Authors: Leeanna Morgan
Tags: #contemporary romance
A MONTANA BRIDES CHRISTMAS NOVELLA
Copyright © 2015 Leeanna Morgan
Published by Rogan Press
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is co-incidental.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the US Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior permission of the author.
About This Book
Even Santa couldn't have imagined what’s in store for Gracie this Christmas...
After eighteen months of marriage, Gracie McKenzie loves her husband more than ever.
As Christmas approaches her life changes and it will never be the same again. Join Gracie, Trent, and Jordan as they discover the true meaning of Christmas.
If you enjoyed reading about Gracie and Trent in
you’ll enjoy this special novella that can be read all year round.
Each of the
stories can easily be read as a standalone.
If you would like to know when the next book in the series is published, please go to my website
and sign up to my newsletter. Thank you for your incredible support. Happy reading!
Other Contemporary Romances by
The Montana Brides Series
Book 2: Forever in Love
(Amy and Nathan)
Book 3: Forever After
(Nicky and Sam)
Book 4: Forever Wishes
(Erin and Jake)
Book 4.5 Forever Santa
(A Montana Brides Christmas Novella)
Book 5: Forever Cowboy
(Emily and Alex)
Book 6: Forever Together
(Kate and Dan)
Book 7: Forever and a Day
(Sarah and Jordan)
The Bridesmaids Club
Book 1: All of Me
(Tess and Logan)
Book 2: Loving You
(Annie and Dylan)
Book 3: Head Over Heels
(Sarah and Todd)
Book 4: Sweet on You
(Molly and Jacob)
“Did you see Santa?”
Gracie turned her head toward the table beside her. Jo-Jo Allen and Stella Lawton had their heads together, knee deep in a conversation that wasn’t meant for her. They didn’t realize she could hear every word they said and Gracie was too curious to tell them.
She blocked out the other noise in the shopping mall. Gracie didn’t care about the kids running around on sugar highs, or the music blasting out from the stores scattered around the food court. What she cared about was the conversation going on beside her.
Jo-Jo had never been one of her most favorite people. Before Gracie had married her husband, Jo-Jo had plastered her five-foot-eight body to Trent like a giant suckerfish and hadn’t let go.
Trent wriggled his way out of Jo-Jo’s clutches, but not before Gracie saw first-hand what a tease she could be. Knowing Jo-Jo had hormones for a brain made Gracie even more curious about what was going on.
Stella threw her hand in the air, waving it around like an overexcited teenager. “
The man’s got a serious case of bedroom eyes. Did you see the way they twinkled at Mary-Beth? The poor girl almost swooned.”
“And what about Doris?” Jo-Jo added. “I didn’t think seventy-six-year-olds were allowed to sit on Santa’s knee?”
Gracie didn’t need to be looking at Jo-Jo to see the pout on her face. Her voice said it all. She waited for the light bulb moment to go off in Jo-Jo’s head.
“If Doris can do it, so can we.” Jo-Jo’s coffee thumped against the table. The mad scramble for napkins to soak up the mess would have been funny, if you discounted the poor guy causing the hormonal disturbance.
“Jake’s on Santa’s elf security team. He’ll shoo us away.”
“It’s his wife that was sitting on Santa’s knee, for Pete’s sake. He was giving her preferential treatment.”
“Is that even allowed?” Stella hissed.
“If he won’t let us sit on Santa’s knee I’ll say Santa’s human rights have been violated.”
Gracie covered her mouth in case her giggle blew her cover. According to the gossip circulating around Bozeman, Jo-Jo had managed to violate lots of things. Santa would be the icing on the cake.
Two chairs scrapped against the cream floor tiles. “Let’s go, Stella. If we hurry we’ll get to the top of the line before everyone else finishes their lunch.”
Gracie glanced up as Jo-Jo bumped past her. She couldn’t hide the smile on her face when Jo-Jo scowled. She smiled even more when Stella grabbed Jo-Jo’s arm and strutted across the mall.
She looked at the giant clock suspended from the ceiling. The dark mahogany wood gleamed from behind a garland of green pine and red ribbon. Gracie had arranged to meet her mother-in-law in half an hour. That gave her more than enough time to watch Stella and Jo-Jo talk their way onto Santa’s lap.
Gracie walked across the food court, dodged the line of people waiting at McDonald’s and kept moving. She loved shopping for Christmas gifts, finding just the right presents for everyone. For most of her life she’d enjoyed the heat and blue skies of Christmas in New Zealand. But for the second year in a row she’d be knee deep in snow. Before she’d moved to Montana she’d never had a white Christmas, never tasted eggnog, and never been kissed under real mistletoe.
Christmas was special. More special because of the wonderful man she’d married and the family she’d found.
As she passed a holiday display, she thought about her mom. Christmas in New Zealand had been filled with lots of love and laughter. Each year they went to the biggest department store in Wellington and had their photo taken with Santa. After the photo they recharged their energy levels with hot chocolate and a slice of cake from the café. Then they’d go downstairs and buy two Christmas tree ornaments. Gracie always chose the biggest, sparkliest decoration she could find. Her mom preferred little stars. Between them their tree always looked amazing.
This was the third year her mom wouldn’t be with her. She pushed down the swell of grief that filled her heart and kept walking. She had a lot be be grateful for, a lot of people she cared about. But no matter how much she was loved, she’d miss her mom and the midnight wish they always made on her star.
Gracie took a deep breath and focused on what was in front of her. The mall designers had created a magical wonderland. Two enormous Christmas trees, decorated with red and blue baubles, stood either side of an over sized fireplace. Santa sat on a big green sofa, with an elf standing behind him. Everyone was looking at the camera, waiting for another photo to be taken. The little girl sitting beside Santa smiled. Her whole face lit up with the joy that only Christmas could bring.
Gracie looked down the line of kids and their moms waiting to see Santa. Jo-Jo and Stella were fidgeting in sixth place. Jo-Jo had her lipstick out, expertly applying a coat of pink gloss. Stella was fluffing her hair and rearranging her blue sweater to the best advantage.
As their chance to sit on Santa’s lap got closer, Gracie paid more attention to the man in red. There was something familiar about the way his eyes crinkled at the corners. He tilted his head, angled his body in a way she remembered someone else doing. When Santa glanced up and saw her, she knew who was playing Santa. And when he winked at her, she smiled back.
Jordan McKenzie was her brother-in-law. He’d be in his element when Stella and Jo-Jo arrived on stage. He had a kind heart, a generous spirit, and a wicked sense of humor. Even though he enjoyed the company of females, his heart had been firmly taken. He’d been dating Tracey for nearly two years and they were never far apart. He was happy, and about to be even happier if Jo-Jo and Stella got what they wanted.
The two Santa groupies were next in line. They smiled at one of the elf security officers, batted their enhanced eyelashes and made him blush like a beet. He must have said no to Stella’s lap sitting demand. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and looked about as stern as someone wearing an elf hat and bow tie could look.
Jo-Jo didn’t seem impressed with being told no. She wiggled her way to the edge of the stage and leaned toward Santa. From his two foot advantage, Jordan would have a lovely panoramic view of Jo-Jo’s cleavage. She casually flicked her long hair off her face and laughed at something Jordan said.
He sat back in his chair and patted his knee. Before the elf behind Jordan could blink, Jo-Jo and Stella had landed in Santa’s lap, posing for a photo you wouldn’t send to grandma.
They kissed Santa’s cheek, accepted the candy cane the stunned elf gave them, and sauntered off to wreck havoc with another unsuspecting male.
Jordan smiled as he watched them leave the stage. Then his smile disappeared.
Gracie followed where he was looking. She looked again, just to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. Jordan’s girlfriend was walking across the center of the mall holding another man’s hand. They stopped to look at a Christmas display, grinning at each other as if they were the only people in the mall. Gracie had a feeling she knew what was coming next and she wasn’t wrong.
They made the most of the mistletoe hanging above the display. Gracie glanced back at Jordan. She couldn’t see much of his face behind Santa’s big white beard and bushy eyebrows, but she saw enough to know he was shocked.
An elf tapped him on the shoulder and a little boy jumped on the sofa. Jordan looked at Gracie and the sadness in his eyes made her want to go and hug him. Jordan’s heart had just been broken and she couldn’t do a thing about it.
Gracie put her feet up on the sofa and sipped a mug of hot chocolate.