A Double Treat!
Christmas Wishes and Christmas Vows
My tagline is “Love happens when you least expect.” But for the holiday season it should be: Love (and all kinds of other stuff) happens when you least expect it in Rainbow Bayou (especially at Christmas).
Momentous things happen around Christmas in Rainbow Bayou. Years ago, Ridge and Buffy, the first Calloway couple in the series were married at the Calloway Farm. Last Christmas there was a Christmas miracle, an engagement, and the reunion of two high school sweethearts.
This year is no different. The Calloways are expecting a new baby, the December reunion of family members from far and wide, and the marriage of two siblings in a special double wedding. But the desperate actions of a veteran threaten everything.
Not simply Christmas stories these two books Christmas Wishes and Christmas Vows are books 4 and 7 respectively. Currently you can still get Christmas Vows for $0.99 while it’s on preorder for release on December 4th and Christmas Wishes is $0.99 for today only.
Now lest you think a double wedding is just fiction, here’s a picture I dug up of my mom and dad’s wedding in Washington, D.C. Notice the twins in the center? That’s my mother and her identical twin. Cool, huh?
The Calloways of Rainbow Bayou is a feel-good smalltown romance series about a sprawling family of former military heroes and heroines. They are standalones but the secondary characters’ stories progress through the series so you may better enjoy reading them in order.
“Samantha?” came a voice on the other side of the powder room door.
She looked at the ceiling. Great. “Yes, Jed…”
“Are you okay?”
“Jed, you’re becoming kind of a mother hen. I’m just using the john,” she said in her best Captain Larue tone. There was a long silence while she continued to look for the lever and wondered if he’d left. Then she heard his foot scrape against the door. “Jed. Are you still out there?”
“Do you need me?” He asked quickly.
“No, but…” she thought of what might make him go. “You’re kind of cramping my style.”
“Did you say you’re cramping?” He asked a little louder.
“Sshh, you’ll have every one— OO… Oh.!” The pain hit so suddenly that she doubled over. She would have if she hadn’t had a fifty-pound baby in her lap. It hit again, and this time, she moaned.
“Samantha, open this door.” His voice was too loud. She knew what that was going to mean. The Horde.
Sam grit her teeth. “Go away, Jed.”
“I’m not leaving until you open this door, and I see you’re okay.”
Breathing rapidly to quell the spasms, Sam said, “Can’t you leave me alone? Get Buffy or mom if you want to be helpful.”
She could almost hear him thinking on the other side of the wooden barrier. “If you need your mother, you need me. I’m trained in this. No one else here is. Unlock the door before I bust in.”
“There’s no room to bust in, Stern. Me and this kid are taking up the entire bathroom.” She sighed and scooted to the edge of the toilet. “Hold on, hold on, don’t go causing a ruckus. I wouldn’t put it past The Horde to try to fit into this one-person bathroom. Horde was the affectionate name Sam and her brother Luc gave the rest of the family, except for their father. She twisted the button on the knob and the door swung out.
A frowning and obviously concerned Jed immediately knelt in front of her, squeezing his wide shoulders in between her and the sink. His brilliant brown eyes bore into hers looking for clues, just like a detective. “Okay. Be honest with me, Samantha. Are you having contractions?”
“No! At least…. I don’t…I don’t think so. I just couldn’t find the lever to flush the toilet.”
Jed frowned in irritation. “That’s all? You couldn’t flush?” He made a face and said, “What have you been eating?”
She glared at him even though she caught the sparkle in his eyes. “Jalapenos and banana pudding… and some other stuff.”
He chuckled and made the same search she had while she sat there taking shallow breaths so he wouldn’t notice. If she took a deep breath she would take in his manly scent. He worked out a lot and had probably come straight from the gym. The smell was intoxicating, mesmerizing— damn these hormones. She shook herself. He was still tinkering with something over her left shoulder, then the sound and vibration of the toilet flushing gave her a small sense of relief. She looked up at him as he straightened. “Where was it?”
He scratched his head looking surprised. “Against the wall. The toilet was installed backwards.”
“That’s crazy,” she said as her mother and older sister Chaz appeared in the doorway.
“What’s wrong?” asked Chaz.
“Samantha are you in labor?” her mother, the Colonel, demanded.
She rolled her eyes. “No, I just came to use the restroom and “ahhh.” The cry was ripped from her throat.
Jed wasted no time asking for permission. He leaned down and helped her get to her feet then scooped her into his arms. “Jed,” she protested.
He angled her feet through the door and said, “Damn, you’re heavy.”
Sam met his eyes and glared. “It’s the shoes. And thank you darling, you’re such a charmer. Just what I love about you.”
Their eyes met and it seemed that time ticked one second for every ten. Had she just said that? “Or hate. Please put me down.”
“No chance, Doc.” He made it out of the bathroom carefully angling her legs so she wouldn’t hit the sink, the door or… the crowd of spectators in the hall—
Sam groaned. “Oh, God. Kill me now.”
"I love you, Luc Larue. God, how I love you. The house, the view, the rose beds, it's all so perfect." She kissed him again. "Thank you."
It flustered him but his eyes were glowing. "I wanted to give you a backyard full of beautiful blooming roses but after I talked to Grandma Eme's contact at LSU—"
"You found out this was the proper way to plant new beds in the winter." Delilah grinned.
"Yeah, kind of disappointing. I mean what's better—a dozen roses or a half dozen rose bushes blooming. So I settled for the bed of bluebonnets which is how I've thought of your eyes since the day I met you."
* * *
He remembered it as if it was yesterday. He'd been lying on the floor of that convenience store, the lady cop's foot on his back. Hers and Jed's initial response to the scene with him holding a gun had been to follow procedure. They'd had no choice until they assessed who the real perp was.
Then Delilah had bent over him, her blonde ponytail swung forward and her clear blue eyes, like Texas bluebonnets, had sealed the deal. He'd known then with his face smashed to the grimy linoleum floor that she would be his—if he could convince her to give him a chance. It hadn't been the most impressive first meeting—but it was very memorable.
He held her face between his hands and searched her eyes, his expression soft. "I love you, Delilah. All I want to do is make you happy so if anything isn't right—"
She put her fingers to his lips then laid her head against his chest. He closed his eyes for a minute and just soaked up the feel of her against him, the view, and how right everything was at this moment. He couldn't imagine anything but her in his future, a family right here in this house.
Del gave him a mischievous look. "Can we take another look at that master bedroom?"
Luc smiled, "Why sure, darlin', anything your heart desires."
She grinned, "Maybe you should lock the front door in case we have unexpected guests while we give ourselves a house warming present."
At that, Luc made quick work of the locks and followed her to the bedroom where he found his fiancé in only her pretty lingerie in the center of the big king size bed. It was a good day to be in love.Christmas Wishes on sale until December 3. Christmas Vows 0.99 until release day 12.4.18