Beautiful Southern belle Julia Jackson has just been informed she and her niece must find a new home immediately—or else. With no family to turn to in Georgia, Julia takes a mighty gamble and answers an advertisement for a nursemaid in wild Indian Territory—for the child of a man she knows nothing about. Together, she and five-year-old Lauralee waste no time as they flee to the safety of the new position Julia has accepted. She can only hope this move will be the start of a bright future for them away from Lauralee’s dangerous much older half-brother.
A rancher with no heart…
The death of Devlin Campbell’s young daughter has ripped the light from his life. Though the birth of his son, little Jamie, should have been a source of happiness, the subsequent loss of his wife forces Dev to ignore his emotions and trudge through life’s joyless responsibilities. But all that changes with the arrival of Miss Julia Jackson from Atlanta! Not at all what Dev is expecting in response to his ad, his resentment boils over at her failure to mention her tag-along niece—a painful reminder of the loss of his own little girl just two years earlier. Yet, how can he deny the sunshine Julie brings into his drab existence with her very presence?
Can love find a way?
In the depths of Dev’s boundless sorrow and his accompanying anger, is there room in his life for anyone else as Christmas approaches? Can Julie convince him that love is the cure for a broken heart, and hope is the only recipe for a new beginning between THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON…
The door banged open behind the three, a gust of icy wind howling in before the tall man who’d entered could get it shut.
Lauralee hugged herself and shivered, then ran to the blazing hearth to the warmth. She eyed the man warily as she crouched before the fireplace.
Julia turned the baby away from the cold, until she heard the door shut behind her.
“What the devil—” the man bit out savagely.
When Julia’s gaze shot to his, her heart sank. This must be Mr. Campbell, her employer. And he was bending the fiercest glare she’d ever seen on Lauralee, who cowered by the fireplace.
Julia quickly gathered herself. Over the past few years, she’d had more than her fair share of life-changing surprises. Her parents had been killed in a runaway carriage accident when she was ten. Her older brother, Jerome, and sister, Helena, had tried to hold onto the family’s holdings, but Jerome’s penchant for gambling had ended up landing them all on the street.
It hadn’t been too much longer before Jerome had been found in an alley with his throat cut—and Helena had had to marry quickly to give herself and Julia a home. Now that Helena was gone, Julia knew she could never be parted from her niece. Helena had provided for Julia when there’d been no one else—now, Julia would keep Lauralee safe from the world—including the likes of the very unpleasant Mr. Devlin Campbell!
“I assume you are Mr. Campbell?” Julia asked uncertainly, as she stepped toward him, extending one hand. She shifted Jamie to her hip. “I’m Miss Julia Jackson,” she continued primly, “up from Savannah way—your new nursemaid for young Jamie, here. And this—” she stepped to the side as Dev took her hand— “is Miss Lauralee Redmond.”
Lauralee, it seemed, had recovered, as well. She had risen to her feet, and stood glaring at the man, her hands on her hips.
He glared right back at her, barely sparing Julia a glance.
“We’re not the Debbil! You are!” Lauralee said, pointing at him with an accusatory finger.
Oh, Dear Heavenly Father… Julia’s throat constricted as she stepped forward. They were going to be tossed out into this blizzard for sure! “Lauralee—” Julia began, her heart pounding.
But silence filled the room as her employer took a step forward, causing Julia to lose her voice completely and forget that she needed to chastise Lauralee for her insolence to an adult.
Mr. Campbell hunkered down on the floor in front of Lauralee, studying her. Jamie kicked and smiled, holding out his arms to his father, but the man ignored his son, watching Lauralee intently.
“Well…I supposed you might be right about that, Miss Lauralee,” he finally allowed.
Have you ever had an appallingly embarrassing moment like the one Lauralee created for "Miss Julia Jackson" above? I've had my share, for sure! Please leave a comment to be entered in my drawing for a free digital copy of THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON!
THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON is available now for KINDLE, and is available in both digital and paperback as of October 26 (today!). It’s full of action, suspense, and of course, Christmas magic!
Here's the link to order THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON for your very own!
Haven't we all had children say the darndest things? I was in the checkout line at the local market. The honorable judge, dressed impeccably in his court suit was standing behind me with something simple such as a can of coffee. A very handsome man who would turn heads no matter what he wore. I knew he was there because as we walked up to the line I asked if he'd like to go first. He politely declined. Another shopper in front of my cart, was placing her groceries on the conveyor belt. We were forced to wait until she was done.ReplyDelete
I'm checking my watch and looking over my cart worried about dinner and a hubby that would be home shortly after I got there. He'd be looking for his dinner and I had groceries to put away, along with two small children to settle from the days activities, dinner to prepare, a few things to tidy in the house, a table to set... Oh please, lady, why today? Why must you buy a month's worth of food for a family with twelve children, or so it appeared, with only one checkout line open.
My youngest was in the cart's seat and my other daughter was standing on the front of the cart looking over the items it contained. She asked what's for dinner. I replies SOS, figuring that was the fastest thing to make and something that my husband honestly loved. My littlest one asked what's SOS. A perfectly normal question for a child who was a little more then a year old. Before I could reply with a suitable word for the foul one in those three initials, my older daughter who was about four because hadn't started school yet, answered with a young military man's words for the the ground beef and sausage combo that was covered in a while sauce and ladled over toast. I didn't even know that my daughter knew what SOS stood for or that she even knew the word because we never cursed around the children and barely ever said more than darn. So from the angelic pale blond who is too far away to keep her from saying it came those fateful words, Sh** On a Shingle.
The judge fell into a round of chuckles.
Oh please, may we disappear into the floor?
Oh, E., that is just priceless! What a story! And you're right--we've all got at least ONE story, don't we? I have to laugh every time I think of this one: My oldest sister believed in telling her girls the "clinical" names of the body parts--all body parts. My mother (born in 1922, very staid and ladylike, always) had taken my two nieces to the grocery store and had a cart full of groceries to take to my sister's, a single mom, who needed all the help she could get. They were standing in the checkout lane, my nieces at this time were probably around 4 and 6. The youngest one looks at this old gentleman in the next lane over and points at him, loudly asking, "NONNIE, DOES THAT MAN HAVE A PENIS?" My mother left the shopping cart full, took both my nieces and went directly back to my sister's so mad and embarrassed she was almost in tears. Of course, later on it was funny, but at the time, she told my sister, "I can't take your girls anywhere!" LOLDelete
Now here's another one. My son, when he was young, somehow got the idea that he could ask or say anything as long as he prefaced it with "Not to be rude or anything, but..." (at this point, my daughter, 3 years older, would usually clap a hand over his mouth and drag him off somewhere.) We had gone to a family reunion and an elderly 2nd cousin and my aunt were talking about my kids and this cousin, Eloise, called Casey over to her. She said, "Casey, I'd like a hug. Would you give me a hug?" He was about 3 and the room was full of talking, laughing, etc. but...like that old EF Hutton commercial everything ground to a halt when Casey calmly said, "No." Eloise (she was in her late 70's) said, "Oh, you won't? Why not?" Without missing a beat, he said, "Because you're old and wrinkled, and I don't want to." DEAD QUIET in the entire room. Jessica (6) GASPS, "CASEY!!!!!" (which only made it worse). But God bless Eloise--she just laughed about it, and said, "Well, you should never ask a child a question if you're afraid of the answer--they're always honest." I just wanted to drop through the floor.
When you told the story of the old man and his body part, it triggered another event in my head that I had long since forgotten. My youngest was probably an infant. My mom wanted to eat at a lovely restaurant and decided I would go with her. It was an all you can eat buffet sort of place but upscale. Off we go to a place that normally I could not afford. Managing to get my mother's plate (she was a semi-invalid) and a very young daughter's while coping with a high chair... Well, you can imagine. We sit and my daughter points to a table not far from us that contained a rotund, bald male. I her stage whisper managed to silence the whole room when she says "Is that man fat because he has so much food on his plate."Delete
The man smiled. I wanted to sink into the floor and vanish. Yes, children are honest.
I think everyone who has children can lob these stories across the court probably for days before we'd ever run out. Lauralee sounds pretty typical of most children who have been tossed into a different situation. Children often add so much to a story and sometimes they simply steal the show. I think Lauralee going to steal the show. Must grab a copy of The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson. (Besides, I love reading your stories.)
LOL OMGOSH, E! Yes, you're right. There are a dozen of these stories in my family, and the funny thing is that my daughter really never ever said or did anything inappropriate. She was just born with that 6th sense of timing and what NOT to say. My son...Oh my lord You never knew what was going to come out of his mouth, but he didn't have a mean bone in his body--he was just curious and honest. LOL That didn't help much when he came out with some of the stuff he did, though.Delete
I wanted to also say thank you for the very kind words about my stories. I'm so glad you enjoy them!Delete
Congratulations on this release, Cheryl. I know it's gonna be a great story--your stories always are.ReplyDelete
BTW, I see the addiction to Jimmy Thomas you have. Just sayin'...
Man, I do, Sarah. LOL I have him on just about every single cover. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your encouragement. Thank you for always being supportive, my friend. XOXODelete
Great excerpt, Cheryl. Definitely makes me want to read your book.ReplyDelete
Lyn, thank you! I hope you enjoy it. This started out as a short story, but it quickly became evident that these characters had more to say than I could fit into 20K, even. LOLDelete
And my winner for The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson is...ALL THREE OF MY COMMENTERS!ReplyDelete
Thank you all for commenting today! MUCH appreciated. If you will e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will see that you get your digital copy of THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON!