Monday, September 4, 2017


 Mona Risk
 New York Times and
USA Today Bestselling Author

Copyright © 2017, Mona Risk
 Chapter 1

 Yes, Mom, I’ll be in time for Christmas dinner, Sylvia Reynolds texted, her heart reeling from guilt. She hadn’t called home as often as promised and had missed the last two family reunions. Not that it was her fault she’d been assigned shifts during the Christmas holiday. Instead of accusing her of selfishness, why didn’t her dear relatives understand that a resident in pediatric couldn’t afford to protest the hospital sacrosanct schedule?

Her sister Jenna had already started a betting pool about Sylvia dropping out at the last minute. One more time.

I’m at the airport, she added when her mother didn’t answer the last text.
This is Jenna. My phone is dead. Using Mom’s. We’ll believe you when we see you HERE.

Sylvia clamped her jaws and ignored Jenna, her gorgeous and sassy young sister who could twist anyone around her little finger. Especially good-looking males. Sylvia was the wise one, her father often claimed—the bookish sister, her brothers and friends mercilessly teased.
Scolding Jenna wouldn’t make a difference and the family didn’t need to know that Sylvia had risked her life driving too fast on the slippery highway from Boston to Logan Airport under a mix of snow and freezing rain. She’d finished her night shift at the hospital at nine a.m. and hardly had time to go home, pack, and rush to the airport.

A backpack strapped to her shoulders, Sylvia dragged her carry-on to stand in the incredibly long line and shuffled along endless loops to reach the security checkpoint. What else did she expect when traveling two days before Christmas? More than forty-five minutes later she loaded her luggage, handbag, parka and boots on to the conveyor belt and stepped through the metal detector while her belongings crossed the X-ray machine.

Another glance at her watch alerted her that her flight might be boarding by now. Huffing with impatience, Sylvia slipped on her boots, donned her coat and collected her luggage before dashing along the terminal, hoping she would make it in time.

Without slowing, she surveyed the walls for monitors. A couple hung from the ceiling. Tipping her chin up, she slowed her stride to read the departure information.
And gasped when her foot suddenly wobbled and twisted.
“Ouch,” she shrieked. Arms flailing with her carryon and handbag, she stumbled and sprawled on the carpeted floor.
What on earth had she stepped on?

Baby cries echoed her scream.
Right away strong hands lifted her from the floor. She turned her head and stared into the most dazzling deep-ocean-blue eyes she’d ever seen, so close to her face.
“Are you okay?” the man asked in a worried voice.
“I don’t know. I think so.” How could she think with his arms holding her against his solid chest?
The baby’s screams grew louder.
Almost carrying her, her rescuer helped Sylvia to a chair.

“Excuse me.” He picked up a pink rattle off the floor, wiped it with a tissue, and gave it to the baby fretting in a nearby stroller. “It’s okay, little doll. Here’s your toy. A bit distorted though.” The baby grabbed it, sniffled, and shook the plastic thing, laughing at the musical noise.

“It’s the culprit responsible for your fall.” His apologetic smile did wonders to soothe the pain in Sylvia’s ankle. “Please take off your boot and let me look at your foot.”

“It’s not hurting as much.” But the man was right. As a doctor, she would have advised anyone in the same situation to check the painful area. She pulled her boot and sock off, wiggled her sole and toes, and winced at the surge of pain.

“Allow me.” He crouched in front of her, grabbed her heel in his palm, and massaged her ankle. “How does it feel?” Concern rang in his voice.
“Huh... okay.” It felt so good she wanted to beg him not to stop.

“Passengers for Northwest Flight 825 report to the gate counter.”
His hands were so warm and firm, yet gentle, she’d almost forgotten about her flight.
“I’m doing much better. No broken bones or pulled muscles. Thanks for your help. I have a plane to catch but they just called. Hopefully there’s no problem.”

Concerned about the call to passengers of Northwest Flight 825, she turned her head toward the gate door. “I don’t see a line anymore in front of the boarding gate.”
“Which flight are you taking?” the man who had rescued her asked.
“825 to Chicago.”
“Unfortunately, it’s been canceled because of engine malfunction.”
“Are you serious?”
I hope you enjoyed the first scene of my novel, IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS--my contribution to SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 4, presently on preorder at:

Please join us for the release party of our Christmas anthology.


  1. Such a great read, Mona! Looking forward to reading the rest!

    1. Traveling to Chicago during a blizzard! I experienced it first hand. No fun, but I tried to make a wonderful fun experience.

  2. Great beginning! Pulls you right into the story.