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Heather's Haven

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : T.S. McNeil

ISBN :978-1-4874-4090-9

Page :90

Word Count :21766

Publication Date :2023-12-01

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : Heather's Haven (prc) , Heather's Haven (pdf) , Heather's Haven (mobi) , Heather's Haven (epub)

Category : Contemporary Romance , Romance , Christmas

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-4090-9

A holiday getaway.

Pop Star Heather Fideler has had enough. After a painful divorce, she decides to spend Christmas, once her best time of year, on a remote island with no Wi-Fi or tabloids where no one knows who she is. The plan is to keep her head down and let the holidays slide by, but not if the locals have anything to say about it.

Holidays were never a big deal in Heather Fideler’s world. Reared by two of the strictest Calvinists in Christendom, she’d long held the opinion that vacations were for people who didn’t like their jobs.

Festivals could be fun, they were basically designed to be, but that was where it began and ended. Christmas was the only exception. Eggnog was part of it. Homemade and from scratch, with sprinkles of hand ground nutmeg dashed across the light-yellow surface. One sip could cure all that could be terrible about the world, at least for a moment. Even in the bleakness of early December, which was still technically late-autumn rather than winter, it could all make everything better. From the tree to the tinsel to the pudding no one really liked but pretended that they did. The magic of the season was down to tolerance, tradition and love. Until Halloween. 

At the end of October, it hit like a brick. A mid-autumn shock that was not a treat or a trick, making any future holidays, even the holly-jolly, seem like a broken pencil. Pointless. 

The autumn leaves had dropped, and the first flakes were expected to arrive by the week. Everything was made a bit blurry by rain in the meantime, any outdoor attempts at Christmas cheer put up since Thanksgiving sure to get drenched within seconds. Muzak renditions of Christmas classics chimed away in every mall from Seattle to Stockholm. 

“Jiminy!” Heather yelped, as the tiny kitty going by the same name landed by her head to read over her shoulder. 

Stepping down on the arm of the chair, the oddly green kitten curled up on Heather’s lap and purred herself to sleep. With a couple strokes of Jiminy’s tiny head, Heather got back to the recently discovered exercise in fatuity. 

Deep down in the dark depths of the trip booking rabbit hole, each site made even more ludicrous promises than the last, yet she kept falling for them. A hotel could promise an Olympic sized swimming pool, a kangaroo petting zoo and elephant rides and she would probably click just to see. Travel was, after all, an industry based entirely on profit and the desperation of city dwellers reaching their natural limit of concrete captivity, making for massive profits for those who can promise to get them out. 

Heather’s desperation only grew the more she knew about what a scam traveling could be. Fighting the urge to fall to her knees—Mr. and Mrs. Fideler had raised their only daughter to be a lot more dignified than that. She instead set her gaze skyward, appealing to a higher power. 

“Please, just give me a sign!” she asked, not addressing anyone in particular. 

Her request sent out to the universe, Heather got back to the computer, determined to give the little wheel on her mouse one last scroll before just hiding under the bed until it was all over. 

A tiny island off the coast of her own city, settled by the Scots and known for its scenery and isolation, appeared from below the bottom limits of the search window. The name of the place, written in a happy blue just above a picture of an old-fashioned pub, was Heather’s Haven. 

“That was rhetorical!” Heather said, again looking skyward. 

Cynical as she might have become, to the point she was comfortably numb, even Heather didn’t falter in taking a chance when it was given. Scrolling down to the booking part, she gave it a double click for good measure. A photo of the pub's proprietor came up at the top of the form. It was a moment before Heather’s breathing, let alone heartbeat, returned to form. Finally at the bottom of the form, after leaving her body to a mad scientist and signing away her first born in the terms and conditions, Heather clicked the last icon. Seeing the sweet notice of success, she relaxed a bit. The panic of packing and actually getting to her destination could wait until it was time to leave. 

A xylophone of gentle clicks and clacks ran up Heather’s back as she stretched to nearly twice her height, literally reaching for the sky as Social Distortion were imploring her to do just that on the wireless earbuds that were rarely out of her head. 

“Coffee,” Heather declared, getting up from the rolling office chair. 

 Banging like a drummer through every cupboard and cabinet housed in the mammoth kitchen that took up roughly a quarter of the main floor, Heather came up with nothing. Not a bean or ground to be found, even of the instant crystal variety. Gagging a little at the very thought, she deposited the little cat in her basket and set out into the icy December rain, desperately seeking relief. 

Disguised as much as she could be by a hat and medical style mask, Heather walked into the relative warmth of the cafe, the smell of a dozen different grounds thick in the air. 

Head down past the admirable attempts at cheering things up with lights and holly and such, the music mercifully better than most places that time of year, Heather got in line with the rest to wait her turn. 

One of the weirdest things about her lot in life was being treated differently, despite the ideals of humility and respect being instilled in her from a young age. No one was essentially better than any other, no matter the evidence to the contrary. Corporate raiders, presidents, and kings ate, cried and died just like everyone else. 

“Hey, sorry about this, but aren’t you Heather Fideler?” the barista asked. 

“Yes,” Heather said, not wanting to be rude. 

Most heads turned as the whisper ran around the cafe like a sugar-addled toddler. Unable to keep from rolling her eyes, Heather was losing any faith in her skills for disguise.

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Tags: Christmas, Sweet Romance, Comedy, contemporary