Today we have Donna Alice Patton’s historical Christmas book, Christmas Interrupted, up on the Holidays Reads promo. I started reading this book last year (and enjoying it) when I downloaded a sample for my Kindle. The title has been sitting on my ever-growing Christmas-to-read pile. Imagine my surprise when Donna answered my call for Christmas books for the Holiday Reads series. I hope you like the excerpt as much as I’m enjoying her book right now.
Snowbound in the Rockies for Christmas – will James Montfort and his daughter survive? Maybe – with a little help from their “friends.”
Still Christmas Eve –Almost Dusk
The cold penetrated everything. By mutual consent, James and Mrs. Donahue squeezed together on one seat with Rebecca snug between them. Piling up the buffalo robes, along with an afghan the woman pulled from a cavernous tan carpet- bag, they attempted to keep the little girl warm. A near impossible task as the temperature dropped and icy pellets stole in every crack and crevice of the stage. The ferocious gusts of wind shook the coach like a dog shaking a bone.
Even with a heavy woolen overcoat, warm gloves, and a fur cap, James shivered in the blasts of frigid wind that reached icy fingers past the edges of the window. He could only imagine the bitter wind buffeting the two men leading the horses. Frostbite would be a constant threat.
Next to Rebecca, Mrs. Donahue began to pray in a soothing murmur. The words rose and fell with a gentle rhythm swallowed up in the shrieking of the winds.
With an arm around Rebecca, James pulled her closer to his side, reassured at her warmth. His thoughts went in a thousand different directions, but kept coming back to the past few weeks. A smile curved his chapped, frozen lips as he relived the good memories. Skating with Rebecca, the afternoon they’d borrowed a sled from a little boy in a park and sailed down a hill. It had been so long since he’d used a sled, James ended up upending them in a snow bank. He could still hear Rebecca’s breathless giggles as he brushed snow from her face. He remembered her delight as she caught snowflakes on her tongue for the first time. The ridiculous red woolen bonnet with tassels she’d set her heart on in a shop window. So many me- me-memories . . .
“You doing all right, Mr. Montfort?” The woman broke off her prayer to ask. Her words jolted him out of a warm, drowsy stupor. “Don’t fall asleep now.”
“I won’t,” he answered as aware as his seat mate that falling asleep in such cold weather meant death. Perhaps they were headed for that inevitability, but not yet. The stage still moved forward in slow descent. “If you don’t hear me answer, you have my permission to hit me with something.”
Want to learn more about Donna’s work? Check her out here.