She was looking for coffee and conversation. He was looking for a quiet place to write. What they found was a connection that would make this Christmas unforgettable.
Hayley Wolfe shares a kinship with the lost and lonely. Growing up without a father taught her that you can’t always count on people. Her strong faith in God taught her that her Heavenly Father is unshakable. When she meets Kameron Kohl at her antiques and coffee shop, she’s immediately drawn to his warmth and charm.
After being abandoned on the steps of a church as a baby, Kameron Kohl has spent his life rejecting God and meaningful relationships. After all, his own mother didn’t care for him, so why should anyone else. But Kameron never expected to meet Hayley Wolfe. Her faith in Christ, her inner beauty and selfless openness towards strangers, has Kameron falling for her hard.
When Hayley notices a connection between Kameron's keychain and the locket passed down to her from her mother, she wants to investigate further. Kameron refuses. As friendship turns to love, Hayley will have to rely on God to soften Kameron’s heart.
Will the connection between their Christmas Trinkets lead them to love or unanswerable questions?
Hayley took a step back. “My necklace?”
He fingered a matching chain attached to his keys, and pulled it from his pocket.
“Oh, my goodness. Look at that! It’s the exact same design. I’ve seen a lot of interesting pieces through the years, but none like this. Looks like a short watch fob. May I hold it?”
He slid it off the keyring and offered it to her. Their fingers touched. An arrow shot straight to his chest. He’d always chalked that kind of spark to romance authors. Imagine that. To experience such a thing for the very first time. No way. Ignore it. He pulled back and stuck his hand in his pocket.
“One of the features of gold is that it absorbs body heat. Do you know what the bar is for?” She ran her thumb and index finger over the T-shape at the end of the chain.
What would it be like to have those long white fingers touch him in exploration? Craziness.
Was it wrong to crave a woman’s touch? He’d missed out on the nurturing cuddles of a natural mother. Same old refrain.
“This chain looks like a watch fob, where the tee fits into a buttonhole, but it’s different somehow, not as long as the norm. Where did you get it, Kameron?”
“Pastor Gregg gave it to me. The shop is your inheritance. This chain is the only inheritance I have.” However, not from a blood relative. No way would he tell her that. Someone as secure as Hayley, safe at home in this tiny town, couldn’t identify with a guy who’d been left on the church steps.
Abandoned like an old shoe tossed in the street.
“Did Pastor say where it came from? Someone in his family, maybe?” She laid his chain on top of an antique curio cabinet, flipped her hair to the front, and unhooked her necklace. Laid side by side, there was no mistaking the pieces were made to match. “I have goose bumps. They had to have been created by the same artisan. And you know what? Since I found my necklace amongst my mother’s belongings, I didn’t think about taking a magnifying glass to it.”
“Why should you?”
“For identity purposes. Mom never got into old jewelry deep enough to use a loupe, so I never have either. I’m guessing the pieces were designed to go together. The necklace made for a woman and the chain for a man. Did you grow up around here?”
He took the knuckle he’d been gnawing out of his mouth. “The first home I remember was in a drafty old parsonage near the Kansas border. Pastor Gregg moved from town to town about every five or six years. At least I was in the same school from ninth to twelfth grade.”
“I know Pastor is single. How long has he been a widower? Oh, I apologize. That means you’ve been without a mother that long.”
He frowned in an attempt to follow. Gregg was right. He’d have horrid forehead wrinkles if he didn’t stop scowling. “Pastor’s never been married. His sister Teresa lived with him and took care of cooking and cleaning. She adopted me, raised me. I don’t talk about my past.”
“I apologize if I’ve stepped on your toes. I’m too curious for my own good. I get it because I don’t like to talk about what’s in my past either.” She smiled and held out the chain. “Pastor Gregg’s dogs are no doubt waiting for their romp.”
“For a few minutes there, I forgot about the dogs.” He stuffed the laptop in his bag, shrugged into his coat but didn’t close it. “You seem to enjoy this old stuff. Don’t know how the jewelry is connected, but if there’s a way to find out, I’m sure you’ll be able to. Now I need to make tracks so I don’t get back to a mess in the house.”
He jogged the two short blocks to the parsonage without noticing a thing around him, thanks to the lovely woman he’d just met. Why did she get to him?
She ran an old-lady kind of business in an aged brick bank building. Did she live above the shop?
He hadn’t put his mind on the abandonment word for a long, long time. Instead, he poured out the hate, anger, his own sense of worthlessness, into his characters. Boys forever lost without knowing home.
None of that helped. He’d still been tossed aside.
Summer’s barks resounded with his first step on the porch. He opened the door. “OK, OK. I’ll let you out back to do your thing.”
Winter did the growl sound that Gregg liked to put words to.
He swiped his feet on the mat, just a little snow, then jogged through the lower level to let out the dogs.
In the spare room, his bag knocked over a tiny bust of Jesus that he’d molded and painted in sixth grade. It had gone unnoticed since his arrival the day before. Authors were supposed to notice details. Maybe he was as much a fake writer as he was a fake son. He straightened the statuette on the small table, and bit his knuckle. Ungrateful fool. Pastor Gregg thought enough of Kameron to keep the silly thing all these years.
Winter’s teeth on the doorknob and Summer’s yaps pulled his dark thoughts to the present task.
Keys in hand, he fingered the fob chain. Dare he snoop in Gregg’s cedar-scented room?
- Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
Hi. I’m Kameron Kohl, a serious sort of guy. Your average Joe, except I’m bookish rather than athletic. That means I’d rather be by myself than in a crowd. I admit to having a hard head and a chip on my shoulder.
- Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
I don’t know that my apartment in a four-plex was really my choice at the time. It’s in Lincoln’s Near South neighborhood, and the first place I found to live as a young adult. Been here since college and see no reason to move.
- What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?
Aren’t all authors quirky? Don’t think much about my own personality. Let’s see, I’m standoffish, don’t invite people to be friendly, but I’d really like a friend other than the ones I make up in my stories.
- Name two things you’d hate people to know about you?
I’m nothing to brag about. Don’t like talking about myself. I admit, spending time with Pastor Gregg’s dogs has been enjoyable. Plus, I always thought of myself as a city dweller, but I’m digging the village of Edgewood. Especially writing in Hayley’s shop.
- Tell us about your special lady. What makes her special?
Ah. Hayley Wolfe is special. She’s colorful, likes orange, smiles most of the time. She’s almost too nice. She runs Auntie’s Antiquities, and is interested in old stuff. She gets that from her mother who left her the place. Everything about her is special, but there’s one thing that bugs me. She talks about God too much.
- The first time you saw her, what did you think? Did you like her immediately, or did she have to grow on you?
She was too friendly. But so pretty with her light brown hair and eyes the color of honey. I handed her my keyring, that matches her necklace, and our fingers touched. I swear, an arrow shot straight to my chest. I’d always chalked up that kind of spark to romance authors.
- What would she hate people to know about her?
A couple things come to mind. She always felt like she missed out, not growing up with a dad around. The other thing is she’s stuck in a rut in a tiny town in Nebraska and never got the chance to travel. I’d like to take her on a trip.
- What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
Never really thought about it. Food’s just something to keep me alive. Lately, I’d say Hayley’s coffee and fudge. Then again, maybe that’s because I like to spend time with her.
- If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
Odd question. What if I was a woman? I guess I fight through the lost boys I write about in their dystopian worlds. They grab anything within reach, so I suppose I’d clobber an intruder with a heavy book.
Christian romance author LoRee Peery writes to feel alive, as a way of contributing, and to pass forward the hope of rescue from sin. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. LoRee clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. She has authored the Frivolities Series and other e-books. Her desire for readers, the same as for her characters, is to discover where they fit in this life journey to best work out the Lord’s life plan. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author. She’s been a reader since before kindergarten. Connect with LoRee through these links: www.loreepeery.com