“My Mum is dead.”
Somewhat startled by this statement, Emma peeked over the reception desk into beautiful green eyes that belonged to a cute little girl with brown curly hair and a freckled button nose. She couldn’t help but smile. There was something in the girl’s eyes that held a hint of mischief and curiosity, as well as some sadness, and Emma was drawn to her instantly.
The stern voice of an elderly woman approaching the reception caused Emma to flinch. The girl stiffened with eyes wide open.
“My apologies for that,” the woman said to Emma, though her expression didn’t actually reveal any signs of apologies. The woman’s face reflected a life of bitterness, the lines appearing deep and weathered.
Emma smiled. “No need to.”
An elderly man joined them, and after a brief nod of acknowledgment she asked, “May I help you?”
“Yes. We would like to check in. Gibbs. William and Teresa Gibbs,” the woman replied.
Emma typed the name on the keyboard, and while she waited for the details, she smiled at the girl, and asked, “Holidays?”
Nadine’s face spread into a small smile, but it was enough to show she had her two top teeth missing.
“And I see the tooth fairy has been to see you recently.”
“Excuse me–” Mrs. Gibbs glanced at Emma’s name badge. “–Emma. Can we proceed with the check-in please?”
“My apologies, ma’am.” Emma read the details on the screen, made a few notes and turned around to activate the automated door card in the back office. All the while, she felt Mrs. Gibbs’ glare on her and instinctively pulled on her navy uniform skirt feeling slightly uncomfortable.
Emma sighed inwardly. In her early twenties and she still lacked confidence in what other people thought of her. Tucking an escaping strand of her tawny hair behind her ear, she tried to keep a positive attitude because, after all, she loved working at the All Stars Hotel in Melbourne. It was something she always wanted to do—to greet people to this beautiful city and make their stay as comfortable as possible. And she was often told how popular she was with staff and guests alike for her positive attitude, her generous heart, and kind spirit.
“Ma’am, that’d be room five-o-two. If you go to the right over there, take the lift to the fifth floor and follow the hall to the near end, you will find room five-o-two on your right.”
Teresa Gibbs took the card from Emma and turned it in her hands.
“Ma’am, you slide that into the door instead of a key. I’m happy to ask someone to come with you and show–”
“I’ll be fine. Thank you.” And Mrs. Gibbs turned to go.
Emma leaned across the counter and smiled at Nadine. “Enjoy your holidays,” she said and winked. “And come see me sometime to tell me about the tooth fairy.”
“We’re not on a holiday,” the girl said in almost a whisper. “We’re here to meet my dad.” Then she hopped off after Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs, who Emma assumed were the little girl’s grandparents.
Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times, but for Flynn, a business lawyer in Melbourne, it almost pulls the feet from right underneath him. He’s become a father to six-year-old Nadine literally overnight! He had no idea about her existence, and the news throws him into chaos, even more so when he is asked to take over custody. With the help of Emma, an employee at the hotel where Nadine and her grandparents are staying, and his parents, Flynn tries to do the right thing. Yet, the right thing in his eyes differs from his parents’, and Emma is voicing her opinion as well. And right in the middle is little Nadine, still grieving the loss of her mother and finding a wonderful friend in Emma. There’s no doubt she’s afraid where and with whom she will settle. But in the end, it’s a letter Flynn receives that helps him figuring out what to do.
4 stars – NEW BEGINNINGS is a very emotional read, one that is heartwarming as well as heart wrenching. It gives you hope in the act of human kindness and that good things do happen to good people. I highly recommend this book.