April 29, 2013

excerpt of 'transplanting holly oakwood'

Blogger's Note: Check out this excerpt of Di Jones' Transplanting Holly Oakwood. I'll post my review of this fab read later this morning. Enjoy!

Holly sat in the middle of a privet hedge outside her best friend’s apartment, planning her murder. She’d been there for an hour, her limbs bent like paperclips. She rubbed her arms where the hedge had scratched her and twisted to see a spider dangling beside her. Why hadn’t she worn long sleeves for heaven’s sake? She shifted, crouched back on her heels and peered up at the darkening sky. The air was dank and chilly and the smell of privet pungent in her nostrils. This vigil wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done, but she had to find out if her suspicions were correct.

A car pulled up. She sank back into the hedge, holding her breath and watching as a familiar figure crossed the road, strode down the path whistling, and let himself into the building.

Her breath came out in a rush. Her fingers tightened around the branch above her and it snapped, throwing her off balance. She rolled onto the ground and pressed her face to the grass, trying not to sob. Tom was supposed to be in New York, not here in Maida Vale.

She needed to be sure. After thirty minutes she clambered out, certain Tom wasn’t coming back. Cautiously she surveyed her surroundings, her breath whistling between her teeth. She shook out the kinks in her cramped limbs and through a haze of pain, disbelief and anger, reached the front door of the building.

What was Sonia’s security code? She knew it, of course she knew it – the exchange of security codes was as natural to their friendship as the secrets they shared. Her fingers fumbled on the cool smooth metal but eventually they remembered the pattern, and the door clicked open. She pushed it wide and stumbled into the foyer.

She couldn’t wait for the lift and ran up the stairs without pausing. Outside her friend’s door she wavered. Would her perfect life change irrevocably if she knocked? She thought of her less than happy single days before she met Tom. But she had to know, had to be sure. She raised her hand, then tapped on the door.

No answer. She knocked again.

“Who’s there?”

She opened her mouth to tell Sonia it was her, but as the words of greeting bubbled in her throat, she clenched her teeth, deciding it was better to retain the element of surprise. Her hand hovered above the polished wood of the door, then she brought her knuckles down on the unyielding surface and rapped again.

“Who’s there?”

A key scraped in the lock, the door opened, and Sonia stood in front of her. She’d never seen her friend look more beautiful. Her hair was dishevelled and her skin radiant and glowing, burnished with a fine mist of perspiration. Her eyes were soft and warm, but a split second later they widened in alarm.

“Holly.” Sonia’s fingers fluttered to her mouth, then down to the silk of her robe, which she tried to tighten around her. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

“Thought I’d drop round and see what you’re up to.” She struggled to keep her voice light, but could hear the edge of panic creeping into it. “Fancy a drink at the wine bar down the road?”

Sonia leant against the door. “It’s not convenient right now.”

“I’ll only come in for a minute then.”


Sonia’s refusal sharpened Holly’s resolve. She twisted with speed and grace, and in one fluid movement lined her shoulder to the door and threw her seventy five kilos against it. It yielded and she slid her foot behind it, levering Sonia off balance.

“Stop,” said Sonia, in a voice as sharp as new scissors. “You can’t barge in here.” Her perfume hung between them; exotic, heavy and insidious.

Again, be sure to check back soon for my review of Transplanting Holly Oakwood and tomorrow for my interview with Di.

About the Author
I was born in Liverpool, England to parents who had a strong sense of adventure and moved many times.  I’ve lived in Canada, the United States, England and New Zealand.  I’ve worked in a variety of jobs ranging from envelope stuffer to bakery assistant, librarian to trade development executive, but none of my jobs were as much fun as the one that allowed me to write and get paid for it.  That was a few years ago, and each year it’s become more and more apparent what I want to do is write full time, a dream that first occurred to me at seventeen.

I write chick lit – light hearted and humorous stories for and about women who value their families, their friendships, their careers, their independence, who have a sense of adventure, and who live and love with passion.

Like my characters, I love my family and friends, beautiful shoes, anything sparkly, the ‘occasional’ drink, parties, and a good belly laugh.  I’m addicted to shopping, chocolate, bubble bath and anything else that smells nice, and the sort of tv programmes you’d never publicly admit to watching.

I live in a lovingly renovated home overlooking Auckland’s beautiful Waitemata Harbour, with my trusted friends Bronson Boxer and Dolce Dane.  They keep me fit and exercised, scare the burglars away, sit loyally by my side throughout my late night writing sessions, and hang on my every word when I read final drafts aloud.  They truly are my biggest fans, and I theirs!

I love my life, but not so much that there’s not room to live a load of other lives, through the hearts and minds of my characters, all of whom I adore, and some of whom I’m fortunate enough to call friend.

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