Release date: December 06, 2018
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance
My mother wants all her kids and grandkids to spend Christmas Eve at her house and wake up on Christmas morning together.
Sounds reasonable, right?
And it would be.
If it weren’t my mother.
My husband, Declan, is protesting any involvement, though he’s openly intrigued by the idea of claiming his territory by suggesting we have sex in my childhood bed.
And by ‘suggest,’ I mean make a series of really hot offers that make me whimper when I have to say no.
Wait – why am I saying no again?
Mom has turned her house into a Christmas showcase that makes Frankenmuth look like the picked-over clearance rack at Target on December 26. You know those crazy people on Etsy who make felted gnomes out of belly button lint and use … a certain kind of hair… to make thatched roofs on little decorative elf homes?
Those people are saner than my mother.
There is no force of nature stronger — and more emotionally volatile — than a fifty-something grandmother determined to create holiday memories.
Wait a minute. Maybe there is.
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“What about you, Declan?” Mom asks, standing and lighting a series of green taper candles in a pewter train that covers an end table.
“What about me?”
“When you were little, what was it like to wake up on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought you?”
His whole body goes still. So still. Then his shoulder relaxes, followed by his jaw, which loosens as if giving himself permission to remember. The body is the gatekeeper for our brains. We think it’s the other way around.
“We rarely spent Christmas at home,” Declan says. I know this, but my family doesn’t. “We traveled somewhere special most years. Mom and Dad rented a house for a few weeks, and we spent the time traveling there. Dad would only be there for the week between Christmas Day and New Years’ Day. Geneva, Dublin, Prague, Melbourne – you name it. Our Christmas presents came from the local economy. Dad’s time there was all about business. Mom really made it feel like a holiday.”
“She was the glue,” my own mother says.
“Yes.” Dec finishes his beer and sets the empty on the table. Arms around me, he rests lightly against my body, lost in memory. “Versatile, Dad called her. Mom could shift into whatever social rules were in a given situation. Hayride? Mom wore jeans and flannel shirts. UN reception for the incoming secretary-general? Mom brushed up on her language skills and was Dad’s charming wife. Kids need to learn about the world?” One corner of his mouth goes up as his voice drops. “Mom was there.”
“I’m sorry she’s not here,” Dad says to Declan.
“But she is,” I say, holding Dec’s hand. “She is. You’re making her be with us.”