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The Perfect Gift – a Christmas Breath and Love by Karen Swan (EXCERPT)

With “Christmas Secret”, “Paris Secret” and “Roman Secret” Karen Swan managed to win thousands of readers’ hearts and become one of the most beloved contemporary authors in our country.

Now she has prepared the “Perfect Gift” for her fans. This is the title of her new Christmas novel, which is published by Ciela Publishing House, and with it the writer revives the magic of the holiday.

Meet Laura, who wants to forget. To escape the ghosts of the past, she makes every effort to build a whole new and safe little world in which there is room only for her loving and supportive Jack, her faithful friend Phee, the gold jewelry she creates herself, and all the red shoes you can afford.

Ciela Publishing House

But this December will be different, because the threshold of her little workshop will be crossed by the mysterious Robert Blake, who has the most unusual pre-Christmas order – a necklace for his wife Kat.

The jewelry that Laura has to sculpt should include seven amulets to tell the life of an amazing woman. A woman that everyone falls in love with irresistibly.

And the more Laura gets to know Kat and the people around her, the more she falls into the magic of the world of the rich, the free, the beautiful. And a crazy vacation in a luxury alpine villa takes her out of her comfortable lethargy. Because the heart keeps its secrets, but also longs for change. A change that is possible only at the cost of the most difficult thing – forgiveness.

This Christmas will be different and many secrets will be revealed. Sometimes miracles do happen on a holiday night.

With her familiar sculpted style, Karen Swan creates the truly “Perfect Gift” – an exquisite romantic tale about the battle with her own fears and the escape from the paws of the past.

The Perfect Gift by Karen Swan (EXCERPT)

FIRST CHAPTER

Laura looked at the shoes in her hand, and even before the saleswoman returned with her size, she knew she would take them, even if they didn’t fit. They were red and that was all it took. Almost everyone around her knew about her addiction to red shoes, and Jack always joked, “You know what they say, if she wears red shoes, she doesn’t wear panties.” Of course, he knew she was the last person to leave without panties. Maybe that’s why she found it so funny. Anyway, he preferred to say that to his other reaction, which was to roll his eyes.

“You have almost fifty pairs!” he had shouted for the last time before seeing her expression, and he had quickly crossed the kitchen to apologize, saying that he secretly liked the fact that she had her own “badge.”

Ciela Publishing House

The saleswoman returned, shaking her head apologetically.

“There are only thirty-six left,” she shrugged. “We’re not thirty-eight, even in the other colors.”

Laura bit her lip and hesitated for a moment as the saleswoman started to put the shoe back on the shelf.

“Well, I’ll take them anyway,” she said softly, looking away as she rummaged in her credit card bag. “They’re at such a good price now.” I will definitely find someone to give them to…

– All right. The saleswoman hesitated and glanced at Laura’s red leather shoes, which she had polished so thoroughly this morning that their eyes met the reflections.

After a minute, Laura enjoyed the ringing of the bell above the door as it closed behind her, and stood for a moment on the sidewalk to tune in to the bright light outside and the change of rhythm. The day was already hectic, the late November sun pulsating softly in the sky with no real force, local businessmen running with coffee splashing under the plastic lids of cups, and retirees pushing their shopping carts between the grocery store and the butcher’s shop, complaining about the price of beef. ; several mothers with prams gathered around the bakery window, trying to persuade each other to get donuts and strong coffee as consolation for their sleepless nights.

Laura turned her back on everyone — pleased that their problems weren’t hers — and walked down the street in the opposite direction, rocking the bag in her hand so that it swayed in time with her long, light brown hair on her slender back. Her studio was in a converted tower just at the end of the marina, eight minutes from the store. People usually had some romantic ideas when he told them where he worked, but the place was not beautiful at all.

Tall and clumsy on its supports, the tower towered over all the workshops with corrugated metal walls and dilapidated boat shelters on the shore, and its room above them all looked as if it had been designed by a Lego-trained architect. The wood was completely rotten, though it didn’t look good at first glance because it had been painted two years ago by a yacht club student who needed extra money. She loved this studio. She felt like home.

Laura turned off Main Street and walked down the shady streets with gray cobblestones, past miniature pastel-colored thatched-roof fishermen’s houses — now mostly summer houses for wealthy Londoners — and then through the concrete boat ramp to the paved muddy path. along the river that led to her studio. It was on a hill in the middle of the estuary.

Jack called it St. Loras Mount. The brown water splashed in the supports only during the spring tides, and the path to it could only be walked at low tide, so Laura enjoyed a late start to the workday this morning. In fact, if she really wanted to work from nine to five, she could buy a small boat to get to the studio, but she liked the irregular working hours that the tides forced on her.

Karen Swan (Source: Ciela Publishing House)

But even more than the late start of the workday — she could never admit it to Jack — Laura loved the evenings when, focused on work, she didn’t hear her alarm and the trail remained underwater. After having to stay in the studio for the first time at night, she had brought a blanket, a pillow, and a small bag of clothes to be ready for such occasions, but Jack hated that. According to him, the fact that she had these things encouraged her to keep working when it was time to finish and go home.

The ebb had now set in, and the mud looked as shiny as ganache, but Laura didn’t stop to watch the sabers and herons move on it as if they were weightless. Their mutual interest had evaporated some time ago and they now existed in apathetic harmony. Laura hurried up the metal stairs and unlocked the door. Jack kept saying that they needed to improve the security of the studio. It contained materials for thousands of pounds.

Laura tossed her bag on the floor and carefully removed the oversized shoes from the box, then set them on the ledge. They looked like two bloodstains in the white interior. The wide planks on the floor were painted and varnished, so they looked shiny and more expensive than they really were, and the white on the walls required twenty test boxes and Jack on the verge of a nervous breakdown before Laura could find the perfect white.

Her idea was not to make the walls look cold in the winter, but despite her best efforts, this was exactly what happened — very few things could counteract the prevailing gray light of Safaq’s winter. She had ordered sand-colored striped blinds, and that had helped keep things warm.

There was no way it wouldn’t work – the windows were on all sides of the room, so there were a lot of blinds. Jack worried that when she worked upstairs, Laura was too open with a view of three hundred and sixty degrees, where anyone could see her alone in the mouth. But Laura said that neither bored teenagers nor enthusiastic birdwatchers had any interest in her.

Ciela Publishing House

The flashing red light on the answering machine caught her eye, and she approached to listen to the messages. After a few years of working alone at Radio 4 alone, it was still a surprise to her that people were actively looking for her and calling her for orders. The transition from a man with a hobby of jewelry to a professional goldsmith was accidental when the amulet necklace she had made for Phee’s mother had found a positive reception at the Women’s Club.

After weeks of ignoring Phee’s well-meaning insistence that she start making jewelry seriously, her friend, though young, had taken matters into her own hands and published an official announcement in the Charington Echo. Coincidentally, at the time, the editor of the Financial Times was on vacation in nearby Walberswick and happened to see the ad while waiting for lunch at a local pub. An hour later she had knocked on Laura’s door, and from there it was just a leap to the material in the jewelry section of the prestigious magazine.