5-18 Powell's City of Books, World's Largest Indie Bookstore by Judith Ashley and Sarah Raplee

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Christmas is a Romantic Time of Year + Free Book

Dora is short for my birth name Dorothy which means Gift of God. So how could I not have a connection with the spiritual side of Christmas? I love the nativity story, however, I don’t expect everyone to celebrate Christmas the way I do. For many Father Christmas and his magical reindeer pulling a sleigh full of presents for the children is a wonderful tradition that supports the idea of giving to one another. That’s the important thing. That Christmas is experienced as a time of loving one another and giving.

As a child I rarely received presents. My birthday and Christmas were the two times of the year I could look forward to as times to receive something special. As an adult, I have the means to enjoy treats anytime but I also get to give which I like just as much. Christmas remains important because of the family gatherings and spirit of generosity. Sometimes Christmas is hard, like the first one without my mother. But the consolation of family gathering together went a long way to bringing me comfort. Family and gathering together is a hallmark of the festive season.

You’re wondering by now when am I going to make the link to romance. Here it is. What makes Christmas a romantic time of year. Romance is about couples before they are a family. It’s the pre-family we are reading about. How the couples find each other, bond, and become better people is a joyful story of a family just before it’s born.

Romance is about loving relationships. It’s not just about a man and a woman but the idea that at the end there is a happy ever after or at least a happy for now. It leaves me with the hope that they will become a family as well.

Do you agree with me, that romance and Christmas are linked? Comment below with your ideas about what makes Christmas romantic.

In my book The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover there is a strong thread of creating a family. I’m doing something unusual by posting the Epilogue from the book as an excerpt. It shows the happy family that was created during this romantic story on the morning of Christmas day.

In the spirit of Romance at Christmas, I’m giving away a copy of The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover, to everyone reading this blog. For your copy email me at and tell me what format you’d like your book emailed to you in. You will also receive an invitation to join my newsletter list but do not need to accept to keep the book.

I don’t think it will spoil your enjoyment of the book if you read the epilogue now. But if you think it will you can skip to emailing me straight away for your copy and read it from the start.

Epilogue for The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover

Two years later.
Natalie rocked the nursing chair with one foot keeping a gentle beat that swung her and baby Alistair back and forth. Milk flowed into his mouth and ran out the sides. His powerful suck always amazed her. She glanced up at Angus who’d arrived a few minutes earlier. He was about to say something when he walked in but on seeing her feeding Alistair, words had deserted him and now he leaned, as if transfixed, against the change table. His strong features were softened and glowing with pride and heart-melting tenderness. His gaze locked on his son.
“How are things going downstairs?” She asked.
His gaze flicked to hers. His mouth shaped a warm smile full of love. “The troops are assembled and are waiting for the latest recruit to arrive.”
Alistair’s grip on her breast relaxed and he gurgled. Natalie checked on him as he pushed himself back to look up at her. His mouth made the same shaped, heart-warming, smile as his father. Natalie wiped his mouth with a tissue and he giggled and laughed. “I think he’s full. Tell them we’ll be down in a minute.”
Angus took two long strides across the room and kissed his son on his head and gained a happy gurgle and gummy smile reward. He held Natalie’s face and lined up the angle for a deep kiss. His lips, soft and sensuous melded to hers, his tongue sought the recesses of her mouth and she sighed into him. Something in her chest relaxed and swelled every time he did that. He lifted himself away. “He’s worth everything we went through to get him.” He stroked her hair as he straightened up.
“Yes, all the disappointments and difficulties of the IVF rounds were worth it to get this amazing little bundle of love. But even if it hadn’t worked we were still so very blessed.”
“Absolutely. I’ll see you downstairs.”
Ten minutes later, after burping and changing Alistair, Natalie carried him into the sitting room. Before the blazing fire, safely contained behind the screen, her three adopted children played on the room-sized Persian rug.
One little dark brown face was already turned watching for her entrance. “Mummy,” Zahir said, “Can we see what Santa brought us now?” The younger children, Feisal and Aisha were shaking the boxes that spilled from under the enormous pine tree and trying to guess the contents.
“Yes darling, it’s time to open the presents.”
“Zahir, as you’re the oldest, would you please hand them out?”
He searched the boxes for each child’s name tag and then ceremoniously delivered them.
The surgeons had rebuilt his skull so he didn’t have to turn his head side to side anymore. He’d worked with a speech therapist after his mouth was rebuilt and could now speak clearly. “Just like his Daddy.” he proudly said.  He liked to have his curly dark hair styled like his father’s and wear the same style of clothes too.
When each of the children had a pile of presents in front of them, including baby Alistair they began to tear at the paper. Natalie helped the baby open a box that contained a soft book. His chubby hands grabbed it and activated a cow noise toy inside it. He squeaked and gurgled then shook it again.
There were squeals of delight and much scrunching of paper as each child uncovered the present within. “Look what I got, Mummy and Daddy.” Aisha held up a pair of ballet slippers. “Now Aunty Katrina can teach me to dance.”
“I think she might have put in a special request to Santa for you to get those. She’ll be looking forward to teaching you your first steps,” said Natalie.
She’d managed to have several visits a year with her sisters so her children knew their Aunties. They loved showing them their artworks and academic achievement awards on Skype. Natalie kept in touch via weekly video chats with them too.
It was her only dampener on Christmas, that her sisters wouldn’t be coming to Scotland this year. Ruby came over to be with her for a month’s stay when Alistair was born but he was six months old now. Katie’s having become a single mother made it difficult for her to travel.  Ruby hadn’t been able to get time off from her fashion designer job this Christmas. But Natalie wouldn’t let that stop her enjoying her children today.
Feisal stood up, carrying a large box containing a model train set. “Look Mummy.” He brought it over for her to appreciate properly.
“It’s wonderful darling.” Alistair sat securely propped up in the crook of her arm waving his fabric book. With her free hand, she pulled Feisal close and hugged him and kissed his cheek. He bent down and kissed his baby brother’s head. Next, he carried it over to Angus’s chair. “Daddy, will you help me set it up?”
“Just try and stop me. I’ll hold it while you open the rest of your presents.”
When all the presents had been opened and red, green and gold paper littered the floor, the hall door burst open. Katrina strode in with an impossibly light step, in her arms she carried her little boy Alex. “Merry Christmas!” She made a dramatic entrance that only a prima ballerina can. Her faux fur coat still dusted with snow, a testament to her hurry to surprise them.
Ruby followed Katie into the room. Her red wool coat also had a dusting of snow on the shoulders. “Surprise!” she said.
Natalie jumped up from her chair and handed baby Alistair to Angus before turning and catching her sisters into a three-way bear hug. Then she stood back and kissed the baby boy in Katrina’s arms.
“Hello, Alex. I’m your Aunty Natalie.”  She turned to Angus, “Did you do this?”
“I pulled a few strings.” He winked and smiled with satisfaction. “I wanted you to have a real family Christmas and that meant getting your sisters here.”
“He organized first class seats for me and the baby and Ruby,” said Katrina.
Angus had been relentless in moving mountains to clear the way for bringing the Zahir project to life. He’d called in favors with senators, and gained the numbers he needed in the House of Lords to bring in humanitarian friendly legislation. It didn’t surprise her that he’d find a way to bring her sisters on the other side of the world to her.
She went to his side and sighed as she looked at her family. Their children had abandoned their toys and were clustering around her sisters. Each was picked up, kissed and hugged in turn. “Thank you, Angus. I love you so much.”
Ruby put out her arms to cuddle Alistair. Once Angus passed him across to her he slung his arm around Natalie’s waist and drew her up against him. He placed a tender kiss on her lips. “I love you too, and I always will.”

If you’d like to read the full book I’m giving it away to anyone who emails me at and asks for a copy. You will also receive an invitation to join my newsletter list but do not need to accept to keep the book.


Sarah Raplee said...

I do see that Romance is linked with special holidays like Christmas. I loved your Epilogue! Can't wait to read the book!

Thank you for doing a Giveaway.

Judith Ashley said...

Dora, I can follow your reasoning on Romance and Christmas however, I see Christmas through a lens that doesn't have romance. I do see that it is about family, relationships and an over-arching love of mankind. I loved your Epilogue and will confess that I'm someone who will jump to the last few pages or the Epilogue when I'm reading a book. You might understand that I'm not really in to suspense - tension? okay but suspense? not so much.