Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Shoot the Moon by Bella Cassidy - Book Tour + Giveaway

Shoot the Moon

Tassie Morris is everyone’s favourite wedding photographer, famous for her photos of offbeat ceremonies and alternative brides. Yet commitment is proving impossible for Tassie herself, who cannot forget her first love.

When she’s sent to photograph a ceremony on Schiehallion - the Fairy Hill of the Scottish Caledonians - she meets Dan, who might be the one to make her forget her past. That is, until a family crisis begins a chain of events that threaten to destroy not only Tassie’s love life, but her entire career.

Set in a colourful world of extraordinary weddings, Shoot the Moon explores the complexities of different kinds of love: romantic love, mother love, friendship. And, ultimately, the importance of loving yourself.


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My protagonist, Tassie, is remembering a time when she and Alex (the love she can’t forget) went boating in Regent’s Park.

 Did I do this very thing myself? Aged seventeen. Just maybe…

Regent’s Park, December 1999
It had been Tassie’s idea to take the boat out. Ideas like that usually were. She’d wanted to try it as soon as she’d seen it lying just metres from the lake, bright blue paint crackled over red, its rope coiled loosely in front. Now, as she tugged it towards the water, her breath puffed smoke – illuminated by the low winter sun.

‘Come on, it’s not tied to anything. It’ll be fun.’ She stared up at Alex who was watching her from a nearby bench.

He shook his head, his eyebrows raised. ‘Really?’

‘Come on, or I’ll go by myself. You know I will.’

He sighed, dusting the algae from his coat as he looked around the park. In the distance, an old man was shuffling along, head down, a small dog darting this way and that. Eventually Alex shrugged and walked down the bank to join her. Eyeing the boat suspiciously he bent to examine it. ‘I bet there’s a reason it’s not locked.’ He dug his thumb into the rim, leaving a small indent. ‘See? The wood’s gone all soft.’

‘Oh, come on, let’s just try. What’s the worst that can happen?’ With one more pull the bow crunched over stones into the water and Tassie jumped in. ‘Look! There’s even some oars.’ She turned, her enthusiasm rewarded when Alex finally smiled. Bending down she yanked two misshapen pieces of wood from beneath the seats. ‘I’m sure these wouldn’t be here if it didn’t work. And we’ll put it back where it was. Come on. It’s Christmas.’ She cocked her head and blew him a kiss.

A jogger appeared, running in the opposite direction to the old man, his hat clamped by large headphones. But there was no one else visible in the whole of Regent’s Park, for winter gloom was just beginning to descend and the weather was cold enough to put most people off a late afternoon stroll.

Gathering up his coat, Alex shook his head as he pulled the boat towards him then clambered in. Still scanning the horizon, he sat, pin-straight, as Tassie thrust the oars into the water and started rowing, straining with each stroke as slowly – but not at all surely – the boat began to move. Soon her face was hot and she had to blow bits of hair out of her mouth as it tumbled down around her, strands of pearl, amber and gold shining in the fading light.

After a few minutes Alex leant forward and, taking her face in his hands, gave her a long kiss. Then, crouching in the middle of the boat, he twisted round and backed up to sit next to her. Nudging her shoulder, he held out a hand. ‘Come on. It’ll be easier if we both do it.’

It took about eight minutes for them to row into the middle of the lake, a minute to admire the orange sun as it sank behind the silhouetted fingers of the park’s trees, and two more minutes to realise the boat was leaking.

Tassie’s laughter rang out across the fractured water, soon followed by Alex’s expletives. Alerted by the noise, the old man stood and watched, the dog twisting to sniff something between his feet as he strained to make out what they were doing.

They frantically pulled on the oars, racing to reach the shore before it was too late, and as soon as she could Tassie jumped out, soaking her Converse and splashing water over her jeans as she yanked on the bow, flakes of paint coming away in her hand. Alex disembarked more cautiously, trying to avoid his suede shoes getting wet.

Still laughing, she took the lion’s share of pulling the boat in, then Alex looked at her, shaking his head.

‘Told you.’ But his face was amused as he said it and, pulling her close to him, he lifted her chin. ‘You’re crazy, Tassie Morris – and I still can’t believe you came today. But I’m so glad you did. I love you.’ He held out his hand, then looked up at the sky. ‘Let’s get out of here. I think it might actually snow. And I’m freezing.’

* * *

When had they first met? It had been just an ordinary Thursday – the kind with homework, odd socks and toad in the hole for tea – the day he’d first walked into her life. Or strolled, to be more accurate.

She’d been struggling with algebraic fractions at the kitchen table when her brother had bounced in, followed by a boy she’d never seen before. He’d paused to pat the dog, pushing his dark hair from his face, and while Tom had worked on persuading their mother that there’d be enough toads for everyone, Tassie had done her best not to look up again. She’d not wanted her flushed cheeks to give her away – any more than the faint pink powdering her mother’s.

At supper Alex had been charming, explaining how he and Tom had met through the debating society, although he was actually in Tassie’s year; asking her father about his cows; commiserating with Tassie about the amount of revision they needed to do – it quickly becoming clear he was doing a lot more than her. Before he’d cycled off at the end of the evening, a trip to the cinema had been arranged with Tom (and Tassie) for the following Saturday; then a week later they’d gone out again, this time just the two of them. And that was it: first love unfolding, with all its exhilarating, palpitating, blood-rushing, head-spinning, heart-crushing emotion.

And there she’d bloody remained.

Author Bio –

Bella Cassidy grew up in the West Country - reading contemporary romances, romances, historical novels, literary fiction... just about anything she could lay her hands on. After a few years in London, working as a waitress and in PR and advertising, she went to Sussex to read English - despite admitting in her pre-interview that this rather sociable period in her life had seen her read only one book in six months: a Jilly Cooper. 

She’s had an eclectic range of jobs: including in the world of finance; social housing fundraising; a stint at the Body Shop - working as Anita Roddick’s assistant; as a secondary school teacher, then teaching babies to swim: all over the world.

She’s done a lot of research for writing a wedding romance, having had two herself. For her first she was eight months pregnant - a whale in bright orange - and was married in a barn with wood fires burning. The second saw her in elegant Edwardian silk, crystals and lace, teamed with yellow wellies and a cardigan. Both were great fun; but it was lovely having her daughter alongside, rather than inside her at the second one.

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Giveaway to Win a paperback copy of Shoot the Moon and Moon and Stars bath salts (Open to UK only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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