Friday, June 5, 2015

Famous Last Words by Alison Henderson

Well…not exactly famous. Not yet, anyway.

In my last post, I shared the first lines from eight of the Christmas short stories in Small Town Christmas Tales, coming later this fall. Today I thought it would be fun to share the last few lines of the same stories. While the first lines set the scene and the tone, the last lines provide the emotional satisfaction for the reader. In the short story format I’ve chosen not to wrap things up the way I do in a novel, but I like to leave the reader with a sense of good things to come.

                    “If Wishes Were Fishes”
     “I care about you, too.” He pulled her closer and tipped his head up to glance at the sprig of mistletoe dangling from the arched opening above their heads. “The doctor was right; the New Year is a good time to start a new life.” Then he bent his head and met her lips in a kiss filled with all the promise and hope the holidays could offer.

                    “Mistletoe and Misdemeanors”
     “I’d thought I would just come home until I got my bearings. I hadn’t considered staying in Hawthorne Springs for good.”
     He tugged on her hands until she stepped closer, and his arms slid around her. “Maybe I can help you make up your mind.” He glanced above their heads to a bundle of mistletoe dangling from the light fixture. With a slow, sexy smile, he lowered his head until their lips met in a kiss filled with promise.
     When he drew back, Callie smiled. “I have to admit the idea is growing on me.”

                    “Let It Snow”
     “Ah, you got the almond,” Gus exclaimed.
     At her blank look, Erik gave her a teasing grin. “Tradition says the one who gets the almond will marry during the coming year.”
     His words brought a sudden pang. “That’s unlikely. I’m not even dating anyone.”
     Gus shook a playful finger at her. “You never know. Don’t be so quick to dismiss tradition.”
     Erik popped another spoonful into his mouth then grimaced and slid a similar nut into his own spoon. He pointed the spoon at Gus. “Tradition says only one almond.”
     Gus laid a finger aside his nose and winked. “Sometimes tradition needs a little help.”

                    “The Brightest Jewel”
     “You plan to move here,” she said softly.
     A slow smile lifted his lips and lit his aquamarine eyes. “I’m looking forward to it. This town is full of surprises. Hanover House may be a great business opportunity, but it’s far from the only attraction in Black Bear Creek.”
     Heat rose in her cheeks, but she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the warmth in his eyes.
     Max reached for the cup of cider and lifted it in a toast. “Here’s to a new year full of possibilities.”
     Brianna smiled and closed her hand around his. “I’ll drink to that.”

                    “Liza’s Secret Santa”
     He drew her into a loose embrace. “I’ve kind of had a thing for you since second grade.”
     Her lips curved into a smile. “A thing? What kind of thing?”
     “I’m no good with words.”
     “You’re doing fine.”
     “I’d rather show you.”
     “Go ahead,” she murmured.
     Then Owen pulled her hard against her chest, and brought his mouth down on hers in a kiss that released twenty years of pent-up yearning. Liza’s head spun, and she held on as if her life depended on it. When he finally released her, she collapsed into him and smiled against his flannel-covered chest.
     Sometimes words were overrated.

                    “No Room at the Inn”
     Family, a party, and the opportunity to eat someone else’s cooking. Her walls began to crumble. He seemed to know just how to hit her soft spots.
     “Come on,” he urged, tugging her toward him. “Take a chance.”
     Should she? Could she?
     She allowed him to pull her closer until only a breath separated them. She hadn’t had a reason to celebrate the beginning of a new year in ages. Maybe it was time.
     “I think I’d like that,” she murmured.
     His arms tightened around her back, and his lips settled on hers in a kiss filled with the promise of good things to come.

                    “Second Hand Hearts”
He leaned forward and placed one hand on hers. “There’s also another big plus.”
The glow surged, and heat rose in her cheeks. “Yes?”
“You and I will be able to get to know each other better.”
“Yes.” Her response came out just above a whisper.
The ring of silver striking glass interrupted the moment, and Trudy raised her half-empty mimosa. “I believe this calls for a toast.”
Rachel and Mark grinned at each other as they lifted their glasses.
Trudy touched her glass to theirs. “A very Merry Christmas to us all, and here’s to a New Year filled with hope and possibilities.”
“Hear, hear,” they replied.
     “Oh, and by the way, you’re welcome. Both of you.”

                    “A Hard Luck Christmas”
“We can’t offer all the benefits of a big city, but you could make a difference here.”
All she’d really wanted since graduating from college was the chance to make a difference. What did it matter if she worked in a big city or small, rural community?
His smile returned, this time with a coaxing twist. “Is there anything I can say to sweeten the pot?”
“Well. . .I would need someone to show me around and help me find a place to live.”
“I’m your man. My family’s been ranching here for four generations. Nobody knows Hard Luck better than I do.” He held out his hand. “So, do we have a deal?”
She slid her hand into his. “I think we do.”
Instead of releasing her hand, he caressed it lightly with one rough thumb. “You won’t be sorry.”
      “You know, I don’t think I will.”

I hope you enjoyed the last lines from these stories. I have two more to write before tackling the editing, formatting, etc., so I’d better get busy. By the way, the votes are in and we all liked this cover best. Thanks to everyone who helped me choose!



Jannine Gallant said...

You have a definite, sweet style to your endings, Alison. Well done! This is my favorite closing line: Sometimes words were overrated.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks fora little summer 'ho ,ho, ho.' Nothing better than Christmas happy endings.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Jannine. When I re-read them, that was my favorite line, too.

Alison Henderson said...

It's not Christmas in July, Rolynn, but it's close!

Leah St. James said...

My favorite is "Sometimes words were overrated" too!

Alison Henderson said...

Actions speak louder, Leah. Or, as Jannine is always telling me, "show, don't tell". LOL

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I love the cover too. It's rather nostalgic. And the last lines make you wish you'd read what came before.

Alison Henderson said...

Thank you, Vonnie. You couldn't have paid me a nicer compliment.

Diane Burton said...

Loved the endings. These sounds like really great stories. Can't wait to read them.

Unknown said...

How fun! I wouldn't have thought of sharing last lines. They all end so sweetly. :)