Shannon here: Anne Greene shares a romantic excerpt from her Historical Romance, A Williamsburg Christmas. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Three copies up for grabs. Deadline: Dec 1st, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Anne:
Excerpt: A Williamsburg Christmas by Anne Greene:
Holly Silver glanced around the art studio. “You said painting’s your part-time job. Is playing the French Horn your full-time job?”
“I’m a detective with the Williamsburg Police Department.” Trent dipped his brush in paint, his gaze concentrated on the canvas.
She almost fell off the posing couch. “What?”
“Yep. That old risk-taking gene needed an outlet. I discovered I wasn’t cut out for riding a desk. Disappointed my folks all the way around.”
“Detective. That sounds like you.” She squirmed on the couch. “Are you a good one?”
“No bragging there. Is your job dangerous?”
“I’ve got stories to tell.”
“While you paint my portrait, I’ve got time.”
“You asked for it. This is a funny one.” He pointed the brush at her. “I’ll tell you about the day Santa Claus robbed a bank.” Trent’s brown eyes twinkled. “First case I ran that I worked undercover.”
“You work in disguise? Heavens, so much I don’t know about you.” Trent had always thrived on danger.
He wiped his brush on a paint-stained cloth and cleared his throat. “My first case undercover I wore my new Resistol cowboy hat. I was assigned to this little town in Texas called Christmas. The police discovered Helms Hillman and his four-man gang planned to rob a bank in Christmas.”
Is there really a Christmas, Texas?”
“Texas is full of cutesy town names – Surprise, Cut and Shoot, Loco, Gun Barrel City, Ding Dong, Dime Box, Jot Em Down…”
“Okay. But how did Santa rob a bank at Christmas?”
“Our department discovered that Helms hid behind a plastic Santa mask because his mother worked at a diner in town, and he didn’t want to be recognized.”
“Good reason. Not many mothers want their babies to grow up to be bank robbers.”
“Or detectives. As I was saying, December twenty-third two years ago, the Hillman Gang rolled into Christmas about midday driving a stolen Buick.” Trent painted furiously as he talked. “Helms hid on the floorboard until his men parked the car in the alley behind the bank. A group of kids caught sight of him and followed Santa into the bank. The children kept asking for candy and presents.” Trent changed brushes and squinted at his work.
“Inside the busy bank all eyes turned to Santa. The banker smiled and said, ‘Hello, Santa Claus.’ Then he saw the drawn guns. He froze.”
Trent nodded, his gaze focused on his work. “One mother, standing at a teller’s window cashing a check, took one look at the guns and shoved her daughter all the way through the lobby, past the tellers, and scrammed out the back door. She grabbed her daughter by the hand, dashed to the police station, and raised the alarm.”
Holly clapped her hands. “Good for her.”
“Typical Texan.” Trent blended two colors of paint on his palette, then dabbed his brush into the paint mixture. “Inside the bank the Hillman gang held the bankers and the customers at gunpoint. The little kids watched wide-eyed while Santa ordered the bankers and tellers to fill some potato sacks with money.”
“Those poor children.”
“The rest of this story could only happen in Texas.” Trent lifted his brush from the canvas and flashed a grin, his mocha eyes twinkling. “As the gang headed toward the exit, Santa fired at a man peering from outside in through the front window. A hail of gunfire blasted in from the street. The police chief and half the town had converged on the bank. The owner of the local hardware store had emptied his shelves of guns and ammunition and passed the weapons out to the town folk. They all surrounded the bank.”
“Hooray for Texas!”
“Bullets rained on the robbers like a sudden hailstorm. The four robbers herded all the customers, including the ten or so kids, to the bookkeeping room in the back, returning fire as they went. Outside, townsfolk shot hundreds of bullets through the bank’s front windows.”
“It’s a miracle none of the bank customers were hurt.”
Trent nodded and waved his brush. “Santa and the robbers wrangled a hostage into the alley, and onto the Buick’s back seat. Two robbers piled into the stolen car. The hostage, a young college student, slid all the way across the back seat, leaped out of the getaway car, and raced for cover.”
Holly giggled. “Amazing.”
“Another robber shoved two crying middle-school girls into the back seat. Running to the car, Santa shot the police chief and his deputy. A shotgun blast hit the remaining Santa’s man, who collapsed into the Buick. The four robbers took off with the two girls as hostages. When they drove away, the postmaster shot out one of the rear tires. The car swerved all over the road.”
“Oh. Those poor girls.”
“About a minute later the car stopped in the middle of the road. The gang had failed to fill the Buick with gasoline.”
“You’re kidding!” Holly laughed.
“There’s more. Santa hopped out and waved down a passing car. The kid driving pulled his Oldsmobile over, cool as a cucumber jumped out, and sped to safety. Santa’s robbers transferred all the potato sacks of money, the sobbing girls, and the bleeding robber into the stolen Oldsmobile. Once they were all finally inside, Santa discovered the fourteen-year-old driver had fled from the car carrying the keys.”
Holly laughed so hard tears formed in her eyes. “A comedy of errors. Really funny.” She wiped her cheeks. “Smart kid. Dumb robbers.”
“With their car stranded, Santa and the uninjured robbers ran off and hid in the brush. We arrested the bleeding bank robber lying inside the car. The girls escaped to their mamas. We fine-combed the brush and the forest but couldn’t track down the gang.”
“So, they got away?”
“The story’s not over.” Trent leaned back on the stool, his eyes laughing. “We discovered later that Santa crept back into town, stole a Ford, and slipped out of the county.”
“Why is that funny?”
“Can you believe he wrecked the Ford?”
Holly shook her head. “Sounds like Santa didn’t know how to drive.”
“Maybe not. But wrecking the car didn’t stop him. He hijacked a Dodge. The driver’s father stood outside on the sidewalk feeding a parking meter and chased the fleeing car. Trying to stop Santa and get his car back, the driver’s father accidentally shot his son in the arm.”
“What happened to the son?”
“Santa kicked him out just before he ran the next red light.”
“What did you do?”
“After that fiasco we captured the robbers at a roadblock. So, we arrested Santa on Christmas Eve.”
Tears and laughter doubled Holly on the posing bench. “You’re making that story up, Trent. You always could tell a tall tale.”
“No. I swear. Those slapstick events happened. And the whole town did go after Santa.”
“I always loved your stories. Are you sure you’re not a writer in your spare time?”
“Nope. I tell stories. Love to make people laugh. But, yeah. I was in on that one. Sad to arrest Santa on Christmas Eve.” Trent stuck a brush crosswise into his mouth and spoke around it. “Those kids probably never will trust Santa again.”
“Oh, I have to tell the twins. They’ll love this one.”
“I was hoping you’d let me.”
“I’m not sure I’m ready for you to see the boys again, Trent.” The words popped out before Holly thought.
The laughter died in Trent’s eyes. His shoulders drooped.
About Anne: Anne lives in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, a few miles north of Dallas. Her husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. Her little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares her writing space, curled at her feet.
Besides her first love, writing, Anne enjoys family, friends, travel, reading, and way too many other things to mention. Life is good. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.”
Anne’s an award-winning author of twenty books. She loves writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. She hopes her stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart.
About the book – A Williamsburg Christmas:
Christmas 1955 – Trent jilted Holly. Should she give him a second chance? Has too much time elapsed and is too much fire quenched for this romance to rekindle?
Holly falls in love with the sights, sounds, and scents of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg during her first months living there. She’s a widowed mother raising 8-year-old twin boys by working as a waitress in a famous Colonial Williamsburg Inn.
Trent disappeared from Holly’s life ten years ago. Now he’s back and wants to marry her. Santa’s matchmakers complicate Holly’s decisions by bringing new men into her life. Will the competition prove too much for Trent?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now! A Williamsburg Christmas – Amazon
Question for Readers: 1955 is an iconic year in history. What do you think of when you think of the 1950s—the great music, the memorable clothes, the innocence of American—what?
Come back Nov 27th for Kathleen Fuller!