Gloria

By: Jessica Lynch

FOREWORD





Welcome to Hamlet!

I’m so excited to share this novella with you all. The holidays have always been my favorite time of year—from Halloween straight through to Christmas, there are so many ways to celebrate—including reading festive holiday book! And, while I brought Christmas to Hamlet—the small town that features in the Hamlet series of mystery/thriller/romance novels I’ve been working on since 2017—with last year’s release, Let Nothing You Dismay, I decided this year to celebrate Christmas without the threat of a drunken Santa Claus abducting a child and ruining the holiday for the townspeople.

Enter Gloria, an upbeat outsider who is brought to Hamlet just in time for the holidays.

Because of its setting, it’s loosely part of the Hamlet series. It takes place about four years prior to the first Hamlet book, Don’t Trust Me, and you’ll definitely see a few familiar faces if you’ve read that book.

If you haven’t, that’s okay, too! I know there’s very little the two have in common, except for the small town, some characters, and the storyteller. Still, I loved the idea of having a sweet romance set in Hamlet, absolutely adored setting it during the holidays. And, don’t worry! I saved all the murder and the lies and the bad guys for the other books in this world ;)

In Gloria, you can expect a cheery yet kinda pushy heroine, a grumpy yet definitely sweet hero, some delicious ice cream, and a Christmas spirit that just won’t quit even if poor Franklin wished it would.

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

xoxo,

Jessica





1





In a burst of inspiration, Gloria decided that a year had too many months in it. Who needed twelve? Eleven sounded much better to her. Even the numerals were nice and tidy. Two ones, like a pair of columns side by side. Perfect.

She even knew which one could go.

October.

Her reasoning behind it was pretty sound, too. Everything bad that ever happened to her, it always seemed to happen in October.

The fire that stole her home and her parents’ lives when she was only five? October. Breaking her arm after falling off the monkey bars in elementary school? October. Her high school sweetheart deciding that a long-distance relationship wouldn’t work? That was five Octobers ago now and she’d been single ever since.

Then there was last October. Nana fought breast cancer for close to eight years and Gloria expected another eight at least. Her grandmother was tough, she was strong, and she wouldn’t accept that she was losing the battle until the September night she went to sleep, never to see past October 1st.

So, yeah. October was the pits.

Gloria thought she had gotten off easy this October. Sure, she had received a handwritten letter just last week—still firmly October—that informed her that her Great Aunt Patti had unfortunately passed away. Since she didn’t know she’d had a Great Aunt Patti, she wasn’t as sad as she probably should’ve been. It sucked, no doubt, but after burying Nana last year, she was more upset that she’d had one last relative out there that she didn’t know about—and now she didn’t even have that.

The letter did have some good news in it. As Patricia Hammond’s last of kin, everything she owned went to Gloria. So long as she was willing to come to a small town in the middle of nowhere to hear the will being read, it was all hers.

Except now, before she could find out what her mysterious great aunt left her, she was about to have a heart attack and keel over herself.

Of course she was.

Because it was October.

All this occurred to her in the split second when she got a good look at the creature that had run straight into her path before she let loose an ear-piercing screech and reacted.

As she jerked her steering wheel, desperate to avoid the… the thing that just popped out of the trees to the right of her, she was sure of it. October, with its bad news, its scattered leaves, and its Halloween could disappear and she’d be a-okay with it.

Her frightened scream echoed in the confines of her small car. She slammed her foot on the brakes, something in the engine seizing as she tried to stop and go and get away all at the same time.

Throat raw from her shriek, Gloria clenched her mouth shut as soon as the car jerked to a sudden stop. Her fingers were clamped so tightly to her steering wheel, it felt like the tips were glued to the fuzzy pink steering wheel cover.

Top Books