Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Wishes - Special Delivery by Mary Manners

Christmas Wishes - Special Delivery


Love comes full circle when a child’s Christmas wish arrives special delivery.


When attorney Riley Harper comes home to Maple Ridge following the death of his grandfather, the last thing he expects to find is Kaylee McKenna living in his grandparents’ guesthouse. Though they were once best friends—even more—Riley cannot find it in his heart to forgive Kaylee for the death of his mother ten years ago as a result of her father’s reckless actions. His heart, full of bitterness and resentment, has room for little else.

Kaylee has not time to dwell on events of the past—or all she’s lost; she’s too busy raising her six-year-old niece, Rosie, and working as an ER nurse. With Christmas quickly approaching, her days are spent helping with charity events and filling the wishes on Rosie’s Christmas list. But when Rosie’s father makes and unexpected visit, Kaylee must call on Riley’s legal expertise to ensure Rosie of a safe and secure future.

Will Rosie’s special Christmas wish heal Riley’s damaged heart and bind the trio together as a forever-family?


“I’m sorry.” Riley broke the ice, so to speak, with those two simple words. “This has gone on long enough, this—whatever you want to call it—disagreement, argument, debate. I take full responsibility. I was wrong. I hurt you.”
The heartfelt words shocked the chill from her. Warmth flooded, and Kaylee huffed out a long, ragged breath. “It’s OK.”
“No, it’s not.” He placed his hands on her shoulders, gave them a gentle squeeze. “It’s never OK to hurt someone you care about.”
“I don’t…” She shrugged from him, turned to clomp through the snow as a slow burn ignited in her belly. “Why now, Riley? After all this time, why now?”
“We’ve left this undone long enough.”
Kaylee picked up speed, putting distance between them. “On the contrary, it was done a long time ago.”
“I have things to say—things that need to be said. I’ve changed, Kaylee. I don’t know why or how. I just know I feel…” His boots crushed the snow as he came after her. His voice held an edge sharp as steel, pleading. “Don’t walk away, Kaylee. I want to work this out. We have to work this out.”
“There’s nothing to work out.” She spun back to face him, matching his heat spark for spark, ember for ember. “We’ve both changed, Riley. Time—events beyond our control—have changed us—altered what we once shared. It’s OK. I’ve come to terms with it.”
“Have you?”
“Yes. Change, however painful, is a part of life. I have Rosie to consider now. I don’t have time to be…all muddled.”
“Muddled? Is that what you’d call it?” He reached for her hand, drawing her close. His breath rushed out in puffs like the smoke of a coal engine as he dipped his head, blocking the glare of the sun. In an instant, his lips claimed hers. One moment, two, seemed like eons as the ground shifted beneath Kaylee’s feet. Her heart jolted as a shockwave shuddered through her. Powerless, she leaned into him, let go of the thin fiber of resolve that had bound her for so long.
“How’s that for muddled?” Riley’s husky voice broke the spell.
“What have you done?” Kaylee gasped as Riley loosened his grasp and stepped back. Her eyes flew open and his gaze, dark and dangerous with need, speared her. “That’s…not fair, Riley. None of this is fair.” She pressed a gloved finger to her lips. The warmth of his touch, the shock of raw emotion, left her reeling. Her breath rolled out in small, white puffs as the chill rushed in once again—a slap of cold, harsh reality. “You can’t just march back into my life, say the things you said yesterday—the things you’re saying now—and then do that.”
“I believe I just did.” He stroked the length of her hair, his fingers full of the tenderness she’d once taken for granted. “I care about you, Kaylee. I do. I’m just not sure what to do with this feeling—so powerful. I’ve never felt anything like it before you—or since. I thought going away would change things, but coming here again, seeing you, has made me realize it’s only grown stronger.”
Kaylee stood there, her heart fluttering like the wings of a hummingbird. She thought, for a moment, that the raw depth of his words might short-circuit her breathing, quite possibly bring on a heart-attack.
 “You don’t mean that, Riley. Maybe you feel something now, or maybe you just think you feel something. But when the courtroom calls—when the next high-profile case hits the headlines—you’ll feel the wanderlust, and, just like that”—She yanked off her glove, snapped her fingers to drive the point home—“you’ll be gone again.”
“You think so?” His gaze lingered a moment while he smoothed a strand of hair from her cheek, let the callused pad of his thumb slide along the length of her jaw to sear her skin. “Well, I suppose we’ll see.” He dropped his hand and turned away. 

Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus.
Mary’s debut novel, Mended Heart, was nominated Best Inspirational Romance and was finalist for the Bookseller’s Best Award and her follow-up, Tender Mercies, was awarded an outstanding 4 ½ star rating from The Romantic Times Book Reviews and was also a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Buried Treasures, her third novel, was named Book of the Year by The Wordsmith Journal. Light the Fire took top honors for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award while Wisdom Tree garnered National Excellence in Romance Fiction. Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website: and at her author pages at and

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I pray that you find "a little something extra" in each of your days.


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