Authors: Hope Callaghan
Home for the Holidays
Cozy Mystery Series Book 10
Copyright © 2015
All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Although places mentioned may be real, the characters, names and incidents and all other details are products of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events or actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced in any format, by any means, electronic or otherwise, without prior consent from the copyright owner and publisher of this book. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
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Thank you, Peggy Hyndman for taking the time to preview
Home for the Holidays,
for the extra sets of eyes and for catching all my mistakes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About The Author
Hope Callaghan is an author who loves to write Christian books, especially Christian Mystery and Cozy Mystery books. Born and raised in a small town in West Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her husband.
She is the proud mother of one daughter and a stepdaughter and stepson. When she's not doing the thing she loves best - writing books - she enjoys cooking, traveling and reading books.
Hope loves to connect with her readers!
for information on special offers and soon-to-be-released books!
Other Books by Author, Hope Callaghan:
DECEPTION CHRISTIAN MYSTERY SERIES:
Waves of Deception: Samantha Rite Series Book 1
Winds of Deception: Samantha Rite Series Book 2
Tides of Deception: Samantha Rite Series Book 3
GARDEN GIRLS CHRISTIAN COZY MYSTERIES SERIES:
Who Murdered Mr. Malone? Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 1
Grandkids Gone Wild: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 2
Smoky Mountain Mystery: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 3
Death by Dumplings: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 4
Eye Spy: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 5
Magnolia Mansion Mysteries: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 6
Missing Milt: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 7
Bully in the ‘Burbs: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 8
Fall Girl: Garden Girls Mystery Series Book 9
CRUISE SHIP CHRISTIAN COZY MYSTERIES SERIES
Starboard Secrets: Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries Book 1
Portside Peril: Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries Book 2
Lethal Lobster: Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries Book 3
Deadly Deception: Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries Book 4
Vanishing Vacationers: Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries Book 5 – COMING JANUARY, 2016!
“Oh, this isn’t going to work.” Gloria Rutherford stared into the floor mirror and squinted at her reflection. The dress was…well, not Gloria. It was too fluffy, too puffy and to be perfectly honest, it made her look too young.
Gloria did not want to appear “matronly.” After all, this was to be her wedding dress. She wanted something that screamed “classy and elegant.”
Dot, one of Gloria’s close friends, tugged on a “poofy” sleeve and wrinkled her nose. “Yeah. I can see your point. I think I spotted one on the rack that might be more your style.”
Dot didn’t wait for a reply as she darted back inside the main showroom floor of the boutique store in search of the dress she deemed a better choice.
Lucy flopped into a cushioned chair situated next to the mirrors and leaned back. “This dress makes you look like a…”
“Cake topper,” Ruth quipped.
Margaret clamped her hand over her mouth to hide her grin and nodded.
Gloria stepped off the raised platform and followed Dot. At this point, she was sick of trying on dresses. The dress she envisioned in her mind was akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
Dot met her halfway across the showroom floor. “I have three and will bet money you’ll fall in love with at least one of these.” She thrust the dresses into Gloria’s outstretched arms, placed her hand on Gloria’s back and guided her to the oversized dressing rooms in the rear of the shop.
Dot shook her head firmly. “No buts. Now get in there and try them on!”
Gloria obediently tromped into the dressing room and closed the door. No wonder she dreaded dress shopping. The last time she had worn a wedding dress she had been eighteen years old.
Maybe she would be better off wearing a pantsuit instead. She reached for the door handle and paused. That wouldn’t be fair to Paul. She could envision him waiting for her at the altar and the look on his face when she showed up wearing slacks.
Gloria tugged the dress up, reached over her shoulder and unzipped the back of the cake topper she was wearing. She studied all three dresses Dot had given her in an attempt to figure out which dress would work best.
She studied the first dress with a critical eye. Too plain. She set the dress aside and lifted the second one. She immediately dismissed it. The dress weighed at least ten pounds.
When she held up dress number three, she paused. It was elegant. The outer layer consisted of sheer material. The upper part of the dress was scalloped lace. The lace ended near the waistline. From the middle down, it was a layer of antique white lace covered by the same sheer, tulle material.
Strips of satin circled the middle. Small jewels decorated the neckline and quarter sleeves.
Gloria sucked in a breath and held the dress up. It was perfect. She unzipped the back and slipped it over her head. It fit like a glove, as if the dress had been made for her.
She reached behind and zipped the back halfway, as far as she could reach and then studied her reflection. The hem fell just below her knee.
Gloria smoothed a hand over the material. This was the dress!
Gloria opened the dressing room door and peeked around the corner. Six sets of expectant eyes stared back: Lucy, Ruth, Margaret, Dot, Andrea and Alice.
“Well?” Lucy asked.
Gloria pushed the door wide open and stepped into the room.
The girls gasped.
“It’s perfect!” Lucy exclaimed.
“You look like a million bucks,” Ruth said.
Alice clapped her hands. “Mr. Paul is a lucky man.”
Andrea nodded her approval. “It fits you perfectly.”
Dot circled Gloria and stopped in the back to finish zipping the dress. “See? I told you!”
Gloria beamed. “I love it.”
“So will Paul,” Lucy predicted.
The sales clerk rounded the corner and studied the dress critically. “It is a perfect fit. You won’t need alterations.”
“Great!” Gloria said. “I’ll take it with me.”
The sales clerk carefully arranged the dress on a silk hangar and then slipped a clear, plastic bag over the top. Gloria stopped near the shoe rack on her way to the cash register where she found a matching pair of shoes and slip that would work perfect.
Gloria paid for her purchases and grabbed her goodies. “One stop shopping. Just my style.”
The girls all piled into Ruth’s van. Ruth glanced in the rearview mirror. “Now where?”
“Lunch,” Gloria said. “I picked out the perfect place.” Today was a special day and Gloria planned to treat her best friends to a special lunch. It was a rare occasion when they all got together for a shopping trip, especially Andrea and Alice, and Gloria wanted to make it a day they wouldn’t soon forget.
Their destination was a brand new seafood restaurant in Grand Rapids, situated on the banks of the Grand River. So far, the upscale restaurant had gotten rave reviews.
Gloria had passed by the place not long ago. She directed Ruth to the restaurant. Ruth pulled into the drive and parked in an empty spot. She shut the engine off and peered out the front window. “This place looks swanky.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Gloria told her friend. “Lunch is on me.”
Gloria had called ahead and the staff assured her they would reserve a private table with a view of the river. The girls crowded into the lobby and the hostess led them to the table.
When they reached the table, Gloria nodded her approval. It was perfect and the view of the river breathtaking.
After they ordered drinks, all eyes turned to Alice. “How is the
At Your Service
Dog Services coming along?” Lucy asked.
Alice grinned. “Oh. It is going good. You should come visit. It will be next year before any of the dogs are ready for new homes but we have started training.”
Gloria lifted her water glass and sipped from the straw. “What about the kennel?” In addition to training the dogs as service dogs, they were adding a boarding kennel, designed to keep money flowing in.
Alice reached for her napkin, unfolded the silverware and placed the napkin in her lap. “Yes. We have several bookings for the holidays and more calls are coming in every day. Plus, we have found homes for many of the dogs who are older or cannot be trained.”
The food arrived and the conversation paused. Gloria had ordered the coconut macadamia shrimp. The server shifted the plate from the tray and placed it in front of her. He positioned the plate so the shrimp was front and center.
The pieces of shrimp were large and arranged over a heaping bed of rice and vegetables. Her mouth watered as she sliced off a large piece of shrimp, dipped it in the sauce and popped it in her mouth.
Gloria had chosen a creamy lemon cocktail sauce. The tart from the lemon and the mixture of cream cheese and sour cream was the perfect combination. It was melt in your mouth with a hint of pucker. She savored the flavors and reached for a scoop of rice.