Today's guest is not new to our blog but please welcome Carol James back as she shares with us her newest Christmas book, Choosing Christmas as part of Pelican Book Group's Christmas Extravaganza and our All Christmas thru Christmas feature!
Take it away, Carol....
My mother used to always talk about the “Spirit of Christmas.” She made certain my brother and I knew Christmas was not about what we got, but about what we gave and what Christ gave for us. So much of life is formed by what we choose. Even when we have no choice in what happens to us, we do have a choice in how we react. In Choosing Christmas, both Angie and Adam have suffered painful pasts which could have crippled them, but they have chosen to rise above the circumstances. Adam’s story is inspired by a true event that occurred when a tragic accident struck a mission team from some churches in our area. And while Adam could have stayed mired in self-pity, he makes the choice to trust in the love and sacrifice embodied in Christ and his coming at Christmas. He chooses the Spirit of Christmas.
Heartbroken over the unfair loss of a position in the school where she teaches, Angela Taylor is determined to find an assistant principal position.
Adam Thornton has struggled for years to overcome the physical and emotional effects of a devastating accident that occurred when he was a teenager. A successful real estate attorney and part-time handyman, Adam uses his gifts and talents to serve others.
When Angela is hired as an AP at the school where Adam's mother is the principal, Angela and Adam find they share a past... an unexpected connection. And they must choose whether to surrender to the pain of that past or find hope for the future in the spirit of Christmas.
Excerpt: Static crackled from the old intercom box on the wall above the whiteboard. “Ms. Taylor, Dr. Jernigan would like to see you in his office.”
“Thank you. Please tell him I’ll be right there.” Angie pulled her make-up bag out of the bottom desk drawer and ran her brush through her hair. She refreshed her lipgloss and powdered her nose. Then she stood and slipped on her suit jacket. Her students had teased her about being dressed up today, but they’d just have to get used to it.
Excitement fluttered her stomach as she headed down the hall. The school board had met last night and made their decision. She drew in a calming breath and forced back the tears. Grammy and Poppy would have been so proud.
As Angie entered the main office, Mary Jo winked from behind the front desk and then nodded toward the door behind her. “They’re waiting on you.”
Smiling, Angie walked across the office and rapped on the door. When Will opened it, she stepped inside. He nodded toward the sofa behind her. “Ms. Taylor, you remember John Carlton.”
Not a surprise that the president of the school board would be here, too. She turned and offered her hand. “So very nice to see you again, Mr. Carlton.”
“And you, as well.” He grasped her hand and then gestured toward the sofa. “Won’t you please have a seat?”
She perched on the edge of the cushion and folded her hands in her lap. Will dropped into the chair across from them.
Mr. Carlton smiled. “As you’re probably aware, the board met last night to consider filling the position of assistant principal.”
Angie nodded, her heart skipping with excitement.
“Thank you for your application. Your résumé’s quite impressive. You’re an excellent teacher and have been a faithful employee.”
So far, so good.
“Unfortunately, we’re unable to offer you the assistant principal position at this time. The school needs a candidate who has more experience in personnel management. Someone with an advanced degree.”
She shot a glance toward Will. His eyes were fixed on his lap. Turning her attention back to Mr. Carlton, she countered, “I appreciate your position, however, my master’s will be completed before this school year ends.”
He nodded. “Dr. Jernigan reminded us, and for that reason, we’d like to offer you the newly created position of upper elementary Lead Teacher. It would mean a ten percent increase in salary beginning in January. I’ll have the job description and salary information sent to Dr. Jernigan before the end of the semester. With an updated contract, of course.” He stood and shook her hand. “Pray about it.”
Then the two men shook hands and Mr. Carlton left.
This had not gone at all the way she’d expected.
Will slipped onto the sofa beside her and grasped her hand. “Angie… I’m so sorry. I tried.”
“Say something.” He sandwiched her hand between both of his.
“You know I’m qualified for that position, even if I don’t have my degree yet. I have the right experience. I know the curriculum backward and forward. I even helped write some of it.” She would not cry. “You shouldn’t have had to ‘try’ anything.”
“I know.” He rubbed the backs of her hands with his thumbs. “Baby, the board felt…they thought the offer of the lead teacher position would be a good compromise. And maybe in a few years…”
“Good? For who?” She pulled her hands away. “And ‘personnel management,’ really? Do they not realize exactly how many ‘personnel’ I manage every day?”
“The board knows you’re an excellent teacher…. That’s why they’re creating this position for you. They don’t want to lose you.”
“They’ve already hired someone, haven’t they?”
“Angie…” He shook his head. “I really can’t say.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“Shouldn’t.” He broke eye contact. “Let’s just say, the board really didn’t have much of a choice.”
“People always have a choice.”
He huffed. “It’s the nephew of one of the church elders. He just got his master’s in admin and wants to move back here to be close to his mom. She’s sick, and he needs to take care of her.” He shook his head. “I’ve told you more than I should’ve.”
Angie’s heart ached for the nameless young man. “I am sorry.” She drew her hands away and stood. “But I’ll have to think about things. I’m not sure this is the future I want.”
“Angie, don’t make it any harder.” Will stood and rested his hands on her shoulders. “I pushed all I could without making them suspicious. I understand you’re hurt, but you should be grateful they created a new position for you.”
Grateful? If she looked at it from his perspective, maybe. But from hers? It stung like a slap in the face. “I’m qualified. You shouldn’t have had to push.”
“In a perfect world…yes.” He drew her close. “Go home. Take the rest of the week off and pray about it. I’ll have Mary Jo get a sub.” He whispered across the top of her hair. “Neither the school nor I want to lose you.”
The author of five full-length novels and five Christmas novellas, Carol loves creating stories of Redemptive Romance—intriguing, transformative tales with happy endings.
Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter and receive a free short story: https://www.carol-james.com
Get your copy of Choosing Christmas at Amazon, B&N, PBG, GoodReads, Kobo or BookBub and check out Carol's previous visits HERE.
Wow, Carol your excerpt ended on a great hook! Thanks for sharing Choosing Christmas with us. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your new book and of course, a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Hope you enjoyed Carol's post, friends and that you'll check back each Wednesday and Saturday for more All Christmas thru Christmas.
Until next time, take care and God bless.