All I Want for Christmas
Merry Christmas, dear readers! Welcome back to our annual blog series spotlighting (over 60 again this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads! We’re wrapping up this year’s series tomorrow, so… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and finish your bookish Christmas list!
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS by Susan May Warren
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: SDG Publishing
RELEASE DATE: November 22, 2022
A small town story of one woman’s hilarious effort to save Christmas
Marianne Wallace dreads the empty nest. She loves her husband, but she’s thrived on being a mother, and nothing will stop her from having a final epic Christmas before her youngest son leaves home. But first, she’s going to cheer him onto his football state championship…
Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot—the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? Of course–she’ll do anything for her children…but then her husband volunteers her to organize the church Christmas tea, and she’s ready to throw him to the elves. But what choice does a good, Proverbs 31 woman have? No problem—she rolls up her sleeves.
As football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea takes a wild turn, and then…one by one her children tell her they won’t be home for Christmas.
How will Marianne save her last Christmas? And will it look anything like the Christmas she’s always wanted it to be?
An award-winning holiday classic by beloved best-selling author Susan May Warren.
**All I Want for Christmas is an SDG Publishing reissue of The Great Christmas Bowl, previously published by Tyndale House**
Marianne Wallace promised her son she’d fill in as his football team’s mascot – the Trout – for one game. This scene is her first attempt at trying on the costume…
I picked it up, inspected it. I had thought it made of something stretchy, but the fabric turned out to be canvas, a grayish material that had been painted to sparkle and shine. It had no zipper, just pulled over one’s head, and as I stood there, strategizing my attack, a smell hit my nose like a bulldozer. Twenty-plus years of body odor, probably from those days when an orange hunting suit would be too sweltering (which begged the question, What exactly did Bud wear when he didn’t wear his hunting suit?), erupted from the costume, and I held it away from myself, eyes watering.
Not in a million, billion years. . . I felt sick and slumped onto the sofa.
“You’re the greatest, Mom!”
I heard it over and over in my head, to the tune of the pep band and the school song. One game. I had promised Kevin one game.
And he’d remember this forever. Sadly, the entire town probably would too.
I went to the bathroom, grabbed the lilac-scented air freshener, and doused the Trout. It got a full body spray and then a second coat. Twenty minutes later, the suit emanating the cloying scent of floral body odor, I pronounced it wearable.
The sun had begun to slink below the horizon. Mike would be home in an hour, and then I’d have some ’splaining to do. Unless I hid the suit until game day.
My pride heartily endorsed that option.
I would simply try it on quickly, to see if we needed any adjustments beyond refragrancing the costume, and then tuck it away in the garage, maybe under the lawn chair covers, until Saturday’s game.
I decided to go in from the top. I sat on the sofa and began to tuck the body up over mine. However, I hadn’t accounted for the miles of canvas material that refused to bend as I attempted to force my feet to the bottom. Not only that, but the neck caught just below my hips, and I realized that I’d have to attack from a different angle. I stretched the costume along my living-room floor, then, getting on my hands and knees, wriggled into it, arms upstretched to slide into the fins. I popped my head through the top and rolled onto my side, kicking my feet free. A good foot of material hung past them, but I might be able to pin it up. Or duct tape it. Or sew it with heavy-duty fishing line, suitable for a fifty-pound muskie.
I discovered that the fins had hand holes, access for such useful things as attaching the head. But first, I had to get up.
I rolled to my stomach and, realizing I couldn’t move my legs, returned to my side, where I drew up my knees. A sweat had started to break out along my back, and the body odor revived.
Somehow, using all the arm strength I possessed, and thankful that I’d beefed them up with the two turkeys I’d hauled home, I pushed myself to my hands and knees. Instead of putting one leg out, I simply straightened my legs, leaving my hands on the floor.
My eyes began to water from the burn in my hamstrings as I reached for the sofa, then the table, and finally worked myself up to a standing position.
I was breathing like a sprinter by the time I got vertical. And I still had yet to move. I pictured Bud’s antics on the bench and wondered how he’d had the strength to walk, let alone jump.
No wonder the poor man had a heart attack.
Which reminded me that I needed to send Marge a card.
I pulled up the edge of the costume and found that the cutout legs allowed more movement than I’d imagined. I decided to take a little gander in the mirror.
I shouldn’t have. I stood there in front of the bathroom sink, speechless. What had looked like a sleek lake creature on Bud resembled on me a rumpled, fat wide-mouthed bass who’d eaten one too many worms. Instead of running down my back in an intimidating razor, the dorsal fin wobbled and lurched as if the fish had hit a metal piling hard early in its life. I couldn’t even walk right. The costume made me lurch from side to side.
I was a drunk, fat, crippled bass.
Kevin would be horrified.
I had to get out of this costume. And out of town. As quickly as my SUV would carry me.
With over 1.5 million books sold, critically acclaimed USA Today best-selling novelist Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over ninety novels with Revell, Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. Known for her compelling plots and unforgettable characters, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, rom-com and Christmas novellas. Visit her at susanmaywarren.com.
Susan May Warren is offering an ebook copy of All I Want for Christmas to TWO of my readers! (Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read All I Want for Christmas by Susan May Warren?