Bread and Promises: A Thornton Vermont Christmas Story

Previous: Part 1: Hamish

Part 2
Juliet

Photo by Jill Heyer on Unsplash

Of all the things Juliet Chen anticipated finding in Thornton, Vermont, a clumsy Highlander was the last.

So what if he’d had a truly adorable dimple? A girl just didn’t run into a red-headed Scotsman in a snowy village four weeks before Christmas. That nonsense was for the Hallmark Channel. 

She collected her ham and gruyere croissant and a hot half-caff with steamed coconut milk, checking her phone make sure she was going to be on time for her interview.

A gust of wintry air tossed fine droplets of spray from the waterfall into her face as she walked. Juliet shivered, wondering what on earth had possessed her to travel to Vermont in December. 

Katherine Pease, whose cookbook and memoir project with her novelist husband had rocketed the small town party chef into foodie celebrity, had possessed her—in a way. An ambitious, talented, charismatic woman in what was still a male-dominated profession. A small town girl who exuded urban confidence.

When Kate—she’d insisted on being called Kate—had agreed to be one of her monthlong profiles, Juliet hadn’t considered the changeable fury of winter in the northeast.

Twelve months, twelve deep profiles of women entrepreneurs—she was betting on finding a commonality that would be her hook. She wanted to pitch this piece to a heavy hitter. It was a tremendous gamble, but she had nothing to lose but the inheritance she wished she didn’t have. Even so, she had two sorority sisters in Miami who were developing fair trade channels for Caribbean artisans and growers. 

She could be drinking mojitos in the sand with Harley and Trina instead of falling victim to a distracted man with ginger scruff and sad eyes.

Eyes like the surface of a deep lake on a clear day. Blue and steady, with a touch of melancholy.

Where had that thought come from?

The cold was addling her brain.

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