Spotlight: Noella’s Gift

Posted on December 10, 2010

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This week’s backlist spotlight is my Christmas themed novella Noella’s Gift.

This fun little story is a super short read and it’s perfect for the holidays.

A disillusioned cop, and a bitter woman. Can a little girl take the Bah humbug out of their holiday?

Holly Harper has hated Christmas for years. The season full of commercialism has left her feeling cold and bitter. When she finds a little girl freezing and alone she feels warmth spark in her heart. She’s determined to keep the child until Christmas is over.

Jaxon Cole is a police detective whose Christmas spirit left a long time ago. He knows the season brings an increase in drunk driving accidents and suicides. But when a dark haired woman shows up in his office with a little waif in tow he sees that there is some good in the holiday.

Will they find joy in the season or will their hearts be as cold as the winter winds?

Excerpt:
“Look!” he heard Noella shout.
Both he and Holly went to see what was wrong. The snow was falling heavier and piling up quick. He heard Holly groan but when he peered down at the little girl he swore she had a small grin on her lips.
Holly had moved over to the window staring out, her shoulders sagging. She turned to face him. “I guess you leaving is out of the question.” There was a pleading note to her voice.
He shook his head slowly. “I’m sorry to disappoint you but even I’m not that experienced a driver.”
He was sure she muttered crap beneath her breath but as she left the room and headed back to the kitchen he once more looked down on Noella who was now smiling brightly. He shook his head and followed behind Holly. “I’m sorry. I can’t call for a cab because they wouldn’t send one out. Besides the phone lines seem to be down.”
She nodded, still not looking at him.
“You don’t like me, do you?”
She didn’t say anything for a minute. “What makes you think that? Just because I’m less than thrilled to have not one but two strangers in my house?”
Her attitude rankled him. “If you didn’t want her you could’ve left her at the station with me and you wouldn’t be saddled with either of us.”
She spun on her heel. “What makes you think I wanted to give up that little girl?” She got quiet suddenly and dropped her eyes to the floor.
“So it’s just me you object to?” Jax asked more gently.
She nodded, and then shook her head. “I’m just used to being alone here. Understand? I never, never, invite people here. I only go out when it’s absolutely necessary.” absolutely necessary.”
A beautiful woman like her a recluse? It was a mystery that intrigued him. “You’re young, beautiful, why stay here locked away inside?”
She sneered and walked away. “We’re stuck for the night. We don’t have to talk if we don’t want to and trust me, I don’t want to. I’m going to check on the kid.”
She was definitely different. It was almost as if she let her guard drop for an instant before sliding the ice shield back in place. Even though he’d only spent such a short time with her he could see her wishy-washy attitude to Noella. One minute she was gentle and affectionate. The next she was indifferent.
Maybe his decision that she passed the muster was a bit hasty. Even without a criminal record she could still have problems. Mental disorders were possible. With Holly’s fluctuating moods towards himself and Noella, maybe she was on some sort of meds, or should be at any rate. They’d both be stuck here for the night, but tomorrow he’d dig his car out and take Noella to Becky’s office.
He walked into the living room to find Holly seated on the sofa. Noella curled up in her arms, the child’s head resting against her chest. The soft look in Holly’s eyes as she stroked the child’s hair made him pause. In the time he’d been watching them Holly had always been gentle and soft with the little girl. It was only when talking about her that she seemed so cold.
She just doesn’t want anyone to know she cares. The thought hit him like a lightning bolt. Maybe she wasn’t wishy-washy maybe it was just some kind of guard?
She pressed a soft kiss on Noella’s forehead and scooted the little girl off her lap and onto a cushion. When Holly saw him standing in the doorway watching she stiffened her spine and a hard glitter quickly brushed away the gentle, loving gaze that had been there mere seconds earlier.
Holly pressed past him and down the hall. She disappeared behind a bedroom door and reappeared a short time later. “I know it’s early yet but we may as well get everything settled for everyone. You know, in case the power goes out or something,” she said as she came walking out of the room, her arms loaded with pillows and blankets.
“Can I help?” Jax reached out and his hand froze in place. She wasn’t softening up towards him anyway. He jerked his hand back and dropped in step behind her.
She dropped her load on a large chair near a window and went to move the curtains aside. Her body language told him it wasn’t what she’d been hoping to find.
“Still coming down?” he asked as he moved beside her. The smell of lavender hovered around them and he inhaled of her scent. An urge to pull her into his arms swept over him and he roughly cleared his throat trying to get a handle on himself.
She turned around. Her nose inches from his and her beautiful blue eyes widened in shock at his nearness. She became so still that he wasn’t even sure she was breathing. Her gaze locked with his and his sanity slipped.
He reached up and brushed a silky brown tendril off her face. His fingers rested on her hair and neither of them moved. He moved his face closer, the desire to kiss her urging him on.

Where can you get your copy? Here are some links:
Fictionwise:$2.00
BookStrand:$2.00ARe: $2.00
OmniLit: $2.00
Amazon Kindle: $1.60

But dont just take my word for how great it is! Here are a couple of reviews:

From Fennel @ LASR:

There is a saying that the loneliest place to be is in the middle of a crowd. Well for many Christmas is not the joyful celebration of happy memories most people assume it is, and in Noella’s Gift we have both Holly Harper and Jaxon Cole, who, for reasons unexplained, would prefer to forget its existence.

Holly’s solution is avoidance, and Jax’s is work, and Noella’s… is a Christmas gift beyond price…

You can’t help but fall in love with Holly, Jax and Noella and I thoroughly enjoyed this short story. For the full review click here

Martha E from You Gotta Read reviews says:
This is a charming story of Christmas magic breaking through the barriers of two hearts! It is a very short novella that can be read in one sitting…
Although Noella exhibits some sheer joy at the kindnesses shown her and some natural exuberance, there is a sense of sadness too. Where did Noella come from and what will happen to her? You might be surprised! I hope you will read this and find the magic and joy yourself! I will look for longer stories from this author based upon the fine characters and plot presented in this short story.

For full review you can visit here.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me! See y’all next week!

Huggles and have a GREAT weekend!
Donica

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