Christmas Stroll – Within Golden Bands Out-takes Part Three

Posted by on Jun 12, 2020 | Comments Off on Christmas Stroll – Within Golden Bands Out-takes Part Three

Christmas Stroll – Within Golden Bands Out-takes Part Three

The Christmas Stroll in Albuquerque’s Old Town, there’s nothing quite like it! Christmas in June, anyone? This scene, cut from Within Golden Bands is typical New Mexico romance, the kind that makes me fall in love all over again.




Fabulous Fridays

Out-Takes from Within Golden Bands – Part Three

Christmas in June, anyone? For anyone who knows New Mexico, Old Town Albuquerque at Christmas conjures up essences of piñon smoke, glowing luminarias highlighting adobe walls, and red chili wreaths. This scene, cut from Within Golden Bands is typical New Mexico romance, the kind that makes me fall in love all over again. Join in as Bonny and Kieran experience all the beauty and wonder of Christmas in love.

Out-Takes comprise some of my favorite scenes from Within Golden Bands. The decision to remove them from the book was painful but necessary to move the action forward. I allude to these scenes in other ways but for me, they will always be part of the story. I see, smell, taste, and hear what my characters experience and they share it with me each year as I enjoy our home town at Christmas with my husband.

Christmas in June, anyone? Out-takes from Norma Gail's new book, Within Golden Bands #amwriting #authorlife #RomSus Click To Tweet

Chapter One – Scene Three – The Old Town Christmas Stroll

Albuquerque, New Mexico


The evening was warm for December, even for Albuquerque.

Kieran scrunched sideways in the backseat of Dan’s Suburban so Bonny could lean against him as they headed to the Old Town Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Stroll. “Forty-five degrees in December. My parents would never believe it.”

“We could sightsee more if I wasn’t sick all the time.” Bonny burrowed deeper into his arms, a sure sign it wasn’t a complaint. “After the baby is born, we should come back so I can show you everything when I feel better. You’ll love Old Town. The Christmas Stroll is every bit as beautiful as on Christmas Eve.”

“New Mexico is the best place in the world at Christmas.” Kari turned in the front seat to face them. “You’ve only gone a few places, in spite of little hiking and no horseback riding. Did you enjoy Santa Fe, Kieran?”

“It was fun. The Shed has great food, though Bonny wasn’t hungry. The drive up North 14 is spectacular, and Madrid is one of the more unique towns I’ve ever seen.”

San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church, Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dan laughed. “I think eclectic is the word you’re looking for.”

Kari thumped him on the shoulder. “What did Dr. Carson say about your nausea and weight loss, Bonny?”

“He had a name for it, hyperemesis gravidarum, meaning I lose my lunch so much I’m losing weight. More medication. Ugh. Some women end up hospitalized. But hopefully, I’ll improve. I hate to spend most of our honeymoon sick. The doctor’s concerned about the scar tissue and wants an ultrasound when we get home to assess any danger. Kieran called and set it up for right after New Year’s.”

The streetlights caught the gleam in his wife’s eyes and her slight smile begged for a kiss. Kieran drew her closer, but if he waited until they were home, he could do it right. They passed the hospital where he had once prayed for her to regain consciousness and live to marry him. The months, while she healed and decided between him and Adam, were a nightmare. Now, it all seemed insignificant.

The Christmas Tree

A thrill of excitement and anticipation throbbed in his heart, palpable in her jittering knees, turning head, and obvious eagerness to share this special time with him.

“You’ll love this, Kieran. The Christmas tree, the luminarias, dinner at La Placita, and a stroll around the plaza. There’s nothing better. Hurry, Dan. We don’t want to be late.”Christmas Tree, Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

“From the sound of it, I’ll be lucky to get you on a plane back to Scotland.” Kieran placed a finger under Bonny’s chin, turned her head, and searched her eyes for a response. Did she regret the permanence of her move to Scotland?

“I’m ready. It’s wonderful to have you all to myself, but I can’t wait to tell your parents about the baby. Besides, I need to learn to be a sheep farmer’s wife before I have to juggle farm duties with motherhood.” The quick response eased his concern a little.

Dan pulled into a parking space and stopped. Kieran stepped out first, offered Bonny his hand, and tucked her arm through his. “Lead the way, Mrs. MacDonell.”

“Hmm, smell the pinon smoke.” Dan and Kari fell in behind them. “Have you explained luminarias, carrot-top?” Dan teased.

“I’m a married lady, Danny-boy. Haven’t I outgrown my childhood nickname. And yes, I did.”

“Explained them?” Kieran looked back, laughing. “This determined woman made them in Beauly last Christmas at my parents’ house. I shoveled snow for her to set them out.” With her head against his arm, his heart expanded in gratitude. He sniffed the air, pungent with a plethora of unfamiliar odors. “People, lights, luminarias, music. I see why your eyes light up when you talk about it.”

“Honey, there’s the Christmas tree.” Bonny pointed and tugged on his arm. “Come on.” As Bonny dragged him through the crowd, the tree burst into brilliance as white lights revealed red and white ornaments of giant proportions.

It’s more than two stories tall. How many trees do they use? Within Golden Bands Out-takes #NewMexico #Christfic #amreading Click To Tweet

“It’s huge.” Kieran tilted his head back. “They really are entire trees put together to form one big tree. It’s more than two stories tall. How many trees do they use?”

“A hundred and fifty,” Bonny said proudly.

Kari smiled when she and Dan walked up. “You can close your mouth now, Kieran. Did she describe it well?”Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Yes, but I couldn’t imagine it.” His eyes flitted from one unfamiliar sight to another. The warm, golden radiance of the luminarias trailed along sidewalks, rooftops, and porch rails. The flickering lights bestowed a simple beauty on the ancient adobe buildings. “I’m amazed how something as simple as hundreds of small paper sacks with sand in the bottom and candles inside can produce such beauty.”

Bonny’s snaps hadn’t done justice to San Felipe de Neri, the old Catholic Church across the crowded street, so different from the stone cathedrals of his homeland. For more than 300 years, its majestic simplicity of adobe and white-painted wood had graced the north side of the plaza. In spite of throngs of people in the narrow blocked-off streets, the atmosphere was serene. Christmas songs emanated from the bandstand with a distinctive beat played on simple instruments, guitars, violins, and trumpets. “Tell me again what they call the music.”

Mariachi.” She tugged him behind her, closer to the tree. “Take our picture, Dan. We need to send photos to Kieran’s parents. Isn’t it beautiful, honey?”

Reminiscence and Revelations

He nodded, filled with memories of last year when they performed “Silent Night” in Gaelic on Christmas Eve in Scotland. The unfamiliar Spanish was every bit as beautiful. Like tree lights illuminated with the flick of a switch, the answer to a question long agonized over became clear. Bonny refused his proposal and sent him home to Scotland because she craved the familiarity of home while she healed. Now, they stood amidst sights, sounds, and aromas as common to her as they were curious to him. The rugged mountains where she lived, chili, adobe, and the rustic wooden spires of the church meant to her what sheep, heathered hills, castles, and glacier-carved lochs were to him. Home. Given time, she had chosen to leave it all—for him.

The rugged mountains where she lived, chili, adobe, and the rustic wooden spires of the church—Home. #NEWRELEASE #BYNR #Christfic Click To Tweet

His throat tightened and he pulled her into his arms despite the crowds. “You left all you’ve ever known to marry me. For the first time, I fathom your sacrifice—why you had to be so certain.”

With a soft moan, her arms slid around his neck and pulled him down to where her sweet, warm lips melded with his. “I gained much more than I gave up. You are my home now.”

Kari and Dan returned from the other side of the tree. Ever-sensitive Kari touched Bonny’s shoulder. “Dan and I will go on to La Placita. It looks as if you need a moment alone.”

Bonny’s eyes glimmered as bright as the lights on the tree. “Kieran just had a revelation. We’re fine.”

Arm in arm they strolled through the plaza, past the wooden bandstand festooned with white lights and red bows, where a group of carolers had replaced the mariachis. The culture surrounding them was as strange to him as Hogmanay and haggis were to her. Was he brave enough to do what this incredible woman had done?

The emotions surging through him were not the pride of victory over Adam, but humility because she chose him. He drew her out of the crowd, into the circle of light under an old-fashioned lamppost, gazing into eyes made greener by the dark forest hue of her coat.

“Kieran?” Cold fingers caressed his cheek. He caught her hand and massaged it. “What does that little smile mean?”

Within Golden Bands Out-takes Part 3 2

The crowds disappeared and he knelt, grasping the hand where his grandmother’s ruby sparkled amid the diamonds of her wedding band. “I’m the happiest man on earth. I will cherish and protect the gift of your love, mo chridhe, and never take it for granted.”

Only four more days until they boarded a plane for Scotland. Bonny had called it home, and her worries about the baby appeared to have given way to excitement. He almost skipped across the street to the luminaria-festooned restaurant.

Out-takes from novels live on in the heart of the author and provide backstory #amwriting #backstory #NEWRELEASE Click To Tweet

© Norma Gail Holtman

Norma Gail - AuthorAbout the author:

Norma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.




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