As promised, here's another excerpt from my Christmas short story.
Once on the ground, he found her directing one of the stable lads in
cutting greenery from another tree. She still held Miranda in her arms
and the little girl looked at him out of wide, dark eyes. She hadn't
quite known what to think of him on the way out, but now she reached for
him, surprising both he and Julianna.
He hadn't realized he had snow
on his shoulders until Julianna relinquished Miranda to him and the
little girl immediately started blowing at him. Julianna laughed,
sending jolts of awareness through him. By rights he should be cold, but
standing beside Julianna, cold was the last thing he was feeling.
"Do you want me to take her back?"
"Not unless you really feel the need to," he responded. "For now she's comfortable."
clump of snow hit the bottom of Julianna's dress and they both turned
in time to notice Joseph pick up a bit of packed snow and hurl it in
"Not quite snowballs, but close enough," she said
cheerfully. Picking up a handful of snow, she threw it into the air and
watched it shower down over the little boy.
There was something
comfortable about watching her play with Joseph while he held Miranda
that gave him a feeling of contentment such as he'd never felt before.
This was right. He was meant to be part of her life. The catch was
getting her to realize it too. Unfortunately, Vincent's ghost stood
between them with a flaming sword. What would she do if she knew what he
did about her deceased husband? Surely she wouldn't hold that knowledge
against him. Would she?
"Down!" Miranda suddenly moved and he caught
her before she jumped from his arms. Setting her down, he made certain
she was steady before letting her go to join the snow fight between her
mother and brother.
He glanced up at the sky, noting the gathering of
clouds beginning to cover the sun. It would cool down rapidly soon, and
possibly snow again before the day was through. Leaning back against
the tree, he had turned his attention back to Julianna and her children
when a hand clapped him on the shoulder. Turning, he found the viscount
standing beside him.
"Is it too early to ask if you have an honorable interest in my daughter?"
wasn't surprised. Hadn't Celeste told him that the viscount, while
being overprotective, also wanted Julianna to marry again? Perhaps if
Phillip leveled with him, he might find an ally.
"I don't suppose it is since I do, but there are some things she doesn't know that might hamper the possibility."
Gampa!" Joseph had noticed them and came running in their direction. The snow, however, while not deep to the adults, was too deep for his
short little legs and he tumbled headfirst into the soft powder.
snatched him up before Julianna or her father could move, dusting him
off and checking for injury. "Careful there," he said. "Looks like no
Joseph looked at him as Phillip ruffled his hair to
dislodge the dusting of snow on it. The resemblance to Vincent was
uncanny and Phillip blinked quickly to dislodge the image. Perhaps the
best thing he could do for Julianna would be to help her to raise her
son and ensure he didn't turn out like his father.
Labels: Excerpts, Love for Christmas, Short Story, Victorian