Today, I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Kiley Dunbar to my blog. Not only is Kiley a thoroughly nice person, but she is also an amazing author.
I can say that with a conviction because I have chatted to Kiley quite a lot lately, and I have also just finished reading one of her books. It’s a definite 5 star read and I would say to you to get a copy of it soon as it will take you far away to a stunningly beautiful place, with characters who you will feel you have known your whole life.
Firstly, allow me to let Kiley introduce herself with an extract from her book titled Summer at the Highland Coral Beach:
Extract from Chapter Two of The Highland Coral Beach by Kiley Dunbar (Hera Books, 2020)
Hi, I’m Kiley Dunbar, author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places. Thank you so much Melanie for letting me pop up on your blog today! If you’re looking for travel adventures, swoony heroes, and dreamy escapism that will let you forget the world just for a wee while then I’m your author.
Here’s an extract from my latest book, Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (2020), the first in the Port Willow Bay Series, which takes you on an impromptu crafting holiday in the Scottish Highlands and reminds us that after the storm comes the rainbow. There’s crafts, ceilidhs, coral bays, gentle recovery and a particularly gorgeous redheaded craft tutor called Atholl Fergusson.
Come and say ‘hello’ on Twitter @KileyDunbar or on the ‘Kiley Dunbar Author Book Page’ on Facebook.
Love, Kiley, x
‘You may well think you’ve booked in for Gaelic lessons, but that’s no’ whit the computer’s telling me.’
Beatrice let her shoulders slump and forced out a long breath through her nose, crumpling her lips to stop herself telling this flustering Scotsman exactly what she thought of his customer service.
‘Warm Highland welcome guaranteed,’ the online brochure had read. ‘Sweet summer escape,’ it said. So far, Beatrice’s first and only experience of Scotland in her thirty-nine years on the planet had been disappointing, to say the least.
‘But my name is on your booking system? Beatrice Halliday?’
‘Aye. Nine nights, checking out on Monday the thirty-first of August, dinner, bed and breakfast, single room. Willow-weaving lessons included.’
The man was staring at the screen, his glasses reflecting its harsh blue light. The computer looked as old as the hills surrounding Port Willow, but it was still by far the most modern thing in the reception of The Princess and the Pea Inn.
Beatrice pinched the bridge of her nose. It had been a long day, and now this. She found herself glaring down at the threadbare tartan carpet, sandy from the beach just across the road from the inn’s heavy oak doors.
At least the website was accurate when it boasted that the inn was, ‘Perfectly situated with idyllic sea views’, not that Beatrice had paid much attention to the scenery as she dragged her wonky-wheeled suitcase down the narrow pavement from the train station in the spitting rain, passing by the gently curving row of squat sea-facing buildings that made up the entirety of Port Willow. She’d barely registered the little stone-walled primary school, the various holiday cottages in soft pastel colours, the post office-come-souvenir-shop, or the closed-up chippy, but at the back of her mind she’d thought the place was not at all promising.
All the while she’d been focusing instead on the bars on her phone and wishing she’d thrown an umbrella into her handbag before her hurried departure from Warwick at bleary-eyed far-too-early-o’clock this morning.
The road was lined on the pavement side with end to end parked cars and on the other side by a low sea wall with small gardens built into it here and there which jutted out over the beach, but the gathering grey clouds and increasingly heavy rain had meant Beatrice wasn’t stopping to gaze at the blustery beach view. Plus, she’d had to have her wits about her. She’d nearly been swiped off her feet twice by cars’ passenger doors springing suddenly open across her path as she finally gave up her GPS as a lost cause and upped her speed, head down, muttering all the while increasingly desperate, sweary threats to nobody in particular that The Princess and the Pea Inn had better be easy to find.
It was, as it happened, being the only pub in the village, slap bang in the middle of the little weather-beaten seaside strip. If she’d carried on walking past the inn door’s stone pillars and covered porch she’d soon have come to the village hall, Patrick’s fishmongers, the art gallery (Mr Garstang the watercolourist’s front room which opened to visitors on Saturdays and every second Tuesday during the season), the little church of Magnus the Martyr, and the rambling, miraculously well stocked Port Willow general store where she could have had her pick of umbrellas, from beach parasol, to golfing, to Peppa Pig. But Beatrice felt she had seen enough. To her relief, she’d stumbled into the inn’s reception just as the real downpour started and St Magnus’ was tolling that it was three o’clock.
The inn doors had been propped open this morning to let the August sunlight in, and were now allowing heavy plashes of cold water to patter onto the doormat.
Beatrice had read that this inlet was warmed by the Gulf Stream and, as such, unseasonably temperate for Scotland, and it was, after all, August so she’d expected a bit of sunshine – or at least some blue in the sky.
Glancing past the flustering receptionist and around the dark interior she concluded that nothing about Scotland was as she’d hoped or expected.
Dry, cracked oak-panelled walls led off to a bar and dining room beyond the reception desk and to a creaking staircase leading up to the bedrooms, while a pair of cobwebbed antlers jutted out from the wall over the dour innkeeper’s head, their points dangerously close to his scalp. The man was exceedingly tall, Beatrice noticed, even when hunched over his computer. If she could just get her hands on a hammer and a nail, she’d have those antlers raised and straightened in no time. And that panelling needed a good polish too. Things like that really bugged her.
‘I dinnae ken what to tell ye. Perhaps a computer error’s tae blame?’ The man nervously bit his lower lip, betraying that he knew exactly what was to blame – himself – but he wasn’t admitting it, not even for the sake of this poor bedraggled English woman, no matter how pale and short-tempered she looked.
As she let her suitcase drop to the floor, Beatrice’s handbag slid down onto her forearm, its magnetic fastener pulling open. The corner of a soft blanket patterned with tiny clouds and embroidered with rainbows flopped out. She hastily stuffed it back out of view, securing the clip once more.
Taking a measured breath, she tucked a strand of her wavy brown hair, now windswept and threatening to frizz up, behind her ear. ‘It doesn’t really matter. Just… just let me into my room and we can sort out the lessons later. I just want my key.’ Horrified, she realised she was close to tears and found herself angrily swallowing away the temptation to just let rip and sob in front of the stranger who was now rummaging painfully slowly in a Tupperware tub full of keys, inspecting each one in turn with slender, nervous fingers and every now and then looking up at Beatrice with cautious bewilderment.
Gene Fergusson had seen his fair share of single women arriving at the inn since his younger brother had set up the activity and crafting holidays part of the website back in the spring – in fact now it was the height of the summer season they were arriving in a steady stream, but none of them had turned up tearful, clenched-fisted and furious, like this one.
If you’d like to read more, Summer at the Highland Coral Beach by Kiley Dunbar is currently only 99p:
Thank you so much Kiley. I have now ordered your other books so watch this space!