JP is our youngest grandson who turned five in September. He and his mom and dad lived with us while they were building their house a year ago. Though they’ve moved into their new house now, we still get to pick him up from preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and spend the afternoon with him. Next year he’ll be in kindergarten all day. He’s so full of fun and remarkably wise for his years!
The daughter of a friend of mine is a realtor and was hosting a Christmas party for friends and family last weekend. She asked that we bring our grandkids for crafts and snacks and a visit with Santa. I thought JP would be delighted to party…
Me: How about we go to a party on Saturday morning?
JP: What kind of a party?
Me: A Christmas party. My friend Donna’s daughter is having it. There will probably be cookies and juice to drink.
JP: How many people will there be? Eight?
Me: Well, probably…
Me: Maybe… and Santa will be there, I think.
JP: No, that’s okay. I don’t want to go.
Me: You can stay by me the whole time. We can just wave to Santa from across the room if you want.
JP: Nana, why can’t you take one of your other grandkids?
(So, he changed his mind and went with and by the time we left, he’d written a list of what he wanted for Christmas and had to give it to Santa Claus. And eaten two doughnut holes, three cookies, some orange juice and a bottle of water. But isn’t it weird to plop your little one on the lap of an old bearded stranger in a bright red suit and expect them to be okay with that??)
Miracles don’t just happen on 34th Street. They can happen right in your living room—if you’re willing to believe…
What grown woman claims to have seen Santa Claus? Mandy Reese, for one—on a very special Christmas Eve when she was eight years old. These days, Mandy works at a year-round Christmas store in Tall Pine, California, where customers love to hear about her childhood encounter with Saint Nick. But when Jake Wyndham arrives in town—charming, gorgeous, extremely practical—Mandy faces a dilemma. Deny what she saw, or let Jake think she’s sugarplum crazy?
Jake scouts hotel locations all over the country, but he’s never met anyone quite like Mandy before. Her warmth and sparkle are irresistible, but…meeting Santa? Really? Jake’s no Scrooge but he’s definitely skeptical. Then again, there are all kinds of things Jake never experienced until he came to Tall Pine. Like autumn snow. Mind blowing kisses. And the magic of falling head-over-heels, madly in love…
Read an Excerpt:
When Mandy Reese was eight years old, she saw Santa Claus.
She slipped out of her room on Christmas Eve after her mother went to bed. As Mandy tiptoed down the hall, trying to be silent, she thought of the poem: Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. . . .
The Christmas tree was still lit up in the living room, as if it, too, were waiting. The nighttime cold of the house bit through her flannel nightgown, and Mandy wished she’d grabbed her robe and slippers. But she didn’t want to risk going back down the hall and waking her mother. So she pulled a heavy blanket down from the back of the sofa and curled up under it. She laid her head on the arm of the couch to get a good view of the tree at the end of the room near her head, and the fireplace at the other end, down by her feet.
Barely daring to breathe, she waited.
The lights from the tree were bright enough to show the time on the clock over the mantel: almost eleven-thirty. Mandy’s vigilant eyes drifted from the fireplace to the tree and back. She knew there was no way she’d fall asleep.
But it felt as if some time had passed when something made her sit up.
The only light in the room still came from the tree, yet somehow it seemed brighter in here. Her eyes darted to the fireplace. And he was there.
He did wear a red suit, although it was a darker red than she’d seen on the Santas at the store—the ones she’d always been told were just helpers for the real Santa. His beard was full and white, his eyebrows were bushy, and his eyes were blue. Not quite twinkly, a little more serious than that, but warm and friendly as they met hers. She’d heard that watching for Santa could make him pass you by, but that hint of a glimmer in his eye told her she wasn’t in trouble.
Mandy opened her mouth to speak, but she couldn’t think of a single word to say. The whole room felt hushed, as if time were standing still.
She couldn’t be dreaming because her heart was beating so fast. But she remembered to pinch her forearm, hard, just to be sure. It hurt, all right.
He took a step backward, toward the chimney, and raised a black-gloved finger. At first Mandy thought he was going to put it to his lips, signaling her to be quiet. But he rested it alongside his nose, just like the poem, and nodded.
The room brightened, and Mandy had to shut her eyes against the glare.
When she opened them, the light in the room had returned to the normal Christmas-tree glow, and he was gone. She heard the clock on the mantel ticking; she didn’t remember hearing the sound while Santa was in the room. The hands showed it was just after midnight, although she knew for certain she hadn’t heard it chime.
She pinched her arm again. Once again, it hurt. When she looked down, she saw a small red mark forming right next to the spot she was pinching now.
Under the tree, she couldn’t see any difference in the number of presents. But she remembered what her mother always told her: Santa Claus was about more than presents.
“I saw him,” she whispered.
SEE MY PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED REVIEW OF DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA? here “This is so cute it should be a Lifetime TV movie!”
always in that order. Her greatest joy is helping people find true love on the
printed page. She is a firm believer in Christmas, classic movies, happy
endings and the healing power of chocolate. Sierra’s first novel, Love On The
Air, was a Holt Medallion finalist. Her 2014 Kensington debut, No Christmas
Like The Present, won the Golden Quill Award for Sweet Traditional Romance. Her
2015 novel, Do You Believe In Santa? marks the beginning of Sierra’s new
Evergreen Lane series. You can email Sierra at email@example.com, or
visit her website at http://www.sierradonovan.com.