This is a short story I wrote a few years ago. I’ve always loved it and thought I’d post it again for your holiday enjoyment. (It’s based on the “8th day of Christmas”)

Meghan dropped down in the small stool, tipped back her cowboy hat and laid her forehead against the soft belly of the Jersey, less than pleased she was here doing the evening milking—again. The youngest of eight sisters, she always seemed to get stuck finishing the barn chores. She never got to do anything exciting, like ride out into Mistletoe Canyon and find the missing cows. Resigned to her duty, she gripped a teat in each hand, rolled her fingers with a vengeance and sent milk pinging into the bucket between her feet. The cow let out a soft bellow.
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“Don’t take it out on Clarabelle, it’s not her fault she needs milking,” her sister Michelle said from the stall behind her as she leaned in and begin expertly milking the Guernsey at her hands. “Besides, having you ride out at night just didn’t make any sense. Marissa and Melinda will find the cows and have them back here before Maria and Mary have trimmed the Christmas goose.”

“I’m that transparent now am I?”

Mia laughed, patting the tawny hide of the cow standing over her two stalls over. “I’m surprised you didn’t trip on that pouty lip as you dragged your skinny ass into the barn. Besides, even Santa’s elves don’t take a break from their chores on Christmas Eve until every last train is painted and every dolly packed.” Her oldest sister and her twin, Molly seemed happiest at the Arizona farm, content to tend cattle, breed horses and gather eggs for the neighbors.

Twenty-five head of dairy cattle, two bulls, twenty-seven prize thoroughbreds, a dozen pigs, countless dogs, four geese, two swans and more chickens than Perdue could cook in a month—that was the Morgan farm. Molly and Mia had been running it with a few local hired hands since their dad passed away from lung cancer five years ago when Meghan was just starting her freshman year of high school. He’d lost his high school sweetheart, and her mother, in a freak rodeo accident when Meghan was only five. Fiercely independent, her sisters had insisted on keeping the sprawling acres of land even when it meant every last minute was spent isolated from the rest of the world, earning a living.

As soon as she had enough saved, Meghan was shaking the dust of Peartree Point from her boots and heading east to some college that didn’t include “community” in its title. There was nothing that could keep her here on the family farm.

* * * *

 

Marissa nudged her chestnut mare, guiding her carefully down the slippery slope of Mistletoe Canyon, praying she could find the pregnant cows. Melinda’s horse nickered beside her, the billow of air pluming from its nostrils emphasizing the steady drop in temperature. The sun had set an hour ago, clouds rolling in, shrouding the full moon in a wash of black and gray.

horse“Molly just radioed from the other side of the canyon. She’s got nothing,” Melinda said.

“I’d hate to have those cows calve tonight out here. I’m not sure the newborns will survive the squall coming in.” As if her words had summoned them, snowflakes floated lazily from the sky.

“Tell Molly to meet us on the other side of the ridge. We’ll join up by route 17. If we don’t find them there, we’ll go home and pick up the search in the morning.”

Marissa kicked the mare into a trot and gave the horse her head. They’d ridden this section of the land so often the horse knew instinctively how to maneuver safely over the rocky terrain even in the shadowed night. Ten minutes later as the snow fell in earnest, the canyon walls opened up. She could see the lights of the gator up ahead, but Molly wasn’t alone.

A motor home loomed over the gator, her pregnant cows tethered to its grill. Oh hell no! Some yankees looking for Santa in a cowboy hat weren’t going to ruin her Christmas.

* * * * *

 

Ayden stood his ground. In a short sleeved T-shirt, freezing his ass off, he was feeling more than a little desperate. The feisty blonde before him might be small in stature, but her attitude was rivaled only by the storm swirling around him. He hadn’t had a chance to explain himself when two horses thundered across the plain, their riders dropping to stand with the woman in front of him.

“We have a problem here, Molly?” the brunette from the horse asked.

The blonde tipped back her cowboy hat, exposing a heart-shaped face with rosy cheeks and full lips. Even pursed in displeasure, they looked damn kissable.

cowboys“No problem here,” she responded. “I was explaining to this man that the cows he’s stealing belong to the Morgan farm.”

“I’m not stealing your damn cows. I’m—”

His brother Aaron chose that moment to poke his head out the door. “Can they give us a ride Ayden? It’s fucking…”

Alex plowed into him from behind, the two of them tumbling out of the stranded motor home. “I do not want to spend Christmas stranded in fucki…”

“Well, hello.”

“Please forgive my language, ladies.”

Ayden rolled his eyes as his brothers’ surly demeanors morphed into flirtatious charisma the moment they realized their rescuers were female.

“You look…” The third woman pointed first at Ayden then to Aaron. “And you…” Her finger moved to Alex. They got that reaction a lot.

“We’re triplets. Aaron, Alex and I’m Ayden Williams. And as I was saying we’re not stealing your cattle. We held on to them in hopes—”

“Their owners would rescue us.” Aaron finished.

“I’ve got the three duffles and a backpack of electronics.” Even at 20, Abraham, his youngest brother had the boyish look of a high school kid. Only his well developed physique hinted at his age. “They agree to take us to town?” he asked as he jumped down from the motorhome.

His twin Acton came down with as much enthusiasm. “Awesome, they brought horses.”

A whistle cut through the air, halting all the verbal confusion. Ayden turned back to the blonde. “One person.” She poked Ayden in the chest. “Why don’t you tell us what’s going on and why the lost cows that are keeping me from Christmas dinner are tethered to your motor home.”

Adam, Andrew and Anderson joined the rest of his brothers and he held his hand up, turned back to them and mouthed “Shut up.” He had hoped to negotiate the ride into town before his Good Samaritans realized there were eight hungry cowboys in need of rescuing.

* * * * *

 

xmastreeMeghan loved Christmas. The lights of the nine-foot Douglas fir standing proudly in the great room winked at her through the dining room door. Marie had started the fire while they’d been milking the cows. Presents in festive wrapping paper were scattered around the base, ready for the morning’s festivities.

“Are you sure there’s eight of them?” Marie asked, carrying the last of the crystal wine goblets and setting them around the additional place settings.

Mary balanced a tray of serving dishes, arranging them along the length of the table. “I think Mom and Dad always planned on a very big family. There’s plenty of room for all sixteen of us.”

The responsibilities on the ranch were so demanding, Meghan barely had time to do more than think about dating. Now eight men were being delivered to their doorstep.

“They’re brothers,” Mia said. “Molly said they’re buying the Fitzpatrick spread next door. I didn’t get any more than that over the radio.” Mia and Michelle carried more food from the kitchen. No one was worried there wasn’t enough to feed them all. They’d learned early on, that leftovers were never wasted. Mary and Maria had cooked enough food to feed a small country.

Footsteps pounded across the front porch. The wide door opened, the fresh scent of a Christmas snow carried in with all the men entering the foyer. Meghan would have to rethink that whole moving to the east coast thing.

It seems Santa did deliver on Christmas wishes after all.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merry Christmas

118 Responses to 8 Men A-Mazing … A Christmas Short Story

  • Nice little story, and I loved the illustrations! 🙂

  • loved the story, how fortunate that there were 8 siblings in each family. I don’t really have a favorite holiday memory, but I do enjoy the New Years traditions in my family.

    • Michelle – funny how 8 of them showed up. 😉 Oh, I’d love to hear your New Year’s Eve traditions. There’s nothing like spending time with family during the holidays.

  • I like this blog about 8 siblings. npl42011@hotmail.com

  • Oohh, 8 is a very nice number for a hot story.;D Haha, great story! Personally, I like twins and triplets a lot. A lot. Haha, just saying. XP Thanks for the giveaway, and happy holidays, Nina!

  • Cute story, Nina.

    My favorite holiday memory is visiting my grandparent’s farm every Christmas Eve. Always a great time with a big family.

    • Kirsten – There’s something magical about Christmas Eve. We had friends who used to invite us over to their family festivities because our family was so far away. We moved away from them, but I treasure those memories.

  • Loved the story! Thanks pics were real nice. 😉 My favorite memories are a little sad now. Any year that my Dad was a live and with us was a wonderful Christmas. We always went to midnight Mass together. My Dad died when I was 17 of brian cancer. So it’s been a lot of yrs we’ve been without him and he was a wonderful father and man. Thanks for letting me share. 🙂

  • happy holidays, not thinking of the maids but of the guys LOL

    thanks for having this contest

    Julie

  • Great story! My fave holiday memory is when me and some of my friends went Christmas caroling. It was cold but fun to do.

    • Amy – I used to carol with my youth group. It was so much fun riding in open trucks around town singing our hearts out. Nothing better than getting back to the rectory and having some hot cocoa. Always so much fun.

  • Oh triplet Cowboys YUMMY! LMAO!

    I don’t have a single favorite memory but I do love watching my kids open presents every year!

    ~*Drea*~
    dreabecraft(@)aol.com

    • Drea – I loved when my kids were little, there was so much innocent wonder at what Santa delivered. So much fun! HOpe your Christmas is just as special this year.

  • So did not want that to end. Gotta love all those cowboys 🙂 My favorite Christmas memory is my parents making my sister and I sit at the top of the stairs Christmas morning while they went down and made sure that Santa had left. My dad would have a conversation that sounded as if he was speaking to Santa but all we would here back was tinkling bells. I continued that tradition with my own daughter.

    • Jackie – Awwww … Mr. Nina and I used to keep the kids on the stairs (our yearly picture on the stairs … too cute) while we went down and checked as well. Always teased them Santa hadn’t come. But I LOVE your bells. How sweet. I hope your Christmas morning is very special this year as well!

  • Loved the story. Hope to see more.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Oh, you could write a series on these characters – it would be wonderful!

    Happiest of holidays to you and yours.

  • With our children grown and out of the home tradition is constantly changing. We have a grand daughter that is 19 months old, and her older brother that our son has adopted and loves as his very own is a delightful little boy. And although the marriage hasn’t lasted the undying love between father and children is something hold on to when the hearts of father is broken. We are making new traditions to keep that love alive and strong for the future….that is what grandparents are for I think…*S*
    Well now I just gotta have this book as I loved the excerpt and it hooked me right off the bat.
    I’ve added this to my gotta have list…*S* I definitely want to know how this turns out you know…*S*
    Thank you for the wonderful Christmas blog hop and giving one of your books….*S*
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

    Darcy
    pommawolf @hotmail.com

    • Darcy – Awww, you sound like a wonderful Mom. I can only imagine how difficult it is when children’s hearts are broken. We are expecting both our first grandchild (one daughter) and welcoming a new future son-in-law (a second daughter). We’re forming new traditions in our home as well.

      And this isn’t a book … yet. Just a short story for the blog hop. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

      • Aww and thank you! Just a Mom who married as teenager and oh so glad we are stronger than before..*S*
        Congrats on the up & coming new family members! Awesome! I so love how families can be built from other families with existing children from former relationships. I grew up as the oldest of 4, and having one brother and 2 sisters. We were raised without the use of the word “step” in relationship to one another. So it’s never been a comfortable concept that I understood as a child and irritates me as an adult. Family s family regardless of blood relation…*S*
        Still loving the story for the blog and it could make an awesome longer story too..*S*

        Darcy

        • Darcy – I love that you weren’t considered “step” siblings. that speaks of strong family ties.

          And I’ve now tucked this short story into my story folder. I’m already in love with these two families.

  • Favorite Christmas memory is the whole family having a great time at my grandparents. We would exchange gifts and just have a ball.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Great story, reminds me of the movie 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. Oops dating myself aren’t I. Thanks for the story and the hot pics
    Liz

    • Elizabeth – I’ve never read the book or seen the movie, but I was thinking the same thing. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. 😉

  • Boy, howdy…I LIKED your story! 🙂 The thing I like best about Christmas…the COOKIES!!! LOL!

    barbbattaglia at yahoo dot com

  • Series in the making! Would love to read more 😀

  • Great story! Lots of potential there.

    My favorite childhood Christmas memory is One year, when I was about 8, my Mom decided we needed all blue lights in our decorations. I remember sitting by the Christmas tree lit with all blue lights, playing with my Bride doll (I only played with it at Christmas, don’t ask me why.) listening to Elvis singing Blue Christmas.

  • Your story sounds great! Im definitely intrigued to read more. This Christmas, we’re doing a dinner and watching christmas movies. No presents; they always ruin the holidays. This year, its just the immediate family here and were spending the day together and enjoying ourselves. Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Great story – could make a full length story…

  • Nice story! And the pics aren’t too bad either!

    mconnolley@yahoo.com

  • My favorite holiday memory was on my 9th Christmas. I found a stuffed, life-size toy pony laying under the Christmas tree. It was identical to my real pony, same coloring and everything. I guess this was my parents way of making sure I didn’t bring the real thing into the house. LOL

  • Thanks for doing this Hop… I loved the Halloween one!!!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    kimberlyjuliene@yahoo.com

  • That story was very fun, Nina, thanks for sharing it with us. My favorite Christmas memories are always about special family gatherings. Lots of good food, love and laughter…

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

    • Cathy – I have a very large family (on both sides). When we get together it is always loud and very crazy. We make all kinds of great memories.

  • Loved the country story. This would make a great series. Happy Holidays! ~gem

  • My holiday preparations are going swell because I don’t have any this year. 😉
    bizdotbizinc@yahoo.com

  • I really enjoyed these 8 maids and their 8 men. 🙂 Something about twins and triplets that promise lots of heat. lol Thanks so much for sharing it with us Nina. My favorite memory has to be the last Christmas I was able to spend with my late Mom & Dad and 2 brothers who passed way to soon. There all good and happy memories and I’m ever so grateful they were in my life. 😉
    Happy Holidays.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    • Carol – There is nothing like the memories of Chrstmases we shared with people we’ve loved and lost over the years. Something to treasure for sure.

      And I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year.

  • There;s eight of them *wipes drool off chin* It’s like 7 Brides for 7 Brothers 🙂

    Morganlafey86(at)aol(dot)com

  • loved the story. Love just spending time with family and friends

  • great story they need their own series 🙂 My kids are excited to see santa so the holidays are in full swing here

    meandi09@yahoo.com

    • Jennifer – Kids and Santa is so heartwarming. I do miss the holidays when my children were little. But since we’re adding grandkids, not too many years and we’ll have that young energy around the Christmas tree again. Enjoy the crazy busy-ness!

  • Yummy men! thanks for sharing your writings. I will be adding some new books to my wish list today I think!

    Happy Holidays

  • I do love Cowboy stories, thanks Nina!
    Happy Holidays!

  • Cute story! I’d like to think that all 8 men have found themselves a bed to warm on Christmas!;-)

  • How CUTE, Nina! Thanks for the holiday treat! As for our preparations, we just got our tree up two days ago, and have a stack of cards ready to start addressing… I did just realize this morning that we are clean out of butter, so will have to go shopping before the holiday treat-making can commence… Thanks for the lovely interlude in the meantime!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

    • Fedora – So wonderful to see you here! It sounds like you are cruising right along with your Christmas preparations. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

  • I’ve always loved the musical Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, so this story was a lot of fun. Would love to see it expanded. Thanks for posting and Happy Holidays!

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  • Wild – I’m so glad you’re enjoying the hop. And I do so love a good western filled with cowboys!

  • Wendy – What a wonderful Christmas treat. I hope your cruise is absolutely wonderful. Merry Christmas!

  • Great story.
    My favorite holiday memory is always seeing the kids faces when they get that one special gift they wanted.
    As for preparations..I’m actually a head of schedule.
    Thanks for the giveaway
    elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

    • Elaine – Glad to hear you’re doing well with your holiday preparations. I wish I could say the same. LOL! And there’s nothing better than surprising that special someone with a gift they weren’t expecting. And if it’s a child, it’s even better. Merry Christmas!

  • Great short story, you could get lots of great stuff from this base. Thanks for the story.

    nancyg5997(at)gmail.com

    • Nancy – I’m glad you enjoyed it. I must say, I’m kind of in love with these characters already. And I have yet to write a western. Hmmmm …

  • Great story – love the pictures, too! Happy Holidays. 🙂

  • I don’t have a specific memory just the fact that the holiday has always involved family – extended family and lots of it.

    I enjoyed the 8 maids a’milking and their 8 men a’mazing. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for the giveaway!

    pnc07 (at) aol (dot) com

  • I guess the memory that is strongest right now is having the family gather around the piano singing The Twelve Days of Christmas. So much fun.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  • My favorite moments have always been when my kids were little and understood presents, and had more fun playing with the wrapping paper and boxes, then they did with the toys.

  • Great story. I’m glad there were eight siblings in each family. Thanks for the giveaway.

    e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

  • Great story. I agree with Joanne B. So happy there were 8 men for the 8 maids.

    I am having a wonderful time going to all the sites in Santa’s sleigh! I love visiting with old friends and finding new authors and books to add to my wish list. !!

    Thanks for being part of the hop and for the chance to win such a great prize!

    reneebennett35 at yahoo dot com

  • Thanks for the wonderful story and pictures. this is a wonderful contest and blog hop. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

  • Yadira – I’m thinking I have to finish this one! Hope your holidays are wonderful as well.

  • I adore your cowboys pic, really sexy. I like the story too sounds really good. Everything as been ordered for Christmas dinner already, but i haven’t quite finished shopping for my families gifts yet. Happy Holidays! rshereifa at yahoo dot com

  • I have a quick trip still to plan and a couple of more gifts to buy.
    linze_e at hotmail.com

  • I am hoping this will be my best Christmas memories in a long time. My husband surprised me with flying mom here for the holidays. Have not spent Christmas with her in 13 years! I have tears on my eyes as typing this. Planning on doing many things as we did growing up. Love your stories!

    • Shari – Ohhhh! What a wonderful surprise for you and your mom! It certainly will be a very special Christmas for your family. You made me tear up as well. Enjoy!

  • Cute story! I am not at all ready for Christmas. I’ve only bought a few gifts, and the tree isn’t even up yet. I have some serious work to do!

  • Eight for Eight…a great Christmas gift for all!

  • Love that story! Very cute! My favorite Christmas memory would be my grandfather reading the story of the first Christmas each year from his Bible.
    June M.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  • Thanks for the great story (with illustration!)

    elizabeth@bookattict.com

  • Great story! This Christmas, im spending the day with my family. My husbands birthday is Christmas Eve and my mother in law is living here. We have the kids home and were planning a really nice Christmas. 😉 Thanks for sharing!
    tonyapeterson35(at)yahoo(dot)com

  • Loved this story. Can’t wait to see where to take this to or if each character has their own story.

  • Love that short story but would like to read more lol. My favorite holiday memory was either be my last with my mom or my first with each of my kids at 2 yrs old.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

    • Pam – Awww … aren’t Christmases with toddlers the best? All that wonder at all the lights and decorations and the fun of watching them open presents on Christmas morning. It’s all so magical!

  • Nina, loved it! ~big smiles~

  • Happy Holidays to you and your family Nina! I have many of your stories on my wishlist.

  • Awesome story, thanks for sharing! My fondest memory is when my dad builds a small bonfire on Christmas Eve and we sit around and just chat 🙂

  • I loved the story and the naming scheme for each family. Thanks.
    lisagk(at)yahoo(dot)com

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