The Scrooge of Loon Lake

By: Carrie Nichols

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...

...with the grumpiest man in town!

The love of his life left him. The navy discharged him. So former lieutenant Des Gallagher sees no reason to celebrate Christmas—now or ever.

Yet when Natalie Pierce shows up on his doorstep, a bright light enters his gloomy existence. As Des shapes her—and her little son’s—world for the better, she wonders if a scrooge could turn into the perfect Santa...

“Because having pancakes when it’s not breakfast is fun, right, Sam?”

Again, the boy grinned and nodded. Des answered with a wink.

Natalie put her hand on Sam’s shoulder. “I’m not sure how long it will take for the battery to be replaced, if that’s even what’s wrong. The café is only open for breakfast and lunch, but we’ll try.”

Des cleared his throat. “I have an idea. I’ll follow you to the garage and we’ll go to Aunt Polly’s while Ogle is checking out your car.” What was he doing? Did he just suggest they go to eat? As in together? As in a public place? Not only would he be seen in public, but with a woman and her son. Gossip would be flying from one end of town to the next.

She turned to Des, her eyes wide. “Are you sure you don’t mind?”

No, he wasn’t sure, but he wasn’t about to change his mind and disappoint Sam. Still, it wasn’t just about Sam, was it? He wanted to spend time with Natalie, plain and simple. But could he do that without falling under her spell?

* * *


Small towns, huge passion

Dear Reader,

I wish I could go on and on about the joy of Christmas, but I confess I was able to identify with my hero’s scroogeness. I lost two immediate family members at Christmastime, changing it forever. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows the pain fades with the passing of time and new joys work their way into your heart, but holidays are always bittersweet.

I found new reasons to celebrate Christmas and wanted that for Des, but he wants no part of it. That’s why single mother Natalie is the perfect heroine for a grump like him—she’s as fearless as they come. Plus, she bakes the most delicious Christmas goodies that even a grouch like Des has trouble resisting.

Will Natalie and her young son be able to work their way into Des’s closed heart, or has she met her match in The Scrooge of Loon Lake?

I’d love to know what you think of my stories. You may email me at [email protected] or visit me on Facebook at

Carrie Nichols

Chapter One

Desmond “Des” Gallagher heaved a frustrated sigh as he stared at the scattered pieces of colorful glass laid out on his workbench. This was the third day in a row he’d come to the former business office in the spacious barn he now used as his workshop and done nothing but sit and stare. The scarred and chipped wood that made up the table’s surface attested to the fact that work did indeed get done here. Just not today. Or yesterday. He rubbed a hand over the stubble on his face. And not even the day before that. Normally, seeing the glass laid out before him was enough to spark an idea, even if he had no concrete design in mind.

Today’s project was an unfinished stained glass window that could be installed in place of an existing window frame or framed and hung like a painting. While those remained popular, his new love was shattered glass sculptures. Shattering the glass himself, he enjoyed taking those broken pieces and creating something new and better from them. Although he’d experimented with small, blown glass items, he’d shunned the much larger ones because crafting those required more than one person.

Having to think about a project stifled his creativity. His best work came when his brain sent signals directly to his fingers and he assembled pieces without conscious thought. Crazy, but who was he to argue with something that had served him well enough to earn a living? He wasn’t getting rich from it but his art supplemented his military disability.

Stretching his neck, he scowled. Christmas. That was the problem. He couldn’t escape the dreaded holiday nor the painful memories the season triggered. He did his best to avoid going into town from Thanksgiving until well into January because Loon Lake loved its Christmas celebrations. Main Street, with its quaint, brick-front shops huddled around the town green, would soon be decked out in lights, garlands and, God help him, holiday cheer. If he couldn’t get an item at the gas station mini-mart on the edge of town or by ordering online, he went without until after the holidays.

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