In this heartwarming Cinderella story, a shy, deserving girl meets a tall, handsome soldier--and slowly realizes the power of love and faith knows no boundaries.
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November 24, 2010
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Excerpt from A Soldier For Christmas by Jillian Hart
Kelly Logan closed the textbook with a huff and blinked hard to bring the Christian bookstore where she worked into focus. Math. It wassonot fair that she, a twenty-four-year-old college student, had to take the required course so she could graduate. She intentionally hadn't thought about quadratic equations since high school, which was six years ago. Hello? Who would want to have to think about this stuff? Unfortunately, she was paying good tuition money to have to think about this stuff. She rubbed her forehead in the hopes that her equation-induced headache would go away. No such luck. Pain pounded against her temples as though someone was inside her skull, beating her with a mallet. Lovely. She'd been studying algebra for thirty minutes in the quiet lull of a Friday afternoon. Thirty minutes was all it took for her neurotransmitters to quit working in protest. Not that she blamed them. Definitely time for a study break before her head imploded. She leaned a little to the left over the counter to check on the store's only customer, busily browsing in the devotionals display. "Do you need any help, Opal?" "Any more of your help and I'll break my budget, honey." Elderly Mrs. Opal Finch wandered away from the decorated table with a small book in hand. "I got this one. The one you recommended. I see one of your bosses put up a written recommendation on it, too." "Katherine has exquisite taste." Opal slipped the book onto the counter. "Since when have you two steered me wrong? It's such a pretty cover, I couldn't resist." "Neither could I. I bought it today--payday." Kelly gestured toward the identical small pink book next to her textbooks before she rang up the sale. "I already took a peek at it. The first day's devotion is awesome." "Wonderful. Are you going to want to see my identification? That new girl did last time I was here." "Nope, I know your account number by heart." "That's not what I meant." Opal's merry green eyes sparkled with amusement. "So you can verify my senior citizen discount! It's a hoot, that's what it is, questioning my age. Oh my, it's good for the soul." "You look eighty-three years young to me," Kelly assured the lovely octogenarian as she scribbled down the purchase on an in-house charge slip. "Bless you, dear, I surely appreciate that. And I don't need a bag, sweetie. Conservation, you know." She opened her wide paisley-patterned purse, hanging by sturdy straps from her forearm. Kelly leaned over the counter to slip the book and receipt into the cavernous purse. "Thanks for coming by. You stop in and tell me how you like the devotional, okay?" "I most certainly will." Opal snapped her purse shut, her smile beaming and her spirit shining through. "Don't study too hard. An education is important, but don't you forget. There are greater blessings in this life." In yours, yes. Kelly filed the in-house copy of the charge slip in the till and held back the shadows in her heart. She feared that a happy family may not have been in God's plan for her. Sometimes it was hard to accept, to see the reason why she'd been given the parents she had. Some days it was all she could do to have faith. "Kelly, dear," Opal called over her shoulder on the way to the door. "Be sure and tell Katherine good-bye for me. That girl works too much!" "I'd tell her that, but she won't listen." The bell over the front door chimed cheerfully as it swung open with a force hard enough to keep the bell tinkling a few extra times. "Let me hold the door for you, ma'am." A man's rugged baritone sounded as warm as the intense August sunshine, and the bell jingled again as he stepped aside, holding the door wide as Opal passed through. Something puzzled her. His voice. There was something about it. Kelly couldn't see him well because of the glare of bright sunlight slanting through the open window blinds lining the front of the store.<