Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish Café series.
For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.
But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.
Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?
As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?
Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles is the first in a stunning new series from Phillipa Ashley. The perfect book to snuggle up with this Christmas.
Extract Sixteen from Chapter Ten, pp 65-66
‘Come in and sit down,’ he said gently. For a split second, Maisie was reminded of Keegan, in the early days, when she’d first thought he was a rock of a man, not a flaky sandcastle who crumbled with the first rough tide. But Patrick McKinnon wasn’t a rock either, she reminded herself: just a drifter with a cleaning fetish.
‘I don’t need a shoulder to cry on,’ she said.
‘I’m not offering one.’ He smiled. ‘You wouldn’t want to get too close anyway, I’ve been hard at work and I need a shower.’
‘Not in that health hazard of a bathroom,’ she said, sniffing the air: a bit of a chemical factory but definitely clean.
‘You could eat your dinner off the floor now,’ he said. ‘Let me wash my hands and I’ll make you a cup of tea.’
Maisie glanced at the kitchen. The units, cooker and fridge were basic and old but clean. The stainless steel sink sparkled and the work surfaces gleamed. She hated showing weakness but she was too weary. Hugo had phoned her again and asked her if she’d had time to think over his plans. It had been all she could do to give him a civil answer. He’d said that more residents were ‘seriously thinking’ of selling and although he might be bullshitting her, Maisie wasn’t sure. She’d felt like telling him to stuff his offer but for a few seconds she’d also felt like caving in and saying, ‘Have the bloody place.’ If her dad was ill and needed urgent health care, or decided to leave the island, circumstances could look very different.
‘It’ll have to be black coffee or hot chocolate,’ he said, holding up a jar of Nescafé and a tub of Cadbury’s Highlights. ‘I’ve inspected the contents for weevils and they look OK, even if the previous occupant was a Neanderthal.’
Maisie laughed. What harm could it do to have a drink with him? And she was really, very relieved that he’d cleaned the place up himself. One less job on her list.
‘I’ll risk the hot choc, please.’
‘Wise choice.’ He filled the white plastic kettle and switched it on. Maisie sat down on a rattan chair in front of the single bed. The place had been dusted and had had the Henry Hoover round it, by the looks of the tracks on the carpet. It was very basic, but at least it was clean. The cost of getting new furniture – new anything – out to the island meant that things couldn’t be thrown away unless absolutely necessary.
As the kettle boiled, Maisie tried to compose herself and let her heightened feelings calm down. Patrick opened the kitchen window and the top light in the bedsitting area to let some fresh air in. He’d also left the door open a crack so there was a route for escape if necessary. If she wanted it.
Patrick handed her a mug of hot chocolate and lifted his own, chipped mug from the rattan table next to her.
‘Cheers,’ he said, clinking her mug with his. ‘Here’s to our working relationship.’
Maisie smiled. ‘Back at you, and here’s to you doing as you’re told from now on.’
‘Good luck with that.’