Today I have an extract for the book Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale.
It’ll take a miracle to makeJuliet’s Christmas merry, but Mistletoe Row is the place to be when you needsome Christmas magic.
The last person Juliet Bell expectsto see when she returns home for Christmas is Harrison Bow.Especiallywith the most beautiful woman in the world by his side. Twentyyears ago, Juliet and Harrison had the shortest romance in history, consistingof one date – and one blazing row. But Juliet will never admit when she’swrong, and Harrison doesn’t forgive easily, so they haven’t seen, or spoken toone another since.
Harrison Bow vowed he’d never visit hisgrandfather at The Grange, again, or drive along Mistletoe Row, the scene ofone of the unhappiest times of his life. He hasn’t been back for twenty yearsand he’s only here now because his brother pleaded with him to come. At leastwith his executive assistant joining him, he’ll be able to do some work.
But Juliet’s sister, Zoe and Harrison’s brother,Luke have some surprises in store for their elder siblings, and so it seemsdoes Fate. After Harrison risks his life to save Juliet, the least she can dois be nice. The problem is, Harrison is hotter than the log fire in TheMistletoe pub, and when she’s surrounded by twinkling lights and softly fallingsnow, it doesn’t take long for her to realise she’s in love with the man shethought she hated. Even if he doesn’t appear to be in love with her.
In this extract from Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row, Juliet Bell is going skating on the lake within the grounds of her former home. It’s something she has longed to do, since the day she and her family left The Grange.
‘Yeah. He’d probably have an apoplexy if he saw me skating on his lake. He’d set the dogs on me.’
‘I didn’t know they had dogs,’ Bernard said.
Rosa shook her head. ‘They don’t, darling. It’s a figure of speech.’
‘They should have dogs.’ There was a thoughtful look on Bernard’s face. ‘A house isn’t a home without dogs.’
‘Luke likes dogs,’ Zoe said.
‘So does Harrison.’ Juliet bit her lip. ‘I mean, so did Harrison. At least he said he did. But then he said a lot of things. Sorry. Not going there again. Okay. So I’ll be back around twelve-ish. We’ll have lunch and then do stuff around the house. Yes?’
‘Sounds like a plan,’ Rosa said.
‘Always good to have a plan,’ replied Bernard.
‘Absolutely,’ agreed Juliet.
Zoe grinned mischievously. ‘I’m glad you all think that.’
‘Oh?’ Rosa gave her a curious look. ‘Don’t you then, sweetheart?’
‘I definitely do. In fact, I have a couple of plans of my own. But they’re top secret and on a strictly need-to-know basis.’ She beamed at each of them. ‘And for now, none of you need to know.’
‘I hope your plan includes getting me a lovely Christmas present,’ Juliet said, hastily eating her toast and draining the last dregs from her coffee cup.
‘Oh it does, sis. And you have no idea how lovely.’
Juliet grinned at Zoe and rose to leave. ‘Right. I’m out of here. See you all later. Have fun.’
‘You too,’ everyone replied.
Juliet grabbed her skates, almost falling over Cinnamon, who was munching a slice of buttered toast, retrieved her thick, black jacket from the coat hook and dashed out the front door onto an icy, Mistletoe Row. She nearly landed on her backside as her feet slipped beneath her, but she managed to grab the door handle and steady herself.
‘That’s twice I’ve almost fallen over,’ she said out loud. ‘And everything comes in threes.’ She shook her head and sighed.
Glancing at her watch, she saw it was ten-to-ten and yet there wasn’t a car in sight. No people, either. But it was such a lovely day. She took a deep breath of the cool, crisp morning air and then walked gingerly over the road to the park, where the ground was still covered in snow. She ran across the snow-covered grass, through the apple orchard and made her way to the back gate of the grounds and gardens of The Grange. The gate was unlocked, as Luke said it would be, but she hesitated before she pushed it open. This would be the first time in twenty years that she had set foot on this hallowed ground and she needed a moment to let it sink in.
Only a brief moment though. Her excitement got the better of her. She shoved the ornate, wrought iron gate open and quickly closed it behind her. The path was slippery but she didn’t care. She ran, slipping and sliding as she went, to the lake, stopping the second she saw it.
Its beauty took her breath away. It hadn’t changed one bit. Even the bench looked the same, but perhaps a little older and more weathered. She raced towards it.
‘Hello bench,’ she said, laughing heartily at her foolishness and then she sat, almost reverently, and sighed. Dropping her skates beside her, she stared ahead at the lake. ‘Hello lake. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.’
If it could talk, she was sure it would say the same.
It was several minutes before she looked away and she took a long, deep breath as she slipped off her boots and put on her skates.
She got up and stepped onto the ice and it was as if something magical shot through her entire body, from her feet to her head. She closed her eyes, stretched out her arms, gracefully shaping her fingers like those of an ice dancer, and pushed away with her left foot. She skated in circles of eight, moving her hands behind her and clasping her fingers as she retraced her glide path backwards. She lowered her body, bending one knee and stretching her other leg out in front of her.
Raising herself upright, she leapt into the air, stretching her legs wide apart and reaching forward to touch her toes, landing gracefully as she skated forward into a spin. That was followed by more jumps; a triple axel, a double Lutz. She was in her element. Her skin was glowing in the warmth of the sun, her blood was racing through her veins, her muscles flexed and toned. She didn’t want to stop.
Skating faster, she made a circuit of the lake, and another. More jumps, more spins. She could stay there all day. Fleetingly, she saw a figure out of the corner of her eye. Had Luke come down to greet her? She carved her blades into the ice and skated into an area where she was blinded by the sun. She closed her eyes against the glare but as she moved forward she heard the crack and felt her blade catch as she came to an abrupt stop. She glanced down as lines, like lots of little blood vessels, fanned out from where she stood. Her eyes shot towards the figure and only now did she see who it was.
‘Harrison!’ she shrieked as the ice cracked open and she fell into thefreezing waters of the lake. I hope you enjoyed the extract. Thank you so much for allowing me to share it with you.
About The Author
Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.
Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.
Thanks for reading.