The Cosy Travelling Christmas Shop Read Online Lilac Mills

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 104
Estimated words: 97649 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 488(@200wpm)___ 391(@250wpm)___ 325(@300wpm)

While bringing joy to others, can these two Christmas helpers also find some for themselves?

Seren’s great aunt Nelly hates being in a care home, especially around Christmas when Seren learns that Nelly and the other residents can’t enjoy the simple pleasure of browsing for gifts in the shops. So what if Seren brings the shops to them?
Converting an ice cream van into a gift shop, Seren travels around Tinstone to help out the less mobile. On her journeys, she keeps bumping into a reluctant – and handsome – Father Christmas, who has been roped into helping out this festive season.
But running her own business comes with risks and surprises that Seren’s not sure she’s able to tackle. Has she bitten off more than she can chew, or will her travelling Christmas shop provide some much-needed festive cheer for the residents of Tinstone?


Chapter 1

‘We’ve got a new inmate,’ Seren Fletcher’s aunt told her as soon as Seren walked into the care home’s TV lounge.

Seren bent down and gave the old lady a kiss on the cheek. Despite her aunt being ninety-three, the old lady’s wrinkled skin was soft and smelt of the powder she used on her face every single day, come rain or shine. She was also wearing bright red lipstick, Seren noticed, but most of it had bled into the creases around her mouth, giving her the appearance of a vampire with messy eating habits.

Great-Aunt Nelly patted the seat of the chair next to her, but Seren shook her head.

‘Don’t tell me you can’t stay a while,’ Nelly said, her face dropping with disappointment.

‘I can stay for as long as you like,’ Seren said, ‘but the TV is so loud I can’t hear myself think. Can we go somewhere quieter?’

‘What did you say?’ Nelly yelled, and Seren was just about to repeat herself when she caught the twinkle in her aunt’s eyes.

‘Oh, you,’ she said, holding her arm out for Nelly to take.

Nelly shuffled slowly and stiffly forwards in her chair, then using her hands she pushed herself up until she was on her feet. Wobbling precariously, she grasped the proffered arm and caught her balance.

‘Do you want your walker?’ Seren asked, wincing at the old lady’s rather firm grip. Nelly might look frail, but she had considerable strength in her fingers.

‘I’d better had. It’ll only get nicked if I leave it in here.’

‘Surely not.’ Seren was aghast; she’d not heard of there being a theft problem in the care home. She thought it was a good home, as far as these places went. It was bright and modern, had lovely gardens, and the staff to patient ratio was excellent. Not only that, the staff couldn’t do enough for the residents and treated them with the care, compassion and dignity they deserved, so what Nelly was telling her was rather worrying, and she made a mental note to have a word with a member of staff before she left.

‘This lot are a thieving bunch,’ Nelly said, putting both hands on her walker and pushing it a fraction. Her steps were small and deliberate – one push of the walker, followed by one foot then the other, and the cycle was repeated.

Seren knew progress would be excruciatingly slow, but the old lady simply couldn’t move any quicker; besides, Seren had nothing to rush off for. Dad wouldn’t be home from work for ages yet, and this evening’s tea was already prepared. Lamb stew with dumplings. Her favourite.

Slowly and carefully Aunt Nelly made her way down the carpeted corridor towards the day room. It was usually quieter in there, but not always – a lot depended on whether a game of cards was taking place, and on who was winning and who was cheating. Things had been known to get quite heated.

‘Shall I fetch us a cup of tea?’ Seren suggested when her aunt was finally settled in the thankfully deserted day room. ‘Then you can tell me all about this new inmate – I mean, resident. Gosh, you’ve got me saying it now.’

‘Yes, well, it feels like a prison, so you might as well call the poor sods who are stuck in here inmates.’

‘Aunty, it’s not that bad!’ Seren protested. ‘I’ll get the teas.’

‘Strong, mind you. I don’t want any of that dishwater stuff your father makes.’

Seren smiled. Her dad’s tea-brewing was a non-event. He was hopeless at it. He usually whipped the teabag out of the mug before the water had a chance to change colour. In their house it was Seren who made the tea, out of respect for her tastebuds.

‘There you go – strong as a builder’s bucket,’ Seren said, putting the mug of tea on a side table, within easy reach of arthritic hands. She cradled her own mug as she sipped at the hot liquid and waited for her aunt to share her news. There was always something going on in the care home and Nelly usually had the lowdown. Despite the old lady complaining about it being like a prison Nelly thoroughly immersed herself in all the goings-on.