“You have dark circles under your eyes.” Rose studied Iris over the top of her teacup. “Were you up all night? Perhaps with a handsome male friend?” She sipped on her tea, but her eyes glimmered.
Iris replied, “I had a lot on my mind, so I didn’t sleep well.”
Rose placed her cup on the table and patted the sofa. “We have a couple of minutes before Helen and Larissa come for our crocheting hour. Come talk to me.”
“Have you ever done something you’re proud of and thought you were doing a good job?” Iris fiddled with a piece of periwinkle yarn in the box she was holding.
“Like a store that started in the room of a house?” Rose’s soft quip added the gentle touch of understanding.
“Yeah, like that.” Iris looked at the blue and gold paisley floor runner that directed people to the rooms with the different supplies. “What did you say when people told you they could do a better job?”
“Oh, it was easy. I told them to go ahead and do it themselves. Sometimes our dreams have seeds.” Rose took Iris’s hands in hers. “They take root in other peoples’ hearts and grow in different directions. It doesn’t make the original any less important.”
Iris wished she had talked to her grandmother sooner. Now that her problems were out in the open, she could see her pride had got in the way. Her shield from Jordan and Shannon’s “I can do it better” approach squelched the intent of her Holiday Kisses endeavors. Anyone could be kind. They didn’t need her permission. “So, I should tell them to go for it.”
“Who is thinking of opening a craft store?” Rose pursed her lips the way women do when they were ripe for hearing gossip.
The door opened, and she gave Iris the raised brows that promised they’d discuss the matter more later.
Helen burst through the doors. “You’d never believe what happened?”
“I had a visit from a stranger.”
“You’re not one to kiss and tell,” Rose joked.
Helen clutched her hand to her chest. “I didn’t say a handsome one, you gossip.” Both women giggled. “No, someone shoveled my front stoop all the way out to the sidewalk.”
“Your grandson doesn’t count as a stranger.” Rose rolled her eyes.
“Kellen is in Billings for a three-day training,” Helen corrected. “And Jordan was still asleep when I called him.”
“You had a visit from the Holiday Kisses Angel?” Rose clapped. “How lovely.”
“Yes, it is.” Iris forced herself to smile. Her heart was happy for the kindness extended to Helen. It wasn’t right for an eighty-year-old woman to have to shovel snow. And Jordan’s point was made. What was a cup of coffee for a single mother compared to making it easier for an elderly woman to leave her house? Iris also knew he wasn’t asleep because he texted her a string of hug gifs. He was the cool kid, and Iris was the wannabe.
“I’ll go get some cookies for you ladies to enjoy while you crochet.”
By the time she returned with a plate of cookies, her grandmother’s best friend, Larissa St. Claire, burst in the doors. “You’ll never believe what happened.”
“Do tell,” Helen and Rose clutched their hands while exchanging knowing glances.
“A total stranger did something nice for me today.”
“You were hit by the Holiday Kisses Angel?” Rose mused.
“No, I didn’t get a note.”
“Neither did I.” Larissa’s brow furrowed to show she hadn’t pinned any particular person for the kindness.
At the same time, both women said, “Whoever did it left a poinsettia bush by my front door.” Iris knew beyond a doubt, Shannon and Jordan were in cahoots. Fortunately, this time, it was for the greater good.
Curious to know what Iris is going to do next. The finished version of Holiday Kisses is available at your favorite online retailer for 99¢.
For those of you who are patient, don’t worry. I’ll keep posting a chapter of Holiday Kisses every week. We have enough to get us through the end of 2020.
Iris Sinclair looks forward to the day after Thanksgiving. It’s the day her Holiday Kisses season begins, and she leaves little presents to brighten people’s days.
Things change when Iris’s best friend, Jordan, notices something special behind her quirky personality. The change couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. Iris’s nemesis has recruited him to enlist Iris in a partnership she would never agree to without his influence.
The Paradise Hills promise of a magical happily ever after is tested when the best friends are forced to choose between their blossoming love or the secret.