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Archive for the tag “Christmas romance”

Book Launch – ‘Single by Christmas’ by Rosa Temple

book-cover

Congratulations to Rosa Temple whose new book, ‘Single by Christmas’ is out today.  There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway towards the end, but first a bit about this novel.

 

Book Blurb

You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.

Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?

With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?

This is a feel good, Christmas novel with very few mince pies, not much snow and absolutely no mistletoe – just a couple of best friends, a sociopathic nemesis and a lot of drinking.

 

Excerpt

You might be wondering what I was doing, sitting in a graveyard at five minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve. And if you guessed gravedigger or graverobber, you’d be wrong. But ask yourself, who sits in a graveyard when it’s cold and out and out spooky unless it’s absolutely critical? The church, where I attend Midnight Mass with my family every year, is just across the way. But sitting on that particular bench just inside the graveyard was absolutely critical.

You see, in the lead up to Christmas I managed to lose something. Well, not something, someone. Charlie; my reason for living, my heart, my soulmate …  you get the idea. And before you start crying, don’t worry, he wasn’t buried there. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure where Charlie was, but he knew I was there. Waiting.

By the stroke of midnight I would have known for sure if I’d truly lost him. I’d asked him to join me and my family for the service. They’d arrived earlier. I smiled and greeted them all – Mum, Dad, big sister, Elise, and her husband and my younger sister, Jo-Jo. They asked where Charlie was and I managed to hide my worst fears and say he’d be along soon, that he was held up. So they just kissed me and piled inside with the rest of the congregation.

My family had been looking forward to seeing Charlie, even more so than they were me. You see, like everyone who meets Charlie, they’d fallen in love with him. Who could blame them? He’s charming, he’s intelligent, he’s sweet, kind, generous. The list could go on. I admit those things weren’t what first attracted me to Charlie. No, the attraction was pure lust and desire. He walked into that New Year’s Eve party the year before and I was stunned into silence. And I’m never silent. Tall, well dressed, mesmerising looks and those dimples that appear every time he smiles, which he does a lot by the way.

And I love Charlie’s family, too. His mum, Leeza, his dad, Don, who Charlie gets his looks and sense of humour from, and his brother. I wasn’t sure Leeza approved of Charlie having a white girlfriend, at first, but I realised that was just paranoia on my part. His family are not like that. His mum, who I grew to admire and love, was just being protective, the way some mothers are.

But, I digress. My family had no idea that I’d seen Charlie twenty-four hours prior to the service and that we’d had a heated argument and that Charlie had practically slammed a door in my face. Minutes before that I’d made a complete and utter fool of myself in front of his wonderful family and he’d walked away with such disgust and disappointment in his face my heart broke in two. He’d closed the door on me but I hadn’t stopped sending begging texts and hysterical voicemails just so he would show up on Christmas Eve – like he’d promised me. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, just praying for one. Because it would have taken a miracle for Charlie to walk towards the church, bypass the tall wooden doors, see me on the bench, push open the graveyard gates and tell me he’d forgiven me.

With everyone nice and warm inside the church, I continued to sit watching puffs of vapour appearing in front of my face from every exhale, brimming with an apology that may never be heard.

You might be saying, “If Charlie’s that wonderful, why couldn’t he just come to the church, it’s Christmas after all?” You have to know, he’d never be that unforgiving without very good reason.

Honestly? It took a whole year of knowing Charlie to finally understand what it is to love someone completely and to be loved the very same way in return and just one month to lose it all.

And this is how …

 

Competition

Hopefully the blurb and excerpt have whet your appetites and are making you want to read this book.  If so, you’re in luck because Rosa Temple is running a competition in which she is giving away 5 eBook copies of ‘Single by Christmas’.  The closing date is 1st November.

To enter click on this link: Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About Rosa Temple

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Rosa Temple is a writer of romantic comedies, chick-lit and contemporary romance. To date she has published one novella, Sleeping with Your Best Friend, and her first full length novel, Natalie’s Getting Married, was published on 14th March 2016.

She has tried her hand at various occupations, from tea lady (albeit for one morning only after being returned to the agency because half an office block suffered caffeine deprivation) to supervising the office running the London Bar Exams.

Rosa is a Londoner born and bred and still resides in West London with ambitions to escape to the country when a suitable country pile becomes available.

In 2014 she was awarded a Distinction in her Creative Writing MA from Brunel University.

Rosa admits to being a reluctant keep fit addict. She owns a yoga mat, a pair of trainers and a spin cycle that gathers dust in the corner of her writing room. She vows that she will run the London Marathon again but has been saying this since her first and only marathon, run in 2010. Hence the trainers.

Having been a ghostwriter for several years, Rosa has written several magazine articles and has penned a multitude of one off novellas and novella length series in the romance genre and in its various sub-genres to include: contemporary romance, historical, adult only, romantic comedies and sweet romances.

Rosa is a member of a writing critique group who meet monthly. This lively and hard working group keep her on her toes as she hones her writing, listening and editing skills.

Rosa’s husband and eldest son are both musicians, her second son swims at a National level for his London team.

Before devoting the majority of her time to her writing of romantic comedies and chick-lit, Rosa was a singer (that’s how she met her husband) and still continues to perform and write songs.

Early reviews show that Natalie’s Getting Married is a favourite of many readers and book bloggers and she follows it with Christmas romantic comedy novel, Single by Christmas, with plans to publish a book series in the very near future.

Rosa loves to chat (about anything really) so follow her on Twitter @RosaT_Author or visit her blog, Rosa Temple Writes, on rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk

Read an excerpt of Natalie’s Getting Married on Goodreads or Facebook

 

Links

Blog – Rosa Temple Writes: http://rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RosaTempleWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RosaT_Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14071311.Rosa_Temple

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Google+ : google.com/

 

Blog Blitz – ‘A Cornish Christmas’ by Lily Graham

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This is the cover of Lily Graham’s new book, ‘A Cornish Christmas’ which is out today, published by Bookouture.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  I have a little taster for all of you but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Nestled in the Cornish village of Cloudsea, sits Sea Cottage – the perfect place for some Christmas magic …

At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea – a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright.

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever.  When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember.

This Christmas warm your heart and escape to the Cornish coast for an uplifting story of love, secrets and new beginnings that you will remember for many Christmases to come.

 

Extract

CHAPTER ONE

The Writing Desk

 

Even now it seemed to wait.

Part of me, a small irrational part, needed it to stay exactly where it was, atop the faded Persian rug, bowing beneath the visceral pulse of her letters and the remembered whisper from the scratch of her pen. The rosewood chair, with its slim turned-out legs, suspended forevermore in hopeful expectation of her return. Like me, I wondered if it couldn’t help but wish that somehow she still could.

I hadn’t had the strength to clear it, nor the will. Neither had Dad and so it remained standing sentry, as it had throughout the years with Mum at the wheel, the heart, the hub of the living room.

If I closed my eyes, I could still hear her hum along to Tchaikovsky – her pre-Christmas music – as she wrapped up presents with strings, ribbons and clear cellophane, into which she’d scatter stardust and moonbeams, or at least so it seemed to my young eyes. Each gift, a gift within a gift.

One of my earliest memories is of me sitting before the fire, rolling a length of thick red yarn for Fat Arnold, our squashed-face Persian, who languished by the warmth, his fur pearly white in the glow. His one eye open while his paw twitched, as if to say he’d play, if only he could find the will. In the soft light Mum sat and laughed, the firelight casting lowlights in her long blonde hair. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath, away from the memory of her smile.

Dad wanted me to have it: her old writing desk. I couldn’t bear to think of the living room without it, but he insisted. He’d looked at me, above his round horn-rimmed glasses, perpetual tufts of coarse grey hair poking out mad-hatter style on either side of his head, and said with his faraway philosopher’s smile, ‘Ivy, it would have made her happy, knowing that you had it. . .’ And I knew I’d lost.

Still it had taken me two weeks to get up the nerve. Two weeks and Stuart’s gentle yet insistent prodding. He’d offered to help, to at least clear it for me, and bring it through to our new home so that I wouldn’t have to face it. Wouldn’t have to reopen a scar that was trying its best to heal. He’d meant well. I knew that he would’ve treated her things reverently; he would’ve stacked all her letters, tied them up with string, his long fingers slowly rolling up the lengths of old ribbon and carefully putting them away into a someday box that I could open when I was ready. It was his way, his sweet, considerate Stuart way. But I knew I had to be the one who did it. Like a bittersweet rite of passage, some sad things only you can do yourself. So I gathered up my will, along with the box at my feet and began.

It was both harder and easier than I expected. Seeing her things as she left them should have made the lump in my throat unbearable, it should have been intolerable, but it wasn’t somehow.

I began with the drawer, emptying it of its collection of creamy, loose-leafed paper; fine ribbons; and assorted string, working my way to the heart of the Victorian desk, with its warren of pigeon holes, packed with old letters, patterned envelopes, stamps, watercolour brushes, and tubes of half-finished paint.

But it was the half-finished tasks that made the breath catch in my throat. A hand-painted Christmas card, with Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying over the chimney tops, poor Rudolph eternally in wait for his little watercolour nose. Mum had always made her own, more magical and whimsical than any you could buy. My fingers shook as I held the card in my hand, my throat tight. Seeing this, it’s little wonder I became a children’s book illustrator. I put it on top of the pile, so that later I could paint in Santa’s missing guiding light.

It was only when I made to close the desk that I saw it: a paper triangle peeking out from the metal hinge. It was tightly wedged but, after some wiggling, I pried it loose, only – in a way – to wish I hadn’t.

It was a beautiful, vintage French postcard, like the ones we’d bought when we holidayed there, when I was fifteen and fell in love with everything en français. It had a faded sepia print of the Jardin des Tuileries on the cover, and in elegant Century print it read ‘[Century font writing] Carte Postale’ on the back.

It was blank. Except for two words, two wretchedly perfect little words that caused the tears that had threatened all morning to finally erupt.

Darling Ivy

It was addressed to me. I didn’t know which was worse: the unexpected blow of being called ‘Darling Ivy’ one last time, finding out she’d had this last unexpected gift waiting for me all along, or that she’d never finish it. I suppose it was a combination of all three.

Three velvet-tipped daggers that impaled my heart.

I placed it in the box together with the unfinished Christmas card and sobbed, as I hadn’t allowed myself to for years.

Five years ago, when she passed, I believed that I’d never stop. A friend had told me that ‘time heals all wounds’ and it had taken every ounce of strength not to give her a wound that time would never heal, even though I knew she’d meant well. Time, I knew, couldn’t heal this type of wound. Death is not something you get over. It’s the rip that exposes life in a before and after chasm and all you can do is try to exist as best you can in the after. Time could only really offer a moment when the urge to scream would become a little less.

Another friend of mine, who’d lost his leg and his father in the same day, explained it better. He’d said that it was a loss that every day you manage and some days are better than others. That seemed fair. He’d said that death for him was like the loss of the limb, as even on those good days you were living in the shadow of what you had lost. It wasn’t something you recovered from completely, no matter how many people, yourself included, pretended otherwise. Somehow that helped, and I’d gotten used to living with it, which I suppose was what he meant.

The desk wasn’t heavy. Such a substantial part of my childhood, it felt like it should weigh more than it did, but it didn’t and I managed it easily alone. I picked it up and crossed the living room, through the blue-carpeted passage, pausing only to shift it slightly as I exited the back door towards my car, a mint green Mini Cooper.

Setting the desk down on the cobbled path, I opened up my boot, releasing the back seats so they folded over before setting the desk on top, with a little bit of careful manoeuvring. It felt strange to see it there, smaller than I remembered. I shut the boot and went back inside for the chair and the box where I’d placed all her things; there was never any question of leaving it behind. On my way back, I locked up Dad’s house, a small smile unfurling as I noticed the little wreath he’d placed on the door, like a green shoot through the snow after the longest winter. It hadn’t been Christmas here for many years.

Back to my car, I squeezed the chair in next to the desk and placed the box on the passenger seat before I climbed in and started the engine. As the car warmed, I looked at my reflection in the side mirror and laughed, a sad groaning laugh.

My eyeliner had made tracks all down my face, leaving a thick trail into my ears, and black blobs on either side of my lobes so that I looked like I’d participated in some African ritual, or had survived the mosh pit at some death metal goth fest. With my long dark blonde curls, coral knitted cap and blue eyes, it made me look a little zombiefied.

I wiped my face and ears and grinned despite myself. ‘God, Mum, thanks for that!’ I put the car in gear and backed out of the winding drive, towards the coastal road.

Cornwall.

It was hard to believe I was back, after all these years.

London had been exciting, tiring, and trying. And grey, so very grey. Down here, it seemed, was where they keep the light; my senses felt as if they’d been turned up.

For a while, London had been good though, especially after Mum. For what it lacked in hued lustre, it made up for by being alive with people, ideas, and the hustling bustle. It was a different kind of pace. A constant rush. Yet, lately I’d craved the stillness and the quiet. So when The Fudge Files, a children’s fiction series that I co-wrote and illustrated with my best friend Catherine Talty, about a talking English bulldog from Cornwall who solves crimes, became a bestseller, we were finally able to escape to the country.

In his own way, Stuart had wanted the move more than I did; he was one of those strange creatures who’d actually grown up in London, and said that this meant it was high time that he tried something else.

In typical Stuart fashion, he had these rather grand ideas about becoming a self-sustaining farmer – something akin to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – and setting up a smallholding similar to Hugh’s River Cottage. The simple fact of it being Cornwall, not Dorset, was considered inconsequential. Which perhaps it was. I had to smile. Our River Cottage was called Sea Cottage (very original that), yet was every bit as exquisite as its namesake, with a rambling half acre of countryside, alongside rugged cliffs that overlooked the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the gorgeous village of Cloudsea with its mile-long meandering ribbon of whitewashed cottages with window frames and doors in every shade of blue imaginable, perched amid the wild, untamed landscape, seemingly amongst the clouds, tumbling down to the sea. It was the place I always dreamt about when someone asked me where I would choose to live if I could magically supplant myself with a snap of my fingers or be granted a single genie’s wish. Cloudsea. And now. . . now we lived here. It was still hard to believe.

So far our ‘livestock’ consisted of four laying hens, two grey cats named Pepper and Pots, and an English bulldog named Muppet – the living, slobbering and singular inspiration behind Detective Sergeant Fudge (Terrier Division) of The Fudge Files, as created by Catherine, Muppet’s official godmother.

Despite Stuart’s noble intentions, he was finding it difficult to come to terms with the idea of keeping animals as anything besides pets. Personally, I was a little grateful for that. We assuaged our consciences though by ensuring that we supported local organic farms, where we were sure that all the animals were humanely treated.

But what we lacked in livestock, Stuart made up for in vegetation. His potager was his pride and joy and even now, in the heart of winter, he kept a polytunnel greenhouse that kept us in fresh vegetables throughout the year. Or at least that was the plan; we’d only been here since late summer. I couldn’t imagine his excitement come spring.

For me Cornwall was both a fresh start and a homecoming. For the first time ever I had my own art studio up in the attic, with dove grey walls, white wooden floors, and a wall full of shelves brimming with all my art supplies; from fine watercolour paper to piles of brushes and paint in every texture and medium that my art-shop-loving heart could afford. The studio, dominated by the mammoth table, with its slim Queen Anne legs, alongside the twin windows, made it a haven, with its view of the rugged countryside and sea. One where I planned to finish writing and illustrating my first solo children’s book.

Now, with our new home and the news that we’d been waiting seven years to hear, it would all be a new start for us.

I was finally, finally pregnant.

Seven rounds of in vitro fertilisation, which had included 2,553 days, 152 pointless fights, five serious, two mortgages, countless stolen tears in the dead of the night in the downstairs bathroom in our old London flat, my fist wedged in my mouth to stem the sound, and infinite days spent wavering between hope and despair, wondering if we should just give up and stop trying. That day, thankfully, hadn’t come.

And now I was twelve weeks pregnant. I still couldn’t believe it. We hadn’t told Dad yet; I didn’t want to get his hopes up, or tempt fate; we’d played that black card before.

Our hopes. . . well, they’d already soared above the stars.

It was why I so desperately wished Mum were here now. It would have made all of this more bearable. She had a way of making sense of the insensible, of offering hope at the darkest times, when all I wanted to do was run away. I missed how we used to sit up late at night by the fire in the living room, a pot of tea on the floor, while Fat Arnold dozed at our feet and she soothed my troubled fears and worries – the most patient of listeners, the staunchest of friends. Now, with so many failed pregnancies, including two miscarriages, the memory of which was like shrapnel embedded in our hearts, so that our lives had been laced with an expectant tinge of despair, primed for the nightmare to unfold, never daring to hope for the alternative; we were encouraged to hope. It was different, everyone said so, and I needed to trust that this time it would finally happen, that we’d finally have a baby, like the doctors seemed to think we would. Stuart had been wonderful, as had Catherine, but I needed Mum really, and her unshakeable, unbreakable faith.

There are a few times in a woman’s life when she needs her mother. For me, my wedding was one and I was lucky to have her there, if luck was what it was, because it seemed to be sheer and utter determination on her part. It had been so important to her to be there, even though all her doctors had told us to say our goodbyes. I will never know what it cost her to hold on the way she did, but she did and she stayed a further two years after that. In the end, it was perhaps the cruellest part, because when she did go, I’d convinced myself that somehow she’d be able to stay.

But this, this was different. I needed her now, more than ever. As I drove, the unstoppable flow of tears pooling in the hollow of my throat, I wished that we could have banked those two years, those two precious years that she had fought so hard and hung on for, so that she could be here with me now when I needed her the most.

 

About Lily Graham

author-picture

Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.

She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

 

I really hope you enjoyed reading the extract.  If you did then you might want to buy yourselves a copy.  Here are the links for Amazon:-

UK: http://amzn.to/2atWI7G

US: http://amzn.to/2azduwO

 

Links

Facebook – www.facebook.com/LilyRoseGrahamAuthor

Twitter – www.twitter.com/Lilywritesbooks

Website – https://lilygraham.net/

 

 

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