This year, Christmastide will be extra special for glass blower Shayla Toselli who lives in Canterbury Corner, England. The town square will have its first electrically lit tree, and she has been commissioned to create delicate glass ornaments for the new Duke’s Christmas Eve ball. One morning, the Duke’s youngest brother, Adam Preston, finds himself in the Toselli glass factory. He is fascinated with glass blowing and with Shayla. The temperature in the workshop heats up in more ways than one as the unlikely pair work together in the days leading up to the ball. This will certainly be a Christmastide to remember.
“Hello, Miss Shayla,” Mrs. Stewart, the cook, said.
“Hello. Is my aunt in?”
Graves, the butler, saw Shayla and bowed. “She is. This way please, Miss.” Graves led her to the small front parlor. “Miss Shayla, Madam,” he announced.
Aunt Margaret looked up from her needlework. “Thank you, Graves.”
He bowed his way out of the room, and Shayla walked up to her aunt.
“Shayla, love.” She stood up and hugged her niece.
“Aunt Margaret, you look well.”
“As do you,” she replied. She indicated Shayla should sit down in the chair beside her. Shayla looked at her aunt’s work. She was stitching an alphabet border, likely something for someone’s new baby. Her aunt was quite skilled with a needle, something Shayla had little patience for. Shayla thought her aunt was the perfect wife. She was pretty, delicate, smart, and she had impeccable manners. Margaret was her mother’s much younger sister, and she was only nine years older than Shayla herself. Margaret loved Shayla very much, but Margaret’s hair was red, like Shayla’s mother, and she had green eyes, also like her mother. Aunt Margaret painfully reminded her of her mother, and she thought that was why she did not spend a great deal of time with her aunt. She shook her head to clear it. “Papa would like you and Uncle James to come to dinner tomorrow evening.”
“We would love to. What is the occasion?” Aunt Margaret asked without looking up from her work.
“No occasion. Papa invited, Adam Preston, who now works in our shop to dinner.”
Margaret stopped and looked at Shayla. “Adam Preston? Duke Wellshore’s brother?”
Shayla sighed. “Yes, that is the one,” she said with a roll of her eyes. Honestly, why did everyone make such a fuss over the man?
Margaret smiled. “He would be an excellent match for you, Shayla.” She leaned back from her needlework stand.
“No,” Shayla replied a little too quickly. She shifted uncomfortably in her chair and looked at her aunt.
Margaret gave her a small smile. “Why not?”
“I am not interested in marriage. I plan to stay an independent woman.” Shayla sat up straighter. “I do not need a man.”
“Every woman needs a man,” her aunt replied softly.
“I can provide for myself.”
“Financially yes, but men take care of a woman’s other…needs.”
Shayla chose to ignore her aunt’s comment and stood up. “Well, I must get back home. Mrs. Lawry may need my help with dinner.” Not that she usually helped Mrs. Lawry prepare dinner, but she did not want to have this uncomfortable conversation with her aunt.
Unphased, Aunt Margaret started to stich again. “What dress do you plan to wear?”
“I have not decided. I will find something in my closet no doubt.”
“Um hum.” Aunt Margaret smiled. “Well, dear, I am here if you need help selecting a dress.”
“Thank you.” Shayla bent down and kissed her aunt’s cheek then quickly left the parlor.
Thank you, Cheryl A. Hunter and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
Cheryl A. Hunter is an author and artist. Her books span multiple genres including historical fiction, contemporary fiction, paranormal fantasy, and nonfiction. Cheryl is also an artist who works in glass, ink and watercolor, and photography. When she is not writing, taking pictures, or creating glass art, she loves to travel. Her interest in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures has taken her to many Archeological sites and museums in several countries.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-A-Hunter/e/B07K657RKJ
Available on KindleUnlimited.
Universal Link: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B09DDFLCSL