I’ve got a novella coming out in about a WEEK!
Today I’m posting an excerpt and giving away one copy. This is ebook only and…drumroll….it’s CONTEMPORARY.
That’s right. Shocking I know!
Room at the Inn for Christmas
Cart came and sat across from Amanda. He reached for a warm roll, tore it open and began buttering. “What we need to talk about tonight is this garbage about you selling the Star.”
Not garbage, just simple truth.
“That’s right, I’m closing it.”
“Closing it?” Cart’s butter knife froze as he shouted the words.
Angel gasped and turned from where she’d just set a tea kettle on the stove to heat.
“Selling it is bad enough,” Cart said. “But you can’t close it.”
Forging on despite how upset they were, Amanda said, “It will be a good thing for both of you. Angel, you can move back into your own home.”
After her children were grown and he husband died, Angel had lived in the back of the Star Inn, but as far as Mandy knew, she still owned a nice house in town. “You can spend more time with that grandson you adore, do some traveling. Cart you can focus on your cattle and horses. I know you’ve made a success of ranching. Dad said you’re just working in here out of habit, you sure don’t need the money. We’ll list the place for sale and see if anyone is interested. They can use it as a bed and breakfast or a private home or remodel and rent out apartments if they want.”
Cart set his butter knife down with a snap. “This place has reservations a year in advance.”
“We’ll have to cancel them. Heaven knows cancelling reservations is common enough in the hotel industry.” And she oughta know since she worked for the Halston at their flagship hotel in Beverly Hills.
“This isn’t one of your posh hotels sitting in a row of other posh hotels, Mandy. If people can’t stay here, they can’t stay at all. It’s the anchor of the town square. What will Heywood do if one whole side of the square is an empty house sitting in darkness? And what about the tourists who stay here? They do a lot of shopping and eating around town.”
“There are other hotels.”
“No, there is one motel, decent but strictly discount and out near the highway, a lot of those folks don’t even come downtown.”
Angel scooted in beside Amanda.
She was well and truly surrounded.
“You can’t just close it, honey. Surely you can see that. If you’re determined to sell, it’ll be much more valuable if it’s kept open.”
“Well, there’s no one to run it, and I refuse to make you do it, Angel. I know how hard you work already, no matter how easy you make it sound.” In fact Angel had been doing everything since Dad had died. It had to be exhausting. “I’m not loading more on your shoulders. And Lorrie is, I’m sure, working much longer days that she planned on when she was hired. And Cart, you don’t have time to—”
“Mandy,” Cart cut her off, “You’re right we can’t do it. We’re doing what we’ve always done and that’s about all we have time for. We’ve been keeping things going, but it’s too much. It’s your dad that needs to be replaced. Lou Star was the man who made things work. He was the host. He welcomed people and made sure they were comfortable. He joined them for breakfast and hosted the afternoon tea. He was in charge of ordering and billing. I did the repairs, and I’ve been doing my best to keep up with the account books since he died. But Lou’s the one who kept his eyes open for problems. He’s the one who ran this place.”
“I know all of that, Cart. I understand it completely, and that’s why I’m closing up shop.”
Shaking his head, Cart almost looked like he pitied her. “You’ve been away so long you’re forgotten what a vital part of this town your old home is. The town needs you. We need you. We’re not managing the inn, and you’re not closing it You’ve got to run it yourself. Mandy, it’s time to come home.”
Room at the Inn for Christmas
Welcome to Heywood, Oregon where three lost women find healing, hope and love under the bright light of the town’s old Star Inn this Christmas season.
Amanda Star’s father always wanted her to come into the family business, and run the majestic old Star Inn with him but she had bigger plans. She’s a high-powered executive in the multi-national Halston hotel chain. One more promotion—which she expects to get by Christmas—will make her the youngest vice president in Halston history and she’s got her sights set on the CEO job.
Then she inherits the Star Inn. With no time to be away from her job, she impatiently rushes home to list the beautiful old bed and breakfast for sale. Now that she’s here she’s swamped with sweet memories and keen regret. Her father has made the inn a safe haven where weary travelers can get away from their hectic lives, and Amanda, working 10-hour days and living on coffee and antacids, desperately needs that safe haven.
As Amanda struggles against the lure of home, she also is reunited with an old classmate: Anthony Carter, a handyman with a guarded heart. Hurt before by a woman who saw his contentment and pleasure in building and living on his own land as a lack of ambition, Cart reluctantly finds himself drawn to a woman who wants so much more than a man with callused hands and sawdust in his hair. A woman who came home for Christmas and badly needs to stay. With the help of Angel Rafferty, the front desk clerk and a lifelong friend of Amanda’s parents, can Cart help Amanda realize the hospitality industry is far more than spreadsheets and bottom lines in time for Christmas?