Winter Baby (Firefly Glen)

By: Kathleen O Brien

Congratulations.




The gynecologist had confirmed what the little pink X’s had told Sarah so clearly that night. She was going to have a baby next summer.

But it still seemed unreal. Like a very, very long bad dream. As she entered her apartment, Sarah dropped her purse and her “So You’re Having a Baby” brochure on the coffee table. Then she dropped herself onto the sofa, like a puppet with cut strings.

Her half-focused gaze fell on the table where the mail still lay. She was unable to work up the energy to open it. A few bills, a dozen Christmas cards…

But now she saw that one of the cards was from Uncle Ward. The sight was strangely comforting. She reached for the card, wondering if her uncle had included one of his long letters chronicling the goings-on in his little mountain town. How lovely it would be to escape, even for a few minutes, into his world.

She sat up, wondering how much a flight to upstate New York cost. Uncle Ward and Firefly Glen had been a sanctuary once. Perhaps they could be the same now. She picked up the telephone. Surely somewhere in that gentle valley town, amid all that snowy silence, she could figure out what to do with her life.





Dear Reader,

Home. It’s a small word to mean so much. And yet that one syllable holds the power to inspire writers and poets, philosophers and painters.

But what is it, really? A hundred people will give you a hundred different answers. It’s a house, a city, a parent, a husband, a friend. It’s where you retreat, sick and frightened, and come out brave and well. It’s where you can finally take off your armor, lay down your sword and rest.

Sometimes the treasure of home is handed to you at birth, gift-wrapped with love and laid at the foot of your cradle. Sometimes, though, you have to search for it on your own.

Sarah Lennox, the heroine of Winter Baby, has almost given up searching. The child of a home that was broken and broken again, she has decided that, for her, home is a dream that will never come true. The closest she ever came to knowing that security was one magical summer in Firefly Glen, a tiny town high in the Adirondacks.

So when she finds herself pregnant and alone, that’s where she turns. She needs a peaceful place to hide while she sorts things out.

But instead of being swaddled in solitude and silence, Sarah finds herself instantly caught up in the madness and mayhem and pure sparkling magic that make up Firefly Glen. And somewhere between building ice castles and visiting puppies in the local jail, she finds herself doing the one thing a confused, abandoned, pregnant woman should never do. She falls in love.

And, most surprising of all, she finds a home.

Because when you peel away all the poetry and the philosophy, that’s what home really means—love.

Warmly,

Kathleen O’Brien






CHAPTER ONE




SARAH LENNOX WASN’T SURPRISED the soufflé fell. It was difficult to focus on creating frothy dinner concoctions when you’d just discovered you were pregnant.

Minutes later, the soufflé began to burn, but she didn’t get up to rescue it. Instead, she sat on the edge of the tub, letting the acrid odor of scorching eggs fill her nose while she stared stupidly at the little pink x on the test strip.

It must be a mistake. It had to be a mistake.

She wasn’t going to have a baby. Not right now. She wasn’t even getting married for another fifty-nine days. And she wouldn’t begin having children until two years after that. That was the plan. The master plan. Ask anyone who knew her. Check any of her diaries since she’d been twelve years old. College. Career. Marriage. Wait two years just to be sure. Then children.

That was the plan. So this…this nonsense had to be a mistake.

But the counter was lined with these little strips, and they all had pink x’s on them. This was the fourth home pregnancy test she’d used tonight.

It was a mistake, all right. But it was her mistake, not the test’s.

The master plan was toast, just like her soufflé. She was definitely, disastrously, terrifyingly pregnant.

In the living room, the stack of Christmas CDs she’d put on an hour ago clicked and shifted and began playing “What Child Is This?” Cute. Very cute. She felt a faint urge to get up and break the CD in two, but she didn’t have the energy to follow through. Apparently shock and horror worked like a tranquilizer dart. She couldn’t move a muscle.

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