Authors: Erica Hutchings
Copyright © 2012 by Erica Hutchings
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First Paperback Edition: 2012
Second Paperback Edition: 2013
The characters and events portrayed in this book are
fictitious. Any similarity to real persons living or dead is entirely
coincidental and not intended by author. To the extent any real names of
individuals, locations, business or organizations are included in this book,
they are used fictitiously and not intended to be taken otherwise.
A Rumour Mill Novel by Erica Hutchings – 2nd edition Volume 1
A Rumour Mill Novel-Book 1
irst and foremost, I like to thank my
husband, Gary for his support and understanding whilst writing this book. He’s
my rock, my saviour and my love.
Thank you to my
mother, Anna and my mother-in-law, Gina Tresadern for always being there
through thick and thin.
Thank you to my
father-in-law, John. The family business in Hay-on-Wye which he owns is a huge
source of inspiration.
And thank you to
all my aunts and uncles that are like second sets of parents. All of you know
who you are, especially Yvonne, Martha, Wanda and Uncle John.
Thank you to all
my cousins, family and friends. Jennifer, Tammi, Kim, Sandy, Jackie, Georgina
and Jessica, you all are great support when I need uplifting from the depths of
writers block. I’d name you all but the list is endless.
Last but not
least, a massive thank you to my best friend for whom this book is dedicated
uy accelerated on the petrol pedal. The black
Range- Rover tires squealed on the gravel driveway.
He was a on a mission to find a wedding cake. The
afternoon sun perched on the western horizon for its evening sunset. Guy had to
find a cake and he needed to find it fast. The groom and Guy’s best friend,
Darren Dowling, wedding is only four days away and Darren completely, utterly,
screwed it up.
couldn’t keep his cock in his pants long enough, even in a relationship. What
difference did it make that he was marrying the uber famous glamour model,
Tamzin Smythe, in the U.K.’s wedding of the century? The wedding price tag
rivalled W.A.G.’s (wives and girlfriends of footballers) Coleen Rooney and
Victoria Beckham. Tamzin made sure she had the best of the best. From her Jimmy
Choo shoes, Mercedes Benz SLK and now a rich footballer husband to boot.
Darren was at the top of the English Premier
League and he was the most wanted player around. It didn’t matter whether
Darren cheated on her or not. Come hell or high water, Tamzin was determined
that they both go down the aisle for better or for worse.
In keeping with
her celebrity status and desire to reign as queen of the W.A.G’s, Tamzin
reserved Worthington Hall which was on the outskirts of a small village called
Ivy-upon-Wye, located on the border of England and Wales. It was to be a whole
week of wedding celebration and debauchery that didn’t come with a true
wedding. Not satisfied with the chef on staff, Tamzin hired internationally
known celebrity chef, Trevor Hare. He was to create elaborate menus for the
week and day of the wedding.
insisted Chef Hare was only good for the lunch and dinner menus. She procured
celebrity baker Libby Blackwell for her wedding cake. Libby devised wedding
cakes that made every young girl dream and want for their own wedding day. The
cake was a six tier masterpiece that cost over
£50,000. Four days prior to the
big day the cake was to be delivered to Worthington Hall.
When Chef Hare called Tamzin down to
the large culinary kitchen to inspect the wedding cake Tamzin was fevered like
a child on Christmas morning. Her excitement diminished faster than a jet going
down in flames. The cake displayed before them wasn’t the six tier masterpiece
she bought and paid for. It was a grotesque, white royal iced cake in the shape
of a penis which read ‘Darren you’re a Wanker!’ in bold red frosting.
Tamzin was infuriated. A note
enclosed with the cake box exposed the truth about Darren’s affair with Libby. Darren
ended the affair just the week before the wedding as Libby was under the
impression that he wouldn’t marry Tamzin. But Darren was following through and
he couldn’t have Libby around any longer. Embarrassed, Tamzin didn’t want any
of this leaked to the press especially Rumour Mill.
Tamzin called Darren and Guy in from
playing a friendly game of football on the south lawn with other wedding
guests. She smiled sweetly as she coaxed them into the kitchen. There she took
the largest butcher knife available and stabbed the cake in front of them in a
did you do this to me?!
” Tamzin screamed like a wild banshee. “
Out of all the people in the world, you decide
to fuck the baker! The world’s best baker at that! Why didn’t you fuck my best
Guy didn’t hide his disgust. Guy didn’t
understand why he was called into the kitchen to observe the debacle. Guy was a
witness to many of their arguments in which he was forced to pick Tamzin or
Darren’s side. There were the same interrogative questions by Tamzin to Guy.
“Who’s Darren shagging besides me?” “Is she
better looking than me?” “Is Darren leaving me for her?”
Guy nodded or
answered in short sweet words, yes or no. When Darren had enough he’d threaten
to leave her. It forced Tamzin to recoil in a corner and stand by him like a
Many times Guy considered ending
their friendship and never speaking to Darren again. But it was impossible. Guy
and Darren played on the same English Premier League, the London Lions and they
were half-brothers, although no one knew.
Darren never apologised for his behaviour to Guy directly.
Days later after witnessing another battle between the lovebirds, a courier
would arrive at Guy’s flat with an envelope or package filled with a luxurious
trip to Belize, a new set of golf clubs or a lifetime VIP package at the
gentlemen’s club, Spearmint Rhino. There would always be a note enclosed
handwritten by Darren’s personal assistant,
The spectacle continued. Guy’s
stomach did a somersault in thinking of Tamzin as a sister-in-law. He was
grateful that his family as a whole weren’t close. Slowly, Guy retreated
quietly out of the kitchen, but Tamzin turned to him angrily.
“Stop right there! You’re his best
mate and you should’ve known about this matter!” Tamzin snapped.
Tamzin laid it into Guy. She interrogated
him as if he was a terrorist and Guy thought to himself he rather go through
SAS rendition than deal with Tamzin Smythe.
“You’re going to find a wedding
cake, Guy. You’re going to find one fast. Here’s a blank cheque and if you
don’t return with one, I’ll have my father rip both of your bollocks off!”
Tamzin cried venomously.
She wasn’t leaving anything to
chance. It was her wedding planner who suggested Libby and persuaded to hire
her for the wedding.
After that disaster the
only person capable enough to handle the task of procuring a wedding cake is
Guy and Darren looked at each other,
both knowing full well that Tamzin’s father is notorious gangster, William
Smythe. William did anything for his princess, especially ripping off said
bollocks of men who crossed Tamzin’s path. Guy ran his fingers through his jet
black hair and sighed. Tamzin held out a cream coloured envelope in her hand to
Guy. Quickly Guy snatched it in hopes of leaving a stinging paper cut on the
palm of her hand.
can’t wait for this to be over with. As soon as a I head back to London I’m
going to have to cut ties some way
, Guy thought silently as he took his
Range Rover keys out of his jean pocket.
the Savoury Plum
the last customers
lingered behind to settle their bills and taking final sips of their
cappuccinos. Catherine ‘Cat’ Fielding smiled at the customers as she wiped down
empty tables with a tea towel and placing other chairs on top of vacant tables.
Her twin sister, Corinne ‘Corrie’ Fielding, was behind the counter laughing with
a customer. She advised them on antique shops to visit whilst they spent their
weekend in Ivy-upon-Wye.
In Ivy-upon-Wye and much of the
valley it was a glorious fall evening and it wasn’t in season for them to be
open so late. The upcoming wedding of Darren Dowling and Tamzin Smythe at the
nearby hall brought an influx of customers which spent their weekends in the Cotswolds
or the Lake District. The small idyllic village that sat on a lush green
mountainside, above the sparkling river consisting of old stone houses,
thatched cottages and a ruin castle, was now overrun with media and celebrity
Ivy-upon-Wye known for its fine art
and literary summer festival drew in a different type of crowd, the type that
were also interested in antique shops, scenic trails or paddling the river. These
new-found customers only interest consisted of drinking, partying, fashion and
football, giving the village folk something to chin-wag about for now. Cat
thought they all looked silly wearing woolly sweaters and tweed as they tried
to fit in with the locals. Regardless of the looks and attitudes the twins were
grateful for their business. It brought in profits that they have to account
for in the summer months.
The Savoury Plum known for the tasty
savoury dishes and sweet delectables garnered a cult following in the village.
It was regarded as ‘
’ place to eat
and have dessert. Customers cooed and awed over the food, especially the pies
and cakes. All insisted that whoever baked the treats should move to London and
open a shop. Corrie thanked them for their compliments. She proudly boasted
that their niece, Grace, devised the sugary concoctions. As Grace walked up the
kitchen stairs, she overheard her aunts’ conversation.
“Here she is! Our star, Grace!”
cried Corrie as she opened her arms to embrace Grace. Grace wiped her floured
hands on her apron and shyly smiled as she hugged her aunt.
“Your bread pudding is heavenly!”
complimented the BBC reporter.
“Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed
it.” Grace replied as she walked around the counter to escort the remaining
“Have a lovely evening miss. I look
forward to the scones your aunt told me about.” said the reporter.
“Good night. I look forward to
seeing you tomorrow.” Grace said as she closed the door behind him. Grace
flipped over the open/close sign to close and placed her back against the cool
glass pane of the door.
“What a day!” Grace exasperated.
“I’ve got carrot cakes cooling. There are three chocolate pies sitting in the
“That’s great! All the sausage rolls
been made?” asked Cat wiping down the last table and placing a tray of dirty
dishes on the service counter.
“Yes.” Grace said.
Grace tucked a piece of long caramel brown hair behind her
ear. It fell from her tousled bun.
“I wonder if it’ll ever be this busy
when I open my own place.” she said thinking aloud.
Corrie and Cat rolled their eyes.
The idea of Grace leaving them frightened them. They raised her since she was a
little girl and thought of her as the daughter they would’ve had if they only
gotten married. Neither of the twins settled down or married nor did they want
to. They’re quite content with their own family.
Jane, their younger sister, was the
one who left Ivy. The twins and Jane were born in Ivy-upon-Wye. They were
raised in the three bedroom flat above the Savoury Plum, a three-hundred year
old bakery passed down from generation to generation. When Grace’s grandparents
decided to retire from the business, they handed it over to the twins since
Jane left to London to attend the London Culinary Academy.
During her education, Jane met and
fell in love with her teacher, Gordon Knowles. Gordon was a handsome chap and
well known chef. In the 70’s he worked in various hotels and made it big with
Asian fusion in the early 80’s.
In Covent Garden, Gordon open his own restaurant called Blue
Monday and hired his prized pupil, Jane. She became known for her chocolate
wontons filled with strawberry crème mousse.
Within a year Gordon and Jane fell
in love, married and bought a house in Tooting Bec Common, a London suburb.
Gordon determined it a great place to start and raise a family. It was
convenient to travel by tube to the restaurant.
On their down time Gordon and Jane
played tennis, swam in the Lido, and went horseback riding. They vacationed on
the Devon coast and visited the Savoury Plum during the holidays. Finally one
hot summer day in 1985 Gordon and Jane welcomed a plump rosy baby, a girl. They
lovingly named her Grace Ann Knowles, who they introduced to their family.
When Grace was three, sadly, tragedy
struck their family. Alistair Knowles, Gordon’s younger brother babysat Grace
whilst her parent’s went to a dinner function in Kensington. On their way back
home Gordon and Jane’s car was hit head on by a drunk driver. The couple died
instantaneously. All that was left was an unrecognisable mangled mess of steel
Upon hearing the news Corrie and Cat
drove to Tooting Bec Common to bury their sister and brother-in-law. Assigned
as Graces’ legal guardians they packed her belongings for her trip back to
Ivy-upon-Wye. Grace never stepped foot in London again.
Grace inherited a substantial amount of wealth but was too young
to manage her parent’s assets and finances. She had the Victorian home in
Tooting Bec and the entire building which housed Blue Monday. Alistair moved
into the Tooting Bec home. Blue Monday closed and it was leased to a fashion
retail chain. The flats above the restaurant were leased as commercial office
space. All money procured from the leases was placed in interest bearing
accounts for Grace.