Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blogiversary Excerpt: A Summer of Surprises by Jan Ellis

Extract from Chapter 8: Boating day

Squinting across from where Daniel had weighed anchor, Eleanor thought that she could make out a handful of pinky-brown shapes on the sand. She screwed up her eyes, trying to focus on what they were.
    “There can’t be sheep on the beach, can there?”
    Daniel laughed. “If those are sheep they’ve been shorn a little too close for comfort.”
    As Eleanor tried to make out what they were, a couple of the forms stood up and revealed themselves to be people – naked people in various shapes and sizes.
    “It’s a nudist beach!”
    “Yup,” said Daniel, extracting towels from the galley and setting them on the deck. “You don’t mind do you?”
    Eleanor was no prude, but she had never before been taken to a nudist beach on what was essentially a first date. It was certainly not what she had expected from Daniel Pearce. He really was a dark horse.
    “No, of course I don’t mind. I’m just a little surprised, that’s all.”
    “So, do you fancy a swim before lunch?” He was already pulling the T-shirt over his head and kicking off his shoes. “There’s nothing like it for sharpening your appetite.” He smiled encouragingly. “Can I tempt you?”
    She mentally scanned her body and decided that it was not in any condition to be presented to the general public.
    “Sure. As long as I can keep my cossie on.”
    “Whatever makes you happy,” he said, with a smile. “You don’t mind if I take my things off, do you?”
    When was the last time a man had asked her that? She shook her head in what she hoped was a casual manner. “Of course not. Go ahead.”
    “Okay. But you had better avert your eyes!”
    She suspected that Daniel was teasing, but she did look away until his clothes were all in a heap on the bench next to her. She looked up in time to see his lithe form disappear under the water. He really was a surprising man and she liked him more and more.
    Surfacing with a splash, Daniel brushed his dark hair back from his face and laughed.
    “Come on in, the water’s lovely. A bit chilly, but lovely.”
    She gingerly stepped out of the loose cotton dress she was wearing and stood there in her sensible blue and white dotty one-piece. Daniel was a strong swimmer and was already several yards away. Bella was sitting in the boat, looking up at her mistress and eager for a swim.
    “What do you think, dog? Shall we go for it?” Bella tipped her head to one side and wagged her tail. “Perhaps you’re right.” What harm could it do for Daniel to see her naked and bedraggled? Would he admire her adventurous spirit or be put off by her saggy bits? There was only one way to find out.
    “Let’s do it!” Gritting her teeth, Eleanor rolled her swimming costume down to her ankles and climbed onto the edge of the boat. “In for a penny, in for a pound.” And with that she screwed up her eyes, pinched her nose and jumped, squealing as the cold water broke around her. “I must be mad,” she muttered to herself, as she began to move her arms and legs in a jerky breaststroke and swim towards Daniel.

Hello readers! What can I tell you about myself? Well, my background is in non-fiction publishing and 'An Unexpected Affair' was the first fiction that I had written since primary school. Fortunately people enjoyed it, so I wrote a second novella, called 'French Kisses', in which my heroine meets a rather nice American academic - but will they get it together? I'm afraid you'll have to read it to find out! (These books are about the length of one of Virginia Woolf's stories, though that is where the comparison ends.)

'A Summer of Surprises', is a longer book and features Eleanor Mace, the heroine of 'An Unexpected Affair'. Like all the stories, it focuses on fun, family and romance in gorgeous locations.

My latest novella, 'A London Affair', is now out! In it, country girl Kate moves to the city and has lots of adventures. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it.

To discover more, please visit my website or follow me on Twitter @JanEllis_writer. I look forward to sharing gossip with you there!

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