Author: Jill Mansell
Pub Date: May 2, 2017
International bestseller Jill Mansell weaves a heartwarming tale of love, family and friendship in her latest novel
1. A brief encounter that could have become so much more…if only everything were different
2. Step-sisters, bitter rivals in every area except one—by unbreakable pact neither will ever steal a man from the other
3. A love triangle that starts out as a mess of secrets and mix-ups, and only gets worse from there
Friendship, family ties, crossed wires and self-discovery, second chances and first impressions
Welcome to Jill Mansell’s blustery seaside world. Once you step inside, you’ll never want to leave!
With over 10 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny, poignant and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.
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Ronan looked at Clemency. To be honest, they weren’t the words he’d been expecting to hear. “Excuse me?”
Paula and Gavin had gone home; it was just the two of them in the office. Clemency was sitting on her desk with her bare legs swinging, because she’d just painted her toenails with scarlet polish and was encouraging them to dry.
“OK, not my real boyfriend.” She waved her hand dismissively. “But, you know, if you could bear to fake it for a week or two, I’d really owe you one. And it’s not as if you’re seeing anyone at the moment, so it wouldn’t be putting you out.”
Ronan frowned. “What’s brought this on? Is someone pestering you?”
“No, just driving me nuts.” Rubbing her face, Clemency said, “Seriously, Belle’s doing my head in. She’s so smug, I just can’t bear it any more. It’s all ‘Oh look, here’s me with my perfect gorgeous boyfriend and then there’s poor you with nobody at all.’ She won’t stop showing off about it and making out I’m some sad, lonely spinster. I swear to God, it feels like we’re fifteen again and all I want to do is stuff her head down the loo or wait until she’s asleep and chop off all her hair.”
“Did you ever stuff her head down the loo when you were fifteen?”
“Well, no, but the urge was pretty strong. And now it’s back. But I know I’m not allowed to actually do it, so I thought maybe it’s easier to just get myself a boyfriend instead.”
“And you’ve chosen me to be the one. Can I hazard a guess why?”
“Because if I pick someone boring and average looking, that’ll just make her more smug. And because she’s always had a thing about you, which means…OK, she’s got Sam now, but she’ll still be a little bit jealous.”
“And?” Ronan prompted when she paused and waggled her toes. He knew Clemency too well, could read her like a book.
“Well, I did kind of happen to mention to Sam that you and I were seeing each other.”
“I didn’t mean to,” Clemency protested. “But like I said, Belle has been really unbearable, and I said it on the spur of the moment. It just popped out.”
“Oh dear.” Ronan nodded sympathetically. “So you’re going to look pretty silly if I say no now.”
“I am. I will. I’ll look like one of those desperate old spinsters who fantasize about men they know they’ll never have a chance with. Word will get out and I’ll be the laughing stock of St. Carys.”
“The whole of Cornwall, probably.”
“So will you do it?”
“Not sure. What’s in it for me?”
“Wild sex, obviously.” Clemency raised an eyebrow at him. “That was a joke.”
“Thank goodness for that. I don’t have sex with desperate old spinsters.”
“OK, so are you going to be my fake boyfriend, or do I have to find someone else?”
As she had undoubtedly known he would, Ronan said, “Go on then, we’ll give it a whirl. Might be fun.”
“And it’ll definitely annoy my sister.” Clemency did a triumphant fist bump. “Thanks.”
Ronan shrugged. “Hey, it’s not as if anyone’s going to be surprised, is it?” For the last two years, as long as they’d been colleagues, people had been asking when he and Clemency were going to get together. It was a standing joke among their friends. They were the perfect match, was the general consensus, and everyone wondered why it hadn’t happened yet.
“Well, that’s true enough. We’d better tell your mum, though. It wouldn’t be fair to let her get her hopes up—you know she’s always wanted us to get together.” Clemency had been tentatively prodding the nail polish on her toes. “Yay, all dry. We can go now.” Jumping down from the desk, she slid her feet into silver flip-flops. “We’ll start tomorrow, OK? Try not to go out and fall in love with someone else tonight.” She waved her keys at him. “Just remember, I’m your girlfriend now.”
What was she like? Amused, Ronan said, “How could I forget?”