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Castle Hill: A Joss and Braden Novella
     

Castle Hill: A Joss and Braden Novella

4.3 46
by Samantha Young
 
In the New York Times bestselling novel On Dublin Street, Joss and Braden fought for their happily ever after. Now, in a romantic new novella, they’ll discover what comes after the happy ending… 
Braden Carmichael never imagined he’d fall as hard and as fast as he did for Jocelyn Butler. He also could not have anticipated

Overview

In the New York Times bestselling novel On Dublin Street, Joss and Braden fought for their happily ever after. Now, in a romantic new novella, they’ll discover what comes after the happy ending… 
Braden Carmichael never imagined he’d fall as hard and as fast as he did for Jocelyn Butler. He also could not have anticipated how difficult it would be to convince her to give in to love. But now that he has her, he’s never letting go. He’s got it all planned—the passionate proposal, the dream wedding, the sexy Hawaiian honeymoon—even the perfect family they’ll start.
 
After trying to flee from her painful past, Joss is finally allowing herself to embrace the future. But when things start moving faster than she anticipated, she finds herself panicking over something Braden can’t understand. After everything they’ve been through, Joss is sure that their love can survive even her worst fears. But, this time, she may push Braden too far—and risk losing everything all over again…

 
Includes a preview of Before Jamaica Lane

 

Praise for the novels of Samantha Young

 
“Really sexy.”—USA Today
“Young’s voice is riveting.”—Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
“Brilliantly written with just the right amount of hotness, sexiness, and romance.”—Once Upon a Twilight
“Samantha Young is not an author you should miss out on.”—Fresh Fiction

Samantha Young is a Scottish book addict who graduated from the University of Edinburgh. She is the New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street, Down London Road, and Until Fountain Bridge.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780698156371
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/03/2013
Series:
On Dublin Street Series
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
106
Sales rank:
68,871
File size:
767 KB

Read an Excerpt

 

 

The Proposal

My fingers moved fast but quietly across the keys of my laptop, and I’d adjusted the screen light so it wasn’t so blaring. I’d woken up in the middle of the night, wide-awake and itching to finish the chapter in my manuscript where my dad finally makes progress in his relationship with my mom. Much of what I’d written was conjecture since I only knew the basic history of my parents’ relationship, but their world, or the world I’d given them, had taken me over these past few months and I found myself enjoying writing in a way I had never before.

This often meant late-night type-fests and despite the fact that I was partially consumed by their story, I was also very much aware of my considerate bedfellow and was trying to act as he would and not wake him up.

I’d been typing for just over an hour and finally I’d come to the end of the chapter. After saving the file, I shut the laptop down and stared at it for a while. Breathing in and out, slowly, evenly, I controlled the wound inside of me. Pain slashed me deep across my chest and when I thought on the loss of my parents, of my little sister, Beth, that cut would widen into an agonizing gash. Before my considerate bedfellow, I’d have sewn that cut completely shut and put a numbing agent over it. Now I felt it. I just didn’t let it overwhelm me by turning it into a gaping hole.

Braden helped a lot with that.

My considerate bedfellow.

Among other things.

I smiled and turned in my chair to look at him in the dark room. His bare back was uncovered, the sheets drawn up to his waist, his long legs tangled in them in the middle of the bed. We didn’t have “sides of the bed.” Braden was a cuddler—he insisted we didn’t need sides.

He’d had an exhausting day yesterday. He’d called me late, explaining how he’d gone from meeting to meeting, and then he had been pulled into some emergency at his nightclub Fire, which turned out not to be such an emergency but a case of crap management. When he’d returned home I must have already fallen asleep but I wasn’t surprised that I woke up in his arms. Or that he’d been so tired he didn’t wake up when I extricated myself from his embrace.

Gazing longingly at his muscular back and strong arms, I wanted to slip back into bed and wrap him around me. But looking at his sleeping face in profile I stopped myself. I was afraid I’d wake him up and he obviously needed his rest.

Standing up slowly so my chair wouldn’t squeak, I tiptoed in the dark across to the bed and very gently eased myself back into it, checking constantly to make sure I hadn’t woken him as I pulled the sheets back up over me. I lay down on my side, my hand tucked under my cheek, and I stared at him.

He was beautiful.

Just looking at him caused a different kind of ache inside of me.

This was a man who’d fought long and hard to keep me, even when I was bent on self-destructing us. This was a man who understood I could be difficult and stubborn and a little bit irrational (okay, maybe a freaking lot irrational), and still loved me. I wasn’t the best at expressing my emotions. I’d spent so long guarding them so I wouldn’t be vulnerable to heartbreak that even now I wasn’t the gushy, emotional type of girl who could tell her boyfriend every single day that she loved him.

But Braden knew I loved him.

Sometimes I wondered, though, if he knew how much. I wondered if he knew that just watching him sleep made me scary happy, breathless even. I wondered if he knew that he was absolutely, without a doubt, everything to me.

Usually that wasn’t something I’d want anyone to know because it meant admitting it out loud, and if I admitted it out loud and then lost that person, then I couldn’t pretend I’d never felt so much for them in the first place. But that was the old me. Dr. Pritchard, my therapist, wouldn’t be happy with me if I held on to that kind of thinking.

I wouldn’t be happy with me.

Worse, Braden wouldn’t be happy with me.

I snuggled a little closer, just needing to feel the heat from his body against my skin. My eyes dropped to his mouth, his beautiful mouth, which said and did a lot of nice things to me.

I was everything to Braden. I knew this because he told me so. He never made me doubt how much I meant to him.

“Is there a reason you’re over there and I’m over here?” he suddenly muttered, his eyes still shut.

I’d jerked back at the sound of his voice but was now smiling as I slid closer. “You’re awake,” I whispered, wrapping my arm around his waist, entwining my legs with his as he draped a strong arm over my back and snuggled me against his firm chest. I sighed. Content.

“I’ve been awake for the past ten minutes, waiting for you to get your arse back in beside me.”

I snorted at his disgruntled tone.

His warm hand slid down over my back, caressing my butt before smoothing back up my spine. “You get what you needed to get down?”

“Mmmhmm. Finished my chapter.”

“Good, babe. Now go back to sleep.”

I smirked against his chest. “Okay, caveman.”

A minute or so passed and just as Braden was drifting back off I whispered, “You’re my everything. You know that right?”

His arm tensed around me at my words and then I found myself pushed back, his eyes boring intensely into mine. After searching them, his sleepy mouth curled up at the corners. “You don’t need to sweet-talk me to get sex, babe.”

My eyes smiled. “Well that kind of knowledge could have saved me months of uncomfortable expressions of love.”

Wide-awake now, Braden tightened his arms around me and as he flipped onto his back he hauled me with him so I was sprawled across his chest, my legs straddling his hips. A note of seriousness entered his gaze as he drew his thumb across my mouth. A shiver rippled through me and I loved that he excited me so much. “I know how you feel about me. I feel the same way. You never have to worry that you don’t tell me enough, okay?”

There he went again, being all perceptive to the point of being creepy psychic mind reader guy. “You’re creepy psychic mind reader guy.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Creepy?”

“In a hot way.”

“There’s a hot way to be creepy?”

“Slide your hand south and creepy will certainly become hot.”

Braden’s teeth flashed in the dark, his wicked smile jump-starting my heart. His hand drifted south, down my back, over my pert ass he liked so much and under my nightdress.

“Am I hot now?” he asked, his voice low and rumbling with arousal as his fingers slipped beneath my panties.

I arched into his touch, bracing my hands on his chest. “Baby, you don’t know how to be anything else.”

My words jacked Braden up, his torso lifting from the bed, so I found myself sitting in his lap, our chests pressed close, his arms holding me tight. His lips brushed gently over mine as he shifted me so his erection throbbed between my legs. “You’re killing me with compliments.”

I shrugged, my reply whispered against his mouth, “I just wanted you to know that just because I don’t say it all the time, doesn’t mean I don’t feel it.”

This time he kissed me, tongue and all, deep and wet. When he pulled back for air, he promised me, “I know.” His hands pushed at my nightgown until he caught the hem and tugged it up over my head. Braden’s heated gaze moved over my naked body and I abruptly found myself on my back as he pushed down his pajama bottoms. “Believe me, I know.”

***

The wind was beating against my back and the sad, gray clouds above me were giving me this apologetic little pout. When I’d left the flat this morning the sun had been out and I’d dressed weather-appropriate. I had on a thin T-shirt and my best pair of black skinny jeans. Now it was threatening rain and I was shivering in my shirt, wondering how I’d managed to let myself be talked into the trek I was on and trying not to be as pissed as I was feeling.

After the emotionally fueled sex Braden and I had had early that morning, I was a little surprised to find him so distracted when we’d gotten up. Sure, he was tired from lack of sleep, but that had never stopped him from paying attention to what I had to say. However, he’d hurried into a shower, shooed me (yes, shooed!) me out of our bedroom while he got dressed, given me a quick kiss, told me Ellie wanted to spend the day with me and I should call her, and then hurried out of the flat.

It left me feeling confused. I felt like I was missing something.

Instead of sitting at home on a Saturday, stewing over it, I’d let Ellie talk me into accompanying her. Sometimes she’d get something in her head that she just had to have or had to do and she’d drag me all over the city to these obscure little shops. This time I’d let her talk me into the thirty-minute walk to Bruntsfield. Way back in my pre-Carmichael years I used to live in Bruntsfield. It was this kitschy little area of the city with kitschy little shops. It was popular with students. I’d say I missed it but it hadn’t come with an adorably annoying best friend like Ellie or her brother Braden, the man who was currently driving me to distraction.

The journey to Bruntsfield had a purpose. Or at least that’s what Ellie told me. Apparently she’d passed this little clothing boutique that had on sale “the most gorgeous vintage shoes ever” and Ellie was kicking herself for not buying them. We were back, trying to find the shop and hopefully the shoes.

“Are you even listening to me?” Ellie asked, a teasing smile in her voice as she studied me, her short blond hair blowing into her face.

“Of course.” I really was listening. Mostly. I knew the discussion pertained to our friend Jo and her new boyfriend, Cameron. “You were telling me you think Cam is moving pretty fast with Jo?” I asked it with a slight hint of a question in my tone, since I wasn’t too sure if that was the point she’d been trying to make.

“A little. Don’t you?”

Absolutely. “Uh-huh.” And I did. However, my gut told me Cam was a good guy. “But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. In fact, I pretty much think he’s the best thing that could have ever happened to her.”

Ellie shrugged. “I like him. I do. I just don’t want Jo to get hurt.”

I raised an eyebrow at her. “Since when did you get so . . . normal?”

“Normal?” she glared at me. “You mean unromantic? I do realize there are times when romance needs to take a back burner to reality. Jo’s had it tough. As much as I think Cam’s great and as much as I’m rooting for them, I hope he really is going to be there for her. Taking her home to meet his parents this weekend? He’s telling her he’s serious. I hope he means it.”

Although Ellie’s caution surprised me, I understood where she was coming from. Our friend Jo had been messed around by too many guys because she’d chosen them for the wrong reason. Struggling to look after her little brother and her alcoholic mother, Jo always chose men who had financial security. Cam wasn’t one of those guys. He was a struggling graphic designer who’d gotten a job as a bartender alongside me and Jo at Club 39, this swanky little basement bar on George Street. The sparks had started flying as soon as they met, though, and Jo had finally set aside all her silly little dating rules to take a chance on a man who seemed to want her for her.

Despite understanding Ellie’s reservations, I didn’t share them and finally I found myself being distracted from my own boyfriend as I tried to convince Ellie. “I think he’s serious. I think they have a connection. There’s no way to slow that down when you just fit with someone like that. If I hadn’t been so stubborn with Braden, we probably would have been a done deal within a few weeks of meeting each other.”

A mysterious, secretive smile flirted with Ellie’s lips.

What the . . . ?

“What? Am I missing something? Did I say something funny?”

“No,” she answered hurriedly, eyes drifting up over the old Evangelical church. Abruptly she stopped. “We’re here.”

“Where is here?” I looked around. There were no vintage shoes in sight.

Ellie glanced at her watch and then out at the traffic on the cross junction, then back at her watch, then back at the road . . .

“Ellie?” My heart started to thump as the day’s events began to fall into place, like pieces of a puzzle. “What is going on?”

Her eyes were wide when they hit mine.

“Jesus C, Ellie, what is it? You’re freaking me out.”

For once, however, her lips were tightly sealed. Literally. They were pinched closed so tightly the color was bleeding from them. Her eyes swung back out to the road and as I watched her shoulders deflate with relief, I followed her gaze.

She was smiling at an approaching black cab.

That excited, eyes-twinkling-bright-with-utter-joy smile swung my way. “I’m going to go now.”

Uh . . .

I whirled around as she strode past me, heading back the way we’d just come.

Baffled, I threw my hands up. “Ellie?”

She was still grinning as she looked back at me over her shoulder. She pointed behind me and I turned back to see the black cab had pulled up to the curb beside me.

Meet the Author

Samantha Young is a Scottish book addict who graduated from the University of Edinburgh. She is the New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street, Down London Road, and Until Fountain Bridge.

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Castle Hill: A Joss and Braden Novella 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Kristas_Dust_Jacket More than 1 year ago
Castle Hill was, like, the PERFECT novella. It overlapped events in other books in the series (and, therefore, we see characters we know from those other books too), and enriched and added so much to Joss and Braden's story at the same time. It packed a powerful, emotional punch in a short package. Castle Hill takes us from Braden's proposal through the wedding and honeymoon and into the weeks following. We've seen bits of this story in On Dublin Street, Down London Road and in the upcoming Before Jamaica Lane, and now they're all coming together to paint this tumultuous and romantic picture. It only took me a few hours to read the entire thing, and I was completely lost in the story the entire time. The best part about Castle Hill is that it knocked Braden down from the pedestal on which I had set him. Trust me - that's a good thing. Guys that are too damn perfect are a fallacy - they don't exist, and therefore make stories seem less believable. For once, Joss isn't the one to make some bad choices. I was so mad at Braden for a good half of the story, and I LOVED THAT. It humanized him and made him come to life even more. Now - NOW - Braden really is the perfect guy. Bravo, Samantha Young. The only problem with Castle Hill is, it left me wanting even more!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only 80pages..not worth the money...enjoyed 1st bookthis one ok ..
emrld_eyes76 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novella and finding out what happened with Braden and Jocelyn.
SheBookBlogs More than 1 year ago
I wanted to love this book.  I loved the other books in this series.  I love the romance, the stories, the relationships in the previous book.  However, I had some difficulty with Castle Hill. My problem with the book was with the heroine, Jocelyn.  I did not trust her and I am not talking about whether she would cheat on Braden, but I did not trust her decisions.  Yes, I know that Braden was the first man she opened up to and actually loved, but I felt like her behavior was very selfish.  I felt she rarely thought about Braden and how he would feel about situations.  I felt (and this is my opinion) that it was always about her.  I felt she was a little selfish.  I wanted to shake her and go “Jocelyn, wake up!!! You have wonderful friends and a husband that would give up everything for you.  Why do you invent so much drama in your head???!!!”  She is too old to have to be reassured like a child. I just want to say that Braden is awesome and my problem was that I did not feel that Joss was worthy of such a selfless man when she really only thought about herself and how decision would affect her and not him.  I hate saying this, but every time I felt Joss was changing for the better, she would go back to what felt like a pity party. The writing is good and I adore Samantha Young. I just could not get past how Joss tried to sabotage her happiness.    I was unable to connect to the heroine. I loved the other books in the series and recommend.  A copy was provided by PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 Stars.
Crazybooknerd More than 1 year ago
Castle Hill by Samantha Young (Audio Edition) Narrated by Paula Costello On Dublin Street Series #3.5 3.5 stars - This book was pretty good. You kinda already know what's happened between Joss and Braden, if you have read Before Jamaica Lane. However it explains the details that we didn't get to see. There is lots of sex scenes (it's their honeymoon after all). I liked seeing a bit of the behind the scenes for the proposal and Jocelyn’s views on the honeymoon and kids. This continues to be a well written series. ~Paragraphs and Petticoats~
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
Castle Hill is a novella (#2.5) in Samantha Young's contemporary adult romance series titled On Dublin Street. Each book in this series centers on a different couple's romance with cameos by past/future characters. I have enjoyed some of these books better than others but Joss and Braden's story will never get old in my opinion. Although Castle Hill is technically a novella, I consider it the ultimate epilogue for their story in the first book On Dublin Street. Castle Hill is beautiful, lovely, romantic, incredibly sexy, and endearing...but it is also ugly, complicated, and isolating. Joss and Braden have overcome so much in their relationship but old habits die hard. I'm happy to say I was smiling at the end though. I just love their characters and will always happily read their story. If you follow this series, or even if you've only read the first book, check out Castle Hill! Pssss...Braden wears a kilt in it. Just sayin'. My favorite quote: “You don’t need to sweet-talk me to get sex, babe.” My eyes smiled. “Well that kind of knowledge could have saved me months of uncomfortable expressions of love.”
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Night.
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LeahLR More than 1 year ago
This is a must read.
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I am addicted to these books. The stories are fantastic and I get totally sucked into their lives. Please keep writing!!!
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Loved the continuation of Joss and Braden's story. I cried more than once. Needless to say i loved it. Just wished it had been a little longer.