Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 11 October 2017
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
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 neighbour 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?
Chloe stared at the bright blue front door, not quite sure if she was willing it to open or remain shut. Cerulean Bliss. She had been drawn to the name, conjuring up images of crystal clear Mediterranean Sea, sandy beaches, and cloudless skies. Chris had appeared amused by her decision to choose the paint based on the name rather than the colour.
‘‘Babe, if you want Cerulean Bliss for the front door, Cerulean Bliss is what we’ll go for.’’
But when he’d returned from a boys’ weekend away to find Chloe had painted the door, it had been a different story. He had flown into a rage, claiming she hadn’t consulted with him on the colour and had gone behind his back, waiting until he was away to make changes to his house. That was the first time she had been on the receiving end of his anger; the first time she had been frightened and confused by his apparent about-turn on something he had previously agreed to. It hadn’t been the last time.
Chloe glanced at her watch, frowning when it showed only a minute had passed since she had last looked. The frown deepened when she lifted a hand to rub her eyebrow and saw how much her fingers were trembling. A gentle hand touched her forearm and she looked up to meet her friend’s calm gaze.
‘Don’t worry. It’s going to be fine.’
Chloe shook her head, unable to prevent her gaze from returning to the front door only twenty or so metres from where they were sitting in her car. What if he glanced around and saw her? What if he didn’t?
‘What am I doing, Bekah?’ She dropped her head in her hands, squeezing her eyes shut and immediately wincing as that small movement resulted in more pain than it should.
‘The right thing, that’s what.’ Rebekah rubbed her friend’s forearm. ‘Come on, Chloe. We talked about this.’
‘I know, I know we did.’ Chloe lifted her chin, but didn’t remove her gaze from the door. ‘I just…I keep thinking about it, over and over. He’s not always that bad, not really, and I think…I think maybe it was my fault.’
Chloe didn’t have to see her friend’s face to know she was angry; she could feel it radiating from her in waves. Rebekah remained silent and reached across to pull down the sun visor in front of Chloe, lifting up the small flap covering the vanity mirror.
‘There is nothing you could have done that would ever justify what he did to you. Nothing.’
Chloe stared at her reflection, taking in the dark purple bruise circling her left eye—now bloodshot and half-closed—the ugly graze reaching across her cheekbone and further down to the swollen and split bottom lip. Without thinking, she licked her lip. The tip of her tongue slipped over the injury, and she drew in a sharp breath at the sting it produced.
She met her gaze in the mirror once more, noting the confusion and uncertainty dulling their green hue. ‘I know. But it’s not usually this bad. He pushes me around a bit sometimes, nothing major, and he says things…you know, usually when he’s had a drink.’
‘That doesn’t make it right. You know that.’ Rebekah blew out a long breath. ‘I can’t believe you never told me.’
Chloe avoided her friend’s accusing gaze. What could she have told her? That Chris was proving her mother right? That she wasn’t woman enough for any man?
‘It doesn’t matter now anyway. I—’ She drew in a strangled breath as the front door opened and, shrinking down a little in her seat, Chloe prayed he wouldn’t glance down the street and recognise her car among all the others parked along the kerb.
As she watched, Chris locked the door before turning and sauntering along the path, tossing his keys in the air and catching them, his lips pursed as he whistled. Chloe couldn’t hear from this distance, but she knew he would be whistling the tune to whichever song had been on the radio before he left the house. She glanced at her watch once more; 8.15am on the dot. Chris was a creature of habit.
‘Bastard.’ Rebekah thumped the dashboard in obvious frustration as he got into his car without glancing left or right before driving off. ‘Look at him, acting as if he hasn’t a care in the world. You should have let Sean come round last night and hammer ten bells out of him, see how he liked it.’
Chloe gave a weak smile. ‘I don’t suppose that would have solved anything.’
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Rebekah finally opened her door.
‘So, come on then. Let’s do it.’
Chloe bit her lip and immediately winced in pain, wishing she hadn’t. Gingerly exploring her lip with her fingers, she saw they were stained with blood, and stifling a sigh, searched in her bag for a tissue.
‘What if he comes back? What if he’s forgotten something?’
‘He’s not coming back. He’s gone to work,’ said Rebekah, nodding her encouragement. ‘Come on, the sooner we get in, the sooner we get out. We’ll only be a few minutes.’
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2w2k6Sk
Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2fM9114
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/742773
I had a chance to visit with Ellie recently and I’m sharing our conversation with you…
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I originally started this book years ago, way before I was published. It’s one that went on the backburner once the first draft had been completed, because I knew it just wasn’t right but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with it. Despite that, I always had a clear vision about Chloe’s little cottage high up on the cliff tops and that it was her sanctuary. I just had to work out why she needed a sanctuary. This manuscript went through the RNA New Writer’s Scheme and some of the feedback included making more use of the setting. That helped me to see where I was going wrong – it could have been set anywhere and, although I knew it was set in Whitby, I hadn’t really built on that or written it in such a way that the reader could connect with it. I also needed to take the time to get to know Chloe, and to explore her backstory, which was really important.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was nineteen or twenty, although I’ve always made up stories, full blown novels, in my head. I began writing them down and, knowing nothing really about writing, having completed a first draft sent them out to agents and publishers. Although I received one or two very encouraging ‘thanks but no thanks’ letters with positive feedback, I received many more standard letters. Not surprising considering the state of those manuscripts in hindsight! When I got married and started a family, I stopped writing and it was only when the children were older that I began to read those old manuscripts and the writing bug gripped me once again. I also made a much more concerted effort to look into the mechanics of writing and take it seriously. Still, it’s taken me ten years of hard slog to get to the point where I secured a publishing contract. And I’m still learning!
How difficult is it to come up with a good title for a book? Did the title change at any point or has the book always been called Warwick’s Mermaid?
Oh gosh, I struggle with titles. The title has always been Warwick’s Mermaid but, when I re-visited the old manuscript and began making some serious changes, I did consider whether I ought to change the title. I thought about perhaps picking up on some of the current trends in titles, for example using the word ‘Girl’, so I thought about Girl by the Sea, or perhaps something like The Little Cottage by the Sea. In the end I kept the original as I really like it but, yes, I struggle with titles. (ed note… I struggle with titles, too. Writing the book is the easy part. Coming up with the proper title, not so much.)
How much time do you devote to your writing each day?
To be honest, I don’t. I work full time in a fairly stressful job and when I get home I find it difficult to find the motivation to write…. unless I have a deadline looming, of course. My writing tends to be done on a weekend – usually a Saturday afternoon and evening, and a Sunday morning, although this tends to fit around cleaning and general weekend outings etc. It depends on where I am in the writing process. I do sometimes edit on a weekday evening, when I can print out the manuscript and make notes on it, but generally writing is done on a weekend.
Tell me 3 interesting things about yourself.
• I’m obsessed with ancient Egypt, and have a sarcophagus in my conservatory, which is probably not a surprise to those of you who have read Love on the Nile….
• I’m getting married next year
• I once attended a Christmas Party hosted by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer in No. 11 Downing Street
What’s next for you? Do you have a new book in the pipeline or do you have other writing projects you’d like to go back to?
Yes, I’m working on a new contemporary romance novel although I’m also dabbling on a romantic suspense story that has been written in my head for years, and I’m looking at resurrecting a young adult novel that is in the first draft stage. Perhaps I need to re-think my ‘only writing at weekends’ rule…
About Ellie Gray
Ellie Gray is a contemporary romance author who loves to write heart-warming, sensual romances with characters her readers can really identify with. Her novels are set in places inspired by her own life and travels, including the beautiful UK Yorkshire countryside as well as far flung, exotic countries such as Egypt.
Currently working on her fourth novel, and still tinkering away at a young adult novel first started some years ago, Ellie loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her through any of the social media links below or through her website.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14900908.Ellie_Gray
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