"A woman recapturing true love and self worth and integrity."
Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted September 27, 2014
Sensible Elle Jamieson has left England behind to take a
as well as a volunteer job in Malta. Excited at the
carefree life she will be
living amid her friend Simon Rose's yacht, Shady Lady, she
will also be
cleaning and cooking part time on a larger imposing yacht
for Loz and Davie
St John. Her ex-fiancée's uncle Simon owns the Shady
Lady. What she didn't
expect was for her ex, Lucas Rose, to also be living
aboard, taking a leave
from the vineyard to instruct diving. Simon has
instigated a plot to get the
two together again, refusing to believe they don't belong
Lucas and Elle broke up over misunderstandings and secrecy
previous marriage four years ago, prompted by his
proposal. His parents have
always been against Elle and viewed her as beneath them.
Elle is absolutely
thrilled with her volunteer position working in the
Internet café at the Nicolas
Centre, working with underprivileged children where she
with 9-year-old Carmelo Tabone. Unable to avoid each
other, it becomes
apparent to both that the love they shared is still
definitely there. Giving in to
their apparent feelings, it seems things might just work
out. That is, until an
accident happens to stir all the old secrecy up, which
Elle isn't sure the
straight shooter Lucas can put aside to start over again
and learn to trust her
by accepting her hidden past.
THE WEDDING PROPOSAL is a wonderful story of a young woman
carrying the burden of a bad
judge of character as a naïve girl and corrupts her chance
at true love.
Becoming a self-reliant woman with gumption to forge ahead
with her new
life, brings her self satisfaction and forever love. THE
WEDDING PROPOSAL is the first I have had
the pleasure of reading by Sue Moorcroft but found this a
very rich and
fulfilling story of redemption of love and character. She
had me at page one
and kept me engrossed to the last page. I loved her
characters and the
Elle Jamieson is a private person, in relationships as
as at work – and for good reason. But then she’s made
redundant and with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to
Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his
to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less
return. He’s furious when his summer working as a
is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks
his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.
Forced to live in close proximity, it's hard to ignore
they had shared before Lucas's wedding proposal scared
away. But then a phone call from England allows Lucas a
glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s closely
guarded past when it finally comes to light?
Elle stared out through the taxi window, heart soaring as
high as the blue sky over the sea.
She’d left sensible, dutiful, walking-work-ethic Elle
behind in England and she was really here, being driven
along the waterfront between the moorings and gardens
fringed with waving palm trees. She was going to live on a
boat and be carefree and adventurous. Rolling down her
window, she breathed the warm briny air.
‘You know where is the boat?’ asked her Maltese driver.
‘She’s called the Shady Lady. She’s all white and quite far
along towards Manoel Island bridge, but not as far as the
kiosk.’ Elle knew Simon’s directions by heart.
‘OK, the other end.’ The driver nodded.
The boats were moored stern-to, in sailing terminology –
tied by their blunt ends. The first they passed were huge,
two or three decks with gleaming chrome railings projecting
out into the creek.
After a couple of minutes Elle could see a kiosk cafe and
glimpses of a long low stone bridge that connected their
quayside to another. There, shifting gently on her mooring
ropes as if impatient for Elle to arrive, was a boat with
Shady Lady in flowing navy script on her sleek white hull.
‘There she is,’ Elle breathed. Definitely one of the junior
members of the marina at forty-two feet long, the Shady
Lady gleamed in the sun, her sliding glass doors open.
Fantastic. The person Simon had said would be at the boat
must have arrived already.
The driver brought the car to a halt. ‘I get your bags.’ He
jumped out, legs bare and tanned below khaki shorts.
Elle climbed out more slowly, almost in sensory overload as
a hot breeze tossed her hair over her face, the sun on the
water dazzling. Behind her, traffic grumbled along a road
on the other side of the gardens.
‘You like hot weather?’ The driver opened the car boot and
tugged out a suitcase, swinging it onto the quayside.
‘I love it.’ Elle gazed around, identifying what she’d
learned from Simon and the ‘boating for beginners’ website
she’d been haunting for the past few weeks. The metal box
rising out of the quayside was where the boat connected to
the electricity and water supplies. The Shady Lady didn’t
have an integral gangplank, as the bigger vessels did, but
a wooden plank lay between the shore and the big shelf on
the back of the boat, the bathing platform. White fenders
hung at strategic points to keep the Shady Lady from
rubbing up against her neighbours, Fallen Star and Alice.
‘Very hot, the sun in Malta.’ The driver hauled out
‘It feels great after the British drizzle.’
‘You be careful.’ Suitcase three slapped to the ground.
‘You get—’ The driver paused to open the back door to drag
out suitcase four, which had travelled from Malta
International Airport as a rear-seat passenger. He lined it
up with the others: two black that matched, a leaving gift
from her colleagues in her last job, at Waterfield Systems;
a bubblegum pink one from TK Maxx and one decorated with
the Union flag, purchased from a market stall by Elle
‘—sunstroke!’ he produced triumphantly. ‘Sunstroke makes
you very sick. Sweaty. Dizzy.’
And even as she held out his fare and began to thank him,
Elle found herself experiencing something very much as he
described, complete with giddiness and sweat. It was
nothing to do with the sun, though the heat was beginning
to press on the crown of her head.
It was everything to do with the man who had just emerged
through the door of the Shady Lady and frozen mid-step.
‘Thank you, madam.’ The friendly taxi driver slid back into
his car, inched around nearby fishermen dangling their
lines between the boats, turned and set off back along the
marina access road.
‘Lucas.’ The word stuck to the sides of Elle’s suddenly dry
throat. Her heart, which had been floating with joy,
plummeted to the dusty ground. ‘Lucas,’ she repeated,
stupidly. His black hair was longer, blowing around his
jawline in the breeze, and his dark eyes burned in a tanned
face. His feet were bare and if he’d ever carried even an
extra ounce, it was gone. Every part of him was hard and
‘Elle,’ he returned, flatly, ‘what the high-flying fuck are
you doing here?’ His disbelieving gaze swept over her
luggage before returning to her face. Slowly, he stepped
down onto the bathing platform and halted at the edge.
Eighteen inches of water lapped between them.
Elle’s chest gave a painful squeeze. She swallowed. ‘S-S-’
She paused to will her tongue to untie itself. ‘S-Simon has
lent me his boat.’ She glanced down at the name on the
stern, seeking reassurance that she was actually in the
right place. And that Lucas wasn’t.
‘I don’t think so. Simon has lent me the boat.’
Silence. Stupid tears prickled at the back of Elle’s eyes.
Lucas belonged deep in the past, not here, now, obstructing
the gateway to her big adventure.
‘You’d better come aboard while we sort this out,’ he
snapped. And then, as Elle stooped to the Union flag
suitcase, ‘You can leave your baggage there.’
‘Right, like I’m about to heap disaster upon catastrophe by
getting my suitcases stolen.’ Masking her anxiety with
bravado, she hauled the first towards the edge of the quay.
With a curse, Lucas leaped the gap between boat and shore
and stooped to manhandle the gangplank through a couple of
iron hoops and into position.
Then he swiped the suitcase out of her hand and swung it on
board, beside the cockpit seat. The other three followed
rapidly and Elle was left clutching her backpack as Lucas
stalked across the plank, through the sliding doors and out
Barely breathing, she followed, onto the bathing platform
and through the cockpit to the saloon, registering only
absently the sliding gliding movements of the craft on the
sea. Already familiar with boat’s interior from the photos
she’d pored over, her focus was on Lucas.
He slid into one of the sofa seats, propped his forearms on
the table and glowered, the air fairly crackling with his
irritation. ‘I’m working in Malta and Simon said I could
live on the boat. I’ve been here a week already.’
Elle slid onto one of the vacant seats, shock beginning to
recede. She straightened her spine. It was time to take
charge of the meeting. ‘I’m in Malta working and
volunteering and Simon said I could live on the boat at
least until the autumn. It was agreed months ago. I can
show you the e-mails—’
‘I believe you,’ he cut in, obviously having taken charge
of a few meetings himself. His fingertips tapped on the
plastic tabletop. ‘It’s bloody Simon.’
Miserably, she gazed at him. ‘Maybe he made a mistake—’
‘More likely he didn’t. Now I understand the thoughtful
pause when I asked if it was possible for me to use the
Shady Lady. I just thought he needed reassurance that I
didn’t intend to host wild parties, and I told him that I’m
relatively sane these days.’ His mouth set in a grim line.
‘But I suppose he was actually wondering whether to tell me
that he’d already lent the boat to you, or whether to just
let me make this pleasant little discovery for myself.’
Elle recoiled. ‘Why on earth would he let us end up in the
boat at the same time?’
Lucas snorted. ‘My guess would be that he thinks it might
get us back together. Like that’s going to happen.’
‘Yeah, right,’ she agreed, stonily.
‘You’ll have to find a hotel.’
‘Or you could.’
His eyes glittered. ‘Simon’s my uncle.’
‘Simon’s my friend. You’ve already admitted that he offered
me the Shady Lady first.’
He glared. ‘But I’m in situ.’
‘I can’t afford a hotel. I’ve arranged to work part-time on
another boat for my keep but I’m going to be spending a lot
of time working somewhere else. Unpaid,’ she added. And, in
case it made any difference, ‘For charity.’
Lucas folded his arms. He wore a sleeveless T-shirt and a
dusting of dark hair outlined the muscles of his arms.
‘What’s Miss Great Job in IT doing volunteering?’
‘Becoming Miss Redundant, House Rented Out to Pay the
He eyed her. ‘Really?’
Elle bristled. ‘Really.’ She fought hard to keep the blood
from rushing to her cheeks. She knew that scepticism in his
eyes, the scornful impatience whenever he suspected
anything but the unvarnished truth. Seared in her memory
was the way he’d once talked her round in circles until she
tripped up over all the things she’d kept from him and he’d
said things that couldn’t be unsaid and stormed off to his
new life in America. She lifted her chin. ‘So, how about
you? If you’re here on vineyard business maybe you and
Simon can find the funds to move you into a hotel?’
‘Maybe, if I was,’ he snapped. ‘But I’m not working for
Simon. It seems you and me are both trying something new
this summer. My budget isn’t based on coughing up for
‘Then I’ll have to ring Simon,’ she snapped back.
He leaned back, quirking one eyebrow. ‘Good idea. Give
Uncle Simon my love.’
Lucas watched as Elle marched out through the cockpit and
ashore. After a few moments she paced out of his view along
the concrete quayside, phone clamped to her ear. Then she
paced back, her frown a blonde slash across her brows. Both
blue-tinted sliding doors were pushed to one side, making
it look as if she were changing colour as she moved behind
them. Then she became animated and began to speak. Stopped.
Paced. Listened. Threw up her hands. Glared at the boat.
Clocked him watching; glared more fiercely and moved out of
his line of sight.
He waited for her to reappear, noticing absently that his
respiration rate had returned to normal and the pressure
he’d felt like a band on his forehead was easing. It had
been some moment when he’d seen her standing there behind
her wall of suitcases, like a beautiful apparition from a
disobedient imagination that should have barred heavy doors
against Elle Jamieson a long time ago. But hadn’t.
Had he reacted well to her appearance? He reran what he
could remember of the conversation. No, he didn’t think
he’d been cool, though he usually considered that the past
four years had calmed him some, especially since he’d taken
up scuba diving. Underwater, everything had to be measured,
at least if you wanted to breathe while down there and come
up healthy. Dive tables and formulas couldn’t be
Lucas had learned too from being around Simon, who usually
saw the best in people. Grown. Mellowed.
Until he’d seen Elle again.
Until she’d tried to work her voodoo with her big ice-blue
eyes turning to pools of confusion and outrage. Like he
hadn’t seen that look before. Like he hadn’t been driven to
fury by her innocent act.
While he waited, he went to the galley and got himself a
cold beer. Cisk, the produce of the Maltese brewery, was
usually one of his pleasures, but today he could scarcely
taste it. It was as if his senses had shut down to anything
but Elle, her spicy perfume, the storm of blonde hair piled
high on her head, her soft voice shocked and defiant by
turns. He’d once found that voice so sexy.
OK, he still did.
He found everything about Elle sexy. Her walk, the liquid
grace of her body, the noises she made when—
He clattered the beer bottle down on the table as if to
shock his mind onto a safer track, just as she swept back
into the cabin.
For an instant, anxiety flashed across her face. Then the
spark returned to her eyes. ‘I get that you’re angry. I’m
angry, too. But remember that your tantrums don’t work on
He swallowed a sudden bubble of laughter. She still knew
how to push his buttons, knew that he’d consider anything
as petty as a tantrum beneath him. Righteous anger, that
was another matter. He could do righteous anger. Right was
his constant companion.
He made his voice sweetly reasonable. ‘What’s the situation
She dropped down on the seat, sighing her exasperation.
‘Faux surprise that us sharing the boat might be a problem.
Enough sheepishness to make it obvious that he’s
bullshitting. But he says that there are two cabins, so we
ought to be able to make it work.’
Lucas could envisage Simon over in California, safely out
of the line of fire as he made mischief. ‘Did you tell him
that we recognised his half-arsed plan as inept meddling?’
‘That’s about when he began to say that the call was
breaking up.’ Folding her arms, she glared out of the
window towards the cars nosing over the bridge to Manoel
Lucas sipped from his bottle. ‘Have a beer while you decide
where you’re going to go.’
The eyes she turned on him were both ice and fire.
‘Nowhere! I don’t have the income to find somewhere else
and I don’t have a house to go back to. But you can go.’
Eyes locking on hers, he managed, just, not to let her fury
detonate an answering explosion in himself. ‘Just out of
bloody-mindedness I wouldn’t, even if I did have a chance
of finding somewhere for rock bottom rent now the season’s
started.’ He waited a beat before adding, ‘And I’m
expecting a visitor, soon. A woman.’
What do you think about this review?
1 comment posted.
Re: A woman recapturing true love and self worth and integrity.
Hello! Thanks for such a great review of The Wedding Proposal. I've just returned from Malta (again!) and your review has put a huge smile on my face as I work through my inbox. :-)
(Sue Moorcroft 6:35am September 29, 2014)
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