Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day commence! It’s time for another Valentine’s Round Robin from Choc Lit, back by popular demand. Five talented Choc Lit authors have been working collaboratively on a super sweet short story – A Valentine’s Wedding Fair – which we will be sharing in five parts in the run-up to Valentine’s Day (with the final part falling on the big day itself!) Come back every day to read a new extract AND enter competitions to win chocolate & book prizes.
Each author taking part has no idea where their part of the story will go, which leads to a few surprises along the way. But you’ll need to read on to find out more
Before the weekend Kirsty Ferry and Morton S. Gray set the scene and left us in the midst of drama (Read Part One by Kirsty Ferry HERE and Part Two by Morton S. Gray HERE). Where will Angela Britnell take us today? Read on to find out …
A VALENTINE’S WEDDING FAIR – PART THREE BY ANGELA BRITNELL
‘Oh, Mark how terrible! All your beautiful cakes are ruined. I’m dreadfully sorry.’
Jess ordered herself not to be a witch for thinking that if Harriet’s fake eyelashes fluttered any faster they’d take flight. Mark stood with his mouth gaping, sympathy for his ex-wife oozing from every pore and she itched to smack some sense into him. Seriously?
‘We’re mortified aren’t we, Armand? We’ll help you get all this cleaned up.’
Harriet rested one elegant hand, showing off her manicured blood-red talons, on Mark’s shoulder. Jess’s self-control strained with the effort of not swatting it away. ‘Being business competitors is one thing but it’s nothing personal.’
Jess snorted in disgust and the other woman’s mask slipped briefly before the practised smile returned. No one else noticed. Stamping her foot would be juvenile but Jess might as well be one of the blobs of pink icing oozing out of the upturned boxes for all the notice anyone was paying her.
‘Don’t worry.’ Mark’s soothing tone irked her. ‘I’ve got my secret weapon here.’ Jess’s back received a friendly pat. ‘She’ll work her usual miracles. You take care of your own display. We’re good aren’t we, JJ? Accidents happen.’
She grunted something he could take as agreement and Harriet’s smirk deepened. Before the ill-fated wedding Mark’s new fiancé buttonholed Jess and spelled things out in no uncertain terms.
You’re in love with Mark. I recognise it but he doesn’t because he’s a man and they never see the sweet, loyal girls who’re always there as anything more than a vaguely female version of their mates. I’ll make something of him that you never could. Stick to making cakes and keep your puppy dog eyes to yourself.
‘Armand, let’s get ready to amaze our customers.’ Harriet’s gaze swept over Jess’s faded pink vintage floral dress. ‘The whole shabby chic thing works well on you, dear.’
The sly dig reminded her of Pippa Warrington at primary school who pretended to admire Jess’s newly chopped off hair, courtesy of her older brother’s attempt to emulate Vidal Sassoon, while tossing her own enviously perky blonde ponytail.
‘You all right, JJ?’ Concern laced Mark’s deep voice and Jess forced on her friend/efficient employee smile. ‘We’ll make this work.’
‘Of course we will. Let’s see how bad the damage is.’ She lifted the first box onto the table and prised off the lid, unable to suppress a sharp intake of breath.
‘You spent hours on those.’ The miniature fairy cakes were a smashed mess and all the spare icing and decorations they’d brought along couldn’t save them. ‘She manages to spoil everything doesn’t she?’
In spite of the cake disaster Jess’s heart did a little flip. Maybe Mark wasn’t a lost cause where it came to Harriet after all. A ring of steel settled around her spine. She’d overcome far worse than this in her life including a childhood spent in care and a dangerous drift along a bad path until baking saved her. ‘Only if we let her and we won’t.’ Mark’s expression softened and he rested his big competent hands on her shoulders. For a wonderful moment Jess was only aware of his deep brown eyes and warm smile.
‘The pièce de résistance. The star of the whole wedding show.’ Harriet’s gloating voice pierced Jess’s happy glow.
As she jerked around Mark’s fingers dug in, willing her not to grab his ex-wife by the throat.
The magnificent chocolate cake complete with cascading creamy white icing roses was a work of art. Jess’s own prized recipe in its full glory. She met the challenge in Harriet’s gaze. For some reason the other woman wasn’t giving up her claim on Mark anytime soon. Bring it on. You don’t know who you’re tangling with but you’re about to find out.
Well if Harriet didn’t annoy you already, Angela Britnell has certainly exposed her truly manipulative and scheming side. Poor Jess! We hope she gets the ending she deserves but there are still two parts to go, with Victoria Cornwall adding her part tomorrow. Anything could happen!
If you enjoyed Angela’s part of the story, you can find her novels and novellas on all eBook platforms.Click on the cover images below for more details. Also make sure you keep an eye out as we’ll be revealing further details about an exciting new release from Angela Britnell very soon!
To be in with a chance of winning a Choc Lit paperback and some chocolate simply answer the question below (we hope you’ve been reading carefully!):
What is Jess wearing to the Fair?
To enter, send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Round Robin comp 3’ by Thursday 15th February. The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday 16th February.