Excerpt from The Real Magic
He moved to take a step toward her, wanting to share one brief moment of her innocent anticipation of the coming holiday, but noticed her hands balled into fists at her side and stopped. She only made fists when she was angry. It was the first tell she’d developed as a small child. Her bright red face and wailing lips had faded as she’d gained the self-control and composure of a ten-year-old, but her fists had remained the same.
Jane’s head was bowed low as she examined a Santa ornament. Stephen took a long slow breath and closed his eyes, trying to think of what he was going to do. He had hoped she wouldn’t learn the truth about Santa for at least another year.
Before he had a chance to compose an explanation, Jane stood and turned, freezing when she saw him. Her eyes sparkled with a combination of the moist residue riming her lower lids and the reflection of the lights from the Christmas tree. She watched him silently, her brow creased in what looked like disappointment and betrayal. His stomach tied in knots at the sight. This was going to be a lot harder than he’d expected.