Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…
After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.
But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.
So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.
To celebrate the release of The Summer Island Swap, Samantha and Aria have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
‘Being a veterinary nurse alone is more challenging than I ever imagined,’ she continued, ignoring my comment. ‘Look, Sarah – two other members of the lottery syndicate are also taking holidays. One of the surgeons is going on a cruise… I wish you would trust me on this.’
I opened my mouth to protest but the stiffness that had taken hold of her shoulders stopped me. We shouldn’t argue. It was rare that we both had a Saturday off. Tonight we were going to the cinema. My chest glowed at the prospect of Amy’s usual excitement over a blue slush drink and ketchup slathered hot dog. Sometimes it was hard to believe she was twenty-three.
But then I was twenty-seven and hadn’t even been kissed. Not properly. One-night stands and short relationships didn’t count. I meant proper kissing like you saw in the romantic movies I loved watching, where it was savoured on a bench or under a lamppost. I should have had that with Callum but looking back, the spark wasn’t there; I never got the sense of wanting a kiss with him to last forever.
‘A trip away is exactly what we both need,’ continued Amy as tentative rays of sunshine that had snuck through the blinds retreated behind assembling April clouds. ‘Especially you.’ Her voice sounded thick. ‘You’ve worked your guts out all these years, giving me a roof over my head and so much more – like funding my training to become a nurse at Paws & Claws. Words can’t explain how much it meant to me, having this flat, your home to move into when I turned eighteen and could finally get away from him.’
‘This has always been our home – even when you weren’t here.’
Her eyes shone. ‘Well, this is my small way of paying you back.’
‘There’s no debt.’ I rubbed her arm and crouched down by her side.
She closed the screen of her laptop and turned around, face flushed as I stood up. ‘Let me do this on my own. For a change let me take charge.’
But had she checked the reviews on TripAdvisor? And I’d have to find a way to subtly remind her about holiday insurance. The last year or two she never seemed to understand when I was simply trying to help.
I loved Amy more than anything in the world but she’d always be the younger sister who’d run to me when Dad had been mean; the sister who needed me.
‘Or are you trying to sneak a peek at exactly where we’re going?’ Her sharp tone couldn’t disguise the twinkle in her eyes. ‘There are several islands to choose from and I’ve finally made a decision. Now go and make those chocolate cookies you promised, whilst I book this surprise.’
‘Ooh, an island? Thanks for letting that slip.’ I chuckled. ‘And, um, I might have already seen a few other clues,’ I said sheepishly. ‘Like photos of a lush hotel with Roman pillars. Waterbeds. An indigo ocean. White sand beaches. Something about tropical massages and Aqua Dancing and all-day buffets offering pyramids of pastries and colourful seafood platters.’
‘Sarah! The details are supposed to be top secret.’
‘But I’m excited!’ I bent down and gave her a tight hug.
***** end of extract*****
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award
To find out more about Samantha’s publisher, visit www.ariafiction.com