Countdown to Christmas.pdf

(4130 KB) Pobierz
Sarah Jane
Countdown to Christmas
by Kirsten Osbourne
Trifecta Books
Book design and layout copyright © 2015 by Trifecta Books
Cover design copyright © 2015 by Jenni James
This is a work of fiction, and the views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author.
Likewise, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are
represented fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, or actual events or locales,
is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any
means whatsoever without written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Copyright© 2015 by Kirsten Osbourne
Table of Contents
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Author Bio
Chapter One
Sarah Jane Jefferson sat in church, listening to the new preacher with half an ear. Usually she was
more attentive during Sunday services, but she had to find someone to play Santa Claus for the orphanage,
and she was running out of ideas. No one wanted to don the suit and padding required to play the part. She
really couldn't blame them, because she wouldn't want to do it either, but she still needed someone.
Her eyes landed on the new preacher yet again. He was so young and handsome. She'd heard some of
her "sisters" talking about him, but she wouldn't lower herself to fawn over the new preacher in the small
town of Nowhere, Texas. No, he was there as God's representative, and there was no way she'd stoop so
low. Now, asking him to play Santa Claus? That she could do!
He'd only been in town for a month or so, and already all the young ladies in the congregation were
flummoxed. She couldn't deny the man was handsome. Well, sort of. He needed a haircut badly. He
certainly didn't look like a preacher to her—more like a cowboy. Why, there was even a cowboy hat on a
chair near him. She knew he'd plop it back on his head as soon as he was out of church. Now, what kind
of preacher wore a cowboy hat?
Sarah Jane had been an orphan for as long as she could remember, but there was a short time, when
she was nine and ten, when she'd lived with a preacher and his wife, and it was the happiest time she
could remember. Ever since then, she'd made it her goal in life to do everything she could to be a good
Christian, hoping that someday, they'd be proud of her.
They'd only been able to keep her for two years, and she'd cried wretchedly when they'd taken her
back to the orphanage with all the other children. She'd been sure they'd come back for her, but five years
later, she and all the other girls in the orphanage in Orlan, New York, had been ejected from their home.
Sarah Jane had to admit that her circumstances in Nowhere, Texas, were much better than they'd been
back in New York, because she and all of her friends had been adopted by an eccentric old couple who
loved them dearly.
She fidgeted a bit in her seat, and Edna Petunia, her new "mother," pulled a peppermint stick from
her cleavage and offered it to her. "No, thank you," Sarah Jane whispered. "I don't think we should eat
candy in church."
Edna Petunia shrugged her shoulders and popped the peppermint stick into her own mouth. "A little
bubby sweat never hurt anyone," she whispered to Sarah Jane.
Sarah Jane closed her eyes. She didn't think the word "bubby" was appropriate for church either, but
Edna Petunia had never worried about what was appropriate for anything. She just didn't seem to care.
Sarah Jane's eyes went back to the new preacher, Pastor Micah Barton. He was a man of God,
dedicating his life to serving Him. Surely he'd be willing to dress up as Santa for a bunch of orphans. If he
wouldn't, who would?
When the sermon was over, Sarah Jane waited until most people had finished shaking the pastor's
hand before she took her turn. "I have a question to ask you, Pastor Barton."
Micah Barton looked at the pretty girl standing before him. She looked like she was fresh from the
schoolroom. He'd rarely seen her smile, though, and that worried him. He knew she was one of the
orphans who lived with the Sanders, but wasn't certain which one, other than she was the one he wanted
to get to know better. There was something about her eyes that mesmerized him. "What can I help you
with, Miss Sanders?"
Sarah Jane bristled at the sound of her adoptive parents' last name. She'd been given permission to
keep the name she'd been born with. "It's Miss Jefferson," she corrected. "Sarah Jane Jefferson."
"Oh, pardon me. Miss Jefferson. How may I help you?" Micah wanted to laugh at the girl. She
seemed so proper to him, as if she thought she was above everyone else. She'd learn as she got older not
to judge everyone by her own narrow view of Christianity.
"I volunteer at the orphanage," she told him. It had been established shortly after she and her sisters
came to town. "We're organizing a Christmas party for the orphans, but we've been unable to find someone
who is willing to play the part of Santa Claus."
"And you think I'd make a good Santa Claus?" He stared at her in open disbelief. "Becoming a pastor
must have changed my appearance more than I realized!"
Sarah Jane shook her head. "I'm not saying you look old, because of course you don't. The young
ladies my age wouldn't be acting crazed trying to get your attention if you did. No, I just need someone,
and I hope you have it in your heart to do this for the orphans."
If she'd phrased it any other way, it would have been easy to say no. "I suppose I can. Do you have
the suit? When is the party?"
"Saturday night. We have gifts for each child that are all wrapped and ready to be given to them. All
you have to do is pull them out and read the names on the tag. Then each child will sit on your lap and tell
you what they want, and you give them the gift."
"What if I don't give them what they want?" He had a mental image of one of the children crying
hysterically because he gave them a pair of socks when they wanted a toy train. He didn't want to be
responsible for that!
"The gifts the children get at this party will simply be special toys they've asked for. Nothing else.
They'll get clothing and boring gifts at the orphanage on Christmas morning."
Micah nodded. "Yes, I'll do it. Where can I pick up the suit?"
"Come to the orphanage tomorrow morning. I have it in a box, and I'll give it to you while the
children are at school. I don't want them to have any idea it's you. Most of them are still young enough to
believe there's a Santa."
He raised an eyebrow. "Are you saying you don't believe, Miss Jefferson?"
Sarah Jane scoffed. "I've known better for many years, Pastor Barton. Some of us learn the truth at a
very young age." She looked out the door to where Edna Petunia was making odd hand motions at her.
"Whatever are you doing, Edna Petunia?"
Micah turned to look at the older woman who quickly hid her hands behind her back as if she were
innocent. "I was trying to get you to ask the pastor for Sunday dinner!"
Sarah Jane looked at the pastor, wondering vaguely if Edna Petunia had him in mind for one of the
girls to marry. She hoped not. "Would you like to come to Sunday dinner with my... family?" She hesitated
to use the word, because her household was like no other.
He had not been looking forward to another Sunday meal alone. He was surprised how much he
missed the camaraderie of the seminary in Dallas. "I'd like that a lot."
She smiled sweetly, wanting to grit her teeth. She had no desire to see him with her sisters. She had
too much respect for any man of God to want that. "Do you know how to get out to the house, or do you
need directions?"
"Sarah Jane, stop being so uptight and just offer to ride with him. There's no sin in being in a buggy
with a man if you can be seen the whole time." Edna Petunia shook her head.
Sarah Jane blushed. "I guess I can ride with you. If you don't mind, that is."
"Not at all." Micah looked around the church and saw that everyone else had left while he talked to
her. "My buggy is at the house. Can you wait a minute while I hitch up the horses?"
Sarah Jane turned pleading eyes on Edna Petunia. No matter what the older woman said, Sarah Jane
knew it wasn't a good idea to be alone in the company of an attractive member of the opposite sex. She
wouldn't be alone with him. "Do you want to wait for us, Edna Petunia? Or do you want to leave one of
the younger girls to ride with us?"
"Well, I really don't really see that you're in any danger from the pastor, but why don't you take
Zgłoś jeśli naruszono regulamin