Autumn at the Willow River Guesthouse (The Warm Days of Autumn #2) Read Online CP Ward

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: The Warm Days of Autumn Series by CP Ward
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Total pages in book: 63
Estimated words: 59218 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 296(@200wpm)___ 237(@250wpm)___ 197(@300wpm)
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Lily Markham is having a hard time of things. In the space of a week, she loses her job, breaks up with her cheating boyfriend, and is kicked out of her London flat. With her world crashing down, Lily does the only thing she can: retreat to her charming hometown of Willow River to lick her wounds.
There, with autumn leaves falling and the air turning cool, Lily takes a job in her uncle’s guesthouse, develops a friendship with a reclusive novelist, and starts to rebuild her life. And when she meets someone from her past, love could be floating on the cool autumn breeze …

FULL BOOK START HERE:

1

Breakdown

They called it the rat race, but it was more like the robot race, Lily Markham thought, as she resisted the urge to thump the horn one more futile time. She was penned in on all sides by traffic, surrounded by a sea of belching, rumbling metal. Through tinted windows she glimpsed other drivers, some appearing as frustrated as she, others less so, their phones in their hands, one rifling through a rucksack, another with a razor pressed against his chin.

Lily had left her phone at home, and just yesterday she had finished the book she always kept in the car, forgetting to replace it with another from the pile of recent impulse buys she kept on the table in the hall. It was still in the glove box, and she supposed she could read it again, if she really had to.

If she really wasn’t destined to get to work on time today.

But as always, like the giant, creeping behemoth that London’s traffic was, eventually she did start to move, slipping the car into drive, inching forward a few more metres, before coming to a halt again.

Perhaps this morning it was something interesting, rather than the usual boringness of rush hour. Perhaps there was a climate change protest going on, and some hippies had glued themselves to the road. Maybe a farmer had got lost and brought a herd of cattle into the city centre. Or maybe some idiot had simply run out of petrol.

She glanced at her own gauge. Half full. No problem.

The car in front inched forward again, and Lily pulled the lever down into drive.

Something clicked behind the dashboard, and suddenly the lever took on an unfamiliar looseness, floppy and useless like a broken ruler.

Oh please no.

Lily gave it a frantic tug, but it was no use.

She closed her eyes, for a moment wishing the whole world would just disappear. At least if she opened her eyes again to a black void, she would escape the irrefutable embarrassment that was heading her way like a thundering ghost train.

Then, inevitably, she opened them again, to find someone peering in at her window and then pointing at the stretch of open road in front of her.

‘Miss, could you get a move on, please?’ came a muffled voice through the window. ‘Some of us are trying to get to work.’

‘So what did you do in the end? Call the AA?’

‘The police showed up before the AA could even get close. They were directing traffic and everything. I wanted to die. Melissa from next door told me it made the lunchtime news.’

‘Oh. Well, I suppose fame is fame, isn’t it?’ Lily’s mother, Sarah Markham, chuckled. ‘Did you get a raise?’

‘A raise? I almost got fired. I missed a meeting with an important financier. According to Jonas, he had a bit of a tantrum about it, and we might end up missing out on a half million-pound contract.’

‘That’s too bad.’

Lily peered at her face in the mirror across the hall. Curtains of mahogany brown hair encircled an oval face that looked gaunter by the day. Steve still told her she was beautiful. She wished he’d stop lying to her and tell the truth.

Replace the posh woolly thing from Topshop with a pointed hat and switch out your Laura Evans jacket for a grey-green robe and you could start putting spells on people.

She shook her head. ‘I’m tired, Mum. I need a holiday.’

‘Well, we’re always ready for you. Ah, here’s your dad. I’ll put him on a minute. I’ve got a casserole overboiling.’

There was a click as the phone was put down, then a moment later Lily’s dad came on the line.

‘Hey sweetheart. I hear you’re having a bad day.’

Lily couldn’t help but smile. While Sarah could be a little spiky even on a good day, Pete Markham had a voice that naturally soothed her. The voice that had read her bedtime stories for years just had something about it that made her feel safe.

‘Mum managed to relay that pretty quick,’ she said.

‘It’s a father’s natural instinct,’ Pete said. ‘Plus, it’s Wednesday. You always call on either a Monday or a Saturday. You haven’t called on a Wednesday since you had that water pipe burst last January.’


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