Christmas has always been a miraculous time for me. It still is. When I was younger, it was because of the presents, and the anticipation that came with the season. My parents were not wealthy, but we had the necessities and a few of the luxuries. My mom was a great manager. She could make the smallest thing seem of the greatest value. She could transform our house into a marvelous Christmas haven with her decorations, wonderful cooking and a few well-wrapped packages. When I became an adult, the torch was passed, but the anticipation merely shifted. The excitement I felt was not for myself, but for my children–the joy I could bring to them.

Once I had written A Night for Miracles, I began to think about my heroine, Angela Bentley, and how I might have reacted had I been in her place. I would like to think that I would have done what she did–transformed her small cabin into a memorable Christmas castle that none of the children would ever forget, simply through a good meal, a warm fire, and a gift. But it was all of these things that made Angela’s “gift” — the gift of her heart — special. She put herself out on a limb, having been emotionally wounded before.

I thought about the old legend–that Christmas Eve is a “night for miracles” to happen. Angela was not a rich person by any means, but she gave what she had, freely. She took in the stranger and the three children from the cold, gave them warm beds and fed them. But then she went even further. She gave her heart to them, although it was a huge risk. She comes through with physical gifts, but the true giving was in her spirit. And that leads to a miracle.

A Night For Miracles is one of those short stories that I didn’t want to end. I love a happy ending, and this is one of the happiest of all, for everyone in the story.


Legend says that miracles happen on Christmas Eve. Can a chance encounter between a gunfighter and a lonely widow herald a new beginning for them both? On this special night, they take a gamble that anything is possible–if they only believe! Available now with THE WILD ROSE PRESS!


Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.

He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?” His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.

“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”

He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”

She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”

“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”

A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary. What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the back fence. Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.

She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”

He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”

She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”

He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, shefound herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”

He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and that it is a time for miracles for each and every one. 

A Night For Miracles is available here:

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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work:
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  1. Beautiful blog today, Cheryl. Your story sounds so fantastic I just bought it to add to my Christmas Kindle reading this weekend 🙂

  2. Love your cover and the excerpt, Cheryl. It sounds like a magical Christmas story, the widow and the gunfire.
    And I can just imagine that your own home is a place of Christmas enchantment.

  3. Merry Christmas Cheryl. The book sounds wonderful.

    I love writing Christmas books. I’d like to do another one someday. Try again to get it just right.

    I usually descend into mayhem and that’s not exactly the spirit of the season I’m going for. 🙁

  4. Oh Cheryl, your excerpt sucked me right in. I’m a sucker for Christmas stories anyway and this one sounds right up my ally.
    Wishing you and everyone who stops by here a very merry Christmas.

  5. Hi Vicki,

    I wrote a Christmas story for Adams Media a few years ago about how my mom’s dad cut tinsel for their tree and a star out of the foil of an old battery he had in his work shed. She told me that story when I was little and I must have heard it several times, because I remember asking questions about what kind of battery it was, etc. She really learned to “make do” with very little. Hugs right back atcha my filly sister, and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

  6. Hi Melissa,
    Wow, I am FLATTERED. I hope you enjoy A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES. It truly was one of my favorite things I have ever written. The characters just seemed so real to me.

  7. Hi Tabitha,
    This is actually a very short novella or a long short story, depending on how you look at it. LOL So you can order it and get it for your kindle or whatever electronic format you choose–it’s not available in print. Voila! You can have it immediately. LOL Hope you enjoy it. I really love these characters.

  8. Hi Elizabeth,
    My husband says I’m like a big fourth grader when it comes to Christmas. When my kids were little, I was the one who couldn’t sleep on Christmas Eve. LOL I have gotten slower with my decorating, but I still do it. Not to the extent I used to but I must say, aside from summer, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  9. Mary,
    You are cracking me up! I am like you, I think–I always have a wounded hero, so sometimes that doesn’t necessarily “go” with the warm fuzzy holiday spirit, but in this case I think it worked really well in the context. I think holiday and Christmas stories are some of the hardest to write because you have to have some kind of conflict, and for me, it’s not in my nature to think of Christmas and conflict together. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  10. Hey Winnie,
    Well, the good thing about this story is that it’s not a full length novel, so you can order it for your electronic reading devices and have it immediately–and then it won’t take that long to read once you get it. Great for the holidays when everything is so hectic. I tend to want to read short stories more during the holidays because I have no attention span. LOL Hope you have a great Christmas, my filly sister!
    Hugs to you,

  11. Oh my gosh, Cheryl! I can see why you hated the story to end. Just reading the excerpt was torture enough. I wanted the whole story. Right now. Don’t know if I can wait to order the book. That Nick is a special kind of hero. I love stories where a big tough hero is made vulnerable. Brings out the tenderness in him. I wish you much success with this, my Filly sister.

  12. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!
    This book sounds very good!

    Merry Christmas to all!!

    Pat Cochran

  13. Hi Linda,
    Oh, Linda, you are a girl after my own heart! I love those kinds of stories, too! In fact, just about all my heroes are wounded somehow, someway somewhere in the books I write. LOL (I get teased about that a lot–they are like the Star Trek guys with the red shirts–they don’t get killed off, but they sure as heck go through some rough spots.) I hope you enjoy it–it’s just a short novella, but I really enjoyed writing it.
    Love to you!

  14. Sounds like a good story. We should all remember that rumors and reputations do not always reflect who a person really is. Wait and make your own judgement.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2011.

  15. Hi Patricia,
    Yes, and as it turned out, Angela would have been a very unhappy woman had she not given Nick a chance. LOL Thanks so much for commenting. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well, and here’s hoping that 2011 will be a fantastic year.

  16. Hi Linda, Oh, Linda, you are a girl after my own heart! I love those kinds of stories, too! In fact, just about all my heroes are wounded somehow, someway somewhere in the books I write. LOL (I get teased about that a lot–they are like the Star Trek guys with the red shirts–they don’t get killed off, but they sure as heck go through some rough spots.) I hope you enjoy it–it’s just a short novella, but I really enjoyed writing it. Love to you! Cheryl

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