'Tis the season for family, friendship and the thrill of a holiday romance
Under the Christmas Tree
With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is sharedand a surprise left under the Christmas tree is about to bring two special people together!
Holiday kisses don't end with Christmasthere's still the New Year's Eve party at Jack's Bar to attend. Locals and newcomers alike find themselves eager for that special countdown and that midnight kiss.
So join us in Virgin River this year, where Robyn Carr's trademark humor, warmth and sincerity will have you celebrating the festive season in your favorite mountain town.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
During the Christmas holidays a side trip through Virgin River was a must; the town had recently begun erecting a thirty-foot tree in the center of town, decorated in red, white, blue and gold and topped with a great big powerful star. It dominated the little town, and people came from miles around to see it. The patriotic theme of the decorations set it apart from all other trees. Local bar owner Jack Sheridan joked that he expected to see the three wise men any minute, that star was so bright.
Annie McKenzie didn't pass through Virgin River very often. It was out of her way when driving from Fortuna, where she lived, to her parents' farm near Alder Point. It was a cute little town and she liked it there, especially the bar and grill owned by Jack Sheridan. People there met you once, maybe twice, and from that point on, treated you like an old friend.
She was on her way to her folks' place when, at the last moment, she decided to detour through Virgin River. Since it was the week after Thanksgiving, she hoped they'd started on the tree. It was a calm and sunny Monday afternoon and very cold, but her heart warmed when she pulled into town and saw that the tree was up and decorated. Jack was up on an A-frame ladder straightening out some trimmings, and standing at the foot of the ladder, looking up, was Christopher, the six-year-old son of Jack's cook, Preacher.
Annie got out of her truck and walked over. "Hey, Jack," she yelled up. "Looking good!"
"Annie! Haven't seen you in a while. How are your folks?"
"They're great. And your family?"
"Good." He looked around. "Uh-oh. David?" he called. Then he looked at Christopher as he climbed down the ladder. "Chris, you were going to help keep an eye on him. Where did he go? David?" he called again.
Then Chris called, "David! David!"
They both walked around the tree, checked the bar porch and the backyard, calling his name. Annie stood there, not sure whether to help or just stay out of their way, when the lowest boughs of the great tree moved and a little tyke about three years old crawled out.
"David?" Annie asked. He was holding something furry in his mittened hands and she got down on her knees. "Whatcha got there, buddy?" she asked. And then she yelled, "Found him, Jack!"
The child was holding a baby animal of some kind, and it looked awfully young and listless. Its fur was black-and-white, its eyes were closed, and it hung limply in little David's hands. She just hoped the boy hadn't squeezed the life out of it; boys were not known for gentleness. "Let me have a look, honey," she said, taking the creature out of his hands. She held it up and its little head lolled. Unmistakably a puppy. A brand-new puppy.
Jack came running around the tree. "Where was he?"
"Under the tree. And he came out with this," she said, showing him the animal very briefly before stuffing it under her sweater between her T-shirt and her wool sweater, up against the warmth of her body. Then she pulled her down vest around herself to hold him in place. "Poor little thing might be frozen, or almost frozen."
"Aw, David, where'd you find him?"
David just pointed at Annie. "My boppie!" he said.
"Yeah, he's right," Annie said. "It's a boppie er, puppy. But it's not very old. Not old enough to have gotten out of a house or a yard. This little guy should've been in a box with his mom."
"David, hold Chris's hand," Jack ordered.
And David said something in his language that could be translated into I want my puppy! But Jack was on his belly on the cold ground, crawling under the tree. And from under there Annie heard a muffled "Aw, crap!" And then he backed out, pulling a box full of black-and-white puppies.
Annie and Jack just stared at each other for a moment. Then Annie said, "Better get 'em inside by the fire. Puppies this young can die in the cold real fast. This could turn out badly."
Jack hefted the box. "Yeah, it's gonna turn out badly! I'm gonna find out who would do something so awful and take him apart!" Then he turned to the boys and said, "Let's go, guys." He carried the box to the bar porch and Annie rushed past him to hold the door open. "I mean, there are animal shelters, for God's sake!"