Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Family for Christmas by Mona Ingram Excerpt

A Family for Christmas by Mona Ingram
$3.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Unlucky in love, Maddie LaRocque moves to Calgary at the urging of her college roommate.  Maddie’s luck goes from bad to worse when she’s laid off from her job two months before Christmas. Undeterred, she sets up a gift wrapping business in the lobby of the Drummond Building in downtown Calgary where she meets Annie, a ten-year-old who has recently lost her parents.
  When Maddie falls into the arms of the building’s maintenance man it looks as though her luck is changing, but she soon learns that Brent isn’t who she thought he was.
   Maddie’s roommate Lily hasn’t fared too well in the romance department either, having been used for her beauty and Asian heritage by a man in Calgary.
  The moment Chase Drummond spots Lily, he’s stunned by her beauty, but Lily resists his advances, unwilling to have her heart broken by the most eligible bachelor in town.
   Will a young orphan girl be able to convince the two women that love is the best gift of all this Christmas?


It’s two months before Christmas. Maddie has just been laid off, and is leaving the building in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

A soft ping alerted her to the arrival of the elevator. The doors opened to reveal two men inside. They glanced at her and stepped aside, but continued their conversation.
“...Christmas decorations in the stores and Halloween isn’t even over yet.” The shorter of the two men was speaking.
“Tell me about it.” The tall one nodded. “And I have a ten-year-old to buy for.” He sounded genuinely worried. “I have no idea what to get her.”
“Why don’t you ask her?” The words popped out of Maddie’s mouth. When would she learn to keep her thoughts to herself?
He turned slowly. “I’m sorry, did you say something?” There was a touch of frost in his voice, but he was looking at her as though she might be his saviour.
She didn’t have anything to lose. She braced herself and looked up into eyes that were green, flecked with gold. “I said why don’t you ask her?”
He seemed to consider her words for a moment, and then gave his head a quick shake. “She’s only ten.”
Maddie didn’t like the way he dismissed her. “Haven’t you heard? Ten is the new thirty.”
The elevator came to a stop in the lobby. The man stepped back with a courtly gesture, allowed her to exit first, then caught up to her in a few strides. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to be rude.” He gestured helplessly with his hands. It seemed out of place coming from him; he gave the appearance of being in control of everything in his life. “You see... I just...” He sucked in a lungful of air. “It’s my niece’s first year without her parents, and I’m not very experienced at this.”
The man who’d been in the elevator with him was waiting a few steps away. Green Eyes looked up. “See you tomorrow, Bruce.” The man gave a quick nod and walked away.
Maddie watched him make his way through the revolving door. “I’m so glad the new owners of the building kept that revolving door in place. It adds to the charm of the lobby, don’t you think?”
He gave her an odd look, then got back on topic. “Do you think that’s a good idea, asking a ten-year-old girl what she wants? Seriously?”
Maddie thought back to all of the gifts she’d received when she was a child. She’d been grateful to receive them, but they were rarely what she wanted. Judy Blume books when she’d rather have had RL Stine, tartan kilts when she’d rather have a cool pair of jeans. She felt guilty for thinking of it now, but if she could save one little girl from a similar fate, then she’d have accomplished something.
“Yes,” she said, noticing the way his dark brown hair curled just above his collar. “I’d be willing to bet that she knows exactly what she wants.”
He absorbed her words then nodded slowly. “All right, I’ll do that.” He smiled, and his demeanor changed radically. He really was quite handsome when he smiled. “Thanks for the help.” He waited for her to start walking and strode along beside her. “So you like the revolving doors, do you?”
She smiled up at him. “I do. They’re not something you see in new buildings.” They passed the concierge desk and she waved at David. “Goodbye, David. See you later.” She wasn’t about to discuss her recently unemployed status in front of the tall man at her side.
Green Eyes allowed her to enter the revolving door first, then started it moving with a push of his hand. For some reason she always took baby steps when walking through the door and she was slightly off balance when she popped out onto the sidewalk, but managed to recover.
“That sun is deceiving,” she said, pulling her coat closed at the throat. “It’s cold out here.”
He was wearing a beautifully cut short overcoat with a soft tartan scarf draped around his neck. She wondered idly if his wife helped him pick out his clothes. If so, she had excellent taste.
“Well,” he said, extending his hand, “I have a meeting, but thanks for the advice.”
“You’re welcome.” She took his hand. “Good luck with your shopping.”
He released her hand, turned away and then turned back. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”
“Maddie.” She smiled. “Maddie LaRocque.”
“Pleased to meet you, Maddie. I’m Chase Drummond.” He flipped up the collar of his overcoat. “Have a good evening.”
She stared after him for several long moments. Chase Drummond. She backed up a few steps and looked up at the massive piece of granite over the entrance. Drummond Building. And she’d told him she approved of the door! She almost laughed aloud. What other surprises did today have in store for her? She wasn’t sure she wanted to find out.

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