Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay

By: Jill Mansell
About the Book

Love is in the air in St Carys, but you’d never know it – the people of this seaside town are very good at keeping secrets …

The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings – but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed.

For the first time in Ronan’s life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option.

Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn’t quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface.

The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed …

For Tina, with all my love.

Chapter 1

Sometimes it only takes a split second for a state of absolute calm to turn to one of horror and panic.

‘Oh dear, poor thing.’ Clemency turned to watch as a purple-faced businessman in a too-tight suit hurtled across the concourse at Malaga airport in the direction of the departure gates, panting and grunting as he ran and scattering small children in his wake.

The British girl who was working on the Chanel stand in duty-free said, ‘Honestly, it’s amazing how many people don’t bother to pay attention to the boards. Yesterday there was a party of fifteen Spanish guys in one of the bars and they were so busy watching a football match on TV that they ended up missing their flight. Imagine!’

‘That’s crazy,’ Clemency marvelled, trying a purple eyeshadow shot with gold sparkly bits on the back of her hand. Nice.

‘Oh, we see everything here. So many people don’t even turn up at the airport until their flight’s about to close.’

‘I couldn’t do that. I always like to give myself loads of time. Then I know I can really relax,’ Clemency said happily, ‘and spend ages in duty-free trying out all the make-up.’

Which was why another forty minutes had passed before she finally arrived at the checkout to pay for the new lipstick she’d chosen, because these things took time, and choosing the perfect lipstick was important.

The bored-looking cashier said, ‘May I check your boarding pass, please?’

Clemency glanced down at her left hand, the one that should have been clutching her passport. The passport with the boarding pass neatly tucked inside it.

She looked down at the hand and saw that it was clutching instead a handful of perfume card samplers, each one sprayed with a different scent.

And that was the moment absolute calm turned to horror and panic.

‘Just in time,’ said the female attendant as Clemency hurtled towards the departures desk. ‘We were about to close the gate!’

Clemency couldn’t speak. She wanted to fall to her knees and gulp air into her burning lungs, but there was no time; she was already being ushered out through the sliding doors and across the tarmac towards the waiting plane. Her drag-along case was banging against her ankles, perspiration was trickling down her spine and her mouth was dry as she struggled up the clanky metal steps, still hyperventilating. Oh God, she could only imagine the colour of her face. She must be puce.

The male flight attendant greeted her with a wink. ‘Nice of you to decide to join us. Welcome on board.’

You know that little inner surge of triumph you get when you’re on a packed-to-the-gills plane and everyone’s boarded and the seat next to yours is magically still empty … until at the very last minute someone else gets on and you realise you won’t be enjoying the luxury of having an empty seat beside you after all?

This, Clemency knew, was the feeling currently being experienced by the passenger occupying seat number 45A. As she made her way towards 45B, she could almost hear the thud of disappointment and his accompanying sigh of resignation.

Oh well. His hopes might have been cruelly dashed, but on the upside he had excellent cheekbones and a beautiful mouth. During her flight over here, the guy in the seat next to hers had weighed almost as much as the plane itself and had been eating tuna sandwiches, so this one was already a marked improvement.

Still getting her breath back, Clemency smiled broadly at him. ‘I know, I’m sorry, I’d be disappointed too.’

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