So, what’s it all about?
Sometimes you have to leave the one you love … sometimes you’re the one who’s left behind. The new heart-warming and heart-breaking romantic comedy from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?
On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.
But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different …
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.
Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities.
Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.
Excerpt from Love Them And Leave Them
Jessica could feel her knees knocking so badly she wondered if Mr Ainsworth could hear them. He was the senior partner; he’d been in court for much of the case and, of course, he was here for the verdict.
‘Have you reached a verdict upon which you all agree?’
Bloody hell. Bloody hell. Bloody hell. Jessica could barely breath. Just as she was starting to feel pretty queasy and wondering if she was actually going to make a giant arse out of herself by fainting in front of the whole court, the verdict was announced.
Clearly, the cosmic ordering had worked. Or maybe Jessica had simply done a good job and presented a watertight case. Whatever the reason ‒ the jury agreed with her. She couldn’t suppress the grin on her face.
Mr Ainsworth shook her hand. ‘Well done, Miss Hastings.’
Her client was less formal; he chose to hug her, whilst thanking her profusely. He was a free man. He made his way over to his appreciative family and his wife gave Jessica an ecstatic thumbs up that truly made all the late nights worthwhile.
Jessica was so excited she could burst. I’m a successful barrister! After she’d called Nick and told him, there were two other people she couldn’t wait to tell.
‘How was the house, sweetheart?’ Ed opened the door with the question on his lips. His shirt sleeves were rolled up and he was wearing casual trousers, his standard ‘working from home’ attire.
‘Bloody amazing, Dad. You have to see it. It’s perfect.’
‘Great. You know you need to …’
Jessica couldn’t wait. ‘I know. Listen, Dad, the jury returned their verdict already.’
‘No? Already! So, how did you get on?’
‘How do you think?’ Jessica asked with a beam.
‘Going by that big old grin on your face, I’d say you won.’
‘Yep, we did.’ Jessica gladly welcomed his offer of a congratulatory bear hug.
Ed walked towards the kitchen to put the kettle on. ‘Brilliant. Well done, sweetheart. Mum will be delighted too. She’s out, she’ll be sorry she missed you.’
‘Well, I’ve got a bit of free time, maybe if I hang on she’ll be back.’
Ed shook his head and explained, ‘She’s gone clothes shopping with Auntie Jenny. She’s got the joint credit card; we’ll not see her until the shops shut!’
So, Jessica settled down for a natter and a mug of tea with her dad. She loved being here, her parent’s fairly ordinary, semi-detached house. Six years ago she’d gone travelling with her friend, Gemma. They’d taken a year off to see the sights of Australia and Asia, before each beginning a university course. It’d been an amazing time, and she’d had a world of experiences, yet she’d been more than happy to return here when the year was over.
‘Well, if you’re honestly not in a rush, there’s a lamb thing in the slow cooker. Stay for dinner if you like?’ Ed’s expression was hopeful.
‘I could do. Nick says he’s got work to do. It’d be nice to see Tom. You sure there’s enough?’
‘Absolutely, you know Mum.’
The lamb smelled delicious. ‘Go on then. You’ve got me.’
‘Great! I think we ought to open a bottle of bubbly too!’
Tom made his way noisily through the front door and arrived in the kitchen with a crash of bags and PE equipment. ‘Oh … hi, what the hell are you doing here?’
At twelve, Tom was one of the most annoying, but lovable, things in her life. There were way too many years between them for their relationship to be one of a normal brother and sister. Jessica had been a gawky, almost thirteen-year-old, when her mum had announced she was having another child. She’d been embarrassed to discover that her parents were still ‘up for it’ and had assumed the baby was a dreadful mistake. A one off? She sincerely hoped so! Unbeknown to her, her parents had had secondary fertility problems and had failed to get pregnant so many times after having her that they’d given up and made their peace with their lot. Only to be surprised, years later, at the conception of a healthy baby boy.
Tom had arrived into a hi-tech world of computers, smart phones and the internet. From an early age, he’d shown himself to be a whizz with all things technical. Or maybe that was just if you compared him to the other three members of his household. He was their ‘go to guy’ if they needed anything re-programmed or if any of them bought a new phone.
Jessica loved him dearly, even with his sometimes less than complimentary turns of phrase.
‘Actually, I’m here because I won my case in court today. Thanks for asking.’
‘You won? Nice one.’ Tom gave her a high five.
‘Have you just walked from the bus stop?’
‘Uh huh. Me and Aimee saw a bus with loads of blue lights inside it. I would absolutely ride that bus and I wouldn’t even care where it was going!’
‘Yep, and that’s what we’re afraid of, numpty.’
An hour later, Jessica’s mum arrived home. Depositing her many shopping bags in the hallway, she headed for the kitchen, where she discovered Jessica flicking through one of her celebrity magazines. ‘Hello. I didn’t expect you to be here. I see Dad’s been plying you with tea.’ She glanced at the dirty mugs and the half empty biscuit tin. ‘Are you staying for dinner? I’ve made a …’
Jessica couldn’t help it, she had to interrupt. ‘You’ve made a lamb thing in the slow cooker. Yes, I know, and, yes, please. Anyway, Mum, do you know anyone who got their first client off in court today?’
Fiddling with the lid of the slow cooker, Lynda asked, ‘Um … Sorry, what? Do I know anyone who what, darling?’
‘Do you know anyone who …’
After a delay, the sentence sunk in. ‘Oh my goodness! You won? You found out already?’
‘Yep. Pretty quick, huh?’
‘That is just … oh my … I’m so proud … you’re amazing … I wouldn’t even know how to …’ Lynda dissolved into happy tears.
Ed joined them and took hold of his wife, saying, ‘You silly, daft thing.’
‘I’m just so …’
‘I know. It’s fabulous news. Hasn’t she done well?’ Ed agreed.
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