A scam, a scare, and two secret Santas--sorta.
From the Wonderland Wishes Collection
Releasing October 15, 2017
The Second Noel
When Breanne Homstad learns that a local family got scammed out of thousands for a Diabetic Alert Dog for their little boy and must find the money for another one ASAP, she embarks on the seemingly impossible task of raising $25,000 dollars…
Breanne, friends, and a local fireman she still hasn’t forgiven for a “date and dash,” work to fulfill one little boy’s Christmas wish—and maybe a second chance at romance.
Somewhere under the full July moon, a dog barked. Adele Martingale sat bolt upright in bed and stared around her in the darkness of her bedroom—lost. Confused. Why does a dog matter?
She settled back against the pillow, took a deep breath, and allowed a slow, relieved sigh to escape. Because we have the dog now. Because now we can sleep at night. Because now, our son is safe.
Son. Never had a word sounded more beautiful. On her sixteenth birthday, car sounded best. Ten years later, on her wedding day, love or even husband. Yeah, I loved husband that day. But after twelve years of infertility and two failed adoptions, Tobias Jackson became Tobias Lennox Martingale—their son.
It still feels like a miracle.
Adele rolled over and snuggled up next to her husband. When was the last time she and Lenny had slept in the same bed at the same time? At the automatic shift of his arm around her, the kiss against her temple, she relaxed—truly relaxed. Life back to normal. A wonderful, blessed, new normal.
Lying in bed, the ceiling fan whirring overhead, the click of the HVAC as it pumped cool, humidity-free air into the room, comfy lightweight blanket keeping her from becoming too cool… Nothing could have been more conducive to excellent sleep.
But sleep eluded her. Seconds ticked past. The dog barked again. This time, a cat yowled and several other dogs took up the charge. Will Rocky bark? Wake up Toby? She stiffened, waiting.
Rocky didn’t seem to notice or care.
We lucked out with that dog. Conscience struck. Sorry, Lord. We were blessed beyond our wildest dreams by You. Thank You.
Lenny stirred beside her. “Go check on them. You won’t rest until you do.”
“Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of getting the dog?”
“Mothers do it all the time. Why shouldn’t you?” This time he kissed her cheek, found her lips, rumbled something about it being part of motherhood. “Just because you don’t have to check every thirty minutes, doesn’t mean you can’t check once.”
Adele flung back the covers and slipped onto the cool carpet. “Thanks, Len.”
“Hurry back. I missed this.”
That prompted a quick kneel on the bed and a kiss in the general area of his lips—got the chin. “Me, too.”
Two doors down the hall—Toby hadn’t wanted the room right next to theirs. “I’m not a baby, you know. I get up to go to the bathroom all by myself and everything. I want that one.”
They’d capitulated without even half a second of hesitation. But now, as she crept into the room, Adele wondered if perhaps they’d already become those parents—the ones who turned their child into a self-centered little brat by indulging every whim. We can make a note to be careful.
Rocky raised his head at the sight of her—raised and whimpered. Adele knelt next to him and patted his head. “Good boy, Rocky,” she whispered. “Good boy. Toby’s safe with you here, isn’t he?”
The dog wriggled just a bit closer to her, lapping up the attention.
Toby slept—not stirring at her entrance or the whispers. Her anxiety over him dissolved at the sight of rounded cheeks and dark eyelashes in the light of a moonbeam. It’s nice to see you sleeping deep because you’re asleep instead of—
At that thought, she stroked Toby’s hand. She couldn’t resist. No matter how deep he slept, if she stroked his hand, he’d murmur, “Love you, Moms.”
He didn’t move. With a gentle shake, Adele murmured, “Toby? Can you say something?”
Still nothing. She shook him harder, called out. Toby slept. One sniff of the boy’s breath is all it took. Adele screamed.