A Christmas Miracle (#1)
For a girl of twenty, Angieline is uncommonly wise. Perhaps losing her mother at five years old, shaped her this way. Though, the presence of her forty-three-year-old tutor and the secrets they share could be closer to the truth. She and Mario, her tutor/adopted father, have been in many towns in the USA. Though their strange deeds could make them targets for unscrupulous people, they keep going even if it leads to the end of their undertakings.
When James, the reporter, appears in their lives, right before Christmas, their secrets become hard to keep and their lies threaten to catch up with them. Torn between duty and love, she will have to make peace with her heart one way or the other. Though her choice could break not only her and his heart but, the heart of her tutor or the children's orphanage that desperately needs a miracle for Christmas.
A New Assignment
“I hope we will find something for our purpose here and soon,” Mario Tuzzini exclaimed. He sat across from his ward, Angieline Tuzzini, a cup of coffee in his hand.
“My eyes and ears haven’t picked up anything yet.” Angie shrugged her shoulders from the side of the table where she enjoyed scrambled eggs.
“The longer we stay, the longer people will have to recognize us. That will make it easier to find us in the future,” Mario told her.
Angie was enjoying a hot chocolate on this cold morning, in the bed and breakfast where they rented a room. “What do you expect? Everywhere we pull one of our schemes it is bound to make people think of us. It’s not like we keep low profiles during our ‘work’.”
“I would prefer that they didn’t get so close to us,” he insisted. “We will be hunted if people get into our business, and we won’t be able to do any of this anymore.”
“I’ve been with you for twelve years and you still think of me as a little girl.” She frowned.
“I suppose that at twenty, you are a grown woman,” Mario conceded.
For a girl of twenty, she was uncommonly wise, perhaps losing her mother when she was quite young had shaped her into what she was now, a quiet, caring, intelligent young woman. But, the presence of Mario in her early life could also be a reason.
“And I would have to say that you are right. Now let me do my job and quit treating me like a baby.”
“All right…I get it. What are you planning for us today?” Mario queried with a glance into her green eyes.
“I will look into our project,” Angie answered with her hot chocolate midway to her red lips.
“Have you given thought to what it is that you would like to do this time?” he asked.
“It’s December, I’m sure something will come up,” she responded. “People are more giving at this time of year, and we’re good at helping them put it to good use.”
“It does look like it will be a bitter Christmas,” Mario looked outside the window at the big crop of snowflakes drifting down to join the pile of white snow on the ground. “Angie, we’ve been here two days, what do you think about Canopy City?”
He turned on the radio next to the green sofa where he sat and waited for her answer while the radio warmed up.
“This town is suffering from the recession like many small towns we have seen before,” Angie answered.
“Nothing new though. We have pulled through before with less. I’m confident that we’ll be successful here too.”
Mario takes Angie, his daughter, out of Charleston to forget her beau’s sudden departure. On their way to Osage, they have an accident and meet the most interesting people in a quaint small town which is suffering from the depression’s pains and self-isolation. Will Angie be able to recuperate from her broken heart and the injuries from the accident in time to aid their new friends before they succumb to want and despair?
“It may be that I feel more like a humbug than a merry ho, ho, ho, at this moment, but the Depression and Christmas don’t add up in my head, Angie.”
“Oh, James, what is the matter? I thought you liked Christmas.” Angie Tuzzini ran to his arms and he held her in silencefor a moment.
“Well, I guess I have to cope. After all, Christmas is only once a year.”
She didn’t understand why would he feel this way. Everything had felt right the night before. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, silly.”
“We are in a depression, Angie…. How can you be so cheery on this cold December morning?”
Could it have something to do with the telegram he had received the night before? He hadn’t mentioned it to her aftershe gave it to him.
“Christmas has magic, James, or have you forgotten so soon our last year’s Christmas project?”
James let her go and walked toward the small window of the Grand Hotel where they had stayed for the past month.
“How could I? That is when we almost didn’t become a couple.”
Yes, she had almost lost him to the secrets of her and Mario’s life. The sadness of that time came back to Angie’s heart. She had to focus on James’ chocolate eyes before she could send the memory away.
“But we did. Let’s focus in all the projects we have done since then…, instead of all this dark talk.”
His soft, pale skin showed little pink spots. It was a sign that he had a plan, though he didn’t know how to approach and tell her.
“You truly are my sunshine, Angie, and it is hard for me to tell you this...”
“What is wrong, James? Is everything all right with your family?”
James had a mother and three stepbrothers with her new husband. Although she had never met them, he had mentioned them to her.
“Yes, they are…. I just sent them the Christmas money yesterday.”
If it was not his family, then it must be his job as a reporter, but what about it had him so down?
He turned toward her, though his dark curls were all she could see, as his head bowed to the floor. Sadness emanatedfrom him and somehow her breath caught in her throat.
“There are some countries that seem to be making … changes to their policies and great numbers of men are beingcalled to action. They are restless and I need to go find out why.”
“You need to go and find out … why? And how do you know this?” Her eyes closed without permission and a cool hand touched her back. His story felt wrong.
“As reporter, I have sources in many places, Angie, you know this. However, our government has asked me to go and investigate for them.”
“The government? James, why don’t they send their experts?”
“I have the best cover to get in and ask questions as a news correspondent.”
He didn’t understand her apprehension. Why couldn’t he? Her heart contracted and she didn’t know why. No, this really spelled… what?
“Wouldn’t that be dangerous, James?”
“All my assignments could be dangerous, Angie. It comes with my profession.”
He wasn’t taking her apprehensions seriously enough, or...
“You already made the decision, didn’t you?”
“That is why you are talking so negatively this morning. You wanted a reason for me to let you go and approve of whatyou are going to do.”
“Angie, you aren’t fair. I have done what you and Mario wanted for a year, I believe it’s my turn to do as I want, don’t you?”
“What we wanted? I thought you wanted to do it with us?”
“I did it because I love you, not because I love what you do.”
She sat heavily on the pale blue velvet chair nearest to her.
“This past year I thought we were destined to be together, that I had found my soul mate. And all along, you did it for me, not because you believe in what we do.”
“You believe in it, that was enough for me.”
She had been played for a fool. The silence grew thick while the hands of the tower clock down the street refused to move.
“James, when will you be back?” She stood and went to him, to make the sensation of distance growing between them disappear.
“I don’t know. Angie, our country needs me and I want to do my duty. This is more important than what you do or us.”
“Really? It is more important than us?”
“As you said, this is a dangerous assignment. I won’t let you waste your time waiting for me.”
No, that wasn’t the answer she wanted or expected from his lips. He was willing to let her go for this project. Why hadn’t she seen it before?
“Just like that and it is all over?”
“I set you free, for your own good, Angie. If, when I return, you are still free, I’ll find you and we’ll talk then.”
“I see. You have it all planned out and didn’t even think to include me in your decisions.” A cold fire started in her heart and engulfed her whole body. She took her arms and wrapped them about herself in an effort to stop it.
“This is something I need to do. Your opinion wasn’t needed.”
“When you are a couple, there isn’t a mine or yours, it’s always ours, James.”
“I’m sorry, Angie. This is important to me and I will do it.”
Life has been interesting from the day Angie was conceived. Why would her twentieth year of life be different? Her fiancé left her for his career only to die in Europe just a few weeks before Christmas. Still, she and Mario manage to complete a wonderful Christmas project in the town of Jere.
Now the new year brings bad news about Mario’s father and the prospects of meeting him for the first time makes her heart turn cold. How can she refuse Mario her help, when he has never asked anything from her to repay all he has done for her since he adopted her at five years old?
She considers herself strong, though, with her grandfather as a project, the challenge may prove to be the hardest she has ever worked on. Afraid of not being ready to face her past as the daughter of a monster, she also worries that she may lose her place in Mario’s heart. Will her grandfather tear her jolly life apart, or does she still have a chance for a merry life after all?
“Who are you?”
Angie’s heart stopped as she turned to face the biggest fear she had ever had…, Mr. Tuzzini Sr. staring back at her.
“It’s you…. How dare you enter my house? You aren’t welcome in my home…, get out. You stole my son and I will never forgive you for that. Get out.”
Angie’s heart broke in two and her eyes swam in unshed tears. She ran out at the same time that Beth and Nadinerushed into the room.
“Mr. Tuzzini, what have you done?” Nadine’s voice sounded far away as Angie hurried to wait for her ride outside. Then a set of arms took her in an embrace.
They felt familiar, and she thought Mario must be there. She cried so hard that she couldn’t see a thing. When she felttucked in the safest arms she could be and knew she had been carried outside by the change of temperature, she thought Mario would take her away from there to a safe place and she calmed down.
“He is wrong, Angie. You are the most thoughtful person I have ever met and what he said is just a sick man comingback to life.” The voice, though soothing, didn’t belong to Mario. She opened her eyes to find Scott’s face inches from hers. “Please don’t cry, he didn’t mean it. He doesn’t know all you have done for him.”
“It isn’t that, Scott. He opened a wound too deep to be cared for with just a few consoling words. I need to get out of here, now!”
“Please don’t go, or at least let me come with you.”
“That is out of the question, Scott. I know you care for me, and I can’t deal with that at the moment. I need time toheal on my own, or I will never be able to come back at all.”
“Where will you be, Angie? May I write to you…, please.”
“In Greentown, but I don’t know how long I’ll stay there. I will contact Mario as soon as I’m settled…. I promise.”
“Does he know you are leaving, Angie? Did he know his father would treat you so foully?”
“There isn’t a way we could have guessed how his father would react to me, Scott. But now I know. I can’t stay. Pleaseunderstand that one day I will tell you all. I just can’t right now. He broke my heart and what I have to tell you will finish the job. I can’t handle it right now.”
Will this white Christmas bring Angels singing or a Silent night?
Tragedy strikes billionaires Mario and Beth Tuzzini and the Santa projects may be the only thing that can help them overcome it.
Scott and Angie, Mario’s daughter, had a hard time when their Santa’s project couldn’t start. An innocent mistake put them on the mayor’s black list as the children pay when one of them is almost killed?
Things aren’t always joyful in The Angels Sing and many things must happen before they can share a Merry day together. The Angels Sing is the standalone book four of the depression era series the Other Santa.
“Mario, do you remember what you did in Angie’s mother situation?” His shoulders tensed and his hands clenched tighteron the wheel. “I…” She couldn’t continue as the thought that Mario might kill their doctor made her heart split in two. She needed to know what Mario had on his mind. That possible answer was eating her from the inside out.
“No, my sweet Beth. I will never take the law in my hands again.” He reached for her hand. “If I learned anything with that experience it’s that it didn’t a change a thing. I was miserable without Tanya and she existed without her past to help her cope. Besides, Tom told me that we are all humans and bound to make mistakes, and that to forgive is a commandment.”
“Thank you. I’m afraid I did worry too much about it and I didn’t know what to do.”
“Please, sweetheart, never keep your questions from me. Next time, ask me at the first chance. It won’t do to have you worry without a cause. Besides, I did promise never to lie to you, remember…? I mean it.”
“Yes, you did, my love. I’m so sorry, I felt so helpless. I couldn’t tell what was wrong with me, and I was too embarrassed to have you check me out. If I had, our baby might be alive now.” Her shoulders shook and Mario stopped the car to hold her in his arms. The morning was sunny, though her thoughts felt cold and sad.
“I don’t think so, sweetheart. Though, I understand it’s a step of the mourning process to blame oneself. I too blamed myself for not being in tune enough to have noticed your discomfort.”
“You did? You must be right, Mario. It would have never occurred to me to blame you.”
“Nor do I blame you, my dearest Beth.”
His lips over hers let her know that it might take time, yet they would be all right together.
After a comfortable silence, “Mario,” said Beth, “Tom told me that when we look too much at our insides, we can’t seemuch other than despair. But when we look all about us, we can always find someone who is having a worse time than us. That is what helps us go through our trials, focusing on others.”
They both sat with their thoughts for a moment.
“I know it to be true, my husband. When mother passed, helping the people of Osage is what kept me going. When thehospital in Osage wouldn’t permit me to stay, I moved to Jere after I heard they had closed the clinic there. It would havebeen too painful with too many things to remind me of mother back in Charleston.”
“Beth, would you like to take a walk in that park? I see a small pond there.”
“The sunshine would do us both good.” Though, she already knew he was her sunbeam.
They got down and, hand in hand, walked up the path to the pond in silence without hurry. Not many souls were there,since at eleven in the morning most people would be otherwise occupied.
“Beth, before we left, I asked an investigator to look into your doctor.”
Beth stopped as cold blood rushed to her chest. She didn’t like what the silence did in her mind so she stated, “I thought you said…”
“I did and I promise I won’t do anything wrong, sweetheart. I was curious if this was neglect or a human error. I’ll be all right with either, I assure you. Although, if he has caused this pain to others, I’ll ask the investigator to make a report to the medical authorities. If it was an error, I, want to see if we can help so no one else has to go through this as we did.”
“Thank you, Mario. I can live with that.”
“I didn’t want to have a secret from you.”
About the author:
Anna was born in the extreme South along some famous beaches. She moved to the USA to marry her husband Rodney and has resided in Utah since then. Her husband, a native of Idaho, met her in her hometown. They fell in love and she came to Utah on Christmas Eve to be married two weeks later. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. Anna lives in Taylorsville Utah.
Anna is an accomplished seamstress and had the opportunity of doing costumes for the cast of four musicals, a pioneer play and for Utah's own Fantasy Con, which she enjoyed immensely. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Anna is an award-winning author of more than thirty publications in Young Adults wholesome fantasy (7 books) and royal tales in the medieval era, (8 books and counting). Christmas stories of the depression era for older teens (4 books and 2 more to come). Middle grade fairytales for pre-teens (1 book). She also writes Halloweeny stories for tweens (6 books) and has a number of tales in different anthologies and articles (6 articles). She has even written short Medieval Romance tales (3).
And as A. C. Dye she had penned Halloweeny bilingual stories for children (6 books) and bilingual health books for toddlers (5 books).
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