Today it's my my pleasure to be sharing with you an extract from Catherine Ferguson's latest book Love Among the Treetops which Emma reviewed earlier.
Can love flourish amongst the tree tops?
When pastry chef Twilight Wilson was a young girl, she would hide from school bullies up in the treehouse at the bottom of her garden in her family home in Sussex. It was her special place, and even as an adult she still loves it.
So when her family tell her they can’t afford to live there any more, Twilight is devastated. Not only will they lose their home – but the treehouse too!
She comes up with a plan to save the family home – she’ll start up a cafe in the treehouse! It’s a brilliant idea, and excitement builds as she starts planning the menus, with the help of Theo – a rather attractive man from the gym. But when former school bully Lucy finds out the plan, she starts plotting – and opens her own rival cafe in the village!
Can Twilight save her family home? Will her friendship with Theo ever be anything more? And who will win the cafe wars?
My mind flashes way back in time, to the eve of the school leavers’ ball. Being in the treehouse with Paloma, terrified that Jason was about to break up with me.
We were eighteen and we’d been together for three years by then. The ball marked the end of school and the beginning of a whole new life for both of us, but I’d never had any doubts that whatever Jason and I did, we would do it together.
But the week before the ball, he seemed odd. Distracted. I kept asking him if he’d sorted out his suit for the night, but he just kept saying there was plenty of time to think about that, which there quite obviously wasn’t. I asked him if things were okay between us and he said of course they were. He thought he had a cold coming on and was feeling a bit low, that was all.
But I remember feeling so uneasy, I confided in Paloma.
We were up in my bedroom and she’d brought over the dress Linda had bought her for the ball – a long, silky creation in deep pink that contrasted wonderfully with her dark hair.
‘What’s wrong?’ she asked, sensing I wasn’t myself.
And then it all came out, in between sobs. How Jason had been so distant lately and I was terrified he was going to end our relationship. Mum knocked on the door and asked if I was all right.
‘Just a bit of boy trouble,’ sang out Paloma.
Then she whispered, ‘Come on. Let’s go out to the treehouse.’
So, we escaped to my little world among the branches and as my best friend gave me a pep talk, I stared out over the garden, hoping Paloma was right and that my worries about Jason would turn out to be nothing at all.
Up in the treehouse, breathing in the scented air that rustled through the leaves, I always felt calmer and more able to think straight. I decided that if we made it to the school leavers’ ball, things would be okay. If not – well, I didn’t want to think about what would happen then. Jason was my first love and I could never in a million years have imagined being in this position, worrying that he might be going off me.
But if it happened, I’d cope …
As it turned out, I had built a crisis out of nothing. I phoned Jason and asked him if he really wanted to go to the ball with me, and he said of course he did and what a strange thing to ask.
He sounded quite cross with me for doubting him, and I remember the relief flooding through me. Things were okay between us after all.
I said he’d been distant with me and he explained that he’d been worried about what would happen to us, now we were leaving school and everything in our lives was about to change. I knew he hated the idea of me going off to university. But that night, at the ball, I did everything I could to reassure Jason that even though our relationship would be long-distance for a few years, the way I felt about him would never change. We’d survive the separation because we were so strong together.
He still seemed a little quiet. But then the next day, he came down with a horrible dose of flu and I told myself that must have been the problem all along…