Royal Holiday Page 1

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Series: The Wedding Date #4

Genres: Romance

Chapter One

Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport.

“Um, Maddie? Do you think Ms. M. Forest and Ms. V. Forest are us?”

Vivian gestured at the man in the suit, holding the sign with their names on it.

Maddie turned in the direction Vivian was looking and grinned at her mother.

“Let’s do this, Mom.”

Vivian looked around and laughed to herself before she grinned back at Maddie.

She still didn’t exactly know how she’d gotten here. It had all started with a call from Maddie a few weeks ago.

“Hey, Mom, I need an answer fast—do you want to spend Christmas with me in England?”

Vivian had laughed. What else was there to do when your thirty-four-year-old daughter asked something so ridiculous?

“Sure, I do. I also want to spend Thanksgiving with you in Hawaii, New Year’s Eve with you in Paris, and Easter with you in Rome.”

But Maddie didn’t laugh at that.

“No, really. I’m serious. You remember my old mentor, Amelia Samuels?”

Vivian looked away from her computer screen.

“The one who’s now the stylist for the princess?”

“Duchess, but yes. Well, Amelia was supposed to go to England at Christmas to help prepare the Duchess for all of the royal Christmas festivities—apparently, there are lots of them—but Amelia is pregnant with twins and just had to go on bed rest. Her doctor says she’s under too much stress and can’t work at all.”

“Oh no, really? Poor Amelia; I didn’t know she was pregnant! Please tell her I’m thinking about her.”

Vivian had only met Amelia once, that time she’d gone down to visit Maddie when she’d been living in L.A., but she’d really liked her. And Amelia had done a lot for Maddie and her own stylist career.

“I will, Mom, but let me finish. Since Amelia can’t fly to England for Christmas, she wants me to fill in for her, because both she and the Duchess want someone she trusts.”

Vivian dropped her pen on the floor.

“Maddie! Oh my God! Are you serious? My daughter is going to be so famous! You’re going to England to work with a princess? You’ll be all over People magazine! Oh my God, I can’t wait to tell everybody!”

Maddie laughed.

“You can’t tell everybody yet, but I know, I’m blown away. But wait, we can be excited in a second—I want you to come with me.”

Vivian got up and closed her office door.

“Come with you . . . to England?”

Maddie started talking faster.

“It means I’ll be there for Christmas, and I don’t want to be alone with a bunch of strangers at Christmas. I already asked if you could join me, and they said yes. So . . . can you?”

Vivian looked around at the piles of work on her desk, and in the direction of her boss’s office, with their last conversation about his future—and hers—ringing in her ears.

“Maddie, I don’t know about this—I have a ton of work at this time of year, and today is especially wild around here. What about Theo, did you already talk to him?”

Vivian already adored Maddie’s boyfriend, Theo, even though they’d only officially been together for a few months.

“I told Theo about the offer, yes, and he’s thrilled for me. But if you mean did I invite Theo to come to England with me already, absolutely not. I love Theo, and I can’t wait to spend New Year’s Eve with him, but I’ve never spent a Christmas without my mother, and I don’t intend to start now. So, are you coming?”

Vivian grinned to herself. She couldn’t deny it warmed her heart to know her daughter still wanted her mom with her for Christmas.

But to go all the way to England for Christmas? That far away from work, the rest of the family, and everything?

“I’d love to come, but I can’t make a decision like this right now,” she said to Maddie. “Let me think about it and we can talk about this in a few days.”

Maddie’s voice got louder.

“There’s no ‘a few days.’ I have to make this decision now, and I’m going to decide for both of us. You need this. You haven’t gone on a real vacation in years.”

How had she managed to have a daughter who thought she could boss her around like this?

“Oh, you have to go. Life is too short not to take incredible opportunities like this! But I don’t think I can—”

“I’m definitely going, and you’re definitely coming with me. You never take enough time for yourself; you know I always tell you that. You spend all your time working or helping me or helping out with Aunt Jo. I know you don’t want to leave Aunt Jo, but you need a break.”

“Maddie . . .”

“Great, it’s settled. Talk to you later!”

And with that, Maddie had hung up, and two days later they had plane tickets. Vivian hadn’t even known until they were about to board the flight that they were first-class tickets.

She laughed to herself just thinking about that flight. The last time she’d been on an airplane, she’d felt lucky to be in an aisle seat. She’d had an aisle seat this time, too—a huge, futuristic, podlike seat, with room not only to stretch her legs, but to lie almost flat. With just a wave, she could summon champagne and snacks to her side, and for all she knew, there was some secret button to give her a massage, too. She and Maddie had spent the first two hours of the flight just looking around and giggling with each other.

Despite how amazing the flight had been, Vivian still wasn’t sure she should be here. She was with Maddie, but what about the rest of her family? Her sisters needed her, especially her sister Jo. And she’d never been away from the Bay Area for Christmas in her life. What was Christmas going to be like without her great-aunt Shirley’s ham, or her cousin Loretta’s greens, or those dinner rolls her cousin Marilyn always said she made but everyone else knew she got at Safeway?

But then . . . she hated those greens. There was never enough pork in them and way too much vinegar. It might be nice to have a change of pace for Christmas, even though she had serious doubts anyone in England knew how to make a sweet potato pie.

The very polite man in the suit escorted them to a waiting SUV, and Vivian and Maddie kept making faces at each other as he offered them three different kinds of bottled water and told them how to turn on their heated seats.

Maddie opened a bottle of water and handed it to Vivian.

“It’s supposed to take a few hours to get there, so . . .”

“What?” Vivian stopped her. “A few hours? Where are we going?”

Maddie laughed.

“Didn’t you read the email I sent you about that? The royal family always spends Christmas at Sandringham. It’s in the east of England but a bit north of London.”

Like she’d had time to read Maddie’s lengthy emails. She’d gotten herself packed and to the airport, hadn’t she?

“I had too much to do in the last few weeks; I had to get ready for a last-minute international trip, remember? Plus, your emails are too long.”

Maddie sighed.

“I should have known. Anyway, Sandringham is a big estate; there are a bunch of royal residences on it, and then lots of trees and land; at least, that’s what the pictures online look like. I guess we’ll see for ourselves shortly.”

Next page