Christmas is Cancelled
It’s impossible to forget…
Matilda ‘Tilly’ Carter has had the week from hell – and now, with all trains cancelled, it looks like Christmas will be too! With a mascara-streaked face, a broken heel and nowhere to go, there’s never been a worse time to run into the man who once broke her heart. Especially when he looks better than ever.
The one that got away…
For Dean, Christmas has always been hard. The Tilly standing before him is no longer the firecracker of his memories—even if the way she makes his heart race hasn’t changed at all. He is determined to uphold the promise that kept them apart nine years ago. But spending a cosy Christmas with Tilly would break a better man and each accidental touch, heated look and stolen kiss is taking its toll on Dean.
After all this time, can the magic of Christmas bring Tilly and Dean together at last?
"This was a Christmas read unlike any other... The author did a brilliant job of taking a happy event and turning it into mystery, intrigue and suspense,combined with romance, truth being revealed and a decade long secret finally setting a torn man free by the one woman that has always held his heart in her hands."
"Rowl has a magical touch, and she brings it together in this sensual, passionate tale of love lost, found, lost again, and then found permanently at last... This is her debut contemporary romance novel and I hope she writes plenty more of them." 5 stars - The Library at the END of the Universe
"It's freaking fantastic! It's cute, funny, romantic, sexy, steamy, and serious all in one!"
"Christmas Is Cancelled is a thoroughly absorbing, deeply romantic, sensual story, that will brighten your holiday's this season... [It] is Aurelia B Rowl's debut novel, and what a debut it is! Filled with humor, romance, enjoyable characters, and a deeply moving storyline, I highly recommend this delightful tale to all romance lovers looking for a beautiful Christmas story!" 4.5 hearts - Harlequin Junkie
"If you're looking for a sexy, emotion driven romance with strong and deeply human characters, then Christmas is Cancelled won't disappoint." 4 Fabulous Fairies - Bex 'n' Books
Less than five minutes after jumping out of the shower, she followed Dean downstairs only to be confronted by the sight of him mid-fight with an artificial Christmas tree. Almost as tall as him, the monstrosity filled up the entire corner of the room with Dean on the losing side by the look of it. Not that it had dampened his enthusiasm in the slightest judging from his merrily hummed rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’.
‘Need a hand?’ she asked, struggling not to laugh.
Dean turned and threw her an outlandish grin, undermining her efforts. ‘I don’t suppose you have any body armour in that suitcase of yours?’
‘No, sorry.’ Her giggle leaped out of her throat.
‘Never mind. Now don’t just stand there; this is war.’ He dived back into the heart of the tree with a wild battle cry.
For some bizarre reason, the rakes in the historical romances her mum had always loved sprang to mind – those same ones Tilly had then ‘borrowed’ and read by torchlight at night. Only now did she understand why the heroines swooned at the rakes’ feet, having come face to face with such raw enthusiasm too contagious to resist.
Three hours later and down to the dregs of the second bottle, they high-fived triumphantly then collapsed back onto the sofa. The tree erected and decorated; its lights twinkled away in full multicolour glory despite looking ridiculously out of place in the stylish surroundings.
Her muscles aching from the impromptu workout and too much laughter, Tilly leaned back against the soft leather and admired their handiwork. ‘It’s bloody awful, but I love it.’ She darted a glance at her partner-in-crime but he kept his gaze fixed on the tree.
‘You will stay, won’t you?’ Dean spoke quietly, a hint of nervousness in his tone. He brushed his fingers over the back of her hand and sent shivers down her spine, turning the unfamiliar lightness in her soul into something much more thrilling, much deeper, and much more dangerous. ‘Not just tonight, but for the rest of Christmas?’
The idea certainly appealed and given the choice of whom she’d rather spend Christmas with – between Brian, Phil, or Dean – she’d pick the same option every single time. No contest. If nothing else, Dean offered a roof over her head for a couple of days and the chance to forget her problems. It wasn’t like they wouldn’t still be there waiting for her, like a black hole in her peripheral vision, but time out to regroup could only be beneficial. Perhaps the more pertinent question then was, should she?
Dean waited patiently for her answer, his gaze still fixed on the tree. Even after he’d humiliated her all those years before by publicly rejecting her – turning her into a laughing stock in front of all of her friends at her own birthday party – she’d never fallen out of love with him. The damage had already been done. With Dean setting the benchmark, no other man stood a chance of capturing both her heart and her soul. Not even Brian.
Especially not Brian.
Truth be told, she’d gone out of her way to find Dean’s opposite; someone steady and reliable, responsible and financially viable. Basically all the things Phil would approve of but look where that had got her. Doing the safe thing hadn’t worked out for her, so maybe – just maybe – she should start taking some risks again. Dean already had her heart so by that reasoning she had nothing left to lose but if there was even a remote chance of something happening between them, then it had to be worth exploring, surely?
Decision made, she squeezed Dean’s hand and waited for him to turn to her, meeting his anxious gaze head on. ‘I’d love to.’
A beatific smile erupted on his face that warmed her from her head to her toes and everywhere in between. ‘Great!’ With equal enthusiasm, he tugged on her hand, pulling her across his lap then wrapping his arms around her for a hug.
Tilly’s breath caught in her throat but she embraced him back tightly. Drawn together like magnets, she tilted her head up and moved towards him. Dean dipped his head to meet her halfway. His eyes darkened and her heart galloped, his lips drawing tantalisingly near. Impossible to keep open, her eyelids fluttered closed in anticipation and she waited. Expectant. Except nothing happened.
‘I’m sorry, I can’t,’ Dean murmured.
‘What?’ Tilly opened her eyes. So much turmoil swirled in Dean’s gaze, her own pulse spiked. ‘Why not?’ she whispered, raising her hand to cup his cheek.
Dean screwed his eyes tight shut and pulled back from her but then contradicted himself by leaning into her touch. His stubble scratched her palm like fine sandpaper. The most vulnerable she’d ever seen him, she sensed his control wavering. Quite frankly, she’d be a damn fool to turn down the best opportunity she could ever hope to get. Her pulse kicked again and she made her move, tentatively brushing her lips against Dean’s.
Years of longing came to fruition and left her light-headed but it paled in comparison to the intense shudder that ripped through Dean. She did it again, lingering this time. His lips were soft and warm, unyielding beneath hers yet he hadn’t pushed her away. Emboldened, Tilly traced her tongue over his lips, desperate to taste him. Dean’s spine tingling groan could have been hot-wired directly to her core. Suddenly, he kissed her back, using his lips and tongue to expertly tease hers, over and over again, until her bones melted.
Where to buy...
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin UK)
Release date: 1st December 2014
Read a sample...