Authors: Elizabeth Sinclair
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal Romance
She looked from one dear face to another. It was way past time that she told them. "You are all such a blessing in my life. Although I didn't think so at the time, in retrospect, losing my memory and wandering into the library that night was the best combination of coincidences that has ever happened to me."
Meghan and Steve looked at each other. Carrie could have sworn they giggled. She looked from one to the other. "What?"
"I would have thought you'd have figured out by now that there was nothing coincidental about either your amnesia or your finding us at the library that night." Meghan laughed again. "Think about it. It was almost midnight, two days before Christmas. Why on earth would the library be open, and what would we be doing there at that hour?"
Confusion fogged Carrie's thoughts for a moment. Then it hit her. "Emanuel?"
Steve and Meghan nodded.
Carrie turned to Frank. "Did you know?"
He put down his cup of hot chocolate and grinned sheepishly. "Not for sure, but I did put two and two together and suspected."
She jabbed him in the ribs with a well-aimed shot from her elbow. A soft
accompanied by a laugh emitted from him.
"Why didn't you tell me?" she demanded.
"I thought you'd figured it out for yourself. Besides, as I recall, we weren't talking all that much back then." He winked at her while he rubbed at his side. "Forgiven?"
She glared at him, fighting back a smile, and lost the battle. "Forgiven," she said and kissed him.
For a while, a happy silence settled over the room. The only sounds came from the barely intelligible chatter of the two children in the playpen, the crackle of the logs being consumed in the fireplace, and the occasional clank of a cup being replaced on its saucer.
"When are you going to give Steve and Meghan their gift?" Frank whispered to Carrie.
She'd been so content just enjoying the company and the atmosphere that she'd forgotten that she had a very special gift for their friends. "It's in the car. Would you mind getting it?"
Frank nodded, stood, slipped on his coat, and went outside.
"Where's he going?" Steve asked.
"Oh, I left something in the car. He's getting it for me."
A few minutes later, Frank reappeared, carrying a thin, rectangular package wrapped in silver paper and tied with a huge red bow adorned with holly.
"Merry Christmas, with much love from both of us," he said, placing it on Meghan's lap.
For a moment, Meghan just looked at the package. Finally, Carrie said, "Well, are you going to open it or stare it down? And please don't tell me you're one of those irritating people who removes each piece of tape and carefully folds the wrapping paper before looking at their gift. I've waited far too long to see your reaction to sit through that ritual."
Without further hesitation, both Meghan and Steve grabbed paper and bow and tore them from the gift. Carrie heard Meghan's gasp of surprise.
"Carrie, it's beautiful." Steve carried the painting to the mantel and propped it up so all of them could admire it.
She had perfectly captured in oils the footbridge leading into the village, the stream flowing beneath it, and just beyond, the cottage in which Meghan had lived when she was the village Healer, the cottage in which she and Steve had found their love. Even more amazing was the mist that hugged the cottage and the trees in a thin white veil.
Meghan came to Carrie and hugged her. "Thank you so much. I will treasure it always."
Over Meghan's shoulder, Carrie noted something strange within the painting, something she had not put there. From the mist surrounding the cottage, the faces of Emanuel and Clara smiled down at her.
She smiled back.
Beside the painting on the mantel, a shimmering white fog began to swirl in the small green lantern.
Once more, some blessed soul was about to walk into the mist.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Sinclair sold her first romance, JENNY'S CASTLE, in 1993 to Silhouette Intimate Moments, which reached #2 on the Walden Bestseller List and won a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award of Excellence. Since then, this multi-published author's books have sold in ten foreign countries and been translated into seven foreign languages.
Her books have won The National Reader's Choice Award, The Anne Bonney Reader's Choice Award, Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, Maggie Award of Excellence, and placed in the Heart of Excellence. She has also won a Gold Medal Top Pick from the Romantic Times Book Club.
Co-founder and member of the Ancient City Romance Authors of St. Augustine, FL, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America, RWA's Kiss of Death Chapter and Sisters In Crime. Elizabeth served as RWA's Region 3 Director and chaired the 2001 RWA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
In addition to having presented numerous workshops on the craft of writing and authored the widely-acclaimed instructional books, THE DREADED SYNOPSIS and FIRST CHAPTERS, she has published a total of twenty-three romances with Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense, Harlequin American, Kensington Precious Gems, Medallion Press and Bell Bridge Books.
Her latest release, FOREVER FALL (due out Oct 2012), is the THIRD book in the HAWKS MOUNTAIN series for Bell Bridge Books. Previous Books in that series are: HAWKS MOUNTAIN (book #1) and SUMMER ROSE (book #2). She is presently writing book #4, WINTER MAGIC.
Elizabeth and her husband share their Florida home with their two furry children: Ripley, a seven-year-old Collie, and Miss Lily, a five-year-old Golden Retriever. Elizabeth is the mother of three children, the grandmother of five, and welcomed her first great-grandchild in August 2012.