Claiming His Christmas Inheritance: An Uplifting Inspirational Romance
Tasha Jenkins is somewhat lonely, residing in a studio apartment in Vista Peak, Colorado, with her cat, Milo, and many debts mounting. Employed as a singles' pastor and wedding planner at her church, she herself has sworn off ever being married. The three times she thought she was in love with a possible husband in sight ended up with her getting dumped—and on three different holidays, too. So she resigns herself to the fact she'll always remain alone and won't have to face any more heartbreak.
With Christmas forthcoming and grieving the loss of her beloved mother, she follows the holiday ritual they always kept by going to a charming Victorian house in town. This year, Tasha keeps their tradition alive by driving to the place her mom adored so much.
"Tasha admired the house's wraparound porch, decorative turret, and scalloped shingles. Her gaze roamed lovingly over the carved columns, spindles, ornate molding, and lavender trim. Three massive evergreens, lightly dusted with snow, surrounded the house like stoic sentinels.
"A large white wreath hung on the front door. Multicolored ornaments filled several oversize vintage lanterns on the porch. Giant read-and-green peppermints on sticks, a nativity scene, and a miniature Christmas village were displayed in the yard.
"She bit her lip and peered heavenward. Lord, I miss my mom. She was my North Star. Sorrow at the unfairness of her mother's untimely death, after a hard life, threatened to consume her. Can You hear me, Lord? Do You really care? Grief shredded her heart!"
As tears fill her eyes, she notices a handsome man approaching, asking if she's okay. She is surprised when he hands her a handkerchief to wipe her eyes, and he states he's somewhat old-fashioned. They talk a while about the home's beauty, and Tasha tells him about her mother and their annual visits here.
His good looks and manners impress Tasha, and when he mentions his deceased parents, she feels sadness for him. Somehow, on discussing the topic of marriage, she retorts with this comment: "Marriage is not the endgame for every woman."
He introduces himself as Zedrick ("Zed") and admits he's also a fan of the homestead, though she sees an odd look flash across his face. When his phone rings, he excuses himself to take the call, so Tasha heads to her car.
Her mom cherished the old purple Victorian that was always beautifully decorated for the season. The two would fantasize about the family living there—the wonderful life they must be having in the gracious old property. Her next destination is Union Station, another place they used to delight in the festive oversized Christmas tree.
Zed's phone call is from his lawyer telling him the facts of his aunt Zora's will. It states the lovely old home that belonged to his parents, who died young, left to Zora. So Zora, who recently passed, being a hopeless romantic along with his mother stipulated the estate is to revert to him. Still, it comes with the condition that he marry within a specific time frame and stay married for at least three months. Otherwise, the home and acreage will be sold to developers to build condos.
This home holds so many memories for Zed—some good, some bad—but there are still cherished reminders of his mom, whom he loved dearly. He retains bitterness toward his father for allowing his job to be more important than his family, and Zed mourns his mother's depression at being neglected. Can he let this place be demolished? How can he marry? After seeing his mother alone and depressed, he is determined to remain single and make his career his life.
A thought hits him. He contacts Tasha with a proposition: If she agrees to marry him, on paper only, and stay wed for three months, living in the house together, he will set her up in a business she wants to start as well as pay off her bills. Money problems will be solved, and she will live in her dream house. Tasha is flustered at the proposal, but after some in-depth soul-searching, she figures she has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
A hasty courthouse wedding takes place, and they settle into their new residence. Tasha finds Zed easy to talk to and is impressed by his behavior. He treats her like a queen, something she’s never experienced. Zed goes out of his way to make the holidays special, knowing Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day were the times she was let down. Soon Tasha—vowing never to really marry—falls for Zed and envisions a future with him. But how does he—a confirmed bachelor—feel about her?
For those who enjoy overly descriptive passages in novels, this one is sure to impress. The details of the characters and locations put the reader right into the story. Though a Christian inspirational romance, religious dogma is not shoved down one's throat, making this a heartwarming holiday tale.