Hello, readers. We're happy to share our gift to you, a short Christmas story that will run from today through December 21st. Please join us and comment each day to win what we call a Book Blast. We will pick two names and if you win, you'll get books mailed to you from our authors. Several books!!! So come back often and enjoy our gift to you!
Everyone spoke over each other as Jericho launched himself toward Jeb, reaching his side just in time to steady him and keep him from taking a nosedive.
Jeb straightened his shoulders, widened his stance and elbowed Jericho away.
“I’m perfectly capable of standing on my own two feet,” he growled, looking from one person to the next and daring any one of them to say otherwise.
Jericho’s gaze flashed to Grace. They both knew that wasn’t exactly true. Grace’s grandfather had been confined to a wheelchair for years. But the stubborn old geezer wasn’t going to back down—not with Mary Noel in the room. For some reason, he wanted to impress her.
Jericho raised a questioning eyebrow to Grace but she only shrugged and briefly shook her head. Apparently, Jeb’s words were as much a mystery to her as they were to him. Just as clearly, there was something happening beneath the surface between the two older people. The air was as thick as the scent of a houseful of poinsettias.
Or maybe the smell was from real poinsettias. Only now did Jericho notice that Mary’s arms were laden—flowers in one arm and plastic containers of goodies in the other.
As Grace reached for the poinsettia and placed it on the edge of the kitchen counter, Mary bustled around the kitchen, finding bowls and platters for her cookies and candies almost as if she owned the place.
As if it were her home.
“The poinsettia’s beautiful, Mary,” Grace exclaimed.
“It was Martha’s favorite,” Jeb said, and for once his voice softened and lost its usual gruff quality. Grace’s grandmother Martha had been partial to flowers of every kind. Christmas had always been her favorite time of the year, so it didn’t surprise Jericho that she had also been partial to the holiday flower.
Mary was at Jeb’s side in an instant, tucking her arm into his and planting an affectionate kiss on his cheek.
“I remember,” Mary said gently. “Why else would I have brought it? Christmas wouldn’t be the same here at our cabin in Reunion without her presence, now would it?”
Jeb appeared to relax and, with Mary and Jericho at his side, he gently slumped back into the chair.
Mary turned her attention to Jericho and Grace. “Now, your grandfather and I have some unfinished business, and from the looks on your faces, I’m guessing you two have a bit to say to each other, as well. Come on, Jeb. Let’s go into the kitchen and see what we can find to help me cheat on my diet. Don’t mind us, kids. You won’t be disturbed. The family room is all yours.”
Jericho cleared his throat, wondering how to start the long road toward reconciliation with Grace.
Or even where to start.
Mary popped her head back into the family room. “I know I promised we wouldn’t bother you. And we won’t. But--and I speak from many years of experience here--there is no better way to begin any conversation, no matter where you’re coming from or where you’re heading, than right there.”
With an old lady’s cackle, she grinned and pointed toward the rafter.