eBook PDFWhat's this?
eBook ePubWhat's this?
About the Author
Jill MansellJill Mansell is a UK bestselling author, with over 4 million copies sold. She has written nearly 20 romances with multi-generational appeal. She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.
‘Come on, come on, late as usual.’ Waiting on the porch, Ash Parry-Jones tapped his watch as Cleo and Will hurried up the graveled path. ‘Better get in there and grab a se...
‘Come on, come on, late as usual.’ Waiting on the porch, Ash Parry-Jones tapped his watch as Cleo and Will hurried up the graveled path. ‘Better get in there and grab a seat. Place is filling up fast.’
Like it was an Elton John concert or something. Cleo paused to straighten Ash’s wonky yellow-and-grey striped tie. ‘Don’t nag. And I can’t believe you’re wearing this shirt.’ He looked offended. ‘Who are you insulting?’
‘You.’ She gave his collar an affectionate tweak. ‘Stripes and swirls don’t go.’
They found somewhere to sit in a pew on the left-hand side of the church. As the organ music played and Will studied the order of the service, Cleo composed herself. Of course it was a sad occasion—it was the end of a life, after all—but as funerals went, it had to be one of the cheerier ones she’d attended.
Then again, as deaths went, Lawrence LaVenture’s had been better than most. It may even count as enviable. As Lawrence himself had been fond of remarking, the family name was descended from the French word for lucky or fortunate, and he’d taken enormous pleasure in living up to it. And what rakish seventy-three-year-old widower, given the choice, wouldn’t want to go as he had gone, following a sublime meal and a bottle of delicious St Emilion, in bed with an attractive blonde many many years younger than himself?
Mind you, it had given the poor woman he’d hired for the evening a bit of a shock. One minute they’d been having a high old time together, getting up to all sorts of naughtiness. The next, she’d come back into the bedroom carrying the bottle of Cognac and two glasses Lawrence had asked her to bring upstairs and there he’d been, collapsed back against the goose-down pillows, stone dead.
Peering around the church, Cleo whispered, ‘Do you think she’ll turn up?’
‘The woman who was with him when he died!’ Who had actually technically killed him, when you thought about it. ‘I want to know what she looks like.’
‘She’ll be the one in the black leather basque,’ Will murmured. ‘Stockings, garters, spike-heeled stilettos…’
Cleo dug him in the ribs, then slipped her arm through his, grateful to him for having come along. Will had never met Lawrence LaVenture, but she’d wanted him with her today and he’d obligingly taken the afternoon off work. He even knew why she’d asked him and hadn’t laughed, for which she was grateful. Meeting Will Newman in a nightclub three months ago had definitely been one of the happier accidents in her life. She’d been nudged from behind in a crowded bar in Bath, her drink had splashed over his sleeve, they’d got chatting as a result… and what a result it had turned out to be. Will was handsome and charming, hard-working and intelligent… basically, he was perfect in every way. Her Mr Right had finally come along and she couldn’t have been happier about it.
‘Could be her.’ Pointing helpfully to a roly-poly woman in her sixties, squeezing into an already full pew across the aisle, Will said, ‘There’s a high-class hooker if ever I saw one.’
‘That’s Effie Farnham from Corner Cottage.’
‘There’s a studded leather whip hanging out of her handbag.’
‘She breeds Cairn terriers. It’s a dog’s lead.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Trust me, Effie’s not the whippy kind.’
‘You never know. Under that coat she could be wearing something completely outrageous.’
OK, this definitely came under the heading of Too Much Information. Thankfully, before Cleo could start picturing Effie in a tasseled thong, distraction was provided by the arrival of Lawrence’s family. Well, such as it was. She held her breath and watched as the three of them made their way up the aisle, two ancient creaking older sisters swathed in politically incorrect fur and supported by silver-topped ebony canes. And between them, matching his pace to theirs, Johnny LaVenture.
He was looking smarter than usual in a dark suit and with his habitually wayward black hair combed back from his forehead. For a split second, he glanced to the left and their eyes met, prompting a Pavlovian jolt of resentment in her chest. She couldn’t help it; old habits died hard. Then Johnny looked away, carried on past, and took his place between his ancient aunts in the front pew.
Cleo bent her head. OK, don’t think about him now. Just concentrate on the funeral. Lawrence might have been an off-the-wall character, fond of a drink and, well, various other lusty pastimes, but he’d been entertaining to have around. They were here to celebrate a life well lived.
After the service, everyone huddled up against the icy wind and made their way across the village green to the Hollybush Inn where food had been laid on and the drinks were free, as stipulated in Lawrence’s last will and testament. For so many years a cornerstone of the pub, he knew how to guarantee a good turnout.
Ash, catching up with Cleo and Will, rubbed his hands together and said cheerfully, ‘All went off pretty well then. I really enjoyed that, didn’t you?’
And still he was managing to make it sound like an Elton John concert. Cleo said, ‘You’re not supposed to enjoy funerals. Next, you’ll be giving it five stars on Amazon.’
‘Actually, that’s not a bad idea. We could do it on the show, get the listeners to call in with reviews of their favorite—’
‘No you couldn’t. That’s just wrong. Oh God, look at my heels.’ As they reached the entrance to the pub, Cleo leaned against one of the outdoor tables and used a tissue to clean away the clumps of mud and grass. ‘Did you see me sinking into the ground while we were standing around the grave? I thought I was going to tip over and fall flat on my back.’
‘That’s why I didn’t wear mine.’ Ash nodded sympathetically. ‘You know, you’re looking good today. Scrubbed up well. Even if you don’t deserve a compliment when you think of all the grief you give me.’
‘It’s not grief. It’s constructive criticism. Which you badly need, by the way.’ Having more or less cleaned her heels, Cleo lobbed the muddy tissue into the bin and adjusted her narrow cream skirt. Of course she was looking good—hadn’t she put in a whole heap of extra effort making sure of it? But that was pride for you. It was also the reason she’d dragged Will along for the occasion. When you’d spent your teenage years being mercilessly teased and humiliated, you didn’t want to turn up to meet your tormenter looking like a… a donkey. You felt compelled to prove to them that you weren’t still a complete loser, not to mention capable these days of bagging yourself the kind of boyfriend any girl would be thrilled to… well, bag.
And here he was, standing just inside the entrance to the pub, greeting everyone as they came in, and gravely receiving condolences in return. Oh well, on an occasion like this, at least he wouldn’t call her—
‘Hello, Misa.’ Dark eyes glinting with amusement, Johnny gave her hand a cross between a shake and a squeeze. He may even have been about to lean forward and plant a polite kiss on her cheek but she pulled back before that could happen.
I can’t believe he just called me that.
‘Hello, Johnny. I’m sorry about your dad. We’ll all miss him.’
‘Thanks. I guess this village is going to be a quieter place from now on.’ His gaze flickered over her and the smile broadened. ‘You’re looking very well.’
Damn right I am. Turning to indicate Will, Cleo said, ‘This is my boyfriend, Will Newman.’
‘I’m so sorry for your loss,’ Will said politely as they shook hands.
‘Thank you. So, Misa, gone and got yourself a new man. Excellent.’ Evidently pleased with his play on words, Johnny said, ‘From what I hear, the old ones haven’t been much cop.’
Another winner by Jill Mansell. And the secondary characters are just as good as the main characters!
Mansell juggles these multiple threads with effortless expertise. The writing is d...
Another winner by Jill Mansell. And the secondary characters are just as good as the main characters!
Mansell juggles these multiple threads with effortless expertise. The writing is delightful, mixed with absurdity, humor and comedy.
Mansell, who has perfected the ability to portray her characters convincingly, shows a breezy familiarity with British village life, and definitely exudes charm in her latest. The characters are comical, the situations are funny, and it's a generally entertaining experience. Readers will giggle throughout.
“I love the way that Ms. Mansell writes and brings life to her characters. ” - Books and Needlepoint
“Mansell delivers another fun chicklit escape. ” - Starting Fresh
“A very witty book where the characters are both realistically flawed and loveable. For me Jill Mansell is the queen of British Romanic Comedy.” - The Royal Reviews
“Sometimes it can be so nice to just cuddle up with a good book and relax…Take a Chance on Me is a great candidate for any relaxing day of reading.” - Stiletto Storytime
“A very light and fun read with great British humor... Snarky repartee and sweet romance.” - Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf
“A funny, sweet, touching, wonderful story with several flawlessly interwoven plotlines and a magical ending.” - Bookfoolery and Babble
“I loved this book! All of the characters are adorable and quirky, and I like the crazy situations or occurrences they always seem to find themselves in... Escapism at it's best. ” - Jenny Loves to Read
“As with her other books, author Mansell takes everyday activities, problems we all face, charming characters, and weaves it all together into a humorous and touching story.” - Thoughts in Progress
“[Jill Mansell] has the most unique style, enjoyable humor, and quirky stories. ” - Between the Pages
“Each character is quirkier than the last, but each is endearing to readers in their own special way. ” - Savvy Verse & Wit
“Funny, entertaining and quick reads. ” - Cindy’s Love of Books
“ Mansell has become my go-to author when I need a feel-good, humorous book with well-developed, entertaining characters.” - Diary of an Eccentric
“Mansell's unique and witty style of writing brings her characters to life like no other. By the end of the story, I felt like the characters were dear friends” - Pudgy Penguin Perusals
“An entertaining and thoughtful tale from the always reliable Jill Mansell.” - Apprentice-Writer
“A great and fun read! This was a really good book to just sweep you away for a while... ” - Peeking Between the Pages
“A delightful contemporary romp that explores love, friendship, and second chances in an engaging delightful tale.” - Smexy Books
“You must take a chance and read Take a Chance on Me!” - Best Romance Stories
Length: 8 in
Width: 5.25 in
Weight: 16.40 oz
Page Count: 432 pages