Suddenly let go from her news anchor position, Aria Roberts heads north to stay at her late Great-Aunt Clara’s house. She has many good memories there and wishes to give Clara’s Christmas Shoppe, which is located on the first floor of the Victorian mansion, one final holiday season. When Aria arrives, she finds the special gift Clara left for her—an antique nutcracker with a poem hidden under the back lever. Aria reads the poem out loud. At sundown that night, those words magically bring the nutcracker to life.
Kort fought the urge to fill the silence with small talk. Instead, he listened to the crunch of their boots as they strode across portions of sidewalk still covered in ice and snow. He’d dumped a lot of information on her tonight, and she needed time to sort it out.
“You’re very quiet,” she said while alongside him. “Must be exhausting reliving the past.”
He stuffed his hand into the pockets of his jacket. “I try not to any more than necessary.”
Aria rubbed a hand on his upper arm. “You must have a lot of good memories of your family.”
A searing ache temporarily stole his breath. “I remember events, like watching snippets of my life on a static filled TV. But the faces of my family have faded from my memory. Knowing I’ve lost them forever is the most difficult.”
She halted, taking hold of his arm. Her gaze skimmed over his face, in search of what? Sincerity? Truth? A shared longing for a purpose?
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I know words won’t heal your wounds, but please know I’ll do everything in my power to help you.”
Tears burned his eyes, and he fought for control over his emotions. Traveling back in time to return to his children wasn’t an option. He’d carried the weight of that reality for centuries. If Aria could offer a brief respite from his struggles, then he’d happily accept. Even if their time together would come to an end in twenty-two days.
Excerpted from A Nutcracker Christmas by Laurie Winter, Copyright © 2021 by Laurie Winter. Published by Champagne Book Group.
About the Author
Multi-award winning author Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running with her dog, Shadow. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she’s likely fueling up on wine, cheese curds, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
One winner will receive a print copy of A NUTCRACKER CHRISTMAS or ONCE UPON A PRINCE by Laurie Winter, $25 Amazon gift card, and a nutcracker Christmas ornament (US only)
Ends December 8, 2021