Authors: Hannah Gittins
The Casterhouse series
Published in kindle 2014
Hannah Gittins 2014
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any persons living or dead, or places, locations or events are purely coincidental. The characters are product of the authors imagination and used fictionally.
Any unauthorised reprint or use of this material is prohibited, no part pf this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval without express written consent from the author.
Hannah grew up in a loud and loving family with three brothers. Two are older, they looked after her, and one younger that it is her duty to annoy. Her mother inducted her into the world of craft and she has loved it there ever since. When Hannah isn’t spending time with her partner, family, toy poodles or knee deep in wool she can be found sat in front of her laptop typing away. Hannah lives in a village in Scotland which has a great view over the river Tay and, in her opinion, one of the best fish and chip shops…
. From a young age she loved to write stories and enjoyed having others read them. As far as she is concerned she is living her dream and plans to do so for a long time to come.
You can contact Hannah through her website:
I have a few
important people that I would like to say thanks to. Without their help then this book would never be more than a story in my head.
Thank you to my partner. You always listened to me into the wee hours of the morning as I stressed over a detail that didn’t really matter. Not once did you ever say that though. If it hadn’t been for you I never would have put my fingers to the keys. Without you I would be lost. Thank you for helping me take this chance.
Thank you to my Mum. You have been my editor, my listening board and my friend. For years you have been telling me to take this chance and when I did, you were right next to me, like always. Thank you for helping me take this chance.
Thank you to my Dad and his partner. You have kept me in office supplies and understood why I wasn’t around as much. I knew that you would be proud no matter what I did. Thanks for helping me take this chance.
Thank you too my three brothers. You all, in your different ways, helped keep me focused. You never once laughed when I told you I wanted to write this book. Instead you all helped in your individual ways. Thank you for helping me take this chance.
Thank you to my dogs…my constant companions.
The Brain to My Pinky,
The Big Spoon to My Little Spoon,
The Other Half of Me.
I Love You More.
Storming down the street making people part like a wave in front of him, Aiden fumed. That’s it! He’s had enough of her screwing him over. He can’t remember just how many chances he had given her. Wait yes he does…too many. How many times can he open the door to find her there needing his help to fix some kind of problem or help her clean up her act all over again. Of course he’s a sucker and she’s family so that’s what he does. He fixes it. He takes her in and gets her the help she needs, pays for it and about a million other things and what does he get in return? Nothing! Not that he wanted much other than for her to finally sort herself out. Mostly he would just be happy if she didn’t keep getting sucked back in by her current husband. She had a good man once upon a time. He looked after her and treated her like a queen. Then one day the cotton wool was taken away from his eyes and he saw her for what she really was. Of course Aiden hadn’t stopped helping her out, because she is family. There had been a time when family really meant something to her too. Maybe he could understand why that wasn’t the case for her now but did that mean that he didn’t matter to her anymore?
Her own brother!
So here he is. He’d worked his ass off his whole life and finally gotten into a place where things were not too bad. He has money coming in (in a very good way), people that he could have some drinks with, a mate that had his back no matter what. He also had a home that was full of nice things that he had worked hard to get. So although his flat was full of things he loved, the place itself was just a pit stop until he got something better. But some of the things that were taken he had kept from their childhood, others just that he worked hard to get and worked hard to keep looking good.
What a fool he was letting her crash on the sofa last night. He knew this morning he should kick her out when he headed to work but she had been asleep and she looked like she need as much of that as she could get. What an idiot. He should have woken his sister up and kicked her out on her useless ass. But no he hadn’t, and what did he get for being a good person…he gets to come home and find his flat totally trashed and anything that could have been sold taken…and by now sold. The place looked like a war zone. Some things that were gone he didn’t even know you could sell, but Aiden knew that is all she was wanting them for. Worst he knew exactly what she would be buying with the money.
He caught his breath and felt sick in his gut.
But it was exactly that feeling that got him in this trouble in the first place. He had worked a long, hard, physical day and he just wanted to sleep. So what was he doing walking down the street making people run from the look on his face? Well his sister had not left any room untouched and that meant she had even taken his god damn mattress! So he was looking for a hotel room that he could crash out in and not wake up for at least 12 solid hours.
Opening a door off the street into a reasonably priced hotel that he had heard was half decent, he walked in and looked about for the reception desk. Seeing its high counter made of wood with a glass top he walked towards it, already reaching into his pocket for his wallet.
“I need a room.” He snapped, really not in the mood for meaningless niceties.
He heard some papers being shuffled around while he got his card out of his wallet. He still couldn’t believe that this is what it had come to…him having to pay for a bloody room so that he can get some sleep.
“A single or a double Sir?” a pleasant voice asked.
“Well as I wouldn’t fit in a single it will have to be a double, don’t ya think?” he snapped sarcastically.
He didn’t want to be sleeping in a double bed in a hotel he wanted to be sleeping in HIS double bed.
“How many nights will that be for?” The receptionist asked again.
“One night only if I can help it. God knows I don’t want to be here any fucking longer than that.” He answered finally looking up at the brunette behind the counter.
He could tell straight away that she didn’t like him. She probably thought she was hiding it really well but he could read her face easily. Her hair was swept behind in some sort of severe hairstyle that he didn’t like. Her uniform was shapeless and showed nothing. If anything she looked a bit mousey in those clothes and with her hair like that. But it was her face that caught his attention. Although she wasn’t looking at him, but instead at the computer screen, he could see the annoyance in her eyes as she clicked through the options in front of her.
“Would you like a wakeup call?” she asked not looking away from the screen.
“Fuck no.” he answered.
This time he watched her eyes light with fire then return back to annoyance quickly as she suppressed her fire and anger again. Her hand was gripping the mouse so hard you could see the whites of her knuckles. Aiden’s attention had definitely been caught but he was not going to get caught up in another woman’s drama (and there would be drama) no matter how hot she was.
“Papers?” she almost snapped.
“Excuse me?” he snapped back. If she thought he was in the mood to be snapped at by some stuck up receptionist then she was sorely mistaken. Any amusement he might have been feeling left him fast.
“Would you like the day’s papers delivered to your door?” she asked again her voice levelling out into a, ‘let’s get this over with’, tone.
“If I didn’t want a wakeup call what in the world makes you think I want someone to knock on the door with the fucking papers in the morning.” He growled.
“I am just doing my job sir.” she declared with an annoyed toned again.
“Well you don’t seem to be doing it that well ‘cause I could be laid on a double bed in a room already.” He snapped then handed her his card. “Just charge my fucking card and let me go to my room already.”
She reached up and snatched the card out of his hard, pressed some more buttons, scanned his card, grabbed the receipt and then slammed it down on the counter with a pen.
He picked up the pen and signed then pushed both back to her again.
“You have to be the rudest man I have ever had the misfortune to serve in my time working here. If it were up to me I would have you out that door again so fast you would get whiplash for thinking that you are able to speak to another human being the way you just did.” Reaching up she grabbed his signed receipt and then slammed his card down on the counter along with his own receipt. “But lucky for you I have zero power and we serve any vulgar people that walk in off the street. So here is your room key, 114.” She slammed the key down on the counter and looked back at the computer screen dismissing him.
Aiden stood frozen at the counter. His heart was beating a bit faster and all he could do was look at her. The angry red in her cheeks and the fire still burning in her eyes although no longer directed at him still looked amazing. How could he have thought she was mousey looking when she had such fire? In those couple of seconds he had seen what was really inside and it was fucking hot. Maybe she would be worth some drama after all.
Clearing his throat he hoped she would look up at him. She didn’t which showed the determination she was putting into ignoring him.
“Look” he started “I’m having a really long day that ended like crap….”
“Room 114 is up one floor and to the right.” She said not looking up at him.
He smiled. She didn’t want to speak to him anymore.
“I shouldn’t have come in here” He carried on as if she hadn’t spoken “and taken it out on you.”
She paused what she was pretending to be doing and looked up at him. He could see the anger still in her cheeks and the flames still burning in her eyes.
“Richard.” She called out.
An older man with a bulky build and friendly eyes came out from the door directly behind her.
“Yeah?” he asked.
needs help finding room 114.” She stated.
The older man looked up at him surprised, probably wondering why the strong, able-bodied man found it so hard to find the room or what he could have done to piss the woman off.
“Okay Maddie.” The older man said starting to walk round the counter.
“It’s okay.” Aiden said to him. “I’ll find it.”
Picking his stuff up off the counter and pocketing his wallet, Aiden looked down at the woman one more time and said softly. “Thank you for your help…Maddie.”
With that he turned towards the elevator knowing that she was watching his every step. As he stepped into it he smiled and kept doing so long after the doors closed. His night had just gotten significantly better and he couldn’t wait till he had to check out tomorrow...or maybe he would call room service.
* * * * * * * * * *
Walking through the front door of her little but welcoming flat, Madison, dropped her keys onto the set of drawers on her right and bent to pick up the mail. With a quick smile at the teeth marks she flicked through it quickly and scrunched some up, walking deeper into the flat; she placed the others down on the oak table in the living room to look at later. Sighing gently, she looked out of the large rectangular window at the bottom of her living room. Then below it to the massive red dog cushion that had been chewed to within an inch of its life but never thrown away. The owner of said cushion would never allow it; he was the large pure white husky staring at her from the centre of the red bed. Ears pointing forward and eyes staring straight at her, waiting.
“I am guessing the teeth marks are yours and not that the postman got hungry while delivering the mail?” She asked Marvin.
Her only reply was a tilt of the head.
“What no defence?” she inquired.
His head tilted the other way. Shaking her head at him she crouched down and tapped the floor in front of her.
“Come on then you silly billy.” She chuckled.
Immediately the dog sprang in to motion. Marvin may be big but he moved with an easy grace and skill that she had always admired. Round the table he came and straight into her waiting arms. He licked any available skin that he could get. So excited was the big husky that he knocked her off her feet and she gently fell back onto her bum and rolled to her back laughing all the way.
dog!” she gasped pushing him out of the way and getting to her feet once more.
He sat down and just watched her just happy to have her home again. Never would you guess the history of her happy husky looking at him now. There was a time when that was not the case.
Although her flat was small it was all hers. There had been no time in her life when she had owned a little place of her own. Where she could take the time to make it look good and reflect her. Mostly though, she had just always wanted a place that was safe. Where the world was shut out and she could breathe deep and know that she was 100% free. Now she had a home that was completely paid for and was her safe haven. So after a day like today she could cook in her own kitchen, sit on her own sofa in front of her own fire and watch her own telly snuggling with her own dog. For some people this would not seem like such a big deal but for her it meant everything.
Smiling softly she walked to her fireplace and threw in the scrunched-up junk mail. Bending gracefully she started to make the fire. The large window to her right and comfy sofa behind her made up the living room, along with the old oak coffee table that stood in front of her sofa. There were only two things in this room that she had spent a lot of money on: her super cosy, comfy and lush sofa, you sat in it and it felt like you were being given a hug, and the TV that was attached to the wall above her fireplace. Although she didn’t watch a lot of telly when she did she wanted it to look good. This TV certainly did that. Everything else she had managed to pick up as major bargains from car boot sales and charity shops. The oak table had come from a kind older gentleman who was moving into a care home. The shelves that stood to the left of her fireplace came from one of her many local charity shops; in fact most of the books on it came from the same place. In the large time when she wasn’t watching TV, reading was her favourite way to spend it.
Reading had always been a passion of hers. When she was young girl full of dreams she used to want the men and adventures that were on the pages to come to life and take her to amazing places. Then when things in her life were so bad that she could barely handle them the pages took her to places that were safer than her house. They helped her make it through those times but also broke her heart because they reminded her of the young girl she used to be. Now they were her friends. Some she had managed to keep hold of during each stage of her life, others had kept her comfy when the loneliness took over her.
With the fire starting to take life she stood and looked out the window again. When she had been looking for her safe haven there had only be one thing that she knew that she defiantly wanted and that was a peaceful view. A view that changed with the seasons, brought a smile to her lips and allowed her to spend many hours looking out at it and day dreaming (a habit that she had not managed to break since childhood).
The town that she decided would be her home, Casterfield, looked like something out of a book or a daydream. It was big enough that she could live there and not have to socialise with people and get sucked in by the goings on. Maddie liked that it was also small enough that it kept that small town care for itself. There was still a lot of effort made to keep the parks looking nice and hanging baskets in the town square. People still held doors for each other and until today she had never been spoken to rudely before. When Maddie decided on Casterfield a year or so ago she knew that she could make a home and a small peaceful life here.