Gratitude,  Musings,  Stories from River's Edge,  The Walker Family,  Tule Publishing,  Writer's moments

Sunday Snippet: A “The End” Edition

Yup…I’m there, well, sorta. I wrote THE END yesterday on Cam and Harper’s book, Made for Mistletoe, but I may still have another tiny scene to write, so that will be today’s mission. This book has been a journey. Christmas books always are. I love writing about Christmas in River’s Edge, but getting really creative and coming up with new holiday stories for my characters is sometimes harder than writing stories that happen at non-holiday times of the year.

I confess I write my idea of the perfect Christmas in the River’s Edge books and it looks nothing at all like real Christmas in my life/family. Don’t get me wrong–the holidays are just fine for me, but the time is much more low-key and has much less stuff happening. I’m not even sure I’d truly want a Christmas that looks like a Hallmark movie–I’m pretty much a homebody. But it’s fun to imagine it and to write it.

Here’s a little snippet from Made for Mistletoe (bear in mind, my editor hasn’t even seen this book yet).

Cam side-eyed Harper as he pulled out of the parking lot behind Paula’s. “Pass me the bear claw?” He took his hand off the wheel, and she obligingly set a tissue wrapped pastry in it.

Closing up the sack, she said, “Look, I’m okay getting you a tree—a little warning would’ve been nice—but I really don’t need one. I don’t even have any ornaments or lights or anything.” She opened the other bag and peered inside.

He’d gotten her a jelly-filled doughnut and a pecan sticky roll because he couldn’t decide what she might like. But didn’t everyone love jelly doughnuts? He lifted his chin toward the sack and swallowed a bite of bear claw. “It’s raspberry.”

Her brow furrowed for a second, but then she pulled out the doughnut and took a bite. “Mmm. good.”

They munched in silence for a while, until, wiping her sticky fingers on a napkin, she repeated, “Cam, I don’t need a Christmas tree.”

“But do you want a Christmas tree?” He turned into Beekman’s Tree Farm entrance.

Harper blew a breath into her bangs as he parked the truck and she took a sip of coffee, clearly debating her answer. “I don’t know.”

He decided the pushing her might be an error in judgment, so he opened his door. “Well, let’s go find some likely candidates for me, at least. I need a tallish skinny one for my living room and maybe one for the workshop.”

The air was filled with the fresh scents of balsam and pine as they wandered among the rows of trees. Cam knew he wanted a Frasier fir for the house—that was his favorite tree, and he found the perfect one in the fourth row back from the parking lot. Harper wandered farther down the row, fingering the bristly ends of the fir trees as she walked along. The faraway look on her face told him she was someplace else—another tree farm, another Christmas, another man. He kept his distance, until she turned around.

“Maybe this one.” She pointed to a four-foot Frasier fir and her expression sent an arc of longing through him. This was the Harper he wanted to know—this lovely, wary woman whose forest green eyes were currently sparkling with anticipation.

Slowly, he ambled toward her until they were so close the fragrance of her—strawberries and something floral—mixed with the piney smells of the farm. Dubiously, he eyed the tree. “Kinda small.”

“It’ll fit on that round side table between the windows in the corner of the living room.” She scrunched her nose. “I won’t be able to see it from my bed, though.”

With a herculean effort he kept his hands at his sides. The urge to reach for her was so strong, his breath caught in his throat. “We—we can buy two.”

Her eyes widened, like the concept was completely new even though he’d mentioned that he was thinking of buying two trees less than fifteen minutes earlier. “You think?”

“Sure.” The word came out croaky, so he cleared his throat.

There it was again—that look of childlike wonder. Cam stopped resisting, closed the few feet between them, and tilted his head slightly.

Their breath mingled—coffee and sugar—and she didn’t pull back when he touched his lips to hers. Very gently. She stayed put, so he framed her face with his gloved hands and kissed her again, his heart pounding.

She stayed right where she was, not responding, but not backing away. When he lifted his lips, her eyes were closed, but a single plump tear trickled down her temple.

“Oh God, Harper. I-I’m sor—”

“Shh.” She stopped his words with her fingers against his mouth. “Can we… can we try that again?”

Cam had never been so discombobulated. He’d kissed her and made her cry, and now she wanted him to kiss her again? He had no idea what to do—kiss her and risk making her break down completely? Or refuse and let the heat building in him chill out and maybe never have another chance? He wanted to kiss her again…and again…and again, but… “Are…are you sure?”

Her answer was to clutch his scarf in one hand and pull his face toward hers. Then she kissed him, full on the lips, and hunger eddied through him. After she released him, he hung in for another second, as her warm breath dancing over his face sent shivers down his spine. She stepped back putting distance between them, and took a shaky breath. “I just needed to know.”

He was afraid to ask, but he did because the desire to know outweighed the fear. “What?”

“If I could feel anything again.”

“Can you?”

“Yes.” She kept her gaze focused on him.

Was she glad about that or not? Her expression was unreadable. “Now I have to decide if I want to.”

Cam was trembling. The moment had become entirely too intense, and he had no idea what to say. He was terrified of scaring her away, so he ran one finger down her cheek, swiping away the tear that had ended up near her chin, and said the only thing that popped into his head. “Keep me posted, okay?”

The faintest hint of a smile curved her lips, and she tipped her head back to allow snowflakes to land on her eyelashes and cheeks. When she opened her eyes, she pointed to the small tree and another even smaller one beside it. “Two.”

A deep breath later, Cam had regained enough of his composure to hand her the small hatchet he’d carried from the car. “Here ya go, killer. Chop ’em down.”

And there was go… this book will be on its merry way (see what I did there?) to my editor tomorrow. And then we go into revisions, which is always daunting but a great learning experience. And it’s time to start Annabelle Walker’s story–the last book in The Walkers of River’s Edge series. After that, I’ll be diving into the Dykemans, starting with Beth Dykeman and there is a big surprise for you!

Gratitude for today: lovely time with the kids for Husband’s birthday; I wrote The End; I figured out how to do an Instagram reel–sorta; Got my hair cut/colored and it feels great; my arms are getting stronger from the weight-lifting I’ve been doing; print ARCs of Make You Mine arrived–they’re beautiful!

Stay well, stay safe, be kind to one another, and most of all, mes amis, stay grateful! Oh, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day from this Irish lass–hope you have a grand day!