There's one question a girl should always say yes to...
But Lucy Gibson said no. On national TV. Now she's hated by nearly everyone.
Fleeing the spotlight's glare, Lucy holes up in a cottage in the country, where she just might find the right reasons to say yes after all...
From beloved novelist Philipa Ashley, Just Say Yes is a sharp and exuberant tale of the rocky road to love that'll leave you saying "Yes!"
Praise for Carrie Goes Off the Map:
"Engaging...Ashley's charming prose makes the journey enjoyable."Publishers Weekly
"This tale has its own Bridget Jones–style appeal."Booklist
"Quirky and fun!"RT Book Reviews
"Fulfills all the best fantasies, including a gorgeous humanitarian hero and a camper van!"Katie Fforder, UK bestselling author of Love Letters
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|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
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Read an Excerpt
"Well, are they there?"
"Fiona, is the pope Catholic? Of course they're here."
The phone subsided into silence as Lucy Gibson did a left into the anonymous north London street. She could have sworn she heard actual cogs whirring in Fiona's mind before her cell phone crackled into life again.
"OK. This calls for guerilla tactics," said Fiona as Lucy narrowly avoided a nun on a bicycle. "Have you got a paper bag in the car?"
"I think there's an old shopping bag in the trunk. But I'm driving right now and besides, what should I do with it? Cut holes for eyes and wear it over my head? I think I've got my manicure set in the glove box and-"
"Actually, I was thinking you could breathe into it to stop you from hyperventilating."
"I-am-not-hyperventilating!" said Lucy as the nun wobbled precariously along the gutter.
"No. Of course not. Stupid of me to detect a slight hint of apprehension. I'll go away."
"Fi, I know you're trying to help. Stay on the line until I get to the flat. I'm nearly there now and-Oh. My. God."
"Fiona, there are hundreds of them."
"You mean actual hundreds or about seven?"
"Ten. At least."
There was another silence, but this time no cogs whirred, from which Lucy concluded that Fiona must think the situation was hopeless.
"Lucy, are you sure you're OK? Chin up. Maybe this won't be as bad as you expect."
Lucy suspected it more likely that Elvis was alive and well and working as a manicurist in Shepherd's Bush but she thought the better of telling Fiona, because right now, her best friend appeared to be one of the few people on the planet who didn't want to cut out her heart with a rusty knife.
"Maybe. Thanks for being here," she said.
"No problem, hon."
As Lucy pulled into the space in front of her flat, she knew that Elvis was well and truly dead and that it was going to be at least as bad as she expected. A pack of long-range lenses and furry microphones all swung in her direction like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. As she reached for the door handle, a thought struck her. She had another choice: she didn't have to get out of the car at all. She could head straight down the street and right out of London as far as a tank of unleaded would take her. If she wanted to, she could run away from all of this right now.
But she wouldn't run away because she was still convinced, despite what seven million people had said, that she hadn't done anything wrong and that, actually, she had done the right thing and one day, maybe when she was pushing up daisies or had been recycled into mulch, everyone (including Nick) would realize it and forgive her.
Before she could change her mind, she flicked the lock, took a deep breath, and pushed open the door.
"Over here, love!"
"Let's have a big smile for The Sport!"
"Can you just give me a moment?" she asked, barely able to hear herself above the shouting and whirr of camera drives.
"Is it true you're in talks with Max Clifford?" shouted a man.
"Er... no, I don't think so."
A girl in a huge scarf thrust a microphone under her nose and Lucy had a horrible feeling she was going to sneeze. She hoped not; it always made her eyes water and she didn't want them to think she was crying.
"Are you seeing someone else? Is that why you did it?" shrieked a woman in a pink beret.
"There's no one else," said Lucy, head down, making for the steps that led up to her flat.
"Did you know Nick Laurentis has checked into rehab?"
Lucy ground to a halt in the middle of the pavement.
Nick was in rehab? Surely she hadn't driven him to drink and drugs in just one week? She knew he was terribly hurt, shattered even, but in therapy? It couldn't be true.
"Your mum's said to be devastated by your decision, Lucy. How does that make you feel?"
Lucy was sure her mum definitely wouldn't have said anything of the sort, not in public, anyway. "No comment," she said firmly, lifting her chin and focusing on her navy blue front door. The crowd gathered ahead of her, barring her way. "Can you let me get to my front door, please? I've got a hungry Siamese kitten in need of its dinner," she said.
It wasn't quite true, but close enough. Fiona was coming round later with Hengist who was slightly larger than a kitten but always starving. Yet even that went against the grain. Lucy had A Thing about lying.
It wasn't that she was against it, per se, not if it was to spare someone's feelings or avoid a parking ticket. She just wasn't very good at it. While some people had fibbing down to a fine art, Lucy turned scarlet, got flustered, and protested even more suspiciously than Lady Macbeth.
One of the reporters frantically scribbled in her notebook. "Is there one s or two in Siamese?"
"Three," said a photographer with a purple Mohican hairstyle. "Do you own this flat, then, Miss Gibson? How much is it worth? Did your boyfriend pay for it?"
"He's not my boyfriend."
"Have you split up for good, then?" the pack bayed in unison and Lucy finally gave up.
"Do you think it's because of your cellulite?"
"Is that a Prada handbag or Primark?"
"Miss Gibson, is it true that you've had sex with a warlock?"
"Excuse me!" she declared, lowering her head and pushing people out of the way with her handbag (FCUK, actually, not that it was any of their business). As she reached the steps, there was a clatter followed by a shriek and then some scuffling.
"Who left that bleedin' trash bin there?"
"Mind my camera, you dickhead! That lens cost over a grand."
She took her chance as the reporters scrambled over a pile of used diapers and takeout cartons spilling out of the bin. One guy was wiping something nasty from his hand and cursing. Racing up the steps, she shoved her key in the lock with shaking fingers. It jiggled a bit, clicked, then opened. The dark and dingy hall that led to her flat looked like the opening to a magic cavern. Behind her, the press was still arguing and cursing around the bin. Excellent. Served them right.
The breath whooshed from her chest and the welcome mat rushed up to meet her face. Someone had moved the hedgehog boot scraper in front of the door.
"Oh yes, there is a God!"
"Quick! We'll make a bloody mint out of this one."
"Get off, you oaf! Don't you know who I am?"
A hairy hand, poking out of a black sleeve, reached down for hers and pulled her roughly to her feet. "Quick. Get in here."
Then she was safe inside, her back to the door.
"Yes. Thanks," she panted, brushing some dirt from her knees. When she looked up, her rescuer was smiling benignly down at her from behind his neat little goatee. "Charlie. Forgive me for asking, but why are you wearing a nun's habit?"
"Oh-this. I'll explain later. Now, I need to lock my bike up before that pack of wolves nicks it."
Suddenly, Lucy had an insane urge to giggle. She knew it must be nerves and adrenaline and the shock of having been chased into her flat and rescued by her neighbor, a six-foot-tall nun. She also knew that if she didn't laugh, she might cry because only a week ago, she'd been able to walk into her own front door without running the gauntlet. Just a few months ago, life had been normal but that was before a tall, dark, handsome stranger had chased her down the street with a bagel.