Christmas Carols

Every year I give a holiday story to my fans.  This year it’s Gaby’s younger sister, Dani, and a certain hot detective at London’s Metropolitan Police, one Desmond Thorne.  I bet you’ll want to know when the book is coming when you finish reading.  This story has been in my head for a long time, and it’s not going anywhere.  *wink*  Blessings to all and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous new year.

xxoo R

 

Swish_018

Christmas Carols

 

London

21st December

 

christmas-carols-bells-with-musicChristmas in Merry Old England.  That would be me this year.  I hadn’t stood a chance of it being any other way either.  Not with my father and his persuasive tactics.  He’s been trying to get me to London for months.  Lately he’s really been pouring on the pressure because he thinks I’m not safe living in California.  And as much as I hate to ponder the idea, I’m forced to see that he might be right…

Last Friday he flat out commanded me to come for the holidays along with arranging a one-way ticket to London with my name on it.  He told me to pack my things and get myself to the British Airways counter at LAX by Monday morning and he wouldn’t have to make the trip across the pond to collect me himself.  He makes absurd threats like that, but the funny thing is he probably would.  Commanding is something my dad can do well.  He should be good at it since giving orders is a huge part of his job, that being a Chief Superintendent for London Metropolitan Police.

He’s also the most loving and protective father anyone could possibly have and I love him to death.

So as I make my way slowly through the long line at Immigration in the Heathrow Airport, I’m more than happy to be back in London so I can spend some quality time with him.  And my sister, too, although I know she’s pretty wrapped up with her new boyfriend these days—he’s a member of Parliament in the House of Lords and somewhat of a celebrity in Europe.  Gaby said he’s supremely hot so I can’t wait to meet this Ivan Everley and judge for myself.  He better be good for my sister or our over-protective-father-who-happens-to-be-the-police-chief will have something to say about it.  I can’t resist chuckling to myself at the thought of Dad and Gaby’s aristocratic new man having a throw-down.  But that’s how our dad rolls.  He won’t allow anyone messing with his girls with bad intentions.

“It was a one-way ticket,” I answer the Immigration official when he asks me how long I’ll be staying in the UK.  After a few more questions from him, and the answers to those questions from me, I’m on my way to Baggage Reclaim, and just a tiny bit closer to my ultimate goal for the evening: a hot bath and some warm pajamas.  The over-the-knee boots I wore on the plane look great and all, but they’re not the epitome of comfort, and it was an eleven-hour flight.  And I’m also closer to a visit with my dad.  We haven’t seen each other in person since he came out to California for Mom’s funeral two years ago, a reminder of something that’s still hard for me to accept, especially at the holidays.  I miss my mom all the time, but now, after two holidays without her I realize that Christmas will never be the same again.  How could it be?

I force myself to think of a happy memory of her at Christmas, something I know she dearly loved.  That was to listen to me sing.  I was a member in the a cappella choir at my high school, and Mom had absolutely loved the Christmas concerts.  My singing performance may not have been stellar, but my mom sure made a big fuss over every performance I was ever in.  I swear she knew the entire library of Christmas carols ever written, and all of the obscure verses that were too hard to remember beyond the main lyrics.  She used to sing the carols with Gaby and me at Christmas and teach us all of those forgotten verses.  We loved singing with our mom.  We loved her and she loved us.

Maybe that’s part of the reason why my dad wants me here with him for the holidays.  He doesn’t like that I am basically alone.  He worries about me and I know he doesn’t like that I live in the US instead of London.  When Gaby moved to London I think it made Dad even more obsessed that I should do the same.

Angels we have heardAngels We Have Heard On High is playing on the speakers as I locate my last bag and stack it on the trolley cart.  It feels like a reminder from Mom that she’s still here with me somehow and I feel instantly better.  I think my Dad is under the impression that I’m staying in London for a while.  He did say he has a proposal for me—a way to insure my future safety as he put it—so I know I owe him the courtesy to hear him out.

My phone chirps out an alert to let me know that Dad has sent a text.  Think of the devil and he knows…   Dani darling, I’ve made arrangements for Detective Desmond Thorne to collect you and bring you to me. Definitely my very best man on the job and I trust him completely—so should you.  I’ve made a special surprise just for you tonight, and am so very happy to have my girl back.   -Dad

So Detective Thorne was my ride from the airport…  I’d heard about him from Gaby when she’d told me that Dad tried to play matchmaker with them.  Gaby said she liked him, and that he was a nice guy, but Desmond Thorne just wasn’t the guy for her.  And she was with Ivan now.  I’d heard my Dad sing the praises of Desmond Thorne before, but had no idea what he was like as a person.  God, I hoped he wasn’t one of those jock bodybuilders with biceps the size of my thighs…and the social skills of a caveman.  I really didn’t want to have to finish his sentences for him for the next hour and a half either.  The ride from Heathrow into the city wasn’t short.  I was exhausted and just wanted to get to my room in my father’s house.

I scanned the crowd gathered to meet their people, some with signs, others without.  Well, great.  How in the heck was I supposed to find this Desmond Thorne when I had no idea what he looked like?  Wait.  He was the detective, not me.  I should just let the man do his job and search me out.  Dad had probably shown him my picture anyway—

My inner ranting was cut off by a tall, suited form that stepped in front of me.  “Danielle Hargreave?” he asked.

I stared and forgot how to speak.

He tried again.  “Are you Rob Hargreave’s daughter, Danielle?”  This time he added the merest of smiles to his rather serious expression.

Serious but gorgeous with brown eyes that pierced right through me.  In a good way.

A very good way.

Good. God.  Detective Desmond Thorne was definitely no meathead jock, and so far his conversational skills had me beat by miles.  I managed to nod and sputter out a “yes” before he was forced to ask me for a third time.

I thrust out my hand.  “I am Danielle Hargreave, but please call me Dani.  I’m assuming you are the ‘Detective Thorne’ who works with my dad?” I suggested.

He frowned slightly before taking my hand to shake it.  His grip was firm and his skin was warm as his hand swallowed up mine in the handshake.  “Yes, that Desmond Thorne indeed, but you should always ask to see some ID, and please call me Des,” he replied, copying my own introduction of mere seconds ago after the mild scolding.  I don’t know who broke contact first, but I was struck with the idea that I didn’t want to let go of his hand.

Wherever that crazy idea came from, I have absolutely no idea.  You must be in need of some sleep, because you don’t know this man from Adam.

Tall…broad shouldered…darkly handsome.  He seemed serious, but not in a harsh way at all.  In fact, there was a kind of gentleness about him that put me at ease almost immediately.  He must have a girlfriend.  It was a given a man like him would have a long line of applicants.  I’d guess he was early thirties, and with the way he looked, the chances of him being single were slim to none.  I had to mentally bitch-slap myself for my intrusive thoughts into his relationship status and remember why he was here at all.

“So, you’re taking me home?” I asked, forcing a cheerfulness I didn’t really feel.

“Yes and no, Dani.”  His brown eyes had a little twinkle in them now.

“I think you’ll have to explain, Des,” I fired back.

“Well it’s a surprise from your dad so I can’t tell you everything, but I can tell you that I will drop you at home where you are supposed to freshen up and get ready for an evening out.  Your dad has it all arranged down to the minute.”

“Hah, I don’t doubt that,” I said sarcastically as he pushed my baggage trolley towards the parking lot.

Swish_018

She figured out the surprise as soon as I pulled into Trafalgar Square.  The white spire of St. Martin-in-the-Fields stood out gleaming against the dark sky and the Christmas tree lights.  The scene was almost as beautiful as she looked when she realized where I was taking her.  Almost.  Because Danielle Hargreave was beautiful perfection to me.

5f62603dd8bc543afa9b26561de9cfbb“Dad got us in for the Christmas Carols at St Martin-in-the-Fields?” she asked incredulously.

“He did,” I said.  “And they’re all inside waiting for you.  Your dad of course, and your sister and her man, Everley, are here to welcome you home.”

“Oh my god, Des, the Christmas concerts at St. Martin’s are epic.  My mom went when she lived in London as a girl.  She always told me that it was something I must treat myself to one day.  I guess Dad really knew how much she loved Christmas carols.”

“Your dad knows a lot of things, so I imagine he did.  He wanted to surprise you and let you know how happy he is to have you home safe.”

She wiped at the corner of her eye.  “I know he is, and I’m happy to be home safe, trust me.  Weird stuff has been happening back in California and no one is sure where it’s coming from, or from who.”

“Your dad has told me a bit about it.  He’s been very worried about you I do know that.”

“Yeah, I know that too.”  She sounded sad.

“I’ll tell you what.  How about you forget all of the weird stuff for tonight and go in there and enjoy the concert with your family.  You deserve that one simple thing, Dani.  To appreciate some Christmas carols at the holidays.”

She turned away from the window to look me straight in the eye and smiled shyly.  Beautiful.

“Are you coming with us?”

“I’ll be in after I park the car.  Look, there’s your dad at the entrance waiting.”  I pointed him out to her.

“Oh, there he is.”  She waved at him through the window, the bad thoughts forgotten as the boss came forward to greet his child.  “I’ll see you inside then,” she said with another shining smile, “And, Des, thank you for the ride, and everything.  I’m glad I got to meet you in person finally, after hearing about you for so long,” she announced cheerfully.  The boss and I shared a look before he hurried Dani up the steps of the church.

The music had started by the time I’d made my way inside.  I hung back, content to listen to the carols and study Dani in the soft glow of many thousands of candles.  She turned back after another minute and found me in the crowd with her eyes.  She motioned that I should come and sit near them.

I nodded to let her know I would join her in a minute.

I needed to process everything first.  And could I even do this?

wedding-rings-fort-stewart1My chest ached and I stifled the urge to rub it.  How was this ever going to work?  The boss was pushing into tricky territory with his daughter, and I didn’t see how she would ever agree to his mad plan.  I wouldn’t mind if she did though.  I’d do it.  For him.  For her.

I’d marry Dani to keep her safe.

 

 

Comments

  1. Paula Hoskins says:

    Thank you for another wonderful Christmas story. Looking forward to the book.

  2. Thanks and happy holidays

  3. Love it! Looking forward to more!

  4. Thank you for this precious gift Raine! I loved it and I am looking forward to reading it <3

  5. Thank you for this precious gift Raine! I loved it and I am looking forward to reading the book <3

  6. Linda Freed;and says:

    As usual, you’ve nailed it. Got me from the beginning. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book!

    A very nice gift. Thank you!

  7. Loved it. Love your writing. Don’t let the “Misery” fan get to ya. ?

  8. Tammy Burton Feltner says:

    Loved it, thank you so very much for this year’s Christmas story. I’m looking forward to all the new books coming in 2016.

  9. Love it!

  10. Assor Ilana says:

    Raine thank so much for such a beautiful story , your words like an oxygen to my soul.
    I’m very curious to read about Dani and Desmond .
    Looking forward to all new books coming in 2016. I know it will be great year for you as our beloved author, and for us as we will read your amazingly talented books .

  11. Assor Ilana says:

    Raine thank so much for such a beautiful story , your words like an oxygen to my soul.
    I’m very curious to read about Dani and Desmond . Looking forward to all new books coming in 2016. I know it will be great year for you as our beloved author and for us as we will read your amazingly talented books

  12. Augiechunk says:

    Oh that was good! I got that feeling you get when you know it’s gonna be a great read!! You never fail to deliver! Thanks!

  13. Patricia Robles says:

    Wow I can wait to have this book and read more about this amazing story please and thank you for this sneak peek.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.