The Organised Author

Fly Away Home

FLY AWAY HOME by Heidi J. Hewett

Lulu-print:  Coming soon!

Bonus content with character pictures, background, and a scrumptious raspberry scone recipe:
Casey Banks has the glamorous life she always dreamed of, flying planes all over the world, until an unscheduled landing brings her charter flight to the small town of Kerridge, Vermont, and face-to-face with her ex-husband, Elliot. When her grounded passenger, the wealthy Ms. Landry, unexpectedly relocates her daughter’s wedding to Kerridge and puts Casey in charge as unofficial wedding planner, Casey finds herself thrown together with Elliot with three days to pull off a miracle and wondering if maybe, after all her years of running, her heart might be finally leading her home.

Situated on the north side of the town square between a darkened bookstore and a vintage clothing shop, the bakery stood out like a beacon in the cold, gray early-morning drizzle. Casey glanced at the sign overhead: True Love Bakery & Coffee Shop.
“Oh, please,” she said under her breath. Unless it was referring to chocolate croissants. She thought she could make an exception for chocolate croissants.
She pulled open the door and gave her umbrella a shake before entering. The interior of the bakery was warm with buttery, polished knotty pine. Small round tables with wooden chairs were set out in the cafe area. Further inside was the counter and glass bakery case and overhead shelves stocked with bags of coffee beans and canisters of flavored syrups.
Casey took her place in line, ducking her head and pulling the collar of her coat a little higher. She’d had her hair cut and after so many years, she was hoping to make it in and out of Kerridge without attracting too much attention, although clearly that hadn’t worked as well as she had hoped last night. She glanced up at the menu, dimly aware of a girl of maybe eighteen or nineteen with curly hair bound in a braid standing at the register, and the back of a tall, lean, dark-haired man in a plaid shirt and apron, working the espresso machine at the far end of the coffee bar.
“Excuse me,” said a male voice next to her, and Casey looked up at the chiseled jawline of a blond man. He had glasses and was dressed in a navy suit and tie. “The New York Times,” he explained. “May I?”
Casey colored in embarrassment and stepped aside so he could reach past her to the newsstand.
“Thanks.” He flashed a smile and took his place in line after her.
“Are you—,” Casey started, turning around and giving him a confused, quizzical smile. “Do you live around here?”
He laughed. “Yes.”
“Should I…know you?” she asked. “Because I don’t remember you at all.” Maybe her unexpected layover in Kerridge wouldn’t be a complete bust after all.
“What an interesting way you have of introducing yourself,” he commented as the line moved forward. “I’m almost certain we’ve never met because I would definitely have not forgotten. Do you begin all of your conversations with strangers like this?”
Casey blushed again. “I, just, grew up around here,” she stammered. “I thought I knew everyone.”
“Well, I’m new. New-ish,” he amended. “John Van der Waal. I took over Dr. Benton’s practice.”
“Oh, my God! Dr. Benton’s dead?” Casey exclaimed.
John smiled. “Retired. South Beach.”
“Oh, phew!” she said. “Of course I remember him. I’m Casey Banks.” She put her hand on her chest and then dropped it. “I thought—oh! Hang on!” She craned her neck to look at the chalkboard overhead. “Do you do breakfast here?” she asked.
“Yes,” the man behind the register said.
“Great! I need something like a bagel sandwich. Something like those ones they sell at Panera. And can I get a medium coffee with room for cream, an Early Gray tea, and a triple—shoot! What was that? Triple venti,” she tried again. “Wait! I got it! Triple venti half-sweet, no-fat caramel macchiato.” She looked down and locked on a pair of intensely dark brown eyes. Her heart swooped and dived again. John Van der Waal had gone completely out of her head.
Elliot’s mouth was drawn into a thin line. “This isn’t a Starbucks,” he said shortly.
Casey stared at him. Her brain froze. Mayday, mayday!
“Half-sweet?” he repeated. “What the hell is that?”
“It’s not for me,” Casey said, finding her voice. “It’s the queen—my client—passenger. She’s—could you make something sort of like that? Please?”
He made a sound halfway between a snort and a sigh and started punching buttons on the screen in front of him. “And a bagel sandwich?” he asked. “What do you want on it?”
“You know, something with egg and bacon and tomato and sprouts in the middle,” she said. “I think if I can make her happy this morning, she might not have me fired. Please, Elliot,” she begged, dropping her voice and leaning forward on the counter.
“One egg and bacon bagel sandwich capable of saving Casey Duran—sorry, Casey Banks’ career,” he said dryly. “Becca!”
Too late, Casey realized she should have recognized the young woman who was returning to the kitchen with empty cups from the tables she had been clearing, but in Casey’s defense, Becca had been a ten-year-old girl when she had left Kerridge behind.
Elliot finished ringing up her order. He didn’t hold out his palm for the money. She tried to keep her hands from shaking as she got out her wallet and put the debit card down on the counter. He slid it toward him, and as he did she noticed the gold band around his fourth finger. Her stomach flip-flopped as she thought, My God, he’s married!
Elliot seemed to notice her look because he self-consciously curled his hand. “Becca, can you take over at the register?” he asked. He said to Casey, “It’s from scratch, so your order will take, like, ten minutes,” adding, “Can you wait that long?”
Casey burned with embarrassment. Her heart was pounding. She nodded without being able to meet his eyes.
“Dr. Van der Waal?” Becca asked, giving Casey a dark look.
“Ah, yes,” he said, and Casey stepped aside to let him order.
Elliot married! she thought. But why shouldn’t he be? It had been years. They were divorced. He was free. Why shouldn’t he have remarried? Unless…. It had looked so much like the gold band he used to wear—but then, men’s rings usually looked alike. He wouldn’t have re-used the same ring, would he? She blanched at the thought.
But was it the same ring? She had to get another, better look. Because if it was…. If it was the same ring, maybe, maybe she still meant something to him. And then she wondered why it mattered to her.
Dr. Van der Waal reached past her again for his coffee. “Pardon me. Again,” he said with a smile. “It was nice to meet you, Ms. Banks. Maybe I’ll see you around while you’re here.”
Casey fumbled for something to say, but he hadn’t waited.
“Bagel sandwich, coffee with room for cream, Earl Grey, and one very large coffee with non-fat milk and half of a lot of sugar in it,” Elliot said as he set her order out on the counter. It had all happened too quickly and she had been too ashamed to look at him. She had missed her chance to get another look at his ring and now his back was turned. Casey took the bag and the cardboard drink holder and fled.

 My Review


Five stars for this lovely romantic novella. Casey is an independent, strong woman with a career as pilot, while Elliot is a baker, owner of the True Love Bakery & Coffee Shop.
When Casey is forced to land in a small village with her eccentric customers, she has to deal with her ex-husband Elliot.
I fell in love with Casey and Elliot because they feel real, and I just loved the undercurrent humour throughout the story.