CP Ward shares an extract from I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas in which Maggie is getting help from her best friend Renee to find a romantic holiday getaway.
Renee ran her fingers over the screen and an old search engine Maggie remembered from her pre-university days appeared.
‘Where’d you find that? Can it even cope with the full alphabet?’
Renee winked. ‘Let’s find out.’ She typed in “Romantic Christmas getaway location ideal for getting a marriage proposal but off the beaten path and cheap” and clicked enter. A searching icon appeared.
‘I think you’re pushing it,’ Maggie said. ‘I guess we could just go to Centre Parcs. I heard they have some fun package deals. The Thundercloud goes every year.’
‘You really think you’ll be in the spirit for getting hitched while lying in the Thundercloud’s bed?’
‘Well, I doubt we’d get the exact same room….’
‘But just the thought of it? Come on, have faith, Mag.’
‘I haven’t had that in a long time.’
‘I’ve noticed. Aha! Lookee.’
A website had appeared on the screen. Even from the header it looked either a remnant from 1995 or a scam. “PERFECT WINTER HOLIDAYS WITHOUT LEAVING THE UK.” Then, the small print: “Hollydell is a unique Christmas village in the Scottish highlands. Perfect for that quiet Christmas getaway with your loved ones. Snow guaranteed.”
Renee puffed out her cheeks into two perfect circles. ‘And there we have it.’
‘There aren’t any pictures!’
‘Well, it’s an old website, isn’t it? But look, they’re still taking bookings. And those prices … wow. It’s a complete bargain.’
Maggie shook her head. ‘“Snow guaranteed.” What do they do, sprinkle a bit of flour on the trees? It’s Scotland. They don’t get any snow, do they?’
‘They get a bit. I heard there are a couple of ski resorts up there. Come on, Mags. And look at these reviews! “Perfect.” “Idylic.” “Breathtaking.”’
‘They’re all just one word. That’s totally fake. I’ll show up and it’ll be a dirty business hotel in the middle of nowhere. It’ll probably be abandoned, just me and some crusty old caretaker. I have such a bad feeling about this.’
Renee smiled. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, reminding Maggie how remarkably elf-like Renee’s ears were. They really did have that little point that could have got her a bit part in Lord of the Rings.
‘I’m your BFF,’ Renee said. ‘Just trust me. There’s something about this place that just clicks. I mean, it’s got “holly” in the title. And a dell, that’s like a quaint valley or something, right?’
‘It’s also a laptop.’
‘You’re so skeptical. Look, how about this? If it sucks, I’ll buy the coffees for a whole year. Deal?’
Maggie Coates is frustrated. Her long-term boyfriend, Dirk, recently moved to London to take a job she fears puts him out of her league. Despite the assurances of her best friend Renee, Maggie is convinced Dirk is slowly drifting away. All Maggie wants is to get married and settle down, but maybe Dirk has other ideas.
Convinced by Renee to make one last throw of the dice, Maggie books a romantic holiday for two in the quaint Scottish village of Hollydell. But will Dirk show up?
And if he doesn’t, what if there is a perfect man waiting for her among the Christmas magic of Hollydell’s snow-laden streets? What if Henry, the humble reindeer farmer with the kind smile, turns out to be the man of Maggie’s dreams?
WIN! WIN WIN!
One of 10 e-copies of I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas (Open Worldwide)
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CP Ward is a writer from the UK who currently lives and works in Japan. This is his first Christmas book.