Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cozy Christmas Reads: Darlene's story

Excerpt from Chapter 11 of "The Christmas Child" by Darlene Franklin:

Chatter rippled through the room after Joseph and Mary had joined the Masquerade ball. As volunteers prepared for the event, Mr. Orson spoke with Preston and Eliza. “You promised me my grandson would be here tonight for me to introduce to my workers.”

“It will happen soon.” After a brief prayer, Preston stepped up to a podium. “The time has come for us to reveal ourselves. “Who can guess my identity?”

A brave soul at the back shouted, “Marshall!”

Bowing, Marshall removed his mask and bowed. When the applause subsided, he drew Eliza forward.

“May I present to you…” He bowed in Eliza’s direction. She curtsied and removed the mask.

“Miss Eliza Lampert.”

More cheers erupted. Pride surged through Preston’s body and his throat. Here, at last, he’d linked their names as he’d wanted to do so often. A year from now, they might be wed, or at least promised to each other.

Mr. Orson stood to side, nodding politely, but his attention was elsewhere, focused on his inner sorrow rather than the gaiety of the masquerade. Preston had hoped the party might bring the man some comfort, but if so, he showed no signs of it.

During the unmasking, they took their time with town luminaries before plunging into to the line of guests. It was a true test to how well Mr. Orson knew his employees and the townspeople. A few times he had to ask. Woody had been a great help in that regard.

Mr. Orson’s attention kept wandering to the door, as if looking for his grandson.

He’s closer than you think. The procession wound down to a young couple at the end of the line..

Mr. Orson examined them curiously. Preston sent up an escape-clause prayer, asking God to make everything work out as they hoped. Eliza smiled at him. He took courage from that and called for Mary and Joseph.

Preston stood between the man and a woman. “I believe this couple, representing those frightened parents in ancient Bethlehem, deserve a special award. Do you agree?” He held his breath, hoping this part of their plan would go smoothly.

Enthusiastic clapping rose from the gathered crowd, and he relaxed.

Eliza tugged on his arm. In a stage whisper, loud enough to be heard across the floor, she said, “The king has ordered that this baby boy be taken away from his mother.”

Preston stood at attention. “Not as long as I have the means to fight it.” He knelt in front of the still-masked couple. “May I take you to safety?”

Silence had fallen across the room as the scene unwound.

“God is our defender,” the man dressed as Joseph answered. “We ask nothing but the blindness of your eyes when we pass.”

“Mary” stepped forward. “Before we leave, I have only one wish: that my son see his grandfather.” Marina removed her mask, revealing her identity. “Because they have never met.”

Mr. Orson stood and took a step forward. “Is that—?” He looked around in a daze.

Eliza and Preston approached Mr. Orson, each taking one of his arms.

“Come meet your grandson,” Eliza said. “And his mother.”

Marina matched Mr. Orson step for step until they met. He stared at the child, hunger written on his face. He needed this grandson the way a starving man needed bread. “May I?” The words came from a broken heart. Preston held his breath.

Marina settled the baby in Mr. Orson’s arms. “It’s a little soon, but I think he will have

Woody’s eyes. And he has his red hair.”

Mr. Orson didn’t stop smiling. “He does looks like Woody did as a newborn. What is he called?”

Preston was glad he was close enough to hear every word of this precious meeting.

Marina brushed a red ringlet from his forehead. “Woodrow John, but I call him John.”

Satisfaction settled on Mr. Orson’s face. “I’d be mighty proud if you would name him

Woodrow John—Orson.”

Marina looked him straight in the eye. “As long as you acknowledge him and love him as your grandson, you are welcome to visit as often as you wish.”

Author bio: 
Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin's greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Moore near her son, and is expecting her first great-grandchild in January. 

This fall, Captive Brides spent time at the top of the ECPA bestseller list and Christmas Mail Order Angels appeared at the top of one of Amazon’s bestseller lists.

She’s also contributed to more than thirty nonfiction titles.

Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears in four monthly venues (including Oklahoma Senior News and Living.)

Book Blurb for The Christmas Child: A year ago scandal ruined the annual Nanepaushat Cotton Mill Christmas Masquerade—the owner’s son tarried with a mill worker and she left, shamed and pregnant. 

Tragedy strikes this year when the same son dies in a tragic accident. Can supervisor Preston Marshall and the shunned woman’s cousin redeem the flailing Masquerade and rescue the Christmas child? How will they overcome the difference in their positions?

Check out The Christmas Child to read this imaginative retelling of Herod’s massacre of the innocents of Bethlehem.

Buy Darlene's book on Amazon 

Review of Darlene's book: "Romance and faith collide to bring the reader a story of redemption and overcoming obstacles that seem insurmountable! I loved watching Eliza and Preston work together to salvage the annual event and bolster the mill workers after a terrible scandal. The ending was my favorite of all! There's many more things to love, it was a delightful Christmas themed story and brought the real meaning of the holidays about. Celebrating the true Christmas Child!" ~ Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt

Connect with Darlene:

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  1. I have a special place in my heart for babies born on or around Christmas as our oldest is a Christmas Eve baby! Lots of interesting details to that story, but I’m thankful for a happy, healthy son who will be 8 in a few weeks!

    1. My granddaughter is a December baby. Nine years old today. Woo hoo! The miracle of that story lies in her conception. . .when my daughter died.

  2. It looks intriguing. I look forward to reading it.

  3. It sounds so good! I have never been disappointed by anything I have read by Darlene Franklin.


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