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Christmas with an Angel
A Short Story
By Debbie Mason
Formats and Prices
- ebook (Digital original) $0.99 $0.99 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 6, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Tomorrow was to be Michael Gallagher’s wedding day. And now it wasn’t. His bride-to-be had just called the whole thing off.
Michael sat beside his cousin on the front steps of the manor watching the taillights of the limos that carried the bridal party fade from view, waiting for the misery and despair to kick in.
Nothing. All he felt was relief.
He rubbed his hands over his face as he tried to come to terms with his momentous mistake. “How did I miss it, Liam? How did I not know who Bethany really was? That…woman was not the one I fell in love with.” When Liam stayed silent, Michael lowered his hands and glanced at his cousin. “Just say it, I’m an idiot.”
“Well…” Liam grinned and patted Michael’s back. “What can I say? You got played, bro. She showed you exactly what you wanted to see.”
“For two bloody years?”
“The amount of time you two actually spent together probably added up to three months.”
“You know she’s been living with me for almost a year, don’t you?”
“Yeah, and I know you. You’re a workaholic, and you made up for it by giving her everything she wanted. Until now.”
Michael hated to admit it, but Liam was right. As an only child, Bethany was used to getting her way. Her parents spoiled her, and Michael had basically done the same. Now he was paying the price. Along with his Irish wolfhound, Atticus, and possibly his entire family.
In the two hours that had passed since she’d thrown her engagement ring at him, Bethany had been busy plotting her revenge. She’d already had the locks on his condo changed, planned to keep him from his dog, and hired a lawyer who she vowed would tie Michael up in court for the foreseeable future and smear his family’s good name.
They weren’t idle threats. Her wealthy Boston family had the clout and connections to make them happen.
“I gotta get in touch with my dad and let him know what she’s up to.” This was going to get worse before it got better. He’d be lucky if anyone would hire him once the Adamses got through tearing him to shreds in the court of public opinion. “So, is your pal Marco just kidding around when he says he’s got mob connections? A hit man’s sounding pretty good about now.”
“The guy has been spouting that crap since grade school,” Liam said with a laugh. Then his laughter faded. “You’re joking, right?”
“Yeah, I just have no idea how I’m going to stop this. How I’m going to get Atticus back and protect the family and the manor.”
“Knock it off with the I. We’ve got your back. And I’m here to look after the manor.”
“No shit? What changed your mind?”
“Sophie and Mia. Instead of only thinking about what the family’s lost over the past seven years, they reminded me of all the good times we had here.” Liam looked down at his hands clasped between his legs then glanced at Michael. “I’ve spent the past seven years keeping everyone at arm’s length and avoiding Greystone, and Harmony Harbor. I didn’t realize it’s exactly where I needed to be.”
“Spoken like a man in love. And speaking as a man who’s just been duped, dumped, and possibly hung out to dry, I should probably caution you that women aren’t always what they seem, but I won’t, because you and I both know you got lucky. I’m happy for you, buddy.”
“Thanks. Along those lines, I have a favor to ask.”
Liam looked back at the closed doors then leaned forward and lowered his voice. “I was wondering how you’d feel about me and Soph getting married tomorrow? I haven’t asked her yet. I wanted to check with you first. Everything’s been ordered and it seems a shame to let it go to waste. But if you—”
“You don’t even have to ask. Well, you have to ask Sophie, but I’m good. Actually, it’s kind of perfect that your wedding’s on me. After all, you two would have gotten together a long time ago if I hadn’t screwed things up for you.” Sophie might have dated him for a couple of months that long-ago summer, but it had always been his cousin she wanted. He didn’t blame her. Back then, Liam had been the better man. Maybe Bethany was Michael’s karmic retribution.
He’d screwed up a lot of things that summer. Including the life of Shay Angel, the girl he’d fallen in love with while he was dating Sophie. Shay had been the one who got away. The girl who’d broken his heart. He had a feeling she wouldn’t see it the same way. If he had any doubts, they’d been laid to rest Thanksgiving weekend. He’d been at the Salty Dog, her uncle Charlie’s bar. It was the first time Michael had seen her in eight years. She’d looked right through him, like he didn’t exist.
“Come on, Mike. That was a long time ago. You didn’t know I was in love with Soph. If I’d told—”
“I was a jerk back then, Liam. You know it, and I know it. So I can’t say I would have done the right thing. But I can now. The wedding’s as good as paid for. I’ve canceled my credit and debit cards so Bethany can’t totally wipe me out. Sophie and the staff worked their asses off catering to her, it’s the least I can do.” He stood up and dusted the snow from his black dress coat. “Go ask your girl to marry you.”
“Where are you going?”
“To the bar to get drunk.”
Liam scratched his chin. “Which bar?”
“Salty Dog. I’m walking, and it’s closest to the manor.”
“The closest bar would be in the manor. Never took you for a masochist, buddy. After tonight, do you really want to put yourself in the crosshairs of Charlie and Shay Angel?”
Maybe he was a masochist. Or maybe he wanted to wipe out his karmic debt so he didn’t have another Bethany come into his life and take another gigantic bite out of his ass. And the one way he knew how to do that was to find a way to make up for the five years Shay had lost because of him. If nothing else, he needed her forgiveness.
Michael stood beside a twenty-foot replica of a sailboat mast decorated with red and green Christmas lights, a fiberglass bulldog standing guard in the crow’s nest above. He glanced in the half-fogged window framed with gold garland. The bulldog could have been a stand-in for the Salty Dog’s owner, who just happened to be manning the bar tonight with a woman. Even with her back to him, Michael knew it was Shay. He’d recognize that thick fall of inky-black hair and the curves of her long, lithe body anywhere. He didn’t know why he’d expected to catch a break tonight of all nights. The last time he’d been here, Liam had snuck him in through a side door. If Charlie Angel had seen him that night, he would have run Michael out of the bar at the end of a shotgun.
The old man blamed him for Shay’s five-year stint in prison for grand theft auto. It didn’t matter that she’d stolen Michael’s Corvette and broken his heart; in Charlie’s eyes, he was the thief who’d robbed him of his niece. Michael blamed the old man as much as he blamed himself. Like Fagin in Oliver Twist, Charlie Angel had set his niece on a life of crime.
- On Sale
- Dec 6, 2016
- Page Count
- 60 pages
- Forever Yours