Monthly Archives: December 2015

Secret Santa Romance – Part 4

The next day had a hectic start. Teddy got fed and walked, puppy pads got changed and Jolene ate breakfast with Randall. They had barely finished when the doorman rang to say that the wedding planner was on her way up.

Randall asked the kitchen staff to bring them a pot of coffee and three cups to the sitting room. Then he led Jolene to the couch and went to the foyer to meet the wedding planner.

Jolene was both nervous and excited. Nervous that the planner would tell them there was no way to pull off a fairytale wedding in three weeks at Christmas. Excited that she was getting the wedding of her dreams with the man of her dreams. Voices intruded on her thoughts – Randall talking to the professionally-dressed woman as they entered the room. “Cost isn’t an issue get her what she wants, and send me the bill. We want the perfect wedding on the 23rd.”

“I understand, but you do realize what it will cost to pull this together so quickly?”

“I do, and I’ll cover every expense just give her what she wants.”

Jolene stood as they came fully into the room. “Hello, I’m Jolene, thank you for coming on such short notice.”

The woman laughed. “Honey your man’s assistant made it impossible to say no. I’ve never been offered such an open-ended contract before. I wouldn’t miss the chance to – how did he put it, oh yeah, spare no expense. Your man has just confirmed that you get whatever you want, so let’s talk wedding.”

Randall sat on one side of Jolene and Clara, the wedding planner, set on the other. She opened up her tablet and started asking questions. An hour later, she was showing Jolene wedding gown photos and when they had picked a few, she called and made an appointment for her to try them on. Then it was on to venue. The lady again made the call and confirmed that Jolene and Randall’s church and pastor were available that day. She made the reservation and assured the pastor that Randall and Jolene would be at his office that evening to start the required premarital counseling. Randall put it on his calendar and quickly called Larry to make sure there was nothing that needed rescheduled. After getting off the phone, he handed Jolene his American Express Gold Card and gave her a kiss. “I need to head in to the office, the board is having a fit with me being gone so much. If you need my opinion on anything, just call me. Larry has been told that you have priority over anything. So call if you need me. I’ll be home in time to eat supper with you before we head over to the church.”

“Okay, I love you, have a good day at work,” Jolene responded, looking up from the images of floral decorations.

“I love you, too.”

Randall hurried to the parking level and raced uptown to his corporate offices. He still got a kick out of seeing his name on the glass doors, but today he only smiled a little bit. He only had an hour till his meeting with the board of directors and he needed to speak with both his lawyer and accountant. As he hurried through the hallways, he smiled and greeted everyone he passed. He remembered that he came from less than most of his employees did and was thankful for all that God had given him. He tried to make sure each and every employee felt like he knew them and cared about them.

Larry was waiting for him outside his office. He didn’t know how, but his assistant seemed to always know when he arrived. Randall was sure the man had someone who called him when the boss was seen entering the building.

“Good morning, Larry.”

“Hello, Mr. Herrschner, the board is already here and wanted to meet as soon as you get here.”

“They’ll have to wait. Get my lawyer and accountant up here right now. Tell them it’s an emergency.”

“Yes, sir, what should I tell the board?”

“Remind them that they work for me, not the other way round. I will be there when I’m ready to be there.”

“You do know that they won’t like that answer.”

“Too bad, while I try to treat everyone fairly, they seem to think that means their combined 15% of the stock gives them control over me. This is not a public company, it is my company. I own 85% of the stock and am the CEO not because they made me CEO but because I own the company. My name is on the doors, not theirs. Now get me my lawyer and accountant.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ten minutes later, both the lawyer and accountant were sitting in front of his desk.

“Thank you both for coming. Let me get right to it.” Randall looked at his lawyer. “I need to know what my options are for buying back the 15% stock that the board holds right now. I know there was a buy back clause – what does it say and how long will it take to enforce it?”

The lawyer reached into his briefcase and pulled out five contracts that were gator-clipped together. “Each of your board members signed the same contract. Your buy back option is that you can buy their stock at full market value anytime, and they are required to accept the payment as long as it is full market value. However, if I may give my opinion here?”

“Certainly, that’s why I hired you in the first place, to advise me on legal and contract matters.”

“Mr. Herrschner, such an act will be seen as hostile by the board and as a lack of confidence in their leadership.”

“I understand that.” Randall then looked at the accountant. “What is fair market value of their stock right now?”

The accountant opened his laptop and went to the NY Stock exchange. Then he asked to see the contracts and flipped to the section detailing how much stock each of them held. After using a calculator, he figured out how much each of them were entitled to. “They each have an equal amount of shares in Herrschner Industries that are worth fifty thousand dollars each, as of today’s index.”

“So two hundred and fifty thousand total?”

“Yes, sir.”

“ I would like you to prepare me five checks, one for each of them, for one hundred thousand apiece. I need them at noon.”

“May I use your phone?”


While the accountant was calling his office downstairs, Randall turned back to the lawyer. “I’ll need the proper paper work then, as well.”

“Not a problem. Is there anything else?”

“Yes, what are my options when it comes to terminating them all?”

A frown creased the lawyer’s face. “Who?”

“The board, who else have we been talking about?”

“Again, they serve at your pleasure. You may terminate them at any time. It would be customary to give them a severance package equal to two month’s wages.”

“Fine, draw up that paper work as well. I want them gone by the end of the day.”

“I can do that as well. I’ll just head down to my office and get both sets of paperwork ready. Shall I attend the meeting as well?”

“Yes, please.” Randall turned back to the accountant. “I will need those severance packages at noon as well.”

“Of course sir, I’ll go get right on that. Both sets of checks will be here in half an hour.”

“Good. Also, if I can meet with both of you this afternoon I would appreciate it. I have other things I want to do but this takes priority.”

Both men nodded and then left Randall’s office. Larry stepped inside. “Sir, I informed the board that you were booked and would meet with them at noon as was scheduled. They were not pleased.”

“I don’t care. Larry, you’ve been my assistant since I started this enterprise and you’ve done a wonderful job.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“So I want to do something for you. This afternoon I’m promoting you to Vice President of Operations.”

“That isn’t necessary, sir.”

“Actually it is, Larry. As you know, I got engaged this week and Jolene and I are planning to be married before Christmas. I plan to be absent from the company till after the first of the year starting next week. I need to leave the company in the hands of someone who knows me and how I would want it run. That’s you. So I need you to find a replacement for your job as my personal assistant and train them while I’m gone. Also find a female who would make a great personal assistant for Jolene, will you? She’ll need one after we get back. She just doesn’t know it yet. Have that person report to my penthouse tomorrow morning at nine.”

Larry had been busy taking notes. “Yes, sir. May I ask what my new responsibilities will be?”

“You will help me run the company. You will be a member of my new board of directors and will sit in for me when I’m away. Your salary will be $95,000 a year and you will receive 5% of the stock of this company. You will receive an office on this floor and a leased car, and your insurance package will remain the same.”

“Thank you, sir. I will get right on the task of finding those personal assistants.”

“Good – and Larry, congratulations, you’ve earned this post.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Larry left and Randall took a moment to sit and get himself calm. First, he prayed for God’s peace to fill him. Then he opened the Bible that he kept on his desk and spent time sitting at the feet of his Lord and Savior. When the lawyer arrived, with the paperwork for his signature and the checks from accounting, Randall was ready to face the board with integrity and peace.




Randall entered the board meeting, followed by Larry and the lawyer. Jeff Davies, who considered himself the leader of the board of directors, stood. “Randall, what is the meaning of this? We are having a board meeting. Bringing your entourage is unacceptable.”

Randall stopped where he was and stared at Jeff. “Sit down, Mr. Davies. Contrary to what you seem to think, you are not in charge here. This is my company, I own 85% of the stock and you five board members own 3% each. That’s an equal amount, making you all equals. As the owner of this company, I will bring anyone I think is needed into these meetings. Have I made myself clear to you, Mr. Davies?”

Randall waited until the man nodded and sat down. Once the man was seated, Randall continued to his own chair at the head of the table. He indicated that Larry and Mr. Archer, the lawyer, take seats behind him along the wall.

“Now that we are all in understanding of how this company works, lets get to business.” He nodded to Mr. Archer, who stood and began to hand each board member a copy of their employment contract. Randall continued, “As I’m sure each of you are aware, you hold a copy of your contract in front of you. Will you please confirm that you signed that contract stating that you read and accepted it upon employment here as board members?”

They each agreed that they had. Randall looked at Larry. “ In your notes of this meeting, please note that each and every member of the board has agreed that they did indeed sign their employment contract.” Larry began to make notes on a steno pad. Randall picked up a copy of the contract. “Please open your contract to the post-it flagged page.” He waited as each of the board members did as he asked. “Notice the section highlighted on my right to buy back your stock options at full market value.” He pushed a button on the projector remote and a screen descended, on which the projector displayed the current market value of their stock. “Notice that the market value of each of your stocks as of an hour ago is fifty thousand dollars. I am executing my option to buy back all your stock.” He gestured to Archer, who handed each of the men a contract for the purchase of their stocks. “Notice that the amount has been left blank. If you sign this bill of sale right now, I am offering you twice the fair market value. If for some reason you decide to not sign your shares over to me, then two things will happen. First, Mr. Archer, here will leave at the conclusion of this meeting and go directly to the courthouse and file a suit against you for breach of contract. The second is the purchase price will drop to fair market value minus the cost of legal fees and lawyer fees for having to sue you.”

Everyone but Jeff Davies signed the contract and was handed a check for one hundred thousand dollars. Randall and everyone else looked at Jeff Davies, who was red with anger. “I will not be bullied by you, Randall.”

“I’m not bullying you, Jeff, I’m exercising the rights of the company owner that you agreed to when you were given the position as a member of the board of directors. I’m making sure that you and everyone understands that to not accept my more than fair offer has consequences that you will also see are spelled out in the contract you originally signed, stating that you accepted.”

“So you are bullying us! If we don’t agree, you sue us and give us less money. Well, screw you, Mr. Herrschner, I won’t sign.”

“Fine, your loss, Mr. Davies. Let’s table that for a minute, but I suggest that after this last piece of business, you contact a contract lawyer and see what he tells you. I’ll give you till five today to accept my price for your stocks, which is now only fair market value.

“Let us move on to the next order of business, then. Mr. Archer, will you please?”

Archer again reached into his briefcase and stood, handing each board member a manila envelope with their name on it.

Randall pointed at their envelopes. “Inside, each of you will find your severance package. As of January second, your services will no longer be needed.”

Jeff Davies jumped to his feet. “This is an outrage! I refuse to be treated like this.” He looked at the other four members of the board. “I say we get a lawyer and sue Mr. Herrschner here for putting his personal desires and feelings ahead of the good of the company.”

Randall shook his head. “Mr. Davies, you really seem to have no idea of who you really are in this company.”

“I do, sir, I’m a stockholder and member of the governing board of this company.”

“No, sir, look at your contract again. You, sir, are an employee of MY COMPANY. Your stock was a part of your employment contract as is your place on this board. This board was not a governing body, but an advisory one. I own this company. It is not a publicly traded company, it is MINE. Again, I will direct your attention to the contract you admitted you read and signed upon your employment with me. That contract does not guarantee you a severance package, and it states that I may end your employment at my convenience just as you can end it at yours. However, it also states, and which you agreed, to sell me back my stock for fair market at my request. Today you have refused. Now, you threaten me with a legal action you have no cause for. Therefore,” Randall stood and picked up the envelope sitting on the table in front of the angry board member. “You are terminated immediately and you will receive no severance.” He walked back to his spot, picked up the phone, and spoke. “This is Mr. Herrschner, I need two security personnel to the board room immediately. Thank you.”

Everyone was now talking at once. Before order could be restored, the two security members entered the room, which brought instant silence. “You sent for us, Mr. Herrschner?”

Randall walked down to where they both stood and looked at the name tags on their uniforms. “I did, thank you for hurrying, Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Thompson. Would the two of you be so kind as to escort Mr. Davies here to his office? See to it that he only removes his personal belongings, and then escort him to his car and make sure he gets off the premises for me.”

“Of course, boss.” The bigger of the two stated, then they both went to stand behind Jeff Davies. “After you, Mr. Davies.”

The man stood and pointed at Randall. “You haven’t heard the last of me.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure I have. You, however, can expect to hear from Mr. Archer here before the end of the week. I suggest you seek a good attorney, Jeff.”

The ex-board member stormed out of the room, followed by the two security guards. Randall went back to his chair and sat down. “I don’t want any of you to feel like this is punishment. It isn’t, but you allowed Jeff to lead you in a direction you had no business going. I’m willing to allow any of you to stay on as employees, but under a new contract that does not include stock options. If you wish to stay, give me back your severance packages and I will shred them right here in front of you. If you keep them, I’ll assume that indicates you wish to leave the company. I will expect you to leave the building by the first of the year. Before you decide, let me tell you that I do value your opinion and if you stay, we will change the title of this board from board of directors to CEO advisory board. The duties of that board will be to advise me on ways to keep making this company successful. The final decision will be mine as to what direction we as a company go. Also, I want you to know that your salaries will remain as they are, with incentives given to those that bring us opportunities that bring us more profit. The decision is yours. I’ll leave for a few minutes to check on my fiancé and will expect your answer when I return.”  Randall stood and indicated that Larry and Mr. Archer follow him out.


He called and checked on Jolene and was told by his staff that she and the wedding planner had gone to talk to some people about flowers and wedding cake. Randall knew right then that Jolene would be getting two gifts today. She had resisted buying a cell phone because she couldn’t afford it before, but he didn’t like not being able to get hold of her or her being able to contact him or get help if she needed it. So tonight, a phone and his extra special gift -he hoped. If the realtor came through for him.

He looked at his watch and realized he needed to get this situation wrapped up, the realtor would be here in about thirty minutes.

Larry arrived at the boardroom door with a trashcan and diamond cut paper shredder. They entered to see that Mr. Archer was already there and answering questions about the new contracts.  “Have you four made up your mind?”

Two of them stood up and walked out, holding their severance packages. Randall stopped them both at the door and shook their hands. “I appreciate your honesty, gentlemen. If you need references, I will gladly give you both good ones.”

They left and Randall went to the head of the table. Both of the former board members handed him their severance packages and watched as he shredded them.  “You each will be asked to come to my office tomorrow to sign your new contracts. I’m glad that you all are willing to stay and help us make Herrschner Industrial a more successful company.”

He went from there straight to his office, where he met with his relator. “Was she open to the offer?”

“She was more than open! She remembered you and Jolene, and was tickled that Jolene would be the new owner. She accepted your offer and agreed to a January third closing. She also was willing to hang around and help Jolene get settled in as the new owner, if she wants.”

“Awesome. So do you have a copy of the contract with you?”

“I do, but you realize it isn’t legal till closing?”

“I understand, but I want to give it to Jolene as a Christmas gift.”

The realtor handed over a copy of the contract and received the security check from Randall in return.

“Now about that other thing we talked about. Have you got some listings for me?”

“My staff is working on that right now, I should have a few for you by end of business today.”

“Can you text them to me? I’d like to take her to look at them in the next few days.”

“Of course, sir.”

The two shook hands and the realtor left. Once he was gone, Randall got to work, taking the contract and putting it in a shirt box with a couple of old paperback books. Then he inserted a yellow sticky note to the contract where Jolene would see it when she opened the box. He wrapped the box and placed the card on it. Then he buzzed Larry.

“Yes, sir?”

“Larry, your contract will be ready to sign tomorrow. Will you call down and tell the accounting manager to meet me in the office at ten tomorrow so I can have him start the paperwork for your new salary and benefits package?”

“Yes, sir, anything else?”

“No, I’m taking the rest of the day off. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. I’ll be here by nine. If you need me before then, call the cell phone. I’m not going straight home. I need to pick up one more gift for Jolene. Then I’ll be at the penthouse the rest of the night, I believe.”

“What about the party planner? She is supposed to be here in a little bit.”

“Send her to the penthouse. Tell her I want her to throw an engagement party on the rooftop terrace for 100 people, no expense spared. Jarvis can show her the space and I’ll call her tomorrow to hammer out the details.”

“As you say, sir.”

“Goodnight, Larry.”

“You as well, Mr. Herrschner and happy shopping.”

Randall exited his office and headed for the elevator. Time to find his love a phone.


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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Book Reviews


Secret Santa Romance pt 3

This story looks like it is going to run another day at least. I hope everyone is enjoying Randall and Jolene’s story. I would love a few comments telling me what you think.-PG


Jolene woke to pain on her right side. She looked around her, realizing that she was in a hospital, and reached for the nurse call button, when she noticed Randall sleeping in a chair beside her. She pushed the call button to let the nurse know she was in pain. She looked at her stomach and realized she had been operated on. She sort of remembered someone telling her that her appendix had burst. Randall stirred beside her and opened his eyes to see her looking at him. “Hey, how are you feeling?”

“I’m hurting, but I just called for the nurse.”

“You really scared me, Jolene. When we got to you, the EMT’s couldn’t wake you up. Then I got here, the doctor said your appendix had ruptured. For a while there, I was afraid I had lost you.”

“I’m glad you got to me in time.”

Just then, the nurse entered. “You’re awake, good! How are you feeling?”

“I’m in a lot of pain right now.”

“I thought you might be, so I brought your pain meds with me. This may make you a bit drowsy, don’t fight it. The more you rest, the quicker you’ll heal.” She connected a syringe to Jolene’s IV and about five seconds later, Jolene felt the pain melt away.

“I’ll be back later to check on you. Do you need anything else?”

Jolene shook her head. “Okay, you rest and I’ll check on you in a bit.”

After she left, Randall stood and came over to the bed. “Jolene, do you think you can stay awake for a few minutes? I need to talk to you.”

“I’ll try, Randall, but I can’t make any promises.”

“I’ll try to be quick, then. I was going to wait until you’d received all my presents but this surgery made me realize I don’t want to wait, not one more day.”

“What are you talking about? You haven’t given me any presents.”

Randall reached into a bag that was sitting beside the chair he had been sleeping in and pulled out a box that was wrapped in the Christmas wrapping paper that all her Secret Santa gifts had been wrapped in. He sat it on her lap. “Yes, I have.”

She looked at the tag attached and it read “The third gift of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me was…”

She gasped and looked up at her best friend and the only man she had ever loved since high school. “It was you? You’ve been giving me these gifts?”

“Yes, I know you’ve thought our dates have been to keep other people away from us. But I’ve never thought that way. I’ve always loved you. I wanted to make you fall in love with me for real, and had twelve of these planned. Then I saw you laying on the bathroom floor unconscious and realized I don’t want to wait even till Christmas to tell you how I feel. I love you. I want us to be a couple for real. Honestly, I want us to be more than a couple, I want us to be husband and wife, mom and dad, and eventually, a grandma and grandpa together.”

Jolene couldn’t stop the tears that leaked out of her eyes. “That’s what I’ve wanted, too. I thought you didn’t want me like that. Every time I got one of those gifts, I wished it was you sending it instead of some unknown guy.”

“Then let’s make it official. This was going to be gift number twelve.” Randall reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a blue Tiffany’s box and flip it open to reveal a beautiful diamond ring. “Jolene Fairaday, will you marry me?”

“Yes, Oh, YES!”

Randall slipped the ring out of the box and placed it on her finger. Then he leaned down and kissed the girl of his dreams gently and sweetly for the first time. Jolene wrapped her arms around the man she’d always dreamed about and the kiss intensified till her toes curled. When Randall pulled away, they were both smiling like goofy lovesick kids. Randall rubbed her check, then leaned down and kissed her again, and whispered, “Get some sleep, my love. I’ll be right here when you wake up.”

Jolene looked up at him and slowly did exactly what he’d told her to do, and slipped into medicine-induced sleep. Her dreams were all about her future with Randall. She knew that her dreams would now become her reality. God had heard the cry of her heart and blessed her with her heart’s desire. Randall felt about her like she felt about him.


Randall watched as his fiancé slipped into a drug-induced sleep. She hadn’t even opened her gift but he left it on the hospital table and set the ring box beside it. She said yes! He’d been ready to convince her that they were right for each other; instead she had been feeling the same way he had all this time. They’d wasted years by not telling each other how they felt. Never again. He’d tell her every day how much he loved her. He’d shower her with tokens of his love just to make sure she never felt like he didn’t care about her. She said yes. He wanted to shout it from the rooftops; instead, he called his assistant and had him make the announcement. When Jolene woke up, he’d see how long an engagement she wanted. If he had his way they’d be married before Christmas. They’d wasted enough time apart.




Jolene slowly recovered from the surgery, and having gift number three helped. Randall had gotten her a signed first edition of her favorite book: “Persuasion” by Jane Austen. She loved that he’d noticed her eyeing it on one of their trips to the used bookstore. Every day she was in the hospital, Randall would arrive right after breakfast with another of those gifts. Each had that Card which always read: “The ___ gift of Christmas My TRUE LOVE gave to me was…”

She’d open each one to realize just how special a man God had gifted her with. Gift four was an antique music box just like one her grandma used to have. Gift five was tickets to see the Nutcracker ballet three days before Christmas. She got gift six just before they released her from the hospital, and it was a new outfit, which she was grateful for since she had been brought to the hospital in her ratty old pajamas.

They only had one argument as she was released. She expected to go to her apartment, but instead found herself at Randall’s Penthouse for the first time. “Randall, I can’t stay here with you. What will people think?”

“I don’t care what they think. You need to rest and continue to get well. Here I can look after you, and when I’m not here, Jarvis and the staff can make sure you are taken care of.”

“Jarvis works for you? I should have known that.”

“I hired him after he was at your house. You made him sound so great, I didn’t want to let him get away.”

“Randall, I can’t stay at your place alone with you. We may be engaged, but I don’t want either of our reputations to be soiled by rumor and speculation.”

“We won’t be alone, there is staff here all the time and until we get married, you will have your own room. I insist, Jolene. You can’t be alone right now and I refuse to have to kick your door down again. Here, someone can make sure you’re okay and call the doctor if needed.”

Jolene knew that look. He wasn’t going to relent no matter what she said. “Fine, but I think you’re overreacting.”

“Maybe so, but this is the way it’s going to be.”

“What about my things?”

“I’ll send Larry with a couple of the maids to your place to bring your clothes. Anything else we can talk about later, okay?”

Jolene sighed. “Fine, you win, but make sure someone else is in the apartment the whole time I’m here.”

“I can do that, at least until after our wedding.”

Randall helped her out of the car and into the elevator. When they stepped out into the penthouse, Jarvis was waiting at the door. “It is good to see you again, Miss Jolene.”

“You as well, Jarvis, I’m glad that Randall gave you a job.”

“It will be a pleasure to serve you again, miss, and I see he gave you his heart,” the butler said, looking at the ring on her finger.

“Yes, it seems that I just needed to pass out to earn his name.”

“I hear it was more than that. Shall I show you to your room and help you get comfortable?”

“That would be nice, thank you.”

The butler gave Jolene his arm and showed her to her suite, which was a bedroom and small sitting area, as well as an ensuite with glass shower and soaker tub. “If you need anything, miss, just push this button, and either I or one of the staff will respond in seconds. Everyone has been informed that your needs are top priority, per Mr. Herrschner’s orders.”

“Thank you, Jarvis, and can you have someone bring me a drink? I need to take my antibiotic and a pain pill, then I’ll rest till dinner.”

The older man nodded. “We have been informed of your favorite foods and beverages. I will have an ice cold grape crush brought to you straightaway, miss. Shall I call you when supper is ready, or would you prefer I have a tray delivered to you?”

Jolene smiled. “You’d better just inform me, I’m sure that Randall will end up in here himself if I don’t come out to eat with him.”

“As you wish, Miss Jolene.”

Once the soda had been brought and Jolene had taken her pills, she laid down to rest until she was called for supper.

Cute newfoundland puppy face in pure black

She woke several hours later to a knock on her bedroom door. She called at whoever it was to come in, and several of the house staff entered with several boxes of her clothes from her apartment, as well as her laptop and personal grooming products. She eased out of the bed and started putting stuff where she wanted it. As she put the last of the products in the ensuite, there was a scratching sound at her door. She opened it to a see a solid black puppy with a golden bow around its neck and that familiar tag – “The sixth gift of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me was the puppy I always said I wanted.” On the opposite side of the card was, “He’s a Newfoundland puppy just like you always said you wanted. He needs a name.”

She squealed and picked up the ball of fur and hugged him to her. “Look at you. You’re such a cutie, you look like a living teddy bear. That’s it I’ll call you – Teddy. Now, I hope Randall bought some puppy pads and food for you. I bet he’s here somewhere let’s go find him.” She sat her Teddy on the ground and headed into the main part of the penthouse. The little puppy whined and then followed right along behind her. When she got into the sitting room, there was Randall looking like the cat that ate the canary. She walked over to him and gave him a big hug and a kiss. “I love him, thank you! I’m going to call him Teddy because he looks just like a little teddy bear.”

Randall laughed. “You do realize how big these dogs get, right? It’s going to be hilarious to here you calling a hundred pound beast a little teddy bear.”

“I don’t care how big he gets, he’ll always be my teddy bear. Now, did you get him a collar, food and water dishes, and puppy food? Also, how about puppy pads? I doubt he’s house broken yet.”

Randall laughed. “I did get all those things. I figure you want them taken to your room?”

“Yes, please.”

“I got you a leash too, in case you want to take him out to the park for a walk. Also, he is scheduled to start obedience training on January the 2nd. I figured as big as he is going to get, you need to make sure he’s properly trained, or he’ll drag us both around like a chew toy.”

Jolene gave him a kiss that told him just how good a job he had done picking this gift.

“Can we sit and have a conversation while waiting on supper?”

“Of course.”

Jolene sat down on the love seat and waited as Randall sat beside her. Teddy jumped at her legs, trying to get up on her lap. She reached down and pulled the fluffy little bundle of love onto her lap.

Randall laughed “I don’t know that you want to get that beast used to sitting on your lap. In about six months, he’ll crush you.”

Jolene stuck her tongue out at him. “Well, until then, he is perfect for cuddling.”

“You’ll wish you hadn’t started that, but he’s your dog. Anyway, we need to talk about our engagement.”

“What about it?”

“How long an engagement do you want?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, when do you want to get married, Jolene? I feel like we wasted a ton of time and I don’t want to waste any more.”

“Well, I haven’t even gotten to show off my ring to our friends yet.”

“We could have a party and invite them all over this weekend if you want. I could have a heated tent put up on the rooftop terrace and hire a band. But I would want us to announce our wedding date if we do that.”

“Well when were you thinking?”

“How about on the twenty-third of December?”

“You want me to plan a wedding in three weeks?” she asked incredulously.

“I would like to be married before Christmas if you think we could do it.”

“I want a real wedding, Randall, in a church with all the trimmings.”

“Okay I’ll make you a deal, you agree to marry me on December the 23rd and I’ll hire you a fleet of wedding planners to make it the wedding of your dreams.”

“I don’t even know if we could get dresses altered in that time frame.”

“Jolene, trust me, with the kind of money I’ll throw at them you could get the dresses made from scratch in that time frame.”

“Then I guess it’s a good thing you’ve been so successful, isn’t it?”

“It has its advantages. We’d never pull this off if we were still in the old neighborhood.”

“Okay, I will marry you on the twenty-third but you have to get our friends here this weekend. I’ll call the girls I want for bride’s maids and maid of honor. And you will find me a wedding planner tomorrow.”

“ I will get a wedding planner and party planner to meet with you before tomorrow is done. Thank you. I love you, never doubt that.”

“I know you do. I love you, too.” She leaned against him, asking, “Why did we wait so long to tell each other how we felt?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t want another day to pass without us telling each other from now on.”

“Let me go put Teddy in my room, I’m sure supper will be ready soon.”

Randall nodded and kissed her soundly, which was hard with a wiggly puppy trying to lick them both. Jolene got up laughing and sat Teddy on the floor. “Come on, Teddy, let’s get you in the room and get ready for supper.”

Randall grabbed his phone and gave Larry a call. “I know it’s late for work, Larry, but I want you to find a Wedding Planner who is willing to plan a wedding for December 23rd. Money isn’t an obstacle. I’ll also need a party planner for a party this weekend. Send them both to the penthouse tomorrow to see Jolene. I’ll be in at some point tomorrow.” He was silent and then said, “Yes I know they are getting antsy, remind them who owns the majority of the stock. I’ll be there by noon then. Just get me those planners here in the morning.”

Randall hung up and then called his real estate broker and told him what he wanted to purchase and scheduled to see him at the office tomorrow at two. Jolene would be blown away by her next present. He planned to see all her dreams fulfilled from now on.

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Book Reviews


Secret Santa Romance part 2

Here is part two I hope you continue to enjoy this tale will put up part three tomorrow God willing-Pgwhite-elephant-gift-exchange

Tuesday went by without a gift or word from her secret Santa. Jolene was kind of glad, there was something almost stalker-like about having someone know where you live and what you like and you have no clue who they were. She figured he must be someone she knew but the only one who came to mind that knew her that well was Randall. While she was secretly in love with him, he really only saw her as a sister or good buddy. Someone he could turn to for a night out without drama or tons of paparazzi. Wednesday she got up to go to work and experienced a severe pain in her right side. Before she could even get dressed she found herself on the floor in terrible pain. She dialed 911 and after they told her they were sending an ambulance, she called Randall. Since her grandmother’s passing, he was her emergency contact person. Before he could answer, another wave of pain hit her and she crawled to the bathroom and started vomiting. Randall answered to the noise of her being sick and immediately told her he was on his way.

The pain didn’t cease and neither did the nausea. She could hear someone pounding on her door but she couldn’t move to respond. Then everything went black as the pain grew in intensity and her body finally passed out from the pain.


Randall woke to his phone ringing. The caller ID showed that it was Jolene. Why would she be calling this early, he wondered. He answered to hear her retching on the other end. That went on and on and she didn’t respond to his calling out to her. Something was very wrong. “Don’t worry, Jolene, I’m on my way.” He threw on some clothes and grabbing the keys to his Tesla, tore out of his house. By the time he hit the street the sports car was humming its way to 100 mph. He turned on his emergency flashers and laid on the horn as he tore across town to Jolene’s apartment.

He arrived just as an ambulance did. He didn’t wait to see where they were going but headed straight up to Jolene’s apartment. He started knocking on the door but Jolene didn’t answer. He tried to call her and tell her he was there but her phone was busy. Then the EMTs arrived at the door. This made him more worried than he had been and he started pounding on the door as hard as he could. The first responders talked about going to the super and getting him to let them in. Randall wasn’t going to wait that long and took a step back and using his muscular leg kicked the door right at the deadbolt. The cheap frame couldn’t withstand the force of the worried and adrenaline fueled man; the door slammed open with a loud crack.

He entered and stepped aside as the Medical personnel raced into the apartment. He showed them where the bathroom was and there they found Jolene unconscious on the cold tile floor. They quickly tried to revive her but she never fully became conscious. They strapped her to the gurney and headed out to the hospital. Randall stopped down at the management office, explained about Jolene’s door, and asked that they repair it and send him the bill. Then he raced to the hospital at a breakneck speed, pushing the electric sports car to its limit. All the way there he prayed that Jolene would be okay.


He entered the emergency room and asked about her. The woman at the desk told him what room she was in and buzzed the door open for him. He entered her room to see a doctor and several nurses working on her. Jolene’s face was pale and soaked with sweat. There were wires and machines all around her..

“Who are you?” The doctor asked.

“I’m Randall Herrschner, I’m her emergency contact and friend.”

“You wouldn’t happen to have medical power of attorney in case of an emergency would you?”

“Yes, ever since her grandmother passed away. Why?”

“Can you get me a copy of that document?”

“I can have it faxed over right away, why?”

“Do that”


“I officially can’t talk to you until I have that document, but you need to hurry. Every second counts.”

Randall pulled his cell phone out and called his personal assistant. “Larry, its Randall, fax Jolene’s Medical Power of Attorney letter to the emergency room at county hospital immediately and cancel all my appointments till I say otherwise. I don’t care, do it now. Oh, and send me a shot of it right now to my phone. Yes, right now.” With that he hung up and waited for the buzz that said he had received a text. Then he opened it and showed it to the doctor. “Here, the fax is on the way. Now start talking.”

The doctor looked at the document on the screen. “Alright, your friend’s appendix has ruptured. I need to get her stabilized and into surgery as quickly as possible.”

“Do it.”

The doctor nodded and sent one of the nurses to get the paperwork and call surgery. Then they rushed Jolene out the door and up to the surgery team. “You can wait for her in the surgery waiting room upstairs. Someone will contact you when she is out of surgery.” The nurse put her hand on his arm to stop him. “Just know they are doing everything they can, but this is a very serious condition your friend finds herself in.”

Randall stopped and looked at the woman. “How serious?”

“Extremely serious, if you are a praying man you should do that.”

Randall felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under him. He knew what the nurse was saying; Jolene’s life was in danger. He nodded to her and hurried upstairs to the surgery waiting area. On the way he called the pastor of their church and told him what was going on. He called Jolene’s office and told them what was going on as well. Then he put the phone in his pocket and contacted the only one who could really do anything to help them. “God, please don’t let her die. Help the surgeon and guide his hands. Heal her, God. I can’t lose her, not yet, not without telling her how I feel.”

He continued to pray while waiting to hear that she was out of surgery and okay. He didn’t even notice when the pastor arrived, so intense was his inner prayer and turmoil. He noticed nothing till he heard someone asking for the family of Jolene Fairday. Then he was on his feet. “That’s me.”

An exhausted looking woman in surgical scrubs approached him. “Jolene is out of surgery and in recovery. Her appendix ruptured and it took a while to get all the infection that had leaked into her system. I’m going to start her on a high dose of antibiotics and keep her for a few days to make sure they are working. I think we got it all and she should be okay in about a week. Sore for a while, but okay. You should be able to see her in about an hour. I’ll have one of the nurses get you when she is awake. She’s lucky, it could have been a lot worse. If you hadn’t found her she could have died.”

“Thank you, doctor. I appreciate it.”

The doctor nodded and headed back into the surgical ward. Randall couldn’t think straight, all he could hear was, “She could have died.” She could have died never knowing that he really and truly loved her. Well, that was going to change. Enough Secret Santa crap; it was time to man up and tell Jolene how he really felt. With that decided he turned and talked with the pastor, letting him know what the doctor had said and arranging for him to come visit Jolene after she had rested and recovered some.

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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Book Reviews


Secret Santa Romance part 1

This is the first part of my take on a Christmas Romance story. I hope you enjoy it.-PG


Randall watched as Jolene walked up to her apartment. He’d just dropped her off after spending the evening at his company’s stockholders dinner. He didn’t know how but he wanted to get out of the friend zone with her. He loved her and she just saw him as her “big brother”, the guy she could count on to keep the sharks at bay.

It had been that way since they were in high school. Jolene had been beautiful even then, and boys were constantly trying to be her boyfriend. She just wasn’t interested and had approached Randall to be her smoke screen. Like him, she didn’t want to be bothered with dating during school. They both wanted to be free to concentrate on their grades and make something of themselves, helping them escape the poverty they both grew up in. So they pretended to be a couple.

Now, after college and through his success the tables had turned. He needed the smoke screen to keep the women who wanted to get their hands on his money away. So their relationship, while it looked like they were a couple, was really still only that of friends. Randall wanted it to be more but had no idea if Jolene would be open to that and didn’t want to make things “weird” between them. He needed an idea to break out of the friend zone and get Jolene to see him as a real romantic possibility. Then an idea hit him and he sped away to start putting it into action.

Christmas present

Jolene returned home after work to find a package sitting in front of her door. It was wrapped in festive Christmas paper and had a card with her name on it attached to a beautiful silk bow on top. She looked left and right, not seeing anyone that might have left it. The card, when she turned it over, said “The first gift of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me was…” She opened her door and went in her apartment. She opened the box to find an envelope. On the outside it said, “to be pampered for a day like a queen.” She opened the envelope to find the following typewritten card. “Tomorrow a limo will pick you up at 10:00 am and whisk you off for a day of pampering at a luxurious day spa. Anything you want has been provided and all expenses are paid for including tips. Enjoy your day my love. Your Secret Santa.”

She wanted to refuse but how do you refuse a gift when you didn’t know who sent it. Whoever it was had already spent the money and she really loved the idea of being pampered for the whole day. Still, who did she know that would bathe her in such luxury? Randall, of course, but he didn’t think of her like that. She wished he would, but they’d been friends so long that he didn’t see her as anything but his shark repellent. She needed to share this with someone so why not call him and see what he thought. She picked up the phone and then thought “No, he might tell me it’s creepy and not to accept it. I’ll call him tomorrow after I get home, that way it will be too late for me not to go.”

She made herself some dinner and then took a bubble bath which was the closest thing to pampering she’d ever experienced. She lay there wondering who in the world thinks they are my true love? Why wouldn’t they just come out and say it? The answer was obvious; everyone who knew her thought she and Randall were dating. That was the plan to keep the money hungry vamps off him and any guy she didn’t want to see away from her. However, it was exciting to think someone else wanted her love and wanted to shower love on her. She slipped from the bath and climbed into bed where she was wooed all night by a lover who worshiped and adored her. The only problem was he always had Randall’s face and voice.

The next day was wonderful. Anything she thought of was provided for her. Her favorite drink and snacks. Her favorite dinner was served to her as well. As for pampering, she had her hair done, a manicure and pedicure. Then a massage, afterwards her body was rubbed with scented oils and then she was allowed to sit in a sauna followed by a hot tub and then a shower. Afterwards she was given a second massage and rubbed again with scented oils. The limo picked her up that night just before the spa was scheduled to close and dropped her off at her apartment. Once inside she sank into bed wondering who had given her such a perfect gift.

Christmas present

Sunday saw her climbing into Randall’s Tesla with an extra bit of pep in her step. “Hey, nice hair-do, and is that new perfume, too? Someone certainly splurged this weekend.”

She smiled over at her best friend. “It didn’t cost me anything. It was a gift from my Secret Santa.”

“Your Secret Santa? What are you talking about, Jolene?”

Jolene told him about the present waiting for her when she got home Friday and the gift her Secret Santa had given her. She left out the part about him calling himself her true love, knowing how Randall would have taken that. He grilled her anyway and warned her to be careful about accepting gifts from strangers. “Next time you want a day at the Spa, just call me. After all, I’m supposed to be your boyfriend.”

“Yeah, right! We both know that’s just for show, Randall, and I didn’t need a day at the Spa. Someone thought it would make a nice gift and they were right. I just wish I knew who it was so I could thank them.”

“If you want I could have someone look into it for you.”

She slapped his arm. “Don’t you dare! You’ll scare them away. Besides, it’s kinda fun trying to figure it out.”

“Whatever, Jolene, just be careful or you’ll lose your heart if not more.”

Under her breath, so Randall couldn’t hear her she sighed, “I wish it were you.”

Randall didn’t say anything but worked hard not to smile when he heard Jolene making such a big deal over his first gift. “Maybe, just maybe this will actually work.” He thought.

Christmas present

Monday had been particularly tough at work for Jolene. She found herself wishing the day would end so she could just rush home and relax and recover from the trials of the day. Just as she was about to head out her phone rang. “Hello?”

“Miss Jolene, this is Harold Clinton, your apartment manager. There is a man here asking to be let into your apartment. He says he’s here to clean for you.”

“Hold on a minute, Harold. I need to deal with something.”

As he had been speaking, a messenger walked up to her desk and handed her an manila envelope with her name on it. She opened it to find a red envelope inside. It said, “The second gift of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me was…”

She opened the envelop to a single piece of card stock with a Christmas design on it and the words, “A night of freedom, with a clean house and dinner waiting on you when you arrive home.”

“Harold, it’s okay, you can let them in. It seems someone gave me maid service as a Christmas gift.”

“OH! That sounds like a nice gift. Okay then have a good evening, Miss Jolene.”

“You, too, Harold, and thank you for calling me.”

Jolene got in her car and drove straight home. When she arrived, her apartment was clean and there were wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen. A man in a tuxedo greeted her at the kitchen door. “Good evening, miss. My name is Jarvis and I am your butler for the evening. Chef says that he needs half an hour more on your meal. I have taken the liberty of drawing you a bath if you would like to soak. I will call you when dinner is served.”

Jolene nodded and then reached out to stop the butler before he disappeared into the kitchen. “Jarvis, one question. Do you know the name of the man who sent you all here?”

“Miss, I was told that you may ask that and I was instructed to give you this.” Davis pulled an envelope out of his jacket pocket and handed it to Jolene.”

She opened it to find this. “It is only natural that you would be curious as to who I am. I am the man who loves you with all his heart. I am the man who knows you’re every like and dislike. I am the man who will strive to make you feel happy, loved, safe and secure every day of his life. My name will be revealed to you, my love, but not just yet. For now I am your secret Santa and TRUE LOVE. When you realize the latter is true then all will be revealed.”

Jolene sighed, one thing was certain; this man knew how to infect a girls heart. She made her way into the bathroom where true to Jarvis word was a bubble bath. She sank into the warm water and just let the cares and stress of the day melt away in the warm suds. Almost before she was ready, Jarvis was knocking on the door. “Dinner is ready, miss, whenever you are.”

Jolene climbed out of the tub and quickly dried off and put on her favorite pajamas. She figured if her Secret Santa wanted her to relax then she would dress the part. She walked to her dining table and sat down. Jarvis nodded and opened the kitchen door. Jolene was shocked to see the Chef of her favorite restaurant carrying a dome-covered plate to her. He sat it before her and lifted the lid to reveal her favorite dish from his restaurant-toasted sesame ginger salmon on a bed of wild rice. There were roasted Brussel sprouts and asparagus on the side. Then, when she was done with all that, the chef brought out a single person cake and sat it in front of her. It was white with rose petals and pistachios on top. “Enjoy your Persian Love Cake, miss,” the Chef said as he put on his coat and left the apartment. Jarvis smiled and said. “Yes, Jolene, enjoy your dessert while my crew cleans up your kitchen. I will inform you before we leave so that you may lock up after us. I hope that your night has been special and relaxing as was intended.”

Jolene took a bite of the exotic dessert and moaned with delight. “It has been exquisite, Jarvis. Thank you.”

“The pleasure was all mine, I assure you, ma’am. If I’m not being too bold, the young man who is doing this for you would be a lucky man if you became his.”

“Thank you again, Jarvis, but I’m not sure if I like someone wooing me without telling me who they are.”

“Well, maybe he will inform you of his identity before the holiday is over.”

“I hope so, if for no other reason than so I can thank him for all this.”

Jarvis half bowed and then disappeared into the kitchen where several people had been cleaning while they talked.

Jolene ate about half of the small cake before it just became too rich to eat another bite. She rose and stuck her head in the kitchen. “I couldn’t finish that cake, Jarvis. Would you make sure the leftovers get put in the fridge for tomorrow?”

“Of course, ma’am, and we should be finished cleaning up in about five minutes if you want to lock up after us.”

Jolene nodded and headed into the living room to watch some TV before turning in for the night.

Once everyone was gone, Jolene locked up and called Randall to tell him about today’s Secret Santa gift. She would never say it but she wished it were Randall doing all these sweet and romantic things, not someone she didn’t know.

After once again offering to find out who it was and cautioning her on being careful, Randall wished her a good night and they got off the phone. Soon after Jolene went to bed, once again dreaming of romance and once again seeing Randall in place of her Secret Santa.


Randall was tickled pink; Jolene was eating his Secret Santa gifts up. If this worked he’d be the happiest man in the world. Tomorrow he’d take care of getting the items for the next gift. He’d seen her eyeing it the last time they’d gone shopping together.

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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Book Reviews


The Real Christmas Story. Pt 2

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
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Posted by on December 13, 2015 in Book Reviews


Nugget Nate and the Santa rescue part 2

Here is the last part of Nugget Nate, hope y’all enjoy it.-PG


Weeks went by and just as Nate had predicted the snowstorm came and made getting off the mountain impossible. As harsh as winter in the Mountains were for Nate, it was made worse by the fact that his leg wasn’t healing. Instead it seemed as if the wound had putrified. He’d had to cut the stitches open and clean out the infection. He’d poured several jugs of bourbon into the hole over the past few weeks; still it seemed as if the wound was getting worse instead of better.

Nate knew that he was going to have to clean his knife and scrape the inside of the wound to get all the diseased flesh cleared out. He also knew how painful that would be and the fight he’d have just to stay conscious enough to finish the task. He took his boot knife and washed it in bourbon, heated it to glowing on the fire, and quenched it in bourbon again. Then he methodically set to work on the wound. It took considerable time and effort as he had to stop every time the pain would start to grey his vision so that he didn’t pass out and bleed to death. Once he was sure that he had cleaned out all the infected flesh, he flushed it again with alcohol and sewed it closed. He knew that he was close to losing his leg or even his life. He offered a prayer up to the Good Lord and then collapsed onto the cot.

The next few days passed in a fevered state as Nate’s body fought to heal itself. He even became delirious, at times seeing Penny, or Ole Davey, Nathan, or even his old gentleman’s gentleman Sloan. Finally after about a week the fever broke. His leg had started to mend. Nate was as weak as a newborn colt and twice as hungry. On legs that were as wobbly as that new colt he hobbled out to the smoke house and wrestled to carry in an elk shoulder. He got it in the shack and carved a goodly sized piece off with his Bowie. He started a fire and once it was burned down to coals, he roasted the meat and ate every bite of it and then sopped up the skillet with an old piece of hard bread from his pack.

After his meal, Nate felt a bit stronger and cooked up some more of the meat to fill the whole in his middle. He felt like he hadn’t eaten in so long that his front was touching his back. After eating another piece of his elk shoulder Nate sat to figuring exactly how long he’d been out of it. As near as he could tell it must be almost Christmas and he’d been out of it for several weeks. How he had lived was nothing short of a miracle.


Nate removed the bandage to get a good look at his wound. He realized that it had closed up on its own so he soaked the make shift stitches he’d put in it. When they were soft he clipped them and slowly pulled them from the wound, being careful not to reopen the healing hole. Carefully he pushed around the outside, realizing that while still a bit tender it was mostly healed. He’d probably have a slight limp and tenderness the rest of his life but considering how close he came to losing the whole leg he was grateful for what God had done. Nate knew it had to be God that had healed it because he was sure before the fever took him that gangrene had set in. Iffen the Good Lord didn’t touch his leg and heal it, he’d have been in heaven by now.

He slipped outside and looking up to heaven knelt in the snow and said a little prayer. “Thankee, Lord, fer seeing me through this here illness. I reckon I owe ya another one. You jest let me know when and how to be a payin’ y’all back and I’ll do it. I know next ta my life it might seem like a small thing but iffen you could jest let David’s family know I’m alright and jest stuck on this here mountain I’d be mighty obliged to y’all. Oh, and while I’m a sending requests yer way, could ya have one of yer angels keep an eye on the Morgan feller and his family. Thanks again, Lord. I’ll jaw at cha later.”

He knew it weren’t no proper church prayer but he reckoned Jesus knew that he weren’t in church, just hanging out in his ole Trapper shack up in the Rockies. He never held much with purtying things up when there weren’t no need to.

He grabbed his rifle and took a little walk to see iffen he could find any fresh game to eat. Smoked elk was fine and so was the bit of venison he had left but a fat rabbit or a couple a squirrels for breakfast tomorrow would be a welcome change. After walking for several hours and finding nothing or no trail of any game, Nate began to tire and headed back to the shack. He made the last of his coffee to go with the last of his elk shoulder He had enough deer meat for three more days and then he’d have to venture higher on the mountain in hopes of finding game. Not in several years had he ever been in such dire straits. But he was Nugget Nate, and iffen anyone could survive this winter on this mountain, it was him. No winter or Mountain had ever beaten him yet and he weren’t ready to let this one be the one that did it.


Three days passed like a flash. Nate knew things were dire; he’d seen neither hide nor hair of game or even sign that the game had moved higher or lower. He’d ventured both higher and lower without any sign. Nate knew that wasn’t normal. Even in the most harshest of winters he’d been able to find some game but for some reason this year nothing.

Nate ate the very last of his stored meat and drank the last cup of bourbon that he’d brought with him. In the morning he’d have no choice but to pack up his furs and start trekkin’ down the mountain to town. He had lost complete track of what day it was but he knew even if he made good time and got down the mountain in a week he’d still not make New York by Christmas. For all he knew he may have missed the Blessed Lord’s Birthday Celebration already.

Not to let the day slip away without talking to his most precious friend, the Mountain Legend knelt beside his bed and poured out his heart to his maker. “Well, Jesus, reckon y’all know what kind of trouble I done gone and gotten myself into this time. I sure would welcome one of them there miracles yer known to hand out every once in a while. Iffen not, then jest keep me safe as I start down this here mountain in the mornin’. Reckon iffen ya could see fit to send a bit of game my way, too, I’d be mighty obliged. Reckon y’all know how much I love ya. Iffen it wouldn’t be too improper, wonder iffen y’all’d tell Penny that I miss her most every day and I’m a tryin’ to keep my word to her, but this here mountain might jest keep me from it. Again I thankee, Jessus. I’ll talk with y’all a bit later, g’night. ”

With that the ole Mountain man wiped the tear from his eye at missing his love and wrapped up in a couple of bearskins to ward against the cold and slipped off to sleep.

Santa_s sleigh ride

Nate came awake and could have sworn he heard bells. But that was impossible; no one but Nugget Nate would be stubborn enough to try and ride out winter in the High Lonesome of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Just as he was about to drift off to sleep he heard them again, a slight jingling of sleigh bells and a voice, “Hello the camp.”

Nate rolled out of bed and grabbed up his rifle just to be cautious. As he moved silently to the door to open it, the voice came again. “Nugget Nate, you old Mountain Man, get yer tail out here right now. I’m on a tight schedule so quit playing possum; grab yer furs and let’s get going. I got a mountain of deliveries to make tonight.”

Nate opened the door to see the one person he should have known would be who the Good Lord would send to him on this most Holy of nights.

“Nick, you ole Legend o’ the North. How’d you know where to find me?”

The man standing in front of the sleigh and eight reindeer let out his trademark laugh, “HO HO HO! You know what they say, Nugget Nate, I see you when you’re sleeping, I see you when you’re awake. I see if you’ve been bad or good or in your case, just careless.”

“Yeah, well, I remember once some time ago when y’all didn’t see me till I was right up on ya. Y’all needed my help to fix a busted hitchin’ rail.”

Santa Clause nodded his head “I remember, too, Nate. I remember that without your help and know how my mission to give gifts in the name of the Savior would have ended. I was more than willing to make this little extra stop when HE sent me the message along with this year’s blessing to help you out.”

“What do you mean, help me out, Nick?”

The Jolly Old Elf let out another belly laugh. “HO, HO, HO, Nate. Get your furs and anything you don’t want to leave here. I’m gonna make sure you keep your word to your family. I’m gonna get you home for Christmas.”

Nate, never one to mince words or movements, grabbed his buckskins and moccasins and the furs he’d trapped that year as well as his guns, knives, and Ole Davey’s hatchet. On the way out the door he grabbed his coonskin cap and settled it on his head and dumped a bucket-full of snow on the dying embers. “All right then, Santa, let’s get a movin’. I don’t know about this flyin’ deer of y’alls but I reckon it’s trust my life to you and a herd of victuals or not keep my word to my family.”

“HO, HO, HO! I’m sure the girls won’t hold it against you that you think of them as food instead of trusted steads. I’m sure your Lightning would feel the same if I had to have him blessed to fly my sleigh.”

Nate and the Hero of Christmas both climbed on board the sleigh. Nate tucked his gear under Santa’s bag in the back and gripped the front of the sleigh with both hands. Santa took the reins in hand and gave them a snap. “On Dasher, On Dancer. On Prancer and Vixen. Up Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. To the top of the roof, to the top of the trees. Now dash away, dash away, dash away all.”

Nate held on until they were in the clear blue starry sky, then he could hold it back no longer as the beauty and speed of the situation overtook him. “YEHAA!”

From beside him came the standard “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas, Nugget Nate! We’ll be in New York in minutes.

Nate watched as the whole of the United States of America flew by underneath him. If only people could see the country as Nick did every year. Shoot, the whole world. They’d realize how small they really were in the grand scheme of God’s creation. Maybe then there would be peace on earth and good will towards man.

The ride was over long before Nate wanted it to be. They landed in the street in front of his New York residence. “I would have dropped you off at David’s but I know you couldn’t have resisted waking them before I left.”

Nate laughed along with Saint Nick. “Well, Nick, you couldn’t blame me, could y’all? They still don’t believe me about last time. They think I bought myself them carving’ tools and put yer initials on it as a joke.”

“Yes, I know, Nate, but I’m glad to remain a legend and nothing more. My mission is to remind everyone of the most precious of Christmas gifts, our Savior. If proof of my existence was out there, I’m afraid I would become more important than HE would be. I fear it may happen anyway in a few years.”

“Well, Nick, I pray you are wrong. Anyway I owe y’all one so anytime I can pay you back, you jest send word to me.”

The Patron Saint of Christmas shook his head. “No, Nate, we’re even now. I owed you for the emergency repair of my sleigh; consider that debt paid. Now get inside and get some sleep, you need to get up soon and go spend the birth of Christ with your family. Won’t they be surprised to see you walk into Church in the morning? I only wish I could be there to see it. HO, HO, HO! Santa snapped the reins again and off the reindeer and sleigh flew. Just as Nugget Nate was about to knock and wake Slone to let him in, he heard drifting down from the heavens, “Merry Christmas, Nugget Nate, and a blessed holy night.”


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Posted by on December 12, 2015 in Book Reviews


Nugget Nate and the Santa Rescue pt 1

Nugget Nate fans, I hope you enjoy this sequel to yesterday’s “Nugget Nate Saves Christmas”. It takes place a bunch of years after that story and  after a book I hope to release by the end of 2016; the Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, as Nate would say, titled “Nugget Nate: Why a Good Man Goes to War”.  Any way, enjoy part one and come back tomorrow for the conclusion in part 2 of “Nugget Nate and the Santa Rescue.” -PGcabin-in-snowy-mountains

Nugget Nate carefully crept up the ridge stalking the elk that had been eluding him all day. If he could just get this animal then he would be able to smoke the meat and have enough to get him down out of the Rocky Mountains and back to his family in New York.

Since Penny’s death, he had lost himself in the Mountains. Trapping and surviving off his wit and skill. He had no desire to be around people. Heck, iffen she hadn’t made him promise to reconcile with David and look after Nathan he’d have just disappeared into the mountains for good. Slowly he crested the ridge and saw his prey about a hundred yards away, about to enter into a thick stand of trees. Nate eased himself up off his knee and slowly lifted his Winchester into position. He missed Bessy, his Kentucky long rifle, but loved the quick reload of the new-fangled lever rifle. He’d never admit it to anyone but his Maker but his eyes weren’t what they used to be and his aim not quite as true. He breathed out and held his breath to steady his aim and slowly depressed the trigger.

Just before his trigger reached its break point, there came the crack of a rifle off to his left and a terrible pain hit his hip. The elk lifted it’s head and then darted into the thicket. Nate eased of the trigger and tried to spin left as he heard something thundering through the brush towards him. All of a sudden his leg gave out under him and he pitched face forward into the leaves of the forest floor. Just then a young man dressed in store bought denim arrived right in front of him. The stupid Dandy had mistaken Nate for a deer and shot him. The man looked at the old mountaineer and his face turned white at the blood oozing from the hole in Nate’s hip.

“Oh, God! Oh, God! Did I shoot you mister?”

Nate said through gritted teeth, “Well, I didn’t do it myself.”

Nate watched as the fella wrestled with himself about what to do.

“Don’t just stand there, young fella, help me get the bleeding stopped.”


“Son how long you been in the mountains?”

The fella hung his head. “Three days.”

“Who brung ya?”

“No one. I heard there was deer, elk and moose up here and thought I could get some meat for my new bride and myself.”

Nate shook his head and pointed at the oak tree behind the man. “Rake the snow away from the bottom of that tree till you find some moss.”

To the fella’s credit he leaned his rifle against the tree and started raking at the base of the tree.

“It’ll be on the other side youngster. Moss only grows on the north side of a tree.”

“Oh, I thought this was the north side.”

“Boy, iffen yer gonna trounce around in the woods, you need to know how to get around before you get yourself lost.”

The man pulled up a large hunk of moss. “I got it. What do you want it for?”

Nate held out his hand for it. “I’m gonna pack that bullet hole with it ‘til I can get back to my trapper shack and dig it out. It will stop the bleeding and keep any infection from getting in the wound.”

Nate pulled a flask of Kentucky bourbon out of his game bag and pulled the stopper out. He took a big swig to steel himself to the pain and then poured some into the bullet hole. He let out a mighty yell, tore a good sized piece off the moss and shoved it into the wound, screaming the whole time. Nate kept packing the wound until it was full of moss. Then he pulled a scrap of old long johns out of his pack and cut off a strip that he used to tie over the wound, keeping the moss in.

“I’m so sorry, sir. Is there anything else I can do to help you?”

“Name’s Nugget Nate, son, what’s yers?”

“Harm Morgan. Are you Nugget Nate Ryder?”

“The one and only, Harm. Listen, iffen you mean it about helping me, why don’t we help each other? You help me get back to my trapper shack and I’ll give ya some already smoked venison to take back to your family.”

“Oh, I couldn’t take meat off of you after I shot you.”

“Sure you can. Think of it as me keeping ya from shooting any other trappers that might be up here in the mountain. Or keeping you from getting shot by one. Some of us old timers don’t take too kindly to greenhorns stomping around in our territory and running off the game.”

Harm had the decency to blush at being recognized as a newcomer to the ways of hunting and mountain life.

“Well, in any case, how can I help you get back to your camp?”

Nate pulled Ole’ Davy’s hatchet out of his belt and handed it to the boy. “Go cut down that there sapling and strip the branches so I can use it as a walking stick.”

The man did exactly that and handed it and the hatchet back to Nate. Nate took the hatchet and shortened the sapling to the size he needed to use as a crutch. “Help me get up on my feet and then we’ll head towards my camp. I might need to lean on you a bit later. I ain’t as young as I once was and this stick will help but I might need more than it to lean on before I get there. Don’t neither of us need to get caught out here in the open after dark.”

“Why not?”

Nate shook his head at how little the young fella knew about the mountains. “Two reasons. One, I’m covered in blood and that will bring the wolves and cougars looking for easy prey. The other is that it’s gonna get below freezing after the sun goes down. Now come on, daylight is a wasting.” Nate slung his rifle over his right shoulder and placing the sapling under his left arm, began the long trek of hobbling back to his camp. Harm walked beside him making enough noise to drive any game they might have come across to scatter before they could see them.

As they went, Nate tried to help the boy by showing him how to move slower and quieter. Harm never got as quiet as Nate even with a bum leg but he wasn’t sounding like a company of soldiers anymore. Nate pointed out different game trails and the tracks of rabbits, marlins, a lynx, deer and elk. Before long Harm could tell the difference between them and Nate knew the lad would be able to find meat later for his family. About a mile from Nate’s camp they started to come across Nate’s trap lines. Every one that had an animal in it, Nate got Harm to collect them. Those that were empty they tripped, so that no animal would get caught in them. Nate knew that it would be a while before he would be able to get around to check them again. Just as the sun was dipping below the mountaintops, Nate and Harm reached Nate’s trapper shack.

Once inside, the young man got a fire going and at Nate’s direction got a pot of coffee started and a couple of elk steaks in the skillet to fry. They dropped a couple of potatoes into some melted snow to boil. Then Nate sat on the floor and scooted over to the fireplace, pulled a small thin knife out of his moccasin boot and buried it’s blade in the red hot coals to sterilize it.

“What in the world are you doing, Nate?”

“I’m a fixin’ to get your slug outta my leg. Don’t want to get lead poisin.”

Nate chuckled as Harm turned white as a sheet. “Are you going to need my help?”

“No, I think I can get it myself but iffen yer gonna faint when I start digging round in the hole, then I suggest you go out to my smoke house and pick out the meat you want to take home with ya. After I get the bullet out and we eat I’ll show you how to skin and dress these varmints so that you can make some money from the hides and smoke the meat to provide for yer family.”

The young man nodded and when Nate pulled the knife from the fire and poured some more bourbon on it to cool and continue sterilizing it, the young man pulled on his coat and left the cabin. Nate chuckled as he untied the makeshift bandage from his leg. He took a swig of the bourbon to steel himself to the pain and then pulled out the moss and tossed it into the fire. He picked up the knife and slid it into the wound. Nate grabbed a wooden spoon and shoved it between his teeth to bite down on so as not to grind his teeth together in pain. He pushed until he felt the tip of the knife hit the slug in his leg. He angled the knife away from the bullet and pushed harder, feeling the knife bite into his flesh as it slid past the bullet. Nate stopped and waited ‘til his vision wasn’t greying out anymore, angled the knife the other direction and felt it slip under the edge of the slug. Slowly he drew the blade out keeping it wedged against the bullet. After many stops and starts and a few slugs of bourbon, Nate finally drew the bullet out of the hole.

He reached one more time for the jug sitting beside him and despite the pain poured a goodly amount of the amber liquid into the wound. Then he scooted over to the cot in the corner and used his Bowie knife to slice a two-inch strip off the cotton sheet. He cut that in half, folded it, and laid it against the wound. He tied the other half around his leg to hold the bandage to the wound.

When he was done the two men sat down and ate their supper. Nate showed the greenhorn some skins he could use as a bed and they turned in for the night.


As the sun rose, Nate knew something wasn’t right with his leg but he also knew that if Harm didn’t leave today he wouldn’t get off the mountain before the winter weather made it impossible. He struggled out of the cot and grabbing the stick he had used as a crutch hobbled over to where Harm was still sleeping. “Hey, Harm git yer lazy butt up. You need to git packed and git back down this mountain. There’s snow in the next couple days and iffen you get caught, then y’all be stuck here with me until spring.”

The young man got up and took one look at Nate leaning on the sapling crutch. “Nate, I can’t leave you like this. How are you going to survive?”

“Boy, I was surviving worse than a little bullet in the leg before you were out of short pants. I kilt my first bear on my tenth birthday and saved Davey Crockett’s life too. So you eat some breakfast, get that meat I gave ya, and git yer butt offa my mountain before you go and insult me worsen ya already did.”

The young fella blushed at the thought that he just might have made it seem like he thought Nugget Nate couldn’t survive without his help, when in reality Nate wouldn’t have needed any help if he hadn’t accidentally shot the legend in the leg. He scrambled out of bed and got his pack together. While Harm was doing that Nate hobbled out to the smoke house and grabbed some bacon and then a few eggs he’d rustled up a couple of days before. Every step cause more pain and by the time he was back to the fireplace he was sweating from the pain. He eased himself down on a stump he used as a stool and stirred the coals until they glowed a cherry red. Then he put the bacon in his skillet and set it to frying up. He pulled the cooked bacon from the pan and quickly fried four eggs in the bacon grease. Lastly, he threw a couple cups of water in the skillet and cooked up some grits. All the while the coffee was a percolating in the pot. Nate divided everything equally and slid two plates onto the table. He pulled two tin coffee cups off of the pegs on the side of the fireplace and sat them and the coffee pot on the table as well. Both men sat down and dug into the victuals without a word said between them. Once the plates were clear and the pot of coffee drank down to the dregs, Nate looked at the young man. “Harm Morgan, I won’t say it was a pleasure meetin’ y’all but I will say I’m sorry to see y’all go. Now you take that pack and yer rifle and you git a going while the sun is still shining. Don’t you dilly-dally, either. You keep a good steady pace and make it off this here mountain as quick as y’all can. I reckon that there snowfall is gonna be here in the next two days iffen it don’t come sooner. You want to be as low as you can before it starts. Iffen ya jest keep the mossy side of the trees to yer left you’ll hit the town without a problem.”

Harm looked at Nate. “Nate, are you sure you don’t want to try and come with me?”

“Naw! I ain’t got all my trap lines in yet and you can’t wait on me to get them pulled. I knows how to survive a snowstorm in the Tall Lonesome. You don’t and would jest get us both kilt. So you take what I gave ya and git. Don’t even try to do anymore hunting on the way down, jest get offa this mountain as quick as ya ken, y’all hear me?”

Harm nodded, shook Nate’s hand and thanked him one more time for the meat. Then without a look back the young green horn headed out of the trapper’s camp heading south. Nate whispered a prayer to the Good Lord that he’d keep the young man safe and on the right path to reach civilization before he either froze to death or lost the meat Nate had given him. Once Nate was sure he was gone, he unwrapped the bullet wound. It was red and very tender which was not a good sign at all. Nate knew that what he had for a bandage wasn’t very sanitary. That old sheet had been in use ever since he’d left Redemption after Penny’s burying. He reckoned he’d be better off to pour some more bourbon in the wound to clean it out again and then sew it closed and cover it with some moss instead of another square off of the sheet. He tossed the bloody square onto the remains of his morning fire and went outside to gather up a bit of moss. Once he had what he needed he went and got a needle and some gut line from his pack. He placed the needle and gut in a cup full of bourbon to sterilize them as best as he could. He threaded the gut into the needle and quickly closed up the wound as best as he could. Then he poured even more bourbon over the closed wound, put the moss against it, and wrapped the whole thing with the strip of sheet and tied it tight.

Next he took a piece of fire wood and whittled it down to make a cross arm for his make shift crutch. He cut the sapling down to a more comfortable cane size, attached the handle he’d whittled to it and tied them tight with a couple of pieces of rawhide. Then he stood and tested it out. It wouldn’t win any beauty contest but it would do for what he needed.

He felt bad for lying to young Harm Morgan but he knew if the boy didn’t get off the mountain before the snow came he’d be stuck here ‘til spring, just like Nate was going to be. He’d promised his daughter-in-law and grandkids he’d be in New York for Christmas but unless a miracle happened he just didn’t see how it was possible. He was in no shape to get off the mountain in a month let alone the next two days. If he tried to push on his leg wound it would certainly get infected and that would lose Nate his leg, or worse, his life. He couldn’t envision living without his leg and as much as he’d love to be in glory with Penny and his Savior Jesus, he knew it weren’t time for him to go yet. He’d just have to tough it out on this mountain ‘til spring. By then his leg would be healed and the family would understand, especially Nathan. The boy had spent many a summer with Nate and knew that sometimes you beat the mountain but sometimes the mountain won and you jest had to let it have its way.”

He pulled some firewood into the shack and stoked the fire so it would continue to burn through the day. After that he was feeling mighty tired and his leg hurt a great deal. He grabbed his jug of liquor and retreated to the camp cot. A couple of big swigs to dull the pain and Nate slipped into a deep sleep.small-cedar-moonshine-jug-453-500x500

Too Be continued…


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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Book Reviews