Millie Corwin had snuck into Dry Creek's café to leave gifts for the townspeople, not to rob them. But she'd been caught. And now that she was in the custody of one infuriatingly good-looking Good Samaritan, the entire town--including her handsome captor--had branded her a criminal.
Brad Parker was minding his own business when he noticed Millie sneaking into the café. She claimed she wasn't a robber, and he wasn't sure what to believe. Because how could a thief be so lovely to look at, and--Brad soon learned--lovely on the inside, too? One thing was certain. Robber or not, this stranger seemed to be stealing his love-resistant heart...
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A Dry Creek Christmas
By Janet Tronstad
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMillie Corwin squinted and pushed her eyeglasses back into place. The night was full of snow clouds and there were no stars to help her see along this long stretch of Highway 94. Millie was looking for the sign that marked the side road leading into Dry Creek, Montana. She could barely see with the snow flurries.
What had she been thinking? When she had told the chaplain at the prison that she would honor Forrest's request, she hadn't thought about the fact that Christmas was in the middle of winter and Dry Creek was in the middle of Montana so she would, of course, be in the middle of snow.
She hated snow. Not that it made much difference. Snow or no snow, she had to be here.
Millie saw a sign and peered down the dark road that led into Dry Creek. Only one set of car tracks disturbed the snow that was falling. Hopefully that meant most people were home and in bed at this time of night. She planned to arrive in Dry Creek, do what she had to do, and then leave without anyone seeing her.
Millie turned the wheel of her car and inched her way closer to the little town. She wished, and not for the first time, that Forrest had made a different final request of her while he was dying.
She met Forrest three years ago. He'd come into Ruby's, thecoffee shop where she worked near the Seattle waterfront, and sat down at one of her tables. Millie must have taken Forrest's order a dozen times before he looked her in the eyes and smiled. There was something sweet about Forrest. He seemed as quiet and nondescript as she felt inside. He was restful compared with all of the tall, boisterous, loud men she'd learned to ignore at Ruby's.
It wasn't until he had been arrested, however, that she knew the whole truth about Forrest. He'd been a criminal since he was a boy and had, over the years, gotten deeper and deeper into crime until he'd eventually become a hit man. His last contract had been for someone in Dry Creek.
When Millie got over the shock of what Forrest was, she decided he still needed a friend. She had visited him while he was in prison, especially this past year when he'd been diagnosed with cancer. The odd thing was the sicker he got the more cheerful he became. He told her he'd found God in prison.
Millie was glad enough that Forrest had found religion if it made him happy. She smiled politely and nodded when he explained what a miracle it was that God could love a man like him.
Personally, Millie thought it would be a miracle if God loved anyone, but that it had more to do with God than the people He was supposed to love. However, since Forrest was sick, she supposed it was good if Forrest thought God loved him and so she nodded pleasantly.
But when Forrest added that God loved her as well, she stopped nodding.
Of course, she kept smiling. Millie didn't want to offend either Forrest or God.
Then Forrest added that he was going to pray for her so she would know God's love, too. Millie could no longer keep smiling; she could barely keep quiet. She'd always kept a low profile with God and she figured that was the smart thing to do.
If God was anything like the other domineering males she'd seen - and there was no reason to think otherwise - then He looked out for His own interests first. If He noticed a person like her at all, it would only be to ask her to fetch Him a glass of water or another piece of toast or something else to make Him more comfortable.
Millie had grown up in a foster home where she was the one assigned to do chores. Usually, the chores consisted of cooking, doing laundry and taking care of the five boys in the home.
Millie didn't know if it was because she was easier to order around than the boys or if her foster mother really believed males were privileged, but - whatever the reason - she soon realized she was doing all of the work for everyone in the house and, instead of being grateful, the boys only became more demanding.
By the time Millie left that home, she'd had enough of dealing with loud, demanding males.
And those boys were mere mortals. She figured God would be even more demanding. No, it was best if God didn't even know her name. She didn't want anyone mentioning her to Him. She had no desire to be God's waitress.
Still, Millie wasn't good at telling people what to do or not to do, and she certainly couldn't tell a dying friend to stop praying. So she changed the subject with Forrest and asked what kind of pudding he had had for lunch. She would just have to hope Forrest came to his senses on his own.
He didn't. Every letter he wrote after that said he was praying for her.
When Forrest died, the chaplain at the prison forwarded a final letter Forrest had asked him to mail.
Excerpted from A Dry Creek Christmas by Janet Tronstad Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. . Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Dry Creek Christmas By Janet Tronstad Another great book by Janet Tronstad! I loved the character Millie Corwin. She had no idea why Forrest, the hit man from An Angel for Dry Creek, would pick her to convince the town of Dry Creek to trust in strangers again. How could she prove to them that Forrest was sorry for what he took from them—their trust—and how could she restore it to them? Brad Parker catches Millie sneaking into the café where she is going to leave Christmas stockings for everyone with one hundred dollars in each one. She figures that will prove to everyone once and for all that Forrest was sorry and they should trust strangers again. The one thing she doesn’t reckon on is Brad feeling lonely around Christmas time and catching her doing it. Can these two get a miracle from God and fall in love? How will Millie prove she isn’t trying to steal money, but giving it away? This book brings back all the characters from the previous Dry Creek books. Brad tries his best to put the town’s best foot forward so Millie will decide to stay. But it’s the church that tugs on her heartstrings. Church isn’t what she grew up thinking it was. I enjoyed this part of the story. Millie thought God didn’t care about her or the things that worried her. But she is beginning to see that He does care. No matter what you are going through, God is there. He is in control. We just need to trust Him. And like Millie, He can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. All it takes is a willing heart. Brad and Millie will draw you in from the time they meet until the end with their insecurities and questions. You won’t want to put this book down!
I really enjoyed this book, but it was not my favorite book in the world. That isn't saying that I don't recomend this book because I do. This book was the typic romance novel, but not the typical love inspired book. The characters weren't Christian and didn't know much or actually anything about God. They didn't become Christians until the last chapter or epilogue. But it was a good wholesome romance, and a great Christmas tale. Neither of the main characters Millie and Brad were familar with Christmas. Millie never had a real Christmas, and Brad avoided Christmas because his parents died around this time. He vowed to never have a Christmas until he met Millie and saw how much she wanted and deserved to have one. Brad met Millie when he thought she broke into a diner to steal a great deal of money. Millie actually was giving away the money as a favor to a friend who had done a great wrong to the people of dry creek and wanted to make it up to them ,but he just died. And like most other books they meet and she thinks hes too wild too out of her league and the whole time he thinks shes too good for him. But what I really like about this story is that it makes us realise that not every has the ideal Christmas. I mean Millie was completely overjoyed to have a puny misshaped tree with pink lights and homemade decorations. She was happy to have people who were willing to decorate the with and for her. It just really made me thankful for what I have. So if you are looking for a good Christmas story to enhance your Christmas spirit I really recomend this book