by Roz Marshall
Kindle Edition, 76 pages
Published December 3rd 2013
When her ski instructor husband is delayed from returning to Scotland, it falls to Jude Winters – creative graphic artist, mother and home-maker – to get the season started for ailing White Cairns Ski School. It’s a challenge that’s way out of her comfort zone. How can she turn things around and keep the wolf from their door until he gets back?
“Winter Arrives” is the 1st novella from the ‘White Cairns Ski School’ series about a Scottish snowsports school.
Whilst this is a stand-alone book, you might also enjoy reading the next book in the series, “Fear of Falling”, which is also available from your favourite online eBook seller.
It’s a bit unfair when your world changes before you’re even properly awake.
The kitchen had that lived-in, bleary-eyed morning feeling. Cereal packets and discarded crockery littered the kitchen table, post-it notes and school information sheets were stuck to the fridge door, a recipe book lay open on the worktop.
The smell of coffee was like an elixir as Jude poured from the cafetière. She picked up the mug, cradling it in both hands and sipping appreciatively as she headed back through to her office. The strong brew hit her taste buds and started to de-fog the sleepy jumble of her brain.
A black cat snored contentedly on an armchair in the corner of her office. “Ready for a hard day at work, Purdey?” She stroked between the cat’s ears as she passed, and it lifted its head and opened its eyes briefly to acknowledge her, before yawning and curling back into its dream.
Jude sat at her desk and picked up a pen, tucking it behind her ear. Her caramel-blonde hair had only briefly seen a hairbrush that morning, but she’d taken the time to replace her pyjamas with jeans, a warm fleece and socks, to combat the chilly air until the central heating kicked in. The thermostat programming was a black art that she’d never mastered, so it seemed easier to just wear an extra layer. At least it would make the oil delivery somewhat less likely to bankrupt them.
Whilst she was in the kitchen, her email had finished loading. Her eyes scanned down the list of messages in her inbox. Junk, spam, junk. “Oh!” she gasped, her face brightening into a smile as she saw the name of the next sender. She grabbed the mouse and double-clicked to open the message before she’d even read the subject line.
Her delight quickly evaporated and was replaced by a look of disbelief as she read the message. How could he do this to me?
Before she could think properly about what to do or how she felt about it, there was a rumble like a miniature earthquake as her daughter, Lucy, clattered down the stairs and crashed through to the office, shouting, “Mum! I can’t find my costume for drama. Have you seen it?”
Jude shook her head quickly and surreptitiously wiped under an eye with her forefinger before Lucy could see. “Have you checked the laundry?” Her voice sounded a bit strange to her own ears, but Lucy didn’t seem to notice. Sometimes the self-absorption of a teenager could be a blessing.
Rugged hills soared purple, green and grey over the little village nestled in a quiet Scottish glen. The main street was lined by stone houses with small front gardens, dormer windows jutting out of grey slate roofs looking like nuns’ habits all in a line.
Some way down a side street was a rather sleepy rural station, which had no obvious staff, but plenty of notices and billboards. Parallel to the main street, the rail tracks led off north and south towards civilisation. Cast-iron signs with Art Deco curves proclaimed in black and white that visitors had arrived at ‘White Cairns’.
It was time for the twice-daily visitation from the capital city, and a colourful InterCity was disgorging its few passengers onto the platform.
A tall, spare-looking mountain man with two-day stubble and technical clothes stepped down from the train, hoisted a large navy rucksack onto his back, and slung a battered ski bag over his shoulder. He looked around him, taking the measure of the place, and breathing in the air. It seemed to prove acceptable, so he strode off.
Jude stood by the side of the road, resisting the natural impulse to raise an arm and wave Lucy off on the school bus. She contented herself with watching till the bus was out of sight, knowing that her daughter would be mortified if her friends thought that she was seen to the bus in the morning by her mother. Jude only got away with it by pretending she was on her way to the office or to run some other errand; that couldn’t continue to work every day, but it was hard not to feel protective of her only child.
She sighed. This was just the start of the teenage angst. Jude would be lucky if embarrassing her daughter was the worst thing she had to worry about over the next few years. With that thought, her mind swung back to the distressing email she’d received that morning. How was she going to cope?
Roz lives in Scotland with her husband and the obligatory dog and cat. She has been writing since childhood, including screenwriting, songwriting, web pages and even sentiments for greeting cards!
The White Cairns novellas are written from experiences Roz had whilst working as a ski instructor in various Scottish ski resorts and slopes – they do say you should ‘write what you know’!