Christmas in Granite Falls – Book 1 in the Granite Falls Series
Christmas In Granite Falls (Heartwarming, Sweet, Small-Town Romance)
A grieving widow moves to a small town to rebuild her life and discovers a kindred spirit in one of her kindergarten students who’d lost her mother. They could help each other heal if the child’s uncle didn’t fight them at every turn. Can the spirit of Christmas help a grieving heart find joy in the season?
After her husband dies in a brutal attack, Abby Giles can no longer face the busy streets outside her townhouse. When her sister offers her a new job teaching kindergarten, she takes it determined to make a fresh start in the small North Carolina Mountain town.
Abby loves her new home and her new job, and her students. One, in particular, is dealing with the loss of a loved one, and though Abby wants to help her. She clashes with the girl’s uncle at every turn. He doesn’t appreciate her help nor does he believe Grace is ready to face her mother’s death. None of them were.
Yet, he finds himself drawn to the pretty teacher who might teach him a thing or two the true meaning of healing and the spirit of Christmas.
Excerpt from Christmas in Granite Falls-
Clay took several deep breaths as he drove out of the school parking lot, clutching the steering wheel way too tightly. He had to get past this. Grace was chattering nonstop about getting a puppy as if nothing had just happened. As if there wasn’t a dark cloud of anger and self-doubt filling the truck.
Obviously, he’d made a mistake. A big one. He hadn’t needed to see the shocked disapproval on Abby’s face when he left to know that. Instead of Grace thinking about her behavior, and how throwing her crayons across the room and yelling at another student was not okay, she was excited about getting a dog. A dog he hadn’t even had the chance to ask Matt about.
He ran a hand down his face. He was way out of this element here. Watching her through the rearview mirror, he tried to bring up her outburst again. Grace kicked her legs out straight from her car seat, her forehead creasing as anger entered her eyes. “I got mad, okay?”
“No. Not okay. You cannot throw things. You have to learn to control your temper.”
“I can’t. I hate it there.”
Since when? This wasn’t going well. “I thought you loved school.”
“I hate school. I’m not going anymore.” She crossed her arms.
He lowered his voice. “You have to go to school. It’s the law. All little children must go to school and learn how not to throw their crayons when they get mad.”
“Then make my mommy come home. After she comes home, I won’t get mad anymore.”
Clay cringed. Maybe letting Grace continue to act like her mother would come home someday until she was ready to face her death wasn’t such a good idea. He pulled into the Walmart parking lot and parked the truck then got into the backseat and faced her.
“Honey, you know your mom would come home if she could, but she can’t. She died. She can’t come back.”
Tears filled her eyes and ran down her cheeks. She didn’t say anything, just continued to cry silently, kicking her legs out in front of her over and over.
I’m so sorry, baby. Tears filled his own eyes. She shouldn’t have to go through this. None of them should. Maybe it was time he got her a therapist. Got them all a therapist. He got out of the truck and gave them both a minute while he retrieved a cart.
She walked silently beside the cart as he pushed it down the aisles, then stopped in front of a big bin of school supplies and picked up a new box of crayons.
“Can I have these?”
“To replace the crayons you threw across the classroom at school today?”
She stared down at the box, her mouth forming that small pout he was seeing way too much of lately. “No. For me.”
“Don’t you have a box just like that at home?”
“Yes. But these are brand new. Mine are all broken.”
“If you didn’t throw them across the room, they wouldn’t break.”
She looked up at him expectantly, her big brown eyes melting his heart. “We need to talk about your behavior, Grace.”
She gave a large audible sigh.
Seriously? “Grace, that kind of behavior is unacceptable.”
“Now you sound like Miss Nancy. I like Miss Abby much better.”
“When we get home we are going to have a serious discussion with Uncle Matt about your actions at school, and whether or not you are old enough and mature enough to take care of a puppy.”
“I am old enough,” she yelled. Anger narrowed her eyes.
“But are you mature enough?”
“I’m mattore enough,” she said, mispronouncing the word.
“Do you even know what that means?”
She stuck out her lower lip. “You’re mean.”
“It means that you are able to hold your temper. What happens if the puppy does something you don’t like? Are you going to throw him across the room?”
She looked appalled at the idea. “No.”
“It would hurt him.”
“Yes. And throwing the crayons and yelling causes hurt too.”
She looked at him, confusion filling her eyes. She glanced at the box in her hands. “Crayons can’t feel, silly.”
“Maybe not. But all those children in the room can. They felt your anger.”
Tears filled her eyes. “I’m sorry, Uncle Clay.”
“Come here.” He opened his arms and she walked into them. He held her so tight, she started to pound on his chest.
“Uncle Clay, I can’t breathe.”
He laughed. “Sorry, bug.”
“I’m not a bug.”
“You’re my bug. A cute little ladybug.”
She rolled her eyes. “I never should have dressed up as a bug for Halloween.”
He tweaked her nose. “Lessons learned early.”
“Can I buy these for Miss Abby?” She held up the crayons.
“Yes. As long as you give them to her with an apology.”
She smiled and dropped them in the basket.
“So, Miss Abby…” he asked, thinking of the pretty teacher who would probably never talk to him again and who was already consuming too many of his thoughts.
“I like her,” she said while examining a box of brightly colored markers.
“You do?” That wasn’t what he expected.
“Yes, I think she’s pretty. Don’t you?”
Very. “Yes, but…”
She dropped the markers, then turned around and skipped down the aisle.