New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble returns to Newport with this lovely Christmas tale featuring all the characters you fell in love with in BREAKWATER BAY.
It’s Christmas in Newport. The mansions are decorated and the streets are filled with excitement. Across the bay, preparations are in full swing for the wedding of Meri Hollis and Alden Corrigan. A year ago, Meri never imagined that she would marry her best friend, Alden, or become step mother to his two teenaged children, Nora and Lucas.
But as the wedding day draws near, tension and emotions run high and Meri’s happiness turns to uncertainty. Nora is suddenly acting sullen and withdrawn, Alden is preoccupied, and Meri wonders if marrying Alden will bring the family closer together or tear them apart.
It seems like this wedding might be doomed before it begins until a special Christmas surprise brings home the meaning of family and the joy of the holidays.
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“That was weird,” Meri said, turning another inch and trying to catch a glimpse of Nora out the window. “Do you think she’s getting sick or something?”
“Meri, hold still.” Edie Linscott sat back on her heels and looked up from where she was kneeling on the floor. Edie was the best seamstress for miles and a friend of Gran’s, though twenty years younger—at least twenty. Because though Gran always said she was seventy something, no one had ever been able to find a birth certificate.
They didn’t have birth certificates back then, or so Gran said. Not when you were born on a farm anyway. Of course the subject of birth certificates was a volatile subject at Calder Farm. Something that was never talked about.
“Gran, can you see if Nora got home okay? She sounded strange. I hope she’s not getting sick.”
Edie sat back on her heels. “Teenagers are always chasing moods. Highs and lows. When my two were growing up, there were tears, and laughter, slamming doors, and the silent treatment, following so fast on the heels of another, sometimes I just had to go sit out in my car ’til things calmed down.”
“I expect she just wants to see Alden,” Gran said. “With all the preparations and excitement, and with Corrigan house turned up side down with decorating, she may be feeling a little unsettled.”
“That’s not good,” Meri said.
“But perfectly normal,” Edie said. “Turn.”
Meri turned another inch.
“We’ll have a nice quiet supper tonight, which reminds me, I’d better get the chicken in the oven.” Gran pushed out of her chair. She was still spry and active despite her white hair and sensible shoes.
“Turn,” Edie said. “I wouldn’t worry about it. I saw Cora Miller at the market last week. She said she’d hired on as housekeeper over there.”
Meri nodded. “We had to have someone. Between Alden working at home, and not the most aware housekeeper on earth.”
Edie cracked a laugh.
“And me working in Newport. We needed help.”
“Well, you’ll love Cora. She was housekeeper at the Eddlestons until they closed the B and B and moved to Florida. Craziness. But Bess’s arthritis was getting to be too much. They wanted her to go with them, but Cora has family here. I thought she might retire. She living in?”
“Part time to start. I think she didn’t want to give up her house or rent it out. So we’re starting with a flexible schedule. Mainly we just need someone to organize the household, do some meals and be able to stay over when Alden and I are both gone.”
“Which might be often with you two working in different towns and wanting to spend some alone time.”
“Alden offered to move us into a house in Newport but neither of us really wanted to leave Corrigan House or Gran. But the commute can get long day after day. So we decided to keep my apartment in Newport for workdays and stay put here.”
“Ah these new marriages. You just make sure you pay enough attention to him so he don’t go roaming like so many of today’s men do.” Edie shook her head. “Turn.”
Meri turned. The only trouble with Edie is that she had opinions about everything and always on the pessimistic side, except when it came to sewing.
Gran appeared in the doorway. She’d put on an old white apron with cross-stitched apples along the hem over her twin set and skirt. “Edie Linscott. Next thing you’ll tell her is not to let herself go.”
“Well, it’s true enough.”
“May be, but it makes you sound like an old lady. Meri and Alden know what’s what.” She pursed her lips. “Finally.”
Finally, thought Meri. She’d loved Alden her whole life. It just had taken a while for her to realize that their love had grown beyond friendship into something quite different. And quite wonderful. She sighed.
“Is that a happy sigh or a had enough sigh.”
“Both,” Meri said. “How much longer?”
“Five minutes. Therese, if your chicken is in the oven come out here and be my second pair of eyes.”
Gran carried her spoon into the living room and sat down. “Looks great. You can’t even tell where you had to let the hem out.”
“Good. I hate when things look altered.”
“Which makes you so good at what you do.”
“Yes,” Meri said. “Thank you so much. I know it was a lot of work, but I really wanted to wear mom’s dress.” She swallowed the lump in her throat. How could she be so happy and yet so sad at the same time?
About the Author
Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer. She most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.
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