Welcome to Abby Williams and the blog tour for her novel, The Time of Our Lives.
Two women from two very different generations are brought together through dramatic circumstances and help each other to forge new paths.
Twenty-six-year-old Erin has everything she’s ever wanted – a good job, a gorgeous fiancé and a best friend who’s always there for her. But suddenly her life comes crashing down around her. Unable to return home to her parents, she takes a room in a house nearby and her life starts over in the most unexpected of ways…
Seventy-six-year old Lydia, who, shocked by the sudden death of her husband, is devastated to discover that he has left her in crippling debt. With no choice but to take in a lodger, Erin comes into her life. When they find a letter hidden in the attic old secrets come to light and, with Erin by her side, Lydia finds herself going on a trip of a lifetime.
Abby and Aria have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Brad and I had been together for three years, and now I was a fully qualified architect but still also worked as his PA. Watching him now as he walked along the open plan office towards me I felt my heart bang against my chest. Tall, with chocolate eyes and thick, black hair, Brad still gave me butterflies.
‘Erin, have you got my itinerary for the conference tomorrow?’ he asked, standing in front of my desk.
‘Of course,’ I replied, pulling out a glossy brochure from my in-tray and handing it to Brad. ‘I booked you into your usual hotel for two nights and I’ve arranged for the hotel business centre to set up your presentation material so you don’t need to worry.’
Brad smiled. ‘Thank you, that was very thoughtful.’
‘All part of the job,’ I replied sweetly.
As Brad ran his finger down the itinerary, he frowned. ‘Actually, could you book me an extra night? I’ve just noticed my old boss is giving the closing address, it might be nice to try and catch up with him over a few beers rather than rush straight back.’
‘Of course,’ I said, making a note on my iPad. ‘And before I forget, you have a new business meeting with a firm in London on Thursday morning.’
‘Gowerings are interested? Why didn’t you tell me?’ he asked excitedly. ‘We’ve been chasing them for months!’
I smiled, his enthusiasm infectious. ‘I stayed on at the architectural business awards dinner last week after you had to rush off. I got chatting to Gowering and of course sang your praises. He called to ask if you would be free to talk when you’re in London this week and I found a space in your diary that worked for you both.’
‘Erin, I don’t know what to say.’ Brad stood there looking at me, open-mouthed.
I chuckled. ‘You can make it up to me later, out of office hours. Now is there anything else?’
Brad looked thoughtful for a moment. ‘I need you to open the office tomorrow morning as I’m off to London first thing on the early train. That all right?’
I groaned inwardly. I had hoped that he might ask his junior partner Andy to do it instead. Opening the office was one of my least favourite jobs. Not only did it involve being here at just after seven in the morning, but it also meant I missed out on my morning chat with Phil, my favourite coffee guy, who ran a lovely café near the park I had been going to for years.
Naturally I said nothing, understanding only too well the boundaries between work and home and set a reminder on my phone, as Brad perched on my desk causing my carefully hidden copy of Brides to fall to the floor.
Embarrassed, I leapt to my feet to pick it up, but wasn’t quick enough, and Brad got there first.
‘What’s all this?’ He frowned.
‘Just getting some ideas.’ I tried to take the magazine from Brad’s hands. Just because I was engaged to the boss didn’t mean I wanted to be caught taking the proverbial on company time.
‘So I see,’ he smiled, turning back to the magazine.
‘I just thought that we’ve been engaged for a little while now, maybe we ought to think about setting a date soon? Plus, I’m so tall, it’ll take me ages to find a dress,’ I babbled.
‘A hundred and one ways with favours,’ he read, ignoring what I’d said. ‘Find the dress of your dreams, and oh look, how to keep your family on side when they hate the groom.’
‘It doesn’t say that,’ I said, snatching the copy away from him and shoving it in my drawer.
‘No, but maybe there should be an article on what to do when your future in-laws hate you,’ he said gloomily.
Hurriedly, I glanced around at my fellow co-workers. Even though I was in a private office next to Brad’s, I always felt as though people liked nothing more than watching us together. Some days it felt like we were the office entertainment.
‘They don’t hate you,’ I said.
‘Yes, they do!’ Brad exclaimed. ‘You don’t talk to your parents because of me.’
‘And you should appreciate my loyalty.’ I said, shuffling awkwardly on the spot.
Brad got to his feet and looked at me pleadingly. ‘And I do. But we can’t get married with you still not talking to your parents. Perhaps it’s time to put things right.’
‘There will never be a time to put things right,’ I said, folding my arms firmly across my chest. ‘It’s better this way.’
‘So you honestly want to get married without your parents there?’ Brad asked, his tone incredulous.
I nodded. ‘I’ve made my choice. I’m not happy about it, but it’s not as though I haven’t tried over the years to sort things out with them. Look what happened when we drove over there last summer to announce our engagement.’
***** end of extract*****
Abby Williams is the pseudonym for Fiona Ford, writer of romantic up-lit and historical fiction. Fiona started out as a freelance journalist for titles such as Grazia, Sunday Mirror and Stylist before realising her passion lay in novels.
Now she spends her days immersed in made-up worlds and reckons she has the very best job in the world. When she’s not writing, Fiona is a gym nut, but only so it means she can eat lots of cake and drink lots of wine – not necessarily in that order.
She lives in Berkshire with her husband and two cats who she sometimes thinks she might love just a little bit more than all the humans she knows. The Time of Our Livesis her first romantic novel and she is now busy scribbling away her second.