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Polly Babbington

Secret Places in Pretty Beach

Secret Places in Pretty Beach

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For Lottie Cloudberry everything is looking rosy. The new love of her life elite diving instructor Connor Bally is very much part of the furniture and her growing business is blooming at every turn. 

  Over 60,000+ fab reviews. Fall in love with a Polly book.

💗 Book 2 in the Lottie trilogy. 💗

💗 Book 8 in the bestselling Pretty Beach series.  

💗 NB* This product is a digitally delivered ebook NOT a paperback book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 'I binge read the whole series.' Reviewer⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

'Loved the Pretty Beach books. You'll love them.' Reviewer⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
'If you love sweet clean romantic love stories you'll fall for these books.' Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📚 These books are full-size (not novella-size) digital downloads/ebooks and not paperback books.

📚 Make sure you read the reviews to see what other readers think about Pretty Beach.

💗 HOW DO YOU READ THE SERIES? After purchase, you'll see a button on the order confirmation page. You can click that to get your downloads. You'll also get an email  with your download links. 



As Lottie settles into expanding her enterprise around Pretty Beach, snuggling up with her new man and delights in the fact that she’ll be able to keep her tumbledown house on Strawberry Hill Lane she wonders if life could get any better.

But when a voice from the past pops up to haunt her Lottie Cloudberry is not quite as enamoured with everything and when someone starts to jeopardise her business Lottie realises that not all in Pretty Beach is quite as it looks.

‘Polly Babbington creates magical books.’

Look Inside Ch 1

Chapter 1  

Lottie Cloudberry quickly showered, secured her hair into a high ponytail, pulled on a silky black top, matching skinny jeans, fixed her enormous, lucky diamond earrings in her ears, and ran down the stairs. 

‘Okay, Dimitri. I’m off, see you later,’ she called out through the open door of the kitchen. 

‘Do you need me to drop you at the station?’ Dimitri asked, looking up from a Greek television show he was watching on his laptop. 

‘All good. I’ll be fine as long as I don’t dilly-dally around nosing into gardens on the way,’ Lottie quipped. 

‘Have a lovely time. I’ll probably be in bed by the time you get home - if you get home that is. So, I’ll see you in the morning,’ Dimitri replied in Greek. 

‘Will do. Have fun at the club with Holly,’ Lottie said as she grabbed her cropped, bouclé Zara jacket from the coat rack, and whizzed down the hallway. 

Lottie yanked open the front door, checked her phone was in her tan leather bag, slammed the door behind her, and ran down the path. She opened the gate and dashed down Strawberry Hill on her way to the fast train, looking up at the sky, and hoped that the weather held off for her much-awaited date with Connor.

About ten minutes later, she slowed her pace as the station came into view. Taking off her jacket and opening her phone, she took out her travel card from its little slot, briskly entered the ticket office, tapped her card, and walked onto the platform. According to the sign above her head, it was three minutes and thirty-five seconds until the train arrived and as she scanned up and down the platform, Connor was nowhere to be seen.

As more people stepped onto the platform and the train’s arrival was imminent, Lottie was beginning to think that Connor wasn’t going to make it. Right at that moment, however, he marched up to Lottie, tartan picnic blanket with a leather strap under his arm, and a large golfing umbrella and jacket in his hand. 

‘Sorry! Phew, that was cutting it a bit fine,’ Connor said as he quickly kissed Lottie on the cheek. ‘You look lovely. Nice earrings,’ Connor remarked and winked. 

‘I was beginning to panic. I’ve not known you to be late yet. I was hoping there wasn’t anything wrong,’ Lottie replied.

‘I hate being late, you know that. I had a problem with the alarm at work. It kept clicking off the lock on the front door instead of turning the alarm on so I had to do it on my account on the desktop as I couldn’t get it to work on the app. A right palaver!’ 

‘The problems with technology, eh? What would we do without it these days? Did you get it sorted in the end?’

‘Yep, there’s a lot of equipment in there and the data is confidential. The backup security system is in place so it doesn’t really matter, but you never know,’ Connor replied as the yellow and blue bull-nose fast train pulled into the station. 

As the train came to a standstill and passengers made towards the doors, Lottie tucked her bag under her arm and watched the people waiting inside the train. ‘I still don’t really know what you do, Connor.’ 

‘I know. It’s part of the territory, I’m afraid. Diving instructor is good enough.’ Connor smiled ruefully and put his hand into the small of Lottie’s back. 

Lottie looked up at him as they waited for the train doors to open. ‘We leave it at that, do we?’ 

‘Yep. We do,’ Connor replied and pursed his lips together. 

‘Right, okay. Fair enough.’ 

‘Anyway, enough of that. Ready for the open-air cinema? I think it’s going to be a lovely night.’ 

‘I certainly am. I’ve been looking forward to it all week.’ 

‘You had a big lunch, did you? I wouldn’t want you to get hungry, we all know that’s not fun. We don’t want hangry Lottie to come out to play this evening,’ Connor joked. 

‘I did, and I had a poached egg on toast before I left just to make sure. I’ve been gardening all afternoon and organising the set up for the next event so I’ve been on the go all day.’ 

‘Same here. It’s been manic at work. I’ll be glad to sit back and relax,’ Connor agreed with a nod. 

‘Absolutely. So, the train gets into Pettacombe at six-thirty and the film starts at seven? Is that right?’ Lottie checked.

‘Yeah. According to the ticket on my phone and the email confirmation doors open at six-thirty and it’s a fifteen-minute walk from the station. So, we've got plenty of time.’ 

‘Perfect. Can’t wait,’ Lottie said as she sat back in her seat, the train began to pick up speed and she watched the world of Pretty Beach speed by outside the window.

In what seemed like no time at all the train pulled slowly into Pettacombe station and Lottie and Connor trailed along behind all the people rushing off the train. 

‘Looks like the weather is going to hold off for us,’ Connor observed looking up at the dubious-looking sky as they exited the station.

‘Good. Open-air cinema in the rain is not much fun,’ Lottie remarked.  

Fifteen minutes later, Lottie and Connor had walked through the main town of Pettacombe, down to the promenade above the beach, and made their way to the pier at the end. Connor pulled his phone out of his pocket and clicked on the tickets. Lottie looked over and saw the price.

‘Gosh! I think I need to get into the open-air cinema industry. Cripes, that’s really expensive! I can’t believe it was that much.’ 

‘I know! I thought the same and then I thought it is a very nice, exclusive event on a heritage-listed pier in an old seaside town. What do I expect? Blood?’ 

‘True,’ Lottie agreed as the old timber pier came fully into view. ‘Connor! I had forgotten how beautiful this old pier was. Look at it. Just wow! It really is the most adorable pier!’ Lottie exclaimed as the gorgeous old pier twinkled far out to sea. 

‘It is lovely,’ Connor replied squinting at the pier in the distance.

Lottie stopped on the promenade. ‘Thanks so much. This is going to be lovely.’ 

They continued along hand-in-hand until they got to the entrance to the pier, the waves crashing down below them, the sky overhead touch-and-go as to whether or not it was going to rain. 

‘Welcome to England’s most beautiful pier,’ the ticket collector, dressed in a fancy suit said to them as he scanned the barcode on Connor’s phone through his machine. 

‘Okay. Stroll all the way along down towards the pagoda at the end. There you’ll find your allotted spot with a little number on the deck. Drinks and nibbles will be round just before the screening and then again in the interval,’ the man said with a huge friendly smile.

Lottie looked along the length of the pier where a jumble of white and pink flowers spilt out of flower boxes all the way through the middle and timber benches lined either side down to the end. 

‘If the weather changes and we do have rain, the pop-up gazebos will be erected by our staff,’ the man continued. 

‘Thanks, mate,’ Connor said, putting his phone back in his pocket, taking Lottie’s hand and leading her along the bumpy old planks towards the pagoda. 

‘What an experience already,’ Lottie said as, following behind other couples, a group of girlfriends with tartan picnic rugs and an old couple in matching trench coats, they made their way to the end of the pier where a large cinema screen was fixed to the front of the beautiful old Japanese-style pagoda.    

Connor looked at the tiny numbers on the floor, found their spot and laid out their blanket as Lottie looked over the railings and down into the sea. She strolled back over to the blanket, sat down and took off her jacket. ‘Pretty Beach Princess Pier should do these evenings when it reopens. It’s an amazing setting.’ 

‘They should. It’s another gorgeous pier. How long has it been closed down now? Those renovations have taken years,’ Connor replied.

‘Not sure, but I do know it was scheduled to open next month, I think.’ 

‘I wonder if they’ll be doing events again, you think?’  

‘Yeah, not sure. Totally run by volunteers though, so I guess it’s a bit harder to do events and stuff…’ Lottie said as her voice trailed off and a thought went through her mind. ‘Oh! Connor! Why haven’t Dimitri and I thought about it before? A Secret Evenings event on Pretty Beach Pier. That would be blooming amazing, don’t you think?’ 

‘You’ll be lucky. I don’t think it’s ever rented out for events, is it?’ 

Lottie chewed on the side of her finger. ‘No, you’re right. I think it stopped doing events in the year before the renovations. It used to be, though. But there is one person I know who could change that.’ 

Connor frowned. ‘Oh yeah, who?’

‘Dimitri. He’s like a little ferret - he knows everyone in Pretty Beach and works his charm on them accordingly without them even knowing. It’s a good business strategy.’ Lottie chuckled. 

‘Too funny. I heard he’s a bit of a one with the ladies down at the club too.’ 

‘Yep. He has them all eating out of his hand, especially Holly and Xian and I just so happen to know that the president of the Pretty Beach Princess Pier Association, Deirdre Crampleton, goes to the bridge night at the Marina Club too. If I remember rightly I’m pretty sure Suntanned Pete is also involved, but I might be wrong and he may have retired from it all.’ 

‘There you go, then. It’s almost a done deal. Just get Dimitri to pop some of the Greek brandy - the one you gave me on that first night in Deirdre’s drink, and Bob’s your uncle.’

‘If only it were that simple, but it’s an idea,’ Lottie replied nodding.

A few minutes later, the ticket man stood in front of the screen, made an announcement about the drinks and nibbles included in the exorbitant price of the ticket and informed everyone that the film was about to begin. 

Two hours or so later and without any rain apart from the odd drizzle here and there, Lottie and Connor had finished off a few glasses of champagne, had plenty of nibbles and people had started to roll up their rugs and drift off back down the pier towards Pettacombe. 

Connor began to pack their things away, Lottie put on her jacket and Connor attached the leather straps to the picnic rug. 

‘Fancy a little stroll to the end before we go? Or have you had enough of the sea air?’ Connor asked. 

‘I don’t think I would ever have enough of this place,’ Lottie replied as Connor took her hand and they walked further along past the pagoda to one of the old storm shelters at the end. 

As they looked over into the water below, Connor raked his hand through his hair and turned to Lottie. 

‘I just wanted to say thanks for what you did the other day, for telling me how you felt and all that.’ 

‘No worries,’ Lottie said, giggling at Connor’s serious composure. ‘You look like you’re addressing the Queen!’

‘I’m not joking. That was gutsy.’ 

‘Ahh, well, I’m a gutsy kinda girl. Small but powerful!’ Lottie said and laughed. 

‘You’re not wrong there. Small, powerful, and exceedingly interested in plants and vegetables.’ 

‘Yeah,’ Lottie replied as she leant over the railings and looked down into the swirling dark water, her hair whipping around her head in the wind.

‘So, seeing as you took the bull by the horns as it were. I wanted to give you something,’ Connor said. 

Lottie looked up from the water. 

‘Like what?’ 

‘Like these,’ Connor said as he pulled a small, pink velvet box out of the inside pocket of his jacket.’ 

‘Ooh. A present! A small box. I haven't had a present in a small, velvet box for a very long time.’ 

‘I didn’t think you would have. Open it,’ Connor said as Lottie ran her fingers over the fabric-covered box. 

Lottie opened the box and was presented with a pair of beautiful drop heart diamond earrings. They flickered and caught the lights above. Lottie’s hand flew to her mouth. She knew diamond earrings. These were a cluster of real diamonds and rivalled her three pairs of lucky earrings she kept in a special box. 

‘These must have cost an absolute fortune, Connor! I love my diamonds. Or at least I used to love them when I could afford them. These days I can’t even window shop,’ Lottie said smiling.  

Connor coughed. ‘They didn't come cheap, you're correct.’ 

‘They’re beautiful. I’ve been looking at these for years. How did you know?’ 

‘I might have had a tad of assistance from a certain Greek gentleman who resides on Strawberry Hill,’ Connor chuckled. 

‘You devils!’ Lottie giggled, running her hands over the earrings. 

‘Have a closer look.’ 

‘What do you mean? I can barely see past the sparkling.’ 

‘Look on the back.’ 

Lottie turned over one of the earrings and started to laugh. 

Dangling at the back behind the diamond hearts was a tiny pressed gold asparagus spear. 

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