Thursday, September 1, 2016

Christmas in September! Sneak peek of Carolyn Brown's upcoming release, Cowboy Christmas Miracle!

Swollen ankles. Puffy face. And now mood swings.

Even with all that, Betsy was so jealous of Angela that she could feel her soul turning neon green. It’s a wonder she didn’t glow with envy like an alien life force.

Angela wiped tears away with a soggy tissue. “It’s a boy, and I’m naming him Christian because he’s arriving during the Christmas season, and he’ll be too old to be baby Jesus next year, and I wanted him to grow up to be a preacher like my daddy and my brother, John, and now he’ll grow up to be a… Oh no…”

“What?” Betsy tensed. “Is it labor? Do I need to call Jody?”

Angela grabbed for more tissues. “No, it’s worse. Burnt Boot isn’t going to have Christmas. It’s an omen. Christian will grow up to be an outlaw and put shame on the Gallagher name.”

Betsy patted her on the arm and wished she had a shot of whiskey, but there wasn’t even a beer in Jody and Angela’s house. Angela abstained from anything that had a drop of liquor in it—she didn’t even have a slice of butter rum cake at the family holiday parties.

“It’ll be okay,” Betsy said. “It’s a season of miracles. Something could happen so that we’ll have Christmas.”

Angela’s blond hair covered her tear-streaked face when she bent forward, head in hands, and wept.

“That would take more than a miracle. It would take magic the way the Brennans and the Gallaghers have both set their heels and refuse to give anything to the church for new Christmas decorations.”

“What about the other folks in town?” Betsy asked. “Those who aren’t part of this feud?”

“If they help out with the program, then the feudin’ folks won’t do business with them, so they’re between a rock and a hard place.” Angela lifted her head and threw a handful of soggy tissues in the trash. “I want a Christmas program at the church, and I want my son to be baby Jesus, and I know you can make it happen, Betsy Gallagher.”

Betsy’s emerald-green eyes widened. “I’m not a magician.”

Angela inhaled deeply, straightened her back, and crossed her hands over an enormous baby bump. “I’m depending on you, Betsy. If anyone in the whole state of Texas can put my Christian in that manger for the Christmas program, you can do it.”

“Come on, Angela, you know that Granny would disown me if I lifted a finger to make Christmas happen. You’ll have to be content with the Christmas tree lighting on Main Street,” Betsy said.

Angela held up a finger and sniffled. “No! I won’t be satisfied with that. I want my Christian to be wrapped in swaddling blankets in a manger, and I want the wise men and the shepherds to come and see him.” The finger shifted to point straight at Betsy. “And you are going to talk those two old women into letting it happen.”

Betsy flinched. “Granny will go up in flames if she hears you call her old.”

“I’m sick of this feud. It’s time to bury the hatchet or sign a treaty in blood or spit in their hands and shake like a couple of kids—whatever it takes to end this shit,” Angela said.

“You said a bad word,” Betsy whispered.

Tears started in earnest again. “That should”—hiccup—“tell you”—hiccup—“how much Christmas means to me?” A final hiccup.

Betsy patted her shoulder and handed her the box of tissues from the coffee table. “I’ll do what I can—I promise.”

Angela blew her nose loudly and hauled herself off the sofa. “Time to go to the bathroom again. All I do is cry and pee. It’s a wonder Jody stays with me.”

Betsy quickly pushed up out of the recliner and said, “I should be going anyway. It’s getting late.”

“I hear Jody driving up in the yard. He’ll be excited that you are going to fix it so that we have a Christmas program.” Angela smiled brightly. “Why don’t you stick around and have a glass of tea with us?”

Betsy needed something a hell of a lot stronger than sweet tea at that moment. She really, really needed a strong shot of good old Irish whiskey, preferably Jameson or at least a beer. “No thanks. I really do have to go, but you hang in there, girl. It’s only another week until that baby boy will be here. Then, according to what I hear, you won’t get any sleep for a few months.”

Jody pushed through the door, letting a blast of cold November air into the small house. Angela gave him a kiss. “Hello, darlin’. I want to hear about the meeting with Granny Naomi right after I get out of the bathroom. Bundle up, Betsy.”

Jody held Betsy’s coat for her and whispered, “Whatever you did, thank you. She seems happy.”
Betsy raised a shoulder. “I’m supposed to work miracles in the middle of the worst feud war we’ve ever had. She wants me to talk Granny into having a Christmas program at the church. Might as well try to talk a donkey into changing into Cinderella.”

“If anyone can do it, you can.” Jody grinned.

Betsy took those words out the door and into the cold night air, wishing she was as mean and tough as everyone thought. Tanner, her favorite cousin, said she was ninety percent bluff and ten percent mean.

“But you don’t want to test that mean part.” He’d laughed when she’d given him the old stink eye.
Light shined out from the living room window, giving the brown grass a yellow glow, like the star that used to hang from the ceiling at the Christmas program. What Angela wanted was totally impossible, but Betsy would try to think of something. Maybe they could have a Gallagher program at the Christmas dinner, complete with a nativity scene.

She sat in her hot-pink pickup truck for several minutes. Through the window, she saw Jody hug Angela. Their body language said they were in love, and the way Jody’s hands went to Angela’s rounded tummy left no doubt that they couldn’t wait for their son to be born.

Betsy blinked the tears back, refusing to let them fall. She wouldn’t cry for what she couldn’t have. She finally started the engine but sat for several more minutes, staring at the house. It was one of a dozen small log cabin homes scattered about Wild Horse Ranch. They’d been built one by one as first homes for the newly wedded Gallagher couples. When the couple got on their feet and had enough money to buy their own land, they then moved to another section of the ever-growing ranch. She wanted a house like they had. She didn’t care if she never had a big spread of her own. She’d be content to work for her granny and live in a little log cabin the rest of her life if she could have a husband who loved her as much as Jody loved Angela.


  1. Love your books, Carolyn! Can't wait for this one.

  2. I love your cowboy romances! I think I may have mentioned that before...Hee hee. This looks like the perfect one for me to download and save until the holiday season when it's just what I want!