Published: 23rd November 2017 (Manatee Books Ltd)
Isolated and unwelcome in the picturesque seaside village of Rawscar, Reverend Cass Fordyce has lost her faith and her home. Christmas is coming, and she isn’t looking forward to it. Then she meets attractive local man Hal – twice divorced and with a reputation as a ladies’ man he’s everything that a celibate vicar like Cass should avoid… especially as Hal is hiding secrets of his own, including his past with the mysterious Anna.
Can Cass ever find her way in Rawscar? What secret does Hal have to hide? And is there ever such a thing as a truly fresh start?
Available for pre-order now: Amazon UK
They had reached the sailing club now, and were walking past the little cluster of beach huts that were used by the sailors in the summer. Not a moment too soon, because the sea behind them had already reached the foot of the cliffs in the middle of the bay where the beach was at its narrowest. Cass turned to see the spray already crashing up against the cliffs behind them, waves whipped up by the wind. Then all at once it became obvious that they were not going to climb the steps behind the sailing club up to the cliff top, because the steps were no longer there.
The stream, coming down the little valley from the cliff top had at some point recently brought down the steps that ran beside it, probably in the same storm that had washed away the vicarage, and instead of a winding path, there was a sheer drop of about twenty-five metres with a waterfall tumbling down it. For a moment they looked at each other.
‘Can we make it back along the beach? We could wade through the bit along under the cliff?’ Cass suggested.
‘No. No way!’ Hal’s reaction was instant and strong. ‘You don’t ever go into the sea in weather like this.’
‘But it’s not that deep yet – look if we hurry we won’t even get that wet!’ She began to head back in that direction ‘Come on, Hal!’
He spun round and grabbed her arm, pulling her back. He held her firmly; very firmly. There was no way she was going back along the beach.
‘Stop it! Didn’t you hear me? No! We don’t go into the water.’
He had gone pale and his eyes looked darker than usual in the fading light. ‘And don’t give me any of that “God will protect you” crap, because he won’t.’ He sounded angry with her.
‘I wasn’t going to …’ she stuttered, suddenly chilled right through and a little bit scared. ‘But if we can’t go back and we can’t get up the path, then we’re stuck here until the tide goes down again. And that won’t be for ages!’
Hal let go of her arm to consult his watch. ‘It won’t be that long. About two hours it’ll be clear.’
‘But it’ll be dark by then.’
‘We’ll manage. We’ve both got lights on our phones.’
‘Will there be anyone at the sailing club? Can we get in there to keep warm?’
‘On a Wednesday night in December? With the cliff path closed? Not a chance. It’ll be all locked up.’ He looked up towards the old wooden clubhouse, its seaward windows shuttered against the weather.
‘I guess we could shelter on the veranda; that would be better than nothing.’ The clubhouse had a long veranda along the eastern side, perfect for a drink overlooking the bay in August, not so perfect for sheltering from a north-east wind in December.
‘We can do better than that. Follow me.’
Liz has always surrounded herself with books. As a child, she was always to be found with her head in one and she still has a bookcase full of her childhood favourites to this day. (As a thirteen-year-old she read The Lord of the Rings twelve times in a row, cover to cover!) All this reading led, unsurprisingly, to a degree in English Literature, (and another book-case full of books) and then a job as a cataloguer of early printed books for a major university library. Children (and then cats and chickens) interrupted her bibliographic career, and having given up library work Liz found herself doing more reading, and increasingly she found herself enjoying novels by writers like Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde, Milly Johnson and Lucy Diamond. Inspired by their example, she started writing fiction and hasn’t stopped since, joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s wonderful New Writers’ Scheme to try to learn how to write novels properly in 2015. She has also attempted writing some short stories, with one The Second Princess winning a competition in Writing Magazine which led her to think that maybe publication wasn’t a pipe dream after all.
When not reading or writing Liz is often to be found on stage (or behind it) with her local amateur dramatic society, drinking tea, or visiting one of the several North Yorkshire seaside villages which were the inspiration for the fictional Rawscar, the setting for her debut novel The Little Church by the Sea.