One word that invokes tons of childhood memories. As a little girl, I was blessed to have the same Santa for most of my childhood. He knew me so well, he’d ask my mom about an accident I had at three and if I was healing properly. Then marvel at how little of a scar I had. At seven he had his fingers crossed when I went in for surgery to remove a small tumor from my face. Then hugged me when I came to see him, stitches and all. I got an extra candy cane that year.
As I grew up, I found myself wondering if “my” Santa would show up and if I’d be able to see him just one more time. The man who donned the costume and spent so many years with me, actually became a part of our family. I was sad the year another Santa took his place, but none the less got excited when the fire department would herald the arrival of Santa at our mall.
One year my grandparents took me to Rim of the World, to Santa’s Village. I loved it. (Even if the winding roads made me sick.) I can’t tell you all the rides I went on, or what I ate and drank. What I can tell you I remember most of all was seeing the reindeer and of course, Santa. Walking into his workshop, the place smelled like cedar and pine. Of cinnamon and sugar cookies. It smelled of love and happiness and it smelled of hope.
I don’t think I’ve ever lost that excitement even as I became an adult. When I had my daughter, I tried to make it a tradition for her as well, but she like most kids, would cry. Don’t get me wrong, she loves Santa, and I’ve kept the magic of the season, even though she’s now twelve going on thirty-five. I still show the enthusiasm of Christmas and Santa and yes, he is real.
I’ve never told her he doesn’t exist, why? Because sometimes you just need to believe. You need to keep the part of you that is the seven year old child wondering what Santa would bring you this year. The part of you that’s carefree. This year, like every year, we watched the Macy’s Christmas Parade. When Santa came around the corner and stopped in front of Macy’s, I looked over at my mom and said; “Do you remember the year Santa pulled up in front of Macy’s three hours late and didn’t even wave, he just ran right into the store?”
We both laughed.
That year the weather had been bad and the balloons kept getting stuck, so the route had slow tremendously. By the time he showed up, he’d had too much hot chocolate and well, the rest is history as he left his float and charged through the crowd leaving the announcers bewildered as to what was happening.
I’ve also made it a tradition in my house to tell my daughter about all the Hollywood Christmas Parades we’ve seen, since here in Alabama, she’s never gotten to experience one. I’ve told her about my time in marching band and how I performed in several Christmas Parades. And when she’s asked why there are so many different Santa’s in those parades, I’ve kept true to the same thing my mom told me. “Without their help, Santa would never be able to finish wrapping and preparing the toys for all the good little boys and girls. So, they are entrusted with a sacred duty to uphold the Order of the Santa. Not just anyone can be a Santa. They have to be special.”
So this year, when my daughter who is so headstrong and sarcastic (I don’t know where she gets that from) wants to see Santa, you’re darn right, we’re going to see him. After all it is a magical time of year and we should all check to make sure we’re not on his naughty list!
I will be giving away a copy of Saving Their Princess to one lucky reader today as well. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email and which format you’d like, along with what your favorite Christmas tradition is.
Sabine Babineaux, daughter of the mayor of New Orleans and waitress at The Three Princesses bar, is snatched from the street after a late night at work and knocked unconscious. Waking in a cage, Sabine is determined to escape and take the other women in the basement lair with her.
Stuart Renwick and Kyle Novak, detectives with the New Orleans police department, are assigned a kidnapping case with multiple victims. However, when one of the missing women, Sabine Babineaux, arrives at their precinct, injured and terrified, they take the damsel in distress under their wings and into their home. But the gallant detectives find their princess a big temptation. What will she say when they tell her they like to share?
Can they work fast enough to find out who the kidnapper is and bring them to justice or will they take more victims or come for Sabine again?
Will Sabine survive long enough to explore her feelings for both detectives? Or will Stuart and Kyle fall at the hands of her kidnapper?Excerpt:
Pressing her palm to the wound, she got up and started running again. Sabine could hear the footsteps getting closer to her before another shot rang out. Bystanders turned in her direction, craning their necks to see what the commotion was. An excited thrill rolled through her. Surely someone would come to her rescue. But if she thought the pedestrians walking around her were actually going to step into the fray, she had another thing coming. Sabine came to the lip of the alley as people passed in front of her, not even bothered by her predicament. Others threw her dirty looks, giving her a wide berth.
In front of her, not more than two hundred feet away, sat a cab by the curb. Behind her, the man’s footsteps grew loud, causing her to cringe at the sound. If she was going to get away, she needed to go now, but the pain was excruciating, and she felt woozy as hell. Each step would take all of her concentration and strength. One more step. You can do this. You can’t go back. Her mental pep talk pushed her on until she was only ten feet from the car. Her hand reached out for the handle, and she pulled it open. Sweet relief filled her.
“Police. Please.” She wheezed, leaning awkwardly against the seat. “Please go.” Frantic, she looked up at the man in the driver’s seat. “Please hurry before they take me.”
“She’s going to get away.” She could hear the goon getting closer to the car, and she broke down crying. The man wasn’t going to move. She was going to be taken back to her hellhole.
“Please, sir. Help me.” She twisted in the seat and saw how close the men were. “They’ve kidnapped me.” Whatever trance the man had been under broke, and his gaze shifted to hers, widening as he noticed she only wore a bra and panties. “Thank God.” She sighed. “Police please.”
The man blinked several times then stammered. “Y-you need a hospital, not the police.”
“No! They’ll find me in a hospital. Police! Just take me to any station. I don’t care where.” Sabine lay down on the seat and closed her eyes. The sweet air of the city caressed her, wrapping her in a blanket of comfort. She knew she should be scared by the amount of blood she was losing, but she couldn’t muster the care to worry. She was free; that was all that mattered.
The cab came to a stop some time later, and she sat up. The world spun on its axis. The sound of bees buzzing filled her ears as she broke out in a cold sweat, and she began to shake violently. Sabine tried in vain to make her body cooperate with her, but it was a no go. Her brain was muddled, and nothing made sense anymore. Not even her body would oblige her and move. “Where am I?” Sabine whispered, licking her lips.
“The lady is right here,” the cabbie said, opening the door. “She’s bleeding and wearing next to nothing.”
A thread of embarrassment slid through her, but as quickly as it was there, it was gone. “Help me,” she croaked. The world around her was slowly floating away. No matter how much she tried to keep her eyes open, she couldn’t gather the strength needed to do so. “I…can’t…go…back.” Unconsciousness, blissful yet scary, drifted around her, cradling her in a void of nothingness.
“No, you don’t, sweetheart.” A gruff voice called to her, drawing her out of the darkness. “Come back to us.”
Sabine’s eyes fluttered open then shut again. She didn’t want to open her eyes. The darkness was safe. It was comfortable there. There was no pain. No cages. Freedom lurked in the darkness.
♥ ♥ ♥
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