Texas Christmas Bride: The Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs Book 6

BOOK: Texas Christmas Bride: The Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs Book 6
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It’s the first Christmas in Sweetgrass Springs, Texas for several new residents who have found a real home for the first time—or found home again. As Jackson Gallagher works to save his hometown from withering away by relocating his business empire there, the only gift he really wants is to marry the teenage sweetheart he thought he’d lost forever—but Veronica Patton Butler has other hearts to care for, however much she loves Jackson.

Bridger Calhoun is more than ready to make Penelope Gallagher his bride, but however much she adores him, Shark Girl is dragging her heels on tying the knot—which seems to be a maddening tradition among Gallagher women.

Come join the fun…the heartache…the sweetness, as Sweetgrass prepares for a community celebration that will bring the Morning Star Gallaghers and the Marshalls to town, along with several of Jackson’s Seattle geeks and more than one lost soul about to find a place to belong—in eccentric, lovable, unforgettable Sweetgrass Springs…where hope never fades and love never dies.

The TEXAS HEROES contemporary western romance series includes:

TEXAS SECRETS

TEXAS LONELY

TEXAS BAD BOY

TEXAS REFUGE

TEXAS STAR

TEXAS DANGER

TEXAS ROOTS

TEXAS WILD

TEXAS DREAMS

TEXAS REBEL

TEXAS BLAZE

TEXAS CHRISTMAS BRIDE

TEXAS TIES

TEXAS TROUBLES

TEXAS TOGETHER

TEXAS HOPE

TEXAS STRONG

TEXAS SWEET

TEXAS HEARTTHROB

TEXAS HEALER

TEXAS PROTECTOR

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Texas Christmas Bride

Texas Heroes: The Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs
Book Six

Jean Brashear

Copyright © 2014 Jean Brashear

Kindle Edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to your online retailer and purchase your own copy.

Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

© Covers by Rogenna

sweettoheat.blogspot.com

Formatting by BB eBooks:

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Dedication

To my fellow Handcrafts Unlimited volunteer quilters: Joyce Walden, Earlene Dorsa, Ruth Sudduth, Linda Vise, Jane Shurtleff, Ceci Sinnwell, Mel Brown and Linda Johnson, as well as the Thursday afternoon shop volunteers Pat, Florence, Martha and Marilyn. Thanks for welcoming me into the fold and for swapping stories, sharing quilting wisdom and generally indulging in all kinds of foolishness with me. I do love our Thursday afternoon therapy sessions!

And, as always, to Ercel, who has embraced this pie-in-the-sky romantic’s wild notions with open arms and keeps my faith in love burning bright.

Acknowledgments

With my deepest gratitude all you lovely readers who keep asking for more Sweetgrass stories—and special thanks to Teresa Maksim, who thought we needed a Christmas story. You were absolutely right, and I thank you for the encouragement that made me go back and try one…more…time. Hope you like the results!

For all the gang on my Facebook author page, thanks for the fun and the very helpful discussion about what Ben should call Jackson. You really helped me stop overthinking!

I very much appreciate the help from my favorite flower farmer, Pamela Arnosky, who came to my rescue this time to figure out what Veronica would have available for wedding flowers in December.

Big thanks to Jackie Paris for the last-minute read—any errors left are on me!

I’m especially grateful to Nancy Smith Munger, my own cherished childhood friend, for many reasons—but right now, I can’t thank her enough for being a godsend in helping me keep this ever-expanding cast of characters straight!

PS Please note the cookie recipes to be found at the end of this book, contributed by my quilter friends (you’ll see them in guest appearances in this book.) I haven’t made them all yet, but they look so yummy I intend to!

The Legend of Sweetgrass Springs

L
ost and alone and dying, thirsty and days without food, the wounded soldier fell from his half-dead horse only yards from life-giving water. His horse nickered at the scent, and the soldier gathered one last effort to belly his way to the edge of the spring.

But there he faltered. Bleeding from shoulder and thigh, he felt the darkness close in on him and sorrowed for his men, for the battle he would lose, for the fight he would not finish. In his last seconds of life, he wished for the love he would never find.

Rest
, a lovely, musical voice said.

He managed to drag his eyes open once more.

And gazed upon the face of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

And perhaps the saddest. Her eyes were midnight blue and filled with a terrible grief as she lifted a hand toward him.

I am dying
, he thought.
I will never know her
.

But the woman smiled and tenderly caressed his face as she cradled his head and brought life-giving water to his lips.

You will live
, she said.
Be at peace. Let the spring heal you
.

Around him the air went soft, the water slid down his throat like a blessing. His battered body relaxed, and the pain receded.

Sleep
, she said.
I will watch over you
.

He complied, his eyes heavy. His injuries were too severe; he knew he could not live. But though he would not wake up, he was one of the fortunate, to have an angel escort him into the afterlife.
Thank you
, he managed with his last breath.

Wake. All is well
.

The soldier opened his eyes, surprised to feel soft grass beneath him, trees whispering overhead. From nearby, he heard the bubbling music of the spring.

Then he saw her, his angel.
Where am I? Is this heaven?

Her lips curved, but her eyes were again midnight dark with sorrow.
You are still of this world
.

Who are you?
he asked.
Why are you sad?

She searched his eyes.
Will you stay with me?

I would like nothing more, but I cannot. I must return to my men.

She turned her face away, and he felt her grief as his own.

I’ll come back. When the battle is over and I am done, I will come back to you.

You won’t.
A terrible acceptance filled her gaze.
I will never have love. Once I was mortal like you, and I was loved, but I turned away from it. From him, my one true love. He was beloved of The Fates, and they cursed me to wait. I cannot leave this place.

Wait for what?

It doesn’t matter,
she said sadly
. You must go. They always go.

I’ll come back. I’ll set you free. Tell me how, and I’ll do it.

She stared into him for a long time, then shook her head
. There’s only one way.

What is it?
he asked eagerly, rising strong and well again, already searching for his horse to ride away.

She watched him in silence. Made herself invisible because she knew.

Where did you go?
he called out, searching the clearing, striding to the spring to peer into its depths. When he didn’t see her, with a heavy heart he mounted, but for a moment he lingered
. I’ll come back, I promise. You can tell me then. I’m sorry, but my men need me, and I have to go. I will return for you.

He wouldn’t, she knew. They never did. She’d brought her eternal loneliness on herself, and she was losing hope.

So she watched him ride away after one last look.

Only love can set me free,
she whispered softly.

Love strong enough to stay.

Chapter One
BOOK: Texas Christmas Bride: The Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs Book 6
6.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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