Debbie Macomber: 1225 Christmas Tree Lane

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Debbie Macomber 1225 Christmas Tree Lane
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    1225 Christmas Tree Lane
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A Cedar Cove Christmas

Christmas 2008

Dear Friends,

Anyone who knows me or has read my books for any length of time has figured out that I’m crazy about Christmas. For more years than my feeble memory can recall, I’ve written an annual Christmas story. It just seemed to make sense, considering how much I love the holiday season.

Now, I have to tell you that this year’s story is downright inspired (if I do say so myself!). For not one reason, but two…First, when you start reading A Cedar Cove Christmas, you’ll quickly recognize the source—the original Christmas story that took place over two thousand years ago. Second, this book is a response to the question most frequently asked by my readers: How come there’s only one Cedar Cove book a year? My answer’s usually “I’m writing as fast as I can.” So this Christmas story is a bonus for all my readers who want more Cedar Cove. (Pay attention to the new characters here, because they’re bound to show up in future books!)

My hope is that A Cedar Cove Christmas will put you in the Yuletide spirit…and that you’ll join your Cedar Cove friends in celebrating Christmas. (And for any readers new to town, let me assure you that you’ll quickly figure out who’s who and what’s what!)

I enjoy hearing from you, so please log on to my Web site, www.debbiemacomber.com, and let me know what you think. Or write to me at P.O. Box 1458, Port Orchard, WA 98366.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

DEBBIE MACOMBER

A Cedar Cove Christmas

To our dear friends

Rhett Palmer

and

Claudia Faye Johnson

plus

Beni

The cutest dog in the universe

Some of the Residents of Cedar Cove, Washington

Olivia Lockhart Griffin: Family Court judge. Mother of Justine and James (of San Diego). Married to Jack Griffin, editor of the Cedar Cove Chronicle. They live at 16 Lighthouse Road.

Charlotte Jefferson Rhodes: Mother of Olivia and of Will Jefferson. Now married to widower Ben Rhodes, who has two sons, David and Steven, neither of whom lives in Cedar Cove.

Justine (Lockhart) Gunderson: Daughter of Olivia. Mother of Leif. Married to Seth Gunderson. They live at 6 Rainier Drive.

Will Jefferson: Olivia’s brother, Charlotte’s son. Formerly of Atlanta. Divorced, retired and back in Cedar Cove, where he has recently bought the local gallery.

Grace Sherman Harding: Olivia’s lifelong best friend. Librarian. Widow of Dan Sherman. Mother of Maryellen Bowman and Kelly Jordan. Married to Cliff Harding, a horse breeder living in Olalla, near Cedar Cove.

Maryellen Bowman: Oldest daughter of Grace and Dan Sherman. Mother of Katie and Drake. Married to Jon Bowman, photographer.

Bob and Peggy Beldon: Retired. Own the Thyme and Tide B and B at 44 Cranberry Point.

Roy McAfee: Private investigator, retired from Seattle police force. Two adult children, Mack and Linnette. Married to Corrie, who works as his office manager. The McAfees live at 50 Harbor Street.

Linnette McAfee: Daughter of Roy and Corrie. A physician’s assistant, now living in North Dakota.

Mack McAfee: Son of Roy and Corrie, brother of Linnette. Fireman and EMT in Cedar Cove.

Gloria Ashton: Deputy in Cedar Cove Sheriff’s Department. Natural child of Roy and Corrie McAfee.

Troy Davis: Cedar Cove sheriff.

Pastor Dave Flemming: Local Methodist minister. He and his wife, Emily, are the parents of Matthew and Mark.

Shirley Bliss: Widow and fabric artist, mother of Tannith (Tanni) Bliss.

Shaw Wilson: Friend of Tanni’s. Works at Mocha Mama, local coffee shop.

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

1

Even though she was listening to Christmas carols on her iPod, Mary Jo Wyse could hear her brothers arguing. How could she not? Individually, the three of them had voices that were usually described as booming; together they sounded like an entire football stadium full of fans. All three worked as mechanics in the family-owned car repair business and stood well over six feet. Their size alone was intimidating. Add to that their voices, and they’d put the fear of God into the most hardened criminal.

“It’s nearly Christmas,” Linc was saying. He was the oldest and, if possible, loudest of the bunch.

“Mary Jo said he’d call her before now,” Mel said.

Ned, her youngest brother, remained suspiciously quiet. He was the sensitive one. Translated, that meant he’d apologize after he broke David Rhodes’s fingers for getting his little sister pregnant and then abandoning her.

“We’ve got to do something,” Linc insisted.

The determination in his voice gave her pause. Mary Jo’s situation was complicated enough without the involvement of her loving but meddlesome older brothers. However, it wasn’t their fault that she was about to have a baby and the father was nowhere in sight.

“I say we find David Rhodes and string him up until he agrees to marry our sister.”

Mary Jo gasped. She couldn’t help it. Knowing Linc, he’d have no qualms about doing exactly that.

“I think we should, too—if only we knew where he was,” she heard Mel say.

Unable to sit still any longer, Mary Jo tore off her earphones and burst out of her bedroom. She marched into the living room, where her brothers stood around the Christmas tree, beers in hand, as its lights blinked cheerfully. Ever since their parents had been killed in a car accident five years earlier, her older brothers had considered themselves her guardians. Which was ridiculous, since she was over twenty-one. Twenty-three, to be precise. She hadn’t been legally of age at the time of their deaths, but her brothers seemed to forget she was now an adult.

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