It’s true. Sometimes the Sunday Snippet is exactly that–a snippet from one of my stories. Today, promotion begins on my next release–The Fireman’s Christmas Wish, book 3 in the Lange Brothers trilogy. Another story from River’s Edge, but this one is a holiday romance. It is currently available for preorder and will release in just about two and half months. That doesn’t even seem possible… It feels as if Falling for the Doctor just came out. But here we are, so onward, yes?
I hope y’all are enjoying the Lange Brothers novels–I confess to you, there are pieces of me and my life in these brothers’ stories, particularly the thread about their dad that runs through all three books. We can’t help but bring our own lives to what we write, can we? So here you are–book 3 in the Lange Brothers trilogy from Tule Publishing and moi.
The Fireman’s Christmas Wish
Her heart is wide open, but he’s nailed his shut.
Preschool teacher Harley Cole has always viewed life through rose-colored glasses. With a career she loves, friends she enjoys, and a home that is her haven, there’s only one thing missing—finding her soul mate. As the holidays approach, Harley is inspired to help her former high school crush rediscover his holiday joy. It’s just a good deed…until the feelings she thought were gone come rushing back.
Fire Chief Becker Lange returns home to River’s Edge with a heavy heart. His divorce has emotionally ravaged him, leaving him more confused than ever about what women want. So to protect himself from another failure, he closes his heart. And then Harley Cole makes him a flirty dare that she can help him overcome the holiday blues. Beck’s not sure he wants to, but Harley’s a hard woman to tell no.
Can the magic of Christmas and a sweet stray kitten bring these two lonely souls together?
Setup: Beck has just walked home from the town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony and he’s grumpy because he didn’t really want to go, but he went for Harley. Then she got mad at him for being a curmudgeon about going to go get hot chocolate afterward. He’s pouting and has arrived home to find an abandoned kitten under his bushes.
A cat. No, a kitten—a small ball of gray-striped fluff, not more than a few weeks old from the size of it. Beck stooped down and extended his hand. The hissing stopped almost immediately and the tiny creature rubbed its head against his fingers. He fondled the kitten, allowing it to come closer and checking it for signs of abuse or illness. It seemed plump enough and its eyes were bright blue, telling him it was fairly new in the world. Its ears and the tip of its tail were black, indicating it may have had a Siamese mother or father. But the rest of its fur was soft gray with darker stripes.
“Are you all alone out here, little one?” Beck wondered aloud and when he spoke the kitten pushed its head into his hand and purred. Still stooping, Beck shone the light around the bushes, but didn’t see any other kittens or a mother cat. “Where’s your mom?”
Taking a chance, Beck picked up the kitten, who settled right into the palm of his hand as if it belonged there. Cat in tow, he wandered down the street, shining his flashlight into the neighbors’ bushes and across their patios, hoping to find the kitten’s family. No luck. Not another feline in sight on the entire block.
His neighbors just to the south—Sutton, that was their name—arrived at their door the same time Beck got back to his. They hailed him with broad smiles, clearly fresh from the tree-lighting as they raised cups of hot chocolate in salute. “Whatcha got there, neighbor?” Mr. Sutton’s florid face gleamed in the light of Beck’s phone.
“This kitten”—Beck held out the tiny creature—“was on my doorstep when I got back just now. Do you know whose it is?”
Both Suttons ambled over to pet and ooh and aah over the kitten. “Nope,” Mr. Sutton declared. “Never seen it before. Sometimes people drop cats in the woods up on the ridge and the poor things wander down here.”
“That’s how we got our Miss Patches.” Mrs. Sutton cooed as she took the cat from Beck and rubbed her cheek on its soft fur. “Yes, that’s how we got her.”
“Does Miss Patches need a friend?” Beck was more than willing to pass the furry little problem on for someone else to handle.
Mrs. Sutton gasped. “Oh no! Miss Patches is very territorial. She’d never allow another cat in the house.”
Mr. Sutton laughed heartily. “That’s a fact. That cat owns the house. She just graciously allows us to live here. Whoops! There’s the boss now.” Almost as if she heard them, a large calico cat appeared in the Suttons’ front window and glared out at them.
Mrs. Sutton hastily returned the kitten to Becker, a guilty smile on her face. “Do you think she saw me?”
“I doubt it, honey,” Mr. Sutton reassured her while Beck couldn’t believe the two of them were worrying what a damn cat thought about anything. “We can offer you some cat food and our spare litter box and some litter to get you started tonight, can’t we, Mother?”
He calls his wife Mother?
Mrs. Sutton nodded vigorously. “Of course. Let me go get you some things to help the poor creature be more comfortable.” She put her hand on the doorknob. “Boy or girl?”
Beck sighed. He certainly couldn’t leave the little thing outside in the cold where a stray dog or some other wildlife might attack it. He held it up. “You tell me.”
Mr. Sutton took the cat, flipped it on its back in his large palm, and peered at it under their porch light. “I can’t tell yet, so he’s younger than eight weeks—I’m leaning toward a boy. You’ll be able to tell for sure in another two or three weeks. If he’s been in the wild, though, you’ll have to teach him how to use a litter box. That’s something their momma teaches them. I dunno, he looks pretty clean for a critter who’s been up in the woods. Most likely he either belongs to someone and escaped or somebody dropped him here hoping one of the residents would take him in.” He passed the cat back to Beck.
“I’ll be over in a few with some supplies.” Mrs. Sutton opened the front door, and Beck heard a yowl that sent the kitten skittering up his arm to huddle on his shoulder. Apparently, Miss Patches had seen her owners making a fuss over the kitten.
Beck sighed again and nodded his thanks. Looked like, at least for now, he had a cat.
Gratitude for this week: I’ve written lots of words; walks everyday are keeping my joints lubed; peaches, peaches, peaches; I’ve discovered borrowing e-books from the library and I love it; got to have supper and a swim with Grandboy–what a treat!
Stay well, stay safe, wear your mask in a crowd–this thing isn’t done with us yet–be kind, and most of all, mes amies, stay grateful!