In an Instagram world, can you find love just by being yourself…
Popular lifestyle blogger, Libby Cartwright, is being boggled by business when help shows up in the shape of gorgeous but shy, Charlie Richmond. Libby’s determined to keep it at ‘just good friends’ – she’s dated someone from ‘Corporate Land’ before and it didn’t end well. As she and Charlie begin spending more time together, Libby is starting to waver – until she discovers something which makes her question if she’s ready for love.
Still reeling, she suffers another blow as her blog is attacked in a national newspaper, for promoting unachievable perfection. Libby knows it’s not true – but the only way to prove that is to strip off the armour she’s been wearing for years.
Is she brave enough to show the world she’s far from perfect? And will Charlie be by her side if she does…
‘That’s it! I am totally going to jail. I’m going to get it wrong, owe thousands, not be able to pay, and go to jail!’ I flung myself backwards with an overly dramatic sigh and lay sprawled on the paperwork I had been looking at. ‘And seriously? Me in an orange
jumpsuit? I don’t care how on trend they are; I could never pull that off! Orange is so not my colour.’
Amy topped up her wine glass before reaching a hand down to grab my arm,
tugging me in the direction of the sofa. I slid along the floor for a few moments in my
prone position, like some sort of beached, four-legged starfish, until I eventually
bumped into the furniture.
‘I think that’s more America, hon,’ she said, yanking me upwards. ‘I’m not sure
what ours are like. Something much more subtle, I expect. And don’t worry. I’ll hide a
file inside the first cake I bring you. You’ll be out in no time.’
I paused in my clambering from the floor onto the sofa, and gave her a look. She
made a sawing motion with one hand, accompanied by an over-exaggerated wink as she held out my wine glass. Flopping onto the couch, I took the glass and swigged a large mouthful, before laying my head back onto the soft cushions.
‘Seriously though. I really don’t know what I’m doing with this. I thought I was
handling all this business stuff OK until now.’
‘And you are!’ Amy interjected. ‘Your blog is doing amazingly well! I can’t believe
the difference in a year – it’s incredible! Seriously, Libs, you should really be proud of
I sighed. ‘Thanks, Ames. And I am, and of Tilly. I couldn’t have done it without her.
But I’m so frustrated! I’ve taken on this insane learning curve and, for the most part, got the hang of things. I think. But this?’ I kicked a piece of paper with my bare toes. ‘This, I just cannot get my head round! Why does tax have to be so bloody complicated? They send you this stuff so that you are supposedly able to do it yourself, but write it in the most confusing language possible! How is that even remotely helpful?’
Amy just shook her head and took another sip of wine.
‘So, what are you going to do?’
‘I don’t know. I guess I need to start looking for an accountant.’ I twiddled the wine
glass stem in my hand.
Amy leant over and bumped her head gently on my shoulder. ‘You know; it is OK
to ask people for help sometimes. We can’t all be amazing at everything. Creating all this in such a short space of time is brilliant, Libby. Finding that you need some extra
expertise in one area is perfectly acceptable, and perfectly normal.’
‘I guess.’ I put the glass down. ‘Before I forget, I have something for you.’
Immediately, Amy sat up straighter in anticipation and her eyes watched me as I
crossed to the other side of the room and picked up a small, but fancy, cardboard bag
with intricately twisted rope handles and a swirly script logo on the side. Walking back
over to the sofa, I plopped the bag down on Amy’s lap.
‘Did I ever tell you that going for it with this lifestyle blog business is the best thing
that you’ve ever done?’
I laughed. ‘You just like the freebies.’
‘True,’ Amy agreed, before letting out an ‘ooh’ of pleasure at the eyeshadow
palette and perfume she’d just pulled out of the bag.
‘But thanks anyway.’
‘Any time. Oh!’ Amy’s eyes shone like those of a child who’d just won pass the
parcel. ‘Really? I can have this?’ Without waiting for confirmation, Amy began excitedly
spritzing the exclusive new perfume copiously on pretty much every pulse point she
could reach, including mine.
Laughing, I lifted my wrist up to take another waft of the fragrance. It really was
gorgeous. I smiled as my friend rummaged in the bag, unwrapping the various goodies
from their pretty tissue-paper packaging. The cosmetic companies often sent more
samples than I could possibly use so I always made sure my assistant got some to
review and regularly ran giveaways on the blog, as a thank you to my readers. But
occasionally I still had extra goodies left over. Amy always loved a good freebie so when I had something spare, it meant I got to make my best friend happy.
As the fumes of Amy’s fragrance enthusiasm began getting a little pungent, I
pushed myself up and padded over to the doors that led out onto the balcony. Grabbing the handle, I slid the door to the side. Immediately, a warm breeze rushed in from the sea, dissipating the perfume, and bringing with it the screech of seagulls intertwined with chatter and laughter from the nearby bars and restaurants in the marina. I stepped out, grabbing a wide-brimmed, slightly battered straw hat off the nearby console table, and took a seat on one of the two wooden steamer chairs that resided on my balcony.
Amy followed me out, wine glass in hand, the gift bag now swinging off her wrist.
If I was honest, the furniture was a squeeze and a trendy little bistro set would
have been a better, more sensible option. I’d made the classic mistake of ‘guesstimating’ that they would fit perfectly on the balcony. They didn’t and I’d ended up building them in situ like some sort of furniture Jenga, which had proved to be the only way of getting them both to fit on there. But I loved them. I didn’t want a trendy little bistro set. The loungers were super comfy with full-length padded cushions, and reclined just enough without touching the glass. I could sit out here and read in comfort, watching the boats sway and bob gently in the marina, listening as the sound of waves bumping against the harbour wall carried across the water. Even in winter, when the wind howled and the sea reared up before crashing down forcefully onto the nearby beach, I would happily sit out here, wrapped up against the cold, just absorbing it all.
There was definitely no need for coats and scarves this evening. It seemed that
spring had decisively handed off the baton early to summer and the new season was
away and running. The evening was warm and the breeze soft as Amy and I, now having inelegantly climbed onto our respective loungers, sat back and sighed happily.
Thank you, Maxine Morrey and Boldwood Books
About the author
Maxine Morrey is a bestselling romantic comedy author with eight books to her name including Winter’s Fairytale and the top ten hit The Christmas Project. She lives in West Sussex. Her first novel for Boldwood, #No Filter, will be published in November 2019.
Profile on the Boldwood Books website: https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/contributor/maxine-morrey/
Amazon : https://amzn.to/2KArY2M