Christmas at the Cornish Cafe
by Phillipa Ashley
About the book...
Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.
She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?
Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.
A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?
This second novel in the bestselling Cornish Cafe series is the perfect book to curl up with this Christmas.
December 22nd, morning
‘The coastal communities of West Cornwall are bracing themselves for a miserable Christmas as spring tides and high winds combine to create a storm surge that will threaten the north and west of the county. Mayor of St Trenyan, Kerren St Minver, is advising all residents and businesses within half a mile of the harbour to take action immediately as the “hundred-year” storm is set to reach its peak in the early hours of tomorrow. Stay tuned for bulletins and information …’
‘I don’t like the sound of that at all.’ Polly turns the radio down in the kitchen of the farmhouse. ‘Though it doesn’t surprise me. It’s been working itself up to a hell of a storm for the past few days.’
‘You don’t think Greg Stennack is exaggerating? You know what Radio St Trenyan’s like. They love to make a mountain out of a molehill.’
‘He could be, I suppose, but as I say, I’ve lived here a long time and I have a very bad feeling about this.’
Cal walks in from the yard, rain running off his waxed hat. ‘What are they saying?’ he asks, as Polly gives him a withering glare for dripping on the tiles.
‘That it’s going to be bad,’ I say.
‘I thought as much. Well, all we can do is be prepared. I’ve serviced the generator and we’ve plenty of diesel for it, in case the power goes off. We should be able to power the farmhouse and guest cottages, but we’d better go round and warn everyone of what to expect.’
But what should they expect? I’ve seen storms and high tides before, and one of them brought a tree down on the house in the summer, but a hundred-year storm sounds very scary.
‘At least we won’t be flooded out up here. Apart from possible power cuts, we’ll be OK with a bit of luck,’ Cal says. ‘It’s the poor buggers down in St Trenyan I pity.’
‘There was a very high tide combined with terrible gales a few years back, one February when you were away,’ Polly says grimly. ‘And I wouldn’t want to go through that worry again.’
‘I remember that, but I was working and living in Truro then, so we missed the worst of the flooding,’ I say.
‘That tide damaged a couple of properties round here, but we escaped a lot better than people further up the coast. There were homes destroyed and flooded out right into Devon. But I do recall a proper storm surge when I was a little girl. I couldn’t have been more than four or five, but I’ve never forgotten it. Waves as big as houses breaking over the harbour, there were. The harbourmaster’s office was wrecked and hundreds of people were out of their homes for weeks and some for months. God knows, I hope we don’t have that again.’
I shudder and hope Polly’s memory has exaggerated how bad the weather was in her youth. I think of Sheila and her cafe, slap bang on the beach front. Tamsin’s Spa is in the back streets, a little higher up, so it should be OK. We’re all in trouble if the water gets that high.
Cal sits down at the table. ‘Let’s hope so. We’ll just have to wait and see,’ he says firmly. ‘Demi – are you opening today?’
‘Yes, and tomorrow if we can, even if only for a couple of hours. There are already guests arriving for the Christmas week and they’ll want a cosy place to hang out in this weather.’
‘OK. You go ahead and do what you need to, but be careful on the cliff top, the wind’s very strong so make your own judgement about whether it’s safe to have people walking around up there so close to the edge. Shall we muck in and speak to the guests? There’s no need to alarm them,’ he says firmly, directing his comment at Polly, ‘but forewarned is forearmed’.
About the author...
Phillipa Ashley is the author of the best-selling Cornish Cafe series. She just loves writing feelgood romantic fiction! As Pippa Croft, she also wrote the steamy Oxford Blue series published by Penguin Books.
Her brand new Penwith series is out now. Book 1 –Summer at the Cornish Cafe was a 2016 summer best seller and the sequel Christmas at the Cornish Cafe is available from October 13th. They’re both comforting reads with lots of twists and turns – perfect for when you want to escape at any time of year.
This year she’s celebrating a decade since her debut novel, Decent Exposure, was published. It was made into a Lifetime TV movie called 12 Men of Christmas starring Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins. Read more about it here.
Check out her blog to find out what – and who – is distracting her from her work today.
For the very latest news, follow her on Twitter @phillipaashley or visit her Facebook page.
Visit amazon for her latest book and read more about her others.