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A Merry Christmas with Judy
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From USA Today Bestselling Author K Webster, comes a new Classic Christmas romance standalone story!
Baby Jesus is missing!
But when the weather takes a nasty turn, she finds herself stranded with the wicked, yet handsome man. He’s every bit the grouch she’s used to seeing each day at school.
Until he smiles.
***This story is a 20k word sweet, steamy, and heartwarming romance with a classic Christmas feel!***
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December 22, 1967
“Baby Jesus is missing!” Margaret Thurston cries out, throwing her hands in the air, her gray curls bouncing around her round face.
Several members of the Washington High School faculty gasp in shock, and I pause from rummaging around in a box pulled from storage to frown at her. Mrs. Thurston is the school secretary and my co-chair for the school Christmas production. A missing baby Jesus will not do. No, that will not do at all.
“Are you certain?” I ask, worrying my bottom lip between my teeth.
“Someone stole him,” she whispers dramatically.
Two of the other teachers snigger. I, however, am not amused. This is my first year to head the production—an annual event that everyone in the community looks forward to. Also, the first year two women have been put in charge. I’d wanted to prove to everyone at the school we were every bit as capable of making the production a success as the male staff were.
“I’m sure he’s only been misplaced,” I tell her, scanning the room filled with boxes. “Did you check over there?” I sweep my hand in the direction of yet more boxes that need to be unpacked.
“Not to be disrespectful, Miss Holland, but yes. I’ve checked everywhere.” She puts her hands on her hips and shoots a nasty glare toward Mr. Beck and Mr. Newton. “It’s almost as if someone has hidden him.”
Mr. Newton snorts with laughter, but doesn’t argue, and I narrow my eyes at him. Mr. Beck walks my way with his hands splayed in a placating way.
“I’m sure he’s around here someplace, Miss Holland,” he says, his blue eyes twinkling as they drag down the front of my dress and linger. Mr. Beck is a nice man, but he’s not my type. Sure, he’s handsome with his blond hair and sharp style. He’s just not…
“Mr. Kaufman,” Margaret hisses.
My cheeks heat at the mention of our school’s history teacher. A horrible, wretched man who’s made me nearly cry on several occasions. Nearly. I never gave him the satisfaction of my tears. I’ve worked at this school for four years and he’s been rotten all four of them.
I turn, away from Mr. Beck’s perusing gaze to hide my blush. The fact is, Kent Kaufman is a dream. All in looks, of course. He towers over my small frame and chews on the end of his pipe, even though he’s not allowed to light up in class. Where the other men here wear cardigans and blazers, Mr. Kaufman wears a black leather jacket and a perpetual scowl. Just thinking about him does my head in. I can’t stand the rude man. It’s a shame God made him so lovely to look at.
“Mr. Kaufman,” Mr. Beck repeats, making me shiver. “You know, Margie, I bet you’re right. It’s like he watched that movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a couple of years ago and has been playing Mr. Grinch himself.”
Mr. Newton chimes in. “Now that I think of it, I think I did see him striding down the hallway earlier with a giant plastic Jesus under one arm. Tossed the thing in the back of his shoreline gold Mustang. What year is that, Paul? A ’65?”
Mr. Beck huffs. “You’re an uncultured beast, Roy. It’s a 1964 and a half Ford Mustang coupe. 271-horsepower V8 engine.” He whistles in appreciation.
“Jesus,” I mutter, gaining all three of their attention. “Focus. We’re looking for Jesus, not discussing all the cars in the parking lot. The production is tomorrow night. If Mr. Kaufman stole Jesus, we need to get him back.”
Mr. Beck smirks at me, lifting a brow. “And how do you plan on doing that, Miss Holland? Asking him nicely?”
A loud, obnoxious laugh bursts from Mr. Newton. “So naïve, Miss Holland.”
I rise from the box and dust my hands on my navy-blue shapeless shift dress with a white collar—my loveliest dress and absolutely the worst dress to have worn for unpacking dusty, dead moth-ridden boxes. “I beg your pardon,” I huff, pursing my lips as I glower at Mr. Newton.
“If Mr. Kaufman stole it, which I think he did, then it’s as good as gone. He’s a cantankerous man,” Mr. Newton explains, slowly, as though I’m a dimwitted child.
“Perhaps I won’t ask nicely,” I snip, lifting my chin. Often, the faculty here thinks of me as an uneducated, brainless woman. I may be the youngest employee at Washington High, but I’m far from ignorant.
“Then perhaps I should escort you,” Mr. Beck says, his brows furrowing together. “I may have to speak firmly to him.”
“I can speak firmly myself,” I huff, feeling quite insulted. Aunt Georgina raised me to be a tough gal, not some doormat to be trampled on.
Before he can respond, the principal, Mr. Whitehall, bursts through the doors. “Oh, there you all are!” he cries out, his cheeks red from exertion. “The weatherman on the radio said it’s coming down hard. They’re predicting twelve to eighteen inches. The worst snow we’ve had in decades. With it being dark, I’d feel better if you all went on home before the roads become impassable.”