Title: Romance Rekindled
Author: Diane Burton
Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?
Sam Watson embraces the transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.
In all the time Abby had lived in Far Haven—thirty-six years minus the two away when she was married to Roger Dodger—she’d never seen the inside of the jail. In fact, she’d never seen the inside of any jail.
Rose led them down a beige hall. At the end, she unlocked a metal-barred door set into the wall on the left. They walked down a shorter hall and there it was. The jail, two cells complete with steel bars, a narrow cot and a stainless-steel commode in each. Mother sat on the edge of the cot at the back of the cell.
She wasn’t alone.
“Who are you?” Abby demanded of the old man sitting next to Mother. And holding her mother’s hand!
Florence bounded off the cot with the agility of a much younger woman. All those classes at the Senior Center must be paying off. “Abigail Louise, what are you doing here?”
Abby fisted her hands on her hips. “What are you doing in jail? And who is that man?”
That man rose more slowly than Mother had. He looked to be about her age, or slightly older, and a little taller with a head of thick, gray hair and a weathered face that had seen a lot of sun. When he reached Mother’s side, he placed his arm around her waist. Around her waist! How dare he?
“Rose.” Florence gripped the steel bars, indignation in her voice as well as in her piercing stare. “I specifically told you not to call Abigail. I will never speak to you again.”
“You’ll have to talk to me at bridge,” the dispatcher quipped before she beat it back down the hall.
“Don’t count on it, you traitor. And, you, Abigail. Go home. I don’t want you here. How could you drag poor Bethany out of bed at this hour of the morning? And it’s such a nasty night with the storm coming in across the lake.”
With that, her mother returned to the cot. The old man shrugged and gave Abby an apologetic half smile before joining Florence.
“At least have the courtesy to tell me what is going on, Mother.”
When Bethany elbowed her, Abby shot her daughter the same glare her mother had given her. “I want to know what you were doing to get arrested.”
“Yeah,” a deep baritone behind her said. “I’d like to know what she did that got my father arrested.”
Abby spun around. Apparently, Rose had escorted another visitor—a tall, dark-haired man. It took her a moment before she recognized the man from the store, the one who ordered those miniatures. Sam Watson.
“More likely your father instigated the whole thing,” she shot back.
“I’ll let you folks straighten things out. I have to get back to the phones,” Rose said before making a hasty retreat.
“Mom, calm down. Let’s listen to Gram and . . . his father.” Bethany jerked her head toward Sam.
They hadn’t formally met, despite the fact that he’d come to her store twice. He’d returned to pay for the special order. A nice boost to Abby’s bottom line. But with all the customers coming and going, they’d had little time to talk. From the rumors, she’d learned he was a “retired” stock trader now a furniture maker. Considering the sawdust and wood shavings clinging to his flannel shirt and the front of his jeans, the last part must be true.
“Sam, my boy.” The old man walked slowly forward. From his grimace, arthritis must be taking its toll on his bones. “You didn’t need to come.”
“Sure I did, Dad. Now would someone tell me what’s going on? Why are you in jail?”
“We-ell, Flo here fell into a dumpster behind—”
“A dumpster?” Abby exclaimed. “Mo-ther. What were you doing in a dumpster?”
Mother rushed to the bars. “Don’t you talk to me like that, young lady.”
Sam glared at Abby. “We’ll get the story quicker if you let my father talk.”
Abby planted her hands on her hips. “How will we know it’s the truth? He could make up a story so my mother will look stupid.”
“Mo-om.” Bethany tried to hush her.
“Abigail Louise Ten Eyck, don’t you talk about George like that.”
“Oh, for God’s sake. Everybody be still.” Sam raked his hand through his dark hair. “Dad, tell us what happened. Then, Flo, you tell your side.”
Flo? Nobody called Mother Flo. Father had not approved of nicknames. Hang on. How did he know Mother well enough to call her anything?
“I wish all of you would go home,” Mother said. “George and I are perfectly all right.”
“Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.”
“It’s tomorrow already, Mom.” Bethany gave her a little smile.
“You’re right.” Abby felt so discombobulated. “Well, Mother, you are not spending Christmas Eve in jail.”
Florence jutted out her chin. “I’ll do what I damn well please, Abigail.”
Share a holiday family tradition:
On Christmas Eve, we all go to the Children’s Service (usually a Christmas pageant with our grandchildren playing a role). Afterward, we go back to one of our kids’ houses and have Chinese take-out. Then, the grandkids are allowed to open one gift. The rest of the gifts have to wait for Santa, of course. This year will be especially chaotic as the two-year-old twins know what unwrapping gifts mean, since their birthday was just a month ago. Celebrating the holiday with family, starting at church for the true meaning of Christmas, is more important than gifts.
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood:
As you can tell from the excerpt, Abby sounds like a real Grinch. She’s upset because her mother was arrested and is about to spend Christmas in jail. Until Judge Santa throws out the case. Her mother has already sprung one surprise announcing she is selling the ancestral home. She springs another by inviting her friend George and his son Sam for Christmas dinner—normally a time just for family. Abby is discombobulated by change. But what better time to make a change than on Christmas Day, by opening their home to two lonely bachelors. When Abby’s daughter hangs a piece of mistletoe, Sam and Abby discover a Christmas kiss could turn into a lot more.
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Runs December 1 – 31.
Drawing will be held on January 3, 2020.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren. Diane also writes children’s adventures as D.M. Burton.
Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
D.M.’s website: http://www.dmburton.com
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