Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Scene by Paty Jager

Ever wonder what happens to scenes in a book when a writer decides they aren't necessary to the story?  You're about to find out! 

When I was writing a short story to give away at Christmas to hopefully intrigue readers enough to check out my Isabella Mumphrey series, I started the story with the excerpt below. But after finishing the story, I decided the excerpt wasn't essential to the story and took it out. Today, you get to read the thrown away excerpt and will find a link at the bottom to download the short story for FREE from your choice of ebook vendor. Merry Christmas!


This was the first time in over twenty years she would have a real Christmas. She’d purchased a fresh, well, fresh for Arizona, evergreen tree. The five-foot noble fir stood in the small living room waiting for Tino, her sexy Venezuelan boyfriend, to return from his latest DEA mission.

During the Thanksgiving shopping crush, she and Tino had braved the throngs of bargain shoppers to find ornaments for the tree she talked about buying. Three days from Christmas and Tino was on his way home. She couldn’t wait for tonight. They’d decorate the tree, sip wine, and enjoy the first family Christmas either of them had had in years.

Once she’d discovered there wasn’t a real Santa Claus, her parents had stopped making Christmas a magical time. Her seventh Christmas she’d come home from the boarding school and found only the housekeeper at the apartment. They’d watched Christmas specials on TV and the next morning there were two packages under the tree; a bright colored scarf from the housekeeper and a new coat from her parents. Once she became a teenage, her Christmas presents from her parents were their voices in a phone call.

Christmas wasn’t about material things. It never had been, but the more her parents drifted away, the more she mourned the way her family had celebrated those first six Christmases. The three of them putting out cookies for Santa and on Christmas morning gathering around a Christmas tree her mother had delivered from a department store to see what Santa had brought. And the Christmas day brunch. One of the few occasions throughout the year when they all sat down together as a family and had a meal.

Isabella shook off her melancholy thoughts.

This year was different. She had Tino. This was the first Christmas since he’d lost his family that he’d felt like celebrating. He’d told her how he always took the assignments that would last through the holidays because he’d rather forget there was a family holiday he was missing.

Isabella pulled the last pan of cookies from the oven and walked into the living room. There may not be snow and blustery weather outside, but she’d set up a winter wonderland inside with a small village scene, pine-scented warming oil, and mistletoe dangling in front of every doorway. She didn’t want to miss any chances to capture a kiss from Tino.

They were only three months off the last assignment they’d more or less worked together. As a WIA operative, she’d discovered how and where Aztec treasures were being sold on the black market, and Tino had cracked a notorious Columbian drug ring as a DEA agent. They’d fulfilled their missions, but Tino was still lamenting the fact he didn’t shoot the drug lord responsible for his family’s deaths and that a crooked DEA agent got away. Her heart was heavy from knowing a young man was killed because she involved him in her operation.

They both deserved a wonderful Christmas.

“Querida, this apartment looks like a Christmas postcard.” Tino stood in the apartment doorway. His dark gaze drifted around the room and stopped on her. His handsome face lit up with a heated smile. He dropped his duffle bag to the side and closed the door.

A shiver of delight danced up her spine as it always did hearing Tino’s accent and knowing he loved her. As an awkward, genius-level kid growing up among jeers and fears from the older males in her academic life, she’d shied away from men. Never did she dream of being able to capture the attention of such a handsome, charismatic man.

She rushed across the room before he stepped out from under the mistletoe and wrapped her arms around his neck. “This is going to be the best Christmas ever,” she said, pressing her lips to his and falling into a kiss that made her knees weak and her body hum.

His hands cradled her head as he took the kiss even deeper, turning his face, melding their mouths, and gliding his tongue over hers in an intimate dance.

Her body sagged, and he caught her before she melted into a puddle of desire on the ceramic floor.

“Querida, the way you melt from my kisses gives me a big head.”

The sultry words registered in her euphoric mind. “Which head?”

Tino’s deep hearty laugh echoed through the apartment and reverberated in her heart.

“Your quick mind is one of the many things I love about you.” He kissed her nose. “We have much to do. Christmas is only three days away.” He released her and picked up his duffle bag.

“You need help with that,” Isabella asked, following him to the bedroom door.

He hustled through the door and out from under the mistletoe before she caught up to him. “I can manage fine. It smells as if you are baking, no?”

“You wouldn’t happen to have presents?” She hadn’t received a present from anyone for years. She always gave to charities and helped at the soup kitchen on Christmas Eve.

“If I do, they are a surprise. Go bake.” He shot her a mischievous grin and closed the door.

The click of the lock made her giggle. If she really wanted in, that lock was easy to pick. Isabella wandered into the kitchen. Tino had told her of a Venezuelan tradition he missed. She’d scoured the internet and found a recipe for Hallaca, a plantain-leaf-wrapped food that required days to prepare.

“Might as well get started.”



I’m pleased to have my short story, Secrets of a Christmas Box FREE to introduce you to Dr. Isabella Mumphrey, a female MacGyver/Indiana Jones character.

Isabella’s plans of a wonderful Christmas are thwarted when her father hands her a World Intelligence Agency mission.

Download link-

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!!

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 48 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest   / Bookbub


Julie Lence said...

Great scene, Paty!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Julie. I kept it because I liked the scene. But I also realized it could be condensed and make the story flow better.