Shannon here: Darlene Franklin shares an excerpt from her latest Historical Romance, The Christmas Candle Caper. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for an e-copy plus a print copy of Old West Christmas. Deadline: Sept 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Darlene:
My hero and heroine had actually met before the following scene. They knew each other, but not well. She was too shy and retiring to encourage courtship, even after the burden of caring for her dying parents was lifted from her shoulders. That all changed on the day her best friend accused her of stealing candles. . .
Excerpt from The Christmas Candle Caper by Darlene Franklin:
Peace settled in her spirit, she worked on fixing herself breakfast. Before her coffee came to a boil, someone knocked at the door—Holmes Wendell.
Something told her that his arrival at this time of day couldn’t mean good news, no matter how broad his smile. “May I come in, Miss Carlisle?”
She frowned. “Although I’d welcome your company, it’s not my custom to entertain gentlemen callers at this time of day. Perhaps I can meet you later, at your office?”
The coffee began to bubble. “Pardon me.” While she was at the stove, the door closed. Her chin went up. Had she misjudged the man?
He walked straight into her kitchen. “Put down the coffee,” Holmes advised. “I can’t wait. I’m afraid I bear bad news, and I’m under orders to speak with you before eight this morning.”
This sounded serious. She set the pot on a potholder and removed the frying pan from the stove. The biscuits would brown nicely in the sizzling butter.
“What is it?” She forced the words out of a dry throat.
When he didn’t respond immediately, she wondered if the same dryness had affected him as well, as if something in the air had rendered them both speechless.
When at last he spoke, anguish lashed his eyes and voice. “I’ve spent the night seeking a way to break the news. There’s no easy way to say it.”
Repeating words she’d heard her mother say, Bobina said, “Plain truth is best plainly spoken. There’s no need to dress it up.”
“To the point.” His voice held no mirth. “Plain truth: The sheriff has a warrant to arrest you. I offered to bring you in myself—that is, if you are willing for me to represent you.”
Bobina’s thoughts stumbled at the word “arrest” and Holmes’ offer took a moment to register. This can’t be! Here she’d been worried about a few broken candles. The same steel core that kept her going after her parents’ deaths rose to the surface, keeping her from disintegrating.
“You’d better tell me what’s going on.” That was better. “And take a seat. This may take awhile.” Propriety had flown out the window as soon as he had mentioned arrest.
“Thank you.” He took the seat and laid his black cowboy hat on the table. “The Byrds swore out an affidavit, saying you had stolen the candles.”
Bobina flew to her feet, ready to shout her innocence to the rafters. Holmes put a finger to his lips. “Before you say a word, I must know: do you agree that I may represent you? That way, they can’t force me to repeat anything we talk about.”
The air of unreality vanished. “Yes, of course.” This was hardly how she wanted to get to know the man.
“We can speak here. Or if you are worried about propriety, my landlady would be happy to provide a private location that she could supervise.”
Bobina started to protest. What did her reputation matter if she was about to be arrested? Then she thought better of it. “That sounds like a good idea.” She hesitated. “Do you want me to bring the candles in question?”
Holmes’ tongue appeared to roll around his cheek while he pondered her question. “Do you wish to return them to the Byrds? That would make a good faith gesture.”
Dismay filled her. “Why should I? I didn’t take them.”
He stopped her speech. “Bring them with you. We can decide what to do as we talk about your case.”
Bobina was glad she’d had a chance to examine the damage before Holmes had shown up at her door. He reached her coat before she did and held it over her shoulders as she slipped her arms in. “Let me hold your arm. A bit of snow blew in last night, and it’s icy out there.”
Under any other circumstances, it would feel right comfy to have Holmes paying such careful attention to her.
Only Bobina’s faith kept her from accusing God of having a poor sense of humor
About Darlene: Best-selling Amazon and ECPA author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she continues to write from a nursing home. She keeps going because God keeps giving her more assignments. She’s written more than fifty-five fiction and nonfiction book. Learn more and connect:
About the book – The Christmas Candle Caper: Bobina, the town spinster, and Holmes, the new lawyer in town, are perfect for each other. The storekeeper can see it. Why don’t they?
Bobina’s best friend intervenes by having her arrested—and getting Holmes to represent her in court. When the budding romance falters, the town gets swept in the Christmas Candle Caper to steer Bobina and Holmes back on course to true love.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Check out Darlene’s books & get your copy now! Darlene Franklin – Amazon
Question for Readers: What is your favorite candle or wax warmer scent?
Come back Sept 11th for a very special post from Brenda S. Anderson!