Friday 2 December 2016

Blog tour: Christmas At The Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley

I'm very excited about this blog tour today! Christmas At a The Cornish Cafe is such a Christmasey read and I've got a fab extract to share with you today! First off, here's what it's all about...

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.

Chapter Four

Coffee machine: on.

Air conditioning: on.

Ovens: on.

Sunshine: off, for now, but judging by the pale-blue patches peeking through the clouds, it’s clearing up, which is just what we want to tempt customers out onto the coastal path and into the cafe for our opening day.

I repeat the words again, because I don’t believe them: It’s opening day at Demelza’s. Opening day at my cafe. Six months ago I had no job, no home and no prospects and now look at me: manager of my own tiny empire.

Nina shouts from the side door. ‘Demi! Demi! Come quick. Mitch has done something terrible!’

I run after her to the rear of the cafe, picturing Mitch with his teeth sunk into a toddler. The white fishmonger’s van is parked outside. Harry, the driver, is cursing and shaking his fist at Mitch, who’s chomping his way through a pack of fish from a safe distance.

‘There goes your smoked mackerel order,’ Harry says. ‘Only turned away for a minute to get the shellfish out of the van for Nina and the crafty hound had the polystyrene off the packs and was wolfing them down.’

Plastic wrappers and polystyrene snow litter the grass. Mitch licks his chops and looks up at us as if to say, ‘You have a problem?’

‘I tried to grab them off him but he was too quick for me,’ Nina wails. ‘I’m sorry, Demi. Shall I tell everyone that the Fisherman’s Lunch is off? We’ve got bit of smoked salmon, but that won’t last long.’

‘Leave it on until we run out of the salmon, then tell everyone we’ve sold out. I don’t want to take something off the menu on our first day.’

I glare at Mitch, though, from the way Nina shouted, I’m relieved that his antics are nothing worse. ‘Mitch, you’re in trouble when I get hold of you. You can forget coming anywhere near my bed tonight. Your breath will stink for a week!’

Harry carries the rest of the order into the back of the cafe. We can’t afford to waste expensive food, but I guess if Mitch guzzling the mackerel is the worst thing that happens on opening day, we’ll be doing OK. With my nostrils closed, I tether Mitch in the shade by the back door with a bowl of water and his rope chew. I’ll ask Robyn to take him when she turns up. I go back inside the cafe with a smile that says I’m cool about ‘little mishaps’ like losing a small fortune’s worth of smoked mackerel.

The team is buzzing about in the cafe, servery and kitchen, preparing for our first day. My breath catches at the sight that greets me. They all look super smart in their teal-blueDemelza’s Cafe aprons – and Jez the chef, who’s in whites. His charcoal-coloured ponytail dangles from the back of his teal chef’s cap. He’s pushing forty, but still a lean, mean type who lives to surf. He also happens to be a very good chef. We were lucky to get him, but the part-time hours enable him to make the most of the gnarly surfing conditions and quiet beaches during the autumn and winter.

Nina’s back behind the server, checking the operation of the till for the umpteenth time. I met her when we both worked as waitresses at a ball earlier this year. She’s the same age as me and helps her mum run a kennels and dog rescue centre over the moor from Kilhallon. With all the dog walking and her triathlon training, she’s super fit. Her spiky orange hair reminds me of a pixie.

Shamia, currently filling the condiment area, is my order taker. She’s wearing a teal-blue headscarf to match her apron. She looks the most confident of anyone, to be honest. She’s a former dinner lady and now a food blogger. She will be lending us a hand on weekdays while her little boy goes to nursery school, and at the weekends when her husband can babysit

My official title is Cafe Manager, but I’m also the general dogsbody, greeting people, clearing tables and helping out on the counter. I love the baking and cooking, but I’ve had to leave most of the hot food prep to Jez.

There’s only one person missing.

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