Ollie's Famous Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe + Book Excerpt

Ollie's Famous Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe + Book Excerpt

It's officially December.

And each year around this time, I'm instantly taken back to one of my favorite moments in the Stay with Me trilogy. A calm and cozy Christmas moment Ollie and Mia stole in the seconds between the chaos. The way they were always able to shut out the world around them and cherish each other was inspiring. 

If you've already read Ollie and Mia's story, I hope this small memory of them gives you an adorable smile you can't control. And if you're brave in conquering Ollie's Famous Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe below, please let me know. 

Happy Holidays!

Now Open Your Eyes

Chapter 31

“What about this one?” Mia asked, standing beside a Christmas tree. Rosy cheeks, hidden eyes behind large black glasses, and hair piled high. I admired how tiny she stood against the monster of a tree. Mia’s fingers tugged at the frosted branches, and ice chips fell. “Think it’ll fit through the door?”

“No, definitely not,” I said with a chuckle. Mia frowned, wearing black jeans, combat boots, and a large grey trench coat over a plain black hoodie. The sun would set soon, and we had little time. “Think small, love. We’ll put it in front of the window in the living room, yeah?”

“The one by the piano?”

I shook my head. “On the other side of the front door. Closer to our room.”

“Oh, yeah. Okay,” Mia jumped in front of another tree, “this one!”

The tree had half the height and half the life, but it would fit. I walked toward her. “You’re sure? This is the one you want?”

Mia bounced on her toes, the daylight dying. “Yes, now let’s go.” She blew hot air into her hands and pulled her coat tighter around her. “It’s bloody cold out here.”

I chuckled. “Stick with your accent, love. The only British in you is me.”

The chap at the tree farm had helped tie the tree on top of the old station wagon, and it held steady the entire way back to our cottage. I’d set up the tree in the corner by the window, and Mia sat on the floor with decorations she’d collected over this past week from the village scattered around her. She’d changed out of her jeans into pajama pants, Christmas socks warming her feet.

Flames danced in the fireplace, heating the small house as old Christmas tunes played from the record player. I was in the kitchen, making homemade hot chocolate using the milk chocolate bars I’d picked up from a shop in London. Once done, I topped both mugs off with candy canes and walked back into the living room, where Mia had the corner of the ornament box between her teeth.

“Is it giving you a hard time?” I asked, chuckling and walking toward her, but I knew better than to help her. Mia was determined and never asked for help, wanting to do everything on her own.

She growled into the box, and I sipped from my mug while handing her the other.

After a back-and-forth battle between Mia and the packaging, I strung the lights around the tree and pulled out a box of our things from Dolor. Between the two of us, we’d saved every origami rose I’d given her. But the one that we hung first was the one she’d ripped apart, and I’d pieced back together again. The rose rested in the middle of the tree, and I looked over at her to see tears in her eyes.

“I’m so sorry,” she waved her hand in front of her face. “I don’t know why I’m so emotional right now.”

I pulled her into my arms, and she pressed her face into my chest. My hands smoothed over the back of her head. “As long as they’re happy tears, love.”

My mobile phone rang, and Mia pulled away, sucking in a long breath. “I’ll be okay,” she laughed, “you should get that. It could be Dex.”

Mia was right, and I walked over to the fireplace and grabbed my phone from the ledge to look at the screen. My heart flipped inside my chest. Dex. I answered.

“I need you to come by the house tonight,” he stated. “We have to go over a few things.”

Mia’s watery eyes watched mine for a reaction.

“Yeah, I’ll be there.”

The call disconnected, and I pocketed the mobile and walked up to her, clutching her face in my hands. “I have to go.”

“I know.”

“What’s the emergency number here, love?”

She rolled her eyes. “9-9-9, not 9-1-1.”

Nodding, I forced a grin. Leaving Mia had always been my biggest, repeated mistake. One I’d been making repeatedly for months now, but I’d always come back to her. “Wait up for me.”

“I always do.”




Ollie's Famous Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe


serves 4 

  • 4 cups of Unsweetened Milk (can swap out for any variation of milk but whole milk is preferred)
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate 
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 ounce of Aged or Dark Rum
  • Mini Marshmallows 
  • Candy Cane or Cinnamon Stick


1. In a saucepan, combine milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract over medium heat. Simmer and whisk together. 

2. Add chocolate and rum and continue stirring until chocolate is melted. 

3. Pour into Holiday-approved mugs and enjoy with your favorite toppings. Ollie prefers marshmallows and a candy cane.





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