Just for Christmas by Emily Harvale



Just for Christmas

Finding an abandoned dog beside the road isn’t the Christmas surprise Molly Ford is hoping for. But when the local vet can’t find a space for the bedraggled dog, Molly makes a rash decision.

The problem is she’s spending Christmas with her brother, Terry, and his girlfriend is allergic to dogs, so the bundle of wet fur, which Molly has named Miracle, might not be the only one needing a home this Christmas.

And Miracle causes chaos wherever he puts his paws. He pees on the Christmas tree, shreds the Christmas presents and eats the honeyed ham. That’s just the first night.

When Terry’s best friend, Chance offers Molly and Miracle a place to stay for Christmas, Molly is ecstatic. She doesn’t mind at all when he informs her there are strings attached. She’d rather like a festive fling with the gorgeous Chance.

Now Molly’s in for another surprise. Chance is about to pop the question, except it’s not to Molly. In fact, he needs her interior design skills to get the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, all clean and sparkly in time for his girlfriend’s impending arrival on New Year’s Eve.

But as Molly and Chance grow closer, enjoying the Christmas festivities together beneath a star-filled sky of a winter wonderland, they realise they have feelings for each other.

Could this be true love? Or is it just for Christmas?





One





Molly Ford stood at the bright blue door of her brother’s quaint, white-washed, thatched cottage and smiled nervously. She tucked a wayward lock of long, golden apricot hair behind her ear and rang the doorbell.

Snow fell softly around her as she waited for Terry to answer and she fixed her gaze on the beautiful wreath, hanging at eye level. Boughs of fresh, forest-green pine festooned with Christmas roses, sprigs of holly, gold-painted pine cones and heavenly scented cinnamon sticks, entwined with a red and gold ribbon, all tied with an oversized bow. It was certainly festive.

No doubt Sarah had made it. Sarah made the majority of the Christmas decorations that now adorned Terry’s cottage. And not just the Christmas decorations. Since the day Terry had asked Sarah to move in with him, almost two years ago, she had put her stamp on the picturesque property. She’d made the curtains, the cushions, the throws and quite a bit of the bedding. She was exceptionally talented with a needle, especially one in a sewing machine and she’d used her skills to turn the cottage from a minimalist bachelor pad into a warm and welcoming home.

Terry was not alone in thanking his lucky stars that Sarah had come into his life. Molly was grateful for that day too. She often asked Sarah to make things for her interior-design business, Molly Ford Interiors. Molly might have an eye and a talent for redesigning the inside of any residence, but she was hopeless with a needle and thread and verging on dangerous with a pair of scissors.

Sarah wasn’t the only artisan Molly turned to for assistance when it came to creating the perfect home, but Sarah was definitely Molly’s preferred choice for all soft furnishings.

That was part of the skill set of a successful interior designer. It wasn’t necessarily about what you knew, but who you knew. And Molly knew a number of extremely talented craftspeople and specialists in a variety of skills and trades. She had people she could call on to make absolutely anything her clients might desire, from hand-blown glass lightshades to stained-glass windows; cushions to rugs; door knobs to the very doors they helped open, and ornaments to hand-crafted furniture. The list was endless. If a client wanted it, Molly found a way to source it or have it made, whatever it was. In the four and a half years since she had been running her own business, there hadn’t been one unhappy or disappointed client.

That was partly due to people like Sarah Davis. Molly had met Sarah a matter of weeks after starting Molly Ford Interiors. It was at the annual craft market held during July in Easterhill, the town where Molly and Terry had both grown up. Molly, who now lived in Bristol, having moved there with her boyfriend, and stayed after the relationship had ended, was visiting Terry for the weekend.

Sarah had recently moved to Easterhill from London after a bad relationship break-up of her own and was selling cushion covers and other soft furnishings she had made, at one of the market stalls.

Molly fell in love with a William Morris ‘Forest’ design cushion on Sarah’s stall, and in between Sarah serving other customers, the pair chatted for almost an hour about their mutual love of all things, William Morris and similar designers from the Arts and Crafts movement.