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Bedlam & Breakfast at a Devon Seaside Guesthouse by Sharley Scott - Book Tour

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Bedlam & Breakfast at a Devon Seaside Guesthouse
Katie is desperate to leave her stressful job, so she doesn’t think too hard about moving to Devon to run a B&B, even if it means uprooting her family. She is certain that she and Jason have a strong and loving relationship which can weather any storm.

Hooked by the beauty of Torringham with its quaint harbour and stunning coastline, they purchase Flotsam Guesthouse which needs more than a lick of paint to keep it afloat. Soon, Katie finds that renovating and running a guesthouse is taking its toll, especially when dealing with challenging guests and madcap neighbours, Shona and Kim. Katie comes to learn that trouble is afoot whenever Shona begs a favour.

However, when her adored daughter moves back to their old hometown, she wonders if they’ve made a huge mistake, especially when cracks begin to show in her marriage.

Her seaside idyll is crumbling along with her relationship. Should she let Flotsam Guesthouse founder while she salvages her marriage? Katie needs to decide where her priorities lie. The only issue is, she doesn’t know.
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In an attempt to widen her friendship group, Katie has agreed to go on a walk with a group of nature lovers. While the walk is scenic, it a long walk and steep in places. One of the group has brought her dog, Bessie, who is deaf.

Below us lay a strip of beach bordered by a small lake the colour of spring leaves on one side and a glittering Mediterranean-blue sea on the other. White-tipped waves rolled onto the beach, but in the centre there was a strip so clear I fancied even from this distance I could see individual pebbles shimmering beneath the water.
The steep incline meant we all but raced down the hill. A stumbling Laura made it to the beach first, having been dragged by Bessie who dashed to lap from a little stream that ran from the pond. The trickle was like Chinese water torture to a woman with a full bladder, especially with the waves rushing over the pebbles. I scanned the area, hoping to find a large rock I could hide behind but no such luck. A forest of reeds surrounded the algae-filled pond water, enclosed at the rear by a wire fence which marked the boundaries of a field set within the valley bowl. My only option was to ask everyone to turn around and set myself beside the rock face or climb back up and find a copse.
While the rest of the group littered the shingle with rucksacks, upturned shoes and scattered socks, I headed over to Josie and Laura who stood with Bessie.
“So much for a nature watch. They’ll frighten everything away with that noise.” Josie shook her head as her bare-footed friends tiptoed, yelping and laughing, over the pebbles.
Laura smiled. “I could do with a cool off too. Poor Bessie’s wilting.”
Bessie’s steam engine puffs rose above the excited squeals and drool ran from her lolling tongue.
“First I need a pee.” Laura crossed her legs as if to emphasise her point.
“Me too.”
“Me three,” I said, grateful they’d beaten me to it.
Laura took Bessie over to a pointed rock where she hooked her lead. She patted Bessie’s head and held out her hand. Stay. “Won’t be a mo, then we can paddle,” she said, even though Bessie couldn’t hear her.
We hurried away to a corner of the beach where we would be in full view of hikers heading towards Torringham but hidden from anyone going the other way. Hobson’s choice, as no matter where we positioned ourselves we’d be on view.  Laura and I stood side-by-side acting as a barrier from prying eyes as Josie relieved herself. The noise made me ever more desperate and I begged to be next.
When it came to Laura’s turn, she groaned. “Why, oh why, did I think dungaree shorts were a good idea? How I’m going to do this, I don’t know.”
I chuckled. Facing away, I couldn’t see what she was up to, but I could hear the chink of shingle and grunting and guessed she’d decided to take her dungarees off rather than risk splashing them. Josie rolled her eyes and we giggled silently at each other. It felt like forever before I heard Laura peeing and even longer until her knees cracked and she announced she was done.
“Finally!” Josie said. “I thought you’d settled in for the duration.”
Just two hardy women remained calf-deep in the water, chatting. The rest had decamped to the beach, where they unloaded cameras and food from their rucksacks.
“Bessie?” Laura said.
I looked over to where we’d left Bessie, but she wasn’t there.
This time Laura shouted louder, panic clear in her voice. “Bessie! Has anyone seen Bessie?”
She rushed over to where she’d left her dog and stood frantically scouring the beach. Josie and I hurried over. I couldn’t see Bessie racing up the hills on either side, nor was she near the lake. I couldn’t imagine she’d gone through the reeds, not with all that algae. Which left…
“She’s in the sea!” One of the paddling women pointed to a black and white head about thirty feet from shore.
“Bessie, Bessie!” The women chorused but, of course, the dog kept heading out to sea with the same determined air she’d shown when walking here.
Laura sprinted to the water’s edge and threw off her shoes. Ignoring calls to wait, she hurdled the surf until it reached her waist when she dived in. Her head bobbed up and her arm curled into the water, then the other. Thankfully she didn’t have to battle the waves as she swam through a calm channel. Strangely, Bessie’s pace seemed to match Laura’s. About forty yards out, Laura turned and waved to us. Except she wasn’t waving, she was calling for help. And, although she’d stopped swimming, she appeared to be moving further away.
Oh no! Was this the riptide I’d heard about? I pulled my mobile from my rucksack, dismayed to see no signal. Josie did the same, as did a few of the other women. Their worried looks told me all I needed to know.

Author Bio
While 'Bedlam & Breakfast at a Devon Seaside Guesthouse' is fictional, I am a guesthouse owner. Thankfully, we have been blessed with lots of amazing and kind-hearted guests, who are nothing like some of the characters featured in this novel and the subsequent books in the series. I would be a lot greyer if they were.

Likewise, Jason is quite different to my husband, who I sometimes nickname Victor Meldrew. He is lovely though and has a fab sense of humour, although some of his dryness has rubbed off on Jason.

Bedlam & Breakfast is set in South Devon, in the fictional town of Torringham, which is loosely based on Brixham. If you've been to Brixham you may recognise some of the local features, including the seals, fishing industry and the fantastic lifeboat crew, but the businesses, people and a number of settings are fictionalised.

The same applies to the B&B owners featured. Many guesthouse owners undertake work when they move into a property and our current B&B was not an exception. While, thankfully, our previous owners were nothing like Jim and Maureen, this also means we don’t get to live next door to the fabulous Shona and Kim. But we do have many lovely B&B friends. B&Bers are a wonderful and hardworking bunch, although the ones we know have a perchant for parties in the low season. That's why I had to end Bedlam & Breakfast at a party. 

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