Melody Tarleton is driving home for Christmas when a manclad in Revolutionary War-era costumeappears out of nowhere, right in the path of her car. Shaken, she takes the injured stranger in, listening with concern to Jake Mallory's fantastic claim that he's a Patriot soldier executed by British authorities.
Bringing Jake to her parents' house, Melody concocts a story to explain the handsome holiday guest with the courtly manners and strange clothes. Mark, her close friend who wishes he were more, is skeptical, but her family is fascinated. So is Melody. Jake is passionate, charming and utterly unlike anyone she's ever met. Can he really be who he claims? And can a man from the distant past be the future she truly longs for?
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October 31, 2010
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Excerpt from Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham
From the Book...
Ho, ho, ho. Merry, merry. Yeah, Merry Christmas. The road was a slip and slide.
Peace on earth.
Even when she had left New York City that morning, Melody Tarleton thought, people were practically trampling one another to get into Macy's, make the next subway or beat everyone else out for one of the cabs slip-sliding all over the street. The stores were advertising that they were open Christmas Eve and some even on Christmas morning, just so that the jerks who couldn't remember to buy gifts all year long could rush out last minute and buy some stupid thing that no one would really want anyway. But they'd realize they were going to grandma's for dinner, and hadn't even thought to buy the woman who had loved them their whole lives so much as a bouquet of flowers. Got to keep stores open for that. And God forbid, someone should forget they had another little niece or nephew. The children of the world definitely needed more stupid plastic toys! And, surely, the forgotten infant needed another bib that was embroidered with Spit Happens! or some other inane sentiment.
The car started to spin. Melody gripped the wheel and took her foot off the gas. It righted itself.
She let out a sigh of relief, and then winced. What in God's name was the matter with her?
What had become of her usual joy of the holiday season? She wished that her mood would lighten, and that she would pay heed to a few of the Christmas carols resounding from her car-stereo system. She had a million things for which she should be thankful; healthy, living parents who loved her, a wonderful brother who was just about her best friend now--even though they had fought wretchedly growing up. She loved what she did for a living....
Ah, there was the problem!
In a few days, he would be there. Her mother had asked him to come for Christmas. Which, of course, he had expected. He wasn't taking a thing that she said seriously.
I can't do it, Mark. I can't marry you, or be engaged to you. I can't even be your girlfriend. I thought I knew you, but then you began to talk about our future. You're a fine man, just not for me.
Well, she had known him. Most of her life. They'd gone to middle school and high school together, gone off to different colleges, and then met again at a book fair. It had seemed perfect at first; they'd been old friends, reconnecting. She drew pictures, he wrote words. They both loved illustrated novels. They'd both hailed from Gloucester, and moved to New York. So much to talk about, so much of the past to relive!
And they were friends. She was so happy to be his friend.
Then they'd been more. She thought she could see a wonderful future with him until he shared what he saw for the two of them.
She was just amazed at his vision of the future. He would take care of her. She wouldn't work--oh, well, of course, she could draw little pictures for their children. They'd have ten.
It was so odd how things had changed. She'd found him charming and attractive.
She was afraid of mistletoe.
There was no way out. As it had become clear that they were each seeking a different future, and the harder she struggled to escape, the more he had set the tethers upon her, it had all happened too late to salvage Christmas.
Her mother had already given him the invitation to come up. So, for Christmas, he'd keep insisting that she loved him and didn't understand that he just loved her and wanted the world for her. She'd be avoiding him, and no one would understand.
Ho, ho, ho. It was going to be great.