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Copyright © 2011 by Vanessa Gray Bartal

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Author’s Note

Savvy readers will notice this is book 3 in the series when book 2 has not yet been published. The books are written in chronological order with book 1 taking place in summer, book 2 in fall, and book 3 at Christmas. Rest assured, however, that no spoilers from book 2 are in this book—it’s meant simply to be a gentle Christmas read. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas! Vanessa.

Chapter 1

“Lacy, a package came for you.”

Her grandmother’s polite knock, plus her gentle voice filtering through the door, roused Lacy from a deep sleep, which was scandalous considering the late hour. Lacy crawled from bed and opened the door, trying hard not to look like she’d just woken up.

“Thanks, Grandma,” she said, her voice raw and scratchy from disuse. She extended her hand toward the small package, trying not to feel guilty when her grandmother looked at her in surprise. Of course there was no accusation in her beloved grandmother’s face. Even though it was after ten in the morning, she still wouldn’t chastise her oldest granddaughter. The woman was a saint, in Lacy’s opinion, which made her own behavior all the more embarrassing. Slowly but surely, she was turning into a sloth.

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