Laura Haley-McNeil

10/21/18, ‘Tis the Season

Hello, Everyone!

Is it too early to think about Christmas? Some of you have already finished your Christmas shopping so maybe not. If you’re a last minute shopper as I am, here’s a little something to get you in the mood. Even if you don’t plan to Christmas shop, you can still read about the holiday season mixed with romance in this Christmas anthology, ‘Tis the Season. Here’s the first chapter of the my story, Christmas Kiss:

Chapter One

With trembling fingers, Vera Yeager lifted the last Christmas ornament packed in yellowed tissue paper from the worn Wallace department store box. She fingered the filigree angel. The beautiful ornament would sit on top of the tree she’d dragged from the Christmas tree lot to the mansion she’d inherited from her grandmother.

Outside, thunder cracked over the coastal town of Blue Heron, South Carolina. Vera winced and stared at the twelve foot ceiling. Rain pounded against ceramic tile and echoed inside the house.

Her fluffy Maltese gave a sharp bark and tapped her front paws over the Persian rug. She pressed her cold nose into Vera’s palm.

“It’s okay, Coco.” Vera scooped her into her arms. “I miss Mimsy, as do you. Christmas won’t be the same without her. This was her favorite holiday.” Her eyes filled, and she sniffed away the hot tears threatening to spill down her cheeks.

How many times had she and Mimsy stood in the parlor and decorated the tree while sipping cider and eating butter spritz cookies? They’d build a fire in the marble hearth. Sweet strains of Christmas carols would fill the room.

Until Vera left for college, she’d lived with Mimsy since the death of her parents fifteen years ago. Her grandmother worked hard to provide a normal upbringing for Vera, making holidays and birthdays special, but now Mimsy was gone, and with her went her sweet spirit.

Vera’s memories overflowed with Mimsy’s joy. The woman’s cheerfulness filled the historic home that had been in the Yeager family for generations.

“This is the last Christmas ornament to put on the tree and then we’ll be finished.” Grabbing the kitchen stool, Vera placed it next to the tree. She took a deep breath and climbed to the top step. She hated heights even if she were just a few feet from the floor. Mimsy had always been the one to place the angel on top of the tree.

Coco paced nervously around the base of the stool, fear laced through her high pitched whimper.

“Don’t worry, Coco. I’ll be careful.”

From the entryway came the sound of a key fitting into the door lock. Vera’s first thought was that her grandmother was coming home. But that wasn’t possible. Her grandmother was gone. Vera and Mimsy’s surviving friends from her bridge club had attended the funeral.

Vera wavered on the stool. “Oh, no!”

Coco pranced around the stool, her shrill bark filling the room.

Vera’s arms flew wide. She couldn’t turn around. Standing on the stool petrified her. If she turned, she’d crash into the tree filled with her grandmother’s antique Christmas decorations.

“You can’t come in.” She teetered backward. She stuffed a scream down her throat. “Go away. There’s nothing to steal.”

She jerked forward. If she could gain her balance—

Too late.

Her arms waving wildly, she squeezed her eyes against the prickly tree branches rushing at her face.

  • * * *

The anthology includes five more Christmas stories, all delightful stories, all written to put you in the Christmas mood. It’s on sale now. Download your copy today!

Have a blessed week!