Christmas is almost here, and I have a first this year. This is the first time I’ve written a Christmas story. I loved it so much I’m sure it won’t be the last I’ll do. Today, I wanted to share an excerpt from my Christmas novella. Enjoy.
Her Christmas dream is shattered, but he wants to give her a Christmas that touches her soul.
Sand squished under her blanket as Meg Stratton pulled her knees tight against her chest and tugged her oversize sweatshirt as close to her ankles as possible. Waves gnashed at the beach as weak sunlight attempted to shove heavy clouds aside. Her day off. Working might be better than sitting here with fatigue dragging her under, watching the endless battle between water and sand, and freezing in the late Fall chill.
Two weeks until Thanksgiving.
She had the turkey in the freezer, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn, also frozen. Austin and Aaron helped her plan pecan and apple pies, croissants, and her boys even conceded to her making a salad, although they were unlikely to eat much of that dish. They’d had such fun with the planning. That was the first time the three of them had connected with such enthusiasm. The excitement and anticipation had been building. They were even going to make their own decorations for the table.
Last night, Darrell, her ex, swept in and announced he wanted the boys for the holidays. He was back in the country, a last-minute change, and he had full custody. The right to rip her children out from under her roof. She had no say in the matter. Barely had time to hug the boys before they disappeared into the dark of the evening.
For who knew how long.
Leaving her alone in that empty house she rented, her ears tuned to the silence, aching for the sound of a snore, or that—at times—annoying call of, “Moooom.” What she wouldn’t give to hear a bit of bickering right now.
Instead, there was only the sound of waves crashing, the piercing cry of the seagulls, and the wind whistling past carrying a chill that battered her exterior. Her interior chill had settled in last night when she listened to her ex’s car fire up and disappear down the street.
She dropped her forehead to her sweatshirt-covered knees and squeezed her burning eyes shut. Was this another example of her past coming back to bite her? For sure. If she hadn’t made those very selfish choices years ago, she would still have a husband, a home with her boys, and a life that had meaning. Maybe.
Something pricked her heart. She did have a life with meaning. She loved her job. She loved her friends. And she loved living in Driftwood Cove. The small-town life appealed way more to her than the hectic pace and anonymity of the big city. People liked her here. They didn’t have huge expectations about how she should act. How she should dress. How she should be the little cookie cutter wife—one who would enhance her husband without having any life of her own. That’s what she’d escaped.
Escaped the wrong way.
The wind gusted, sending her short hair swirling, the strands stinging her face. Heavy clouds turned the ocean slate-gray, threatening rain. Yet, she stayed. She had no energy to climb to her feet and trek up the path to her car. If she tried, they would find her crumpled in the sand like some beached ocean creature.
Far down the beach to her right, motion caught her eye. She watched the tiny figure running toward her. Running. Who had the energy to run? She certainly didn’t. Who would want to run? She snorted. She might run for some of the barbecue and pie at I-BBQ, but not for much else.
This person moved with an easy grace, more of a lope than a jog. Male? Female? She squinted, studying the runner. Male. Or not.
She turned away, staring out at the roiling waves battling one another for dibs on the beach, and wished she could see some dolphins or seals. Something to brighten the inner and outer gloom of the day.
If you enjoyed the start of Meg and Wade’s story, here is a link to the A Prayer Quilt Christmas on Amazon.