Double your holiday reading pleasure by getting two novellas in one book! Grab your copy of Finding a Christmas Miracle by Jan Selbourne and Anne Krist! Check out excerpts from both stories below.
Two exceptional novellas featuring two men engulfed in a war no one understands or wants—Vietnam. They’re both hoping for a miracle with little expectation of finding it.
Jan Selbourne lends her award-winning writing talent to A Miracle in the Outback. Nick Saunders is in a hurry to escape a family argument and also to return to his Army base in Wagga Wagga. He doesn’t need another complication. Rachel Garth is a woman with a broken down car, a small girl, a deadly snake, and a baby on the way. She needs Nick’s help. He doesn’t know it, but he needs hers, too.
In award-winning author Anne Krist’s The Miracle of Coming Home, Army PFC Tom Stabler wins a trip to his parents’ Nebraska farm for Christmas. He needs the time away from the war. Lately, he’s been feeling lost and too alone. Trouble is, being home is almost as bad. Then Susan Swensen arrives, just as sweet and pretty as he remembers. Can Susan help him find himself again, or will it take a miracle?
HMAS Sydney, known by the troops as the ‘Vung Tau Ferry’ was now out of Australian waters and steaming steadily north towards its destination. The sea had been rough for the last two days but today was calm and the four hundred and fifty men housed in the sailors’ mess decks were moving around again. Nick propped the pillow under his head and tried to focus on his book, but the words ran into each other. Closing the covers, his mind drifted back, once again, to the letter he’d got from Trevor two weeks before boarding the ship.
I’m sorry I didn’t write earlier Nick, but I was embarrassed and angry. Not at you, at my father and brother. Your mother was good to us, and we took her for granted. I didn’t see it when I was a kid, but I know now dad only wanted someone to look after him and Kevin and me, and I’m sorry about that. You know I hated that farm, hated the dirt, hated the isolation. A few weeks ago, Dad bought two hundred acres between Inverell and Glen Innes, saying he can afford to be a hobby farmer. Kevin bought land somewhere near Armidale. Now I can join the theatre group and dad can’t stop me. I’m sorry about what happened, sorry you and Elizabeth and Karen were left out. I want you to have some of my share. Best wishes, Trevor.
A cheque for $5000 was enclosed.
Nick closed his eyes. Poor bloody Trevor. Nervous of his father, scorned as a pansy by Kevin. In tears when their chickens and dogs died, cried from nightmares. He’d returned the cheque with a curt, ‘stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.’ Now he regretted not writing a more friendly letter wishing Trevor well. And Liz, he’d told her not to see him off. He didn’t want her bawling all over his shirt, but she’d insisted. “You’re my brother, you big ape, I’ll worry myself sick over you.” They’d both ended up crying on each other shoulders. He heard the bunk next to his creak.
“You awake, Nick?”
Nick opened his eyes. “I am now.”
Sam was one of the hundreds of national servicemen on board. Twenty years old and hadn’t travelled more than twenty miles from his home at Maitland until he was called up. Ginger hair and freckles and shy.
Nick sat up. “What’s up?”
“Nothing, we were playing cards then a few of them started talking about what’s ahead.” He stared at the floor.
“Let me guess. Full of bravado, kill a few commies, clean up the country and go home wearing a chest full of medals.”
The ginger head drooped. “It’s all right for you, Nick. You’re ground crew, looking after the tanks and heavy vehicles.”
“I also drive the tanks and heavy vehicles, Sam, and I’m telling you those big mouths are as shit-scared as you and I are.” He lay back on his bunk. “No different to the blokes in 1914. My grandfather was among the first twenty thousand to sign up to fight for King and Country. They were paid six bob a day and after training, set sail for a war on the other side of the world. Most of them believed they’d teach the Germans a lesson and be home for Christmas. A lot of them worried it would be all over before they got there. After three years in Belgium and France he came home minus a leg and bitter. He’d tell his kids there was no God while he walked them to church every Sunday. Here we are mate, after two world wars and a war in Korea. Don’t listen to them, look after yourself.”
Sam nodded and grinned at Nick. “You got a girl waiting at home?”
Nick grinned back at him. “Yeah, dozens of ‘em. What about you?”
“Meg. Her parents own the shoe shop in Maitland,” Sam dug into the locker behind his bunk. “Here.”
Nick looked at the photo of a pretty girl with a riot of curly hair. “Nice, real nice.”
“I’ll get a cold drink. Want one?”
Nick shook his head. “No, I’m fine thanks.” He waited until Sam walked away and closed his eyes again. A girl waiting at home. Long black hair, a figure that made men go weak at the knees. And sex? Oh, Christ, she’d taught him a thing or two. But Lena wouldn’t wait a week for any man.
Susan Swensen flew into the small three-bedroom house she shared with Carol Buley and Mildred Hammersmith. “I won!” she shouted. “I won, I won, I won!!
Carol stepped out of her bedroom and into the hallway, brushing her hair and already In her blue flannel pajamas. “Won what?”
Susan dropped an envelope on the scarred coffee table and threw off her wool cape, tossing it onto the used couch dressed up in a winter slipcover. A Christmas tree displayed prominently over the center cushion. Brightly wrapped gifts beneath a midnight-blue sky scattered with stars filled out the rest of the space. This was the second year the women had used it to hide the worn arms and cushions of the sofa, and it saddened Susan somewhat that it would be the last. The three would graduate from nursing school in June and go their separate ways.
She reached to remove the pins that secured her white cap to her blonde curls and then slid the bobby pins onto the edge of the cap before placing it carefully on the table. Then she picked up the envelope and removed the letter she’d read three times already.
“Susan Swensen. This is to inform you that your submission to the Home for Christmas contest sponsored by WCHI Radio Chicago has won one of seven prizes. WCHI has confirmed that PFC Thomas J. Stabler will be transferred from Saigon, South Vietnam to Norfolk, Nebraska (via Omaha, Nebraska) on or about December 16, 1970 until December 27, 1970. The Department of Defense is relaying this information to PFC Stabler’s commanding officers and to him. WCHI is happy to be a part of this Christmas homecoming. Thank you for your heartfelt submission. Merry Christmas! John Marbury, President, WCHI Radio.”
Susan looked up at Carol with a smile that felt like it might split her face. “Tom is going to be able to come home for Christmas.”
After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website (www.nomadauthors.com). Fortunately, Dee’s high school sweetheart is the love of her life and husband to all three ladies! Once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity.