A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley
The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.
Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…
For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).
When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.
‘Like I said, I didn’t want to let down a friend,’ he said, being deliberately vague about who that friend was. ‘Besides, anything I can do to get one over on Kris bloody Zachary is fine by me. Rumour has it that two of his suppliers will go bust because he’s been cooking the books and I’ve already had calls from some of his staff who are out of a job. Most of us in the business knew he was on the fiddle so it was only a matter of time before he was caught. I don’t want the people at this festival to suffer too, so this is my small way of helping out.’
Suzy raised a perfect eyebrow. ‘So, you do have a heart. You’re not the ruthless super chef that everyone thinks.’
‘I’m just a regular Cornish bloke who loves his food. Haven’t you read my PR, Suzy?’
Suzy laughed. ‘I wrote some of it, Gabe.’ She sighed. ‘I’ll get on the phone and grovel to the publisher and rearrange your stay in Edinburgh.’
Suzy left, leaving Gabe pacing his office. When the call had come from Chloe Farrow, via a hotelier friend, he’d been ready to refuse … Porthmellow Festival. He’d seen it grow year on year to become the well-regarded event it was now. He’d heard good reports of it, although he’d never been. Once or twice, he’d wondered why no one had ever asked him to take part. Then he’d answered his own question. He was hardly one of Porthmellow’s favourite sons and most of all, there was no way he would ever be invited to any event run by Samphire Lovell.
This Chloe, who’d said she was deputy chairman of the committee, hadn’t sounded local which meant she might not know the history between him and Sam. She’d been so charming and breezily unaware of what had gone on that Gabe had been swept along. He shook his head, recognising that Sam would never have asked him for anything ever again. It was wishful thinking on his part to think she was behind the invitation.
This realisation brought the powerful emotions of the past flooding back: anger, bitterness, determination to show that he’d moved on, was a new person now. This festival would be the perfect way of demonstrating that.
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