Cami Jones is nervous about spending Thanksgiving with the Becker family, because she knows her old and dear friend Jason will be there. The friend, and employer, she’d deserted three years ago to run away and start a new life. Ashamed of things she’d done before finding faith, Cami reluctantly agrees to start a temporary job for Jason once again.
Still hurt that Cami had taken the son he’d helped deliver and fled, Jason finds it hard to believe she’s now a Bible-believing Christian. But the old spark is still there and he finds himself weaving into Cami and Robbie’s life again. When his new accountant turns out to be Cami’s ex, they panic they may lose custody of Robbie. Admitting he wants Cami and Robbie for ever is the best Christmas present he could ever imagine.
Excerpt: Christmas Forever by Robin Bayne
“When did you start going to church?” He asked the question in a quiet voice, but Cami also heard the unasked part of the query-when you would never go with me?
“In Philly. A woman I worked with asked me to go with her. She didn’t have anyone else, and neither did I. She gave me a few web sites to look at, ones that answered a lot of my concerns about Christ, and I got hooked. Katherine, that’s her name, went with us to all the social events, too.”
“Guess you’ll miss her.”
“Yeah. But she’s getting married in a few months, so she has someone.” They walked together in silence, traipsing into the snow bank as the street dead-ended near the woods. “How come you still aren’t married, Jason? You’ve always wanted a family.”
He touched her arm, and she felt his heat even through her coat. “Let’s turn around and head back now. It looks like it’s going to start snowing again.”
She understood he wanted to change direction of not only their path, but of their discussion. And she couldn’t blame him-it drove her nuts when people asked why she’d never married, too. Well-meaning, most folks had no idea why she couldn’t enjoy the blessing of marriage, of a loving, committed partner. She had too much to make up for.
Halfway home, Jason turned to her again. “Would you like to go to church with us Sunday? Then I could go with you to pick up Robbie.” He scuffed his boot against a curb. “There’s plenty of room in our pew, especially since Dad’s gone on. Mom still takes the family right up to the front row. She’s amazing.”
They stopped two houses from the Becker property. Cami felt a fist in her gut, twisting with the genuine affection she still felt for this man. “I don’t think so.”
That seemed to surprise him, and she watched the myriad of emotions cross his face. Finally a look of smug disbelief settled in his eyes, and the set of his mouth. “Why not? Are you really going to church now, Cami? I know we’ve had this discussion before, and it’s really none of my business. But you can tell me.”
“Of course I am. I’d never lie about that. It’s just that when I attend, I sit in the back row. And I keep my head down.”
Robin Bayne is the award-winning author of 17 novels, novellas and short stories. She also compiled “Words To Write By,” a collection of devotionals for writers. She works a day job in community bank lending in Maryland, where she lives with her husband of 26 years. Most recently she has decided to learn to play golf, because there’s not enough frustration in her life already.