Top 5 Favorite Christmas Traditions
by Debbie Mason
2. Around the beginning of December, you can buy one-of-a-kind presents by talented local artisans at the Christmas Bazaar. Nell McBride's gingerbread men and women are always a hit. Except last year when Nell bullied Madison Lane into doing the baking. Never one to go down without a fight, Nell tied a "Kiss the Cook" apron around Madison's waist and turned their table into a kissing booth. They sold out. I've heard there will be a kissing booth at this year's bazaar.
4. Months leading into the holiday season, residents of the small town are busy decorating their homes to compete for best-lit house in early December. Nell McBride won the title five years in a row. But last year, Madison took over the decorating due to Nell's injury, and Nell lost. Two days ago, Nell was spotted on her roof getting a jump on the competition. Bets are already coming in that Nell will once again be Queen of Lights. But I just saw a six-foot sleigh and eight reindeer being delivered to Gage and Madison McBride's house, so I wouldn't be placing my bet just yet.
5. As mayor of Christmas, Madison Lane McBride has started a new tradition--Christmas in July. Plans are in the works to build a Santa's Village to be ready in time for next year's celebration.
Book #2 in the Christmas, Colorado series
Grace Flaherty had given up hope of ever seeing her husband again. After all, it'd been over a year since he went missing in combat. So when he strides through the door of her bakery in downtown Christmas one sunny afternoon, she can hardly believe her eyes. But her happily-ever-after is going to take some effort - because Jack has no memory of his family.
All Jack Flaherty remembers about Christmas is that he couldn't wait to leave town. Now he's a local hero with a wife and son he doesn't know. Even as he struggles to rekindle the romance with his wife, he knows in his heart what he wants: a second chance at love.
Madison glanced at the door and reached for her hand. “Okay, just breathe.”
“What…” She followed Madison’s gaze and swallowed, hard.
Jill followed behind their friends—the twins Holly and Hailey and Sophia and her sister-in-law Autumn—with a life-size cutout of Jack tucked beneath her arm.
A warm hand gently squeezed Grace’s shoulder. Brandi, one of Sawyer’s waitresses and another of Grace’s friends, set a drink in front of her. “This’ll help. It’s a Hero. Sawyer named it after Jack.”
“Thanks, Brandi,” Grace murmured, wrapping her fingers around the cold, frosted glass.
“What do you think?” Jill asked, setting up the cardboard likeness beside Grace as the other women took their seats around the table. They placed their orders with Brandi while commenting on the lifelike Jack in his desert camouflage fatigues and Kevlar vest, a helmet tucked under his arm, his sexy grin flashing perfect white teeth in his deeply tanned face.
“There’s nothing hotter than a man in uniform. And Jack Flaherty was—” Autumn, the owner of Sugar and Spice, the woman who made Grace’s chocolate sugar plums, quickly corrected herself. “—is hands down the hottest man I’ve ever seen.”
He was. And looking at him now, Grace felt the same heart-stopping punch of attraction she did on the night he strode into the Washington ballroom to receive his Medal of Honor.
Sophia, owner of the high-end clothing store Naughty and Nice, pointed at Jack and in her heavily accented voice said, “Yes, and he is coming home with me tonight.”
“Grace?” Jill said, looking hurt.
She took her sister-in-law’s hand “It was a great idea, Jill. It’s like he’s here with us.”
Jill smiled, her eyes bright. Brandi came back with their drinks, and they lifted their glasses. “To Jack.”
Everyone in the bar followed suit, and then, one after another, they stood to share their stories about Jack and their prayers for his safe return. By the time they were finished, Grace had downed two Heroes.
Jill clapped her hands. “Okay, time for cake.”
They cleared the table and placed the cake in front of Grace. She stood, relieved that her emotional torture would soon be over. Gage, with Jack Junior in his arms, took his place beside Madison.
Sawyer came up behind Grace and whispered, “Hang in there. Not much longer.”
Before she could turn to ask how it went at the apartment, Jack Junior yelled, “Da, Da.” And put his arms out.
Grace’s breath seized in her chest.
Several people said, “Aw,” while her friends quietly sniffed. “He’ll be home soon, buddy,” Jill said, swiping at her eyes.
Grace wheezed out a relieved breath. Thank God, no one seemed to realize he’d meant Sawyer.
But Sawyer did. “How about that root beer float I promised you, buddy?” He went to take Jack Junior from Gage, who gave him a hard look before passing him over. Of course Gage would notice, Grace thought miserably.
“Me want beer.”
Everyone laughed as Sawyer carried her son to the bar. After they sang “Happy Birthday” to Jack, Grace cut the cake while Jill handed out the pieces.
She reached across Grace, bumping into her. “Sorry,” she said when Grace stumbled.
The knife jerked and hit the house, toppling it over, revealing the chocolate sugar plum underneath.
“Hey, no fair, it’s supposed to be hidden in the cake,” someone grumbled.
Grace sucked in a panicked breath and dove for the sugar plum. Jill beat her to it.
Her sister-in-law laughed. “Finally, I got a sugar plum.”
As Jill opened it, Grace wished the floor would open up and swallow her whole. Jill’s laughter ended on a choked sob. “How could you? How could you give up on him?” she said, her voice a strangled whisper.
“Jill, let me explain,” Grace called after her sister-in-law, who strode for the door.
From behind the bar came a shrill whistle. “Everyone quiet,” Sawyer yelled, directing their attention to the flat screen behind the bar where a newscaster announced breaking news. Sawyer turned up the volume. “We have just received unconfirmed reports that the four crew members of the Black Hawk that went down in the mountains of Afghanistan seventeen months ago have been recovered… alive.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway