All At Once It's You
Author: Rosie Chapel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 16, 2018
When Alex arrives in the small village of Rosedale Abbey, to take up a position as a research assistant for a renowned archaeologist, the last thing she is looking for, or expects to find, is love.
Jake was perfectly happy with the status quo. When it came to relationships, he didn’t do committed or long term. He called the shots, and if his current flame didn’t like it, she knew what to do. A philosophy, which served him well - until he met Alex.
Romance blooms, but even as the untamed wilderness of the North Yorkshire moors weaves its spell, a long buried secret might yet jeopardise their happily ever after.
It was late morning, when a scream rent the peace. It continued — scream after scream after scream. Jake and Reuben shot along to Alex's room, to see her tossing on the bed, grappling with the bedclothes.
“Now do you believe she’s afraid of storms?” Reuben said, pointedly.
“Leave her to me, Dad. Would you make another coffee?” Jake moved to the bed and sitting down, tried to get hold of Alex's flailing hands. Despite receiving a couple of good smacks to the chest, he caught them, and drew her towards him. Shuffling until he was leaning against the headboard, he tucked her snugly against his long frame. Alex fought him off, but he didn’t relax his hold, and eventually, her screams died away, to be replaced by shuddering sobs, which shook her body, words spilling unintelligibly from her lips. Unable to make neither head nor tail of what she was muttering, Jake didn’t try, just stroked his hand up and down her back, trying to calm her.
Slowly, slowly, she quieted, her sobs becoming hiccups. She must have felt safe, because her hand crept over his waist, coming to rest on his stomach, and without thinking he entwined his fingers through hers, stroking her palm with his thumb. She settled against him, head now on his chest, falling back into a deeper sleep.
Reluctant to move, in case he woke her, Jake waited until Reuben came in with the drinks. His father said nothing, merely placed two coffees on the bedside table and left, closing the door behind him. Jake studied the woman he was almost sharing a bed with, trying to work out why she evoked such powerful emotions in him. He had never reacted to a woman, to anyone, the way he reacted to Alex. Reuben was right, they had enjoyed being together. He loved her wit and humour; he loved her intelligence, and the way her face lit up when she talked about Ancient Rome, their lively banter, and her mischievous sense of fun.
He loved her … wait loved her…? Nope — absolutely no way.
Love didn’t come into this equation. If he loved anyone, it was Diana but, even as he thought this, Jake realised, with a sinking heart, he didn’t. Diana was the perfect companion for any number of reasons, but although he enjoyed her company, there was no blaze, no desperation to see her again, no feeling of sadness when they parted.
Brooding over this, a series of pictures insinuated themselves into his mind. The day he came upon Alex curled up on the sofa, hugging a cushion while fighting back tears over a scene from one of her favourite movies. When she and Reuben fell about laughing at some badly researched historical documentary. Her wild gesticulations when she was excited about something — be it a new source she had teased out or simply because she had seen a fledgling finally take flight. Her vivid face, her eloquent eyes, her soft lips … as his thoughts spiralled out, a line from one of those goddamn musicals she insisted on listening to, drifted through his mind. Alex had been singing it the other day, when she thought herself alone.
How did it go again…? ‘…now all at once it’s you, it’s you for evermore.’
Oh, bloody hell!