Welcome to my stop on the Be My Baby Blog Tour written by A.L. Michael and hosted by Neverland Blog Tours. I’m very pleased to be taking part and hope you enjoy the excerpt from the book. There is also a giveaway at the end of the post so don’t miss out on your chance to enter.
If you asked Mollie whether she struggled as a single mum, she’d have to cover her daughter’s ears before answering. Surrounded by friends, watching Esme grow into the sassiest eleven-year-old in North London, and building her name as TV chef Mollie Makes, Mollie’s never been happier. Well, that’s what she’d tell you. But as her best friends pair off, and Esme starts getting into trouble at school, Mollie wonders whether life would be different – not better…but easier – with a team mate.
Three’s a crowd?
But Esme’s dad, Jamie, would be the last man Mollie would team up with. After all, he made it clear eleven years ago that he wasn’t interested in playing the family game. So when he suddenly reappears, Mollie can’t believe her eyes. And soon, she’s got to ask herself the hardest question yet: she knows she can succeed as a single mum. But what if her daughter doesn’t want her to?
‘Look, Mum,’ Esme shook her head seriously, ‘you’re not very good at this stuff, you need to trust me with it. I can find you someone really nice. Olivia said it’s really nice having a dad, someone to take you places and protect you and tell you not to go out wearing that… she said I should have one, and she doesn’t mind sharing hers. That’s nice.’
Mollie took a deep breath and tried to count to five, ‘Yes, but are you happy to share me? So I’d have to do things with Olivia, just her and me.’
‘No you wouldn’t – she already has a mum!’ Esme’s frown was deep set, and she suddenly didn’t like the idea any more. Mollie took her hand and led her over to the bench by the bus stop, sitting down side-by-side as the light started to soften into darkness.
‘Sweets, why were you really playing with Olivia today? I know you don’t like dance routines and girly stuff. What’s going on?’
Esme pressed her lips together and pulled on the sleeves of her grey hoodie, ‘She’s the only other kid who has one parent.’
‘You’re kidding,’ Mollie frowned, ‘Seriously? How is that possible?’
‘Or the only other one who admits it. Some of the other kids were asking where my dad was because they were talking about inviting their dads to some school thing. And when I said I didn’t have one, they asked about my stepdad. And when I said I didn’t have one of those they said… they said I must be horrible and that’s why I don’t have a daddy.’
Mollie fought the urge to bundle her daughter up into her arms and start ranting about what horrible tossers all those kids were, but she held back, watching as her daughter took deep breaths and set her jaw, not allowing herself to cry.
‘Oh baby, why didn’t you tell me?’ Mollie stroked Esme’s cheek, and watched as her daughter’s eyes met hers.
‘I didn’t see the point,’ Esme shrugged, ‘We must both be pretty horrible if he left both of us, but I know that’s not true because you’re lovely.’
At that point Mollie did pull her in close, squeezing her and letting her own tears fall, ‘You are not horrible. Your dad didn’t leave because of you, or me. We were just kids and he wasn’t ready to be a dad. You know how I’ve always told you girls are more grown-up than boys? Well I got pregnant with you, and I grew up so I could be a mum. But he wasn’t ready to grow up, so he didn’t become a dad. That’s all it was, baby girl. We have the loveliest life, don’t we? With Chelsea, and Evie and now Evelyn and Killian and Kit. All these people who love you and think you’re amazing. So what’s one man who couldn’t grow up?’
Esme nodded, sighing deeply and squeezing her mum’s hand, and saying, ‘Okay, but if you have to pick me up from Olivia’s again, will you say yes to the glass of wine?’
‘Maybe. Depends if you’re hanging out with Olivia because you actually like her.’
Esme shrugged as they started walking along, ‘She’s nice enough, she doesn’t read though. Which is weird.’
They walked along in silence, Mollie stopping herself from reaching out and grabbing her daughter’s hand. She wanted to wrap her in cotton wool, keep her safe, she began to wonder why she hadn’t put herself out there earlier, whether she’d been selfish in thinking she’d been enough for her daughter. She should have started dating earlier, maybe she’d have found a suitable father figure by now.
‘Mum, don’t you miss him?’ Esme asked suddenly, looking up at her, ‘My dad, I mean?’
‘No baby, I don’t miss him. I don’t ever really think about him.’
Mollie felt her stomach clench as they carried on walking. It was the first lie she’d ever told her daughter.
About A.L. Michael:
A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.
She’s a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she’ll settle for lying on the page.
Head to Rafflecopter to enter to win:
- Goodie Bag with ’Healthy Mollie-Approved Treats’ Inc. Baking Goodies & more!
(Tour Wide Giveaway).
Title: Be My Baby
Series: The House On Camden Square #3
Author: A.L. Michael
Genre: Chick-Lit | Romance
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 7 November 2016
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook
Buy: Amazon UK | Kobo