Authors: Jo Carnegie
Tags: #Chick-Lit, #Contemporary, #Drama, #Fiction, #Love Stories, #Man-Woman Relationships, #Romance, #Women's Fiction
About the Book
Meet the glamorous cast of
– the leading lady who gets what she wants. And she wants
– the village’s gorgeous gardener, living with devoted girlfriend
– sweet-natured and desperate for a baby, unlike her sister
– fiercely ambitious, and unimpressed by the penetrating gaze of
– dashing leading man, who quickly wins over Calypso’s grandmother
– whose only desire is for them all to go away, so Churchminster can win ‘
Britain’s Best Village
BUGGER, I BET
this never happens to Jamie Oliver!’
In the kitchen of No. 5 The Green, Churchminster, Camilla Standington-Fulthrope stared down in dismay at a bowl of cake mixture. Somewhere in there was one of her prized pearl earrings, an extremely expensive present from her parents for her twenty-first birthday. She’d been meaning to get the clasp fixed for ages.
Cursing herself for not being more organized, Camilla tentatively poked at the gluey mess with her wooden spoon. It was a fruitless search, so she gave up and plunged both hands in, finally striking lucky. The pearl had stuck to the underside of a particularly plump raisin.
Camilla exhaled in relief and looked down at her hands, which now looked like they were covered in wet, dripping cement. Christ, it had gone everywhere! The cookbook pages were stuck together, and it looked as if someone had flour-bombed the front of her apron. Flustered, Camilla pushed a lock of hair off her
, leaving a huge clump of mix stuck between the strands. This
didn’t happen to Nigella.
The late afternoon sun streamed into the kitchen, lighting up the cosy, low-beamed room. Despite the surrounding chaos, Camilla’s heart lifted. After a desolate January and February, spring had finally returned to the village of Churchminster. Swathes of yellow daffodils blanketed the village green, and through the window into the back garden Camilla could see the first fresh new leaves on her apple trees. She loved this time of year more than ever. Last year she’d travelled extensively round the glorious climes of South America, and returning to such a cold, dank winter – even somewhere as picturesque as Churchminster – had been a shock, to say the least.
An hour later, after tackling the mountain of washing-up she’d managed to accumulate, Camilla had just sunk down at the kitchen table with a cup of tea when the back door opened. She looked up, surprised. ‘You’re home early!’
The delicious form of Jed Bantry stood in the doorway, brandishing a bunch of wild flowers. He held them out, a slow smile spreading across his face. ‘Maybe I was missing you.’
Even after nearly three years together, Camilla’s heart still skipped when she looked at her boyfriend. With his tall, lean physique and angular face Jed could have just stepped off a catwalk in Milan or New York. Not that he cared about things like that: Jed wasn’t interested in possessions and labels. He was still
his work uniform of scruffy navy overalls, which had been pulled open to the waist. The white vest underneath gave a tantalizing flash of impressive pectorals. Above the overalls, Jed’s jet-black hair was messy and tousled. It was longer than usual, flopping sexily into his extraordinary, pale green eyes.
He took in the cake, now cooling on a wire rack on the table. ‘Something looks good.’
‘It’s a new recipe, I thought I’d give it a shot.’
He’d pulled her out of the chair before she knew it. ‘I wasn’t talking about the cake.’
All the manual work he’d been doing had made Jed’s body harder than ever. Camilla felt herself quiver. She looked down at her Emma Bridgewater apron, the pattern completely obscured by crusty cake mix.
‘I’m a bit …’ she said apologetically.
Jed pulled her in even closer. ‘A bit what?’ he murmured. ‘A bit so sexy my boyfriend would like to fuck me right here on the kitchen table?’ With that he crushed his lips down on to hers, pulling the band out of her ponytail so her blond hair tumbled down over her shoulders.
Camilla had never known what sex could really be like until she’d gone to bed with Jed. There had been other boyfriends, of course, and even a fiancé, but none of them had been as wild and passionate as this. Jed knew every inch of her body and exactly what to do to turn it on. For Camilla, who had spent years being unsatisfactorily rogered by braying oiks, Jed Bantry had been a sexual revelation.
Still smiling, he carried her to the kitchen table,
her down on the surface. Camilla’s buttocks encountered something soft and warm.
‘The cake!’ she cried, but somehow Jed managed to lift her off it while undoing her bra strap. His other hand moved down to yank off her jeans and knickers.
‘You should bake more often, my little housewife,’ he said huskily, laying Camilla back on the table. ‘It really is quite a turn-on.’
His overalls were off now, too; pulled down below his waist to show off a wide-shouldered, narrow-waisted torso that didn’t have an inch of surplus fat. Jed’s cock, which was as perfect as the rest of him, was so hard and swollen it seemed bigger than ever.
‘I’ve been thinking about this all afternoon,’ he murmured, looking down into her eyes.
Sighing happily, Camilla parted her legs. She could never exactly describe the joy she felt when she had Jed inside her. Slowly, they began to rock back and forth, marching to the beat of their own drum.
‘Hold on,’ said Jed, pulling Camilla’s legs up around his neck. As she felt him go in even deeper she arched her hips up, wanting every millimetre of him. His hands moved under her T-shirt now, raking over her body. Grabbing her full breasts, running over her gently rounded stomach, trying to take hold of as much of her as he could.
‘This is amazing,’ she gasped. Above her, Jed’s eyes had locked on to hers, in the intense, faraway state that showed he was close to orgasm.
Camilla could feel the beginnings of her own
. Her head was dizzy with lust, lights danced before her eyes. Somewhere, she even thought she heard a bell going off. That had never happened before! Oh God, it was going to be a good one …
‘Hello? Is anyone there?’ The voice was coming from the hallway.
Camilla and Jed froze, looking at each other. ‘Shit! It’s my grandmother!’ she whispered in horror.
Clementine Standington-Fulthrope’s commanding voice rang through the letter box again. ‘Camilla! I can hear strange groaning. Are you in pain?’
Camilla gestured wildly to Jed. ‘Quick, hide! She’ll come round the back.’
With some difficulty they extricated themselves from each other and grabbed their clothes. ‘Your grandmother has spectacular timing,’ was all Jed could mutter, as a hyperventilating Camilla pulled them both into the pantry.
Sure enough, a moment later the back door opened.
Frantically hitching her trousers up, Camilla called out. ‘I’m just in the pantry, Granny Clem! Won’t be a minute.’
The tall, upright figure of her grandmother appeared in the pantry doorway.
In contrast to Camilla, Jed was cool as a cucumber, his overalls buttoned right up to the top. ‘Hello Mrs S-F.’
‘Oh, hello, young Jed.’
‘Jed was just helping me get a tin of er, er, apricots down,’ said Camilla.
Clementine frowned, ‘I thought you didn’t like apricots.’
‘I don’t. I mean I do, really. Just trying to increase my five a day and all that.’
‘Hmmm.’ Her grandmother didn’t sound too convinced as Errol Flynn, Clementine’s elderly black Labrador, ran between Camilla’s legs into the food cupboard, on his eternally hopeful quest for food. ‘Errol! Snout out!’ scolded Clementine.
Jed caught hold of the disgruntled dog by his collar and dragged him out, closely followed by Camilla.
Back in the kitchen, Clementine’s steely gaze fixed on the table. Camilla saw with dread that she was looking at the carrot cake, one side of it now completely flattened by a buttock-shaped imprint.
The old woman shot Camilla a reproachful look. ‘Oh darling! How could you?’
Beneath smears of flour, Camilla’s face turned puce. ‘What do you mean?’ she stuttered. To make things worse, she had the distinct impression Jed was finding it all rather amusing. A wry smile was definitely playing at the corners of his mouth as he crouched down to scratch behind Errol Flynn’s ears.
Clementine sighed in despair. ‘Did your Prue Leith cookery course teach you
? One should never open one’s oven door while one’s cake is baking!’
Camilla’s knees almost buckled with relief. ‘Of course, Granny Clem, it makes it sink in the middle. I just couldn’t resist checking. I won’t do it again.’
‘I should hope not,’ said Clementine, but her voice lacked its normal scolding tone.
Camilla gazed forlornly at the cake, and it was a few moments before she clocked the sudden air of expectancy in the room. She looked up at her grandmother. In her tweed skirt and sensible walking shoes, her grey hair pulled back in its normal severe bun, Clementine looked the same as ever, but there was definitely something different. Her eyes were shining, and the normal rigid lines that governed her face had been replaced by something freer, more animated. It almost looked like excitement.
Camilla was suddenly alert. Her grandmother never got excited. Something huge had happened. ‘Is everything all right?’ she asked.
To their complete astonishment, Clementine threw her head back and roared with laughter. Across the other side of the kitchen, Jed raised an eyebrow, and Errol Flynn wandered off, one ear turned to his mistress and this uncharacteristic sound.
‘Oh dear girl! Dear boy! Something
Camilla was seriously confused. ‘Have you won the Lottery?’ she asked her grandmother. Clementine made a ‘Pff’ sound. ‘It’s
more important than that.’ She snapped open her industrial-sized handbag and carefully extracted a letter, holding it aloft triumphantly.
‘I’ve been in Stow-on-the-Wold at that talk on environmental gardening, but I came home to find
on the doormat. I had to come straight over.’
Clementine’s stiff upper lip momentarily wobbled. ‘It
is the most marvellous thing. It’s going to change all our lives for ever!’
Camilla couldn’t bear the suspense as, with agonizing care, Clementine slowly took her reading glasses from her handbag, shook the letter out importantly, and started reading in her cut-glass tones.
1, Blenheim Gardens
Dear Mrs Standington-Fulthrope
I am delighted to inform you, on behalf of the judging panel, that Churchminster has been selected as one of the final four villages in this year’s Britain’s Best Village competition, in association with Greenacres Garden Centres