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Exclusive Sneak Peek of ‘Home for Easter’

Looking for a return ticket to Sardinön Island? You can now read the first chapter of ‘Home for Easter’ by Annika Devert and Jessika Devert

A sister-duo from Gothenburg, Sweden, Annika and Jessika Devert are known for their work as authors of several children’s books. Their debut in the adult market was the charming and light-hearted read “Home for Christmas”. ‘Home for Easter’ is their latest work, and the cosy sequel to the Devert sisters’ popular romance series ‘Swedish Seasons’.

Easter is fast approaching on the Island of Sardinön but Emelie can’t let herself be swept up when she still has some difficult questions on her mind. Should she take the job at the community centre? If her new partner Andreas has a child with a lesbian couple, and he moves in with Emelie – then she’ll have a baby in the house. Does she really want that? Not to mention that her finances are a constant worry, but it seems that the vase she’s been left by Aunt Astrid is worth a bit of money and perhaps that will improve her situation.

But what happens when the vase goes missing? Who should she go to first? Emelie is dismayed and doesn’t know what to think. Could her neighbour Birgitta have stolen it? Or Kjell the restaurant owner?

Instead of thinking about the future, Emilie plans an Easter party for the islanders, with a talent show and a festive buffet. On Easter Saturday they take a walk to the lighthouse on the cliff, where an unexpected surprise awaits her…

A charming and funny feel-good Easter read that you won’t be able to put down! Perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Poppy Dolan and Cathy Bramley.


Chapter 1

“Mum, come on! It’s nearly twelve o’clock!”
Emelie smiled at her second youngest daughter and hugged her.
“It’s actually a whole ten minutes to midnight still, and I want to ring Sara and wish her a
happy New Year. But I’ll be there soon.”
“But you mustn’t miss the countdown!”
Liv sternly wagged her finger at her mother, with the kind of determined expression only a
truly self-confident ten-year-old can pull off. Laughing, Emelie held up her hands in defence.
“I’ll hurry up, I promise! Run out to Linn and Oskar now and get yourself a glass of cola to
toast with. I think Christer and Carina have already started on the fireworks.”

Liv ran off and Emelie went into the kitchen to get a moment’s peace, away from the noisy
party guests on the veranda. She could hear Sussi and Stina laughing at something Stina had
said, and Jenny’s clear voice telling them about her Christmas yoga up on the rock. Oskar’s
parents had been invited but had declined as they didn’t want to leave Oskar’s grandmother
alone at home. After the latest discussion at their house, it was probably just as well. Linn
didn’t always feel welcomed by Oskar’s grandmother, but at least she hadn’t said anything
else about Linn’s skin colour, which was something. Emelie pulled out her phone and brought
up Sara’s name, clicking on the green handset symbol.
“Hello?”
“Hey babe, it’s Emelie. Happy New Year! You sound out of breath, have you been running?”
“Oh, happy New Year to you too!”
Emelie could hear the children shouting in the background and Sara’s husband’s deeper voice
as he tried to organise them.
“Oh dear, not exactly a calm New Year in Växjö?”
Emelie could hear Sara shouting something to the children before she came back to the
telephone.
“No, it’s a bit chaotic, but it’ll be fine. How’s it going for you? A cosy New Year party in the
Christmas house, is it?”
Emelie looked around at the Christmas wallpaper in the kitchen and the shiny, bright red
kitchen cabinets and gave a sigh.
“Yeah, it still looks the same, but everyone’s here and it’s really nice. The girls are happy and
Andreas is fantastic.”
“I must say I’m a little jealous… But have you told the youngsters about the two of you yet?”
“No. God, no! Not yet. We’ll do it when the time’s right. There’s been so much going on with
the Christmas market, and then Christmas. And it was so lovely you came, it gave me a warm
feeling all the way through.”
“It felt really good to me too, I have to say,” said Sara, shouting something to one of her
children in the same breath.
Emelie laughed.
“Look, it sounds like you’re busy so I won’t keep you. I just wanted to say happy New Year
and I hope you’ll come back soon. There’s so much I want to tell you and talk to you about.”
“You mean the job?”
“Yes, and other things,” she laughed.

Emelie peered out of the kitchen window at the snow-covered garden. After the Christmas
market, an air of calm had fallen over Sardinön. When they’d cleaned up the community
centre and added up the income and outgoings for table bookings and electricity, she and
Christer had realised they’d made a profit – and a good one, too. That meant they could both
stop holding their breath and be happy that their first project together had actually worked out
as well as they’d hoped. And over the following weeks, Emelie had been able to concentrate
on preparing for Christmas with her girls. Of course Linn was baking, and Liv and Linnea,
Tore, Kajsa and a few other friends were helping out. There was no need to put up Christmas
decorations in the most Christmassy house on the whole of Sardinön, so instead Emelie chose
her favourites, bought a tree and found a use for some of Astrid’s baubles, glitter and strings
of red beads. She’d put the precious vase away in a safe place, and after the festivities she
planned to look for someone who could value it and sell it. That would make a welcome
addition to the kitty. Perhaps they could take down the wall in the kitchen and renovate it with
some of the money? If they were going to stay here, of course. One year at a time, she’d told
herself. By next autumn the first year would have passed, and she’d be forced to make a
decision again before then. But now she had Andreas, and that made the choice more difficult.
The two of them had tried as far as possible not to display their affection. When the youngest
girls had gone to bed, Andreas crept in through the veranda or Emelie sneaked out to the guest
house. When Liv and Linnea got up in the morning, Emelie was in the kitchen with breakfast
ready and roses in her cheeks. She didn’t think they suspected anything of what was going on
around them.
“But when are you coming back to the island to see us? Soon, I hope!” said Emelie.
“I’ll be coming soon. I just have to sort out a few things here first. Anyway, happy New Year
darling; we have to rush now, there’s only a couple of minutes left,” said Sara, with a slightly
stressed note in her voice.
Andreas appeared in the kitchen door and gave an inquiring look at Emelie as he held out a
glass to her. Emelie smiled at him.
“Yes, here’s Andreas with some bubbly. Talk to you next year! Happy New Year, and say
hello to everyone for me!”

***

Out on the veranda everyone had gathered, and Emelie settled in beside Linn while they
watched Christer, Stig and Carina running around like dizzy hens on the lawn, trying to
organise the fireworks.
“They’re crazy. They can’t agree about anything, Christer and Carina, but they still seem to
really like each other. Weird!” laughed Linn.
Emelie leaned against her eldest daughter.
“How are you and the baby doing?”
Linn placed a hand on her stomach and gave her mother a crooked smile.
“No idea, I can’t feel anything from the baby yet.”
Emelie gave her a loving tap on the arm
“Silly thing, I know that. It’s so early. I mean, how are you?”
Linn held up a glass of something fizzy and clear.
“Apart from the fact that I have to drink Sprite like a little kid, I’m doing really well. I haven’t
even felt nauseous. Look, there’s Birgitta!”

In the house opposite, immediately across the street, Birgitta was standing on her veranda,
waving frantically, and everyone on Emelie’s veranda waved back. Beside Birgitta sat her
husband in his wheelchair, wrapped in blankets from head to foot. Over Christmas, his
condition had deteriorated and now they didn’t see much of Birgitta because he needed even
more help than before.
“Poor thing. She’d really like to be with us,” said Emelie to Andreas, who was standing
beside her.
“Hmm, but he’s in quite a bad way, isn’t he?” said Andreas.
Down on the lawn, Christer and Carina had finally organised the fireworks under Stig’s
supervision. Christer looked at his phone and began counting down.
“Ten!”
“Soon it’ll be the new year, Mum!” shouted Linnea over the countdown, and Emelie nodded.
“Nine, eight, seven, six…”
“It’s going to be a brilliant year, Mum; don’t you think?” said Linn with a smile.
“Five, four, three…”
“Yes, sweetheart, I think so,” she said, and smiled, taking hold of Andreas’ arm where the
little ones couldn’t see.
“Two, one. Happy New Year!”

Liv and Linnea threw themselves on Emelie and Andreas, and they all hugged each other.
Linn and Oskar kissed and looked deep into each other’s eyes, Oskar with one hand on Linn’s
stomach. Sussi and Stina whooped together with Jenny, and Birgitta raised her glass towards
Christer and Carina on the lawn, but perhaps most towards Stig, who bowed and blew a kiss
in her direction. Andreas whispered in Emelie’s ear.
“Happy New Year, my wonderful, beautiful Emelie. I agree with Linn, it’s going to be a
fantastic year.”
Emelie gave him a furtive kiss on the cheek and nodded, tears in her eyes. She wanted to keep
this feeling forever. She and Andreas, her two youngest daughters totally hyper on sugar from
all the sweets but happy and safe, and all of these new people around her who were now so
familiar. The feeling warmed her from the inside, and she wanted to feel like that forever.
Warm and tender and secure…

Her thoughts were interrupted by a cry from the veranda opposite, and she looked up from
Andreas’ warm embrace. They saw that Birgitta’s husband had collapsed in his wheelchair,
and Birgitta was desperately pressing the emergency alarm button.
“Help, help! He isn’t breathing! Kurt! Kurt! Wake up Kurt!”
Christer and Stig leaped over Emelie’s fence and managed to stop Kurt from falling to the
ground, but his body was limp and lifeless.
“Have you rung 112?” shouted Stig.
“Yes, yes, we have a direct line to the hospital. The ambulance helicopter is on its way!”
Birgitta’s voice rose an octave. Everyone on the veranda had frozen in position and they
looked like actors on a stage. Stig and Christer holding up the lifeless man with his head
hanging, Birgitta standing beside them with tears pouring down her face and peering into the
sky as if to make the helicopter appear out of thin air. Sussi and Stina, who had stopped
whooping, and Carina and Jenny who were standing staring, just like she was herself. But
then Emelie sprang into action, dashing in and grabbing her jacket and pulling on her Uggs.
“I’m going to Birgitta’s,” she shouted to the children, and began running across the lawn.
Emelie could hear the helicopter behind her and saw Birgitta pointing to the sky. She took the
steps up to the veranda two at a time and put her arms around Birgitta, who leaned her head
against her chest and sobbed.
“Now it’s over, I know it’s over…”
“No, no. It’ll be fine, you’ll see,” Emelie said comfortingly, stroking her back.
Birgitta shook her head.
“No, now it’s over. He’s been so poorly and I’ve just been waiting for it to happen,” she said,
with a serious tone that Emelie hadn’t heard before.

The helicopter drew closer, and Christer and Stig carried the wheelchair with Kurt in it down
onto the lawn. The big metal bird landed perfectly between the houses, and two ambulance
personnel leaped out and ran, crouching, towards them. Between them they carried a stretcher
which they quickly loaded Kurt onto, starting CPR immediately. After what felt like an
eternity, they carried him into the helicopter and Birgitta went with them. Emelie waved
hesitantly to her as the helicopter lifted off again. Silence spread over Sardinön, and suddenly
Emelie realised how cold it was, and wrapped her coat more tightly around herself as she
hurried back home again. Christer and Stig joined her, and together they went back into the
Christmas house, where they were met by a circle of solemn faces.
“Linn, do you have any mulled wine left that we can warm ourselves up with…? Now we just
have to hope for the best for Birgitta – and for Kurt,” said Emelie.