chick-lit · Christmas · romance

*BLOG TOUR* One Winters Night – Kiley Dunbar (EXTRACT)

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.

Extract;

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.’
‘Only?’
‘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.
‘You have?’
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.

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chick-lit · Christmas · romance

*BLOG TOUR* Christmas at Lock Keepers Cottage – Lucy Coleman ★★★★

Blurb; Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina.

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in.

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

My Review; My first Christmas book of 2020. Christmas in July (that’s when I read it)! It took me a few chapters to get into it but once I was I didn’t want to put it down. It has the cutest little town with a canal. A beautiful community which comes together in hard times and its Christmas! What could be better?
The perfect festive read with a beautiful ending. The perfect Christmas celebrated with friends and family. It comes with a few ups and downs as expected but it all turned out okay. Felt a little wierd to be reading a festive book in July but it cheered me up and I’ve already started my Christmas shopping. A lovely read.

A well deserved four stars. Highly recommend. Maybe nearer Christmas though.

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chick-lit · Christmas · romance

*BLOG TOUR* Hopeful Hearts at Glendale Hall – Victoria Walters ★★★★

Blurb; What happens when love takes you to unexpected places?

Heather Douglas appears to have it all. But living on a farm in the Scottish Highlands with her partner, Rory Fraser, all while bringing up their adorable toddler, Harry, isn’t easy. As a former librarian, Heather is worried that she’ll never fully fit into life on Fraser Farm. And after the death of her beloved mum five years ago, Heather feels lost, as well as guilty for holding back accepting Rory’s marriage proposal because she can’t imagine her wedding without her mother.

So when ex-boyfriend, Stewart, appears in the village of Glendale, it’s a shock to the system. The man who broke her heart years ago now has big plans for the neighbouring farm and wants Heather to be part of the development. Knowing that she’s living a very different life to the one they had planned at university leaves Heather wondering if she has made the right choices since she and Stewart broke up. Especially when things start to go very wrong on the farm …

This Christmas, Heather will need to face her fears and let go of the past or risk losing everything. She will need love, faith, and a whole lot of hope!

My Review; Oh wow. This is something a little different isn’t it? Christmas set on a farm. Perfect. But it’s not as perfect as it sounds and they have a battle on their hands to keep their farm safe. I absolutely loved it. A cosy read.

It has a little bit of everything. Babies. Marriage. Romance. Families. Friends. Community. Christmas. Proposals. Exs. Mourning. Brilliant. Well written. The only thing that got me was a few of chapter were a little long for my liking but the story as a whole can’t fault it. Loved the setting, community and most of the characters bar a few. A perfect getaway for my mind. You know I love a good Christmas read. Made me want to live on a farm.

A well deserves four stars from me. Highly recommend.

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