Good morning. Welcome to today’s Midweek Tease made possible by the wonderful Angelica Dawson.
As is my habit, when I finish one book, I start another. His Christmas Family, which I hope to release December 15th, is the product of two short stories, Her Christmas Hero, and The Best Day Ever. If you read either one, this scene is one that made the transition from the short story to the novel.
Blurb for His Christmas Family
Ten years ago, Lee Ostler lost his wife and children to a drunk driver just a few days before Thanksgiving. Suffering from survivor’s guilt, Lee blames himself, existing, not living, and refuses to celebrate the holidays. Running into the girl he admired in high school may be just the thing to crack the ice around his heart. Setting aside his pain and misery, he will do whatever he must to put a smile on her face again.
Life has dealt Laurie Wilson a lot of blows, but this year, the widowed mother of four has hit rock bottom. How will she give her children a magical Christmas when the cupboard’s bare, her wallet’s empty, she can’t work, and may well lose the roof over their heads? She needs a miracle, and if he happens to be the former high school quarterback she was too terrified to even speak to, this might turn out to be a Christmas to remember.
Here is your scene and today’s tease:
Pulling up the collar on her coat, head bent against the sleet, Laurie hurried out of the bank and collided head-on with two men, knocking the folded newspaper out of one man’s hand, landing on her backside on the cold, wet ground, her phone spinning out of her hand, her glasses askew on her face, and the contents of her broken purse spilling out all around them. Ignoring the icky wetness seeping through her coat into her body, she straightened her glasses, smudging the lenses with her wet gloves, reached for her useless bag, and stuffed her belongings inside it along with enough mud and water to make sure everything was ruined.
“Are you hurt, my dear?” the older of the two men asked as the younger one stepped in front of him.
“You, again,” the man growled, sounding more annoyed than concerned, freezing her in place. “That’s the second time you bump into me today. If you’re hellbent on getting my attention, you’ve got it. I’ll take responsibility for the first, but don’t you know how dangerous it is to text and walk, especially in this weather?”
Mortified, what little gumption Laurie had died when she looked up into the familiar eyes that went with the gruff voice berating her. Lee looked down at her, his scowl firmly in place.
Just what I need. Make a fool of myself in front of him, not once but twice on the same day.
Beside him stood Mr. Granger, the bank manager, whose assistant had been reluctant to authorize the mortgage and had only relented when her mother had agreed to cosign for it. What would he think of the mess she was in now? Third payment due, and she had to get money from her credit card to pay it. This didn’t bode well for the future.
Since she was blocking the way in and out of the bank, she’d amassed quite a crowd, further adding to her humiliation. She swallowed her tears. She would not cry—not here, not now.
Reluctantly reaching for the outstretched hand, she allowed Lee to help her up, ignoring the electricity coursing through her at his touch.
“I’m so sorry. You’re right of course,” she babbled, trying to wipe the muddy mess off her coat before it stained and sending the disgusting mixture onto his navy overcoat. “I should’ve been paying attention, I—”
“Stop,” Lee ordered, cutting off her apology. “Just leave it. You’re making things worse.”
Laurie looked up at the splotches of mud she’d sent flying onto his coat. “I’m so sorry.” Before she disgraced herself any further, bottom lip trembling, she turned and hurried away from him and the bank manager, slipping and sliding in her rush. The last thing she needed today was to fall and break something else, but she couldn’t stand there under that accusing gaze a second longer.
She managed to make it back to her vehicle, just as the skies opened once more.
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