Authors: Mimi Barbour
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
COPYRIGHT 2011 by Mimi Barbour
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
t Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by Steven Novak
Published in the United States of America
Table of Contents
The Vicarage Bench Series
Spirit travel at its best!
Angels with Attitude Series
Angels playing cupid!
Lovable Christmas Angel (to be released November 2012)
Together for Christmas
A finalist in the 2012 Gayle Wilson contest!
TBR reviewer – Luta Wolf gave 5 stars!
When I first read the blurb for this book, I was put in mind of a Lifetime Movie and I’ll admit there is It’s magical backdrop of a small town outside of London and it’s charismatic townsfolk, it completely captivated me. As if all that wasn’t enough the main characters are some of the best I’ve ever read.
Marcus isn’t the usual hero. He has a rough and gruff exterior used to hide his mushy heart but all the women who he holds dear are aware of this and use it to wrap him around their little finger’s. Abbie is this sweet soul who does everything she can for others to the point of exhaustion, her motto really is “do unto others”. She isn’t goody-goody though because she has a witty almost wicked sense of humor that drives Marcus crazy and kept me laughing. Just as I was sinking into the sappiness the author brought on the angst and it took me by complete surprise!
This plot was simply amazing and I felt an array of emotions of happiness, sadness, surprise, and many more.
I highly recommend Together For Christmas, especially for those that enjoy a good holiday book.
Sara Hanson was miserable. What in the world had possessed her to give her young son Kai permission to spend Christmas holidays with his best friend’s family in Hawaii? Three months ago when the topic came up, he’d worked on her. Not having the heart to refuse, she’d caved. Obviously, she hadn’t thought about the fact that she’d be left alone on her favourite day of the year.
Blinding snow made driving almost impossible. She shouldn’t have waited so long to start back home. But she couldn’t leave Nanaimo without making sure that his plane had taken off safely and arrived the same way in Vancouver, then a stop at the mall for life-saving necessities such as chocolate and a favourite bottle of wine.
Add a few more stops, like dinner at her favourite Thai restaurant and a movie that should have made her laugh but didn’t, and here she was driving home too late, and through weather that had deteriorated dreadfully. Ice formed in sheets on the roads as the thermometer dropped when night fell, and treacherous didn’t begin to describe the conditions.
Thankful that Pegi, her Samoyed, had travelled with her, she turned to pet the whining animal. “Don’t worry girl. We’ll be fine on our own. Kai deserves to be with his friends for Christmas. You and I’ll celebrate with a spinster party just as soon as we get back to our cozy fireplace. We’re not too far now, and as long as I go slow, we’ll get there.”
Her pet still seemed agitated, and so Sara opened the passenger window a little, knowing how much her dog liked to stick her nose out and breathe in some fresh air.
The radio had been acting up for the last few miles and finally became so distorted she shut it off. A loud cracking noise had her squinting through the blinding snow to see if a problem lay ahead on the road.
She couldn’t see anything but huge flakes of never-ending snow. All of a sudden the street lamps flickered and went out leaving the
highway totally black. Only her headlights gave light and some solace, as they filtered through the mesmerizing curtain of blinding white.
Unexpectedly, Pegi lunged at the passenger door next to her and barked. Without thinking, Sara stepped hard on the brake, which forced the car to fishtail. Like an aircraft on takeoff, it glided to one side of the road, and overcompensating the turn made the vehicle head straight to the other side and into the ditch.
“Pegi? What in the world is wrong with you, girl? Stop that noise. Look what you made me do.” She wailed the words and grabbed for the dog’s collar at the same time. “Settle down.”
But the agitated animal continued her uproar. She seemed to sense that the only way out was on Sara’s side. Climbing on her lap, sharp toes digging in, whining and quivering, she demanded to be let out.
“Wait till we get home. Pegi, stop this nonsense.” She tried to push the huge, furry white monster back over to her side of the car, but to no avail. Pegi wouldn’t let up, and instead, became even more forceful.
“Fine. I’ll open the door, but you can’t run off. You hear me? Stay close.” Sara grabbed her gloves and the flashlight she always carried under her seat and shut the car off. She left the lights on as a safety precaution, and released the latch only to have the weight of the big animal wrench the door from her hand. It swung open, and in a flash, the distraught, barking dog sailed out and disappeared.
Frustrated, Sara stepped out of the car only to land on her backside. “Damn ice,” she muttered, as she carefully got to her feet only to see her dog bounding through the snow behind them. “That’s it, you dumb beast. Ever heard of the pound where they stick crazy canines in cages and feed them dried veggies pellets?”
Commands for the dog to ‘get back here right now’ got no response. Now I’ll have to go and get her, she thought. Bloody hell! That’s all I need—fall face first in a snowbank and get my feet soaked chasing an untrained, bratty pet. “Arrggg!”
The barking plus the trampled snow gave Sara an indication of her pet’s direction. Sputtering and swearing divested a little of her rising ire and lowered her blood pressure somewhat, but to say she felt annoyance eating into her stomach lining would be putting it mildly.
The staccato yelping continued and rose to frenzied proportions. Sara started into the direction the noise came from. She knew she couldn’t leave her big baby out in the night alone.
Chiding whatever impulse made her choose to wear her fashionable high-heeled boots over the practical ones she usually preferred had her shaking her head. She put on her gloves, powered her flashlight, and started in the direction of her dog’s cries.
Wet, sticky snow had built up over a foot high on the roads, in some places even higher, and was much worse when she headed for the side. The trees were thick and the gullies deep with lots of brush under the snow to trip her up. In her anxiety, the first stump she fell over only earned a grunt and a groan, but the next few made her let loose with some of her more colourful cusses. Only her determination to beat her dog senseless kept her going. Like that was going to happen.
Pegi, the fanciful canine that believed she was human and had rights to the end of her mistress’ bed was the most spoilt animal in the world. The fear that her pet might be in trouble was what drove Sara on.
Rocks barred her way, branches ripped at her legs, while her indulgent, twelve-dollar pair of silk stockings became their victim. To stop never entered her mind. Her beloved’s begging cries and her own stubborn streak forced her onward.
Finally, her flashlight beamed on the silly, crazed mutt and instead of returning to her mistress when ordered, the creature led her further into the woods.
Just when Sara decided not to play this insane game any longer, Pegi ran up to a dark mass leaning against a tree. It was then she saw movement and heard the murmur of a girl’s voice.
Sara rushed forward to drop to her knees beside the quivering youngster. Shushing the distraught dog, she knelt down and shone her flashlight into the face of a frightened teen. “My God! Are you okay, sweetheart?”
Brushing the wind-blown hair away from the face of the frightened girl, she added. “Don’t be afraid. Pegi’s big, but gentle as a lamb. She’s barking because she’s worried about you.”
“I can’t believe you’ve come. I gave up hope.” The young voice broke, and Sara watched as the girl bit her lip.
Amazed by her control, Sara waited. “Your dog woke me and keeps pushing at me to get up, but I’ve hurt my ankle, and I can’t. It’s swollen and won’t take my weight." Now sobbing, the youngster’s fear came through loud and clear.
Once Sara was able to make out the girl’s features, she guessed she was probably twelve or somewhere around that age. The bluish tinge to her lips, and her shivering, told Sara that hypothermia had started to set in, and getting her back to the car became her top priority.
“Look sweetheart, I need you to stay with me. Don’t pass out again. I’m going to piggyback you to my car on the highway, and we’ll get you warmed up. Okay? Now tell me what you’re doing in these bushes and so far off the highway.”
She boosted the girl up and gave her the light so she could shine it in front of them. Lifting her the same way she’d carried Kai to bed before he got too old, she balanced the weight on her back and held on to the arms around her neck.
“I got angry at my dad and ran away. I stayed off the highway so he couldn’t find me. Once the snow started, I decided to try and get back to the road, but I tripped over a tree and must have hit my head. I think I passed out for a while. When I came to, I couldn’t remember which way to go. It was dark and I couldn’t see. My foot hurt so much, that I…I.” Her sobs made understanding her words impossible.
“Don’t cry, honey. I’ve got you now, and you’re going to be fine. Oops…” By paying attention to the child, and not where she headed, Sara smashed into a rock and took a good hit to her knee.
A strong back and good muscle tone kept her from dropping her passenger and going down altogether, but her blasted heels kept giving way so her ankles wobbled back and forth like a kid in her first pair of skates. “My name is Sara Hanson and this mutt is my dog Pegi. What’s your name?” Sara knew she had to keep the girl talking.
“I’m Amy Watson. My dad is the new director for the Oceanside Clinic. He’s also a doctor.”
“We need doctors in this community, so I’m very glad to welcome you both. Look, you can see the headlights which means we’re almost there. Hopefully we’ll have cell phone access, but out here it’s not great at the best of times. And with this storm, who knows?” Slithering and sliding, bent almost in half, and often leaning on her oversized dog, after a good fifteen minutes, Sara finally got them to where the car sat lopsided in the ditch.
Amy slipped off Sara’s back and balanced on her good foot, using the car as a leaning post. It took precious moments to pry open the back door, but finally the latch gave, and she helped Amy slide onto the car.