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Sneak Peek: Sweet As Sugar


As promised, I'm sharing a little snippet from The Ghost Who Wasn't Dead, to hopefully get your excited about reading it when it's out on Friday!


In this section, Tommy has gone to the corner shop - which doesn't sound very exciting, but he's being rather a darling...

 

Brandy, thought Tommy, trotting along the high street. That’s what people take for shock, isn’t it? A packet of smokes probably wouldn’t go amiss, either.


As he’d pass the corner shop before reaching the pub, he ducked in there first. The bell over the shop door jangled, bringing Mrs Featherstone from the back room and a smile to her latest customer’s face. Much like the rest of this quaint village, she’d been kind to Tommy from the first time they met, which earned her a permanent place in the young man’s often fractured heart.


‘Hullo, Mr Kilbourne,’ she said, her face lighting up before transforming into a mask of motherly horror. ‘You’re soaked through! Come into the parlour and dry out in front of the fire.’


‘Thanks, Mrs F, but I’m in rather a rush,’ he said, taking the tea cloth she held out to him instead and drying the worst of the weather off his face. ‘I’m only here for a few supplies, then I’ve got to dash. Um, I don’t suppose you know what Rathbone smokes, do you?’ he added, realising he’d made a grave error by not checking before leaving the house. ‘Can’t say I ever noticed.’


‘Hettie’s boy? He goes for Silk Cuts,’ said Mrs F. ‘Those, the Times, and a bag of barley twists are his regular order.’


‘I’ll get him the next grade up, and all the other things, please,’ said Tommy, thinking a little generosity might go a long way. ‘And I don’t suppose you have a bottle of brandy about the place, do you? It’d save me a rather damp trip to the pub.’


‘I’m afraid not, sir,’ said Mrs F, stretching to the top of the cigarette stand and knocking the overflowing shelf of bagged sugar as she did so. ‘My first husband, God rest him coz I don’t want the devil back, used to drink the stuff by the bucket.’ She put the cigarettes on the counter and grinned at Tommy, a gold tooth glinting in the gas light as she did so. ‘Got violent when he did, see, and though I know it wasn’t the drink itself that did it —’


‘I quite understand,’ said Tommy, patting her hand sympathetically. ‘Do you carry anything else, though? I could do with something, um… bracing.’


‘You’ll have to go to the Thumb for anything stronger than lemonade,’ she said, tapping the twist of white ribbon pinned to her blouse, which marked her as a teetotaller. ‘No alcohol on the premises, not after what it did to my Herb.’


‘Fair enough,’ said Tommy, disappointed he’d not get home - uh, back to Flora’s house as quickly as he might. His eyes skated over the products on the shelf behind Mrs Featherstone. Everything was stacked neatly in threes, except the sugar, which Tommy assumed either she or her current husband had over-ordered.


‘A bag of sugar too, please, Mrs F,’ he said, deciding to repay the Featherstones’ kindness by lightening their shelves a little. ‘Might bake a cake this afternoon.’


‘Oh, I do like a man who can bake,’ said Mrs F, beaming at him. ‘Can’t beat a Victoria Sponge, I always say.’


‘Then that’s what I’ll make, and I’ll bring you some,’ said Tommy, regretting his invented excuse as his anxiety spiked. Perhaps Flora would help him? He’d certainly need it, seeing as his landlady banned him from the kitchen many moons ago, following the marmalade cake disaster. ‘You seem to have rather a lot of sugar,’ he added. ‘Perhaps I’ll take two bags, to make sure I’ve got enough.’


‘Quite right. Can’t have too much of the stuff, I always say,’ she replied, taking another bag down. ‘Not that anyone around here would mind you borrowing a cup, of course, but you never know what they’ve been doing with it, do you?’


Tommy thought this was rather an odd comment to make — but perhaps country people did things differently to in London? Yes, that was probably it, and you got a lot more insects here than in the city. That’s all it was. Nothing particularly strange at all, probably.


‘Very true,’ he said, pulling a selection of coins from his pocket and flashing her a smile. ‘How much do I owe you?’

 

As you can probably see, there's quite a lot going on in this scene - but nothing spoilery, so yay!


Believe me, it's been a challenge finding sections to share that don't have something that'll give a parge part of the story away...


But I found another one for tomorrow, so come back then for a rather sweet insight into Lucas and Clara's devotion to each other.


See you then!


Love,

Saff xx


P.S. No preorder link for this book, but my newsletter subscribers will be the first to know when it hits the shelves, so click here to make sure you're on the list!



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