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Monday, 21 May 2018

Dreaming of St Tropez by T.A Williams






The perfect summer escape on the French Riviera. Sun, sea and secrets…

After a disagreement with a billionaire, architect Jess Milton is ‘let go’ from her job. However fortune intervenes – an elderly client asks Jess to dog-sit overweight, but loveable dog Brutus in St. Tropez.

Fed up with the mega-rich, Jess is reluctant to visit the playground of billionaires, but an all-expenses-paid trip and the promise of sunshine seals the deal.

Little does Jess know how much time she’ll be spending with the family living in St. Tropez. The sullen, but very good-looking David and his millionaire father are both welcoming but guarded, haunted by their pasts…



Can Jess bring some sunshine back into their lives – and, just maybe, find love in the process?



Title: Dreaming of St Tropez
Author Name: T.A. Williams
Publication Date: 7th May 2018
Published By: Canelo
Links:  

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Extract from Dreaming of St Tropez


April that year was the coldest and wettest in England since records began. The rainfall in the first week alone was in excess of the normal figure for the whole month, and it just didn’t stop. The rivers were overflowing, towns were being flooded, the ground everywhere was sodden and muddy. Every morning, Jess and Hope drove round southwest London in the van, collecting a motley assortment of dogs from owners too busy, too lazy, or too infirm to walk them themselves. They drove up to Richmond Park and exercised them, rain, shine or thunder – and there was precious little shine.

Then, in the afternoons, Jess took another half dozen dogs on leads for a walk in the local park, doing her best to prevent them from either fighting or humping each other as they walked through the rainy streets to the park.

Ironically, one day she spotted something familiar.

Just before the turnoff for the park, there was an empty shop on a corner. It had obviously been a travel agency once, but now it was a pathetic shell, the windows boarded up – all but one corner. Through this, Jess was surprised to spot a poster that rang a bell. On closer inspection, with her nose pressed to the glass, she saw that it was none other than St-Tropez, and not dissimilar to the poster on Hope’s wall. Its corners were curling up and the ink was fading, but the brilliant sunshine, the blue sea and the luxury yachts were unmistakable. Fat cats or no fat cats, Jess had to admit that it looked appealing.

Every day, as the English skies continued to pour rain down on her and her collection of dogs, she glanced ever more enviously at this little slice of paradise. Maybe Hope wasn’t so wrong after all.

She started trawling though the Situations Vacant on specialist architecture websites, without finding anything that immediately leapt out at her, but she wasn’t worried yet. With the financial cushion provided by the payoff from Graham, she was able to take her time, confident that, sooner or later, the right thing would come up. She even started to consider taking a holiday somewhere warm and sunny. That had a distinct appeal. Anything to get away from the impenetrable gloom of England.

Then one day, as she was standing in the limited shelter provided by the branches of a massive oak tree, her phone started ringing. She was in the middle of wiping herself down after separating a German shepherd called Klaus from a golden retriever called Betty – she hadn’t been able to ascertain whether Klaus’s intentions had been amorous or aggressive, but Betty hadn’t appreciated them one bit. Jess, still smarting from the Drugoi incident, felt a considerable bond of sympathy with her. However, in the process of wrestling with them, she had slipped on the grass and now had a soggy bottom and muddy hands to show for it. Still muttering to herself, she wiped one hand on her jeans, pulled the phone out, and answered it.

‘Yes, hello.’

‘Hello, Jess?’

She immediately recognised his voice and wondered what he wanted.

‘Graham, I didn’t think I’d ever hear from you again.’

‘Well, yes, Jess… I know.’ He sounded apologetic, and for a moment Jess wondered if he was calling to offer her her old job back.

‘So, is there a reason for this call? I’m working at the moment.’ She kept her voice cold.

‘Working?’ He sounded surprised, but not half as surprised as he would have been if he could see her now, covered in mud. ‘It’s sort of about work that I’m calling.’

He hesitated, but Jess wasn’t doing him any favours. She remained silent until he started up again.

‘You remember old Mrs Dupont? The single floor extension in Highgate.’

‘Yes, of course.’ Mrs Dupont had been one of Jess’s favourite clients. Although no doubt worth quite a few million, she was pleasant, friendly, and totally unpretentious. ‘What about her? The job was finished three, four months ago and it’s all been signed off.’

‘I know, I know. It’s just that she wants you to contact her.’

‘I thought I was expressly forbidden from contacting any former clients.’

‘Yes… yes indeed, but she tells me this is something personal. Nothing to do with work.’

‘Something personal?’

‘Yes, personal. That’s what she said. Anyway, have you still got her number?’

‘No, I deleted it, along with all the other work-related numbers. I assumed that’s what you would have wanted.’

‘Yes, of course, good. But, if I give it to you again, please could you call her?’ Graham sounded almost pleading.

‘Yes, of course, but what’s this all about, Graham?’

‘I really don’t know, but she’s an important client and the customer’s always right.’

Jess couldn’t resist a jab. ‘Even when the customer insists you fire one of your employees?’

An awkward silence ensued. Jess waited until he broke it, and was unsurprised to hear him ignore her question.

‘Erm, thank you, Jess. I’ll text you the number.’

‘So, did Drugoi give you the contract?’

‘Erm, yes. Thank you again, Jess. Goodbye.’ She could hear the haste in his voice.

As she returned the phone to her pocket, she heard it whistle to signify the arrival of Graham’s text, but the call to Mrs Dupont could wait. She would make it later on, once she was somewhere dry and warm.

‘Right, come on, Betty, let’s carry on with our walk. And as for you, Klaus, just leave her alone. All right?’

As the golden retriever stood up, the German shepherd’s nose headed unerringly for her backside once more, but Jess was ready this time. She gave his lead a hefty tug and addressed him in her sternest pack-leader voice.

‘I said leave her alone, Klaus. Who do you think you are? A bloody oligarch?’



Thank you T.A for sharing this extract with us today and wishing you good luck with the rest of the Blog Tour.


Sincerely
Book Angel x



About the Author


T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

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