"Once I started reading, I simply couldn’t stop… Had me laughing, crying and swooning over that cute guy waiting on the corner for the girl of his dreams. I loved everything about this book and I cannot recommend it enough."M’s Bookshelf
On an ordinary, grey day a little bit of magic is about to happen on a street corner near you…
Ellie Newton’s life revolves around telling other people’s stories. As a journalist for the Millrise Echo, she’s always a phone call away from the latest goings-on in her hometown. But school fundraisers and shopping trolley thefts have started to feel slightly, dare she say it, boring. Until she hears about a story that definitely has something special.
Ben was heartbroken when his girlfriend Gemma walked out on him without a word. But rather than mope around the house and eat his body weight in cookie-dough ice cream, he’s decided to do something about it. This calls for a grand gesture, and a bunch of flowers just isn’t going to cut it. Ben has set up camp on the street outside Gemma’s house and is determined to stay there until she explains why she left and offers him a chance to fix things.
The story has everything Ellie loves – local interest, romance, a rather handsome man – and she decides to do everything she can to help Ben win Gemma back. But as Ellie and Ben join forces to reunite him with the girl of his dreams, could their story lead them somewhere more unexpected, after all?
Previously published as The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.
A perfectly feel-good romantic read that will move you to laughter and tears. Fans of Josie Silver, Lucy Diamond and Jill Mansell will be totally enchanted by this heart-warming tale.
Readers love Worth Waiting For :
"This was by far Tilly’s best novel yet!… Very entertaining… Full of heart and imagination… The perfect read for the hopeless romantic." Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
" I’ve heard many great things about Tilly Tennant’s writing and I was so pleased to discover they are all true." Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
" 5/5 stars… Moving and heart-warming tale of family, friendship, and following your heart. The perfect read." Lil Miss Vix Reads, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
" Now and again a book comes along that makes you lie in bed and refuse to get up until you have read the very last page… I could not get enough of this book… Tilly Tennant has created such a wonderful story to totally capture the imagination… I will admit to shedding the odd tear here and there… I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Go out and buy it. Right now! " Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Release date: September 18, 2020
Print pages: 294
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Worth Waiting For
Ellie slammed on her brakes. Distracted by what she had just heard, she hadn’t noticed the lights change to red until she was almost on top of them. Through the rear view mirror, she noted the man in the car behind purse his lips.
‘You did what?’ she squeaked. She listened, phone clamped to her ear, her frown deepening. ‘I’m coming over now. It doesn’t matter if I’m at work – this is more important. Stop arguing, Mum, I can’t leave it now…. Yes, I realise it’s illegal to answer my phone while I’m driving but you’re not giving me much choice…’ She ended the call and tossed the phone onto the passenger seat. It seemed churlish to blame her mum for driving and talking, but she felt churlish right now.
At the next roundabout, Ellie swung her Mini around.
As she drove up the other side of the dual carriageway, back in the direction she had just come from, the phone rang again.
‘Dad? What’s up?’ She listened, a new and deeper frown forming. ‘You did what?!’ she squeaked again in a voice so high it was possible that dolphins off the coast of Scotland would hear it. ‘Well, how the hell did you manage to set fire to one of those?’ She listened for a moment and then sighed. ‘I could come over in an hour or so…’ She narrowed her eyes as a thought occurred to her. ‘You did phone the fire service before you called me, didn’t you? Don’t get upset, I’m just checking… no, I don’t think you’re stupid… yes, of course that doesn’t mean I don’t want to come over and help… no, it does matter! Of course it does, it’s just that I told mum…. yes, I’ve spoken to her… no, she didn’t ask about you… no, I can’t give her a message; you know she won’t listen anyway… I have to go to her first because she needs help at Hazel’s place. OK, I’ll be an hour.’
At the next set of lights, Ellie rang one of her speed dial numbers. ‘Patrick… yeah, I’m good… I’m going to be late for this school thing, can you cover it?’ She listened for a moment and then grinned. ‘It’s only some crappy local author, just listen to her, get the gist of what she says to the kids and tell me later. If I can get there I will… I’m really sorry to ask again… you know I’ll love you forever… Yep, it’s both of them this time… No, they’re still not speaking. I know, I owe you big style.’ Ellie ended the call and tossed the phone back to the seat. She chewed her lip as a double-decker lumbered from the bus lane onto the dual carriageway ahead of her, and with a grey haired old man driving the car in the parallel lane, blocking her progress, it was as much as she could do not to jam her fist onto the car horn.
‘Bloody hell, shift it, will you!’ she muttered savagely.
The phone rang again. ‘Jethro…’ she screwed up her face as there was an irritated beep from the car behind, ‘you know I love you but whatever it is, can it wait?’ She listened for a moment. ‘I’m gutted for you, but she wasn’t right for you, I always said so… I will phone you later, I promise… I told you I fell asleep that time… OK, hang in there… if in doubt, just go to default setting: as we know, copious amounts of whisky helps to mend broken hearts.’
Just as she had tossed the phone back onto the seat the screen flashed again to signal another call. She really needed to get some sort of apparatus to answer her phone safely in the car if every day was going to be this mental.
Ellie sighed. This one would simply have to wait.
Ellie knocked at the sleek black front door. From within, she could hear what sounded suspiciously like voices filled with hysterical panic, but she tried not to let the idea send her spiralling into a state of panic too. Instead, she waited patiently, aware that it might take a while. After a few moments, however, she decided that her mum and aunt probably hadn’t heard her knock, and had just raised her fist to try again when the door swung open. Her aunt Hazel appeared.
‘Has she managed to stop the water?’ Ellie asked, stepping in as Hazel stood aside. She frowned as her aunt let out a wheezy laugh. ‘And what are you doing exerting yourself?’ Ellie added.
Hazel’s chortle became even louder and wheezier. ‘Your mother couldn’t very well answer the door and keep the towel over the hole, could she?’
Ellie watched as her aunt took wobbly steps down the hall into the kitchen, every so often a hand reaching out for the support of a wall. ‘Did you ring the plumber?’
‘Yes,’ Hazel said without looking round. ‘He said he’d be about an hour, but you know that means he’s going home to have his dinner first and he’ll be over when he feels like it.’
‘Probably charge you an arm and a leg too,’ Ellie said.
Ellie entered the kitchen to find her mum looking virtually suicidal as she desperately pressed a soaking towel against the wall. A large puddle had formed at her feet and water ran down the wall in a steady stream, despite her best efforts to stem the flow. On the worktop sat a rust-bitten old electric drill and an assorted and very random looking selection of screws. Leaning against the wall was a large Monet print in a wooden frame. Ellie shook her head wonderingly.
‘What the hell were you thinking of? You could have electrocuted yourself if you’d hit a wire. There must be wiring and water pipes all over the walls here… it is a kitchen, after all. I think springing a leak is actually the best outcome we could have hoped for in this scenario.’
‘I bought this lovely print for Hazel and I was putting it up. The kitchen was the room it suited best,’ her mum said in a defensive tone.
‘Mum… you’ve never used a drill in your life. Couldn’t you have got a man in?’
‘This is the new Miranda Newton you’re talking to. I don’t need men anymore, not for anything.’
‘You bloody well do for my kitchen,’ Hazel cut in.
Ellie sighed and turned to her aunt. ‘Couldn’t you have talked some sense into her?’
Hazel held up her hands and shrugged. ‘You think I’ve ever been able to tell my baby sister what to do? Besides, it’s cheered me up.’
‘Mum turns your kitchen into a scene from Titanic and it cheers you up?’
‘Well, it’s exciting. It gets boring sitting here day after day waiting for those bloody scans.’ Hazel made her way slowly to the kettle. ‘At least we’ve got water in here,’ she said, shaking it. ‘So we can have a cuppa while we wait for the plumber.’
Ellie glanced at Miranda. ‘What about Mum?’
‘She’ll have to drink hers over there, one-handed,’ Hazel said serenely. ‘You could write a story about her heroism and personal sacrifice as she struggles to stem the tide of water threatening to engulf our street, even at the expense of biscuits with her tea.’
‘Very funny,’ Miranda snapped.
Ellie paused thoughtfully. ‘Has anyone actually considered shutting the water off at the mains?’
Miranda glanced at Hazel with a sheepish expression. ‘I didn’t think of that.’
Ellie rolled her eyes heavenwards as if seeking divine strength.
‘I just panicked, that’s all,’ Miranda added in a defensive tone.
‘I did think of it,’ Hazel said with a smirk. ‘But I was having too much fun watching your mum panic to say anything.’
‘Thank you,’ Miranda said. ‘Just wait until I get my hands on you…’
‘I’m ill,’ Hazel fired back. ‘You’re supposed to be caring for me. I’ll have you up for assault.’
‘You’ll have me up for more than that,’ Miranda growled. ‘There’s no point in doing things by halves.’
‘OK, ladies…’ Ellie said, trying not to laugh as the situation seemed to grow more absurd by the second. ‘Hazel, is the stopcock under the sink?’
Hazel nodded. ‘If you’re determined to spoil my fun then yes, it is.’
As Ellie and Miranda mopped up, Hazel made a pot of tea and brought it to the table. Ellie’s phone buzzed a text. Hazel picked it up and peered at the screen. She glanced at Miranda briefly before passing it to Ellie, who was on her way over, wiping her hands on her jeans. Hazel raised her eyebrows in a sign of collusion as Ellie looked at the screen. She nodded briefly at her aunt before locking the phone again and stuffing it in her pocket.
‘Is it someone important?’ Ellie’s mum asked vaguely.
‘No,’ Ellie said, wringing a teacloth out into a bucket. ‘It can wait for a while.’
‘But if it’s work…’ Miranda pressed.
‘It’s not work. When I’ve done here I’ll reply.’
Miranda looked up with a hint of suspicion in her expression, but then seemed to let whatever argument she was brewing up pass. ‘Have you seen anything of your dad?’ she asked instead in a carefully neutral tone.
Ellie was spared a reply by the sound of a knock at the front door echoing through the house. She sprang up with far more enthusiasm than was necessary. ‘I’ll get it,’ she chirruped.
Out in the hallway she heaved a sigh of relief. The situation between her mum and dad was getting stickier by the day. Anyone else would simply have taken them both by an ear and smacked their heads together to knock some sense into them. Because that was how they were behaving – like a couple of toddlers. But Ellie couldn’t risk upsetting either of them; the emotional trauma would be too much to bear on top of everything else going on in her life.
‘Plumber,’ a beefy, bristle-haired man announced as Ellie opened the door.
‘Brilliant… through here.’
There was no need to tell him where the hole was: the man audibly sniggered as he walked into the kitchen and saw the mess. Miranda shot him a hate-filled glare but he seemed oblivious as he wandered over to inspect the damaged wall.
Fifteen minutes, a great deal of broken plaster and two hundred pounds later, the plumber had packed up and gone. As all the excitement had clearly worn Hazel out, the three women had moved into the living room so she could rest.
‘I’m in the wrong profession,’ Ellie remarked as she pulled on her jacket to leave. ‘Emergency plumbing is the job to be in; he must be rolling in it.’
‘The house insurance will cover it and I really can’t be bothered to care,’ Hazel said, lowering herself into an armchair.
Ellie bent to kiss her on the forehead. ‘Have a nap. Mum’s going to clear up, aren’t you?’
‘It’s the least she can do,’ Hazel said, stifling a tired grin.
‘I’ll call tomorrow, bring some cookie dough ice-cream,’ Ellie added.
Her aunt’s appetite had disappeared a few weeks back, and her weight had become dangerously low. Ellie and her mum had tried food after food to tempt her, until they had been delighted to discover her penchant for cookie dough ice-cream, raspberry jelly and custard. Since they had introduced those things regularly into her diet, blatantly against the advice of Hazel’s oncologist, her weight had steadily increased again and she had felt much better.
‘Sounds lovely,’ Hazel said in a voice that was already becoming sleepy. ‘How about you bring that film over too… you know, that funny one you were telling me about the other day…’
‘Funny film… check. Ice-cream… check.’ Ellie kissed her mum. ‘Try not to blow Hazel’s roof off or anything while you’re both home alone.’
‘Very funny. When are you coming for tea next?’
‘I’m not sure, I have –’ Ellie’s reply was cut short by her phone ringing. She pulled it from her pocket and frowned at the screen before she answered. ‘Hey… yes, I’m coming over now… Ok, see you shortly.’
‘Who was that?’ Miranda asked, narrowing her eyes slightly.
‘Nobody,’ Ellie said brightly as she headed for the door. ‘Got to run. Catch you later.’
Ellie pulled up outside a block of flats near the outskirts of town. Getting out of the car, she glanced up at the immaculate frontage. The building was a renovated psychiatric hospital, now restored to its former Victorian glory (minus the inmates and barbarism, of course) and furnished with brand new trendy apartments. But Ellie knew that the particular apartment she was going to visit would be anything but trendy and well-kept.
At the main doors, she buzzed and waited. A tinny voice crackled through the intercom.
Another buzz and a click and Ellie pushed open the doors into the main atrium.
The door had been left open for her when she arrived at the flat, and she let it swing shut behind her.
‘Dad?’ she called as she wandered into the living room. There was no reply. ‘OK, Dad…’ Ellie said quietly through pursed lips as she surveyed the debris. ‘Either you’ve climbed out of the window to avoid talking to me or you’re buried under dirty crockery.’ She pulled the heavy curtains open, releasing a little cloud of dust as she did so. ‘Bloody hell, it’s like Miss Havisham’s gaff in here… Dad!’ Ellie employed the full capacity of her lungs this time.
Her dad shuffled through from the kitchen, glasses abandoned on top of his head, his greying hair sticking out at odd angles and black smudges across his nose and cheeks.
‘Since the building is not a smouldering ruin, you appear to be alive, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse are conspicuously absent, I take it everything is under control,’ Ellie asked, doing her best Roger Moore eyebrow.
Her dad grinned sheepishly. ‘It was only a tiny fire after all. I just panicked.’
Ellie was getting used to hearing that phrase from one or other of her parents. When together, they had argued like the proverbial cat and dog, but apart they were totally lost. It was the third time her dad had called her that week over a domestic disaster. Either his estrangement from her mum was turning him into some bizarre Frank Spencer clone or it was a cry for attention. Ellie couldn’t be sure – he had been known, on occasion during her childhood, to electrocute himself whilst changing a light bulb and had once fallen through the open loft hatch – so the former was worryingly possible.
‘I still don’t know how you managed to set fire to a toilet roll,’ Ellie said. On the drive over she had considered several whacky theories. The truth was oddly disappointing.
‘It just happened to be on the side when I lit the stove and I knocked it over with my arm.’ He shrugged apologetically.
‘Right…’ Ellie glanced at her watch. She had been far longer than she had anticipated and was already pushing her colleague, Patrick, for more favours than she could ever repay in this lifetime and probably quite a few reincarnations to come. ‘Do you need help clearing up the damage?’
‘It wasn’t that much really.’
‘So you’ll be OK?’
‘I’m sorry,’ her dad said. ‘I suppose you should be at work.’
‘Yes, I should.’ She could have mentioned that he’d been fully aware of her work commitments when he phoned her earlier but she didn’t. ‘I’ll pop over later if you like,’ she added, seeing the shadow of melancholy that crossed his features. He brightened instantly.
‘That would be nice… if you’re sure it’s no trouble. I could show you the new pan pipes I had delivered today.’
Ellie could think of a million things she ought to be doing, quite a lot of them involving people her own age and none of them involving painfully out-of-tune pan pipe playing, but she simply smiled. ‘Of course it isn’t. I’ll bring you some shopping.’
‘How do you know I need shopping?’
‘Dad… you always need shopping. You can’t eat musical instruments, you know, so why do you insist on buying all this crap instead of feeding yourself?’ She glanced around. ‘And do you think we can have less of the jumble sale vibe around here when I get back?’
‘I know… I’ve been meaning to clean up.’
‘When was that, exactly? 1982?’
He pouted like a sullen schoolboy.
‘Sorry,’ Ellie said, her heart lurching at the sadness in his expression. He was having a hard time without her mum, but with all the chaos in her own life it was easy for Ellie to forget that he needed things to take his mind off that. She reached to kiss him on the cheek. ‘I would stay now but I really have to meet Patrick to cover a story.’
Her dad forced a smile. ‘Say hello to him for me.’
‘I will,’ Ellie called as she headed for the door.
Ellie pulled into the open gates of Millrise Academy of Excellence, formerly known as plain old Millrise High School before the government had decided that every school needed to sound as though it trained kids in the arts of espionage, astrophysics and ninja assassination. Grabbing her phone and favourite polka-dot satchel from the passenger seat, she leapt out of the car and hurried to the school reception.
‘Hi, I’m Ellie Newton, from the Millrise Echo,’ she announced breathlessly to the impossibly perky looking woman on the reception desk.
The woman gave a faint look of surprise. ‘I thought you were all finished here…’ She pulled the visitor book around to read the entries. ‘Yes, Patrick Morgan from the Echo signed out an hour ago and the lady author, Suzy Salford, signed out a few minutes later.’
‘Shit… sorry, I mean, I was supposed to meet Patrick here.’
‘I’m afraid they’ve both gone.’
Ellie chewed her lip for a moment. ‘OK, thanks,’ she said finally.
As she walked back to her car she dialled Patrick.
‘I’m so sorry,’ she said as he picked up. There was a chuckle from the other end of the line.
‘You’re racking these favours up,’ he said. ‘I actually think I did a pretty good job of passing myself off as a real live journalist today. I really don’t think I need you anymore, partner.’
‘Yeah, yeah, but who would you wind up all day if you didn’t have me?’ Ellie grinned as a wave of relief washed over her. She hadn’t really thought for a minute that Patrick would be angry with her, but she was beginning to wonder if she was pushing her luck.
‘You should thank your lucky stars that you didn’t get there in time anyway. That author was the most boring woman on the planet. She could have died half way through the question and answer session and nobody would have noticed. God, I’d hate to read one of her books.’
‘You’d hate to read anyone’s book,’ Ellie quipped as she unlocked her car.
‘Seriously, though…’ Patrick added. Ellie stopped dead.
‘You need to stop running around after your parents. They’re adults and they need to stop leaning on you all the time. In fact, aren’t they supposed to do this sort of thing for you, not the other way around? They know you have an actual job and a life of your own, right?’
Ellie sighed. ‘Vernon understands how things are and he said he was OK with me popping off from time to time as long as my work got done and I managed to stick to deadlines. Things are just a mess now. They’ll calm down when Mum and Dad work things out and get back together.’
‘It’s been months. Have you considered that they might never get back together?’
‘Of course they will,’ Ellie said in a voice that suggested nothing was more certain. ‘I’m on my way into the office now. Are you heading back too?’
‘Yeah. You bring the coffees, I’ll bring the Jammy Dodgers and my notes, and we’ll meet in the kitchen for Operation Snorefest.’
Ellie giggled. ‘OK, I’ll see you in half an hour.’
Ellie swung round on her chair with a jerk. There were only so many ways you could make a story about shopping trolleys stolen from a local superstore interesting, and Ellie had been smothered into a sleepy haze by the office’s central heating as she tried vainly to do just that. It wasn’t helping that she had fallen asleep in front of her dad’s TV the previous evening when she popped back to see him. After throwing a pizza in the oven, they had watched reruns of Bergerac together and Ellie had woken just after one in the morning with a stiff neck and the TV still murmuring in the corner. Her dad had fallen asleep too and barely even opened his eyes as she nudged him in the direction of his bedroom. Ellie could have stayed over, but faced with the prospect of going to the toilet in the night and being sucked beneath her dad’s washing pile as if it was some kind of fabric-based quick-sand, she decided that she’d rather drive home. Back at her house, it had taken another hour and two cups of Horlicks before she felt sleepy enough to go back to bed. At Vernon’s announcement, however, she was suddenly wide awake again.
Vernon nodded and stretched into a huge yawn, obviously suffering from the heating and the effects of a slow news morning as much as Ellie. ‘Bloody nutter.’ He glanced at Ellie with a wry smile. ‘I suppose you want this one?’
‘I do! I swear if I have to visit another school dress-up day I’m going to jump from the nearest motorway bridge.’
‘That’s because you keep getting mistaken for one of the kids and ending up in detention,’ Ange called over her shoulder as she stared intently at a photo of an escaped armed robber spotted in a local branch of Toys ‘R’ Us that morning perusing the Barbie stand.
‘Ha ha,’ Ellie shot back.
Ellie looked much younger than her twenty-seven years on account of her petite stature and huge brown eyes in a heart-shaped face. She had styled her hair into a short, elfin cut in the hope that it might age her, but it had only made her look younger still and a little like a pixie from an Enid Blyton book, much to her annoyance and to the hilarity of the rest of her office at the newspaper. Ange whizzed around and gave her a huge grin.
‘You know I’m just jealous, right? It’s been about thirty years since I got mistaken for anyone below retirement age.’
Ellie laughed. ‘I don’t know what you’re worried about, you always look super glam.’
‘Yeah, like a glamorous granny.’ Ange raised her eyebrows.
‘Noooo, like Joan Collins.’
‘I rest my case.’
‘Back to this story then…’ Vernon chuckled. ‘You might want to get a move on with this one, Ellie. If the police get a sn. . .
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