Christmas is coming, but not everyone is looking forward to it.
Rebecca has just been dumped and the prospect of spending the holiday period with her parents is less than appealing.
Eighty- two year old Stanley lost his beloved wife, Edie, to cancer. How will he cope with his first Christmas without her?
Jacob’s university degree hasn’t helped him get a job, and it looks like he’ll still be signing on come New Year.
Workaholic Meredith would rather spend December 25th at home alone with a ready meal and a DVD box set. Can anything make her embrace the spirit of the season?
The enigmatic Natalie Hope takes over the reins at the Sugar and Spice bakery and café in an attempt to spread some festive cheer and restore Christmas spirit, but will she succeed?
‘Do I look all right?’ Rebecca appraised herself in front of the mirror in the Ladies’, where about a dozen girls were vying for space to reapply mascara, lipstick and eyeliner.
‘Fantastic. Now let’s get out there on the pull.’ Hannah dragged her friend, laughing, by the hand, back out into the throng at Stefan’s thirtieth birthday party. Hannah had been Stefan’s neighbour when they were teenagers and they had hung out together. Since her invitation had said Hannah plus one, and she had no current boyfriend, she’d decided Rebecca could do with a night out, especially after that git Ethan had been immutable about not letting her buy out his share of the flat, now that it was already in the hands of the lawyers. Rebecca needed perking up.
Stefan’s party was bound to be full of young, eligible men. Hannah knew Rebecca wasn’t interested in a relationship, since she was still trying to disengage herself from the mess of the previous one, but a snog with a random stranger at Christmas could only lift your spirits and Rebecca was an extremely pretty girl, even if she didn’t know it. She was bound to attract some male attention.
They weaved their way back to the bar. Standing with his back to Rebecca was Ethan. She’d know the set of those shoulders anywhere, plus he was wearing the purple and white shirt she’d bought him for his birthday. Just as well she could tell him from the back, as his face was almost completely covered by the blonde locks of a lycra-clad woman who definitely wasn’t just a platonic friend.
Rebecca stopped dead. She couldn’t move. They had just split up for God’s sake. He’d moved on quickly enough. The girl eventually disentangled herself from Ethan, saw Rebecca standing stock-still in front of her and said, ‘Christ, she’s stalking us now, Ethan.’
Ethan mumbled something which sounded like Sorry? and turned around. The colour drained from his face when he saw Rebecca and in that moment she knew. He had been right when he said they wanted different things, or in his case different people, one person in particular. He’d told her there was no-one else, but he had lied. It was all becoming clear to her now. This celebrity wannabe who he’d been wrapped around, was so far from being her, it was risible. What had she said, she’s stalking us now? So, they were a couple, and from her comment it appeared not a recent development either.
Through gritted teeth, Rebecca ignored her perma-tanned replacement and turning to Ethan, said, ‘How long?’
Avoiding her eyes, Ethan said, ‘I don’t know what you mean.’
‘Don’t insult me any further, Ethan. You owe me that. How long has it been going on? I know you were with her when we were still together. How long?’
Seeing the determined set of Rebecca’s jaw, he said in a low voice, ‘Seven months.’
‘Thanks. That’s all I wanted to know. You’re perfect for each other, by the way,’ and she turned on her heel and left, Hannah following close behind her.
‘Oh God, Becks, I’m so sorry. I had no idea he knew Stefan.’
‘It doesn’t matter. Jesus, she could have been Jordan’s twin sister. What is it with men?’ Then Rebecca burst into tears.
Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony and baby daughter, Antonia. The Christmas Spirit is her third novel, published Dec 2013. Her fourth novel, What If, is expected to be released summer 2014.
Here is Susan Buchanan talking about The Christmas Spirit - I always wanted to write a Christmas novel - I just didn’t know it was this one! The Christmas Spirit took me by surprise, as I lay in bed one night trying to get to sleep. The title and the idea came at the same time and then I created the characters piece by piece. I love Christmas, but I started wondering how it would be for those who had little to look forward to this Christmas. And I figured they needed a helping hand!
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