Christmas Angels: A Novel
Liz Westmoreland lives a hectic life with an all-consuming job, but for the longest time her biggest dream has been to purchase a place like her grandparents' lodge, Angels Rest, in the mountains at Antler Creek, North Carolina. She spent many happy days with her grandparents where her grandfather led her and their guests on fly fishing excursions, hikes, and fireside cookouts. The peace and serenity of the countryside far surpass anything, but her grandparents sold the property to retire and travel and unfortunately passed away soon after.
A favorite pastime of Liz's is to peruse real estate auctions online, so imagine her surprise when she sees Angels Rest listed. Not having seen the property in years, and with an immediate impulse to bid on it, she takes a leap of faith; she submits a price she can afford and wins. Now with the project for her job completed and the holidays coming up, Liz takes time off to head for the hills!
When she arrives, she is discouraged to find the lodge in disrepair:
"Liz steadied herself as her eyes began to sting and a sudden wave of nausea came over her. Hopefully, it was from mounting disappointment, and not from poisonous gas or mold in the house. See, it could be worse."
This is her future, and she will not let conditions deter her. Saving over the years to make this come true, she is determined to do just that.
It is wonderful to be back in this charming town, and at the local diner, Liz meets Maizey, the owner, who welcomes her with open arms. When Maizey learns she bought her grandparent's old home that needs tons of repairs, she is directed to Matt Hardy, a local contractor. A handsome customer who Liz finds very attractive offers her suggestions on what to eat as he leaves.
Surprisingly, Matt is the charming guy from the diner. They decide to meet at her property on Thanksgiving morning where Matt tells her he also bid on it. Seeing how happy she is hoping to recapture her memories, he offers suggestions for renovations. As they're both alone, he invites her to share dinner with him but does not let on he knew her when they were kids and always had a crush on her.
Liz cleans one of the cabins to live in while the lodge is being refurbished, finding the peace and solitude she so enjoyed as a child. She unearths several boxes left by her grandparents and is delighted to find angel figurines her grandmother had collected. What is strange is, some turn up in unlikely places, as if to reassure her she is making the right decision to move here.
When Liz takes a walk in the woods looking for pine boughs to make a Christmas wreath, she spots mistletoe she thinks would be great to use.
"In her excitement, she sped up to a jog, but her foot caught on something, and she flung forward into the snow with a thud.
"Her hands smacked the ground, and her trash bag of clippings went flying in front of her.
"She lay there for a second trying to gather herself, unsure if she was hurt or not.
"Sucking in a breath, she lifted herself up to her hands and knees. 'I'm okay. It's okay,' she said, convincing herself to try to get up.
"Pain seared through her body when she tried to pull her foot forward."
Liz manages to crawl her way back to the house and get her phone to call for assistance. It isn't long before help arrives, and Matt insists on taking her to the hospital where it is discovered her ankle and a small bone in her foot are broken.
The snowy mountainous setting and supportive townsfolk make Liz want to fulfill her dreams, but despair sets in and she questions if her plan is wishful thinking. She'll be laid up for weeks and there's so much to do. Should she abandon her dream and head back to her old job or can make a go of reopening the lodge?