Hidden Cottage

Hidden Cottage by Erica James Read Free Book Online

Book: Hidden Cottage by Erica James Read Free Book Online
Authors: Erica James
Tags: Fiction, General
France’s largest ski clothing and equipment retailers made an approach to buy them out. There had been a time when he and Bea would have told them where to stick their money, but not now – now they gave the proposition all their consideration. It took months and months of legal wrangling to form an agreement, with Owen and Bea wanting cast-iron assurances that their current employees, some of whom had been with them since the early days, would not lose their jobs. Finally an agreement was reached to the satisfaction of all parties, but being the pathologically sentimental idiot he was, Owen had had a lump in his throat when he’d signed the forms last November. He and Bea might have suddenly become absurdly wealthy overnight, but he had felt bereft.
    While Bea got on with her new life with a new husband and child, Owen had felt as if he had a resounding nothing to get on with. No job. No wife. No family. Thank God for his friends! Because it was while spending most of the winter on the ski slopes, having rented a chalet in Chamonix for three months, and inviting friends to join him whenever they wanted, that he realized one very important thing: he now had to get on with his life and chase his own dream.
    He had no idea what the outcome would be of returning to Little Pelham, but as he sat down cautiously in one of the seen-better-days garden chairs the previous owners had left behind and tuned into the quietness of the evening, it felt good. It felt like home.
    On his return from Chamonix, back in March, going through some of the boxes of his mother’s things – a task he’d deliberately put off – he’d found one of his old school books from his time at Little Pelham Junior School. He’d had no idea that his mother had kept it, but flicking through the pages and coming across a picture he’d drawn of The Hidden Cottage he’d realized that it matched perfectly the exterior of the house he’d dreamt of for all these years, and it set him thinking. Which in turn had him turning to the internet and browsing the various property sites.
    His search was restricted to one small area: Little Pelham. There was nothing that interested him – just a couple of small cottages for sale. He signed up to receive regular updates and to his amazement, less than a fortnight later, he received notification that a new property had come on to the market in the village; it was The Hidden Cottage.
    Not surprisingly the photographs showed an interior that he didn’t recognize – after thirty-four years it was only natural that the place had been changed and extensively modernized – but there was no doubt in his mind what his next step had to be. Without even going to see the house, he made an offer, instructed a solicitor and a surveyor and the deal was done.
    Rich declared him as having more money than sense and finally going off his rocker, but Bea had reasoned that even if it proved to be a mistake, what did it matter when it was a mistake he could easily afford to make? Admittedly it was the most wildly impulsive thing he’d ever done, yet it felt entirely right.
    Just as it had felt right to put off coming to see the house until today when he moved in. He had planned it that way to ensure maximum effect; he had wanted to capture all of his emotions into one sharply focused moment.
    With that thought uppermost in his mind, he stared out from the wooden veranda that covered the full width of the back of the house and absorbed the cloistered tranquillity. The light had gone now and low in the inky-black sky, the moon shone down, skimming the tops of the trees, its reflection caught in the stillness of the lake.
    He’d first come across The Hidden Cottage a few weeks after he and his parents had moved to the village. It was a Saturday afternoon, his father was working and his mother was ironing, and with nothing to do, he’d gone for a walk. He’d nosed around the allotments watching the old men at work, then followed the path

Similar Books

The Grey Man

John Curtis

Dark Realms

Kristen Middleton