Free Excerpt From “Expiation”: A Christmas Story

In my novel “Expiation” Katie has had a series of lonely holidays. Now at Christmas she is reunited with her long lost love Dan. Here is an excerpt from “Expiation.”
I sat in one of her large overstuffed chairs facing the Christmas tree.
“Sit here,” I said as I patted my knee.
Katie kicked off her shoes and curled up on my lap. She laid her head on my shoulder. I rubbed her exposed knees and thighs gently through her black tights. We said nothing but just cuddled and listened to the Christmas music.
An instrumental version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” was now playing on the CD player. Katie began to cry softly. My reaction to her crying was completely different this time. I wasn’t puzzled by Katie’s emotional outburst. I knew why she was crying. She was exorcising past demons, past disappointments and a string of sad Christmases. I’m sure she had wondered if the string of gloomy holidays would ever end.
She looked up at me and whispered in a tear-choked voice, “I’m sorry. I hope you don’t think I’m this emotional basket case. I don’t know why I’m crying.”
“It’s okay baby. Go ahead and cry.”
Katie continued to dab her eyes. “It’s just that everything is so perfect…so happy now.”
I gently took her face in my hands and said, “You are the one who makes everything so perfect and happy. You’ve healed me, Katie.”
“Oh Dan…” she said softly, “I didn’t know if I would ever be happy again.”
“I know, my love. The sad Christmases are over.”
Katie held me tightly as tears continued to run down her cheeks. I comforted her by running my fingers through her hair and caressing her tenderly.
It was the perfect moment.

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About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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