Hi everyone. Today arrived with a big chill and freeze warnings. Let’s warm up with a snippet from my holiday romance novella–a two-hour read. Learn more here.
A Brief Setup
Two days before Christmas, Terra Westbrook’s car broke down and is now in the garage in a small village. The mechanic isn’t available. Terra and her little girl, Kylee, warm up in a restaurant. She made reservations at a hotel outside of town. Alanna, the friendly server babysitting her little niece, offered to drive her to the hotel on the way home from work. However, there was a problem with the hotel.
Secret Santa’s Rundown Sleigh: A Holiday Romance Novella
This snippet is from Chapter One
“Nonsense. You’ll come home with us. My brother won’t care. What’s two more people? It’ll be wonderful to have you come. Jude has a big house. The kids can get to know each other.”
“Absolutely not. I can’t bother your brother and his family on Christmas. No, I appreciate your kindness, Alanna, but you’ve already done so much. Please, take us to the hotel. We’ll figure something out even if I must beg for a ride back to Gaylord. We’ll have a better chance in a bigger town.”
“You won’t need to beg me, Terra. Tomorrow night, a close friend of Jude’s in the village hosts a big party with games and Santa for the kids. Stay with us. We’ll all go into town together. Please say you’ll stay?”
“Mama, can we? I don’t want to sleep in my car or get kicked out of no stupid hotel.”
“Please?” Maisy begged. “I’ll share my stuffed animals with Kylee.”
Terra’s eyes stung. If not for her child, she’d have insisted on going to the hotel, but she couldn’t do this to her daughter when the offer of a warm house awaited them. She sighed.
“Terra?” Alanna asked. “Please? Trust me when I say it’s okay.” She leaned in. “Maisy is all Jude has. He lost his wife five years ago. He’s lonely but doesn’t realize it. He won’t mind.”
Five years ago? Maisy would’ve been two. Terra glanced back and the child’s blue eyes met hers. Terra smiled. What if it had been Kylee? Would Grace care for her? Yes, she’d care for Kylee like Terra would care for her nephew Liam if the need arose. She wrung her hands in her lap, nodding slowly. “Okay.”
The kids screamed in glee in the backseat. “Aunt Alanna, turn up the radio! Frosty!”
Alanna turned up the volume.
Terra couldn’t say another word as Alanna drove a few more miles on the slick road without the sand and salt mixture and in fresh falling snow. The image of the man who entered the restaurant formed in her mind.
Terra gulped. What had his life been like alone? What had happened to Maisy’s mother? How had he coped? Alanna slowed way down before turning left and under a signpost. Snow fell too hard for her to read the name above the word Ranch. “Your brother’s a rancher up here?”
“No. He has horses though. He’d have a ranch if it made sense. Hence, the signpost.” She laughed. “His renovated 1890s home is Jude’s pride and joy, besides Maisy and his horses. He’ll be at a meeting in town, on his snowmobile, no less, but when he comes home, he’ll be out feeding them and the stray cats, or working on who knows what. I’ll get you settled then talk to him. I’m so happy you said yes.”
“I need to call my sister. I haven’t talked to her since I told her my car broke down. It’s the last time I travel so close to the holidays. I was positive I’d miss the storm but never expected my car to break down.”
“We’ll be okay, Mom. We have each other.” Tears stung Terra’s eyes, and she muttered, “Yes. Yes, we do, sweetheart.”
Thanks so much for reading. Learn more about this book HERE.
Fall is upon us here in the U.S., friends. The weather people here tell us our fall colors will be late this year. I’ve only seen a few trees with color, so the experts must be right. I didn’t make it to town to photograph the “scarecrows” yet. I’ll plan on it this week. Have a wonderful weekend.