Today it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for A Very Lucky Christmas by Lilac Mills. My thanks go to Ellie Pilcher of Canelo for inviting me to join the tour. I have a fab extract from the book to share with you all, just as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it’s all about.
Things can’t get worse for Daisy Jones… can they?
Christmas is meant to be the happiest time of year so why is absolutely everything going wrong forDaisy? Reeling from a bad breakup, moving back in with her parents and hounded by trouble at work she really shouldn’t be surprised when things go from bad to worse..and she ends up in A&E!
Her great-grandmother persuaded her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck but choking on the coin isn’t the ‘change’ she’d wished for. Yet when dashing Dr Noah Hartley saves the day things finally start to look up.With Christmas Day just around the corner Daisy’s determined to make her own luck…and hopefully bag herself a dishy doc in the process!
A heart-warming Christmas romance perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Debbie Johnson and Daisy James.
A Very Lucky Christmas
by Lilac Mills
‘Mary Berry, eat your heart out,’ Daisy cried, reaching for an orange from the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. She’d never mixed and grated so many ingredients in her life, and was feeling rather pleased with herself.
‘Everyone’s got to stir it and make a wish,’ Gwenda instructed from her place next to the fridge, where she oversaw proceedings with the same attention to detail and determination as a premenstrual woman on the hunt for chocolate.
Daisy lifted the bowl off the worktop and placed a wooden spoon in her great-gran’s clawed hand. Gwenda clutched it with difficulty and Daisy winced. The old lady’s arthritis was much worse than the last time she’d seen her, and Daisy put it down to the damp and dismal weather. Her own hands ached in sympathy, but it might have had something to do with all the grating she’d done. Daisy wasn’t used to cooking. If anything more than a simple open the box and stick it in the microwave was involved, then Freddie always used to do it. He was a good cook too, and she imagined him lovingly preparing steak with all the trimmings for Carl, and she let out a small sigh.
Gwenda gave the mixture a stir as best she could, and Daisy took the spoon from her and passed it around so everyone could have a go.
‘You’ve forgotten the sixpence,’ Gwenda said. ‘It won’t work without the sixpence. You’ve got to put it in, Daisy, and make a wish.’
The sixpence sat gleaming on the counter (Sandra had scrubbed and disinfected it to within an inch of its life), and Daisy picked the tiny coin up with trepidation. Goodness knows how many germs it might still be covered in. It had probably been sitting in Gee-Gee’s purse for years, and Daisy imagined all the grubby fingers that had handled it in the past, and she grimaced. Perhaps she should put it in boiling water for a few minutes first, to make sure any lingering nasties were dead.
‘Hurry up,’ David said as he and Sandra wrestled Gwenda into her coat. ‘They’re expecting her back at five-thirty.’
‘There’s plenty of time, and what are they going to do to her if she’s late? Lock her out? Ground her?’ Sandra chuckled. ‘I used to ground Daisy all the time.’ She gave her daughter a steely stare. ‘It didn’t work, did it?’
‘It did!’ Daisy protested.
‘I never had to ground David,’ Sandra pointed out, and Daisy heard the unspoken criticism in her mother’s voice – perfect David, with his perfect job, perfect house, and perfect wife, had never once been grounded and look at how well he’d turned out. Blah, blah!
Maybe she could write a ditty for that too. It could start off with, “When you’re not good enough…”
‘Put it in,’ Gwenda urged.
Daisy did as she was told and gave the bowl another stir.
‘Make a wish,’ her great-gran instructed, ‘else there’s no point in making the bloody thing.’
Daisy, still stirring, wondered what to wish for. Were multiple wishes allowed, or just one per coin? Could she fool it by joining two wishes together? She wanted to wish for a man who’d love her the way she wanted to be loved, with his body, heart, and soul (the way she would love him), but she also wanted the assurance of marriage and children. And a home of her own. And maybe a mother-in-law who wasn’t a total dragon (a couple of her friends had mothers-in-law to rival Daenerys Stormborn’s dragons in A Game of Thrones – fearsome and able to burn you to a crisp with their dislike.
Start with the basics Daisy, she told herself. You don’t get the marriage, the babies, or the mother-in-law (dragon or no dragon) without the man first.
‘I wish…’ she began, closing her eyes because it seemed the right thing to do.
‘Don’t say it out loud,’ Gwenda warned, ‘or it won’t come true.’
I wish for a man to love me, Daisy said silently, and who I love back, she added, just in case the wish decided to land a stalker on her (she’d seen enough films to know how this sort of thing could seriously backfire).
She stirred the mixture one last time and opened her eyes, images of Alexander Skarsgard lingering in her mind. ‘What now?’ she asked Gee-Gee.
‘You want to steam it over a pan of boiling water,’ Gwenda said.
Daisy noticed the old lady was wearing her coat again (though that didn’t necessarily mean anything), and David was wheeling her towards the door.
‘Aren’t you going to stay until it’s cooked?’ Daisy asked. What if something went wrong? And how would she know when it was done?
‘Not on your nelly! It’ll take hours,’ Gwenda said. ‘Eight of ’em.’
Oh? Never mind, it sounded easy enough. She’d put the pan on to boil just before she went to bed, and it should be just about cooked by the time she got up for work in the morning.
Then she thought again.
Eight hours? Boiling water? There was no way she could leave the pan to bubble away unsupervised, which meant Daisy would be up half the night.
‘Can’t it be left until next Saturday?’ she asked, a yawn already forming in her throat at the thought of it.
‘No,’ her great-gran, her nan, and her mother all chorused.
Gwenda left, after issuing some final instructions and Daisy settled down to pan-watch until the wee small hours.
‘This had better be worth it,’ she muttered crossly, as she clambered off the sofa for the twenty-forth time and trundled into the kitchen to check the level of water in the pan. The theme tune of The Antiques Roadshow followed her out. With only one TV in the whole house, Daisy was forced to watch whatever rubbish her mother and her nan had on, and she seriously thought about subscribing to Netflix, so she could watch something decent on her laptop. Even The Walking Dead would be preferable to the soaps that pair were addicted to, and Daisy hated zombies.
She decided she might as well do some work and get a head start on tomorrow. With Christmas only a week or so away, Daisy was finding it hard to think of anything other than Christmas tunes and if Caring Cards (A Card for Every Occasion) was determined to go down the musical card route, she could use the opportunity to come up with something Christmassy ready for next year.
She still couldn’t get the Deck the Halls tune out of her head, though, and she hummed it, whilst trying to think of words to rhyme with holly. Brolly, Molly, Polly, dolly, lolly, folly… hmm. Maybe not.
‘Nice to see you getting into the festive spirit,’ Sandra said, wandering into the kitchen to prepare the nightly ritual of hot cocoa and biscuits. Daisy eyed up what remained of the brandy instead.
‘I’m working on some Christmas stuff,’ she said. ‘The company wants to branch out into musical cards.’
‘What have you come up with?’ her mother asked.
Daisy thought for a moment, then she sang:
‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Buy some gifts, spend all your lolly
On lots of things that no one needs
Then spend the next month just eating beans
‘That’s not very Christmassy, is it?’ Sandra said. ‘I don’t think it’ll be very popular.’
‘I’m not feeling very Christmassy,’ Daisy replied.
‘No, my love, I don’t expect you are.’ Her mother lifted a couple of mugs out of the cupboard and put a pan on the stove. ‘You can stay here as long as you like. This is your home, after all, and I mightn’t say it often enough, but I do love you and I hate to see you so unhappy.’
‘Oh Mum!’ Daisy began to cry, tears welling up and trickling down her cheeks.
Her mother gathered her into her arms and patted her back. ‘There, there, it’ll be alright. In a while, you’ll realise it’s all for the best. There are plenty more fish in the sea.’
Her mum was a great one for clichéd platitudes, but Daisy found it comforting all the same. She knew her mother was right, but it didn’t stop the ache in her chest.
‘He was wrong for you, Daisy-doll, but one day you’ll find someone who is right.’
Wrong didn’t go anywhere near describing her and Freddie’s relationship, but how hadn’t she seen it? How could she have fooled herself into thinking Freddie loved her? As a woman? As a partner? She had no doubt he cared for her, but not in the way she needed, or wanted, to be cared about.
Daisy saw their relationship for what it was – a sham, a lie, an illusion. She’d bought into the whole fairy-tale, happily-ever-after-ending in the same way a gullible buyer bought a used car from a man in a shiny suit with a good line in sales talk. She hadn’t thought she needed to look under the bonnet to check the engine, she’d just driven the thing and took it at face value.
Well, not anymore. Never again would she accept a man for what he appeared to be. Next time (if there ever was a next time), before she gave her heart away, she’d make sure the man in question deserved it and he had no rattley bones hiding in his closet.
If that has piqued your interest, you can purchase a copy of A Very Lucky Christmas from the following retailers:
About the Author
Lilac Mills writes feel-good romantic women’s fiction, andis the author of Love in the City by the Sea, A Very Lucky Christmas, Summer onthe Turquoise Coast, and Sunshine at Cherry Tree Farm. Lilac spends all hertime writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to thedetriment of her day job, her family, and the housework! Home for Lilac isWorcester, England.
Author Links: Twitter
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