Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams.
Erin has buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is evading the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?
Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her wonder if husband Mark would cheat on her.
Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?
After losing her mother and breaking up with her fiancé, Erin Douglas has buried herself away in the family home. She is trying to avoid a visit by her brother, Fraser and her sister, Heather can’t understand why when Jackson McGee makes an appearance.
To reach the hall, just off the village square, Erin took a short cut through the churchyard. Her phone buzzing in the depths of her bag slowed her pace. Was Fraser calling again? He didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer easily. She dropped her holdall on a bench, rifling through resistance bands and leaflets to retrieve it before the call went to voicemail. A picture of her sister lit up the screen. Her family were out in full force today.
‘Heather, hi! I can’t speak for long, I’m on my way to a class and I don’t want to be late.’ She sank onto the bench and its dampness hit her. She remembered the rain shower earlier as she jumped up to prevent it seeping through her leggings and knocked her open holdall off the bench. Blast! Everything was spilling out over the muddy path. She crouched to pick up the scattered contents with her free hand.
‘I haven’t much time either,’ Heather informed her. ‘I’m back at work, you know. I’m grabbing some lunch but I’m covering a lead so, be warned, I might have to cut you off.’
Typical Heather, Erin couldn’t help smiling, she could give anything a dramatic flavour. ‘If you’re so busy, what is it you want?’ she asked reaching for a stray flyer that had blown under the bench. As she stuffed it into the bag, she caught sight of faded jeans and well-worn boots just in front of her.
Erin lifted her head to meet eyes that seemed amused. Their owner had a handful of the colourful resistance bands that she sometimes used for floor work. ‘You look like you’re in need of a hand, should I?’ He was indicating to her holdall.
She nodded, pointed to the phone and mouthed ‘Thank you’ as her cheeks grew even hotter.
‘It’s Fraser, he’s just phoned… told me you’ve put him off staying over tomorrow night and, Erin, I think it’s just not on. Magpie’s Rest is his home too, you know. Why the hell don’t you just leave him the key and, if you’re out, he can relax, maybe catch up with some old mates?’
Erin moved the phone and Heather’s voice, it had risen to full volume, away from her ear as she watched her helper put the last band into her holdall, zip it up and place it back on the bench before walking off towards the square. He was tall, ruggedly handsome and certainly not local. She called out, ‘Thanks!’
He turned back and lifted his hand in acknowledgement. ‘Glad to help.’
‘Erin, who are you talking too? Are you listening?’
‘Yes, I’m listening. You want Fraser to stay with me and I can’t do it.’
‘If you want my opinion, you’re not being fair. I told Fraser that I’d have a word with you. You’re making excuses…taking no bloody notice. Look, I haven’t time for this, I’ve got a dozen things to do. Give Fraser a call and try to make him welcome tomorrow.’
Was that a ‘kiss’ or a ‘tut’ noise signalling the end of the conversation? Blast, now she had upset her sister as well as her brother.
Erin turned her phone onto silent and pushed her emotions down into the slow churning spin dryer of her stomach and hoped it wouldn’t rev up to full spin, as she entered the village hall. Most of her Pilates class were already there so she summoned her best ‘show must go on’ smile.
‘Hello everybody, it’s a lovely afternoon so let’s roll our mats onto the floor, get some music on and begin.’
As the music started, Erin stood at the front and gave her whole attention to her class. ‘Standing tall, place your feet so they’re parallel with one another and a hip distance apart, let the weight of your body roll into your toes and heels before finding your centre of balance. Now breathe in, take a lateral breath and feel your ribcage move away from your body…’ The familiar music and actions began to work their magic and took control of her nerves and her digestive system. Her worries faded for now and her mind wandered back to the good-looking man who had come to her rescue in the churchyard. His accent, was it American?
Excerpt from: The Barn of Buried Dreams Chrissie Bradshaw
Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends.
Her new release, THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS – when will they see daylight?, is a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. It starts in Dunleith, the same Northumbrian setting as her debut novel ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, and some characters cross both books. Readers can enjoy either book as a stand alone
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