Please make welcome to the Tavern the lovely Cheryl A. Hunter! We're celebrating her new historical novel, Glass Ornament Christmas. I'm eager to find out more, so grab a cup of hot cider and let's take a peek into Cheryl's wonderful story...
This year, Christmastide will be extra special for glass blower Shayla Toselli who lives in Canterbury Corner, England. The town square will have its first electrically lit tree, and she has been commissioned to create delicate glass ornaments for the new Duke’s Christmas Eve ball. One morning, the Duke’s youngest brother, Adam Preston, finds himself in the Toselli glass factory. He is fascinated with glass blowing and with Shayla. The temperature in the workshop heats up in more ways than one as the unlikely pair work together in the days leading up to the ball. This will certainly be a Christmastide to remember.
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A Sneak Preview from Glass Ornament Christmas
Adam’s head snapped up when he heard high pitched giggling. Several young women wearing pastel colored dresses were strolling in his direction. Fortunately, they were so engrossed in their conversation that they had not yet noticed him. He kept his head down and turned up his coat collar to blend in with the few people on the street. When he arrived at the front door of the glass shop, he slipped inside the door, closed it quickly, and watched as the young women crossed the street and walked away.
“Good afternoon, Sir, may I help you?” someone asked from behind him. Adam straightened up and turned toward the voice with a smile for the clerk.
Henry recognized the Duke’s brother. “Captain Preston, I am sorry, I did not recognize you from the back.”
Adam waved his hand at the neatly dressed clerk. “Not to worry, Sir.”
“Is something wrong, Captain?” Henry anxiously looked around the shop.
“No. Nothing is wrong. I am just avoiding women.”
Henry raised his eyebrows. He walked over to the window and looked out. “If that be the case, I am sorry to inform you, Sir, Lady Justine’s carriage is approaching the shop. The lady is coming to pick up an order of goblets for her annual Christmastide party.”
Adam looked horror stricken. He scanned the room. “Is there a back door out of here, Sir?”
“Yes. But it is through the workshop. The furnaces are hot and dangerous. Normally, customers are not allowed back there.”
“Sir, the furnaces are not as dangerous as Lady Justine and her very lovely daughter.” Adam looked around frantically. “Is it through that door?”
Henry nodded, and Adam hurried to the back of the store and through the small door. As he closed it behind him, he heard the bells above the front door tinkle announcing the arrival of the ladies. Now that he was safe, he relaxed, and walked quietly along a darkened hallway to a large room with several tables and benches. There was a small room off to one side, and to the right was a half wall with a large window. He heard the roar of the furnaces on the other side of the wall and felt heat radiating through the glass. Adam walked to the window and watched the activity in the room. A large burly man worked with a glowing lump of hot glass on the end of a pipe. He twisted the pipe then rolled the molten glass on a metal table. He heated the glass again, rolled it, then pressed it on the marble table and started to flatten it with a round paddle. He picked up a round metal object and pressed it into the hot glass further flattening it. He then tapped the pipe and detached the piece. A boy came over and scooped up the flat glass with a metal tool.
“Sir, may I help you? Are you lost?”
Adam turned his head and looked for the person who spoke to him. A tall man came through a door on the far end of the room and approached him. Adam estimated he was probably five and twenty years old. He had a broad chest and strong arms. His long, straight, black hair was gathered together at the back of his head with a thin strip of black leather. He wore a tattered tight white shirt, black pants that were tied at the ankles, boots, and an apron. He pulled off thick gloves as he approached. “The show room is down the hall, Sir.”
“Yes, I just came from there. The man up front said I could use the back door through the workshop.”
The young man scrutinized Adam for a moment before he recognized him. “If Mr. Toselli sent you back here, it must be alright. Please follow me, Captain.” He did not know why Adam was trying to use the back door, but it was not his place to question, so he beckoned Adam forward. He opened the door to the workshop just enough for them to get inside. As soon as the door opened, Adam felt the full heat of the furnaces hit his face. “Be careful, Sir. Stay close to the wall. We will have to wait until the blowers are finished. We cannot let in a cold draft from outside while they work.”
Adam nodded. “The windows are open. That is not a draft?”
The man shook his head. “The window provides ventilation, but the door to the outside is large, and it will let in a rush of cold air.
Adam leaned against the wall to wait. He was fascinated by what he saw. He watched as the two blowers worked the glass in and out of the furnace, and he realized the one closest to him was a young woman. She was tall and slender, but there was no mistaking her gender because her curves filled out the men’s clothing that she wore. Adam’s eyes moved up her body to her glove covered arms and then to her long and delicate fingers poking out of the cut off gloves. She deftly dipped a rod into the opening in the furnace, twirled it, and pulled out a molten lump of glass. She walked to a door in the furnace, and a boy pulled it back. She stuck the glass inside the furnace and began turning the rod. She pulled it out and twirled it in the air. She heated it again, and then she brought the glass to a marble table where she rolled it around and around before she returned it to the furnace. She did this several more times. She always kept the pipe moving. Each time, she examined the lump of glass as it was shaped. The young, and Adam thought quite beautiful, woman worked the glass in and out of the furnace several more times.
Meet the Author
Cheryl A. Hunter is an author and artist. Her books span multiple genres including historical fiction, contemporary fiction, paranormal fantasy, and nonfiction. Cheryl is also an artist who works in glass, ink and watercolor, and photography. When she is not writing, taking pictures, or creating glass art, she loves to travel. Her interest in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures has taken her to many Archeological sites and museums in several countries.
Connect with Cheryl here ~