Plumber Jessica Lemond is determined not to follow in her parents footsteps by living off her famous grandfather’s fortune. However, when the old timer himself elopes to Scotland with suspicions over the recent death of his much younger third wife hanging over his head and a private detective on his tail, it is left to Jessica to follow and clear up the mess. Happy to escape from her nightmarish lodger Doreen, she heads to the remote Snowflake Lodge with her young trainee Kirsten in tow.
However, Snowflake Lodge – with its oddball staff and very dodgy plumbing – is not how it appears in the brochure. Among the beautiful Scottish scenery, and with more hot chocolate and mince pies than she can possibly handle, can Jessica find something she didn’t even know she was looking for?
Eviction nearly Served
With her crazy lodger Doreen on the verge of pushing Jessica out of her own flat, poor Jessica is at her wit’s end.
‘You’ve got some Shake n’ Vac under the sink, haven’t you? Mick dropped a can of Guinness on the carpet.’
Jessica gave a resigned sigh. ‘And you didn’t notice until it had soaked right through?’
Doreen rolled her eyes. ‘We were celebrating a goal. What is this? Prison?’
For one of us, at least, Jessica didn’t say. While planting a right hook on Doreen’s jutting chin might have made her feel better, she settled for a far more passive, ‘But it’s a cream carpet. If I wanted to sell, I’d have to replace it now.’
Doreen’s eyes hardened again. ‘So now you’re going to sell, is it? You’re going to make me homeless?’ She shook her head. ‘Talk about driving the knife in. Do you know what I’ve been through?’
Jessica winced, fearful that Doreen would start to tell her. In truth, a couple of not-particularly-dramatic breakups was about as hardcore as Doreen’s life had gotten.
‘I’m not going to sell. I was speaking hypothetically.’
Doreen’s face relaxed. ‘Don’t worry, it’s only a little stain. And if it doesn’t come out, they’ve got some nice little foot rug things in LIDL. Didn’t you notice them last night?’
‘I was too busy in the booze aisle.’
‘I’ve been worried about your drinking issues for a while. Seriously.’
Jessica grimaced. ‘Thanks for your concern. Look, I’ll sort it out tonight. I have to go to work.’
‘Now? But it’s only lunchtime. Don’t you usually work nights? I wanted to ask you about my radiator. It’s been making a funny noise.’
‘It’s fine. It’s just kind of waking up because it hasn’t been used since last winter. It’s not a problem.’
‘I hope not. You charge me enough rent as it is without leaving me without decent heating. There’s nothing to me. I’d be dead by Christmas. Oh, by the way, Mick left you this.’
She stuffed a piece of paper into Jessica’s hand. Jessica unfolded it and squinted at the squiggles written diagonally across a piece of her own notepaper.
‘It’s his number. I told him you’d been single for ages and since you were coming up for thirty you might be up for a sympathy shag.’
Jessica was too stunned to speak. She gave a dumb nod, then folded the paper and stuffed it into her pocket.
‘He’s alright, Mick, once you’ve had a few,’ Doreen said. ‘I mean, objectively speaking. I wouldn’t know. Once he hits that five-pint mark he starts to get a bit rowdy, but maybe that’s your thing.’
‘Maybe,’ Jessica said, voice hollow, wishing the Guinness had done enough damage to make the floor open up and swallow her. ‘I have to go.’
Doreen was still talking, her words systematically eradicating Jessica’s confidence, sense of self-worth, and faith in humanity, one abrasive swipe at a time. Jessica, letting her vision glaze over, turned to the door, grabbed her bag on autopilot, and made her escape.
‘You won’t forget to check the radiator, will you, Lemons?’ was the last thing she heard as the door slammed behind her. Then she was running, running down the stairs and out on to the street.
She took a deep breath of chilly November air. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Her Grandpa was on the run from the police, and her lodger was slowly evicting her. Only if—
A car came roaring past, swerving too close to the curb. From somewhere behind it came the sound of a police siren, then the car was gone, but not before hitting a muck-filed pothole turned into gunk by last night’s rain. Jessica stared in horror at the brown stain on her dress. At least she had her work clothes with her … her work clothes that were hanging up to dry on her balcony.
Life couldn’t possibly … better hold that thought.
Thank you, CP Ward and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
CP Ward is an author from the UK who currently lives and works in Japan.