Pulling this off would take a Christmas miracle. When Katrina Harris’s best friend, Fiona, had asked her to sneak into Jake Pearson’s hotel room and steal something of his, she should have outright refused to partake in such nonsense. However… it was Fiona asking and Kat already had an internship at the hotel as she pursued a degree in hotel management. There’d be nothing odd about her being at the hotel.
There would be something odd about her being in the hotel room of rock sensation Jake Pearson though. At least Fiona had said he was a rock sensation. Katrina wouldn’t know. She was a fan of classical music having played the violin in the local orchestra since high school. Rock always seemed so full of angst, and the last thing Kat needed in her life was angst.
“C’mon, Kat.” Fiona had clasped her hands together so tightly her knuckles were white. “You have to get me something of Jake Pearson’s. He’s going to be right there. In your hotel.”
“It’s not my hotel.” Not yet anyway, but Kat had dreams. Big dreams. One day she’d own an empire of hotels that travelers equated with natural elegance and tranquility. Since graduating from high school four years ago, she’d been using her college courses and free time to work on resort designs that combined the beauty of the outdoors with luxury. She knew she had a fresh, innovative idea, and she couldn’t wait for it to be a reality.
For now, she had to be content with finishing her internship at Winchester Resort in Newport, Rhode Island.
“Okay, okay,” Fiona had said. “It’s not your hotel, but you will be under the same roof as Jake, and he’s been my crush since I heard his first song on the radio. I didn’t even know what he looked like at the time. His voice alone hooked me. It’s just a bonus that he’s gorgeous too.”
“Why don’t you hang out at the hotel while he’s staying there?” Kat had suggested because she really didn’t have the time for such shenanigans. “You could easily run into him by the indoor pool or something.” With winter raging outside, most guests used the hotel’s many indoor amenities. Christmastime wasn’t busy in Newport either. The hotel wasn’t booked to capacity. The odds of Fiona and Jake being in the same place at the same time were quite high.
Fiona had paled at this notion. “Run into him? Run into Jake Pearson? Are you insane?” She’d let out a high giggle as if she might actually be the insane one. “I don’t want to meet him. I think I’d drop dead at his feet if I saw him in person.” Fiona had fanned her face. “God, I just want to worship him from afar.”
“And have some personal belonging of his.”
“Right. See? You understand.”
Only Kat hadn’t. Not really. “What will you do with this stolen item?”
“Cherish it until my dying day.” Fiona had sighed and pressed her hand to her heart. “Look, you do this for me and not only will I consider it an acceptable Christmas gift, but we will also be totally square on what I did for you.”
Kat couldn’t refuse that. Not when the request was viewed as payment… for something Kat would never really be able to pay in full.
“Fine.” She’d huffed out a breath. “But you’d better set aside some bail money. Just in case.”
Now, as she stood in the hallway at Jake Pearson’s hotel room door, her palms were soaked and her heartbeat was loud enough for the world to hear. If she got caught in his room—any guest’s room really—she’d lose her internship and fail her final class. She’d probably be denied a request for another internship because her reputation would be shot. To have come this close to earning her degree and then not get it would be a tragedy. An expensive one.
But it’s for Fiona.
Fiona who hadn’t let anything stop her from rescuing Kat when she’d needed it most.
Kat lifted a shaking hand and wrapped her fingers around the doorknob. Hotel gossip had told her Jake and his people were having breakfast with another musician in town at her Newport mansion. His room should be empty for a few hours. Plenty of time for her to pop in, swipe a T-shirt he’d never miss, and get the hell out.
She slipped the keycard into the slot, the little light taking forever to flash from red to green. With a glance to the left and right, Kat verified she only shared the hallway with a Christmas tree. The flickering lights adorning it, however, reminded her of flashes from a camera. Would that tree catch her in the act? Would the hotel put security cameras in a Christmas tree?
Don’t be an idiot.
Kat turned the knob and pushed the door open. Surprised that the curtains were still drawn, she slid into the darkness and closed the door behind her. The air conditioner was pumping and the room was freezing. Not too many people ran the air conditioner during a New England December. A light dusting of snow covered Newport for crying out loud. Why would anyone want it this cold inside?
She ran her hands up and down her bare arms, wishing she’d worn a sweater over her green, short-sleeved sheath dress. The rest of the hotel wasn’t this frigid, and when she was working, she usually ran on the warm side.
Especially when she was breaking and entering.
Fiona, Fiona, Fiona. The actions may have been wrong, but Kat’s intent to compensate her best friend propelled her deeper into the room.
The lush carpet muted her steps, and Kat felt like a nighttime critter, prowling the streets, using the shadows for cover. Of course, the darkness made it hard for her to locate something to steal for Fiona. She should have brought a flashlight, but she hadn’t thought about that, this being her very first—and hopefully last—foray into burglary.
I’ll just slide one of the curtains open a bit. That would provide enough light for her to search the room.
Kat crept closer to one of the room’s large windows and tugged the curtain over to the right a bit. When she turned away from the window, a long rectangle of sunlight cut into the carpet a few feet in front of her.
Revealing a pair of bare feet.
A man’s bare feet.
“Why do I get the feeling you’re not room service?”
Kat squeaked, incapable of forming a single word. She bolted for the door, but he was faster.
Tune in tomorrow for Chapter Two! In the meantime, head on over to Small Town Hearts on Facebook and enjoy holiday fun with me.