Tag Archive | Georgia

Opposite Direction

Have you ever had things planned out? You know, exactly what you’re going to do. Then something happens and you change your plans and go the opposite direction from what you were going to do… Opposite directions can be course corrections or life changing events that happen to direct the opposite directions to take place, whether these opposite directions are caused by positive things or negative things.

Opposite directions happen throughout our lives, sometimes they are small changes, other times they can be monumental. I ponder these events, the ones that send us in the opposite direction. In my writing, I often mix this sometimes annoying, sometimes revelatory phenomenon into the story.

So, when I write I’m always looking for a way for my story to parallel real life. This opposite direction thingy is one way to do that. I suppose some might call that a plot twist, but for me, it’s simply a way to make fiction more like reality.

As a writer, I strive to breathe life into not only my story, but into each character. Opposite directions are very good ways to do that. The thing is, when these opposite directions happen in the story, I have to make sure my characters react to them as they individually would react. All people have their own way of dealing with life, they react differently. So as a writer I have to make sure I know my characters well enough to know how they will deal with whatever happens to them in my story. Yes, I suppose, some would call that character development… I’m pretty sure I see things differently than other people do, and describe things differently than other people do, so I call it getting to know my characters and opposite directions. That’s just the way I am…

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

Small Town Girl

I am a small town girl… I think being from a sleepy, small town, in northwest Georgia has always influenced me in many ways. It’s been a long time since I’ve visited my home town, but not too much has changed. I still check out things online, just to see what’s happening. They’ve kept it historically sweet… the foot bridge, and the many walking trails, are all still there. The City Clock, and Myrtle Hill, and Main Street are all still there too. I even watched part of the Christmas parade last year. So even though I’m far away, I’m still not too far…

In my writing I much prefer writing about the small-town scenario than a bigger city. The nuances of a small town gather my thoughts and seem more vivid to me. I think small towns bring people closer, not to say bigger cities can’t do that, but, in a small town the streets are a bit less busy, and maybe the people have more time to be a bit more friendly. That’s what I’ve experienced anyways.

In my New Parish series, I mostly write about the small-town atmosphere, there are of course trips to larger places. But, I like keeping things more intimate, less busy, giving the reader some time to slip into the story and get comfortable.

New Parish is all about the small-town experience. It’s old fashioned community ethics, where people help each other, or maybe even have a barn raising. Unlike my small home town in northern Georgia, New Parish is situated out west, in northern Arizona, with the cowboy culture deeply infused into it. The back drop of southern Utah, and Northern Arizona provides an incredible element to my writing. There are several small towns spotted throughout this area. They all have unique and breath taking views that inspire the imagination, or at least they inspire mine. Each small town has its own rich history of pioneers and cowboys settling and trying to tame this part of the wild west.

There’s so much research that can be done, some in real time. You can visit an old fort and have a Native American give you a tour, or go visit the amazing parks… Sometimes I wonder how the first settlers ever survived this land, because it’s still not tame at all. Some places I’ve visited have made me wonder why they would have stayed here in this place back then. So, of course, I have to find the answers to the questions that form in my mind. There have been many questions, and I’ve actually found many answers.

The small towns here are very different than the one I grew up in. Not just because of the location, but the histories are as unique as the places. Where I came from history was based more on the rivers, farming, and education. Not to say those things aren’t out here, well, rivers don’t really exist out here. They do have some small streams they call rivers, but really… In this area, the history has been based on religion, finding water, and doing things in different and innovative ways. They have their own language, their way of doing things, and pride in this land that, outsiders (me), will never really be a part of. I can only watch from a distance and chronicle bits and pieces of it in my writing.

So, in creating the small town of New Parish, I took some of the wonderous small towns I’ve visited, and researched, then used my imagination, and squashed them all together to make this wonderful comfy place where people can find their happily ever afters. Every now and then, I may squash a little bit of my own home town in there as well, it’s never far from my heart and thoughts.

From this small town girl, I hope everyone can find their own happily ever afters. Whether it’s a small town or not. But no matter where you go remember the good from where you came, that’s the part that sinks deep into our souls and helps us become more than we were.

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

   

Some place to go…

 

 

 

 

Might I suggest New Parish…

  

 

Get them here…

https://www.amazon.com/Return-New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224048/ref=sxts_sxwds-bia-wc-p13n1_0?cv_ct_cx=Return+to+New+Parish&dchild=1&keywords=Return+to+New+Parish&pd_rd_i=1732224048&pd_rd_r=0ba042af-0783-446c-a357-539471152fa0&pd_rd_w=cEEBg&pd_rd_wg=MARtQ&pf_rd_p=13bf9bc7-d68d-44c3-9d2e-647020f56802&pf_rd_r=VZW4V6TX6CAD3NNAFMKZ&psc=1&qid=1596310240&sr=1-1-791c2399-d602-4248-afbb-8a79de2d236f

Hannah’s Boy

This next week (8th & 9th), will start an ad campaign on Amazon.com for Return to New Parish ebook and a couple of give away days for Brigham Tea Magazine and New Parish. I hope you all get in on the free stuff and the advertising special!

In Return to New Parish Hannah not only makes new friends but falls in love with a little boy who’s a larger than life character. Liam is her boy, she had no hope of ever recovering from the love she had for him…

 

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 10 – Processing

“The next morning Hannah’s phone chimed as she was getting out of the shower. She saw it was from Cilla and touched the screen to see what it was about.

            “Taking Liam to the hospital!”

            “Crap,” Hannah groaned, wondering what had happened. She texted back, “What’s wrong?”

            Cilla returned, “High temp and crying with his head hurting.”

            Hannah quickly found out which hospital and told Cilla she’d be there soon.

            Hannah dressed in record speed and ran into the kitchen to find Sarah.

            “Cilla texted me that she’s taking Liam to the hospital, I’m going,” she hurriedly told Sarah.

            “Wait,” Sarah said, grabbing Hannah by the arm to slow her exit. “I’ll come with you.”

            “I’ll come too,” Max said getting up from the table. “That little Smith boy, Liam plays with is already in the hospital.”

            “Why? What’s wrong with him? Is it Wade?” Hannah asked in rapid fire succession.

            “Meningitis,” Max’s voice had an ominous tone. “Yeah, it’s Wade.”

            The room fell silent. Max, Sarah, and Hannah walked quickly to the front door.

            Hannah received texts from Cilla updating her all the way to the hospital, “The doctors admitted him straight away.” Next was, “Doing tests,” then a worrying, “He won’t wake up.”

            The fear engulfing Hannah seemed to have super powers, it was growing exponentially with each text.

            As Max parked the jeep, Hannah sent a text to Cilla, “We’re here. Where are you?”

            Cilla text back the room number and they rushed there. They found Cilla, Hope, and Patty all teary eyed, but Liam wasn’t in the room.

            “He’s out for some more tests,” Cilla told them as they entered.

            “Okay,” Hannah sighed, wishing she could see him and ease the pain that was hurting her inside.

            After hugs all around they heard someone sobbing loudly outside in the hallway. Sarah gave Hannah an “oh no” look and peeked out to see what was happening.

            “Oh, it’s Gwen!” Sarah told the others.

            Hannah watched as everyone went out to where the woman was openly crying. She followed feeling a bit surreal as the scene played out before her.

            “What’s happened?” Patty asked urgently, hugging the woman closely.

            An older man joined them, “It’s Wade,” he said with tears streaming down his face. “He’s gone. It just happened,” his voice sounded strained. “The doctors said there was nothing they could do. It was too fast.”

This wasn’t computing in Hannah’s mind, “Wade, Liam’s friend was dead. No,” she thought. “That can’t be right.” She watched Wade’s parents crying over their loss and the others trying to comfort them. “He’s really dead,” her thoughts turned to Liam and terror ripped through her soul, “No, no, no,” kept repeating in her mind.

             Hannah listened as Cilla was telling Wade’s parents what was happening with Liam.

            “That’s exactly what happened to Wade,” Gwen said, through difficult sobs.

            A nurse approached the group, “I’m sorry,” she spoke to Wade’s parents, “but, we need to make some arrangements for your son now. If that’s okay?”

            Hannah watched as Wade’s parents walked away. Cilla grabbed her wrist and said, “There they come. They’re bringing him back.”

            Hannah could see the worry in Cilla’s expression, she could also feel it building more intensely in herself.

            Seeing Liam lying in that bed was a moment in time Hannah wanted to escape. His body was lifeless, on a bed that was much too big for the smallness of her little cowboy. This was more than she could stand. She wanted so much for him to open his eyes, smile at her, and say “Hey, Miss Hannah.” She needed that more than she’d ever needed anything in her life.

            The nurses parked his bed in its place and checked the monitors and IVs. After everything was sorted, one of the nurses said, “The doctor will be in to talk to you in a little while.”

            “Thank you,” Cilla nodded, stroking Liam’s hair.

            Hannah’s mind was coming to a standstill, “This is wrong,” she thought. “Just very wrong,” she reached down to touch his hand, it felt very warm. Her eyes followed the IV tube up to where it connected to the bags that were hanging. There were three bags, one large and two small, all plugged into the tube that was inserted into Liam. Again she thought, “This is wrong.”

            Max’s voice broke the silence that had settled in the room, “How long till Uncle Alex gets here?”

            “He took off from Durango when I left for the hospital, so that’s been about two hours,” Cilla responded.

            “Okay,” Max nodded.

            “So, how long is that? Till he gets here?” Hannah asked urgently, feeling that if Alex were here things would be better. She didn’t even try to push those feelings aside. They gave her a sliver of hope, that she needed to cling to.

            Max shrugged, “Any time, really.”

            The vice grip of fear that had gripped her eased a bit with that information. Hannah looked at the monitors and thought of the monitors she’d watched just a few days ago that showed Annie’s progress toward birth. “This is the opposite, the opposite of excitement, the opposite of happiness… This is wrong,” she thought again.

            The heart rate monitor seemed to be working overtime, she watched as Liam’s heart beat raced across the small screen. She watched Liam’s breathing which seemed to be trying to keep up with the heart rate on the monitor. All she could do was watch helplessly as this horror played out.

            As she continued to watch, things almost magically began to slow, “Maybe the medicine is starting to work,” she thought feeling for any relief she could find.

            “Oh, dear,” Cilla said and pressed the nurse call button.

            Hannah could see why as she followed Cilla’s gaze. Liam’s arm, where the IV was inserted had begun to swell.

             The nurse came in and removed the IV and after looking at Liam’s veins, said she’d send in someone to replace it. In just a few minutes a man wearing green scrubs came in and looked very closely at Liam’s veins, both his arms and legs. The man sighed and said, “I’ll check with the doctor. He’ll be in to talk to you soon.”

            Cilla nodded, looking as though she were hearing, but not understanding, as the man left the room.

            Hannah moved back to her position next to Liam after the flurry of nurse and technician. She squeezed his warm little hand in hers and went back to watching the monitors. Liam’s heart rate had slowed way down now and so had his breathing, “That can’t be good,” she thought. An extra surge of fear went through her.

            The door to the room opened and a short man with short black hair, wearing faded blue scrubs and a white lab jacket walked in. He didn’t smile, he had a serious, somber expression.

            Cilla asked him with obvious concern in her voice, “Doctor, what have you found?”

            The doctor cleared his throat and began, “The blood work showed a high wbc, white blood cell count, so as you know we went on with the spinal tap. The sample from the tap looked cloudy under the microscope so I asked the pathologist to read it right away,” he took a breath as if he were preparing to step into deep water. Then he continued, “Your son has bacterial meningitis, it has progressed very rapidly. I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do to help him. He’s not stable enough to do the surgery we’d need to do to replace the IV, so we’re not going to attempt it. His heart rate will slowly decrease, and then, he’ll be gone. I’m very sorry,” the doctor repeated. “I’m sorry.” He bowed his head and turned to leave the room, but stopped mid step.

            There was a tall cowboy standing in the doorway of the room. Wearing a black cowboy hat with the brim pulled low so that you could just barely see his eyes. The doctor stood there and seemed in shock.

            “I’m the boy’s father,” Alex James drawled slowly.

            “I’m sorry, sir, there’s nothing we can do for your son,” the doctor began.

            Alex cut him off abruptly, “Maybe there is nothing you can do,” he said firmly. “Get out of my way. There’s something I can do.”

            The doctor stammered something inaudible and Alex repeated in a low growl, “Get out.”

            “Yes, sir,” he mumbled and hastily left the room.

            “Max, clear the room, take care of your mothers,” Alex ordered.

            Hannah hadn’t moved or even barely breathed since the doctor had entered the room. When Sarah put her arm around her shoulders and began guiding her out of the room it brought everything from a blurred unprocessed state to a full on focused reality. Everything the doctor had said crashed in on her. The pain of it all gushed out of her in torrents of tears.

            She looked back into the room, and before Max closed the door, she saw Alex take off his hat, grasp Liam’s hand and kneel down beside the bed.

            Seconds turned into decades, as she stood in the hallway fighting her heart’s longing to go back into the room and be near her little cowboy. She looked at Patty, Hope, and Cilla, there were tears, but there was a strength in their eyes that Hannah couldn’t understand. She was falling apart, and they were holding onto something she couldn’t fathom.

            To not run back into Liam’s room, was taking all her efforts. Her thoughts turned to what she’d seen as Sarah led her out of his room, “Why couldn’t we stay in there? He’s just praying.” She pondered that for a moment to distract herself, then the need to run back into Liam’s room returned to torture her once again. The doctor’s voice began to haunt her thoughts, “Nothing we can do… his heart will slow… he’ll be gone… No!” she shut down the haunt.

            A nurse approached the door to Liam’s room, where Max was standing sentinel and said, “Excuse me, I need to check on him.”

            “Can you wait a few minutes?” Max asked her politely. “His father’s just gotten here and asked for some time alone with the boy.”

            “Sure,” the nurse nodded. “I’ll be back in a bit.”

            Hannah watched Max, “He looks like he’s standing guard,” she thought. Then she thought she must be losing it all together because she thought she heard Liam laughing. She looked at Sarah questioningly and asked, “Did you hear that? It sounded like it was coming from Liam’s room.”

            Sarah shrugged and smiled at her.

            She looked back at Max, he was smiling too, she thought she saw a tear roll down his cheek.

            The door behind Max opened, he turned and moved aside. Alex walked out of the room carrying Liam, who had both arms and legs wrapped around him, giggling. Everyone rushed to them, everyone except Hannah. She was so shocked she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

            “You’re hugging me to death!” Liam giggled as Cilla, Hope, and Patty were all busy squeezing him with tears freely streaming down their faces.

            That moment would be indelibly imprinted in Hannah’s memory for the rest of her life. How it had happened, she didn’t know, but she was more grateful than she’d ever been.

            Hannah finally snapped out of it and took her turn at hugging the little cowboy.

            “Miss Hannah,” Liam drawled, “I ain’t wore a diaper in years. I hope you don’t think I’m a baby or something.”

            Hannah smiled, “No way, Dude, you’re the coolest kid I know.” She hugged him again full of joy to have him back.”

 

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

   

Happy New Year from New Parish!

I hope everyone has lots of great goals, dreams, and happiness planned for this next year! I always say, you never know what’s just around the corner… So I have high hopes for 2020. I just finished another chapter in my next book in the New Parish series. From Sarah’s journey, to Hannah’s journey, things were very different, now for big sister Brenda things are completely different too… I’m so excited to share their stories with you all, this next year.

I hope everyone notices the unique bond between Sarah and her sisters, it play out with each sister and in each book of the series. Below is a little sister talk from Sarah and Hannah.

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 3 – Palominos

“Once inside the house Hannah felt the need to talk to Sarah, so she headed up to her room – she knocked and waited. She didn’t want to walk in on something, so the old tap and enter from when they were kids was not an option.

            She heard Sarah say, “Come in.” So she opened the door and seeing the mess and disorder shook her head and laughed.

            “Hey,” she said, looking around the room. “Did you get more stuff or is this just the other stuff shifted around again?” she teased her sister.

            “I got more stuff,” Sarah said defensively. Then she chuckled as she looked over the mess of her sitting room that was going to be her nursery.

            “So, there was a thing while I was out riding,” Hannah tentatively began her exposition.

            “What thing?” Sarah asked with eyebrows raised as she reached for her chiming cell phone. After quickly reading the text she looked at Hannah with worry in her expression, “Okay, what happened? Max just text me wanting to know if you’re okay and if you got home okay.”

            Hannah could see Sarah replying to Max’s text and insisted, “I’m fine, I’m fine,” it was her turn to be defensive.

            “He’s saying that you almost rode into the sinkhole! And that Uncle Alex caught you just in time to stop you,” Sarah looked at Hannah accusingly.

            “Okay,” Hannah said, trying to play the events of her ride down, “So, this is what happened.” She plopped down on part of a sofa that wasn’t full of baby stuff, sighed, and continued. “I was riding near the stream and heard a tapping sound coming from the fence line that was just beyond the creek.” She waved her hands to show the direction of the fence, “I looked to see what it was and saw a big beautiful palomino standing on the other side of the fence, like a statue, then that guy came around the horse to put stuff in his saddle bags,” Hannah paused to make a face of disapproval and blow out a big sigh then continued. “I didn’t want to talk to him so I took off in the opposite direction and before I knew what was happening, he was jumping on his horse, jumping the fence, and chasing after me!” Hannah threw her hands in the air for effect and gave Sarah a “what the heck” look. “So I go faster not knowing what he was up to, he catches me and grabs my reins!”

            Sarah interrupted her with, “You didn’t punch him did you?” there was a pleading sort of begging tone to Sarah’s voice.

            “I tried!” Hannah defended her actions. “But he’s pretty quick for an old guy. Sheesh!”

            “Hannah!” Sarah shouted at her in exasperation.

            “I missed!” Hannah shouted back still trying to defend herself.

            “Hannah! He was saving your life!” Sarah shouted back.

            “I didn’t know that’s what he wanted to do!” Hannah shouted, “For all I knew he was going to do something else out there, with no one else around,” her voice trailed off. Quickly thinking of a way to refocus the conversation she asked, “Besides, if he’s so rich why is he out mending fences anyways? Can’t he afford to hire people for that?”

            “He’s a cowboy,” Sarah answered, with exasperation in her voice. “He’s always doing cowboy things. Yeah, he’s rich, but he’s very hands on.”

            “He’s very annoying,” Hannah shared her opinion of the old cowboy.

            Sighing out a long groaning sigh, Sarah said, “He’s a really great guy! He married Max’s mom and raised him as his son. He helps people all the time. You don’t know him, yet.”

            “I know enough to know I don’t want to know any more about him,” Hannah replied holding her hands up dismissively.

            “He saved your life!” Sarah reminded her.

            “He wouldn’t have had too, if he hadn’t chased after me,” Hannah replied, again trying to defend herself.

            “Please try and be nice to him tomorrow,” Sarah begged. “We’re going to be over there almost all day helping out with the party prep.”

            “I’ll do my best,” Hannah promised, with a shrug and a smile. “He’s really annoying, I don’t know why he gets under my skin so much, but he really does.”

Sarah plopped down on the other sofa looking tired, “He likes to joke around, the first time I met him, he looked me up and down and said something about me being a pretty filly. That’s just the way he is. So I looked him up and down and told him he wasn’t too bad himself. We hit it off, he’s a lot of fun, really.”

            “I guess I’m just not up for his kind of fun,” Hannah acceded.

            “I do understand,” Sarah gave Hannah a look of “You know what I mean. Just because Nathanial was low enough to do what he did, doesn’t mean every other guy is like that,” Sarah tried to explain Hannah to Hannah. 

            “I know,” Hannah sighed, “I’ll try to do better tomorrow, promise.””

 

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

   

Christmas in New Parish – Part 2

Is your shopping done? Have you sent your long distance gifts off? Living away from my dear ones, I have to be organized and get things mailed off early. That’s just the way things are in New Parish for Christmas. Sarah and Hannah live a good distance away from their family so they have to think about how to still show their love… In Return to New Parish, Hannah spends her first Christmas there with Sarah and her family. She gets a little more of the culture, lifestyle, and love the family has for each other and for Christmas… She also gets to know Max’s extended family, (one of them, a little more than she wanted to know).

Hope you still have some of that hot cocoa for this week’s post…

 

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 5 – Christmas Party

“… With guests arriving Hannah and the others were busy filling the tables with finished goodies as quickly as possible. Hannah saw Hope stick her finger in her mouth to hide the icing that had found its way there when she sat the last of the cupcakes in order for the Christmas tree cupcake cake. Hope winked at her, smiled, and hurried back to the kitchen.

       There was lots of laughter and smiling faces as people began to flow into the Fancy Room, some Hannah recognized from the day before. Mary and some of her mothers came in requiring hugs, Hannah didn’t mind so much anymore, she was getting used to it. She heard Bing Crosby begin singing White Christmas faintly in the background, smiling, she thought, “Perfect.”

       Sarah came up behind Hannah quickly grabbing her arm as a man with dark graying hair, came through the door. Hannah noticed him immediately, his presence seemed to command attention even though he wasn’t doing anything to draw it. Hannah figured he was around six feet tall, just a bit shorter than Max. Sarah was pulling her toward this man shouting softly, “Brother Michael! Brother Michael, this is my sister Hannah.”

       “Oh, hello, Hannah,” he smiled warmly at her.

       “Hi,” Hannah smiled back, noticing that he had piercing blue eyes, which reminded her of Max and his uncle. “So you’re the man in charge here?” she teased.

       Brother Michael winked at her and replied, “Yes, but I deny any responsibility.”

       They all laughed at his deniability clause. Hannah felt instantly at ease with Brother Michael. She liked everything about him, the way he easily smiled, the way his eyes seemed to look into her soul in a way that made her feel like he knew her and who she was. “This man is amazing,” she thought to herself.

       “We’re glad you’ve come to our little town,” Brother Michael welcomed her. “Sarah tells me you want to stay,” he said, almost asking.

       “Yes,” said Hannah firmly. “I do want to stay. Sarah’s found happiness here,” she shrugged, “and, I’d like to do the same.”

       “Sounds good to me,” Brother Michael smiled at her.

       “So what do I do first?” she asked.

       “Oh, well, you have to talk to the church leader about baptism, then set an appointment to talk to him about the matching system and marriage,” Brother Michael thoughtfully explained, holding up a finger for each thing she had to do.

       “Okay, aren’t you the church leader?” she asked a little confused by this information.

       “Why, yes, yes I am. Oh, would you like an appointment with me?” he asked smiling.

       Hannah caught the tease now and understood. “Yes, sir, I would like an appointment,” she smiled. Sarah was having a small giggle fit next to her and Hannah gave her a “thanks for that” look.

       “How about this next Wednesday, around 10:30 in the morning? I’m off for Christmas holidays, then so we’ll have plenty of time to talk about the gospel and everything we need to talk about.” He said, smoothing his hair down, as a gust of wind blew through their conversation when more guests came through the front door.

       “Sure, that’ll be great,” Hannah replied, “Where?”

       “My house,” Brother Michael winked. “Sarah knows where.”

       “Okay,” Hannah smiled, feeling energized at the prospects of this new beginning.

       “Oh, hey! Hannah you didn’t meet Karen and Marla yesterday,” Sarah said. Then, proceeded to introduce her to the ladies that had entered the room, with the previous gust of wind.

       They were warm, friendly, and welcoming like so many people here had been. Hannah felt like she’d found a place to belong and to be happy, maybe… There was also another feeling floating around inside her. She couldn’t put her finger on this new feeling yet, but it was helping with regaining her inner calm. She felt like the battle for peace in her life was gaining ground.

       After meeting Brother Michael and his other two wives, Hannah felt like the party really got underway. Things shifted from Bing singing to Alex James returning home. He entered wearing a maroon colored cowboy shirt like the one he had on the previous day, denims, and black cowboy boots. Hannah growled at herself inside for noticing, but he kept haunting her dreams, so she tried to excuse her inventory of him based on that. He was smiling and shaking hands with people and evoking laughter, as he made his way to the piano. She couldn’t hear what he was saying, but, her experience with him taught her that he was always joking around so she just considered herself lucky not to be in his line of fire.

       He began to play and the guests were either singing or dancing to the music. Mary came over to her, grabbed her by the arm, and pulling her toward the area that had been cleared for dancing said, “Come on, dance with me. Sarah’s nauseous again and she volunteered you.”

       “What?” Hannah asked in confusion.

       “It’s a line dance,” Mary said, as if that explained everything.

       “I don’t know how,” Hannah protested.

       “Neither do I,” Mary laughed.

       They joined the line of people dancing and did their best to imitate their movements. Hannah laughed so much during the dance that her stomach muscles were getting sore. When the dance was over, she and Mary went to get something to drink and ended up near the Christmas tree. The music stopped and Hope came over to the piano, nodded to Alex and he began to play “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Hope sang the song beautifully, Hannah was so entranced by her voice, it was as though she couldn’t see or hear anything else.

       When the song was over Hannah whispered, “Wow, she’s got an amazing voice.”

       “Oh, yeah,” Mary nodded agreement.

       As they stood there talking, Hannah heard a thud and crash sound behind her. She turned just in time to see the bottom of Alex James’ stool speeding toward the other side of the room. Alex was lying on the floor in front of the piano looking confused. She quickly surmised that for some weird reason the top of the stool had detached from the bottom and they had gone their separate ways.

       The bottom of the stool was on a trajectory that was heading straight for Cilla who was bringing in the cake they had painstakingly made earlier that day. Cilla was carrying the cake gingerly in front of her when she saw the stool bottom coming for her, she quickly sidestepped to avoid the imminent collision. When she did this she bumped, hard, into a rather large rotund man, which caused her to lose the cake. It wasn’t just lost, it was airborne. Hannah could see it sailing through the air almost in slow motion. The cake was soaring towards her, she reached out for it, trying with all her might to catch it. She might have done just that, but Alex James was still on the floor – she tripped over his feet and legs landing on top of him. What happened after that was something that would replay over and over in Hannah’s mind for the rest of her life.

       Hannah could feel herself falling and landing awkwardly on top of Alex James. She could feel him trying to catch her and keep her from hurting herself or him. It was where he caught her that was the problem. One hand on her side as she came down, that was okay, it was where the other hand went that had infuriated her – his comment didn’t help either.

       Alex James’ right hand was firmly grasping her left breast. As their eyes met and he said, “Well, these girls are real.”

       A flurry of movement happened next as Hannah threw a punch with her right fist, then her left. Alex caught both before they landed. Hannah then reverted to using her knees…

       As they rolled over and over on the floor in an all out effort from Hannah to cause injury to Alex he shouted, “Whoa, calm down little lady!”

       Hannah didn’t calm down, she continued her efforts to punch him or knee him in the groin. He tried to stay on top of her to defend himself, but she managed to throw him off and regain the advantage. There were many grunts, groans, and exasperated growls that passed between them during the roll.

       Everyone around them moved quickly out of the way, giving them room to roll. The room filled with laughter.

       In a panic, Sarah shook Max’s arm, “Pull her off him! She’s in nonstop battle mode! She won’t stop!”

       “No, ma’am,” Max refused smiling, “I always let other men deal with their own women troubles.”

       “You’re enjoying this!” she accused him.

       “Yes, ma’am,” he chuckled.

       “Brother Michael,” Sarah implored him for help, “Please pull her off him, she won’t stop!”

       Brother Michael laughed so hard that champagne came out his nose, but didn’t move to help his brother.

       There was a mixture of laughter, some were simply chuckling, but most were laughing so hard they were in need of holding on to something or someone to remain standing.

       A shout of, “The eight seconds are up Alex, you can jump off now,” sounded from near the Christmas tree.”

 

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3