Now the Halloween celebrations are over, the Emporium’s focus is on the colder and darker evenings, as we head towards winter and Yule. Unlike many shops, Willow is adamant they won’t decorate for Christmas until December. While it infuriates Amber who wants to put the Yule tree up now, the shop provides an oasis of calm amidst the frenzy and festive delights springing up in neighbouring streets in Whitby. It also ovoid upsetting the tree spirits. There is enough chaos in the shop with the ongoing feud between Black Cat and Vincent, and Mrs Marley’s interference without adding avenging spirits to the mix.
Christmas isn’t completely banned, new festive books are appearing on the Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf and in Rosa’s Box of Romance. Some of the best romances cover this magical season. More than Mistletoe by The Christmas Collective has arrived, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources and Rosa is excited to share an extract with you, to tempt you to read further.
Title: More than Mistletoe
Author: The Christmas Collective
Release Date: 25th October 2021
Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/morethanmistletoe
Cosy up for Christmas with 12 very different tales of love with all the festive feels!
More than Mistletoe, the debut anthology from The Christmas Collective, is an eclectic and inclusive mix of stories, with swoon-worthy characters, second chances and happy endings.
Between the pages, you will discover classic romance, festive thrillers, LGBTQ+ love stories, hilarious romcoms and historical settings, these stories really do span the whole spectrum of festive fiction.
Featuring twelve up and coming new authors, this refreshing, diverse and romantic read, is a must-have read that will leave you reaching for your Christmas jumper, gingerbread cookies and a mug of hot chocolate!
Extract from More than Mistletoe
This extract is taken from Lumikinos by Lucy Alexander. This is the opening story in the More Than Mistletoe anthology. In this beautifully atmospheric tale, Erica finds herself caught in a snowstorm in the Cotswolds on Christmas Eve. When the traffic grinds to a halt, Erica and the other stranded drivers support each other through the long wait. An immediate connection with one particular driver, the handsome Jack, feels so right, it’s almost as if a force as great as Christmas itself is trying to bring them together.
Extract from ‘More Than Mistletoe’: Lumikinos by Lucy Alexander
‘Any news?’ called Jack, as he helped Erica down the steep bank.
Erica spotted the man in the orange hard hat moving down the line with a lantern.
‘No news,’ he called back. ‘Won’t be getting out of here tonight after all, I’m afraid. Plough’s fixed but couldn’t shift it. They’re sending the big one from Oxford first thing. Reckon you’ll be out of here in time for your Christmas dinner, though, okay?’
Erica sighed – but perhaps not quite so heavily as she would have earlier. ‘So … now what?’ she asked.
Jack shrugged. ‘I guess we’d better call our families,’ he suggested.
‘Yes. Yes, you’re right.’ Erica nodded. She took a step towards her Clio, which was now almost completely buried in snow.
‘And then …’ Jack rubbed the back of his neck. ‘Do you maybe want to have a drink or something? I’ve got some Baileys in the car. I was going to give it to my mum for Christmas but … well, looks like we’ll be here for a long time, and would be nice to have some company. You don’t have to, though …’
Erica smiled. ‘No, that would be great.’
Half an hour and some uncomfortable phone calls later, Erica found herself sitting with Jack in his Land Rover, sipping Baileys out of their plastic keep cups and talking as though they had known each other for years, not hours.
It turned out that Jack worked in the city and had gone to the same university as one of Erica’s housemates, and she was pleased to learn that his flat wasn’t too far from her studio. She wasn’t usually much of a chatterbox, but Jack was easy to talk to, and they were just comparing their families’ Christmas traditions when there was a cheerful knock on the window. The glass was completely covered in snow and condensation; Erica opened it to find a group of their fellow drivers, including the Werther’s Originals lady, beaming at them.
‘Hello, dears!’ she cried. ‘We’re all having a campfire and a few nibbles. Would you like to join us?’
Erica and Jack were only too glad to join the others gathered around the campfire – which turned out to be a blazing pile of bracken and old newspaper that some enterprising person had set fire to with a lighter. One person was melting snow in a travel kettle to make tea, and someone else was passing around a tin of roasted chestnuts. Erica toasted her fingertips and felt her toes begin to thaw as she and Jack stood beside the flames. She couldn’t help smiling – strangers were sharing hipflasks and swapping Christmas stories, and if it hadn’t been for the circumstances, Erica would have thought this was rather a nice way to spend Christmas Eve.
Erica and Jack were both hungry, but they too shared what little food they had – a box of M&S biscuits which Jack had bought for his grandmother, and an assortment of Christmas treats that Erica had got from the Bath Christmas market. Erica had also bought a cuddly toy reindeer at the market as a gift for her nephew; this she gave to a little girl whose mother was at the end of her wits trying to settle her down to sleep in the back of their car. Around the same time, a rather sweet old man with an ancient Austin remarked that his heater was broken, so Jack and another driver got out their toolboxes and helped him to fix it.
Later, someone pulled out a guitar, and everyone who wasn’t busy lending blankets and extra clothes to those less well-prepared, gathered back around the fire to join in a spot of spontaneous carolling. Erica was no songbird, but she enjoyed listening to Jack’s tuneful voice as he stood singing beside her.
As the final notes of “In the Bleak Midwinter” soared up towards the starry skies, Jack turned to her and murmured that it was getting late.
Erica felt suddenly warm, and she didn’t think it was because of the fire. Looking up at Jack, she smiled somewhat nervously. ‘It is late,’ she agreed.
‘Do you want to go to bed?’ he asked, then he laughed awkwardly. ‘Er – sorry – I mean, are you tired?’
Erica blushed. She was glad of the firelight flickering over her face. ‘I’m not tired,’ she lied. She found herself longing for the night not to be over just yet.
‘The Christmas Collective is a group of twelve romance authors who came together when shortlisted for a festive romance competition. Together they have created two Christmas Romance anthologies, More Than Mistletoe (2021) and The Mistletoe Mixtape (2022).
The Christmas Collective authors are spread far and wide, across the UK, Ireland, Spain and South Korea, however, one thing connects them despite the distance: a love of romance and Christmas.’