Looking for some holiday spirit? Our new anthology is available now!
What’s a holiday without a little spirit? I’m thrilled to join authors Karen Cantwell and Laura Lucas for half a dozen comical, fun, and warm-hearted Christmas tales. Soccer mom, Barbara Marr, is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Scary in “A Christmas Peril.” Delaney Pearce isn’t looking for a magic genie, but she finds one in “Make My Wish Come True.” An antique ornament brings two lonely souls together in “Two Turtledoves.” A jealous husband gets an unexpected surprise when attempting witchcraft to solve his marital problems in “Squawkin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Something just isn’t right when the lights go out during Kendall Rhodes’ Christmas Eve party in “Jingle Spells.” A rough-around-the-edges cell tower repairman discovers love in the least likely place in “O Christmas Tree.”
All profits from the sales of A Spirited Season go to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, because everyone deserves a miracle.
“Seek and ye shall find,” the old woman said, stopping Mae in her tracks.
Mae turned and peered at the woman through the cold Christmas Eve drizzle. It was mid-afternoon and the temperature was in the low forties. Already the day held the dim gray light of an afternoon that was impatient to turn into evening. Christmas decorations, bright and self-consciously merry, lined the walkways and lit up windows. Last-minute shoppers hustled their frantic, but jolly way down the sidewalk, not sparing the old woman a second glance. Until five seconds ago, Mae had been one of them. Now she wiggled her fingers, adjusted the grip on her shopping bags, and willed the return of her holiday spirit.
“I’m sorry?” she asked politely, her breath making a puff of fog in the air.
The woman smiled. The expression showed itself only in the crinkling of her eyes because she was draped, head to toe, in layers of fabric. The coats, shawls, and scarfs were old and faded, almost colorless against the painted brick wall behind her. To most eyes, she would have looked like a homeless person, but as Mae took in the regal bearing of her scarf-encased head and the uprightness of her shoulders, Mae thought that the woman looked more like an Eskimo empress than someone living on the streets.
In response to Mae’s question, the empress gestured to her left. “You’d be surprised at what you’d see if you just open your eyes and look.”
Mae followed the gesture with her eyes. The woman was pointing to a glass door discreetly tucked into the wall of a venerable old Georgetown building. The door had no sign, except for the word Gifts inscribed in gold script.
O Christmas Tree
Tomorrow was Christmas, and the twins would be up early to open their presents. Penelope shook her head resolutely, got up from the kitchen table, and rinsed out her mug. She was going back to bed, and she would get a good night’s rest. She wasn’t going to let some jerk interfere with her much-needed sleep.
As she set the mug in the dish rack, the room went from dark and shadowy to bright and vivid. She gasped and turned, thinking that someone had tiptoed in and flipped the light switch. But there was no one there. She looked at the ceiling. The overhead light was still off.
Slowly, she rotated back to the window over the sink, reaching out to pull back the flimsy curtain so she could peer outside. Her eyes widened and she gasped again, this time with delighted astonishment.
Shining down from the woods was a star, as bright as day and twice as beautiful. A smile exploded over her face. “Jacob! Jennifer!” she called excitedly. “Get up! You have to see this.”
The three of them threw on their coats, pulled on boots, and ran into the woods, Penelope now heedless of her own warnings to stay away. She thought she knew what — and who — she would find, but she didn’t dare hope.