|A Romance for Christmas
by Kayelle Allen
on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift.
A sweet holiday romance showcasing love, loss, and the spirit of giving.
It’s Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves has
been lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to
survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she
never expected to get.
Christine’s young voice broke in on her thoughts.
the romance she’d been re-reading, the favorite she’d had since she was
sixteen. She’d sold all her others at a yard sale the previous week. “What
is it, sweetie?”
we has a real tree for Chribmas?”
we ‘have’,” she corrected. “Come sit by me.” Dara patted the
couch and tucked her chenille robe closer around her.
Matilda, her cloth doll, Christine climbed up beside her mother and cuddled.
Her head flopped forward, face against her flat chest. When did the lace on her dress get so ragged? Dara smoothed the
doll’s dress. “Remember when Daddy went home to heaven before Christmas
knuckled her eyes and yawned. “I ‘member.”
Mommy got hurt in the car accident and couldn’t go to work?”
breath. “Well, it meant there was no money for a real tree this year. But
I’m sure Santa will still bring you presents.” Gifts Dara bought by
selling her entire collection of romance novels at a yard sale at her friend
Sherilyn’s house. “And we drew a tree, right?” She pointed at the
crayon-bright drawing taped to the wall. Construction paper ornaments decorated
doesn’t smell like a Chribmas tree.”
“I know, baby. I know.”
Santa leave his presents?” Christine pulled away and got on her knees.
“He can’t put them under the tree, Mommy.”
She ruffled her daughter’s hair, swallowing the lump in her throat. “Santa
will find a way.” She leaned forward and kissed her little girl. “We
should get you in bed so he can come. He can’t leave presents while you’re
daughter into her room, got her tucked into bed and sat beside her, stroking
her golden hair. Christine gazed up at her from under thick dark lashes. Her
deep-blue eyes never failed to remind Dara of her late husband.
Dara’s high school sweetheart. Tonight marked a year and nine days since the
accident that had claimed his death. Neither she nor Jack had family other than
each other. His coworkers knew, and they’d helped that first year, bless them.
His senseless death happened right before Christmas. What if something happened
to her too? As an orphan herself, Dara experienced fear and anxiety for her
daughter. Tears of loneliness, terror of the future, of raising her daughter
without Jack at her side. Anger at everything and everyone. At his company for
sending him on the trip. At Jack for going. Guilt for feeling angry ate at her.
had left, they’d argued over it and he’d slammed the door when he left. But
then he’d stopped the car halfway down the drive, gotten out, and had come back
inside to kiss her and tell her he regretted having to go, but that he had to.
He promised he’d be back before Christmas. They’d shared a long, cherishing
kiss and she’d waved until he was out of sight.
his plane went down over the Gulf of Mexico in a freak storm. All on board were
doubt set in with the New Year. Things she should have said. Should have done.
Why had she let him go? Why had God allowed her child to grow up without a
Sherilyn had walked through it all at her side, helping her get a job, watching
Christine, being there when all Dara needed was to cry. This year, the company
had forgotten Jack and the family he left behind. So much for “The Company
with Families at Heart.” Jack’s insurance had paid off the house, and
there was enough money to survive for a few months. While looking for a job,
she’d sold furniture, her good silver, and pawned all her jewelry, except her
face with both hands, willing herself to hold on for her daughter’s sake. To be
strong. To be both mother and father. Women had done it for centuries. They’d
survived. So would she.
Christine rubbed Dara’s arm. “Read me the story about the mouse that’s
great story. My mother used to read it to me when I was little.” Dara
snuggled beside her, and opened her daughter’s favorite Christmas book. At
least she’d been able to give her the gift of reading. When Jack had been
alive, he’d always made sure there was money for books. She would miss her own
collection, but at least Christine would have something from Santa.
“‘T’was the night before Christmas…”
drifted off to sleep, Dara pushed off the bed. She was gaining strength daily,
and would finish therapy the first week of January and return to work.
Disability paid for the basics – lights, phone, water, trash collection, and
she’d never bought anything on credit, refusing to dig herself into a hole
she’d never escape once it got started.
wish it could have come in time for Christmas.
closet and pulled down a box with a ball, crayons, paper, and three books.
Sherilyn had brought over a few things as well. This wasn’t the grand Christmas
that Dara had wanted for Christine, but Dara had already sold her other
valuables. There was nothing left but her wedding ring.
it. Removing it had been part of saying good-bye to Jack.
said it would help, and it had. Sort of. But not much.
one of the kitchen chairs and put her face in her hands.
when the doorbell rang, she grabbed a paper towel and dried her eyes. The clock
over the stove said nine o’clock. Who would be calling at this hour on
Christmas Eve? She stuffed the wet towel in her robe pocket on the way to the
|A Romance for Christmas|
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About the Author
heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and
warriors who purr.
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