“Winter Rental”, Ch. 7:  Post rescue–more couples time this week,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  February 13, 2022 (Post #1447)

[“Winter Rental” is an original contemporary romance story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved.];
[(1) the “Winter Rental” story cover (left); other image credits are at the end of each chapter(s) post]

0-2022--aa-Winter-Rental-story-cover-256x402_Jan09-2022byGratianaLovelace[Author’s notes:  I cast my characters as I write my stories—to help myself and my readers visualize the main characters.  So my main characters for “Winter Rental” are:  Richard Armitage as Greg Halliday; Cameron Diaz as his younger sister Connie Halliday;  Anne Hathaway as Diana Langley; Liam Hemsworth as Eddie Hughes; Rege-Jean Page as Mike Porter, Octavia Spencer as Octavia Porter, and others as noted.

This is also a gentle romance (with chapters being rated as PG-13 or so, unless otherwise noted), with some heartfelt romantic moments—and some mature romantic discussions put to humorous effect.  So if you cannot or will not attend a movie with my maturity ratings, then don’t read that chapter.  And though I set my story in the lovely city and area of Galena, IL—which I have enjoyed visiting many times—for the purposes of my storytelling here, I use dramatic license of the facts, individuals, locations, etc.  These are my disclaimers. And I will post new story chapters weekly on both my SAL blog, as also on my Wattpad site.]


“Winter Rental”, Ch. 7:  Post rescue–more couples time this week

When Greg Halliday had previously booked their Galena vacation rental reservation—of what turned out to be Diana Langley’s home, the newly christened Lakeside Cottage–for himself, his sister Connie, and their friends Ron & Sylvia, what Greg had hoped would be a week full of invigorating skiing interspersed with relaxation down times doesn’t happen.

With the rescue of the endangered cross country skiing tour group that included Greg’s sister Connie—and two severely injured skiers, including their tour guide Eddie Hughes, son of the current Ski Resort owner—Connie has detached herself from their vacation group to devote herself to tending to Eddie.  Though Eddie will be hospitalized for several days and nights due to his wolf claw and bite marks needing to be monitored by the medical staff for infections, Connie plans to keep him company to keep his spirits up and tend to his simple needs of water and cold compresses to keep a fever down that he developed.  And then, she plans to continue to tend to him, when he is released from the hospital.  It seems that Connie and Eddie are reconnecting with each other after a 12 years absence as girlfriend and boyfriend.  So they are shyly getting to know one another again.

And Greg tables his discussion, for now, with the ski resort owner Mr. Brent Hughes, regarding Greg’s wish to purchase back from the ski resort his old vacation home Halliday House and property–out of respect for the Hughes family needing to concentrate on their son Eddie’s medical emergency. Though Greg still asks his dad to scan and email him a copy of the contract for deed so that he can review it from a legal standpoint.  And he also informed his Resorts International CEO boss Philip Townes who plans to visit with his family next week, that the Hughes family Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort owners will likely not be available for any merger discussions next week, due to the family health emergency.

But on the positive side, Greg Halliday and Diana Langley are getting along great!  After their nerves had settled Sunday– from the anxiety of the mountain rescue crisis on Saturday–Greg and Diana stay within the confines of her Ski Resort Hotel suite, their still avoiding being overwhelmed by other grateful guests families of the rescued skiers and the press on Sunday.  But they do long to get out of her suite and do some things around town.

So at breakfast the following Monday morning, Greg and Diana chat in her ski resort hotel suite about her plans to upgrade her home’s kitchen as a way of distracting themselves from thinking about their harrowing Saturday–by talking about everyday life.

Greg:  “So tell me about your great kitchen remodel–with new appliances and such.”  He grins and takes a sip of his morning brew, courtesy of room service. His cheer is partially because of his coffee’s deep rich flavor—no milk or sugar for Greg—as well as, the room service server’s conveying that the group of press and others interested in the rescue have died down and are not in evidence anymore.

Diana tasting a morsel of her egg, ham, & cheese omelette first does a ladylike swallow, then she replies to Greg with her straight forward design goals.

Diana: “My home’s kitchen’s lovely tan and black with silver flecks quartz countertops will stay—mostly due to quartz not needing resealing each year like marble does.  So I would like all steel appliances—including new double over under ovens in addition to a new electric stove top oven range, refrigerator, dishwasher, and sink. And I love my kitchen cabinets and the overall layout.  So only a few changes there.”  She nods her head resolutely.

Greg: “Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out. The worst bit is always if you have to change out cabinets and redo the floor plan—in having to move everything in the cabinets around to other storage areas during remodeling.  But with you’re only swapping out appliances—with a slight cabinets adjustment for the additional over under double ovens—their installation should be able to be accomplished in an afternoon, with the double ovens being installed last.”  And with Greg renting her home, he visualizes her kitchen layout in his mind, and he raises a quizzical brow. “So where are the double ovens going?”

Diana: “I guess you’re not conversant with innovative kitchen remodeling ideas, Greg.  Hmmm?”  She teases with a smile.

Greg:  “Well, you have me there, Diana.”  He smiles at her.  “But seriously, where are you putting the double ovens?”    He asks mirthfully.

Diana: “As you know, when standing at my home’s oven, there are counter tops on either side of the oven range for staging cooking ingredients, taking things out of the oven, etc.”

Greg nods, since he has lived in Diana’s  home as his winter rental for a few days now—though with half of that time spent with Diana in her Ski Resort Hotel suite, he realizes.

Greg: “Yes, most convenient.”  Greg smiles appreciatively at the lovely Diana, seemingly enlivened by relating her kitchen home remodeling ideas to him.

Diana: “So, the full length floor to ceiling pantry cupboard to the far right of the countertop is the perfect place for the double ovens—with some drawer storage below and another small shelving cabinet above.  And I’ll have the current pantry cabinet moved to the left of the refrigerator that is flush to the far end of the  left countertop side of the range oven.”

Greg: “Hmmm.  That’s sounds very convenient.  But you’re smiling, Diana.  What are you not telling me?”  He asks with a knowingly quirked eyebrow.

Diana: “Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say.  I’m going to see if a smallish bay window can be added as a bump out breakfast nook–with cushioned bench seating on the window side, and chairs opposite, using my existing kitchen table and chairs. Thereby…”  But Greg excitedly interrupts her, with a dawning understanding.

Greg: “Ah! Thereby, creating more room for the repositioned pantry to the left of the refrigerator.  That will be a most efficient use of your kitchen space, Diana!”

They smile cordially at each other with their similar feelings about kitchen design and the need to balance functionality, storage, comfort, and design.

Diana: “So, shall we attempt going to the home improvement store for designs and building contractors today?”

Greg: “We?”  He asks teasingly, then gently clasps her hand in his across her ski resort hotel suite’s small breakfast table.

Diana:  “Oh!  I meant, well, since you’re renting my home this week, I thought that you might have some fresh input about my kitchen’s utility for me.  Unless, of course, you would rather go skiing by yourself.”

Diana blushes at her assumption that Greg might like to go with her.  She and Greg have spent nearly all their time together the last few days, and she likes that.  She likes him.

Greg: “Diana, skiing by myself does not hold any allure for me at the moment—though sledding later today or tomorrow with you will be fun.  And I will enjoy spending more time with you today—at the home improvement store.”  Greg gently squeezes her hand in his.  “So let’s get dressed, then head down the mountain for town.”


However, Diana and Greg’s first stop in town is at her family’s sporting goods store to see how her brother Gary is getting on—now that the mountain rescue emergency has passed.  Greg would have rather skipped this stop—with him feeling annoyed with Gary’s treatment of his own sister Diana. But he acquiesced for the quick visit for Diana’s sake.

Yet almost as soon as Greg and Diana enter the Langley’s sporting goods store and the recorded bell tinkle heralds their arrival, the customers within start clapping for them.  It seems that their Galena hometown newspaper and radio station have been singing their praises for being key to finding and rescuing the stranded and injured cross country skiing party.

And several of Diana’s hometown neighbors walk over to Diana and give her hugs, as well as them politely meeting Greg Halliday as Diana introduces each one of her hometown neighbors to Greg.  And Greg greets them cordially, shaking their hands—or in the case of the much older and petite grandmotherly types, submitting to hugs.  Diana watches Greg with amusement for him trying to remain gracious with the grandmothers.  But Diana can see how awkward it is for Greg, despite how well he is trying to mask his discomfittedness.

Then the final grandmotherly neighbor type who seems to be a young sixtyish and stylishly dressed woman waits patiently to be introduced to Greg.  But first she gives Diana a warm hug.

Diana: “Mrs. Hughes.  It’s so good to see you again!”  For Mrs. Hughes crosses paths with Diana on various civic and charity projects in their community.

Mrs. Janet Hughes: “And I you, Diana Dear!”

Diana: “Oh and this is Greg Halliday. And Greg, this is Mrs. Janet Hughes, Eddie’s Mom.” She performs the introductions with warmth and compassion.

And Greg instantly envelopes Mrs. Janet Hughes in a gentle hug.  Then he pulls back with a smile, still holding her hand and gently squeezing it.

Greg: “I’m so delighted to see you again, Mrs. Hughes.  Though the circumstances are unfortunate and I hope that Eddie is on the mend.  I count myself and my sister fortunate that Eddie was their cross country Skiing Pro Guide on Saturday, as he protected everyone from harm.”  And he hugs her again.

Mrs. Janet Hughes: “Greg.  Dear boy!”  She pats his face fondly.  “You have grown into an even more handsome and gentlemanly man than when last I saw you, at Connie’s Senior prom.  It is I who want to thank you for your help in rescuing everyone—and for your sister Connie’s selfless act in saving Eddie and Pete by attacking that wolf that was attacking them, then she administered first aid to them.  Her courage and strength saved my son from certain death.”  Her tears of gratitude and relief spill over onto her cheeks.

Greg: “Thank you.  And I’m awed at Connie’s heroics, myself.  We’re just glad that everything turned out all right for her, Eddie, and the other skiers.”  He states in relief.

Mrs. Janet Hughes: “And Connie has been a wonderful presence by Eddie’s bedside in the hospital as he recovers from his wounds.  Her love and support for him is helping him to endure the great pain and stress that he’s under.  You know, my son Eddie  has never forgotten Connie, his first love.”  Of course as a loving mother, Mrs. Hughes has to put in a good word for her son.  And she has always liked Connie Halliday.

Greg: “That’s nice.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Connie has never forgotten Eddie, her first love.  Though I wish that their reconnection with one another would have been less traumatic.”  Greg and Mrs. Janet Hughes begin to hug again in parting.

But then Diana’s brother Gary and manager of their sporting goods store walks up to the three of them.

Gary: “Diana, Greg, … and Mrs. Hughes!  Lovely to see you!”  Now that the pleasantries are over, Gary gets to the point. “Mrs. Hughes, I’m needing the return of the cross country skiers rented ski equipment for other renters.  And they said that the ski resort has them.”  He looks at her plaintively.

Mrs. Hughes: “Oh!  Of course.  But I’m not involved with running the resort, so I’m not sure whom you should call about that.”  She smiles wincingly.

Gary: “But …”

Diana:  “Gary! Please leave Mrs. Hughes alone.  She already told you that she doesn’t know whom you should call.  And she needs to focus on her son Eddie’s recovery.  You should call the resort and find out whom to contact directly.”  Diana’s voice is firm.

Greg is very proud that Diana stood up to her brother Gary just now. Then as Gary looks like he might say something again, Greg interrupts him.

Greg: “Gary, logically, you’ll want to contact the Asst. Director of Recreation at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort & Hotel, about the rented ski equipment being returned to your store here.”  Greg supplies helpfully—hoping to end any and all discussions with Gary.

Mrs. Janet Hughes:” Oh!  That’s a very good idea.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.”  She shakes her head and rubs her forehead.”

Diana: “That’s alright, Mrs. Hughes.  You’ve had more important issues to worry about.  Please give Eddie our love.”  Diana gives Mrs. Hughes a compassionate hug in parting, and waves goodbye to her.

Greg: “We had best go, too, Diana.” Then he turns to Gary, and shakes his hand perfunctorily.  “Good to see you again, Gary.”

Then with a wave of Diana’s and Greg’s hands, they are outta there, as they quickly leave the Langley’s Sporting Goods Store.  In Greg’s mind, Gary looks to have plenty of paid store clerks to help him at the moment.  So Gary shouldn’t impose upon Diana.  The habits of a lifetime are hard to break for Gary, and Greg will help Diana in whatever way he can to get her brother Gary to stop imposing himself on her.


Greg and Diana are back in her car– since Connie had ended up commandeering Greg’s rented van for the time being, Greg is Diana’s passenger.  After they arrive at the area’s home improvement store, they look at various bump out bay window and bench seating options, as well as contractor resumes.  They ask a few questions, then take some brochures and resumes with them.  Diana does not need to make an on the spot decision.  She will review each bay window option and contractors resumes, then invite at least two of the building contractors to submit bids on her kitchen remodeling project.

Then Greg takes Diana to lunch, his treat, at a local Bennigan’s bar and grill restaurant.  And they just relax and unwind in a quiet corner near the fireplace, enjoying their delicious meals of steak and potatoes with a vegetable stir fry and rolls—with lemonade to wash it down. And then they chat over their cheesecake desserts with their coffees.

Diana:  “Thanks for your help today, Greg.  I really appreciate it.”

Greg:  “Oh?  You’re welcome.  But I didn’t do much but listen at the home improvement store.  You have the situation well in hand.”  He praises her sincerely.

Diana: “Thanks, but I was talking about when we were at my family’s sporting goods store—with all of the grandmothers hugging you,…”  She winces cutely and  Greg smiles sheepishly.  “… and then my brother Gary …”  Her voice trails off.

Greg: “Well, Diana, I think that you took care of Gary quite neatly yourself, when you shushed him up when he started to pester Mrs. Hughes.” He smiles warmly at her and squeezes her hand.  “All I did was back you up.”

Diana:  “Well I appreciated your support, Greg.”

Greg: “That’s what friends are for.” Though Greg thinks of Diana as more than a friend, he is too shy to ask her directly about her feelings for him, with their reconnecting as adults being so new for both of them.  Though shy would not be Diana’s descriptor for the tall, dark, handsome, and confident Greg Halliday.

But then, Diana helps Greg out in that regard—in her seeking to know more about Greg’s feelings toward her.

Diana:  “Just as only a friend, Greg?”   Diana’s face blushingly pinkens, even as she bemusedly raises her left eyebrow.  Diana is very interested in Greg’s answer.

Greg: “Well …  I like you a lot, Diana.  And I will admit that I would very much like to be in a private place with you right now, where we can kiss and cuddle some more.”  Now Greg’s face flushes for him revealing his desire for Diana.  He remembers fondly waking up with her Saturday morning—with her nestled into his arms, and then their lovely kissing that felt so natural to him.

Diana: “Oh!  So no sledding today then?”  She teases him impishly—even as she blushes more for his declaration.

Greg: “Maybe tomorrow for the sledding.  Would you like to go back to, well to your home  that I’m renting after our lunch today?”  Greg’s voice and eyes are smouldering at Diana.  And she feels that she might melt on the spot.

Diana: “Oh! But with your friends Ron & Sylvia also staying there, it’s not very private.”  She winces, but indirectly indicating her consent to be with Greg in somewhat of a private way.

Greg: “Hmmm.” He smiles.  “Ron and Sylvia barely come out of their room—they’re trying for a baby.  But how about, we just stop by your home Lakeside Cottage that I’m renting, and I can pick up more clothes to take back to your suite at the Ski Resort?” And he thinks he’ll also pick up his shaving kit that contains some responsible protection items in it.  Though through lack of need, he does hope that they aren’t expired.

Diana: “Alright.” Then Diana looks a bit anxiously at Greg, like a deer caught in headlights.

Greg: Greg caressingly clasps her hand again.  “Diana, we won’t do anything that you don’t want to do.  But I want to explore our relationship together to see where it might lead us as a couple.  Wouldn’t you like that as well?”  He asks hopefully.

Diana: “But, Greg, you’re only going to be here for a few more days, until Friday.  And then you head home to … to …”  Diana realizes that she knows Connie lives in New York City, but Greg did not say where he lives.

Greg: “I live in Hartford, Connecticut—near enough to NYC for business, but the cost of living is much better.  And my visit to Galena is being extended another week with my boss and his family flying in on Saturday.  I’ve praised the Galena area and the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel so much over the years that he said that they want to experience it.”  Greg dissembles a bit, because his boss is considering buying Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel.

Diana: “Oh!  That’s nice.  And you’re acting as their tour guide?”  She asks quizzically.

Greg: “No, not at all.  But I might have some meetings with him here and there.  My initial purpose in staying longer was to see if I can buy back our former Halliday House vacation home from the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel, as you know.  But now?  Now I hope that you and I can continue getting to know each other, Diana.”

Diana:  “Well Greg, um, if I’m lining up kitchen remodeling contractors for next week, my home won’t be fit to live in.”  She winces.

Greg: “Oh I wasn’t planning to rent your home for another week, Diana.  I’m renting my family’s former vacation home, Halliday House, for next week.  So if the ski resort hotel can’t extend your hotel suite stay—and even if they can–you’re welcome to stay with me at Halliday House.  You may even pick your own bedroom.  Yet, we’ll still be all cozy together, cuddling in front of the wood burning fireplace, just ourselves, we two.  And our privacy will be guaranteed, since  we’ll be far enough away from my boss and his family in a suite at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort Hotel–and their family activities–that work won’t intrude on my time with you too much.”  He hopes.

Diana realizes how scandalous Greg’s invitation sounds—her living with Greg for a week, in his former family vacation home.  But they are just friends, at the moment.  And Greg is graciously offering Diana her own bedroom.

Diana:  “Staying with you at Halliday House next week will be nice, Greg.  Thank you.”  Diana states with a primness belying her growing loving feelings for Greg.

Diana and Greg smile tenderly at each other—each hopeful for an expanding loving relationship with each other.  And naturally, they are each understanding of the others’ feelings long term.  Theirs is not a quickie vacation romance, but rather a potentially budding love of a lifetime relationship.

To be continued with Chapter 8

References for Ch. 7  of “Winter Rental”, February 13, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace, (Post#1447)

1) The story cover for my original contemporary romance “Winter Rental” is a composite of three images:
a) a Wintery image of ski chalets previously shared by Sueli; Grati edit for color and size; with AR Berkley text;
b) Greg Halliday–2022—is represented by Richard Armitage-in cream-sweater-pensive-photographed byKaitlynMikayla_Jan04-2022viaNobleman-Mag_;
c) Diana Langley—is represented by Anne-Hathaway-2021—in butterscotch-sweater-flyaway-hair-no-makeup_Jan09-2022viaVariety—Grati-crop-szd; image found at https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/anne-hathaway-jared-leto-wework-series-apple-1234895727

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 7 “Winter Rental” (Post #1447):

Previous Something About Love  blog Post #1445 link for Ch. 6  of “Winter Rental”:


About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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1 Response to “Winter Rental”, Ch. 7:  Post rescue–more couples time this week,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  February 13, 2022 (Post #1447)

  1. Pingback: “Winter Rental”, Ch. 8:  Snuggling, and then some,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  February 20, 2022 (Post #1448)  | Something About Love (A)

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