What is Christmas without a nice toasty love story lol? I’ve been in serious reading mode and … writing mode. But … I’ve been also taking time to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. So, in the lead up to the weekend, I’ll be exploring different aspects of what is to me the true essence of Christmas. Today, it’s friendship.
My Monday Sample is from my new release, Daring to Hold.
I hope you’ll enjoy dropping in with this close circle of friends which stretch over a series of five books, my Love Chances Series. If you want to check it out, I’ll post a link at the end.
Peace and Love XOXO
‘Daring to Hold‘ by L.S. Bergman
“I can’t believe we’ve actually been doin’ this for years!” Claudia said, pulling her red woollen coat tighter around her frame, grateful for her fur-lined knee high brown leather boots. It was friggin’ cold.
“Midnight mass for the band is like…”
“Tradition … I know, I get it. It still don’t make no sense though. What about shifting to 7 a.m or 10 o’clock mass like normal folks.”
Coming up the gravel pathway to St. Mary’s, Claudia made out Keith, Cordell and Andreas waiting by the entrance to the Church. Andreas was finishing up a fag, and Roger was on the phone. Aaron was also there, as was his pregnant wife Jules, looking as bundled up as Claudia was. The only other ‘wife‘ present. The only member of the group not wearing the hell out of some serious designer suits. The men all looked gorgeous, although her attentions remained on just the one. The one at her side. But then again, Claudia was biased.
“Hey, whaddup man,” Stu teased, leaning in to hail-up Keith first.
The two were so tight.
“All good, man,” Keith chuckled. “Left Ale home with the family, hers and mine. Rob and Paula are also staying over. My folks came in yesterday. So, they already fussing up a storm. Let’s just say it’s a full house.” Keith paused, his gaze drifting to meet Claudia’s.
Old friends. Enemies for a time during the split with her sister, Dawn. Friend-emies ever since.
“Hey, P …,” he stopped that reflex, his jaw clenching, looking as if he wanted to kick himself. He’d always called Claudia ‘Princess’, but no longer, not tonight. After what she’s been through …
Nodding and briefly closing his eyes, Keith released an arduous breath. “Claudia, it’s real good to see you girl,” he said, oozing sincerity for his almost sister-in-law. Not waiting for Claudia’s reply, he grabbed her and pulled her decidedly to him.
Claudia swore she wasn’t gonna cry, but seeing these guys, being with them again, well, it felt like too much. So many memories. Hanging together, loving together, hurting together, arguing together, but sticking to each other.
Pulling away, Claudia shook hands with Roger before falling into Cordell’s arms next, then Andreas’, followed by Aaron and finally Jules.
Jules was dressed in a thick ankle-length black fur-lined coat, her long main secured and compressed under a brown and black printed turban. Her only make-up was her dark red lipstick, but for a woman this gorgeous she hardly needed that.
The service was about to begin, and even though the Church was practically empty, the ushers were doing their jobs well, several managing to sneak autographs on the sly.
Jules smiled, linking arms with Claudia, “lookin’ good my friend.”
“Thanks, sweets. Feeling really thankful,” Claudia replied, releasing a heavy sigh.
“Well, you’ve sure come to the right place,” Jules chuckled, heading down the aisle of the Church, following on behind Aaron, her other hand falling to the round of her belly.
“Is he active?”
“Understatement. Doin’ flips, in’it? Making me want to pee,” Jules snickered, easing down onto the wooden pew.
Claudia chuckled, sitting next to her, welcoming Stuart’s warmth on the other side, the feel of his fingers lacing hers.
The organ started to play and Claudia drank in the moment. The Church was bathed in candlelight. There was a massive Christmas tree illuminating the front altar, and the smell of incense was everywhere, conjuring that feeling of peace and well-being Claudia remembered greeting her every Sunday as a child. Equanimity. The service was about to begin, and it was the darndest thing. Everything in Claudia’s world felt … complete.” Daring to Hold © L.S. Bergman 2017