By Caroline Clemmons
Hooray! It’s officially the holiday season! This is my favorite time of the year. After a delicious meal prepared by our youngest daughter, I’ve retreated to my office for a couple of hours. Sadly, our eldest daughter is ill and couldn’t join us.
We watched the Thanksgiving parade. My mom loved watching Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving morning and the Rose parade on New Year’s Day. Seeing these parades reminds us of her, and that’s one of the reasons we enjoy them.
Years ago, my daughters each asked why I hadn’t written a Christmas story, since I loved Christmas so much. So, I wrote my first one, STONE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS. This is set in Texas, not in Georgia. The mountain is named after a family named Stone. I was pleased at the result of this novella. If you haven’t read it, please join me for a sweet Christmas novella in my Stone Mountain Texas Series of western historical romance.
Christmas has been Celia Dubois’s favorite time of year as long as she can remember. When she moves in with her parents a year after the death of her husband, the young widow is appalled at the town’s lack of Christmas spirit. Two months earlier, bandits had burned the church and crushed the townspeople’s will and determination. Celia vows to return holiday joy to the town. Perhaps doing so might help mend her aching heart.
Rancher Eduardo Montoya knows Celia is the woman for him from the first moment he sees her. She enchants him with her winning smile and vivacious nature. When her father warns Eduardo away from Celia, Eduardo is both angry and frustrated.
Will Celia’s plan work magic? How will Eduardo change the minds of Celia’s parents about him?
Enjoy an excerpt from a welcome party given Celia by Rosalyn and Joel Stone:
On the evening of the party, Celia wore her favorite dark green silk faille gown. The color flattered her skin and red hair. She stood where Rosalyn suggested and was introduced to each person or couple who arrived. She lost count of the number, but she suspected at least a couple of dozen attended. Little dinner party, my eye.
The handsome man who’d watched her a few days earlier showed up with an older couple who could only be his parents. The father was dressed much like the son. Mrs. Montoya wore a lovely dress of burgundy taffeta trimmed in black lace. In her ebony hair she wore beautiful combs of ivory and silver.
“Sofia and Jorge Montoya, may I present Mrs. Celia Dubois, daughter of Harriett and George Sturdivant? And this is their son, Eduardo.”
The senior Montoyas offered the standard greetings and stepped back to await their son.
Eduardo took her fingers in his, bowed low, and kissed her hand. “Enchanted, Señora Dubois. Welcome to our town. I look forward to becoming acquainted.”
When their gazes met, his smoldering eyes surprised then paralyzed her. You’re not a schoolgirl, say something. Anything. “T-Thank you, Señor Montoya. I’m pleased for this opportunity to meet so many leading citizens at once.
The Montoyas moved into the spacious parlor to make way for other guests. Celia sensed the heat of Eduardo’s stare. Whenever she glanced his way, he watched her no matter to whom he spoke. His scrutiny was in no way menacing, but as if he found her fascinating. Still, the attention added to her discomfort.
Too many people filled the space. The room closed in around her. Air, she desperately needed more air. Rising dread threatened to cut off her breathing.
Fortunately, Rosalyn diffused the panic when she clapped her hands for attention. “Please go on in and have a seat where you find your place card.”
Eduardo appeared at Celia’s side. “May I escort you?”
She laid her hand on the arm he proffered. “Thank you, Señor Montoya.”
He guided her straight to where her place card assigned her.
She looked up at him. “You knew where I would be seated?”
His smile flashed beneath sparkling brown eyes. “But of course. You are the guest of honor, are you not? You will be at your host’s right.”
She was being a suspicious ninny. After hundreds of dinner parties in her lifetime, how could she have forgotten where she would be seated? When he’d held her chair, she spotted his place next to hers but she said nothing.
Stay safe and keep reading!