Fern Michaels’ Christmas novels are pure holiday magic—uplifting stories of love, family, and friendship in irresistible settings. And when she brings her bestselling Sisterhood series into the mix, the results are sure to kindle endless seasons of joy.
The Sisterhood: a group of women from all walks of life bound by friendship and years of adventure. Armed with vast resources, top-notch expertise, and a loyal network of allies around the globe, the Sisterhood will not rest until every wrong is made right.
Throughout the years, the ladies of the Sisterhood have delivered their own style of vigilante justice to those who most deserve it. But this Christmas, instead of finding and punishing bad guys, all Maggie Spritzer wants is to bring a little more joy to the world—and especially to a beloved teacher from her past. And as the Sisters unite to find Miss Roland, who seems to have mysteriously dropped off the face of the earth, they learn that no holiday treat is as fulfilling as giving to others . . .
Previously published in Wishes for Christmas.
October 25, 2022
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Normal luncheons with the Sisters were usually done on the fly and, for the most part, held in favorite cafés or restaurants. When Maggie first came up with the idea, it was because she had a serious matter to discuss with the Sisters. She knew the luncheon would go into overtime, and at a public eatery, they would be rushed, hence this luncheon was in her own home in Georgetown.
It was well known that Maggie was not a cook, not even a fair to middling one. Oh, to be sure, she could throw things together and manage somehow to make the result edible, but she much preferred takeout, which she warmed up and pretended that she’d prepared. She did, however, have one dish that always garnered praise, a broccoli, three-cheese casserole that was beyond delicious. She always served it with a crisp garden salad, warm, tiny, spongy garlic rolls, and a peach cobbler straight out of the supermarket freezer section.
No one ever complained, and there was never enough left to save, so Maggie was confident her luncheon menu would meet with the Sisters’ approval.
Maggie took one last look at her dining-room table. She knew she should have used her once-a-year good dishes, but she’d just been too lazy to take them out and wash them, so she had opted for colorful hard plastic plates with an autumn theme. All gold, orange, and rustic brown. Her centerpiece was an arrangement of fall leaves that matched the plastic plates. All in all, she was satisfied. And she also knew the Sisters wouldn’t complain even if she served the food on Styrofoam plates, because things like that simply were not important.
The timer in the kitchen went off just as the doorbell rang. Talk about timing. She grinned as she ran to the door with Hero, her cat, right on her heels.
As always, the Sisters oohed and aahed over the delicious aromas as they hugged and squealed over seeing each other.
Coats and jackets were hung up. It was the end of October, and there was a definite chill in the air.
The women all headed for the kitchen and were surprised when Maggie said, “No, we’re eating in the dining room today. And guess what? Today we are having fresh apple cider. I picked it up this morning. Someone pour while I get the food on the table.”
The moment everyone was seated, Maggie held up her glass and said, “Happy harvest, everyone! Tomorrow is Halloween. And, by the way, I personally carved that pumpkin you all saw on the front stoop. I just love autumn.”
The Sisters all toasted Halloween, then sat back and waited, because they all knew Maggie’s casserole had to set for ten minutes before it could be scooped onto plates.
“Are we celebrating something today, or is this just a get-together, dear?” Myra asked.
“Both,” Maggie responded smartly.
“Well, speaking strictly for myself, I am all ears,” Kathryn said as she eyed the golden brown casserole sitting in the center of the table. Everyone knew and teased Kathryn that she had the appetite of a truck driver because she was an overland driver who handled her eighteen-wheeler like the pro she was.
“Me, too.” Yoko laughed. “Spit it out, Maggie, or do we have to eat first?”
“Why don’t we be devilish today and break Charles’s golden rule that we don’t talk business while we eat?” Annie suggested. The others hooted that they were in agreement.
“Any reason why you didn’t invite the boys?” Nikki asked.
“Well, yeah, this is girls only. I thought we agreed to do that once a month,” Maggie said as she toyed with the serving spoon that would scoop up her casserole.
“Okay, I get it. This is that once-a-month social gathering, plus some business, right?” Alexis grinned.
“A hint, a clue, something would be nice,” Isabelle said as she popped a tiny garlic roll into her mouth. She rolled her eyes at the delectable delight.
“Does whatever you have in mind involve just us girls or the boys at some point?” Nikki asked, the lawyer in her wanting details and facts.
“To be decided,” Maggie said, waving the spoon. “It’s just an idea. An idea I’ve had for a long time. With the holidays fast approaching, it always takes over my mind at this time of year, and I simply cannot stop thinking about it.”
“What? What?” Annie exploded as Kathryn reached over to take the serving spoon out of Maggie’s hand. Reaching for the plates, she put spoon to casserole and filled them.
“The money from my husband’s insurance. I tried to give it to Gus’s nephew, but he refused to take it. I never spent a dime of it. I couldn’t. I want to give it away this Christmas. I want you all to help me. And then I took it one step further and thought, wouldn’t it be nice if you all kicked in some money to match it and . . .”
“And what, dear?” Myra asked.
“Make someone’s world brighter and happier. Save someone’s life. Do something for someone, or more than someone, who otherwise would stay in whatever position they’re in at the moment. This year, for some reason, I want . . . no, I need to make the angels sing. I want to hear them sing. Does that make sense?” Maggie asked fretfully.
“Of course it makes sense. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Count me in,” Annie said. “Now, you know if you include the boys, the fund would grow substantially higher,” she said slyly. The others agreed as they all started to eat.
“Not so fast,” Myra said. “Dear,” she said, addressing Maggie, “did you forget we have an organization that Abner is in charge of that donates yearly, very generously and very heavily, during the holidays? Any new charity or person is always welcome. I thought we all had agreed to that. Last year alone, we donated—anonymously, of course—over one billion dollars, which we confiscated from that monster, Angus Spyder. So, I’m not quite sure what it is you want us to contribute to, and while I have no problem with that at all, I guess I just don’t understand the end result here.”
The women stopped eating long enough to stare at Maggie, waiting to see how she would respond.
“I guess I didn’t fully explain, because I’m not clear in my own mind. Sometimes late at night, when I can’t sleep, I think about my life, my childhood, my family and wonder, as I think most people wonder, if I could do things over, what would I do differently? Is there some wrong in my past life that I never made right, for whatever reason? Just think about that for a minute. I have an instance, and I’ve never forgotten it. I don’t know if money can or will right that situation, but I want to look into it and try. It’s not the same as what Abner is doing with Spyder’s money and all those other people’s money we helped ourselves to. This is personal. That’s the best way I can explain it to you all. Does it make more sense now?”
“Well, yes, dear, it certainly does,” Myra said. “I think you might be on to something. Let’s run this up the flagpole. Now that I understand where you’re going with this, I think we should include the boys in this.”
“I agree,” Isabelle said. The others were quick to agree.
“We can’t call them now. It’s . . .
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