A warm welcome to author M.J O’Shea joining us today to talk about new release ” The Worst Best Man”.
Christopher wasn’t looking forward to making the drive home for Christmas. He’d waited until the afternoon of Christmas Eve rather than driving down two days ago with Libby and Edward because he was dreading it that much. And he was dreading it.
He’d always looked forward to the holidays when he was a kid, but that had all changed when his relationship with his parents had been forever scarred by their fight over August. It had never been one big blowout, rather three years of a subtle cold war effort on his mother’s behalf to convince Christopher that August wasn’t the man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He’d thought she was wrong when he was eighteen, he’d thought she was wrong at twenty-one, and now that he only had months before his thirtieth birthday, he still thought she’d been wrong, since he had never felt even a fraction of what he’d felt for August for any other man. And it wasn’t for lack of trying, even though that had gotten old after a couple of years.
After university he’d moved around, never once returning to help his family run the estate and properties—Cannes, Monte Carlo, Ibiza, Mykonos. It was a four-year blur of alcohol, parties, yachts, and expensive people. Eventually even the most distracting of running didn’t work anymore, so he’d come back to London, gotten a serious job of sorts, and settled down not too far from Libby and Edward. Still didn’t like going to Longwick. Still came up with as many reasons as he could to avoid it.
If he hadn’t promised Libby he’d go to her family’s Boxing Day dinner, he’d have found a reason to avoid it once again.
He packed a small weekend bag—he had no intention of staying past the twenty-seventh—and crawled into the back of his car with a coffee, a book, and his laptop to distract him for the nearly five-hour drive. He only hoped there wasn’t loads of holiday traffic.
Christmas at Longwick had always been extravagant, to say the least. It was dark by the time Christopher’s car pulled into the long estate drive, and Christopher was reminded of just how beautiful his childhood home was. Some of his friends had found it creepy. The structure itself had been around since Elizabethan times. It was made from patina-coated red brick with loads of patterned chimneys, two main towers at the corners, and a diamond pattern across the front made from white stone. Christopher supposed he could see how the place looked like something out of a ghost story to someone seeing it for the first time, but it felt like home. At least it would have, if his parents hadn’t made him feel supremely uncomfortable there.
Someone, definitely not any of his family members, had festooned all the trees along the drive with thousands of tiny white fairy lights. It had always been one of his favorite times of year at Longwick, that and long summers racing his horse around the property with Libby and Edward hot on his heels.
Christopher’s belly tied into a knot when they pulled up in front of the main door of the house. He waited for the driver to open the door and then walked to where Hughes was standing with the door open to greet him. Poor Hughes had suffered through many years of rambunctious Christopher. He’d still treated him like a son and was to that day the person from Longwick who Christopher kept in touch with the most.
“Hughes,” Christopher said with a smile. “Happy Christmas.”
“Happy Christmas to you too, sir.”
Christopher rolled his eyes. “I’m not even thirty yet. Christopher is just fine.”
Hughes made a disapproving face. He was a stickler for doing things the proper way. Christopher didn’t laugh. He’d never been a fan of mocking people’s beliefs.
“It’s good to see you. You’ll have to stop in for tea next time Father drags you to London.”
Hughes smiled and gave Christopher a short nod. “It would be my pleasure.”
“Is anybody here?” he asked.
“You’ve just missed them. They’ve left for midnight mass.”
“Well, it’s just a damn shame I’ve missed that.” Christopher winked at Hughes. “Do you know if Mrs. Bell is still in the kitchen? I’d love some tea.”
Bless anyone who ruined the sanctity of Mrs. Bell’s kitchen without her express permission. Christopher had learned that lesson the hard way on multiple occasions growing up. Hughes nodded.
“I think she’s in there planning tomorrow’s meal. She’d be happy to make you a snack.”
Christopher started off toward the back of the house and the cavernous tiled kitchens. He took a deep breath and inhaled the scents of history and old wood and home. At least while the house was still his and empty of guilt and resentment, it felt really very good to be there. He’d still never learned to love London.
Hi everyone! I’m Mj O’Shea:) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.
When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.
M.J. O’Shea: http://mjoshea.com/