She opened her door and her slick black boots crunched on the snow-encased rocks. Did one just arrive with their bags and claim their room? Or enter and sign in first? She hadn’t really read up on it—just chosen the closest Christmas lodge she could afford that wouldn’t leave her stranded too far from her job in case of a freak snowstorm. The boss had already grown impatient with the days she had been late because of sleepless nights. He wouldn’t take the excuse of a snowstorm delaying her return from vacation. Losing her job would be icing to top the cake for this year—and it sure wasn’t a tasty cake.
She grabbed her purse and walked to the front entrance. A bell announced her arrival as she pushed the door open. From somewhere in the depths of the house, she heard a cheery, “Hello! Welcome to Starlight Lodge! Give me just one moment.”
Melonie waited by a mahogany desk in the foyer, peeking at the next room. Garlands decked the support beams, candles rested on many of the surfaces, nearly hidden by sprigs of fresh greenery. A soft hum of Christmas piano music filled the room. She’d have to talk with Josh about—no. No Josh. She clenched her jaw as an elderly woman walked into the front room.
(From "Finding Christmas Joy" by Amanda Tero;