Butterfly Bonus One
One bright Sunday, I heard the bells ring in tune in a distant village church. The melody struck in me an image of a girl with frizzy blonde hair, standing in front of a grand white Georgian mansion.
This was Molly. And her story began unfolding for me that day.
I doubt I’ve ever met anyone as attached to her home or as defined by it as Molly is.
She lost both her parents when she was just a baby, and I think this heightened her need to cling to what little family she had left. So for Molly, her beloved Nan and Appleby are her world, and she keeps them wrapped tight around herself, like a butterfly in its village cocoon. And this butterfly refuses to see her own talents or find her own space in the world outside.
Only a powerful external force could break through that cocoon. Which is why I knew the moment Jake arrived in Appleby that he’d be a heap of trouble for her. And boy was he.
But Molly more than needed that trouble in her life. And I love how Jake ultimately set that butterfly free.
Now, Molly was the first person I met in Appleby. In fact the pretty village took shape around her.
This is a sleepy little English village full of golden thatched cottages and glorious climbing roses. Life is simple, if a little predictable, and perhaps the most exciting thing to happen is the butcher running off with the village baker’s wife.
Did he really?
Or is that another overeager tidbit from the rampant gossip mill?
You can never tell in Appleby.
Along with the juicy gossip, what makes Appleby special are its juicy apples. The village grew out of my love for fruit trees. Heaven for my would be a fruit orchard, so it made sense to have a cozy village where you’ll find an apple tree around every corner.
It’s the perfect place to spend a sunny autumn day.
It’s also Molly’s home. The only one she’s ever known. And to lose it would be akin to losing a deep part of herself. So I understand her pain and why she wouldn’t trust Jake.
It’s strange how people have such impact on our lives. There are times I’ve argued with a loved one and wanted nothing to do with them afterwards, only to realise what they said actually ended up helping me.
It’s often hard to admit the other person was right. But I find making that admission helps me grow as a person, and I believe that’s what happened for Molly.
Escape Bonus Two
Here’s a suggestion. If you ever want to escape from the world, lose yourself in a pretty English village.
There’s no room for worry when you’re standing in a sunny green field surrounded by fruit-laden trees and golden-thatched cottages.
Escape is exactly what Jake needed in ‘Never Too Late’, but I doubt he had any idea what was in store for him when he stepped into Appleby village.
If he had, he might have run the other way.
Because what should have been a beautiful, peaceful corner of countryside soon turned into a turbulent heart-trap.
And once caught in that snare, there was no way out.
To be fair though, Molly, living her life in her little village, had no plans to trap anyone.
How could she?
She’d just staggered from the loss of her relationship on one hand to the loss of her home on the other. So when an arrogant sexy biker turned up in Appleby hell-bent on picking a fight, the last thing on her mind was getting him into her bed.
Well… sort of the last thing.
But Jake is a golden boy, and in more ways than physical. And that’s what made his story fun to write. He comes across bossy on the outside, but inside he has a caring streak that goes deep. Even while living through his own heartbreak, he always made sure the people around him were okay. And he’d go out of his way to do that.
No wonder Molly fell for him like a rock, despite how much she guarded her heart.
So there’s biker Jake in the local pub, all newly arrived in Appleby.
And I had a lot of fun with this pub scene. The sparks between Jake and Molly fairly crackled in the air. I don’t think she realised then just how much he’d turn her world upside down. Though she might have sensed it.
He even got her on a motorbike for the first time in her life. Only Jake could have been enticing enough and pushy enough to do that.
But now when I think of Molly, I see her as a true biker girl. And when I get time, I’ll have to write a catch-up story on that—Molly and Jake whizzing through Appleby on their bike.
That’s an intriguing image.
Apple Pies Bonus Three
The best relationships are a little sweet and a little intense, just like the best of apple pies.
But relationships, unlike apple pies, have lots of delicious push and pull going on. That’s always the fun part, and I got to write plenty of that with Molly and Jake in ‘Never Too Late’.
The book originally took shape as Molly’s story. It was her journey to discovering her worth and talents. She learned to leave the familiar safety of her village behind and step boldly out into the world. Jake was her catalyst in this, her key to the door into a new life.
But as the story progressed, and I got to know Jake better, I realised he too was stuck in his past. He’d let betrayal smash his trust in love and now he refused to let anyone near his heart. But Molly broke through that. She became his catalyst, his key to freedom.
None of this happened easily though.
They’re both from such opposite worlds that the push and pull between them had me scribbling like mad to keep up. And it was all further complicated by nosy villagers and friends with troubles and secrets of their own. ‘Never Too Late’ is Jake and Molly’s love story, but the book soon grew and ended up with a close-knit, small-town vibrancy that I hadn’t planned for.
I’m glad it turned out that way though. The story wouldn’t have been complete for me if I hadn’t met Nan and Nate, Martin and Francine, and all the others.
Appleby is a beautiful village full of quaint thatched cottages and fruit-laden apple trees, but it is the people living there who make the village extra special. And Jake and Molly’s story couldn’t have unfolded the way it did without the quirky villagers of Appleby.
GET NEVER TOO LATE
OTHER APPLEBY BOOKS
(Lilayni and Damon)
Appleby Book 2
Lilayni Perrot is determined to win back the man she loves. But steely billionaire Damon Solarin never forgives and won’t be won back. A vicious nemesis and a beautiful rival threaten from the shadows. Can Lilayni convince Damon of her love before her time with him runs out forever?
(Sophie and Marc)
Appleby Book 3
No man has ever chosen Sophie Harrington. Then one day fate throws the hottest man ever at her. But wealthy Marc Lewis needs a wife. A duchess or countess will do, but village girl Sophie will not. Can Sophie win him for a lifetime rather than just a few nights?