One of our neighbors already has Christmas lights up, and even though I watch holiday movies year round, it's a bit early for me to start decorating. That is a tradition saved for the day after Thanksgiving. However, I am all for enjoying an early "taste" of the Christmas season.
Christmas is a time when anything can happen, or so my characters always believe. It is a time of hope, love, and miracles. A Home for Christmas includes three stories about realistic men, women, and children who help others, who seek to find the good in the darkness, and who strive to make every day count. From Montana to Wyoming to Colorado, I hope these tales will warm your heart as much as they do mine.
Did you know: American-style muffins are 'quick breads' made in individual molds. Quick breads were not developed until the end of the 18th century. English-style muffins made with yeast and cooked on a griddle date back to the tenth or eleventh century in Wales. (foodreference.com)
Enjoy an Excerpt from "Teton Christmas" in
A Home for Christmas
“Your aunt hasn’t told you anything about living out here, has she?”
McKensie shrugged. “A great many things, but no, she did not speak of cowboys waiting in the shadows to accost me when I least expect. I may not be from around here, sir, but I promise that I am not a fool with flights of fancy. Dangers lurk in the shadows in Asheville as much as they do here. I simply choose not to dwell on them.” She nodded toward the telegraph office. “I had set myself a task, and if you are still worried about my safety, I invite you to join me.”
“How do you know I’m not one of those dangerous shadows, Miss Stewart?”
McKensie leaned toward him, grinned, and whispered, “Because, Mr. Cutter, my aunt speaks quite highly of you.” She left him to wonder over that and walked into the telegraph office. He didn’t follow her inside, but she watched through the window where he stood, waiting by the door like a determined sentinel at his post. When she stepped back outside, McKensie tucked her scarf underneath her chin to ward off the frigid wind that had sneaked up during the brief time she was inside.
“If you don’t mind, Mr. Cutter, I do believe I’d prefer the warmth of the hotel right about now.”
He smiled and held out his arm, which she gladly accepted as they navigated the icy and snowy road back to the hotel. “You knew who I was the entire time?”
McKensie shook her head. “Not until that wretched man called you Cutter. My aunt described you well in her letters, though I must say I did not expect someone so . . .”
He opened the door to the hotel dining room and waited for her to pass him. “So what?”
“Tall.” She didn’t bother to hide her amusement. “Won’t you join us?” McKensie walked toward the table where her aunt and sister sat, and she noticed with delight that the food had arrived. “Aunt Caitlyn, look who found me outside.”
Caitlyn stood and reached for Brandon’s hands “I wasn’t expecting to see you until tomorrow.”
“Unexpected business brought me into town a day early.”
“Then we are the ones who shall benefit.” Caitlyn indicated the two empty chairs. “Please, join us.”
“Thank you, but I must be on my way. I’ll return in a few hours for the tree hunt.” Brandon smiled as he tipped his hat to the women.
McKensie settled back into her seat. “Tree hunt?”
Caitlyn nodded. “Brandon searches for and cuts down the big tree for this room, and now that you’re both here, why don’t you two join him and Deke on the hunt?”
Madison scrunched her nose. “In the forest?”
Caitlyn’s gay laughter filled the air. “Where else do you suppose we’d find a Christmas tree around here?”
Two bright pairs of eyes settled on McKensie. She merely shrugged and sipped from the glass of hot cider the waitress set down in front of her. “It will be an adventure, Maddy. Do say you’ll come.”
Madison shook her head. “You’ve given me enough adventure for one holiday, and it’s only beginning. I’d just as soon decorate on the inside of the hotel.”
McKensie spread jam over her warm biscuit and glanced across the table at her sister and then turned her attention to their aunt. “What exactly does one wear when Christmas tree hunting?”
Excerpt from "Teton Christmas" in A Home for Christmas copyright © MK McClintock
I hope you make time every now and then to escape into a good book and relax with a pot of tea, or your beverage of choice, and a tasty treat.
The Beverage: Hot Cocoa with cinnamon, snowflake marshmallows, and a candy cane
The Treat: Cranberry-Orange Pecan Muffins (scroll down for recipe)
The Book: A Home for Christmas
Cranberry-Orange Pecan Muffins
These muffins are a nice treat for breakfast, lunch, or as dessert. We especially enjoy them as an afternoon delight with a cup or tea or hot cocoa. They pair well with herbal teas that have a touch of spice.