The Staycation, an all-new laugh-out-loud story of fun and a holiday escape close to home by USA Today bestselling author Michele Gorman is out now!
Two families. One cancelled flight. And a last minute house swap…
Things get desperate for strangers Harriet and Sophie when they become stranded with their families in Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Each woman has her own reason for really really really needing the family holiday they’ve anticipated for months. But Iceland’s volcano has other plans for them. When their flights are cancelled, the families swap houses and discover that sometimes the best things in life happen close to home.
This ash cloud has a silver lining, even if no one can quite see it yet.
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‘Do you really have to do that?’ Harriet glared, first at the nose, then at her husband attached to it. It was a fine one, as noses went. She’d probably adored it when they were young and in love, even paid it cutesy compliments. Now she wanted to fill it with the entire pot of muesli yogurt he was eating and watch it set like the quick-dry grout she’d used on the bathroom tiles last month.
‘Do what, my darling?’ James’s smile beamed with pure adoration. Sod that Leo DiCaprio. She’d nominate James for an Oscar any day. The winner of this year’s Best Performance by a Husband in a Dicey Marriage category is: James Cooper, for the third year in a row!
‘That. Your nose is whistling.’ She could hear it wheezing over the announcement of another flight cancellation. Athens, this time. ‘It’s annoying.’
‘My breathing annoys you?’
‘You’re free to breathe, James. Just do it quietly.’
He shared a look with their daughter over the mountain of hand luggage on Harriet’s lap.
Billie wouldn’t tear her eyes from that bloody phone if Harriet’s knickers were on fire, but for her dad? She was sympathy personified.
‘Oh, don’t you start too,’ Harriet warned her.
Billie saluted, though her eyes drifted back to her screen. ‘Not breathing, sir, sorry, sir.’
‘Can you at least listen for an announcement instead of obsessing over your phone. Who are you emailing anyway?’
‘Pfft. Emailing. Mum, you’re ancient.’
James pointed his chin at the Departures board. ‘We can see what’s happening. Same thing that’s been happening since we got here. It’s delayed. They’re all delayed. Even you can’t do anything about that, so why not just relax? Besides, I’m sure with your hearing you’d pick up any announcements dead easy.’
‘If your breathing doesn’t drown it out.’ She scanned the board. The Budapest flight was still showing a gate. That would be promising, if they were going there instead of Rome. ‘Bloody ash cloud. Bloody volcano,’ she mumbled.
James smiled at her. ‘I wish I had a quid for every time that thing erupted.’
‘You’d have three quid in the last two hundred years. I wouldn’t make it your retirement plan. Best stick to your goats, Bill Gates.’
‘This is fun,’ Billie said. ‘No, really, can we go on holiday together all the time?’
Harriet crossed her arms – not easy with a lap full of luggage – closed her eyes and tried to imagine being in Rome already. Apparently being happy and content was all in the mind. What was it again? Mindfulness? No, it was the other bollocks. Positive visualisation. That was it.
Breathing deeply, Harriet imagined all the whingeing was the happy buzz of fellow travellers savouring their coffee in an ancient cobbled square near the River Tiber. The algae-tinged scent of the water tumbled over garlicky cooking smells as they wafted from the al fresco restaurants. Those weren’t passenger announcements but the distant zooming of the Vespas that carried Romans, young and old, about their business in the sun-drenched city. She could almost taste the delicate almondy crumbliness of the biscotti as she lifted it, after a perfect dunk, from her steaming cappuccino. Her film star glasses shielded her eyes but she could feel the sun warming her hair, picking out the highlights she’d begrudgingly paid over a hundred quid for. The knicker-squirmingly gorgeous man who’d been giving her bedroom eyes from the next table leaned over and said—
‘Mum, I’m hungry. And crampy. I need something to eat. Have you got any paracetamol?’
Was it too much to ask for two minutes of la dolce vita in peace?
Meet Michele Gorman:
Michele writes comedies packed with lots of heart, best friends and girl power. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living with her husband in London. Michele also writes cosy comedies under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
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