Life is easy, it's men she'll never figure out...
When hotel manager Daisy MacLean meets cocky sports hero Dev Tyzack, it's a no brainer--stay away. He is arrogant and sarcastic--but also incredibly sexy.
Daisy tries her best to steer clear of him, yet soon comes to realize he is the one guest she can't bear to see leave.
Then she learns a devastating truth: most people are not who they seem to be, for better or worse...
From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author--smart, sassy, savy women's fiction that never disappoints!
"Another jaunty read about life, love, and laughter."
--Reading Evening Post
"Engaging, warm, and funny...an entertaining romp."
"There's trouble at Daisy's hotel when she has to deal with a colourful set of wedding guests and her own troubled love life. Sure-fire bestseller from Queen of chicklit, Mansell."
"A lively, appealing, and sassy comedy of errors about second chances...Romantic storyteller Jill Mansell is in top form."
--Nuneaton Evening Telegraph
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March 01, 2011
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Excerpt from Staying at Daisy's by Jill Mansell
In the absence of a gavel, Hector MacLean seized a heavy glass ashtray and rattled it against the mahogany-topped bar. 'Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. Quiet at the back there, you Aussie riffraff. I feel the need to propose a toast. Over here, darling, over here.' Beckoning Daisy towards him, he slung an arm round her waist. 'And now would you all raise your glasses... to my beautiful daughter.'
'To your beautiful daughter,' chorused everyone in the room, causing Daisy to roll her eyes.
Honestly, did he have to be quite so embarrassing?
'You missed a bit out,' she told him. 'What you actually meant to say was "To my beautiful, intelligent, and staggeringly hard-working daughter, without whom this hotel would crumble and go out of business within a week."'
'All that. Absolutely. Goes without saying.' Hector gestured expansively with his tumbler of Glenmorangie. 'Everyone here already knows that. Just as they know you're also stubborn, bossy, and incredibly lacking in modesty. But I'm still proud of you.
Considering all you ever did at school was smoke and play truant, and your mother and I never thought you'd amount to anything, you've turned out pretty well. And now, for my next toast, I'd like you all to raise your glasses once more to dear old Dennis.'
'Dear old Dennis,' they all bellowed back at him, even those guests who hadn't the foggiest idea who Dennis was. That was the thing about Hector MacLean, his enthusiasm and joie de vivre was infectious.
As usual, Daisy marveled, and in no time at all, a quiet gathering for a few drinks had turned into an impromptu, rip-roaring party. It wouldn't be long now before her father called for his accordion and got the dancing underway. The fact that they were all supposed to be taking advantage of these few relatively peaceful days--the Christmas guests having departed and the New Year's Eve ones yet to arrive--was of no consequence to Hector. The fact that it was December the twenty-eighth was, as far as he was concerned, a good enough reason to celebrate. Why take it easy when you could be having fun?
Daisy, glad that her spritzer was nine-tenths soda water, eased herself onto a bar stool while her father greeted a couple of late arrivals as though they were his dearest friends.
'At last! How marvelous! Listen, we're in danger of having a bit of a knees-up--either of you two handy with a piano?'
One of the Australians materialized at Daisy's side as she was busily lining her empty stomach with cashews and roasted almonds.
Not ideal but better than nothing.
'Your dad's a character. When this place was recommended to us, we thought Jeez, some old country house hotel full of la-di-da tweedy women and pompous old colonel types, no way. But our friends promised us it wasn't like that here, and they were right. This place is great.'
'You may change your mind,' said Daisy, 'when my father gets his bagpipes out.'
'You're kidding!' The Australian's face lit up. 'He actually plays the bagpipes?'
'No. He just thinks he can. If you know what's good for you,'
Daisy whispered, 'you'll persuade him to stick with the accordion.' He laughed, even though she hadn't been joking.
'And who's this other guy we just drank to, dear old Dennis? Is he someone else who works here?'
'Ah well. Dennis is our benefactor. Without him,' Daisy explained, 'we wouldn't have this hotel.'
'You mean he owns it?'
Behind the bar, Rocky casually flipped a tumbler into the air and caught it. No one was currently drinking cocktails but he did it anyway. Grinning at Daisy, he began to whistle a catchy tune.
'You probably know Dennis,' Daisy told the Australian. Tilting her head in Rocky's direction she added, 'If you recognize that song, you definitely know him.'
Standing next to the Australian, Tara Donovan joined in the whistling. The Australian frowned. 'It's that kid's thing, yeah? Dennis the Dashing Dachshund? I'm sorry, you've lost me.' Unable to help themselves--they'd started so they'd finish--Rocky and Tara whistled and jiggled their way through to the end of the song.
'My father may not have been blessed with many brilliant ideas in his lifetime,' Daisy said fondly, 'but twenty-five years ago he had an excellent one. He came up with Dennis.'
'You're kidding! Are you serious? That's incredible!' The Australian slapped his knee in delight. 'I used to buy those books for my kids.'
Rocky was well away now, tap-dancing behind the bar and singing under his breath, 'My name is Dennis, the dashing dachshund,' because Dennis danced like Fred Astaire and Rocky liked to show off the fact that he had been to stage school.
Actually, Daisy amended, he just liked to show off. Then again, it was why she had hired him in the first place.
'Dad used to make up stories for me when I was small,' Daisy told the enthralled Australian, 'about this effeminate dachshund. But I didn't know what he looked like so Dad started drawing pictures of him. I took the pictures into school, told the stories to my friends, and the next thing we knew, all the mothers were asking where they could get hold of these Dennis books their kids kept pestering them for. So Dad sent his stories off to a publisher and they snapped them up. Then a TV company got involved and Dennis fever took off--soft toys, games, pajamas, the whole merchandising malarkey. All from one dear little idea. Dad sold the rights five years ago and bought this place,' Daisy concluded. 'So you see, we owe everything to Dennis.'
'I used to have a Dennis the Dachshund duvet cover,' Rocky put in cheerfully. 'And Dennis slippers with ears on them that waggled when you walked.'
'I had Dennis everything.' Daisy groaned and pulled a face.
'By the time I was nine it was embarrassing. All I cared about then was Madonna.'
One of the late arrivals was being persuaded to go and fetch his harmonica; he might not be able to play the piano but, Hector assured him, a mouth organ would do just as well.
'I love this place,' exclaimed the Australian. 'I must go and talk to your dad.'
'Are you all right?' Rocky leaned across the bar and lowered his voice as the man moved away. 'You look a bit... knackered.'
'Me? I'm fine!' Daisy realized he'd caught her off guard for a moment. What was the difference between putting on a brave front and telling a great big bare-faced lie? 'Of course I'm fine, why wouldn't I be?'
Rocky shrugged, reached for the silver tongs, and lobbed a couple of ice cubes into a tumbler.
'Thought you might be missing Steven. When's he back?'
'New Year's Eve.' Scooping up another handful of nuts, Daisy gave him a bright smile. Rocky wasn't wild about Steven, she knew that, and he might even have an inkling about the events of the previous week, but there was no way in the world she was going to blurt out the whole story. She hadn't told a soul. Not Tara, not even her own father. For now, she just had to carry on as if nothing was wrong.
'Because if you're feeling a bit lonely, I know just the thing to cheer you up.' Rocky waggled a playful eyebrow as he said it, flashing her his naughtiest Robbie Williams smirk. 'I'm young, single, and available. Not to mention totally irresistible.'
Rocky was twenty-three, with a wicked smile and a peroxide crop. His favorite band was Oasis, which meant she could never fancy him in a million years.
'It's really kind of you to offer.' Solemnly, Daisy patted his hand.