Friday 22 December 2017

Blog Tour: Short Festive Story from Heidi Swain author of Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair

I'm very lucky today to be hosting an exclusive short story from Heidi Swain to celebrate the release of her new novel Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair. I've already reviewed this wonderful Christmas read on my blog, you can read that here.

Here's what her new book is all about:

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all...?

Join Anna for a festive journey that is festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy ever after.

And now how would you like a fabulously festive short story to begin your christmas holiday with? Well here you go...

The Christmas Cracker Club
Heidi Swain

Ever since The Cherry Tree Café opened its doors, Lizzie had offered bespoke crafting classes to complement her best friend, and Café owner, Jemma’s delicious bakes. Christmas was a popular time for Lizzie’s workshops and Christmas Cracker Club places sold out as soon as they were advertised. 
However, having overheard a conversation in The Mermaid pub, Lizzie had decided to run an extra Club date. An intimate invitation-only two person gathering, to happen after dark when the blinds were down, the candles lit and with the purpose of rekindling romance.
   ‘Will this take long?’ grumbled Jim, the pub landlord. ‘Only it’s darts night.’
     ‘I thought you’d swapped it,’ muttered Shirley, the team captain. ‘You said you might as well, as we’re going to be here downing hot chocolate instead of pints.’
Right on cue Jemma appeared carrying a tray of generously filled cream and marshmallow topped mugs.
     ‘You’re not getting out of this Jim,’ she smiled. ‘I’ll leave you in Lizzie’s capable hands.’
     ‘To do what? This looks more up the wife’s street than mine.’
     ‘Exactly,’ said Lizzie, planting her hands on her hips. ‘And it’s because of your wife that we’re here.’
The unlikely crafters stared at each other, still none the wiser.
     ‘I overheard your wife, Evelyn chatting to Shirley’s husband, Bob. Apparently they both feel their lives are a little lacking in romance.’
     ‘But Bob’s always giving me gifts,’ Shirley observed. ‘Ever since I gave him a rocket after our twenty fifth wedding anniversary, he’s never missed an occasion.’
     ‘Quite,’ said Lizzie as Jim shifted uncomfortably in his seat, ‘he’s always the one giving the gifts, and it’s the same with you and Evelyn, Jim, but tonight we’re going to even things up a bit.’
Jim knew Lizzie was right. Ever since he’d had a health scare Evelyn had swapped her confrontational character for something far more cuddly and approachable.
The pair took their time picking out the patterned cracker paper, ribbons and embellishments which most suited their partners’ tastes and as they worked each mulled over what to fill them with.
The evening flew by and the floor was left covered in glitter, shiny ribbon and sparkling stars, but the results turned out to be as impressive as the soul searching that had gone on.    
     ‘I don’t know why I’ve never done something like this before,’ sniffed Shirley. ‘Bob’s always treating me, but all he gets is new socks and thermals for work.’
Jim nodded and thought how his wife looked after him and worked all hours behind the bar yet never grumbled that she was tired, even though she must have been.
     ‘I’m going to buy Evelyn the emerald eternity ring she’s had her eye on,’ he announced. ‘I know you said the treasure to go inside doesn’t have to be expensive, Lizzie, but my wife never had an engagement ring.’
     ‘And I’m going to sign us up for the ballroom dancing lessons that Bob’s been hankering after,’ said Shirley decisively.
Lizzie smiled but forbore to comment. She couldn’t imagine Shirley twirling in layers of chiffon, but if she was prepared to make the effort for her husband then she must have got the message.
     ‘I can hide the booking form inside.’ Shirley continued as she squinted into the cardboard tube.
It was starting to snow when the pair left. They each thanked Lizzie for rekindling their festive spirit and putting some romance back into their lives and Lizzie went back to the crafting table carrying a secret smile and wondering what she could possibly give her dear Ben this year.

The End

Thank you so much to Heidi for stopping by today.

To order your copy of Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair  now, just click the link: UK or US

Merry Christmas!

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