Enjoy this short story featuring Snowball the kitten in her new home, Weber Haus, a beautiful Victorian inn filled with love. She’s about to get her first taste of matchmaking…
“She’s in here,” Morgan called.
A few seconds later, a head popped round the corner to the sitting room where Morgan was curled up on a rather uncomfortable antique settee. Emily Diemer, one of the two ladies who ran the bed and breakfast, took one glance at the tiny white fluffball of a kitten snuggled in the crook of Morgan’s legs and smiled.
“That kitten is going to be the death of me,” Emily said, shaking her dark head as she came further into the room.
“This sweet little thing?” Morgan ran a hand over Snowball’s soft fur, and the baby stretched adorably, giving a little yawn.
Emily snorted. “Her halo is held on by little devil horns.”
Morgan chuckled, but couldn’t agree. This little cat, still so tiny and precious, had been her constant companion. Given that she’d come to Weber Haus to lick her wounds in relative private, Morgan had appreciated the snuggles and tiny just sitting together more than she could say.
Emily tipped her chin at the sunlight streaming through the one window in the small room. “I assumed you’d be out enjoying the beautiful weather while it lasts. Shopping maybe.”
Morgan glanced outside. Snow would cover the rolling hills and trees almost completely bare of leaves soon. “I’m a bit of a homebody. I hope that’s okay.”
“Of course. You might enjoy some of the books on the shelves in the formal living room.” Emily turned to leave.
“Actually…” Morgan called her back, suddenly needing more than Snowball. A human to talk to would be nice. “I just had my heart smashed to pieces and I’m hiding from the world for a bit.” Why she’d felt compelled to share, she wasn’t sure, except she’d been sitting here letting loneliness and heartbreak keep her in a state of inaction, the same way rust turned the Tin Man to a statue.
Emily’s eyes darkened with empathy and she dropped to sit beside Morgan on the settee. “I’m so sorry to hear that. You stay as long as you need—”
The bell over the front door jangled softly and Emily grimaced. “We’re expecting a new guest today. I’ll be right back.”
Morgan sighed as Emily hurried away. By the time the young woman, about her age Morgan guessed, returned, she’d probably have talked herself out of sharing.
Her hand on Snowball paused in a rhythmic petting as the low rumble of a voice coming from the foyer sounded way too familiar.
“No way,” Morgan muttered.
Snowball gave a squeak of protest as Morgan hurriedly got up. A quick peek around the corner, and Morgan jerked back into the sitting room, her heart doing a decent impersonation of a jail break. What on earth was Nick Jensen doing here?
“Oh my God,” she whispered, and looked frantically around the room. If she tried to escape via the hallway, he’d see her. The window seemed the only way out. A ridiculous idea, but sometimes desperation trumped common sense.
As soon as she opened the window, which thankfully slid up without a sound, Snowball gave a loud meow. Really loud given how tiny that kitten was.
“Shhhhh.” Morgan waived her off.
“Meow,” Snowball answered with even more gusto to Morgan’s sensitive years.
Which only made Morgan move faster. Or try to at least. Ignoring the animal, she managed to get one leg out the window only to realize that the drop was much further than her short legs could reach.
With a grunt, she glanced at Snowball. “I think I’m stuck,” she whispered.
With another meow, the kitten ran from the room.
“Great. Abandoned by a white puffball,” Morgan muttered.
She pushed further outside, twisting and reaching as far as she could, until she was hanging by the hook of her knee, and still couldn’t reach the ground with her swinging foot.
“Meow,” she vaguely heard from inside.
Snowball had returned?
“Need some help with that?”
Morgan froze where she dangled, then slowly looked up into a pair of laughing green eyes. Eyes she’d thought she wanted to see every morning for the rest of her life. Eyes framed by a strong, straight nose, a surprisingly generous mouth, and a jaw shadowed by dark stubble. Snowball had not helped her at all. The little cat may have run to get help, but the help she’d brought was the same man Morgan never wanted to see again.
“Nope,” she said. “I’m doing just fine on my own.”
Nick’s grin widened. “I can see that.”
Ignoring her glare of protest, he reached out the window, grabbed her under the arms, and scooped her inside the house.
Once on her feet, and with as much dignity as she could muster, Morgan brushed herself off. Satisfied her skirt wasn’t stuck in the band of her panties or something equally mortifying, she refused to look at Nick. Instead, she picked Snowball up and left the room, passing by an open-mouthed Emily as she went.
“Wait,” Nick called after her.
She paused on the stairs, part of her—the part still in love with him—wanting to stay and hear him out. The part that ached with the hurt he’d inflicted wasn’t so sure.
He covered her hand with his, and Morgan had to close her eyes against the sensations such a simple touch stirred.
“Please, Morgan,” Nick said in a voice gone gruff. “I came to apologize.”
TO BE CONTINUED…