What do you like about the holiday season? For some it's that wonderful sharing spirit that simply infuses the air. But, you know what ... gifts are nice, too! Paty Jager's visiting today, and she's offering readers a very special present.
My love of the west and the area where I grew up, led me to write the Christmas Novella I’m giving away free. Christmas Redemption came about from my reading a story about a man from Joseph, OR who robbed a bank as a young man and twenty-seven years later became the vice president of the same bank.
Van Donovan doesn’t become the bank president but I used the premise as the catalyst for the story. I also gave him an occupation you don’t see much in westerns. He’s a boot maker. I spent several hours in the shot of Bootmaker DW Frommer II learning the process of making boots in the 1800s. While I spent all the time learning about the pine pitch that is boiled down and rubbed like wax into the threads that sew the boots together, hair from the back of a boar’s neck that can be split and used like a needle, and how the hole patterns the bootmaker makes with an awl can distinguish his work. I ended up using very little of this information but hope the authenticity shows through in what I do have in the story.
Christmas Redemption Blurb
Van Donovan returns to Pleasant Valley, Oregon where twelve years earlier as a boy of fifteen he left in handcuffs after standing guard for a bank robbery. He's learned a trade and excelled at it and is ready to prove to his father and the town he can amount to something.
Upon his return he learns the fate of the daughter of an innocent man who died in the robbery crossfire. To make amends he takes her out of the saloon and gives her a job, not realizing she'd been squatting in the very building he'd purchased for his business.
Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives?
Van worked hard to wash away the images of the men handling Tessa like she was a whore. He'd witnessed the fear and humiliation in her large green eyes. Now fear widened those same eyes. Only this fear was almost frantic.
"What's wrong?" He stepped closer.
"I-I…" She glanced at the building in front of them and then at her feet.
The calico cat slinked around the corner of the building, set its yellow eyes on Tessa, and trotted over, lacing back and forth around her ankles.
"You and the cat seem to be friends." The minute he spit the words out it dawned on him- Tessa was his squatter.
She bent, scooped the cat into her arms, and buried her face in the animal's thick fur. Van's heart squeezed.
"I have a feeling it's your pallet in my storeroom." He motioned to the cat when her face and wide eyes appeared over its back. "The cat and I met before. In the back room."
She sucked in air then coughed. The cat launched out of her arms. Tears streamed down her rosy cheeks.
Van slipped an arm around her and maneuvered her into the building, away from the prying eyes peering through the saloon doors and from the street around them. Inside, he closed the door and moved to add wood to the potbelly stove he'd started before heading to the saloon.
She stood just inside the door, huddled in his coat, the whole time he added two sticks of wood and placed a chair beside the stove.
"Sit and get warm." He maneuvered her to the chair and she sat.
"W-why are you doing this?" she asked, gazing up at him, searching his face. He could stare into her spring green eyes—round and wondering like an innocent child—all day.
"You didn’t look like you wanted those men pawing you, and I need help setting up and running my shop." And I can't let your life be awful because of me.
"Who are you? Why are you here? In Pleasant Valley?"
Van swallowed the wad of shame strangling his throat and studied the stove. She deserved the truth but would she understand his part in her father's death? He wouldn't know until he told her. He looked her square in the eyes.
You can download Christmas Redemption Free at all ebook outlets.
Also available at Apple iBooks