Wishes Under a Starlit Sky, page 1
About the Author
LUCY KNOTT is a former professional wrestler with a passion for storytelling. Now, instead of telling her stories in the ring, she’s putting pen to paper, fulfilling another lifelong dream in becoming an Author. Inspired by her Italian Grandparents, when she is not writing you will most likely find her cooking, baking and devouring Italian food, in addition to learning Italian and daydreaming of trips to Italy. ALONG WITH her twin sister, Kelly, Lucy runs TheBlossomTwins.com, where she enthusiastically shares her love for books, baking and Italy, with daily posts, reviews and recipes. You can find Lucy on Twitter @TheBlossomTwins or @LucyCKnott
Readers Love Lucy Knott
‘A wonderful holiday read’
‘Tugs at the heart strings’
‘Full of romance, joy and heartbreak’
‘I laughed, I cried, and thoroughly enjoyed this book!’
Also by Lucy Knott
How to Bake a New Beginning
The Ingredients for Happiness
Wishes Under a Starlit Sky
An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd.
1 London Bridge Street
London SE1 9GF
First published in Great Britain by HQ in 2019
Copyright © Lucy Knott 2019
Lucy Knott asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.
E-book Edition © November 2019 ISBN: 9780008336189
Table of Contents
About the Author
Readers Love Lucy Knott
Also by Lucy Knott
Dear Reader …
Keep Reading …
About the Publisher
For those who believe in fairy tales and the power of love; in all it’s beautiful forms.
The deep and smooth voice of Dean Martin croons through my mind, forcing me to relax. A smile curves up at the edges of my lips. The lyrics of his hit song ‘That’s Amore’ dance in my mind. The moon is certainly lighting up the sky tonight in all its pizza-pie elegance. It is full, a sparkling pearly white and casting its beautiful glow on the tourists that are lost in Venice’s romantic charm. The Christmas season is in full force and it’s evident everywhere I look. The streetlamps twinkle as glittering silver tinsel weaves its way around the otherwise dark poles. I can understand the magic and the romance this city is famous for.
I look to the moon and think of my parents and how this will be another Christmas without them. They moved to Colorado five years ago and with my workload and my husband’s busy schedule I’ve only been out to visit them the once. It’s unlike me and I don’t know how I’ve managed this long without them. But back in London I have my job, my best friend Madi and my husband – I know my parents understand.
I shake away my wandering thoughts and embrace the charm of Venice around me. I soak up the joyful feeling of love and Christmas as I snuggle into my husband’s side. It has been a while since we’ve done anything remotely romantic. With Scott being so busy at work and me being locked away in my office working on my next script for the past couple of months, we simply haven’t found the time. Not that I haven’t been trying. I’ve been shutting my laptop off early most nights for the past couple of weeks, throwing on my laciest pyjamas, waiting for Scott to come home. But it’s all been to no avail. Late nights on set and in the office meant he usually fell asleep on the couch, too exhausted to even make it upstairs by the time he came drifting into the house. I’d wake to find him either passed out, or worse yet, gone, back to the studio to start the routine all over again.
So, this … this is nice. I cuddle up closer to Scott’s warm side, and sneak my hand around his waist, under his suit jacket. Feeling his toned torso beneath the thin white cotton of his shirt still sends desire flooding through me, even after six years of marriage. He turns to me, a broad smile on his handsome face. Maybe my efforts haven’t been going unnoticed after all. Maybe the lacy pyjamas caught his attention, and this is just what he needed, a break from the movie sets and back to reality to refocus, to remember that I am still very much here.
The moon makes his blue eyes glisten, taking me back to our wedding night and staring into them as we danced our first dance. That whole day was magic; that and nearly every day for the past six years too. My smile widens as the lyrics dance in my mind – the world is certainly shining tonight and I may have had a little wine. He kisses my lips softly. My hands fly straight to his sandy blonde hair, gently tugging at its shagginess. I am drunk on love and suddenly feel like a teenager again. At thirty years of age, that is a welcome feeling.
The gondola pulls up to the short pier where another loved-up couple are gazing longingly into each other’s eyes, eagerly awaiting their turn on the love boat. By this point I am too wrapped up in Scott to pay attention to the gorgeous night-time scenes that Venice has to offer. We stumble down the cobbled streets, grabbing at each other, only pausing when kissing and walking becomes too difficult a task. We make it back to our hotel before the whole of Venice gets to see Scott in all his naked glory. I am getting impatient, which is not like me; his suit jacket and tie have already come off. I’m not opposed to public displays of affection – in fact, I adore seeing people in love – but I am usually more subtle in my approach. I don’t know what has taken over me; the need to be wanted by Scott, maybe?
The concierge smiles and hands us the keys before I need to embarrass myself with attempting to ask for them in my terrible Italian. No doubt the man witnesses more impassioned men and women on the daily than he knows what to do with. The hopeless romantic in me thinks what a beautiful thing to observe each day at work. Then it remembers that really, I get to do the same, even if the scenes are mostly made up in my head and then played out by actors – it still counts as real love, doesn’t it? Maybe the concierge should start writing down what he sees and turn it into a script too.
My mind is brought back to the present when Scott throws me on to the
I guess not all my romantic ideas are made up in my head. My latest Pegasus Entertainment rewrite may have been inspired just a little by the man currently covering my stomach with kisses. Come to think of it, so was the one before that and the one before that. I should really thank my husband for being such a brilliant muse for a romance writer, I think to myself, then get distracted as he lowers the weight of his body on top of mine. I think I can wait and tell him later.
We arrive back from Venice and I feel as though I’m walking on a fluffy, bouncy cloud. Scott and I have been together for eight years, married for six, but I smile with the magic that is still there in my heart after so long. I take our suitcases up to our bedroom. It’s six in the evening and I’m ready for a hot shower; to get rid of the icky plane feeling I get whenever I travel. I feel Scott and I deserve an evening of red wine, maybe even a cheeky takeaway, curled up by the Christmas tree in front of the TV before the mad rush of the fortnight before Christmas descends on us.
I leave Scott to whatever is keeping him busy downstairs and turn on the shower; he might join me when he hears the running water. My body is still tingling with the feel of him from our passionate weekend. Do Italians add something to their water? I giggle as the water soaks my hair and drips off my eyelashes. I feel a sudden surge of emotion and a burst of sentimentality strikes me as my mind plays snippets of our magical trip to Italy. It had felt beautiful to have some time away; everything had felt right.
In the pit of my stomach I feel a tingle of excitement that this will be the year we take the leap and start trying for kids. Scott and I have talked about it and this weekend gave me a glimpse into the future; how perfect our lives have been thus far and how incredible the next step in our journey together will be.
Scott must be thinking what I’m thinking and ordering that takeaway, I muse to myself when he doesn’t come up to the bathroom. I stop dawdling in the shower, keen to get downstairs and join him on the couch. I hastily towel dry, throw on my Christmas pyjamas – it’s December after all – wrap my hair in a towel and head downstairs.
I’m walking into the living room when I see Scott in my peripheral vision sitting at the dining room table. He is smiling at his phone, the smile that after all these years still gives me butterflies. But when he sees me, I notice his cheeks flush and a forlorn gaze appears in his eyes. I wander over to him, wrapping my arms around him and squeezing him tight. I can sense his brain has already switched back into work mode and he’s worrying about emails and the crazy schedule that December brings with it as he feels cool and tense to the touch, making my gut wriggle uncomfortably for some reason.
‘How about I order us a takeaway and we make a start on the Christmas movies, so we can actually fit them all in this year?’ I say, kissing his cheek, hoping to relax the knots in his neck and keep work thoughts at bay for at least a few more hours. Scott is rigid, and I feel a discomfort in the pit of my stomach that I can’t place. Usually he can’t keep his hands off me at this proximity. I understand it has been a tiring travel day, but something doesn’t sit right.
‘I think we should take a break,’ Scott says. I sigh and a titter escapes my lips – all this tension over Christmas movies.
‘OK, how about we watch a movie of your choosing tonight and then start up on the Christmas movies Christmas Eve Eve? We still have so many to get through and it’s really not Christmas without a few romantic fairy tales,’ I suggest, tucking my hair behind my ear, the wet strands having started to stick to my cheeks. I make to step into the hall when Scott repeats himself causing me to back-pedal.
‘Not the bloody Christmas movies, Harper, though yes, a break from all that crap would be good.’ His voice sounds hard. I’m confused as to what has suddenly made him so moody. I’ve never heard him call my favourite kind of movie crap before. We often watch them and gush over our own real-life fairy tale.
‘Oh OK, I’m sorry,’ I stutter through a nervous laugh. ‘Would you like me to cook something, honey? If you want a break from the takeaways, I can see what we’ve got in, whip something up?’ I step out of the hall and back into the dining room now, eager to get Scott out of the chilly space and his ‘just got back from vacation funk’, and into the warmth of the living room and under the pile of blankets awaiting us on the couch. He’s not making any effort to move on his own and remains still in the chair.
‘You make it sound like those are my only two options. I want a break,’ he says, his tone dull and deadpan.
My brain is going over his words before I speak. I feel as though every time I open my mouth, I say something wrong. ‘Options,’ I repeat slowly. ‘Erm, no we can cook together, we can go out, we don’t have to watch movies.’ I tug on the hem of my pyjama top, not knowing what to do or say next.
‘I want a break from us,’ Scott says with a heavy sigh.
It’s the tiny word at the end of his sentence that takes me completely by surprise and causes a sharp stabbing pain in my throat. I take a step back and try to digest the words Scott has just said, my brain muddled with talk of takeaways and movies.
‘What do you mean “a break”?’ I ask quietly, tripping up over each word. My brain is rattling in my head with all kinds of uncertainty and fear. Is Scott joking? Is this some kind of prank? What have I missed? Scott isn’t moving, just sitting in the same position he has been in during this entire conversation, but he’s looking at me and I hate that I don’t recognize the look in his eyes.
‘A break, like we take some time apart, give each other some space,’ he says. His features are relaxed, and I hate that he looks more relieved than pained. I feel like a child flying over the handlebars of my bike, landing in a heap on the ground with a sudden whack. I can’t find my breath.
‘Why?’ is all I can manage. I’m hunched over a little with my hand on my stomach. I’ve paced a few steps, so I can look at Scott. He flicks his hands up at my question, almost like a shrug, like he doesn’t have an answer. But you don’t suggest something as big as taking a break from your marriage without having an answer, surely?
‘We want different things; I don’t think it’s working.’ He runs a hand through his blonde hair. There’s a buzzing sound in my brain, a rattle, a hum, making it difficult for me to understand what is going on. When was it not working? It was working fine the last time I checked.
‘I want you.’ The words slip out before I can catch them. Doesn’t he know how much I love him? How can he be saying we want different things? Where has this come from? Never have we discussed wanting different things. What does he even mean by wanting different things? We got married because we wanted each other. We gazed out in the same direction with similar goals and dreams in mind.
‘I want you too, but I think we need this break. Have some time to figure out if this is what we really want,’ Scott says. I feel like my mind is playing a trick on me. If he wants me then what is there to figure out? He’s talking to me with the same look he gives the Chinese menu when deciding what he wants; I want fried rice, but I want won ton soup too. But this is our marriage, it isn’t flavour of the week.
‘If you want me, Scott, then what is the problem? What is it that you need to take a break from?’ I ask. My brows are drawn and my lips are trembling at the weight of the questions. This is a conversation I never thought I would be having and it’s all happening too quickly for my body to know how to react.
‘You want kids. What happens if I don’t want
‘Do you not want kids, Scott?’ I ask, perplexed by his question. I’d never given thought to him not wanting kids because not once had he mentioned anything of the sort. Not once, not even one little hint had been given to me that would make me think my husband did not want kids someday. He joined in with conversations about what it would be like when we had our own children in the future. Heck, he had started conversations about when we would have them, what names he liked, what books he would read and games he would play with them.
I’m holding on to the back of a dining room chair to keep me upright. I want to sit down but there is a strange adrenaline keeping me standing. I want to fix this. Scott stays quiet, leaving my question lingering, like he doesn’t have an answer. My dad is a fixer, a manly man with a molten core. I can be emotional, but I know I can fix this; I can be strong.
‘Scott, if you’re worried about kids, we can talk about it. If you don’t want kids right this second, it’s OK. We can talk about having them when we’re both ready. If you never want them, then I’m not sure what to tell you, but you’re right: maybe you need to take some time to figure out whether it’s a never or just not right now situation,’ I say. My words come out surprisingly calm, in contrast to the fast and shooting pains I keep getting in my chest. But Scott does this to me. I want to please him, I know that much. I can compromise. I just need to assure him that I am here for him, whatever he is going through, I’ll stand by his side.