Choc Lit Mother’s Day Round Robin – Part Three by AnneMarie Brear

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When we left off yesterday everything was about to kick off in our Mother’s Day Round Robin with the arrival of Mike at Jenny’s Mother’s Day lunch. Let’s see where AnneMarie Brear leaves our poor characters today ;) Read carefully so you can enter the competition at the end!

To enjoy this story make sure you read the other parts first:

Part One by Margaret James HERE 

Part Two by Jane Lovering HERE

PART THREE BY ANNEMARIE BREAR

I opened the door to Mike who smiled at me. ‘Surviving?’

‘Just!’ I melted a little as he kissed my cheek. ‘I’m glad you have come, but nervous too. My mother is in fine form today. Please don’t be offended by her attitude. I swear she would have an opinion on the Queen herself if she called for lunch.’

‘I’ll be fine.’ He held up a supermarket bag. ‘I’ve brought wine and chocolates.’

‘She’s started on the gin already.’ I led him through to the dining room, my stomach in knots. My mother and Lucy looked expectantly at us as we entered. ‘Mum, Lucy, this is Mike.’ I turned to Mike, hoping my fear didn’t show. ‘Mike, this is my mother, Diana, and you’ve met my daughter, Lucy … briefly.’

In trepidation, I watched the three of them size each other up.

‘Hello Mike. I believe you are a builder or something?’ My mother asked immediately in a cold tone as though Mike was bank robber. Lucy sat next to her as the two of them waited for him to speak, or make a mistake they could pounce on like a school of sharks on Nemo.

‘I am, Diana. I like working with my hands. Construction is a rewarding job.’ Mike smiled. ‘Jenny tells me you have a lovely bungalow in the next village. Apparently, your garden is much admired?’

Diana preened, a self-appreciating expression on her face. ‘I do my best. This summer I plan to enter my garden into the village competition for best garden. I’ve been told I stand a chance of winning, or at least achieving a medal of recommendation. I do believe my garden is my greatest achievement.’

‘Not your only daughter?’ I murmured under my breath. I gave Mike some wine glasses as he opened the bottle of red he’d brought.

‘That’s very impressive. Maintaining a garden is time consuming.’ Mike poured the wine and passed a glass to Lucy, who took it without comment.

‘Yes, well, being on my own is rather difficult when there are big jobs to do, but one must not complain.’ Diana’s look of innocent suffering was lost to everyone but Mike.

I couldn’t believe my mother had not sniffed once yet.

Sipping his wine, Mike sat at the table. ‘My father says hard work always pays off in the end.’

‘Your father?’ Diana tried and failed to hide her interest.

‘John Philips. You might know of his shop, Philips Timber?’

Diana’s eyes widened. ‘Indeed I do. There are two shops now aren’t there? That is your family’s business?’

‘It’s my father’s, yes.’ Mike chuckled. ‘Dad would have three shops if I went into the business, but I enjoying working for myself. The shops keep him busy since my mother died a few years ago.’ His blue-eyed gaze grew tender as he mentioned his mother. ‘You must let me know, Diana, if there is any building work you need doing. I’m happy to pop around and have a look for you.’

My mother glanced at me before giving Mike her full attention. ‘Well, my summer house needs a new roof, and the side fence near the garage is a bit loose …’

‘Mother!’ I quickly stepped in, knowing she would have Mike over every weekend fixing and building things for the next five years.

‘Mike offered, Jenny!’ She sniffed, her disapproval of my interference clear.

Mike took my hand, his gaze loving. ‘I don’t mind, Jen. I’m sure Diana will keep me topped up with tea and cake while I did a few jobs for her.’ He turned back to Diana. ‘I bet you can make grand cakes as well as great gardens?’

Diana relaxed in her chair, a genuine smile on her face. ‘Wait until you try my lemon drizzle cake. You’ll not have tasted better.’ She gave me a glare. ‘Can I make Mike a cake, Jenny, or will you stop me from doing that too?’

I rolled my eyes. ‘I need to check on lunch.’

Lucy’s phone rang and she glanced at the screen before looking up quickly. ‘It’s dad.’

It was all going so well! What could Lucy’s dad possibly want? Find out tomorrow when Kirsty Ferry takes over :)  

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If you enjoyed AnneMarie’s writing, check out her debut Choc Lit novel Where Dragonflies Hover. Also keep a watch out for a new release coming soon ;)  

COMPETITION TIME

To be in with a chance of winning a Choc Lit book and some chocolate simply answer this question:

What is the name of Mike’s father’s shop?

To enter, send your answer to info@choc-lit.co.uk with the subject heading ‘Round Robin AnneMarie Brear comp’ by Monday 27th March. The winner will be picked at random and announced on Tuesday 28th March.