Today’s theme is gift. I was thinking about the giving of gifts in books, especially romances, and how it can really show you things about the story or characters. JD Robb’s In Death books are a prime example when you have richer than god Roarke’s first gift to wary, wounded Eve – real coffee. And his other gifts as they’re together, the way he replenishes her gloves, replaces her torn and bloody coats, how he gives her newer, tougher cars when her police issue ones break down or get destroyed. He gives her things he knows she’ll appreciate and that’ll keep her safe in some sense. His gifts are centered on Eve, what she needs, not what makes him look generous. I love that.
Even better are Eve’s struggles to give gifts to the man she loves and who gives so much to her. Loves him so much she seeks out Sommerset’s help in one instance. They key to me always is how the two of them really focus on what their partner needs. The energy and thought going in to giving a gift is romantic and tender. A gift tells you as much about the giver as the receiver.
So how about a scene from Christmas Day at the Chase house?
CHASE BROTHERS: TAKING CHASE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2006, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing
Even being used to the Chases for a year and a half did not prepare her for the insanity of Christmas morning in their household. Last year they’d driven over in the morning but waking up there was a whole different story. While they’d had a bedroom to themselves along with Maggie and Kyle, relatives slept everywhere. The pleasing picture of people young and old in pajamas around the eight foot high Christmas tree did her heart good. This was family. This was wonderful and normal and special all at once.
Brian smiled at her as she came and sat on the floor, resting her arms on Shane’s thighs.
Shane’s paternal grandfather handed out presents and the process took several hours as everyone ooohed and aaahed over each present from mundane to fabulous. The diamond bracelet Kyle gave Maggie was positively gorgeous and Cassie was proud that her jewelry was thoroughly loved by all recipients.
Still, she had to admit that her favorite moment was when Edward unwrapped the first edition Black’s Law dictionary she’d found in an old bookstore in downtown Los Angeles when she’d visited Brian the month before.
“Holy cow! Girl, you’re too good to be true. Shane, boy, you’d better keep this one around.” Edward stroked the leather spine and beamed.
“She grabbed it before I could, Edward. Even with a broken arm and a bum shoulder she beat me to it.” Brian laughed.
“That’s my girl.” Edward winked.
“Oops, I didn’t see this last one. It’s for you, Cassie.” Pop handed the long, flat box to Cassie.
“From Shane, oooh!” Cassie set to unwrapping it. It was a card with a key attached. Use me. was written on it. She pulled the key off. The key to Shane’s truck.
Everyone followed her out to the driveway, standing back as she opened the truck. “You giving me this monster, Shane?”
“My truck?” he sounded horrified. “No! Follow the clues, darlin’.”
She saw a bow on the glove box and another note stuck there. I need a key.
Sliding the key into the lock she opened it and saw the light blue box. “Oh lordy! A blue box.” Delighted, she pulled it out and opened it up. It wasn’t until she saw the black velvet box inside the blue box that she realized what it was.
With trembling hands she cracked it open and a pear shaped sapphire sat nestled in the velvet, diamonds on either side of the deep blue stone. She turned to face Shane but he was on one knee. Tears began to run down her face.
“Cassie, will you marry me?”
“Holy cripes! Hell yes, I’ll marry you.” She jumped into his arms and they toppled onto the cold, wet grass, laughing.
Reaching around her, he grabbed the box and slid the ring on her finger. “Perfect. I knew you’d look better in something other than a diamond. I saw it and had to get it for you.”
He laughed again. “Thanks, darlin’, you do too. How about a Valentine’s Day wedding? In that little chapel just outside town? You seem to really like it.”
“Oh the one with the pretty stained glass? Do you think it would be available on such short notice?”
“Probably not but I booked it last year this time.”
She stopped. “You did? Oh my. Awfully sure of yourself.”
“We all know I’m an arrogant man, we established that early on. I wanted to ask you to marry me last Christmas but I knew you wouldn’t be ready. But I wanted that little chapel for you when you were ready. Just in case.”
“You’re a giant marshmallow, you know that?”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
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