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The Man in Cabin Number Five is a Toasty Reads pick #womensfiction #fiction #giveaway
Title: The Man in Cabin Number Five, Guest Book Trilogy Book One
Author: Chrysteen Braun
Genre: Women’s Fiction
When Annie Parker discovers her husband’s infidelity, she doesn’t let it destroy her. She packs her bags and heads to Lake Arrowhead, Ca, the mountainside town where her family used to summer. Immersing herself in the restoration of seven 1920s era cabins, Annie begins to put the pieces of her life back together. But starting over is never easy.
Alyce Murphy needs closure. When she discovers her father did not die from a heart attack, as she’s been led to believe for the last 30 years, but in a murder/suicide, she is determined to uncover the truth of his death. But when she visits the cabin where her father ended his life, Alyce has to accept she may never know the true story.
Annie is looking towards her future while Alyce needs to put the past to rest. In parallel stories, both women are drawn to the rustic mountainside cabins as they search for the missing pieces---but they soon discover that the cabins have their own stores to tell.
I passed a small market and a gas station before I turned one last curve to read the sign that said “Dogwood Cabins.” Once I got out of the car and stretched, I took a deep breath and relaxed my shoulders from the drive. I’d found the B&B with little trouble; I followed the directions the innkeeper had given me once I turned off State Highway 18. It took an hour and a half from Long Beach, which was just far enough away that I could be by myself, but close enough in case I had to go back down to check on the house.
On the way up, my ears popped with the changes in elevation, but now they seemed to settle. I didn’t know it at the time, but parts of Lake Arrowhead are a mile high.
Everywhere I looked, tall trees were green and abundant, and the air was crisp and clear. If a sky could ever be perfect, it was now, with not a cloud in sight. It surprised me that the trip, with all the winding roads, didn’t bother me, but thinking back, it never had. In fact, it made me focus on something other than my situation.
The B&B was all cabins. The main office was the quintessential cabin, probably from the early thirties, and the minute I opened the front door, I smelled the remnants of fireplace and evergreen. The walls were knotty pine, the floors were old oak, and pine trees were visible from every window.
It was just what I’d envisioned.
“Annie Parker,” I said to the older man behind the counter. I guessed him to be in his mid-seventies. His face was lined and weathered, and thinning gray hair covered his ears a little, but it didn’t diminish his still handsome face.
“We were looking forward to your stay with us,” he said, pushing the worn and yellowed guest register towards me. He had a sadness about him that was hard to place. “We have you down for one week, but you said you might want to stay longer. That’s okay too. Just let us know.”
“It’s so beautiful here! Do you call them cottages or cabins?”
“We call them cabins and we can give you a one bedroom or a single for the same price. It hasn’t been that busy this week.” As an afterthought he added, “They all have a fireplace.”
“They all seem so charming, and I think the single would be perfect. Thanks,” I said as I looked around. There were old photos of the lake, and several of winters where it looked like there was so much snow piled up against the buildings you wouldn’t even be able to get out to the stores and businesses. The photos were from the forties by the look of the cars that parked outside one local business.
An old red paisley patterned sofa and two worn leather chairs were centered in front of the old stone fireplace, and a large painting of the cabins and the surrounding trees hung above the mantle. On the dark oak coffee table were magazines with homes for sale in the area, a tattered guide to the activities at the lake, and a stack of maps.
I got my suitcase and travel bag out of my car and followed him down a gravel pathway lined with tree trunks. Each cabin had its own turn off path, a front porch and a garden area. The trees surrounding the cabins were majestic. The sound the wind made as it whistled through them was just what I needed.
“I’m Sam, by the way,” he said. I’d seen the yellowed name tag he wore. “Sam Jackson.”
“Glad to meet you, Sam. Obviously, I’m Annie. Do you have a lot of guests staying with you?” I asked, although I’d not seen any other cars on the property.
“We’ll be busier on the weekend. During the week we don’t get as many visitors. But that’s okay, I’m not getting around as quick as I used to, anyway.”
The moment Sam opened the door to the cabin it was just like a picture in an old magazine advertising cabins for rent. Like the office, the walls were all knotty pine, each with a window that not only let in light but looked out into the forest. Dark plaid curtains added the right amount of color, and they coordinated with the faded comforter on a bed that almost filled the room. Old mountain photos hung on the walls, and a wonderful bear painting hung over the fireplace. It was exactly what I would have selected if I were working with a client. The older worn carpet was brown, but it fit the room.
“Hope this will suit you,” he said.
Sam turned slightly when he heard a truck pull into the parking space outside the office. But he turned back to me. “The fireplace works, although it’s kind of warm out right now. It does get cooler at night. Paper’s there to help start the fire,” he said, pointing to a basket filled with old newspapers and cut wood. There’s even a T.V.”
“It’s perfect, Sam, thanks.”
As I set my suitcase on the bed, I saw the doorway darken. A man stood blocking the sunlight, and I wasn’t able to get a clear image of his face. By his physique, I could tell he was young and fit, and tight jeans accentuated his long legs. His work boots were scuffed and dusty.
“Hey, Sam,” he said.
Sam turned again. “Well, hey there, Noah.”
Noah left his baseball cap on, but nodded to me. “I had to pick up some supplies at the lumberyard, so I thought I’d stop in.”
We were all quiet for a moment.
“Oh, Annie, this is Noah Chambers. He’s a local, and since my wife died, he seems to think he has to check in on me.” Sam shook his head and opened a cabinet. He pulled some towels out and set them on my bed. “But I do appreciate it,” he whispered conspiratorially.
“I heard that,” Noah said, and turned around. “It looks like you’re in good hands for now, so I’ll get back to work. Nice to meet you, Annie,” he said, and then he left.
I could hear his shoes crunching on the gravel, then his truck driving out. I was curious who Noah was, but not curious enough to ask Sam.
Amazon ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Y9KGZ3R
Amazon paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1647044626
Amazon hardcover: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1647044642
B&N paperback: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-man-in-cabin-number-five-chrysteen-braun/1141373079?ean=9781647044626
B&N hardcover: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-man-in-cabin-number-five-chrysteen-braun/1141373079?ean=9781647044640
What makes your featured book a must read?
If you like books that combine romance, mystery and intrigue, this first book in the Guest Book Trilogy is perfect for you. Each cabin in the series has its own story to tell, and according to one review, “this is an entertaining work that will keep the reader hooked until the very end.”
We had a cabin in Lake Arrowhead, and I was retired and read to start my second career, that of becoming a writer. I wanted to write something set up in the mountains, and I had this idea for a woman who buys and restores a series of cabins who all have their own secrets.
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Winner will be drawn on February 14, 2023.
Chrysteen Braun is a California native, born and raised in Long Beach.
The mountains, where she and her husband had a second home, were the inspiration for her first three books, The Guest House Trilogy. These fictional restored cabins from the late 1920s all had their own stories to tell.
Her writing crosses genres of Women’s Fiction with relationships, and a little mystery and intrigue. She’s published articles about her field of interior design and remodeling, both for trade publications and her local newspaper.
She lives in Coto de Caza, with her husband Larry and two Siamese cats.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.chrysteenbraun.com
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