Christmas is coming soon. How about a $10 Amazon gift certificate under your tree courtesy of 5 Prince Publishing? It would also be a nice gift for Hanukkah. It could even be used to purchase a book!
The Kid's Books Blog Hop was a lot of fun. The winner of the signed edition of The Phantom Student was Roberta Horn. Her book is in the mail!
The winner of the $30 gift card from Amazon is Karina aka Swordlily. She has also been notified. (Random.org chooses all our winners.)
Read on for a Christmas excerpt from All For Love.
In this scene, Liz travels to Denver to be with her daughter, Ashley (and her husband, Tracy), since it will the first Christmas without Quinn. (Liz is the narrator)
I flew to Denver two days before Christmas. I wanted to avoid the holiday crush at the airports, but I didn’t want to arrive so early that I wore out my welcome before we even had a chance to celebrate.
We had a leisurely dinner the first night, near the airport since my flight was somewhat delayed, and then the next night was Christmas Eve so we ate sandwiches and then went to the midnight service at the Methodist church Ash and Tracy attended.
That’s when I first suspected the bloom was off the rose for the semi-newlyweds.
In the pew, Ashley sat between Tracy and me, but I could see that every time he tried to get close or take her hand, she moved away. Once, I was certain I saw tears in her eyes but she quickly wiped them away as we lit our candles in the darkness.
Uh-oh, I thought. Should I go home, ask what’s wrong, or just pretend everything is all right? I hoped it was just the emotion of the season plus it being our first holiday without Quinn that was causing the problem, but sure enough, that night after I’d gone to bed, I heard their voices raised in anger.I lay in their lovely little guest room and relived the last few months in my mind. If she’d
said anything about them having problems, I couldn’t remember it. Christmas morning dawned bright and white. I awoke to the sound of Bing Crosby singing about his dreams of a white Christmas and tears immediately clouded my eyes. Quinn had always played that song to wake Ashley on Christmas morning when she was a child. When she got old enough to wake up first, she would get up and put it on. At first it was vinyl, then a cassette, and toward the end, it was a CD.
I walked into the living room tying my robe. Tracy was turning up the volume on his iPod, which was docked into a slot between a pair of smallish speakers. “So that’s what it’s come to, huh?” I tried to sound jovial.
Tracy looked up. His eyes were shadowed and I was pretty sure he hadn’t had much sleep the night before. “Morning, Mom. Yes,” he indicated the iPod set up. “I always try to make sure Ashley’s song is playing on Christmas morning.” He smiled tiredly. “Hard to believe this is our third holiday together. It seems bittersweet this year.” Then he walked over and hugged me. That worried me. Tracy was not a hugger. He and I had a cordial relationship based on mutual respect. This Tracy was new, but then, a lot had changed these last few months.
“What is it?” I asked. “Is Ash okay?”
She arrived at that very moment, and seeing Tracy embracing me must have floored her, too. She turned on her heel and headed for the kitchen.
Tracy groaned and took off after her. His folks were expecting us all for Christmas dinner later in the afternoon, but at this rate, I didn’t see how we’d ever get out of the house.
I stood in the middle of the living room listening to Quinn and Ashley’s favorite Christmas song. Tracy must have programmed it to repeat; it should have been over by now. I debated just bursting into the kitchen and demanding to know what was going on, but they weren’t children. And even if Tracy had been about to confide in me, that wasn’t quite enough reason for me to intrude.
I gazed at the lovely little tree so gaily lit and gleaming with shiny icicles—Ashley’s favorite trim. We’d each placed our gifts under the tree before going to the midnight service the night before. Now, for the first time, I let myself fantasize about what it would be like to have a grandchild to wrap toys for on Christmas. But that notion was quickly ruined by the loud voices coming from the kitchen.
Like a mouse, I crept back to the guest room and got dressed. I said a quick and silent prayer for Ash and Tracy to solve their differences so we could get on with our celebrating. In the back of my mind, I wondered if I should have done us all a favor and simply stayed at home with my empty house and my memories.
Afterthought: Hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Remember to answer the question at the top of the blog to be eligible for the $10 Amazon gift card!