Welcome to the Winter Wonderland Blog Hop.
Today, all you have to do is read my little taste of Christmas out on the Glory B Ranch and leave a comment. If your comment is the top winner, you'll get a $100 dollar gift card for either Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Second and Third place winners get a $50 dollar card all from Crimson Romance Authors listed on the blog. Be sure to check everyone's post and have a great time. Enjoy the holidays and dive into some fantastic books.
A Glory B Christmas
A cold wind shook the panes of glass in the living room. Instinctively, Glory Beebe Hargrove pulled the quilted bits of calico tighter around her body. She loved the holidays, always had. For as long as she could remember the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas and on to New Years held a magic all its own. Even now, the house seemed filled with the smells of the warm chocolate chip cookies, roasted turkey and its trimmings, plus the promise of Alma's secret holiday cake that was squirreled away in a rustic old tin with a sleigh scene from Currier and Ives. Everything, in one word, was perfect. She glanced down at the sparkling diamond and band of gold and thought about the man she married. Travis had proven beyond measure as a husband and partner in their business of raising bulls for the rodeo.
Across the room, the tiny white lights, embedded in the branches of the evergreen, blinked merrily. This year, there was so much more joy in the walls of the little ranch house that it threatened to burst. Grave Digger had done them proud on the rodeo circuit. In fact, Jon Parker had called the other day and offered them a contract on two more bulls from their herd. Travis and Mickey were in cahoots talking up another bull riding clinic. Of course, she was pretending to be hard to get about it. A grin tickled her cheeks causing her dimples to show. Yes, the make-up loving and coaxing on Travis' part was so much fun she was going to hate to give in. Yes, everything seemed to be falling together so nicely. She let out a deep breath and hoped what she planned to tell Travis tomorrow wouldn't rock the apple cart.
Tossing off the blanket, Glory moved to the tree and lay down on her back so that she could stare up into the branches and watch the lights flicker across the years of ornaments while the radio in the kitchen softly serenaded her with a host of carols.
"Glory?" Travis sleepy voice drew her eyes to the doorway. His footsteps were so soft she hadn't heard him come down. Hair mussed, a hint of shadow from his beard gracing his cheek brought a quickening of her heartbeat.
"Down here." He yawned and glanced down at her. "What 'cha doin' on the floor?"
"Wishing," she murmured.
The roguish grin that touched his face was one of his best endearing qualities. Her heart turned over as she held his heated glance for a second. Reaching out, she patted the rug beside her. "Come on down."
Travis raked his hand through his disheveled hair and moved to the spot. She heard him grunt as he got down and wiggled beneath the branches. "Is this some sort of Beebe ritual?"
Glory giggled. "Yeah. Ever since I could look over the counter and help Alma roll out those cookies, I've spent Christmas Eve up till midnight laying here, making wishes."
"All right, what do I do?" "Shh. Christmas wishes are the most special of all. They only work in silence when your heart is free of worry. Let your mind go. Watch the lights blink and listen to the words in the music. You'll know when to wish, because your heart will tell you."
They grew silent. The sounds of the carols drifted in over their soft breaths. Her eyes were drawn up the tree toward one glass ornament, that of the Virgin Mary holding the Christ child. As she stared, Travis' hand encircled her fingers. Her heart filled with such unconditional love that a knot formed in her throat and a single tear of happiness ran toward her hairline. She didn't think she could love a man as much as she did Travis. It seemed like only yesterday she was standing outside of the Tomahawk Motel, honking the horn, and screaming out her love for him while the cars on the road came to a stop. He had proposed, right then and there to the applause and shouts of half the town of Palmer. In the distance, the clock in the dining room began to chime twelve. Glory closed her eyes and knew exactly what to ask for.
"Hey now," Travis whispered. "No crying on Christmas morning."
Glory heard him scramble out from under the tree and opened her eyes. His outstretched hand beckoned to her. "Come here, darlin'."
Scooting out, she let Travis help her up. His warm arms curled protectively around her body. Her head upon his chest, she listened to the beat of his heart. "I love you, Travis." Her arms went around his chest and held him tight. "I love you so much, sometimes it just hurts."
"Glory? Glory, honey, you're spooking me. Is everything all right?"
She sniffed and nodded.
His hands stroked her back as he spoke. "I know there's been a lot of changes. Things are going to get better. Mickey and I, well we've just gotta do that bull riding clinic this spring. Parker's counting on us." "I know. I just won't be able to help as much."
His hands stilled and she pushed away to turn toward the tree. "I've something for you."
"Can't it wait?"
She shook her head. "I thought maybe it could, but not now." Kneeling, she searched through the brightly colored packages for something in particular. "Besides, the clock has struck. It's Christmas." Her smile broadened as she saw it. Extending her arm, she looped her fingers through the brightly tied ribbon and pulled it free. Rising, she held it tenderly in the palm of both of her hands. "Merry Christmas, Travis."
He stood and looked at her. His face twisted in confusion as he looked at the carefully wrapped gift.
"I want you to know that I gave you my heart that night in front of the Tomahawk and you've always been there to protect me. Now, I'm doing the same for you."
"Protect me?" He shook his head. "I don't get it."
"You will. Open it."
He wore a mask of bewilderment as he pulled loose the bow and peeled away the edges of the paper to expose a small rectangular white box. "I guess it's too small to hold that new Stetson I've been wanting."
"Not a chance."
He sighed and she watched his skillful hands lift the top away. On bated breath she watched as the tissue paper crackled, then was brushed aside. His glance ricocheted to her face. "Glory?" Then he looked back down, his eyes widening.
"There are two."
"Yes, I don't know which one," she said.
Blinking back tears, he slid his hand inside and brought out one tiny pink bootie and another in blue. "Are you telling me what I think you're telling me?"
She nodded. "The doctor said early in the summer. I know we said we'd wait. " She lifted her shoulders. "I guess the good Lord saw fit to change our plans."
"You're all right, aren't you? I mean your momma..."
"I'm fine." She put a hand on his arm. "Well, if you skip what the smell of bacon does to me in the morning."
His arms found her and drew her close. "Forget the Stetson, the buckle, and the spurs. I love you, Glory. I'm so glad you're my wife." He kissed her slow and sensually making her toes dig into the carpet so she wouldn't fall down. When it ended, he scooped her up in his arms and headed toward the stairway.
"Don't you want to open the rest of your gifts?"
Travis shook his head. "What you just gave me will last a life time and I'm gonna thank you good and proper, Mrs. Hargrove because this trumps any gold belt buckle."
To read about Glory and Travis' love affair, purchase your copy of Eight Seconds to Glory at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble with the links below.
This story comes in Nook versions, Kindle versions, and now in print through Amazon.
Thanks for reading and leave a comment! Happy Holidays from my house to yours.
Look for the next ten authors coming soon. Don't forget to comment.