Poppies for Christmas by Stacy Renée Keywell
Publication Date: November 16, 2016
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
A celebration of love without labels. It’s easy to be brave with you by my side!
Popular DJ Dexx finds himself positively smitten by the precociously pristine Poppy Paris. Too bad she’s already taken by an older boy, Declan Davies, a beautiful model with a thriving career, and a perfect family. By a dreamful stroke of chance, Dexx finds himself invited to spend Christmas at the Davies home by a gorgeous girl, granting him the opportunity to pursue the precious Poppy. But in his quest to win her over, he unlocks a world of imperfection and insecurity, where people are picked on for their disabilities, speech, appearance, and eccentricities. For Poppy and her friends, love trumps labels, and everyone deserves a brave friend to stand by their side. What gifts will Dexx discover this Christmas? Will he ultimately find true love, or will he discover something even greater?
You are invited to read a powerful story about living with autism, but not letting it define you, about being bullied, but carrying on with determination and grit, and about having dreams, but not giving up in the face of adversity. Come celebrate something beautiful with Poppies for Christmas.
“Dexx!” Denver ran across the floor to greet me. “You clean up nice.” She playfully punched me in the arm.
She looked even more stunning than before, as if that was possible for anyone outside the Davies family. She had changed into a black, silky blouse, and some tight, sequined black leggings. A simple diamond necklace replaced the pearls. Her freshly flat-ironed hair glistened, and hung long down her dainty back.
“Hey, beautiful,” I greeted her, throwing a bit of swagger her way, as my confidence slowly crept back in once the food charged up my system.
Denver jumped, a delicate finch, excited by my compliment.
“Follow me. We’re going to hang out in the family room, eat some appetizers before dinner, and the rest of the festivities.” Her eyes sparkled as she spoke. “Tonight it’s totes casual, just the few of us doing a little decorating, eating a bunch of goodies,” her voice sang out every word.
Denver gripped my hand. I let her guide me across the smooth floor. Dropping my fingers, she ran ahead to the entryway of the family room. I walked in and stood under the mistletoe. I took another bite of sausage when… I saw…her!
I inhaled deep. A flake from the pastry got caught in my throat. I let out a harsh cough. My eyes watered. The crust popped out, and dangled from my lip. Through my tears, I cast my eyes on my lovely muse, the magnificent Poppy.
Using my arm, I wiped the gooey dough off my lip, and brushed off the crumbs. How could I have forgotten about Poppy? With all of the excitement geared around Denver, my mind lapsed. It drifted away from my Poppy. But, as fast as a roller coaster screeches to a halt, my neck whiplashed. My brain bounced back to my main mission at the first sight of her.
Poppy wore a cream sweater accented with a red bow covered in red flowers. Her pouty lips matched the red ribbon. Her thick hair was tied back in a red band, and cascaded down her shoulder.
An extremely handsome boy gripped both of her small hands in his. He caressed her knuckles with his thumbs. As his head turned, his features dazzled. He looked like he had sprung off a polished poster. An unreal creature from a print ad which came to life in the middle of the room, an anomaly in an otherwise ordinary world. I recognized Declan right away. Flawless skin, dark hair, and a smolder that would knock most girls dead.
My heart thumped loudly in my ears. Denver grabbed some snacks. She exchanged words with her brother, but I didn’t understand anything they said. The blood pumped through my body, banging around with too much cacophony. Denver garbled something in my ear and laughed.
“What?” I asked.
Noise echoed around the room. I was still too shocked by Poppy’s presence to move or make sense of her words.
Poppy beamed at Declan. She patted his hand affectingly, and rose off a nearby chair. She moved toward me. My body stiffened. The world moved in slow motion. She crept closer and closer. She got a few steps away from me. Her smile melted into a pinched frown. Her eyes narrowed. She didn’t look as happy to see me as I was to see her. She finally reached me under the mistletoe, and whispered in my ear.
“What are you doing here?” She sounded pissed off, opposite of her normally chipper disposition.
“Why, I was invited, just like you,” I responded sweetly, ignoring her obvious annoyance with me.
“Are you following me or something? I don’t get it. Why did you come here for Christmas?”
“I thought it might be a nice surprise. So, are you surprised, Poppy? Are you surprised to see me?” I asked eagerly.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author Stacy Renée Keywell lives a life of fabulous clichés. She enjoys asking rhetorical questions, and speaking redundantly. Stacy works hard at telling bad jokes, dancing oddly yet awesomely, and making up amazing new words in hopes that they will one day find their way into the dictionary. She strives to love without labels. She vows to bravely stand by the sides of those who need her, especially her two daughters. Stacy, her husband, and her children live in Michigan in a quaint house in the woods.