A huge thanks to Jaimie Admans and HQ publishing for organising this tour and for allowing me to host a fabulous extract from this amazing novel. Jaimie is one of my favourite novelists so I cannot wait to indulge in this festive feelgood story.
All she wants for Christmas…
Leah Griffiths has woken up after a few too many glasses of Prosecco with a hangover – and discovers she’s accidentally bought a little Christmas tree farm in Scotland!
At first she’s horrified, but perhaps it’s the perfect way to forget all about her cheating ex.
And when she meets grumpy (but ridiculously gorgeous) pumpkin farmer Noel underneath the mistletoe, Leah begins to believe that at Christmas time, anything can happen…
‘A Christmas tree farm?’ My best friend, Chelsea, says incredulously as I put two
pumpkin spice lattes down on the table between us. She deserves that much for abandoning
her Saturday morning plans with her husband, Lewis, and coming out for a coffee with me.
‘I like Christmas and I like trees, so why not?’ I say with a nonchalant shrug. I don’t
know why I’m trying to act like this isn’t a monumentally big life-changing thing.
‘Well, I like Easter eggs but I’m not going to go out and buy Cadbury’s.’
‘Now there’s a thought,’ I say, my mind drifting to daydreams of owning a chocolate
factory. Now that’s the kind of property auction I should have waited for.
‘Leah…’ Chelsea taps the table in front of me to get my attention. ‘It’s in Scotland.
You’re seriously going to move to Scotland?’
Like it’s a question I haven’t been asking myself all morning. It’s a big thing, but without
Steve, without a job and without Mum and Dad two hours’ drive outside the city, what have I
got to stay in London for? Chelsea is the only person I’d miss, and it’s not like we’d lose
touch. The more I think about it, the question changes from why I’d move to Scotland to why
I’d stay here.
‘I’m stagnating here,’ I say eventually. ‘Since my parents died, I’ve been standing still,
waiting for something to happen. I thought that something was Steve, but it clearly wasn’t.
And now what? Back to the job centre to hunt for another mind-numbing data entry clerk role
that gradually sucks the life out of me day by day? And let’s face it, I’m not exactly going to
get a glowing reference from my boss, am I? Not after I stood in front of the whole office and
invited him to do unpleasant things to himself with a turnip. And definitely not after I poured
a hot cup of coffee down his neck and probably scalded his willy which was still waving
about all over the place, and then topped it off by storming out without formally handing in
my notice. What’s he going to say to my next potential employer? “Oh yeah, hire Leah, she’s
great for a quick fumble behind the photocopier but don’t let her catch you humping the head
accountant if you prefer your willy un-scalded.”’
Chelsea laughs and I sigh. ‘After the initial shock of Mum and Dad, the weeks of
paperwork and organising funerals and then probate and solicitors and clearing the house and
everything… I’ve been motionless, waiting for the punchline to this terrible joke I’m trapped
in while life moves on around me. I’m like one of those stagnant ponds full of dead reeds.
There might actually be insects living in me.’
‘If there’s green slime, you really need to get that checked out by a doctor.’
‘Ha ha,’ I say, even though I’m trying not to smile. I’m pleasantly surprised that Chels
hasn’t told me I’m insane. She knows how I’ve been feeling, but I still expected her to tell me
I’m mad for spending so much – literally my parents’ legacy – on a drunken whim, and doing
something that will change my life without thinking it through. But I had thought it through.
I’ve been thinking of nothing but that auction since the moment I saw a quirky news story
about a Christmas tree farm being up for sale last week.
‘What happened with Steve? I thought you really liked him until that series of very
drunken text messages you sent me in the middle of the night.’
‘Don’t worry, they were so badly misspelled that even autocorrect had given up. I
thought things were going well with him?’
‘Yeah. Turns out things were going well for him and Lucia in accounting too. And
Amanda in customer service. And Linda in acquisitions. Even Penny in printing had
photocopied their bum cheeks together.’ I tell her the whole sorry story about walking into
his office to find him giving the aforementioned Lucia a right good accounting to on his desk
with his trousers round his ankles, complete with grotty underwear on show. Why did I never
notice his ugly boxer shorts before? ‘I was too trusting. I mean, who really falls for their boss
and expects it to work out? It’s a fantasy, isn’t it? I should never have let myself believe it…
but I was so lonely that being with him was better than nothing.’ I bite the inside of my cheek
as tears threaten to fall again. I can’t possibly cry over him any more than I did yesterday.
She makes a noise of sympathy and I wonder if I shouldn’t have said it. She’s been
amazing since my parents died, she’s stayed overnight at my flat on more than one occasion,
she’s offered to let me stay with her and Lewis, she’s dropped plans just to sit in my living
room and keep me company because I didn’t know what to do. I tried to carry on with normal
life while this gaping hole was still inside me, and then Steve got promoted into my
department at work and flirted outrageously and it was nice to feel something again,
anything. Harmless fun, innuendo in professional emails, the odd stolen snog in the stationery
supplies cupboard, a cheeky raised eyebrow in a meeting that set off a round of giggles.
Looking back, I see I wasn’t the only one giggling. Other girls went to get a lot of supplies
and it took them a mysteriously long time too. I knew that. And I still trusted him.
‘You seem remarkably okay with it?’ Chels ventures.
‘What other options are there? After everything that’s happened in the past couple of
years, a man being so much of a pig that it’s an insult to pigs to compare them is the least of
my problems. The office is welcome to Steve, I’ve got more important things to think about.’
She can probably hear the wobble in my voice, but there’s nothing I can do but forget about
Steve. He doesn’t matter anymore because I bought a Christmas tree farm last night. Even
thinking the words in my head seems unreal. It’s like something out of a Christmas movie……
WOW! I just cannot wait!
Author Bio – Jaimie Admans
Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.