Christmas Spirits by Lita Harris

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Christmas Spirits

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Lita Harris

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A widow’s everlasting love is renewed by the memories of the holiday season.

 

Excerpt Christmas Spirits:

Chapter One

“What’s this, Grams?”

Emily Chadwick watched Olivia’s tiny feet shuffle across the kitchen floor as she approached with a small globe nestled in her hands. She stood back from the stove and brushed a lock of frizzy bang away from her eyes. The beef stew was nearly ready as meat, carrots, onions, and potatoes simmered, a perfect winter meal. She flicked the back of her hand and Olivia stepped away from the stove.

“What do you have there?” She pulled out a hand-carved chair from the kitchen table—always meaning to replace them with something lighter and modern—but she couldn’t bring herself to rid the house of any furniture Michael had made. She stretched out her arm as her granddaughter placed the piece of glass into her withered hands.

“Huh.” Emily caught her breath. “Where did you find this?”

“In the attic. I was looking for Cleo. She ran up there when I opened the door to let some cool air into the hallway upstairs.”

The heat was difficult to control in the house, built in 1850, and the attic door proved more efficient at controlling the heat than a thermostat.

Emily held the ornament to the light. Snow filled the globe as she twirled it between her fingers. “Your grandfather made this when we first met.”

“It’s pretty.” Olivia squinted her eyes. “Is that you and Grandpa on the lake?”

Emily nodded. “Yes it is. He was a stickler for detail. He didn’t make much blown glass so this is very special. He focused mainly on furniture.” She fought back a frown as she glanced at the silent guitar in the corner next to a chair by the kitchen fireplace.

Olivia stood back, away from the table, and clasped her hands behind her back. “I’m not touching it ever!”

“You’ll have to at some point because it’ll be yours.” She laughed.

“Nope, give it to Mom.”

Emily knew her granddaughter couldn’t appreciate the sentimental value the ornament possessed, but she could tell Olivia knew it would be a bad thing if the ornament broke.

“You look sad, Grams.”

She walked over to the sink and opened the window. Dust flitted through the room as the cool outside air merged with the heat from the kitchen fireplace. It was a constant battle to create a comfortable temperature in the old house. “Sit down, dear.”

She strolled over to the kitchen table and pushed a plate of fudge walnut brownies toward her granddaughter. Olivia poured them each a glass of milk. Emily wrinkled her nose in silent protest but couldn’t refuse the gesture. It was good for her, no matter how much she hated the taste and smell of milk.

Emily watched Olivia scoff down a brownie quicker than she could say the word. She enjoyed the time spent alone with her granddaughter. Soon, the day would come when Olivia wouldn’t want to spend time at her grandmother’s house to help bake Christmas cookies. Emily had seen it happen with her own daughter and she doubted that Olivia would be any different.

It had been years since she’d made a holiday dinner but every year she insisted on baking. It helped to keep her mind busy and not miss Michael so much.

“I wish you could have known your grandfather.” She turned the ornament to catch the light. Fake snow swirled about the skaters on the lake.

“Mom talks about Grandpa a lot. I know she misses him.” Olivia snatched another brownie.

Emily smiled. “I bet she does. All she ever had to do was ask for something and he jumped to help her.” She picked up a brownie and nibbled the edge of the crusty confection. “That was his way. Always eager to help someone.” And that’s how he died. She closed her eyes and remembered that day.

Michael just had to go out into the blizzard and pull his buddy out of a ditch. But that’s how he was. No one anticipated the cable line snapping and knocking him down the hill into a cluster of trees.

She couldn’t be mad even though she missed him. He was doing what had made her fall in love with him, being generous, kind, and giving. She pushed the memory aside and sighed a deep breath of relief.

“I would have liked to meet him.” Olivia took another brownie from the plate and shoved it into her mouth. “Tell me about him.”

Emily swept her hand through the air, then pointed about the room. “Your grandfather bought this house for me and restored it himself right after we got married. He made nearly every piece of wood furniture that fills the rooms of this old place.”

Emily picked up the ornament and cupped it in her hands. “But it was what he did before our wedding day that took my breath away and stole my heart forever.” Tears filled her eyes.

“What was that, Grams?” Olivia knelt on the kitchen chair and her ten-year-old face glowed with excitement.

“Well, it all started in the late ’60s…”

About Lita Harris:

Lita Harris spends her time between New Jersey and the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania, where she writes most of her books. She also lived in Alaska for a short time just for fun. An avid crafter, unused supplies clutter her basement and attempts at making pottery, jewelry, and stained glass are proudly displayed in her house, usually behind a picture or holding a door open. She also makes candles and homemade soap. With enough books to stock a small library she may need to construct a building to store her literary obsessions.

 

She writes in multiple genres, including women’s fiction, contemporary romance, paranormal, and cozy mysteries. For more information about Lita, please visit her website at www.LitaHarris.com or at twitter.com/litaharris and facebook.com/litaharrisauthor

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