Angel Songs: 20 Christmas Short Stories and Poems, plus Recipes (Kindle, ePub)
Angel Songs: 20 Christmas Short Stories and Poems, plus Recipes (Kindle, ePub)
Twenty new and original short stories and poems filled with Christmas magic, plus yummy recipes inspired by them. From a heartfelt tale of a soldier who might be more than he seems, to the touching tale of a young boy who finds a fantastical creature while picking out the perfect Christmas tree, to the misadventures of a lost fairy, these stories and poems, appropriate for all ages, will kindle the joy of Christmas in new and magical ways. All inspirational reminders of the importance of Christ’s birth, the stories will enrich your holiday and warm your heart.
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What Readers are Saying:
"Dona Watson's Angel Songs is a beautiful testament to God's love, and the spirit and magic of Christmas. A wonderful gift, and a very accessible author, Watson's 20 some odd stories shine the beauty of holiday magic. Some that send shivers, and others will leave you with a tear. An ideal stocking stuffer from this author. Just in time for Christmas." - Ashley
"The weather outside may be frightful, but the stories, poems, and recipes you'll find in Angel Songs are heartwarming and delightful. The stories vary in length from vignette to flash with a couple full-sized tales to boot—my favorite being "Christmas Treasures". And the recipes... Can't wait to show them to the Mrs.! A perfect read for this time of year." - H.G.
Enjoy a sample from Angel Songs:
The Errant Elf
Brianna tugged the hem of her green vest and straightened her pointed hat, jingling the little bell on the tip. Even though she had to juggle a few things to fit this into her schedule, handing out Christmas presents to the third grade class was not something she wanted to miss.
When her husband’s job had transferred them cross-country, this became Amber’s third new school since kindergarten and the young girl was having a harder time adjusting with every new group of friends. Brianna had volunteered to be homeroom mom, hoping her participation would help her daughter adjust.
The holiday party was Brianna’s idea and the other parents were so busy they were happy to let her do all the work, gladly chipping in a few dollars each for twenty-two stuffed Beanie Buddies. When Mr. Belvedere agreed, her creative mind had gone into overdrive and while she admitted that perhaps she had gone a bit overboard with the costume and wagon, it’d be worth it to see the kids’ faces. And maybe Amber would finally be accepted as part of the class.
She opened the back of the SUV and her friend’s Great Dane, Diesel, greeted her with a sloppy lick, his tail whipping from side to side. Brianna’s breakfast toast took a turn in her stomach and she wrinkled her nose, reaching for a towel to wipe herself dry. Clipping a leash on his collar, she coaxed the enormous dog out of the vehicle and tethered him to the bumper so she could strap costume antlers on the animal’s massive head. Stepping back to admire the instant reindeer, she congratulated herself on her brilliant idea.
Turning back to the SUV, she grabbed the handle of a high-sided red wagon borrowed from the next-door neighbor and eased it out, gently lowering the front two wheels to the ground, then with a grunt, the back two. She pulled out the makeshift harness fashioned from webbed tie-down straps nabbed out of her husband’s pickup truck, and settled it on Diesel’s shoulders, buckling it securely around his chest and ribs and then fastening the straps to the wagon. Now for the giant red bag she’d made and filled with Beanie Buddy plushies. She wrested it out and plopped it into the wagon with an oof! then slammed shut the back of the vehicle.
Brianna double-checked to make sure everything was in place and smiled. Short of having an actual elf, reindeer and sleigh, this was the closest she could get to the real thing and, truth be told, she was pleased with how it all came together.
She untied the leash, looped it around her wrist and turned toward the school building, then paused. Santa’s reindeer never wore collars with leashes. She looked over the dog, who stood calmly, regarding her with bright eyes. Might as well make it look as authentic as possible.
She unclipped the strap from the dog’s collar and dropped it into the wagon, then wrapped her fingers tight around Diesel’s collar as if it were a suitcase handle. She smoothed down her vest one last time and started across the parking lot toward the school buildings, the jingle bells on her hat and ankles announcing her approach.
Halfway across the lot, an orange tomcat stepped out from behind a car and when it saw Brianna and Diesel, froze. The dog immediately came to attention, feet planted, head up, ears forward. Brianna sucked in a breath and adjusted her grip.
She could feel his muscles tense, his head crane as she clenched his collar with both hands and tugged, but the giant stood his ground, gaze glued on the paralyzed cat.
“Come on, Diesel, this way,” she coaxed but instead of obeying her, the dog growled at the coiled cat, who bolted, breaking the spell. The Great Dane lunged after it, jerking free of Brianna’s grip. She stumbled a few steps after the dog, grabbing at the wagon as it whizzed by.
Brianna helplessly watched the Great Dane bounding away, red wagon and presents bouncing merrily along behind, barely missing car bumpers and a bike stand on its way around the lot. Puffing air through her bangs, she sprinted after the dog, glad the wagon was heavy enough it didn’t seem in danger of turning over. If only it were heavy enough to stop the dog from—
Up ahead, the orange tabby blur streaked across the parking lot and over the curb, the Great Dane in hot pursuit, the wagon lurching over the concrete barrier onto the green lawn.
“Diesel! Wait!” Ding ding ding! Jingling bells announced her pursuit and she caught the green hat as it fell. Except for the bells, it was part of her daughter’s Legend of Zelda Link costume, and if Brianna harmed it, she’d be toast.
With the dog’s strides swallowing footage with every step, the only thing preventing the dog from closing the gap between was the wagon that bucked and rolled, slowing his gallop. In desperation, the cat veered out into the road, and antlers flopping, Diesel followed it into the middle of the street, pacing the speeding cat.
Then, to Brianna’s horror, a car turned onto the street heading straight toward them. She sprinted into the road, waving her arms wildly to warn the driver.
Jingle jingle jingle. The bells on her ankles grated on her nerves with every step, and worse, only spurred the animals on. When a woman pushing a baby stroller stopped to watch her run past, a thought occurred that perhaps the bells might not have been the best idea.
The driver’s gaze darted from the speeding animals to the panic-stricken Brianna and one corner of her mouth twitched up in a grin. She stopped the car and hopped out as the terrified feline ran onto the grass and dove into a thick privet hedge. Panting, tongue lolling to the side, Diesel jumped the curb and the wagon careened to one side, launching two Beanie Buddy frogs from the bag. The Great Dane thundered up to the bushes, skidded to a stop and jammed his head into the foliage, snuffling after the cat. Several frantic strides later, Brianna caught up to the dog and seized his collar.
Scooping up the errant frogs, the driver trotted over and handed them to Brianna. “Are you okay?” She tucked a long blond strand behind an ear.
Brianna nodded, gasping. “Thanks.” She shoved the elf’s hat back on her head, its jingle bells mocking her every move.
“Glad to help.” The woman backed away from Diesel, slime rolling off his tongue, and returned to her car, chuckling all the way.
Thoroughly humiliated, Brianna retrieved the leash from inside the wagon and hooked it onto Diesel’s collar. He looked up at her with the biggest doggy grin possible, eyes sparkling. She straightened his lopsided antlers and tugged gently on the leash. Now properly secured, the dog responded readily.
“Come on, boy,” she ordered. “Let’s get going. We have presents to deliver.”
Checking her watch, Brianna trotted back to the school, dog in tow. They paraded past the receptionist, who greeted them with a surprised expression, and down the hall to Mr. Belvedere’s classroom, stopping just outside windows that looked out onto the hallway. Twenty-two little faces turned her way, eyes round and bright. The teacher looked up and took in the sight, then grinned and rushed over to open the door. Brianna could feel her face flushed red with the exertion of the chase and she wished she could have taken a moment to wipe her brow.
She knew her elfin demeanor was a bit disheveled when one of the man’s eyebrows twitched up and he spoke in a whisper, “Is everything okay?”
Brianna nodded and dry-swallowed, wishing she had a big glass of water.
Mr. Belvedere held the door open wide, then turned to the class. “Look, children! There’s someone here to see us!”
A murmur of young voices and excited “Look at the doggie” whispers filled the air. Still panting happily, Diesel pulled the wagon in and stood dutifully calm, now on his best behavior.
One by one, she called the children up to the front of the room and handed each one a plushie. Every child petted Diesel as they walked by, their beaming smiles priceless, new treasures held tight.
“You’re lucky your mom is so cool, Amber,” one of the kids said.
“Yeah,” said another. “My mom would never bring a dog to school.”
Maybe the makeshift reindeer wasn’t such a bad idea after all, Brianna thought. She rubbed a sore shin, waiting for the last student, her own daughter, to come forward but her heart fell when she saw her daughter’s frown.
“Mom, when you came to the door, the other kids giggled,” Amber said in a whisper, “I was kind of embarrassed.”
Brianna studied her daughter’s face, worried she might have made things worse. Then something she hadn’t seen since they’d moved to town months ago warmed Brianna’s soul, making the entire morning worth it as Amber’s face morphed into a big smile. “But you were great.” Throwing her arms around Brianna’s neck, Amber kissed her over-rouged cheek. “Thanks, Mom. This is going to be the best Christmas ever!”