The Shop Next Door by Kate Hanford.

Introducing my brand new novella.


Available from Amazon US

Available from Amazon UK



Jess Dawson buys a hat every time a relationship goes wrong. At 22 her growing pile of hat boxes is an unwelcome reminder of her many dating disasters.
With her eye on Dan, the dishy local vet, she sets about a plan to get her man. However, her loyal accomplice Marmite the miniature dachshund has other ideas!
Will Jess have a change of luck and find the love she craves or will she be adding another hat to her collection?
A heartwarming and funny story which dog lovers will be unable to resist. This feel-good comedy, based in a small English village, is packed full of lovable characters and canine capers.



“Well, I suppose I’ll just have to buy a new hat” Jess sighed, as she walked back to the cottage with the tiny dachshund skipping happily beside her.

It was the third time in a fortnight she’d seen the vet with Marmite and he still couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Well, that may be because there wasn’t, technically, because dogs couldn’t be just ‘off colour’ apparently. Despite many chats with Marmite, no, he had to go bouncing in there, giving sloppy kisses and doing tricks for a treat!

“Marmite you’re a total embarrassment, how many times have we practiced the ‘under the weather’ look? If Lassie can do it, why can’t you? And how about the dog on Britain’s Got Talent who acts out a whole scene whilst dressed as a policeman?”

As far as Marmite was concerned he was feeling very happy. The nice man had given him treats and tummy rubs, so he was doing something right.

Jess was finding it hard to accept that Dan the handsome vet was only interested in her furry friend and probably had ‘beware neurotic dog owner’ written on Marmite’s notes in bold, permanent marker pen.

So, after popping Marmite back in his bed for an afternoon snooze, Jess knew that there was only one thing for it, and that was to go shopping for a new hat. This was the thing she did every time she made an idiot of herself, yet again, with another bloke. On top of the wardrobe were hat boxes in every colour, shape, and size. Last time she counted, she was the proud owner of one hundred and nineteen hats.

“That’s how many cock-ups I’ve made since I was fifteen, not too bad for seven years of disappointment from the opposite sex,” she said, completely forgetting that her last relationship lasted for nearly two years. “And,” she continued to Marmite who was following a spider along the skirting board of the bedroom floor “at least my head will never be cold”.

Today she was wearing a straw sun hat, with a headscarf wrapped around the brim with a floppy bow. “You look like Joan Collins” quipped her father when she called into the antique’s shop for a chat. “Thanks, dad but I was thinking more Rita Ora!” No wonder the vet wasn’t impressed!

Later back at the cottage she cuddled up to Marmite, his little legs weren’t very good at hugs but he was very good at snuggling.

“I should be editing Carly’s book” she cooed into Marmite’s glossy brown eyes “you are such a bad influence on me”

Jess did freelance writing from home. She aspired to be an author herself, but the cosy mystery thriller about a girl who gets kidnapped by a vet somehow was only happening in her head and not on paper. To pay the bills she came up with catchy radio jingles about the new estate agents in town or sold greetings card poems about the fun of being forty. At weekends, she worked in her parent’s antique shop and she gave English lessons to precocious children who spoke to her like she was seven.

Before long she found herself gravitating to her phone and straight on to Facebook. She hated Facebook with a passion. Just imagine scanning through your cousin’s party photo’s whilst you are at home in agony with a badly sprained ankle, only to see your boyfriend at the back of the room with the girl from the tanning salon sitting on his knee! Well, that was the end of ‘Mark the shark’ as he was now known, aka the love of her life and the man of her dreams.

Obviously ‘Mark the shark’ didn’t share her vision and was still dating the bronzed goddess three months later. Since it was the only sunbed salon for miles, Jess was surprised to realise that she was more bothered about having to give up her weekly session than losing’ Mark the shark’. It had soon occurred to her that Mark was clearly not the love of her life she thought he was and she celebrated her epiphany by buying a beautiful handmade leather Stetson…with his credit card!



Available from Amazon

A Poem about the Sadness of Losing a Dog

Good bye, my friend, the time has come

To hang up your collar, your work here is done

The kindest soul, the warmest heart

The sweetest dog to ever depart

Your little soul mate looks so sad

She’ll never forget the love you had

That tiny puppy you taught to play

She’d nip your tail, then run away

When days were dark, with sadness and pain

You gave me a reason to rise again

And now, too soon, it’s come to an end

And your work is needed in heaven, my friend

They need an angel to stand at the gate

to welcome the others, who’d wait and wait

for their family to join them, so alone and so sad

You’ll comfort their sorrow and soothe the pain that they had.

So, for now, we bid you goodbye

My angel in heaven, a new star in the sky.



Add heading (2)

Available from Amazon

Really Dad?


My dad likes to dance

Although he’s really old

When he gets his groove on

It’s a sight to behold

He doesn’t seem to realise

That he is past his prime

He doesn’t know how to move

His arms and legs in time

My friends think he is funny

And that he acts the fool

But what they don’t understand

He really thinks he’s cool.

So, he just keeps on dancing

He does it all the time

It really is embarrassing

To have a dad like mine!



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