Shannon here: Laura V. Hilton shares a romantic excerpt from her Christmas Novella, Christmas Mittens. The novella is on sale for 99 cents through Christmas. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated Dec 14 – 16 to enter the drawing for my title, Rodeo Hero. Deadline: Dec 26th, 11:59 central time. Here’s Laura:
Jake stops at his truck. He opens the passenger door. “Hop in.”
I slide in, noting that the seats are in a lot nicer condition than his dad’s truck. Jake hands me his carry-out dish as well as a couple plastic forks the waitress must have snuck him on the side, then he jogs around the truck. He climbs in next to me, inserts the key, revs the engine, and we’re off to…someplace.
I’m not content to be surprised. “Where are we going?” I look at him.
He glances at me. “The farm. I thought you’d like to see the shed.”
Oh. We’re back to business. And this is not a date.
He drives through town and out to the countryside, and soon is pulling into a drive marked by a faded sign that reads “Trivett’s Tree Farm.” That needs attention. The sign is crying for a fresh coat of paint. The seniors will fight over this job. Several of them love artwork.
The house is dark, and I don’t see his dad’s pickup around. A dog comes running around the side of the house, barking like a goose with pneumonia. When it recognizes Jake’s truck, the barks turn into a frenzied whine/cry. The dog’s whole body wiggles in sync with its tail.
Jake rolls down the window and whines back at the dog, making it wiggle even harder and jump up on the truck.
“Where’s your dad?” I’m surprised he isn’t home.
Jake smiles. “Well, one of those red hatters invited him over for supper.”
My eyes bug. “Really? He’s dating? Dare I ask which one?”
A dimple appears. “I think she’s fishing. They haven’t exactly dated.”
He leaves the “who” part unanswered.
I open the truck door, and the dog seems to realize I’m there for the first time as the whines turn back into a bark. But it sounds friendly, and the tail is still waving, so I get out of the truck.
The dog races around to meet me. I hold out my hand for a sniff. Jake leaves our meals in the cab, comes around, and joins us.
“Oh, Jake, he’s so cute. What’s his name?”
“She. We just call her Dog.”
“How imaginative.” Not.
Dog gives my hand a lick and I bend down to ruffle her fur. “She’s sweet.”
Jake touches my elbow and points in the direction of a long, low, red building. “That’s the shed.” He pulls a key out of his pocket and unlocks a wooden sliding door. The battered wood sways and looks flimsy as Jake pushes it back, but it does the job.
The open door reveals a partitioned-off room that smells of dust with a half forgotten hint of sawdust. Hand tools hang on hooks on the wall. Either Jake or his dad must have been interested in woodworking at one time. I remember Jake made a few things in shop class in high school. A dresser, half refinished and coated with dust, sits on yellowed newspapers. The room has a forgotten feel.
Jake leads the way farther in and opens another door with a skeleton key. This leads to a long dark room. He pulls a string and turns on a dim bulb. In the low light I see a speedboat sitting at the far end. A bicycle leans against a wall.
“I figured we’d set up tables in here for the craft fair. Will it work?”
“Do those doors open?” I point to doors similar to the ones Jake just opened only on a larger scale. Big enough for a tractor, I think.
“Yeah, but the keys for them are at the house.”
I step farther into the room, considering the possibilities. My mind is picturing traffic flow around craft-laden tables when something runs across my foot. I squeal and do the only sensible thing. I jump into Jake’s arms.
About Laura: Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter, planned for April 2016.
She has self-published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer and blogs for Putting on the New and Seriously Write. Learn more and connect:
Purchase Laura’s books and remember Christmas Mittens is only 99 cents through Christmas:
About the book – Christmas Mittens: Gracia Dykstra enjoys her job at the Senior Center, especially at Christmas time. The seniors have an annual craft shop. Desperate to raise funds Gracia asks for donations of Christmas trees to sell in order to raise much-needed funds, but Christmas tree donations are scarce. Jake Trivett has quit his job in California to come home and help his dad. A friendship with Gracia, who he’s always admired, intrigues him. Gracia’s heart flutters with more than Christmas spirit when Jake, an old flame, whose father runs a struggling tree farm answers the phone. Will Gracia receive more than Christmas trees this year?
Question for readers: Do you decorate for Christmas with more than a tree? If so, tell us about your decorations. If not, why?