Read Baby It's Cold Outside Online

Authors: Kerry Barrett

Baby It's Cold Outside

For better or much, much worse…

Esme and Jamie have finally got their perfect wedding day planned. Beautiful snowy landscape – check. Amazing venue – check. Stunning dress – check.

But when an avalanche seals off their gorgeous mountain hometown from the outside world, their dream day starts to look more like a nightmare. Especially when Jamie's ex, Tansy, turns up on their doorstep with five-year-old Parker, who just happens to be the son Jamie never knew he had.

Esme's magical powers can solve a lot of problems, but it looks like their big day is doomed! Is Esme and Jamie's wedding simply not meant to be, or can they still make it down the aisle, against all the odds?

Praise for KERRY BARRETT

‘It was just lovely! I loved the plot, I loved the spells and the magic, I loved the characters and I loved the writing. Kerry Barrett is a talented writer' – Girls Love to Read on
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

**

‘Thoroughly enjoyed
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
…couldn't put it down.' – A M Poynter
*

**

'I was absorbed from the first page' – Pass The Gin on
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

**

‘This was a joy to read, clever, witty and fun. I would thoroughly recommend it and am looking forward to seeing what happens next??!!' – Mrs Ami Norman on
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
*

**

‘For lovers of witches, strong female characters who you really root for, good writing, and great storytelling this is a must.' – Caz on
I Put a Spell on You
*

**

‘A little romance, a little danger and a whole lot of fun make this an unparalleled reading experience.' – cayocosta72 on
I Put a Spell on You
*

*
Amazon reader reviews

Also available by Kerry Barrett

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

I Put a Spell on You

Baby It's Cold Outside

Kerry Barrett

www.CarinaUK.com

K
ERRY
B
ARRETT

was a bookworm from a very early age, devouring Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfeild, before moving on to
Sweet Valley High
and 1980s bonkbusters. She did a degree in English Literature, then trained as a journalist, writing about everything from pub grub to
EastEnders
. Her first novel,
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
, took six years to finish and was mostly written in longhand on her commute to work, giving her a very good reason to buy beautiful notebooks. Kerry lives in London with her husband and two sons, and Noel Streatfeild's
Ballet Shoes
is still her favourite novel.

A big thank you to my uncles Brendan and Sid, who provided me with amazingly useful information on the Falklands war, military helicopters, hypothermia, US birth certificates and mixed-race marriages.

Tim Maguire, from Humanism Scotland, was very helpful in explaining the process of being a celebrant. Thanks also to Lindsay Colbeck and Lynne's friend Graham, who gave me an insight into how funeral homes operate, and to my Facebook friends who shared their wedding memories.

Lots of thanks, as always, to my friends and family for all their support; to Lucy, Victoria and Helen from Carina; and a massive, squidgy, cuddly thank you to all my readers. You all rock.

Contents

Cover

Blurb

Praise

Book List

Title Page

Author Bio

Acknowledgement

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Excerpt

Endpages

Copyright

Friday

Chapter 1

I was happy. Really happy. So happy my cheeks hurt from smiling. I found Jamie's hand under the table and squeezed his fingers. He turned to me and grinned.

‘We're getting married,' he said.

‘I know!'

‘Finally,' my cousin Harmony – who was always called Harry – said with an arch of her perfectly shaped eyebrow. I scowled at her across the empty dinner plates, but I wasn't going to let her spoil my mood, not tonight.

We'd just arrived in Claddach, the tiny Highland town where we'd grown up, and we were enjoying a welcome family dinner. My mum was there, my sharp-tongued cousin Harry and her wife Louise, and Harry's mum, Suky – my mum's twin sister. It was brilliant.

In exactly one week and one day from now, Jamie and I would be married. Harry was right, it had taken us a long time to get here, but now we had arrived. And everything was going to be perfect.

‘Can I just say,' I said looking round the table. ‘That I am so excited and relieved to finally be here. I know this week – and of course Saturday itself – is going to be the best week of my – of our – lives.'

Mum, who was sitting on the other side of me to Jamie, squeezed my arm.

‘It's going to be wonderful,' she said.

A commotion at the back door made us all look round, and our great friends Eva and Allan fell into the kitchen, stamping snow from their boots.

‘It's coming down very heavily out there,' Eva said in her brisk Yorkshire accent. ‘It's bloody freezing.'

She spotted me and swooped, gathering me into her considerable chest and hugging me so tightly I couldn't speak.

‘There's nothing of you, love,' she said. ‘Have you been doing that five:three diet?'

I wriggled out of her hug and grinned. Eva always told me and Harry – and now Louise too – we were too thin.

‘I've got a dress to fit into,' I said. ‘A beautiful, wonderful dress.' I looked at Allan. ‘How's everything at the café?'

‘It's grand,' Allan said, pulling up a chair. We all shuffled round, and almost imperceptibly the table seemed to grow, just enough, so we all fitted. I glanced at Mum and she winked at me.

Allan produced a fat, green cardboard file.

‘We're all set,' he said. Jamie and I were getting married at the café that was owned by Mum, Suky and Eva. It had a gallery upstairs, called The Room Upstairs, which was run by artist Allan, and where they held functions. Its big windows gave it an amazing view over the loch, and it was the ideal venue for our wedding.

Allan opened the folder.

‘Hang on,' I said. I waggled my fingers over the table, which was covered in dirty plates, and watched in satisfaction as they all rose into the air in a shower of pink sparks and stacked themselves neatly in the dishwasher.

‘Ah witchcraft,' said Jamie happily, leaning back in his chair and taking a sip of wine. ‘It makes life so much easier.'

He was right. I came from a family of witches – me, Mum, Suky and Harry all had the gift. We could clear a dirty kitchen with a flick of the wrist, produce bottles of wine on a whim, and help people with all sorts of problems. Mum, Suky and Eva – who was also a witch – enchanted the cakes and biscuits they sold at the café. Sometimes the help they gave was asked for, sometimes it wasn't, but it always worked. Harry had built a whole career out of her talents, with a website for witches called
Inharmony.com
and a luxury spa in Edinburgh where she offered up spells on demand for extortionate prices. Me, I was a lawyer and for years I'd shied away from my witchcraft. Now, though, I embraced it – mostly. Jamie, who was a doctor like both his parents, loved that I could tidy our tiny house in seconds or find a taxi in the pouring rain.

Now though, my mind was on wedding stuff, not spells.

I spread the contents of Allan's folder all over the table.

‘So we're going to divide the room and have the ceremony in the smaller end and dinner at the other,' I said. ‘And after dinner everyone can go downstairs to the cafe to give us time to move the tables and chairs to one side for the dancing.'

‘We've got a DJ,' Jamie said. ‘But we're hoping some people might play as well.'

Claddach was a haven for all sorts of creative types – a bit like St Ives in Cornwall, or Totnes in Devon. There were writers, poets, artists, potters, jewellery makers and lots of musicians. Allan's gallery served as a hub for them all and he often ran writers' groups, readings, concerts and classes alongside his exhibitions. Someone was bound to bring a guitar, or a violin, or even a drum kit, to our wedding.

‘There's nothing really left to do,' I said. ‘Not until that photography exhibition closes and we can get into the gallery to decorate.'

‘Wednesday is the last day,' Allan said. ‘It's all yours after that.'

I grinned, excited by the idea of decorating my wedding room.

‘What colours have you chosen?' Suky asked.

‘Light blue, silver and white,' I said. ‘I wanted it to have a frosty feel.'

Jamie and I had both grown up in Claddach, which was nestled in a valley in the Cairngorms. We loved winter and had deliberately chosen to have our wedding at this time of year to make the most of the snow that was almost guaranteed. We'd not been disappointed. It had started to snow as we got ready to leave Edinburgh, where we lived, and by the time we arrived in Claddach the town was already wrapped in a cosy blanket of the white stuff. I was delighted. It was like I'd ordered the weather specially and even though my mum, aunt and cousin were brilliant witches, that was one thing that was definitely out of their remit.

‘And the dresses for Chloe and Harry are this silvery blue?' Suky found a fabric swatch in among the documents on the table and held it up.

‘Yes, and Jamie and Frankie's ties are the same colour,' I said. ‘Remember Frankie?'

Mum and Suky nodded. They had known Jamie's best friend – gorgeous, funny, unreliable Frankie – since we were at school, though they hadn't seen him for years.

‘The dresses are gorgeous,' I winked at Harry who hadn't wanted to be a bridesmaid in the first place. ‘Bias cut, a bit slinky – more like evening gowns really. Chloe wanted to cover her tummy so hers is a bit more draped than Harry's.'

Chloe was my best friend from school. She lived just outside Claddach with her husband, Rob, and their three kids. Her smallest child, Euan, had just turned two and she was still a bit self-conscious about what she called her “mum tum”.

‘Did you manage to sort out who's sitting where,' Mum asked. We'd had many discussions on the phone about how to arrange the tables. ‘I did,' I said, pleased with myself. ‘Do you have the table plans, Allan?'

‘Oh god, not table plans,' Harry said, rather unfairly in my opinion. I'd been nothing but supportive when she and Louise tied the knot last year. She drained her wine glass and looked at her wife.

‘Shall we go for a walk before the snow gets too bad?' she said. Lou, who loved nothing more than being outside, whatever the weather and whatever the activity on offer, nodded eagerly.

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