New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels brings together the beloved heroines from two celebrated series—the Sisterhood and the Godmothers—for a holiday to remember…
This Christmas, instead of finding and punishing bad guys, all Maggie Spritzer wants is to bring a little more joy to the world—especially to a beloved teacher from her past. And as the Sisterhood unites to find her, they learn that no holiday treat is as fulfilling as giving to others…
Meanwhile, with a little help from the other Godmothers, Toots Loudenberry is preparing for Charleston’s annual holiday showcase of historic homes. But when the Godmothers sense trouble with one of the decorators, they must tackle a mystery and hope for a happy ending…
When Sisters and Godmothers unite, the result is a warm and wonderful holiday—with a special touch of magic…
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About the Author
FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood, Men of the Sisterhood, and Godmothers series, as well as dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over one-hundred ten million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is a passionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret. Visit her website at www.fernmichaels.com.
Hometown:Summerville, South Carolina
Place of Birth:Hastings, Pennsylvania
Read an Excerpt
Wishes for Christmas
By FERN MICHAELS
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Fern Michaels
All rights reserved.
What had started out as a simple, run-of-the-mill luncheon had somehow turned into a major culinary event sponsored by Maggie Spritzer for her Sisters, known to their many adoring fans as the Vigilantes.
Normal luncheons with the Sisters were usually done on the fly and, for the most part, held in favorite cafés or restaurants. When Maggie first came up with the idea, it was because she had a serious matter to discuss with the Sisters. She knew the luncheon would go into overtime, and at a public eatery, they would be rushed, hence this luncheon was in her own home in Georgetown.
It was well known that Maggie was not a cook, not even a fair to middling one. Oh, to be sure, she could throw things together and manage somehow to make the result edible, but she much preferred takeout, which she warmed up and pretended that she'd prepared. She did, however, have one dish that always garnered praise, a broccoli, three-cheese casserole that was beyond delicious. She always served it with a crisp garden salad, warm, tiny, spongy garlic rolls, and a peach cobbler straight out of the supermarket freezer section.
No one ever complained, and there was never enough left to save, so Maggie was confident her luncheon menu would meet with the Sisters' approval.
Maggie took one last look at her dining-room table. She knew she should have used her once-a-year good dishes, but she'd just been too lazy to take them out and wash them, so she had opted for colorful hard plastic plates with an autumn theme. All gold, orange, and rustic brown. Her centerpiece was an arrangement of fall leaves that matched the plastic plates. All in all, she was satisfied. And she also knew the Sisters wouldn't complain even if she served the food on Styrofoam plates, because things like that simply were not important.
The timer in the kitchen went off just as the doorbell rang. Talk about timing. She grinned as she ran to the door with Hero, her cat, right on her heels.
As always, the Sisters oohed and aahed over the delicious aromas as they hugged and squealed over seeing each other.
Coats and jackets were hung up. It was the end of October, and there was a definite chill in the air.
The women all headed for the kitchen and were surprised when Maggie said, "No, we're eating in the dining room today. And guess what? Today we are having fresh apple cider. I picked it up this morning. Someone pour while I get the food on the table."
The moment everyone was seated, Maggie held up her glass and said, "Happy harvest, everyone! Tomorrow is Halloween. And, by the way, I personally carved that pumpkin you all saw on the front stoop. I just love autumn."
The Sisters all toasted Halloween, then sat back and waited, because they all knew Maggie's casserole had to set for ten minutes before it could be scooped onto plates.
"Are we celebrating something today, or is this just a get-together, dear?" Myra asked.
"Both," Maggie responded smartly.
"Well, speaking strictly for myself, I am all ears," Kathryn said as she eyed the golden brown casserole sitting in the center of the table. Everyone knew and teased Kathryn that she had the appetite of a truck driver because she was an overland driver who handled her eighteen-wheeler like the pro she was.
"Me, too." Yoko laughed. "Spit it out, Maggie, or do we have to eat first?"
"Why don't we be devilish today and break Charles's golden rule that we don't talk business while we eat?" Annie suggested. The others hooted that they were in agreement.
"Any reason why you didn't invite the boys?" Nikki asked.
"Well, yeah, this is girls only. I thought we agreed to do that once a month," Maggie said as she toyed with the serving spoon that would scoop up her casserole.
"Okay, I get it. This is that once-a-month social gathering, plus some business, right?" Alexis grinned.
"A hint, a clue, something would be nice," Isabelle said as she popped a tiny garlic roll into her mouth. She rolled her eyes at the delectable delight.
"Does whatever you have in mind involve just us girls or the boys at some point?" Nikki asked, the lawyer in her wanting details and facts.
"To be decided," Maggie said, waving the spoon. "It's just an idea. An idea I've had for a long time. With the holidays fast approaching, it always takes over my mind at this time of year, and I simply cannot stop thinking about it."
"What? What?" Annie exploded as Kathryn reached over to take the serving spoon out of Maggie's hand. Reaching for the plates, she put spoon to casserole and filled them.
"The money from my husband's insurance. I tried to give it to Gus's nephew, but he refused to take it. I never spent a dime of it. I couldn't. I want to give it away this Christmas. I want you all to help me. And then I took it one step further and thought, wouldn't it be nice if you all kicked in some money to match it and ..."
"And what, dear?" Myra asked.
"Make someone's world brighter and happier. Save someone's life. Do something for someone, or more than someone, who otherwise would stay in whatever position they're in at the moment. This year, for some reason, I want ... no, I need to make the angels sing. I want to hear them sing. Does that make sense?" Maggie asked fretfully.
"Of course it makes sense. I think it's a wonderful idea. Count me in," Annie said. "Now, you know if you include the boys, the fund would grow substantially higher," she said slyly. The others agreed as they all started to eat.
"Not so fast," Myra said. "Dear," she said, addressing Maggie, "did you forget we have an organization that Abner is in charge of that donates yearly, very generously and very heavily, during the holidays? Any new charity or person is always welcome. I thought we all had agreed to that. Last year alone, we donated — anonymously, of course — over one billion dollars, which we confiscated from that monster, Angus Spyder. So, I'm not quite sure what it is you want us to contribute to, and while I have no problem with that at all, I guess I just don't understand the end result here."
The women stopped eating long enough to stare at Maggie, waiting to see how she would respond.
"I guess I didn't fully explain, because I'm not clear in my own mind. Sometimes late at night, when I can't sleep, I think about my life, my childhood, my family and wonder, as I think most people wonder, if I could do things over, what would I do differently? Is there some wrong in my past life that I never made right, for whatever reason? Just think about that for a minute. I have an instance, and I've never forgotten it. I don't know if money can or will right that situation, but I want to look into it and try. It's not the same as what Abner is doing with Spyder's money and all those other people's money we helped ourselves to. This is personal. That's the best way I can explain it to you all. Does it make more sense now?"
"Well, yes, dear, it certainly does," Myra said. "I think you might be on to something. Let's run this up the flagpole. Now that I understand where you're going with this, I think we should include the boys in this."
"I agree," Isabelle said. The others were quick to agree.
"We can't call them now. It's too late," Yoko said. "They'll be miffed that they weren't included in this luncheon."
"Then we'll do a repeat tomorrow at my house," Nikki said. "That's when we'll run it up the flagpole, and they'll never know this was a rehearsal for tomorrow. How about that for sneaky? Do you all agree?"
"What are you going to serve?" Kathryn asked, her mind jumping ahead to the menu.
"How about a little of everything that is takeout?" Nikki laughed.
"Works for me." Alexis giggled.
Not surprisingly, it worked for everyone.
"So, let's get to the dessert, Maggie," Annie said.
The women talked nonstop as they devoured the peach cobbler, the main topic being that memories, for the most part, were a wonderful thing, be they sad or happy.
"How much money are we talking about?" Yoko asked. "The reason I ask is that Harry and I are going to China next month, and that always puts a big dent in our budget."
"It doesn't matter how much, Yoko. If it's fifty dollars, that's fine. If it's two hundred fifty thousand dollars, that's fine, too. The point is it has to be our own personal money, whatever we can afford. Gus's insurance money is just the cherry on top. I'll be putting my own money in, too. It will all go into one fund, and then, when we're ready to distribute it to whoever needs it, we'll vote on it. I think that's fair. If you all want to keep your amounts secret, that's okay, too. We should vote on that tomorrow. In the end, it might not even come down to money. Maybe there is someone out there from our past who needs something other than money. Something we can provide for them that no one else can. That kind of thing."
"I think this is a wonderful idea," Myra said. "I can't wait for tomorrow. Thank you so much, Maggie, for bringing this up. Sometimes I think we forget that it's better to give than to receive. Oh, this is going to be such a wonderful Christmas. The true meaning of it. Truly, truly."
Annie swiped at her eyes. "Myra's right. This is just what we all need. We've been getting complacent. I agree with Myra. I can't wait till tomorrow."
Twelve minutes later, right on schedule, Maggie's kitchen and dining room were back to normal, with just the autumn centerpiece in the middle of the table. A second round of fresh coffee was served as the girls talked nonstop about what was going to transpire the following day.
"It's going to take a lot of research to track down people from our past," Isabelle said.
"And who better to do that than our four intrepid reporters, meaning Ted, Dennis, Maggie, and Espinosa?" Nikki chortled.
"We need a name for this project," Alexis said.
The group threw out names and titles, but it was Yoko who came up with the one they finally agreed to. Bright Star.
The Sisters all clapped, making their newest project official.
Nikki was as good as her word. Lunch consisted of all takeout — Thai, Chinese, Italian, deli, and Japanese. Dessert was individually wrapped fortune cookies. The food was served buffet style for the simple reason that Nikki and Jack's dining-room table could seat only ten. It didn't matter. The group adapted to everything and anything when they were up against the clock or a new mission was unfolding.
Harry and Yoko were the only ones with glum faces. It took all of Annie's and Myra's expertise to convince them that despite the new project on the drawing board, it was all right to still make the trip to China to see their daughter. They reminded them both that faxes, e-mails, and text messages, along with Skyping, would keep them in the loop and in the thick of things. Yoko accepted it much better than Harry did, but in the end he came around to the group's way of thinking. Yoko beamed her pleasure at Harry, who literally melted in front of everyone.
Jack Emery smacked his hands together. "So, when do we start?"
"How about right now? Or we can wait a few days and meet up over the weekend out at the farm, which will bring us to the start of November. Our research may go fast, or it may go slow. There are a lot of us, so every day is going to count. Not to mention we need data to start. You guys ..." Maggie was about to say, "You just came into the picture, whereas us girls have had all night and this morning to think about it," but she didn't.
Dennis reached for the last sushi roll and popped it into his mouth. "Who's in charge of the fund? I'm willing to do it if no one else wants to. And when does the money have to be in hand?"
"The job is yours, then, kid," Abner said, "because that will free me up to do other things. Anyone object? Speak up now." No one spoke up. "Okay, then, I'll open up an account and text you the info."
Dennis looked around at the group. "Don't worry. I'm good with money."
"Okay, that's one less problem we have to worry about," Ted said.
The rest of the hour was spent talking about the past, individual memories, the upcoming holidays, and, of course, Harry and Yoko's trip to China.
Cleanup took precisely twelve minutes, as always. The moment it was done, the group left to come to terms with righting a wrong from their respective pasts, leaving Jack and Nikki alone.
"Happy Halloween, Jack," Nikki said, squeezing her husband's arm.
"Happy Halloween, Nik," Jack said, gathering her in his arms. "You know what, Nik? As much as we talked about the past — and if we had to do things over again, would we or wouldn't we? — I wouldn't. Because if I did, maybe even for a few seconds, that might have thrown off my timing, and I never would have met you."
"Jack, that is absolutely the sweetest thing you've ever said to me, and I feel exactly the same way."
"Let's go for a walk, Nik. Let's hold hands and enjoy the afternoon, okay?"
"For you, Jack, anything."CHAPTER 2
Sunday dinner at Pinewood was always a delight, and the gang never missed a chance to get together for one of Charles's memorable dinners because he never disappointed. Today was no exception.
Today's menu consisted of a vermicelli soup, garlic-roasted beef tenderloin, melt-in-your-mouth sweet potato puffs, green currants in a secret sauce, which the chef refused to reveal, and creamed cucumbers with young onions. For dessert, there was fig pudding with peaches and cream. Fresh homemade buttery cheese rolls completed the meal, along with hazelnut coffee, which Charles firmly believed was just as good as a dessert.
Belts were undone as the gang groaned and moaned about how it was going to take them a whole week to work off all the calories they'd consumed in one sitting. Charles showed them no mercy by saying, "I only prepared what you asked for."
Cleanup took sixteen minutes, as opposed to the usual twelve, because, as Alexis put it, "We're all sluggish," and the figs scorched the bottom of the pan, and so it had to be scoured.
"We know, dear," Myra said as she worked alongside the girls. "And Charles really outdid himself today. Now we have to go down to the war room and work. We have only fifty-four days until Christmas Eve."
Jack grumbled under his breath, but Harry heard him say, "Whose bright idea was it to eat first, then work? It should be just the opposite." Harry gave him a shove to move forward, then needled him that he could already see the five extra pounds added to his gut. Jack was too miserable to respond, other than to say, "I never eat like that, but it was so good."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Harry continued to needle.
In the war room, Espinosa pressed a button, and the new table that Isabelle had designed, and that Avery Snowden and his men had crafted, opened, and the extra leaves slid into place, expanding the table so that everyone was comfortable. Yoko slid the grungy old shoe box to the center of the table. Everyone eyeballed it, but no one said anything.
Charles was on the dais, and it was good to see him back there. "I think we are really back to normal now," Nikki whispered to Kathryn, who nodded in agreement.
"We need to look alive, people," Myra said. "As I said earlier, we have only fifty-four days until Christmas Eve, and you all know how fast the season goes once it gets under way. First, though, I have a bit of news to share with you all. It was just confirmed, or I would have told you all sooner.
"It concerns Nellie and Elias. As you all know, Elias has advanced Alzheimer's. Nellie refuses to place her husband in a care facility, and rightly so. We take care of our own. As long as we can. Even with all the help she has, she has her own health issues. One of her new hips isn't working properly. She's looking at surgery and some serious recovery time. She has opted to go into an assisted living facility, a very nice one, I might add, where both she and Elias will have twenty-four-hour care if they need it but will still technically be on their own. Annie and I offered to move in with her, but she wouldn't hear of it, which isn't surprising, because she is so independent.
"Having said all that, she can take her beloved cats, all four of them, with her. She's turning the farm over to Nikki and Jack. She said it is perfect for them now that Cyrus has his five pups. At some point, if they want to buy the farm, that might happen. So Annie and I will have a new neighbor. Nikki and Jack are going to rent out their house in Georgetown."
The gang all clapped to show their approval.
"Guess who is going to rent our house?" Nikki said. At the blank looks, she laughed and said, "Jack Sparrow. The perfect tenant. He's never home, so there won't be much wear and tear on the house, and he's a bachelor. Win-win for everyone."
"With that business out of the way, let's get down to why we're here on a Sunday night. As Myra said, we have only fifty-four days to follow up on Maggie's suggestion. So, let's talk. You go first, Nikki," Annie said.
"Jack and I think it's a great idea. Here's the 'but.' Jack made a point that if we were to go back in time, then time would change. Jack, tell them what you told me last night."
Excerpted from Wishes for Christmas by FERN MICHAELS. Copyright © 2015 Fern Michaels. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsBooks by Fern Michaels,
And the Angels Sing,
Naughty or Nice,
A Golden Tree,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first part was a little confusing not knowing everyone they were always talking about, but thoroughly enjoyed the second part. Especially the part mentioning Corning, New York since that's where I'm from. Growing up I took my children to The Corning Museum of Glass all the time.
Worst drivel I have ever read. Lame dialogue. Poorly developed plot with major gaps in the story line. Pages missing also. Can't believe there was a full page magazine ad for this dog.
I could not get beyond chapter 3 . I expected a story from a seasoned writer, what we get is something very similar to an attempt from a bumbling simpleton. Spend your $7 elsewhere.
I really enjoyed this book made up of 3 stories starring the characters form two of Fern Michael's series, "The Vigilantes" and "The Godmothers". I liked that she did not have all the nasty bickering in the first two stories that she had in some of her past books. In the first story, Maggie Spitzer wants to "make something right" from her past. With the help of the rest of the group, will they be able to locate her beloved teacher in time to give her a Merry Christmas. In the second story, the ladies are participating in the Holiday of Homes in Charleston. The decorator that Toots hired is a bit of a nasty woman, but one of her employees, Charlotte, is giving off vibes to Sophie that she is in danger. Can they find out what the problem is and rectify the situation before something happens to Charlotte. In the third story, 2 Godmothers, join with 2 Vigilantes to solve the problem of a pharmacist in a Nursing Home/Retirement Residence who is tampering with their drugs. This was the story I enjoyed the lease because it goes back to the constant bickering and nasty talk of some of her previous books that I did not like. If you enjoy either The Godmother or The Vigilante series, you will enjoy this book. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
These short stories are ridiculously predictable and simplistic. They also leave out portions of the story and then refer back to the portions left out. I would throw this in the trash if it was a paper copy. Fern Michaels should be ashamed to have her name on this crap. I guess it is all about the cash because there is no talent here. Stephanie Clanahan
Three stories all centered around the holiday are the backbone of this collection, two that are series-specific (one from Sisterhood and one from Godmothers) and one that mixes the two groups in an unexpected yet thoroughly heartwarming way. While I’ve not read more current titles by Fern Michaels, I’m familiar with the women of the Sisterhood, and this was a nice introduction to the characters from the Godmothers series. While working nicely without having current information on the women featured in this title (and Michaels does give a bit of background information) isn’t necessary, it does whet my appetite to go back and read earlier titles in both series. In the first story, And The Angels Sing, the women of the sisterhood are banding together to help one of their own during the season. Maggie has carried around a burden of guilt from her childhood, and the former teacher that her very young self couldn’t help disappeared without a word. Deciding to pool their not inconsiderable resources into the search and redeem mission, the friendship and support that these women offer one another is heartwarming. Quickly this transitions into a story of the Godmothers, Naughty or Nice, and Toots is center stage. Oh I loved Toots’ interior monologue, her ability to thumb her nose at convention and the rather rigid social mores of Charleston. When a design assistant for her daughter’s home becomes the center of the story as she and her three children are struggling to make ends meet with her husband deployed, and incommunicado for months. Between the spats with Toots and others, the struggles of Charlotte and the wonderful descriptions, this story leads to a wonderful series of moments. Then two worlds collide (or collude- you pick) with A Golden Tree. Holly is running her family’s inn for the first Christmas after her mother’s death, without her very pregnant and uber capable best friend and assistant. With her Grandfather’s recent move to a lauded (and exclusive) assisted living facility, she’s in need of help. And she hires on Gannon to get through the holidays, not knowing that he and his Grandfather (her grandfather’s new bestie) own a competing inn. In pop Annie and Myra from the Sisterhood, as they have recruited Toots and Sophie to solve a tiny (but very dangerous) mystery at the Haven, the assisted living facility. Clever and fun, the hijinks soon ensue as the two newbies to the investigation break things wide open. A lovely Christmas feel that brings forward the theme of ‘better to give than to receive’ runs through each story, and while the characters have plenty of life and personality, and all was neatly presented with their full force forward, there are quirks and kinks galore to be explored, and now I will do just that by grabbing all the titles I have missed from these two series. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Lovd it !!!
Wishes for Christmas is a collection of tales featuring the Godmothers and Sisterhood that will brighten your day and touch your heart. I received this copy of Wishes for Christmas by Fern Michaels from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.