Written Fireside is a round robin style written, short story feature based on the campfire game where one person starts a story then passes it on to the next person gathered by the fire to continue.

For each story I write part 1, then each participating author (a Fire Writer) adds a part in turn.

Dec 20, 2014

Naughty or Nice? The Best Present by Lori Connelly

This Christmas enjoy how each author creates a unique tale from the same starting sentences written by

Georgia Beyers
the author of 
can be followed online 

tenth in the anthology is

Lori Connelly
is a Harper Impulse author and the creator of Written Fireside.  

With the exception of the August Written Fireside stories, she has the pleasure of writing every story's part one. 

The Best Present

Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely “nice”. This year she had broken Daniel’s heart into a million tiny pieces, so “naughty” seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon. – Georgia Beyers

There has to be a way to make things right.

The thought gnawed at Charlotte, holding her still, doubting her decision to come home, until snowflakes started falling. A quick glance up did nothing to improve her mood. For once, the weatherman was right. 

White bits of fluff caught in her long dark hair as she moved the cat carrier off her lap and onto the sidewalk by her feet. Charlotte pulled a sky blue hat out of the backpack beside her. Restless, she tugged it on while getting to her feet. 

The bus had driven out of Fir Mountain almost as soon as she disembarked . The local station, no larger than a coffee stand, was dark and a closed sign hung in the window. The rest of Main Street appeared much the same. Businesses closed early on Christmas Eve in the small Oregon town where she’d been born and raised. 

Her cell phone weighed heavy in her pocket. One phone call to the Bar 7, the ranch that had been in her family for generations and someone would come pick her up. Part of her wanted to run straight to her parents, ask them what she should do but Charlotte hesitated. During the past year, living apart from her large family in the ‘big’ city , she’d grown to rely on her own council. She couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a way to make things right if her guilt would only quiet. Yet she didn’t know what else to do, he ignored her every effort to talk about it. 

One hand slipped into her pocket. Her fingers briefly clutched the phone and then dropped it again. She had other news, news that would be exciting to share normally. Tim, the owner of the Indigo gallery called late last night. A customer had noticed one of her paintings he was preparing for her first exhibit, and wanted it, was impressed with the depth of emotion it portrayed. 

A lump formed in her throat. Charlotte blinked rapidly, fighting back the urge to cry. That success came from knowing Daniel , the way he’d snuck into her heart, and how it was now breaking because she was losing him.

She should have taken better care.

Copyright © Lori Connelly

Read the rest of The Best Present plus fourteen more short Christmas stories for free right now. 

Lori's bio:

I was born and still live in Oregon. Despite being a good student, my teachers complained about my tendency to daydream. The tales dancing through my imagination were frequently far more entertaining than real life. As far back as I can remember I made up stories, to calm my sister after a nightmare, entertain myself in boring classes and write in countless notebooks, many never again to see the light of day. I earned a BS from Eastern Oregon State College and married my best friend almost twenty years ago. I’ve three brilliant, handsome sons, one amazing daughter-in-law, a grand baby to be and two spoiled dogs. When not writing I love to read, hike, camp, rock hound, and take long walks with my husband just after it rains.

Lori is the author of
The Men of Fir Mountain Series 
Western Historical Romance!

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