Coming Home For Christmas
After her husband's death, Sophie and her young daughter return to her family in Derbyshire. The Ferguson's seem like a perfect family until you scratch the surface. With so much emotional baggage, and only nine weeks to Christmas, can Sophie bring them altogether for the perfect Christmas she dreams of?
Thomas, the gorgeous, moody decorator, is a man with his own agenda that doesn't seem to include Sophie. Even in his paint-smeared tee shirt, faded jeans and scuffed boots, he is immodestly masculine, handsome and sizzling hot. But when his eyes reflect the pain she knows so well, Sophie cannot help but wonder if there is another side to the cold exterior.
Thomas finds his heart opening to this beautiful, wounded woman from his past. A passion smoulders as they work together in the months before Christmas. But he has been hurt before and hesitates to stoke the fire between them.
Will the magic of the holidays heal a family and bring two lost souls together?
The sixteen-hour flight from Malaysia had certainly not taken its toll on my five-year-old daughter, Lily May. She shrieked with delight as she played a board game with my best friend Becky’s two daughters. We sat in Becky’s warm, cozy kitchen with steaming mugs of hot chocolate.
“I can’t believe you’re actually here to stay.” Becky, who had not let go of my hand since she and Andy had picked us up from the airport, shook her head in disbelief. I must admit the unwelcome cold and foggy weather at Heathrow gave me doubts that I had made the right decision. “It will be just like the old days, except of course, now we are married with children.” Realizing her tactless mistake, she said, “Oh I’m so sorry Sophie. It just came out of my mouth without thinking.”
“Its fine, Becky, it has been over six months now. You can mention Christopher, don’t think I’m going to break down and cry at the mention of his name.”
“You are so strong, Sophie. If anything happened to Andy—well, it does not bare thinking about.”
“Really, I’m over grieving.” Was I? Could I ever get over knowing the last time he kissed me would be our final kiss? That my parting words to him before he left for work were not ‘I love you,’ but, ‘don’t forget to pick up the wine for the damn dinner party you conned me into hosting tonight.’ Knowing that our daughter’s last words to the daddy she would never see again had been, ‘Read my bedtime story when you get home, Daddy. Mummy can’t do the voices like you.’ Christopher, kissing his daughter, promising hand on heart he would be home by six. Will I ever forgive myself for cursing him that night, when it reached seven o’clock and he still had not arrived home? When an hour later, the doorbell rang and I went to greet the first of our guests and swore I would kill him when he arrived home. One thing I will never forget: opening the door to see two sombre highway police officers. ‘Mrs. Lang, Mrs. Christopher Lang? May we come inside? We have some bad news.’ Christopher had died, at seven o’clock that evening, in a massive pile up on the freeway. No, I would never forget. I just had to keep telling myself this was a new start for Lily and me.
“Sophie, are you sure you are okay? Have you really thought this through—moving back here?”
“We had nothing left for us in Malaysia. As you know, Christopher’s sister immigrated to Australia with her husband and family years ago. When his mother passed away, his father moved out there too. Once Christopher died, it just left Lily and me.”
“But you had a wonderful house, a swimming pool, a maid. You had a good job at the bank. Okay, you may be lonely, but to give all that up for what? A hum drum life in Thornton Dale, a small Derbyshire village?”
“After all those years trying for Lily, thinking I could never have a child, it finally happened when I was thirty-seven. There is no chance now she will have a brother or sister, and I want her to grow up around a family.”
Becky raised her eyebrows.
Giving a snigger, she replied, “Sorry, it’s just—well, your family is hardly the Walton’s and you yourself said you couldn’t wait to leave. You moved to Manchester, then to London and before I’d even written your new address in my diary, you were off to Malaysia. You came home once a year, for a week, two at the most and then you stayed with me. So, who is this really for Sophie, you or Lily?”
Becky could read me like a book, but I was in no fit state mentally or physically to explain it just yet. I clasped my hands around her face and mustered the biggest smile I could. “Some things are best left in the past. Now, I’m off to view this house I saw on the Internet. Are you going to take me?”
Becky smiled, knowing she had been defeated. “Get your coat, Andy can look after the children.”