You know? Gonna cut you loose, so you can have fun with the fam-a-lam tomoz instead. Don’t feel bad about it, we had fun, yeah? The swimming and the waxworks. Oh and the theatre. Awesome.
So yeah. Not you, it’s me lol lol. Cancelled lunch, so don’t stress over it. Love n light n peace. Thanks for the last few months. Been fun. Xxx
‘What the … what the absolute …!’ I screamed into the empty bedroom. Three mentions of “fun” in one bloody text and I was currently failing to see what had been “fun” at all, in retrospect. Yes, we’d been to the water park at London Royal Docks and he’d zoomed off swimming and left me trailing behind. Yes, we’d done Madame Tussaud’s and I’d been scared witless in the Chamber of Horrors, but he’d “had to get up early the next day” so wouldn’t stay over and I spent the night a gibbering wreck with the lights on in the lounge binge-watching comedy movies. And he’d fallen asleep in Les Mis, which was certainly a talent few can claim to own.
I was aware that he had a very punchy sort of job in finance; I’d always known he would be working long hours and that was fine. He constantly seemed to move at a million miles per hour and treated everything as a joke, just a bit of light relief. We’d only been together six months and I thought it seemed a bit wild arranging something so, well, intimate for Christmas Day. But I was happy to go along with it, all caught up in the new relationship and thinking that it was one day we wouldn’t have to rush through for once; that we could enjoy a lazy morning and a lovely lunch and a cosy afternoon.
But I was wrong.
By then, Mum and Dad were at Beth’s – I had told Carter that was happening, which made his text even more thoughtless – and even as I phoned Mum in desperation, thinking I could maybe drive all the way up there, deep down I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
‘Oh darling,’ said Mum. ‘We’ve got blizzards up here, and they’ve got a weather warning up for today and tonight. We’re basically snowed in and being advised not to drive. It’s supposed to ease off tomorrow…?’ There was a little note of hope in her voice, a tiny query in the word “tomorrow”, but I was already shaking my head, tears dripping off the end
of my nose by that point. I realised I’d have to speak eventually because we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me. But that was maybe a good thing because I’d always been an ugly crier.
‘No, Mum. It’s okay,’ I managed. ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s only one day.’
‘Sweetheart. Are there any friends you can spend it with? I’m so sorry we’re up here.’
‘I’ll find someone. It’s fine.’
‘If you’re sure.’
But obviously it wasn’t fine, and I didn’t even try to call any friends. Most of them were spending Christmas Day with their families and, of course, I didn’t want to gate-crash.
In the end, I lied. I told Mum I’d spent the day with my colleague Claudia, because her partner, Dieter, was a doctor and had to work, so she’d be on her own too. Claudia was a person far enough removed that they were highly unlikely to meet her, they weren’t friends with her parents, and they basically didn’t know her at all. After Christmas, I told Claudia to uphold that lie if they ever did end up meeting her and explained why. I knew she would do it, bless her.
In reality, that Christmas Day was the most pox-worthy, crappy day I have ever spent in my entire life. It may only have been one day, but the TV adverts don’t let you think that. They always fill the screen with happy people and families around a massive turkey on a table. I cried every time an advert came on with a mum and a dad and a child. Which is stupid because I’m twenty-eight!
I had a going-out-of-date microwave chicken curry for lunch which I’d bought at the corner shop on Christmas Eve, ate an entire Christmas pudding for tea and drank a bottle of prosecco for supper, just to try and make myself sleep.
I told Mum I’d “forgotten” my phone when I went to Claudia’s, so that was why I had no photos of the lunch or the super-fun day we’d had playing Pictionary and singing along to musicals on TV, etc, and that was also why I only FaceTimed them at 8 p.m.
She held the phone up to the window of Beth’s house so I could see the thick covering of snow, almost like she thought I might not believe her about the weather, but the worst part was seeing my dad with his paper hat on and Tabitha curled up asleep in the crook of his arm.
I so wanted to be there with them.
And thus Christmas Day passed, eventually, and thankfully I went to bed, fell asleep and shut the door on that awful day.
It was a crying shame because I loved Christmas, normally – but that one went down in my memory bank as the “Christmas that Never Was”.
And then we were into January, which I always hated anyway, because it’s grey and miserable – and who’s a size four, to grab bargains in the sales?
So now you can probably understand why I particularly hated last January. I was still getting over the awful Christmas; still getting over – and getting enraged on a regular basis about – Carter.
But when I met Paul Tanner at an event the following month, I thought that at least it had to mean that February was going to be much better than January!
About the author:
Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.
Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.
Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.
FOLLOW THE AUTHOR……
Kirsty’s website: www.rosethornpress.co.uk
Kirsty’s blog: www.rosethornramblings.wordpress.com
About the book:
It was meant to be a romantic Christmas getaway …
Except Flora’s boyfriend Paul is more interested in whether there’s WiFi in their holiday cottage than he is in the pretty village of Padcock where it’s located. It seems he’s incapable of taking time out from his work for gossip mag darling Maxine Marling – or Maxine Marmoset as Flora not so secretly calls her (well, she does look like a marmoset!) – to spend time with his actual girlfriend.
But as Flora discovers the friendly and festive community of Padcock with its eccentric but lovable locals – including dreamy musician Geraint Davies – she begins to question her London life and lots more besides. Especially as a certain marmoset becomes ever more present on her Christmas break for two …
But luckily Padcock is a village where fresh starts happen – and maybe Flora is in line for her own Christmas of new beginnings.
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3P58DWu