There, in the Shadow of a Snow Angel

Agoraphobic and alone, Grace Bell is too scared to change her life for the better. That is, until she meets the gallant and dashing Henry Beaufort who is determined to save her. But can he save her from herself?

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1. The world outside my window

I stepped out of my front door and onto the frosted pavement. Although it had snowed for most of the night, not much of the white powder had settled and yet the street was still left looking like it had been heavily dusted with icing sugar. As beautiful as it all looked- and I was willing to admit this much, but otherwise I saw nothing good in the weather- I was not a fan of the freezing conditions and I had not been intending on leaving my house today.

But of course things never work out like that; life never goes the way you want it to. Mother Nature had dealt me an unfair hand and my period had reared its ugly head 3 days early. And I was, of course, suitably unprepared. So that morning I found myself needing to make a quick dash to the pharmacist for some personal necessities and chocolate- lots of chocolate. But me being me, a quick dash was never really going to be a quick dash. Things were never that easy.

As I made my way down my quiet little cul-de-sac, I had tried my hardest not to slip and had walked over-cautiously down the road, but I had still only been able to make it as far as the end of the street before I managed to fall unceremoniously onto the cold hard ground. Suffice it to say, it hurt. In fact, it hurt a lot. I was immediately reminded of why I didn’t like the wintery weather.

I tried to regain enough balance to stand up, but I found myself fumbling on my feet before eventually slipping and tumbling back onto the frostbitten tarmac. This time my fall was completely maladroit and it was fair to say I had made a little scene of myself- my name may have been Grace, but I was anything but. Things were just not going great for me today. I let out a sigh of frustration before again attempting to stand.

As I lay my hand down on the ground, hoping to propel myself into a standing position, I was confronted by an expensive pair of Italian leather shoes and a large tan hand. Taking the proffered assistance and gazing up slowly, I noticed an equally expensive looking suit, tailored to perfection. Finally up on my own two feet I let go of the soft hand and assessed the man standing directly in front of me.

He was beautiful, that was for sure. His green eyes dazzled in the snow-reflected-light of the morning sun, and stark against his almond skin; a smile danced at the corner of his lips, revealing a dimple on his right cheek; his well-defined nose, subtly crooked and striking all at once; the angular lines of his face framed by the dark golden waves of silky hair that cascaded down to his chin. Yep, he was definitely handsome. And kind of smug; a slight smirk had appeared in place of the pleasing smile that previously adorned his face.

And that’s when I realised I was staring. And he had obviously noticed. Of course he had. I was embarrassed to say the least. But of course this sort of thing would happen to me. I took a small step back, taking extra care not to fall flat on my behind once again and turned to walk away. It was the only thing I could think to do. I debated in my mind whether or not I should at least turn my head and throw a thank you in his direction, but I knew all too well that no sound would come out.

In that moment I had wished for nothing more than to be less awkward. But awkward was who I was and I was just going to have to live with it. I was now determined to just get to the pharmacy already, get my stuff and get home as quickly as humanly possible, before I had another chance to make a fool of myself today.

Things like this were why I hated leaving my house. I had coped quite well for the last 2 years watching the world from behind my window. Safe in the knowledge that no-one could see me and no one could judge me. There’s that saying: safe as houses, and to be quite honest I don’t think I could have believed anything more. My house felt safe and I felt safe when I was in it. Every now and then, I needed to leave the house- like today- and I would try to be inconspicuous and swift. Get in, get out, try not to get seen; that was the mantra.

But of course I messed it up. I always did. 

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