Back Cover Blurb – A Semi-Precious Christmas
On a bright, crisp December morning, jewelry store manager, Peridot Keaton-Jones, arrives at work expecting to find her beloved uncle, Marty. Instead, she’s greeted by the muzzle of a gun pressed to her temple. When thugs assault her, threaten her life, and steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, Peri can only pray her uncle is late for the first time in his life.
Christopher Lane is a TV news cameraman in the right place at the right time. He witnesses the heist, calls the police, and offers help when Peri needs it most. She can't deny her attraction, but is he really her hero, or is he just after a story? And with Christmas right around the corner, can Peri and Chris avert a holiday disaster?
A Semi-Precious Christmas Excerpt
My hand stilled as cold steel pressed hard against my temple. A gloved hand covered my mouth, and a low voice rumbled in my ear.
“Keep your mouth shut and turn off the alarm. We won’t hurt you if you play nice. All we’re after is the jewelry.”
God, help me!
I couldn’t see the man who’d sneaked up behind me, but he wrenched my left arm behind my back and shoved the gun up against my skull. I wasn’t about to resist, but my heart stuttered so hard I barely recognized my own voice. “It’s easier to open the door and disarm the alarm if I have both hands.” Where had that come from? I almost sounded collected.
He released me. “Well, aren’t you the plucky thing? Remember I have my .45 pointed at the back of your head.”
As if I could forget. With trembling fingers, I turned my key in the lock of Keaton’s Jewelers, switched on the lights, and fumbled to shut off the beeping alarm. The robber didn’t need to know my uncle was too frugal to spring for an alarm system that notified the police…or anyone.
We. He’d said we. How many of them were there? And where was the accomplice? I caught my bottom lip between my teeth. It wasn’t quite 10 AM and the jewelry store was due to open in five minutes. Where was Uncle Marty? He was always here early. Always.
With an unrelenting hand on my back, the man hustled me into the showroom.
I peered over my shoulder and stole a good look at him. He was tall and burly, his mouth twisted into a sneer. And that was all I could see—his mouth. A dark blue ski mask covered his hair and the rest of his face. But his eyes. His eyes were a cold, mean, arctic blue. This guy exuded unbridled malevolence.
“Do you think she has a key to the jewelry cases?” The second robber’s voice cracked.
I twisted until he came into my line of vision. His slim build pegged him as a kid, maybe mid to late-teens. He slouched in his worn black jeans, black t-shirt, and a black hoodie. So cliché. His mask drooped a bit on the left side, and I could just make out the beginnings of a scraggly beard covering a thin, café au lait African-American face.
“That’ll take too long,” Mean-Eyes snapped. “Why do you think we brought the hammer, moron?”
“OK, OK, OK.” Hoodie-boy lowered his voice to a whisper. “And I ain’t no moron.”
“Shut your trap.” Whipping a small, oddly shaped orange hammer from the waistband of his jeans, the nasty man moved over to one of the gem cases, raised his hand high, and let fly. The watchcase fractured into little pieces. Thank goodness, safety glass covered the display cases.
Hoodie-boy opened an old backpack and hurriedly scooped up men’s and ladies’ watches.
Mean-Eyes broke open another case, the diamond engagement rings this time. He nailed me with a contorted leer that lifted into a smirk, then slipped a diamond ring on his pinky—one of our gaudier items. The way he waved that gun around was nerve-wracking. But then he zeroed in on me and aimed the pistol at my head.
I froze. Was I about to die?
Short Christmas Piece:
This past year has been a wild ride in many ways. One of the things I think the Lord is teaching me is that no matter where I’m at in life, learning to be at peace with wherever I am is key.
It gets cold here in Maryland about mid-December and if we’re lucky, we have a couple of snows around the Christmas holidays. It may sound corny, but snowflakes are something that fascinate me. You can clearly see God in snowflakes because they’re all completely unique.
Can you imagine with me for a moment? Close your eyes and peer out your mind’s window at a gently swirling snowstorm. Really see the flakes as they drift down softly to the ground. Look at the way the ice crystals form pretty patterns. And then the snow stops and the sun shines down reflecting on the glorious scene, the bouncing shafts of light on white almost too dazzling for the eye to behold.
I learned a new phrase this year. Conversational snow. Isn’t that a wonderful saying? So, let’s talk about snow. How awesome is our God that he pays such attention to detail that out of the millions, billions, trillions of snowflakes, not a one is the same. He gives us such beauty in our daily lives through nature, through people, through pets, through circumstances…if we will only look for it.
So many people have been my “snowflakes” this year—stepping in just when I needed them with a word, or a card, or a prayer. Each one gifted me with their own unique presence, their own sparkle, their own crystals of light. When I felt lonely or afraid, God would send someone with skin on to cheer and comfort me. I could feel His presence whenever I looked for it.
This Christmas will be different in many ways but I will count my many, many blessings and thank all of the “snowflake” people that have been there for me throughout the year.
God is Good. All the Time. And I am at peace.
Buy Link for A Semi-Precious Christmas
Jan Elder is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, introducing the reader to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.
Happily married for thirteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.
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