Blurb; A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read that will warm your heart – take a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where magic happens…
It’s autumn in beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kelsey Anderson is enjoying her new life in her adopted town. Her Shakespearean tour guide days behind her, she’s now opened her own photography studio and loved up with boyfriend Jonathan – even if a long-distance relationship is sometimes lonely.
When best friend Mirren Imrie moves down from Scotland, Kelsey is delighted to have her friend at her side – and as the nights turn colder, Mirren throws herself into dating, until she finds herself growing closer to sexy journalist, Adrian Armadale. But when Mirren uncovers a long-buried scandal while working at the local newspaper, her big scoop might throw Kelsey’s – and Jonathan’s – life upside down. Will she choose her career over her friends’ happiness?
And when Jonathan returns from America and discovers the secrets Mirren has uncovered about his family, it throws his relationship with Kelsey onto shaky ground. Can they find their way back to love, before it becomes the winter of their discontent?
A romantic, funny and feelgood read that will make you smile from ear to ear. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will fall in love with this cosy winter read!
About the author;
Kiley is Scottish and lives in England with her husband, two kids and Amos the Bedlington Terrier. She writes around her work at a University in the North of England where she lectures in English Literature and creative writing. She is proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a graduate of their New Writers’ Scheme.
The autumn came in quickly this year. Even in early October the leaves of the rowan trees in Kelsey’s shared gardens at St Ninian’s Close are tinged golden brown. Gritty breezes gust down Henley Street, whipping past the house where, once upon a time, William Shakespeare was born. Chill morning dews make the grassy banks of the River Avon sparkle, and dawn mists settle over the subtle valley that the town nestles inside. Above its tangle of medieval streets, church spires, theatre turrets and flying flags, up on the gentle rises of the Welcombe hills the brambles have swollen fat and blushing on thorny boughs and the blackbirds sing out that summer is over.
Having worked as a tour guide, pounding the streets of Stratford all summer long and getting to know its most beautiful treasures and best-kept secrets, Kelsey thought she had discovered everything there was to know about her new home, but as she observed autumn creeping in, she came to the realisation that fall in Warwickshire was even finer than the summer months.
Fall. That’s what Jonathan calls this time of year. But he isn’t here to see it with her. He’s been wowing the crowds at an Ontario Shakespeare festival with his Hamlet and after Christmas he’ll be heading to California to take up his drama teaching residency for the winter. But he writes, and he video calls…
‘Don’t wake up, I’m just taking my stage make-up off before bed and calling to say goodnight. I love you, Kelsey.’
‘Don’t go, I’m awake. Wow, you look good.’
Jonathan held the phone closer to his face, letting Kelsey see the subtle black eyeliner that deepened his ice-blue eyes and his messy brown hair lightened a little with dye for playing the Prince of Denmark.
‘I was gonna say the same thing about you. Is it after six in Stratford?’
‘Uh-huh, but old habits die hard, I’ve been up for a while. There was a blackbird going crazy under the oak tree at six, so I’m already on my first coffee, just listening to him sing. How’s the run going?’ Kelsey gathered her duvet around her for warmth. Her little garret room at the top of the building which had been so warm in the summer was growing chillier by the day.
‘Pretty good. Full houses, excited crowds. They’re a lot more vocal than the Stratford audiences. I forgot about the spontaneous applause and the interaction. You don’t get that with English theatre. Tonight the first row were whooping and hollering when I kissed Ophelia, kinda threw us both.’
‘I can see how that would be distracting. How is Peony? Did she get the postcard I sent her?’ Kelsey asked. The confusion of the summer months when she’d been convinced Jonathan and his co-star and childhood sweetheart were still an item, had been left far behind.
‘She did, and she’s good too, sends her love. She’s kinda pissed I’m leaving the company after our Stratford run of Love’s Labour’s Lost in the spring but she gets that I’m ready for a new beginning. Anyways, I’m counting down the days ’til I fly home to you for the holidays.’
Kelsey had never heard Jonathan call Stratford ‘home’ before, and although it sent a thrill through her, she worried he was counting his work-visa chickens before they hatched. He was allowed to stay in England for the spring run but after that, nobody could know what would happen.
‘What’s today? Ninth of October?’ he added. ‘That’s only… seventy-five days.’
‘I’ll be home soon and we’ll get to spend a few days of the holidays together. Until then I’ll just have to make sure I catch every English sunrise with you.’
Kelsey smiled, listening to his breathing and enjoying the flex of his dimpled jaw when he grinned. For a while they let the silence speak between them. They could do this, she had found; just say nothing and be together, feeling somewhere close to contented, three and a half thousand miles apart.
‘I’ve been thinking about you a lot,’ Jonathan said eventually, his deep Oklahoma drawl crackling.
She saw the light blazing in Jonathan’s eyes as he carried the phone over to his hotel room door, turning the lock. ‘Uh-huh.’
‘What have you been thinking?’
Jonathan made a low laugh which was followed by a moment of hesitation before he settled on his bed, holding the phone at arm’s length so Kelsey could see his loose black stage shirt open at the neck and offering a glimpse of the broad, honed torso she missed touching so much. ‘I’ll tell you… if you lie down with me.’
Kelsey cast a quick glance at the pillows behind her, her face flushing pink and her pupils dilating in the way that made Jonathan’s heart pound.
‘All right then,’ she said, as she settled back, blushing and grinning at the same time.
‘First of all…’ his voice was low as he looked confidently into the lens. ‘I miss being able to kiss you whenever I want…’
Kelsey fought to catch her breath, narrowing her eyes, intently watching as Jonathan slowly tugged the shirt over his head, letting it muss his hair.
Jonathan talked with increasingly shallow breaths and Kelsey listened, losing her inhibition as the bubble formed around them. They forgot the miles between them; their separate time zones realigned and whole continents moved to bring them closer together. Yes, this felt somewhere close to contentment, and for now that would have to be enough for both of them.