A Cornish Summer at Pear Tree Farm
by Angela Britnell
Cornish charm and a Tennessee twist – the perfect pair? Nessa Vivian is determined to keep her parents’ business afloat, but Pear Tree Farm near the backwater Cornish village of Polgarth didn’t do well as farm, and it’s not faring much better as a camp site. Maybe it’s due to Nessa’s habit of taking in troubled runaways, like ex-soldier Crispin, for next to nothing. Or perhaps her highly-strung sister Lowena is right – caravans named after Beatles’ songs and homegrown pears are not enough to turn the farm into a tourist haven. Then another troubled runaway turns up, posing the greatest threat yet. Ex-musician Ward Spencer from Tennessee is certainly intriguing, but could his plans to put nearby Tregereth House on the map mean Pear Tree Farm is finished – or does his arrival signal a second lease of life, and not just for Nessa’s business?
Thank you Sadie for inviting me to stop by your blog for a chat and to share an extract from my new trans-Atlantic romance ‘A Cornish Summer at Pear Tree Farm.’ The setting is the fictional Polgarth Valley in Cornwall, the far south-western part of England where I grew up and a truly beautiful spot. Nessa Vivian is struggling to keep the campsite her parents started afloat but when the intriguing American ex-country music star Ward Spencer turns up and buys the adjoining property with plans to turn into a far fancier version of her own business sparks fly.
The extract I want to share revolves around Ward and his sister Ashley. He’s been worried about his only sibling for a long time because of her troubled marriage to the ultra-controlling “Bunny” Radnor. In an effort to help he talks her into joining him in Cornwall to help get his prospective business up and running. A turn for the worse in her marriage leads to her accepting his offer but with two conditions – firstly he can’t tell anyone including their parents that she’s there and secondly no one in Cornwall can know she’s his sister. He takes his responsibility as her older brother seriously but doesn’t bargain on how difficult it could be this time to follow through. We join the story when Ward’s worried mother is on the phone to him from Tennessee
Ward hadn’t appreciated how hard it would be to lie to their parents. ‘I’m sorry Mom but I haven’t heard from Ashley in weeks.’
‘Poor Bunny’s been on the phone every five minutes. He’s worried sick about her. She said she was taking a few days off work to visit an old friend in San Francisco which is totally out of character but when he called to check she’d arrived safely, Ruby hadn’t heard from her.’ His mother sighed down the phone.
‘He got madder than a wet hen when I suggested he contacted the police. Bunny said he wasn’t having their private business trawled through by any nasty detective. What do you think he meant?’
He muttered something non-committal.
‘Your father’s been sayin’ for ages they’ve got marital problems but I think he’s imagining things. I know Ashley isn’t … cheerful like she used to be and she’s gone dreadfully thin but between you and me I think they’re struggling to start a family.’ She puffed out a sigh. ‘Hang on a sec your daddy’s buggin’ me. He wants to talk to you.’
‘Really? Uh okay.’ That set off alarm bells. His father was usually content to get the news second hand.
‘Hi son. Your mother’s fretting and I don’t like that.’
‘You and Ashley have always been thick as thieves and I’m bettin’ my bottom dollar she’ll contact you if she hasn’t already. I’m not askin’ you to break any promises you’ve made to her but I need to know she’s all right.’ His gruff voice cracked.
Ward wrestled with his conscience. ‘She’s okay Dad but—’
‘Don’t say any more. Bunny won’t hear anythin’ from us if I have to zip your mom’s mouth shut. You take good care of my girl. We’ve let her down.’
The conversation left him more conflicted than ever. He was mulling over whether to tell his sister that their father dragged the truth out of him when Ashley strolled into the kitchen. The baggy grey cardigan was swinging loose and everything about her seemed less uptight already. Decision made.
‘My builder will be here in a few minutes.’ A flicker of dismay crossed her face.
‘He’s in the middle of drawing up the planning application and needs my input. Stick to the story we’ve agreed about why you’re here and it’ll be fine. I really need you in on this.’
‘What if he gets the wrong impression and thinks I’m your …’ She wrinkled her nose. ‘Oh Lord it’s so weird I can’t even say it.’
‘If it keeps you safe and under Bunny’s radar then Yeatman and everyone else can think what they like.’ A tiny nub of regret settled in his gut. Any slim chance that remained with Nessa would disappear like snow in the sun when the gossip reached her.
Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!
A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Her first novel ‘Truth and Consequence’ was published in 2006 and she’s now had over 30 novels published internationally and several short stories in women’s magazines.
If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (Advance warning: this may include references to wine, dark chocolate, Poldark and the hunky Aidan Turner) check out www.angelabritnellromance.com or follow her on Facebook , Twitter and on Instagram as Angela Golley Britnell.