One of the most important aspects of the holiday season for me is the closeness of family. Friends and family travel for miles just to spend a few short days together. It warms the heart to see the dedication people have to make sometimes-long treks to share in the joy and warmth of family.
I’m blessed in that both my sons are close by and very attentive to their mother. My daughters-in-law are the daughters I never had, and my five grandchildren are my heart and soul. Even my ex and his wife are close enough to reach in a half-day’s drive which makes it easier on my boys to see their dad whenever they want and for my grandchildren to know all their grandparents.
The joy and excitement I saw in my youngest grandson’s eyes made up for all the tiring days of shopping, the hours spent wrapping and cooking. William’s enthusiasm for Santa, for the holiday itself, and especially for the presents and treats brought back the best of my childhood.
He’s gone from counting the days until Christmas to counting the days until he returns to school. I’m just not sure if he’s excited about going back, or excited about the number of days he still has at home to play with his new toys!
My love for family often shows in my writing … just as I’d intended. My favorites among my books always contain children. Sometimes they play a small part in the plot, sometimes they’re an integral cog in the story line.
One of my favorites …
When globe-trotting photographer Allison Cain comes home to her family ranch in Montana it’s to get to know her nephew and to make amends with the widowed brother-in-law she’s left alone to raise his young son.
Evan Carver could never deny his late wife’s younger sister anything, despite the fact she’s been conspicuously absent over the past three years since her sister’s death. Now she’s home again on what she’s called an extended vacation. Evan’s first concern is for his son, Cody, and how his aunt’s visit will affect the five year old when she decides to return to her high profile career.
Allison has no intention of going back to work. In addition to getting to know Cody, she needs to confess her biggest secret to Evan. How do you tell the man you’ve always loved that you’re not just his son’s aunt, but also his mother?
Read an excerpt …
Slowly she raised her head. Unshed tears filled her eyes, making them glisten like liquid stars. Evan felt a lump form in his own throat. She blinked rapidly in what Evan suspected was a conscious effort to hide her emotions. A knot tightened his gut. He had the sudden urge to take Ali in his arms, as he’d done the day she arrived, and bury her face against his chest, preferably without the argument that followed.
In the very back of his over-used imagination, he could see her coming willingly into his arms. He could feel the heat of her tears against his chest. His reaction surprised and frightened him in equal measure. He didn’t want to feel this way about her, especially when he knew she wouldn’t stay.
“Me, too,” she admitted softly, drawing Evan’s attention from her teary eyes to her soft, pink lips. The tears she’d been fighting back so tenaciously now pearled on her lashes, threatening to spill forth at any second.
Evan moved away from the tree, inching his way around Cody and close to Allison’s side. Cautiously, he lifted his hand and caught the first tear on his thumb, uncertain of exactly what had made her cry, yet knowing he selfishly welcomed the chance to offer her comfort.
“When I left South America, the only thing I could think of was coming here. I wanted desperately to feel the lush grass beneath my bare feet and to smell the fresh, clean air.”
“I don’t care what made you decide to come home. You’re here now and welcome to stay as long as you like.” Drawing her into his arms, he held her close and tilted her chin up with his fingertips until their gazes met.
At the first touch of his lips to hers, Evan tasted the cinnamon and apple of the dessert they’d just consumed. He pressed his lips more firmly to hers. She hesitated only briefly before returning his kiss with one of her own. He barely had time to consider what they’d done when Ali’s trembling voice broke through his consciousness.
“Evan,” she whispered. “Don’t, please.” Pressing her hands to his chest, she pushed lightly. Yet, when he would have backed away, she clenched the front of his shirt tightly in her fists. “We can’t . . .” she warned, still seemingly unwilling to let him go.
“Ali, it was only a kiss.”
She looked up at him and Evan knew if he didn’t let her go he’d likely do something they’d both regret. Gently, he grasped her hands in his and pulled them from the death grip she’d taken on his shirt. With his thumb he wiped away a final spent tear then released her completely. A moment later he was on his feet and walking back toward the damaged fence. It would take every ounce of strength he possessed, he realized, to keep from turning around and taking her into his arms again.
Winner, 2015 International Digital Award for Contemporary Romance
Don’t forget the giveaway …
I’ve enjoyed these past few days and the chance to share holiday memories, traditions, and thoughts. We’re closing in the end of the year with only two more posts after this one! I hope you’ll come back again soon.