Too Damn Nice

By: Kathryn Freeman


Behind every book is an army of people who don’t get their name on the cover, but without whom the book wouldn’t exist. Following is my army.

A huge thank you to my editor. If you’d read the book before she waved her magic wand, you would understand how much I value her insight.

Speaking of reading the book before it is edited, another huge thank you to the Choc Lit Tasting Panel, who supported Too Damn Nice for publication and to those who passed it at the Panel stage: Olivia F, Alexa H, Linda S, Lisa B, Purabi, Catherine L, Janice B, Melanie A and Betty.

Speaking of support, a massive thank you to the amazing book bloggers. Their enthusiasm for reading and their kind support of writers is humbling. Thank you for taking the time to help this author.

Speaking of help, a big thank you to those authors, both in Choc Lit and outside, who’ve been so kind to me, providing advice, help and most important of all, encouragement.

Speaking of encouragement, heartfelt thanks to family and friends for continuing to ask about my next book. Yes, there will be one ☺

Speaking of books, a massive thanks to my publisher, Choc Lit, for believing in this book, and in me. I might have written the words, but they provided the gorgeous packaging, and made it available for others to read.

And speaking of reading, the biggest thank you of all goes to you. Thank you so much for reading Too Damn Nice. I hope you enjoy Nick and Lizzie’s story.


Eight Years Ago

It was her eighteenth birthday and Lizzie had just signed with an illustrious modelling agency. Really, did life get any better than that? Following a gleeful pirouette she peered curiously at her reflection in the mirror. Silky blonde hair framing an oval face and a small straight nose. Definite plus points. She was also tall, a modelling prerequisite, and slender, another given. But then there was the pointy chin, the cheekbones that were too sharp and the blue eyes that were far too large for her face. Not beautiful then. If she was generous, she might say her looks were striking. She certainly wasn’t most people’s idea of a model, but then Lizzie had never cared much for what most people thought. If she had, she’d have let the taunts of the boys at school, Here comes Daddy Long Legs, crush her ambition a long time ago. Instead she’d laughed in their faces and continued to send her portfolio of photographs off to modelling agents. One day, she’d told herself, what her school friends thought of as ungainly and odd, a modelling agency would see as eye-catching and unusual.

And they had. Here she was, two years on, signed with a modelling giant because of those very same quirky features. Now, as far as Lizzie was concerned, anything was possible. And she was going to try her hand at it all.

With a final grin to the image in the mirror, she slipped on her favourite silver sandals. She’d practised walking in high heels since the age of five, so the journey down the stairs and into the garden in these five-inch sweeties was a doddle. She pushed open the back door and stared in delight at the large marquee in the garden, decorated with twinkling fairy lights and silver balloons, erected in her honour. Tonight was her night. Two celebrations in one. The first, reaching the landmark age of eighteen, her friends all knew about. The second, being signed by the modelling agency, was a secret to all but her family.

‘Hey, come and dance with us, Lizzie.’

Her eyes followed the direction of the voice, resting on a group of giggling girls shimmying on the dance floor. Her best friends. Lizzie waved and went to join them.

Nick hovered in the corner of the marquee, watching the girls on the dance floor. Or make that girl, because there was only one who caught his eye. Lizzie. She had done so ever since she’d hurtled into the world eighteen years ago. He knew her by virtue of her brother, Robert. Being best friends with Robert had meant spending a huge chunk of his childhood hanging round the Donavue family home. In the early days, Lizzie had been in the background: the cute baby he and Robert had laughed over as inquisitive five-year-olds; the long-limbed girl with pigtails and big blue eyes. But then she’d grown up. For the life of him he couldn’t work out how it had happened, but while he’d been working and touring round Europe with Robert in his gap year, she’d turned from gawky to pretty. Then, during his visits home from university, she’d gone from being his friend’s kid sister to the girl he most wanted to kiss. At sixteen she’d been too young for him to act on his feelings so he’d kept quiet, finished university, sowed some wild oats and unknowingly broken a few hearts. As he watched her on the dance floor, he was forced to acknowledge his own heart had been captured years ago.