Christmas by the Fire
A HarperImpulse Blog Hop
FIFTEEN AUTHORS. FIFTEEN SHORT STORIES.
ONE OPENING PARAGRAPH…
‘Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely ‘nice’. This year she had broken Daniels heart into a million tiny pieces, so ‘naughty’ seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon…’ – Georgia Beyers
Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a bundle of eBooks and paperbacks as well as a $70 Amazon giftcard!
Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely “nice.” This year she had broken Daniel’s heart into a million tiny pieces, so “naughty” seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon.
Not that she had a chimney on the 26th floor of her Hell’s Kitchen apartment building. If Santa wanted to leave anyone at Manhattan Towers a gift, he had to get past the doorman, take the elevator, and jimmy the lock with a credit card. Charlotte’s stomach clutched tight when she thought about how bare her little studio would look without a tree.
Daniel had a chimney. They’d decorated the mantelpiece with white embroidered cloths he had from his gran’s house, and an antique nativity set. Everything in England was impossibly old. That kind of history suggested permanence. The yellow streaks of the cabs, and the flashing neon of Times Square reflected off the mirrored buildings of New York felt like it could all disappear in a flash. The thought made Charlotte dizzy. She leaned against the metal and plastic of the bus shelter, and closed her eyes, making sure she had a tight grip on the handle of her suitcase.
She could almost smell the wood smoke in the fireplace back on Charles Street. ‘Did I lock the up when I left?’ she wondered, heart pounding. Things could be shady, that close to the sea front. The guilt of being responsible for Daniel losing all of his lovely antiques and belongings on top of losing…well…
She took a deep breath, focusing her stampeding thoughts. She remembered putting they key through the mail slot, just before making her way to the seaside car park to catch the airport bus. The last things she’d heard at Daniel’s door were Whisky’s plaintive meow, then the tink of the old-fashioned skeleton key on the 17th-century flagstone floor. Bumping her rolling suitcase along the cobbled street, she glanced backward one final time. “Chinnery” declared the plaque on the royal blue wooden door. A name that could have been hers, on the door to a home that could have been hers.
She stood up from the white-hot cold of the metal bench and peered eastward, blowing warm breath into her knit gloves, and rubbing her palms together. She was still dressed for England. Her fashion-forward oxblood leather pea-coat had served her well in Brighton, but didn’t stand up to the cruel wind that blew from the East River to the Hudson. Tomorrow, she’d dig her ankle-length, black down coat out of its plastic bin in the back of her cramped closet. It had been warm when she left for Daniel. Now she was frozen to the marrow.
She’d hoped to be rescued, but there was no M42 rolling west, ready to carry her the couple of long avenue blocks to her corner on 10th Avenue. Unprotected, she began her slow walk back to where she’d come from.
Get to know the authors!
click these links for fun facts and more info