#blogtour – The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans @be_the_spark @NeverlandBT #extract #giveaway
I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans and I will be sharing an extract from the book with you, along with details of a fab giveaway. Thank you to Jenny Marston from Neverland Blog Tours for asking me to take part.
‘Will you… pretend to marry me?’
Bonnie Haskett loves everything about weddings. She loves her job at a national bridal magazine and even has a deposit down on her dream dress. The only problem? She doesn’t have a fiancé!
So when Bonnie is sent to Edelweiss Island, known as ‘The Little Wedding Island’, it’s a dream come true. She’s heard the rumours, every wedding that takes place in the tiny chapel ends in a happy-ever-after.
But there’s a catch! Investigating the story, Bonnie needs to pose as a blushing bride – and the only man up for posing as her groom is her arch rival (and far too handsome for his own good) journalist Rohan Carter…
A gorgeously uplifting summer romance. Perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Caroline Roberts.
Also available from all other ebook retailers.
When did everyone stop believing in love? That’s what I’m thinking about as I drive down to Lymington to catch the afternoon trip of the twice-daily boat to Edelweiss Island. Oliver, R.C. Art, and the thousands of people who follow him on Twitter and read his column every month, even the bloke at the petrol pump in front of me in the garage just now wearing a slogan T-shirt that said, ‘I’d give a toss, but my wife took them all in the divorce’.
Everywhere I go, people spout divorce statistics at me. Especially when they find out I work for a wedding magazine. No one ever says, ‘Oh, how lovely. Do you know how many people get married and live happily ever after these days?’ Instead it’s, ‘Urgh, I hate weddings. Do you know that fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce?’
Even my happily married colleagues spend half their days complaining about something or other their husband has done or moaning because they’ve got a wedding to go to that weekend. I love weddings. It’s so romantic to watch two people hopelessly in love, vowing to spend the rest of their lives with each other, come what may, and yet people always complain when they’re invited to one.
Maybe I’ve just answered my own questions about what I’m supposed to do on Edelweiss Island – make people believe in love again. That’s what my article will be about. If there’s really a church where no marriage has ever ended in divorce, that’s kind of magical, and maybe people need a touch of magic in their daily lives. If I can prove that their church is for real, not codswallop as Oliver and undoubtedly every other reporter thinks, then maybe people will read it and start believing in love again.
Sometimes I think the only people who still care are people in the industry, like the girls who work at Snowdrop Bridal Boutique near Marble Arch. They don’t think it’s stupid that I saw a wedding dress in their window and just knew it was the one. They thought it was romantic that I wanted to buy the dress when I’m not even dating anyone, let alone planning a wedding. I just knew the moment I saw it that it was the dress I’d get married in. They probably thought all their Christmases had come at once when I saw the price tag and realised it was the most expensive dress in the shop, but they were very kind to keep it for me after I’d put a deposit down and now I pay whatever I can afford monthly, and soon it will be mine. If approximately three hundred and seventy-four years counts as ‘soon’ anyway. I need a pay rise. And I suppose a groom would come in handy too.
I’m freezing as I stand at the side of the boat, looking at the horizon while mainland England disappears behind us. The spring sunshine was deceptively warm while I was packing, and my sad excuse for a coat is buried at the bottom of my suitcase. The biting wind is flapping my shirt around me and the bottom two buttons have ripped off with the force of it. Sea spray is splashing me in the face and my blonde hair is too short to stay up in a ponytail so I’m trying to clamp it down with the hand that’s not holding on to the boat railing. I should sit down, but firstly the blue sky on the horizon and the Isle of Wight in the distance as we bypass it are the kind of view that makes you want to look at it, and secondly, the single row of seating on this small boat is currently occupied by the only other passenger. He’s sitting with his arms folded on the back of the chairs and his body turned so his forehead is resting on them, groaning occasionally. I debate talking to him, but I vaguely remember hearing that talking can make seasickness worse so I don’t say anything. If I was feeling sick, the last thing I’d want is some random stranger asking me how sick I felt.
‘You’re freezing. You should put this on.’
I jump when the man lifts his head and speaks.
‘Oh, I’m fine.’ I try to pretend I wasn’t looking at him. ‘Thanks.’
‘Seriously. You’re shivering so much I can feel the deck vibrating, and I’m too hot to wear it. It’s just a coat, it won’t bite.’
It seems stupid to borrow a complete stranger’s coat, especially when I’ve got my own in my suitcase, but I keep thinking there’s no point rummaging through it when we can’t be far from the island.
‘You’ll have to come and get it though.’ He pats the coat screwed up in a ball on the seat beside him. ‘I don’t want to find out what might happen if I attempt moving.’
I go to protest but my teeth are chattering so much I can barely speak. I give in and walk over to the seats on the unsteady deck. ‘Thanks, that’s really kind,’ I say as I shake the coat out and slip my arms into it.
It’s warmed by the sun and I sigh in relief as my arms slide into the soft sleeves and wrap it around myself. He must be tall because it comes down to the knees on me and it’s heavy enough that it feels like wearing a rug, but it smells like a delicious mix of amber-y, spicy aftershave, and it warms me instantly.
‘No problem. Better you wear it than anything I’m likely to do to it in this state.’
‘No, I just enjoy sitting on boats and groaning in my spare time.’
Despite the sarcasm, he grins up at me from the seats and I’m smiling back without even realising it.
He looks so ill, bless him. There’s sweat beading on his forehead in spite of the cold wind, and his skin is pale and mottled. I know he’d be clammy to the touch and I fight an urge to put my hand out and brush his dark blond hair back. ‘I’m sure we can’t be far from the island now.’
‘Can’t wait.’ He looks up at me with light eyes, somewhere between blue and grey, and a wide forehead that creases as he squints into the sunlight.
I think that remark was meant to be sarcastic too but the thought trails off and my breath catches in my throat at the sight of his lopsided smile.
I’m about to ask him why he’s going there when the boat jolts again and he groans, his hand going to cradle his stomach as he curls in on himself. His knuckles are white where one hand is still gripping the back of the seat and his skin goes even paler.
‘Is there anything you can take?’ I ask.
‘You have to prevent seasickness beforehand. It’s too late once you’re actually on the boat, and I didn’t know I was coming here until a couple of hours ago.’
The boat rolls again and his cheeks take on the old cartoon cliché green tinge.
I bite my lip as I stand there, wanting to do something but unsure of how to help.
‘You don’t have to stay and watch.’ He waves a hand in the vague direction of where I was standing earlier. ‘Feeling like this is bad enough without a beautiful girl watching on.’
My cheeks flare red at his words, and I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed because he caught me watching him or because he called me beautiful. I can’t remember the last time someone called me beautiful… well, unless you count the builder up on scaffolding on my way to work last week, which I don’t. ‘Get yer tits out, beautiful’ is not quite the compliment most girls dream of.
‘Thanks for the coat loan,’ I say as I walk back over to the side of the boat, giving him as much privacy as I can on the small deck, and trying to ignore the butterflies in my stomach.
I hold the coat closed around me. It’s the darkest shade of navy blue, soft suede on the outside and thick sherpa fleece on the inside. It’s much too big, but it feels nice. Maybe it feels even nicer now because its owner called me beautiful and because he was attentive enough to notice my shivering and kind enough to offer it.
I try to concentrate on the horizon but my attention is drawn to the seats behind me like there’s a magnet there. I keep looking over my shoulder to check on him. He’s hunched over and breathing heavily, still so pale that a ghost would look healthier, and I wish I knew of a way to make him feel better.
‘Do you know the cure for seasickness?’
‘I think I remember hearing something about ginger,’ I say as I look back at him, surprised because I didn’t think he was going to speak again.
His chin is resting on his folded arms and he’s looking at me over the back of the seat. ‘Go and lie on the grass.’
The laugh takes me by surprise as he flashes that smile again, and I can’t stop giggling as I look away, not sure if it’s because he’s funny or because the butterflies in my stomach have made me suddenly and inexplicably nervous. It’s been a long time since any man caused butterflies.
‘At least we know you’re feeling well enough to be cracking jokes,’ I say to the open water.
He laughs too and then groans. ‘Oh no. No laughing. Laughing’s bad.’
I glance at him again and when our eyes meet, my face breaks into a smile. ‘So what’s a guy who gets seasick doing on a boat to The Little Wedding Island then?’
‘Pissed my boss off,’ he says. ‘Punishment.’
‘Hah. We’re in the same boat.’ I glance down at my feet and realise we are actually in the same boat at exactly the same moment he starts laughing again.
‘No pun intended,’ I say as my cheeks burn red again even though I’m laughing too.
I go back to looking across the sea to take my mind off how much I want to keep looking at him. I sneak surreptitious glances in every time I can, taking in his sharp jawline and stubble much darker than his fair hair.
‘Oh, thank God – are we nearly there?’ he says, looking past me in the direction we’re heading.
Rising from the sea in front of us is an island. From this distance, it doesn’t look big enough to be the famous place that everyone’s talking about, but there’s a raised area in the middle surrounded by trees, the hint of a building through the branches, and what can only be a church spire showing above the treetops. ‘Looks like the place.’
‘Great. It sounds like a hellhole but land is land at this point.’
I look at him, wondering why he thinks it sounds like a hellhole, but he’s smiling again and I think he must be joking.
‘Well,’ he says. ‘All I can say is that I sincerely hope you’ll be on the same return journey as me. You’ve taken my mind off it. Actually, this is probably the best boat ride I’ve ever been on.’
It makes me laugh again, simultaneously embarrassed and enjoying the easy compliments. ‘I don’t spend a lot of time on boats but this is probably the best one I’ve ever been on too. If you don’t find your sea legs, maybe you’ll just have to stay on the island.’ I don’t add that I’d maybe really like him to be staying there. He’s got a big holdall bag with him, the kind that looks too big for a day trip, and hope fizzes inside me that I might get to see him again. Hopefully when he’s not feeling quite so ill.
‘Oh, hell no. I’d rather ask a piranha to give me a pedicure than stay there any longer than absolutely necessary.’
‘I think it sounds lovely.’
He looks at me with a dark eyebrow raised and even with his green-tinged pale skin, he still makes the look so incredulous that I find myself giggling nervously again. Why do so many people seem to have a problem with this place? I can’t wait to get there and see the church. I bet it just oozes romance. I’m looking forward to starting my article and proving Oliver wrong. When it’s published, maybe I’ll even send a link to that R.C. Art twat just to show him that love does still exist.
Here’s your chance to win all of these wonderful prizes:
The Little Wedding Island themed goodie bag:
- The Little Wedding Island notebook
- The Little Wedding Island fridge magnet
- A signed postcard
- In honour of Puffin the dog, a pug fountain pen
- In honour of Edelweiss Island, a copy of The Sound of Music on DVD
- A ‘grow your own’ Edelweiss flower kit in a tin
Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.