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Polly Babbington

A Pretty Beach Bundle (PB 4-6)

A Pretty Beach Bundle (PB 4-6)

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Books FOUR to SIX in Polly Babbinton's Pretty Beach series.

Synopsis

Look Inside Ch 1

Chapter 1

Juliette Sparkles made one last lap of the poky little flat with the low ceiling, hundreds of harsh downlights, ultra-modern double-glazed windows and shiny laminate flooring. There could have been worse places to end up when she’d walked out of her marriage, but where she was going to, a Victorian cottage with original features, the loveliest little back garden and tiny little conservatory was so very much more appealing. She smiled to herself at the thought of the cottage and clasped her hands together in anticipation. 

She closed the door to the flat, walked across the tiny entrance foyer of the building, checked how long she had before the removalists arrived at the cottage and headed towards her car. 

Ten minutes later, she arrived in Seapocket Lane, slowly drove along looking for a space and parked in a tight little spot right outside the cottage. She got out of her car, took her cleaning bucket filled with supplies out of the boot, pushed open the white picket gate and walked up to the half-glazed pink front door. 

She peered in the bay window remembering how lovely it all looked since Sallie, her friend and now landlord, had cleaned out the place, stripped all the walls and carpets, decorated it in soft whites and vintage greys and updated the central heating system and the insulation. 

She opened the door and gave herself one last little tour before their stuff arrived. Not that they had a lot of stuff. She’d left her husband with hardly anything and in the flat with its modern decor and cramped feeling she’d not had the need nor the inclination to do much in terms of decorating at all. Since she’d agreed to rent this cottage from Sallie though, she’d got a few things out of storage and slowly started to gather bits and pieces together for her new home. 

In addition to her two duck-egg blue linen sofas from the flat, she’d inherited an old, round pine table from one of the receptionists at work, rubbed it down, primed it and painted it a very pale pink. She’d also added to her collection of pretty lamps and had dipped into her house deposit savings and treated herself to gorgeous down-filled velvet sofas for the conservatory. 

She walked through the cottage and the tiny middle room with the window to the terrace and then into the kitchen. The old units, which in a previous life had worn a coat of bright orange varnish, had been sanded back and painted a soft grey and the floating shelves that had jutted horribly into the room were long gone, leaving a space for an old-fashioned dresser she’d seen on an online selling group. 

Juliette opened a cupboard, looked inside and the smell of disinfectant hit her nose, then peering into the sparkling butler’s sink and looking down at the floor she realised there wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere. Sallie must have cleaned the whole place ready for her arrival. Juliette put her bucket down - she wouldn’t be needing it after all. 

On the worktop next to the window a small pink jug with polka dots held a beautifully arranged posy of flowers wrapped in white and tied with a pink grosgrain bow. Beside it a box of champagne and a small white card embossed with Boat House Pretty Beach was propped up against it and in small, neat calligraphy, a note. 

Welcome to your new home. Hope you all love it as much as I love Pretty Beach. Sallie x.

Juliette put the card back and touched a tiny pink petal on one of the flowers and felt a tear prick the corner of her eyes. 

‘Hello!’ A voice called out from the front door - Pretty Beach Removals had arrived. 

‘Hi, well here we are, ready when you are,’ Juliette said, gesturing her hand around the small sitting room at the front. 

‘Okay, my lovely, we’ll be in and out in no time with all this, just let us know where you want everything,’ Jude, the owner of Pretty Beach Removals, said. 

She stepped into the lean-to conservatory, worked out exactly where she wanted the new sofas to go, opened the double doors and walked out onto the terrace. Autumn was in the air, but the last of the sun was beating down on the terrace and gold and rust leaves had fallen into a huge pile onto the old patio bricks, layering the whole place in a thick carpet of russet and reds. 

Sallie had told her that the cottage and the Orangery behind it had a few little sun traps where even on a cold day you could sit with a cup of tea and this was obviously one of them. She touched one of the bricks feeling the warmth from the sun underneath her hand.  

She crossed over the terrace and walked all the way down the block paved pathway through the long garden to the creaky old timber gate surrounded by rambling roses. She slowly heaved it open, walked down the side of the Orangery, underneath the elderflowers and through the opening onto the beach. 

Juliette stood there in the little spot behind the gate completely sheltered from the wind. Sallie was right; it was a glorious little sun trap with no one around and only the gentle lapping of the waves to keep her company.  

She looked out at the sea, a fishing boat with her friend Harry dressed in bright yellow oilskin trousers went past and gave her a wave. A seagull swooped down and dived into the water and far off in the distance she could hear the horn of the Pretty Beach ferry.  

Holding her face up to the sun, Juliette took in a deep breath of sea air and clenched her fists tightly to her side. Hopefully, this would be the start of a whole new brighter chapter.

Main tropes

  • Small town
  • Sweet romance
  • Escape to the coast
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