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Authors: Sarah Morgan

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Wish Upon a Star

BOOK: Wish Upon a Star
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About the Author

As a child
dreamed of being a writer and, although she took a few interesting detours on the way, she is now living that dream. With her writing career she has successfully combined business with pleasure, and she firmly believes that reading romance is one of the most satisfying and fat-free escapist pleasures available. Her stories are unashamedly optimistic, and she is always pleased when she receives letters from readers saying that her books have helped them through hard times.

Sarah lives near London with her husband and two children, who innocently provide an endless supply of authentic dialogue. When she isn’t writing or reading Sarah enjoys music, movies, and any activity that takes her outdoors.

Readers can find out more about Sarah and her books from her website: She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.


Upon a


Sarah Morgan

For my parents, with love.

And thanks to my children for providing endless authentic dialogue and for proving that any bed can be broken if you bounce hard enough.

To Julia, for her friendship, brainstorming skills and staying power.


Sarah Morgan


, where are we spending Christmas?’

Christy glanced up from the letter she was reading. ‘I don’t know. Here, I suppose, with Uncle Pete and your cousins. Why do you ask? Christmas is ages away.’ And she was trying not to think about it. Christmas was a time for families and hers appeared to be disintegrating.

And it was all her fault.
She’d done a
stupid thing and now they were all paying the price.

‘Christmas is a month away. Not ages.’ Katy leaned across the table and snatched the cereal packet from her little brother. ‘And I don’t want to stay here. I love Uncle Pete, but I hate London. I want to spend Christmas with Dad in the Lake District. I want to go home.’

Christy felt her insides knot with anguish. They wanted to spend Christmas with their father? She just couldn’t begin to imagine spending Christmas without the children. ‘All right.’ Her voice was husky and she cleared her throat. ‘Of course, that’s fine, if you’re sure that’s what you want.’
Oh, dear God, how would she survive?
What would Christmas morning be without the children? ‘I’ll write to your father
and tell him that you’re both coming up to stay. You might need to spend some time at Grandma’s because Daddy will be working at the hospital, of course, and it’s always a busy time for the mountain rescue team and—’

‘Not just us.’ Katy reached for the sugar. ‘I didn’t mean that we go without you. That would be hideous. I meant that we all go.’

‘What do you mean, all? And that’s enough sugar, Katy. You’ll rot your teeth.’

‘They go into
,’ Ben breathed, with the gruesome delight of a seven-year-old. He picked up the milk jug and tried to pour milk into his cup but succeeded in slopping most of it over the table. ‘I learned about it in school last week. You eat sugar, you get
. Then the dentist has to drill a bigger hole and fill it with cement.’

‘You are so lame! What do you know about anything, anyway?’ Katy threw her brother a disdainful look and doubled the amount of sugar she was putting on her cereal. ‘Stupid, idiot baby.’

‘I’m not a baby! I’m seven!’ Ben shot out of his chair and made a grab at his sister, who immediately put her hands round his throat.

did I have to be lumbered with a brother?’

‘Stop it, you two! Not his throat, Katy,’ Christy admonished, her head starting to thump as she reached for a cloth and mopped up the milk on the table. ‘You know that you don’t put anything round each other’s throats. You might strangle him.’

‘That was the general idea,’ Katy muttered, glaring at Ben before picking up her spoon and digging into her cereal. ‘Anyway, as I was saying. I don’t want Ben and I to go home for Christmas, I want all three of us to go.’

The throb in Christy’s head grew worse and she rose to
her feet in search of paracetamol. ‘This is home now, sweetheart.’ Thanks to her stupidity. ‘London is home now.’

As if to remind herself of that depressing fact, she stared out of the window of their tiny flat, through the sheeting rain and down into the road below. There was a steady hiss as the traffic crawled along the wet, cheerless street. Brick buildings, old, tired and in need of repainting, rose up high, blocking out what there was of the restrained winter light. People shouted abuse and leaned on their horns and all the time the rain fell steadily, dampening streets and spirits with equal effectiveness. On the pavement people jostled and dodged, ears glued to mobile phones, walking and talking, eyes straight ahead, no contact with each other.

And then, just for a moment, the reality disappeared and Christy had a vision of the Lake District. Her real home. The sharp edges of the fells rising up against a perfectly blue sky on a crisp winter morning. The clank of metal and the sound of laughter as the mountain rescue team prepared for another callout. Friendship.

Oh, dear God, she didn’t want to be here.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to have turned out.

As if picking up her mood, Ben’s face crumpled as he flopped back into his chair. ‘It isn’t home. It’ll never be home, it’s horrid and I hate it. I hate London, I hate school and most of all I hate you.’ And with that he scraped his chair away from the table and belted out of the door, sobbing noisily, leaving his cereal untouched.

Feeling sick with misery, Christy watched him go, suppressing a desperate urge to follow and give him a cuddle but knowing from experience that it was best to let him calm down in his own time. She sat back down at the table and tried to revive her flagging spirits. It was seven-thirty in the morning, she had to get two children to a school that they
hated and she had to go on to a job that she hated, too. What on earth was she doing?

She topped up her coffee-cup and tried to retrieve the situation. ‘London at Christmas will be pretty cool.’

Katy shot her a pitying look. ‘Mum,
try and communicate on my level. It’s tragic when grown-ups do that.
can say cool, but it sounds ridiculous coming from anyone over the age of sixteen. Use grown-up words like “interesting” or “exciting”. Leave “cool” and “wicked” to those of us who appreciate the true meaning.’ With all the vast superiority of her eleven years, she pushed her bowl to one side and reached for a piece of toast. ‘And, anyway, it won’t be cool. The shopping’s good, but you can only do so much of that.’

Christy wondered whether she ought to point out that so far her daughter hadn’t shown any signs of tiring of that particular occupation but decided that the atmosphere around the breakfast table was already taut enough. ‘I can’t go back to the Lake District this Christmas,’ she said finally, and Katy lifted the toast to her lips.

‘Why not? Because you and Dad have had a row?’ She shrugged. ‘What’s new?’

Christy bit her lip and reflected on the challenges of having a daughter who was growing up and saw too much. She picked up her coffee-cup, determined to be mature about the whole thing. ‘Katy, we didn’t—’

‘Yes, you did, but it’s hardly surprising, is it? He’s Spanish and you’re half-Irish with red hair. Uncle Pete says that makes for about as explosive combination as it’s possible to get. I suppose things might have been different if you’d been born a blonde.’ Katy chewed thoughtfully. ‘Amazing, really, that the two of you managed to get it together for long enough to produce us.’

Christy choked on her coffee and made a mental note to have a sharp talk with her brother. ‘Katy, that’s enough.’

‘I’m just pointing out that the fact that you two can’t be in a room without trying to kill each other is no reason to keep us down here in London. We hate it, Mum. It’s great seeing Uncle Pete but a short visit is plenty. You hate it, too, I know you do.’

Was it that obvious?
‘I have a job here.’ In the practice where her brother worked as a GP. And it was fine, she told herself firmly. Fine. Perfectly adequate. She was lucky to have it.

‘You’re a nurse, Mum. You can get a job anywhere.’

Oh, to be a child again, when everything seemed so simple and straightforward. ‘Katy—’

‘Just for Christmas. Please? Don’t you miss Dad?’

The knot was back in her stomach. Christy closed her eyes and saw dark, handsome features. An arrogant, possessive smile and a mouth that could bring her close to madness.
Oh, yes.
Oh, yes, she missed him dreadfully. And, at this distance, some of her anger had faded. But the hurt was still there. All right, so she’d been stupid but she wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t been so—so
. ‘I can’t discuss my relationship with your father with you.’

‘I’m eleven,’ Katy reminded her. ‘I know about relationships. And I know that the two of you are stubborn.’

He hadn’t contacted her. Pride mingled with pain and Christy pressed her lips together to stop a sob escaping. He was
to have followed her. Dragged her back. He was supposed to have fought for what they had. But he hadn’t even been in touch except when they made arrangements about the children.
He didn’t care that she’d gone.
The knowledge sat like a heavy weight in her heart and stomach. Suddenly she felt a ridiculous urge to confide in
her child but she knew that she couldn’t do that, no matter how grown-up Katy seemed. ‘I can’t spend Christmas with your father.’

She’d started this but she didn’t know how to finish it. He was supposed to have finished it. He was supposed to have come after her. That was why she’d left. To try and make him listen. ‘A wake-up call’, a marriage counsellor would probably call it.

‘If I have a row with one of my friends you always say, “Sit down, Katy, and discuss it like a grown-up.”’ Katy rolled her eyes, her imitation next to perfect. ‘And what do you do? You move to opposite ends of the country. Hardly a good example to set, is it?’

Christy stiffened and decided that some discipline was called for. ‘I’m not sure I like your tone.’

‘And I’m not sure I like being the product of a broken home.’ Katy finished her toast and took a sip from her glass of milk. ‘Goodness knows what it will do to me. You read about it every day in the papers. There’s a strong chance I’m going to go off the rails. Theft. Pregnancy—’

Christy banged her cup down onto the table. ‘What do you know about pregnancy?’

Katy shot her a pitying look. ‘Oh, get a life, Mum. I know plenty.’

‘You do?’ She just wasn’t ready to handle this stage of child development on her own, Christy thought weakly. She needed Alessandro. She needed—

Oh, help…

‘And don’t write to him. Ring him up.’ Katy glanced at the clock and stood up, ponytail swinging. ‘We’d better go or we’ll be late. The traffic never moves in this awful place. I’ve never spent so many hours standing still in my whole
life and I don’t think I can stand it any more. I’ll ring him if you’re too cowardly.’

‘I’m not cowardly.’ Or maybe she was. He hadn’t rung her. Gorgeous, sexy Alessandro, who was always wrapped up in his job or his role on the mountain rescue team, always the object of a million women’s fantasies. Once she’d been wrapped up in the same things but then the children had come and somehow she’d been left behind…

And he didn’t notice her any more. He didn’t have time for their relationship.
For her.

‘Ben’s upstairs, crying. I’m here eating far too much sugar and you’re ingesting a lethal dose of caffeine,’ Katy said dramatically as she walked to the door, her performance worthy of the London stage. ‘We’re a family in crisis. We need our father or
goodness knows
what might happen to us.’

BOOK: Wish Upon a Star
3.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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