AN: Hi. :) Here is a little December treat for you. It's mostly pre-written (very unusual for me) so updates will be quick!
"You have reached your destination."
Edward mentally cursed his GPS and turned off his windshield wipers. With its gigantic log columns and rocking chairs on the wrap-around porch, the rustic lodge was beautiful, but it certainly wasn't his destination.
He grabbed his cell with the intention of texting his secretary, only to find he had no service.
"Technology hates me today," he grumbled.
The gentle rain against his windshield turned to sleet, and Edward knew enough about Washington winters to realize the sleet would eventually turn to snow. He needed to check the weather, but with no cell signal, that was impossible. Besides, it was late, and he hadn't eaten since breakfast.
Edward glanced at the little inn.
It wasn't the Marriott, but for tonight, it would have to do.
Edward grabbed his bag out of the trunk and walked toward the lodge. Now that he was closer, he could see the cobblestone path and the white painted sign.
Swan Lake Bed & Breakfast
Is the place even open?
"We're about to find out," Edward muttered as he made his way up the steps. He pressed the doorbell and prayed for a miracle.
And he got it, in the form of a doe-eyed brunette. She was petite, with a heart-shaped face and flushed cheeks.
"May I help you?"
Edward blinked. "I . . . umm . . . don't have a reservation, but I was wondering if you had a room for the night?"
"Of course," she said, waving him inside. Edward followed her to the reception desk. "Normally, the door isn't locked this early, but I didn't have any reservations, and I was just headed up to bed."
Bed? He glanced down at his watch.
"But it's just after eight."
"But I've been up since four," she said, smiling as she handed him a card. "My name is Bella, and welcome to Swan Lake. Just fill this out, please."
Edward jotted down his information while she explained that the bed and breakfast had eight rooms—four single rooms, two doubles, and two rooms with king-sized beds. The kings had private bathrooms, so Edward quickly checked that box and handed the card back to the beautiful girl behind the counter.
Bella looked down at the card and grinned. "Not in the mood to share a bathroom, huh?"
"Not at all."
She laughed. "Well, you're the only guest, and I have no reservations for the weekend, so you'd have the restrooms to yourself. The single would be cheaper, too."
"The king is fine, and I'm only staying the one night. I have to be in Port Angeles by nine tomorrow morning. That's where I was headed until my trusty GPS sent me to . . . wherever I am."
"Technically, you're in Forks," she said. "We're about an hour southwest of Port Angeles. You must have missed the turn-off, which isn't hard to do, especially with the construction on the 101."
Edward was a seasoned traveler, so to hear that he'd simply missed the exit was sort of humiliating.
"I go to Port Angeles once a year, but I used my GPS to get through the detours and road work. Clearly, technology and I don't get along very well."
Bella noticed his embarrassment and smiled softly.
"The Olympic Forest isn't the easiest place to navigate. I've lived here all my life and I still get lost sometimes. I should warn you, though. The weather forecast is predicting about eight inches of snow overnight. The highway may not be clear in the morning. If you truly need to be in Port Angeles by nine, I'd head back tonight, before the snow hits."
Edward sighed and considered his options. Alice would kill him if he missed the family breakfast. It was tradition . . . a tradition he could live without.
"I'll take my chances," he said.
"Okay, then. I'll just show you to the rooms?"
Edward followed her up the stairs as she told him about the house. He tried to listen to her history lesson instead of staring at her ass, but he failed miserably. Bella was very pretty, and if her bare left hand was any indication, she was also very single.
Pretty and single.
Two of Edward's favorite qualities in a woman.
He did catch that the inn had belonged to her grandparents, Geoffrey and Helen Swan. They had owned the property and the lake that surrounded it. Both had been passed down to her father, but Charlie Swan hadn't been interested in running a bed and breakfast. He liked to fish, though, so keeping the property in the family was important to her father. Bella had always dreamed of running the inn, so signing the deed over to his daughter was a no-brainer.
"Swan Lake," Edward said. "So that explains the name."
"And here I thought maybe you were a ballet dancer."
She chuckled. "Not a chance. I'm not the most coordinated person in the world."
They laughed as they approached the rooms at the end of the hall.
"The kings are identical, so it doesn't really matter. You're welcome to either," she explained as she opened both doors.
Edward glanced inside. Both rooms were tidy and neat, with cream-colored bedspreads and pale blue walls. The only difference was that one room had a bay window.
For some reason, he picked that one.
Bella smiled and handed him the key. "I would have chosen this room, too. It has a breathtaking view of the lake."
She said it so gently, so reverently, and it tugged at his heart.
"You really love this place," he said softly.
"I really do." Bella smiled. "Well, Mr. Cullen . . ."
"Edward," she said with a shy grin. "Breakfast is typically at seven, but you're the only guest, so what time would you prefer?"
"Seven is great."
"I prepare a country breakfast, unless you'd like something else?" His stomach growled, and she laughed. "Or maybe you're hungry now?"
He grinned. "I'm fine, Bella."
"Well, I keep snacks in the guests' room. You'll find the basket on the desk. There's also a mini-fridge with drinks."
"That sounds great. Thanks."
"See you at breakfast?"
Edward nodded. "Good night, Bella."
They smiled at each other, and as the gorgeous girl walked away, Edward found himself hoping the meteorologists missed their prediction of eight inches of snow.
Edward was now hoping for a blizzard.
I have some fun news to share. I have self-published an original fiction Christmas short story called "Mistletoe Magic." It is available on Amazon Kindle if you're interested. :)
I'd love to hear your thoughts about Chapter 1. :) There may be one more update today. :) xxoo