Tag Archives: Christmas

Author Showcase – Kristina Knight (Christmas in a Small Town: A Slippery Rock Novel)

Running out on her wedding was the best decision ever!

A cheating fiancé sends Camden Harris fleeing to her grandparents’ home in Missouri. When her ex follows, determined to win her back, Camden makes a deal with neighbor Levi Walters: they’ll pretend to be in love and she’ll support his plan to buy her grandparents’ land. 

The boy from her childhood has grown up into an impressive man. His charm, good looks and sweet gestures make it difficult for Camden to remember this is fake. And Levi’s kisses only confuse her more.

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“You guys didn’t play with me when I went to defense. How would you know what I looked like?”

Collin blinked. “High-definition TV. Replay shows. And, you know, we did play with you all through junior high and high school. Doesn’t matter if you’re quarterbacking or playing the defensive line, like you did in college and the pros—the Levi Walters focus is the same.”

“Also, and I don’t think we can emphasize this enough, at least three of your throws pushed the dart through the board and into the wall. So what’s up?” Aiden rolled his bottle of beer through his hands, making it scrape against the table.

It grated on Levi’s nerves.

Just because he had a few strong throws didn’t mean something was bothering him. He certainly wasn’t upset. Levi Walters didn’t get upset. He focused on the job at hand until it was done. Then he focused on the next job. He didn’t get upset. He didn’t get bothered. He didn’t wonder why good things happened to other people.

Which made it all the more weird that he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the guys and their new relationships.

But he definitely wasn’t bothered.

“What do you guys think about the bike trail they’re talking about? The one that will follow the old railroad tracks?”

Collin and Aiden exchanged a look. Neither said anything.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. That land is undeveloped, but it’s adjacent to the ranch, and to the Harris property, too. Could lead to mischievousness, especially during the summer months.”

“He broke out a twenty-five-cent word,” Aiden said.

“Still avoiding the actual conversation, too,” Collin replied. As if Levi weren’t sitting right there with them. As if he weren’t trying to hold a legitimate conversation instead of whatever it was the two of them were trying to get him to admit to.

“Nothing’s bugging me.” He settled his shoulders against the back of the booth. “Just here to throw darts.” The guys stared at him. “And that bike trail could lead to all kinds of other prob—”

The door to the bar opened, and Levi stopped talking. He couldn’t breathe, and that didn’t make any sense at all. It was just a woman. Pretty brown hair pinned up on her head. Pale, creamy skin. He couldn’t see her eyes from this distance, but her lips were red and turned up at the corners. She twirled a set of car keys on her finger, and gathered the train of her dress—a wedding dress, and that was weird—in her other hand, saving it from the closing of the door.

“You were saying?” Collin prodded him, but Levi couldn’t remember what the three of them had been talking about. He’d been a little annoyed with them. Something about the bike trail that still hadn’t been decided on by the county commissioners.

His mouth went a little dry, and he forced himself to take a long breath. Tried to make his heart stop galloping in his chest. She was…the most beautiful figment his imagination had ever created.

“Something’s definitely wrong with him,” Aiden said. And Levi realized his friend was right.

There was something very, very wrong with a man who hallucinated a beautiful woman in a wedding dress. Something really wrong.

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Famous in a Small Town (A Slippery Rock Novel, book 1) 

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Rebel In A Small Town (A Slippery Rock Novel, book 2)

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Breakup in a Small Town (A Slippery Rock Novel, book 3)

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 Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. Kristina writes contemporary romance with a smattering of sass, sex and (of course) drama, and she loves hearing from readers. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

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Author Showcase – Judith Sterling (Soul of the Wolf: The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Two)

A Norman loyalist, Lady Jocelyn bristles when ordered to marry Wulfstan, a Saxon sorcerer. She nurses a painful secret and would rather bathe in a cesspit than be pawed by such a man…until her lifelong dream of motherhood rears its head.

A man of magic and mystery, Wulfstan has no time for wedded bliss. He fears that consummating their marriage will bind their souls and wrench his focus from the ancient riddle his dying mother begged him to solve. He’s a lone wolf, salving old wounds with endless work. But Jocelyn stirs him as no woman ever has.

Their attraction is undeniable. Their fates are intertwined. Together, they must face their demons and bring light to a troubled land.

 

 

Wulfstan’s expression shifted faster than the midnight clouds. “Why are you here?” he asked in a low, tight voice.

Keeping her distance, Jocelyn eyed the wolf behind him and willed her voice to sound calm. “Why do you think?”

 Wulfstan’s eyes were like ice. “I think…that you’re spying on me.”

 She held his wintry gaze. “Then you think rightly.”

 “What? No denial? No protestations of innocence?”

 “Would you have me lie?”

 He clenched his fists. “No.”

 “Then you cannot—”

 “Nor would I have you pound your pestle into my private affairs.”

 Heat swept through her. “Pray, what affairs have you that are not private?”

 “I’ve given you a free hand with the servants and the keep. What more do you want?”

 The wolf turned away and padded toward the forest. Her courage doubled. “More.”

 Her mind made up, she strode past Wulfstan and approached Woden’s Stair. She raised her foot above the first step.

 “Stay!” he shouted above the wind.

 She stopped short and turned to him. “Are you addressing me?”

 He tore his gaze from the forest and settled it on her. “No. The wolf.” With powerful strides, he bridged the gap between them.

Her stomach quivered. He stood but a foot away. “Good,” she croaked. Then she cleared her throat. “For a moment, I thought you ordered me to stay, as you would order a dog.”

Humor softened his features. “Now there’s an idea. I must say, it does have a certain appeal.”

 “Be serious.”

 “A dog can be trained to please its master, but the master also enjoys pleasing the dog. Some hounds are spoiled, in fact.”

She frowned. Something in his tone was…suggestive. “Were I a bitch, I would not be so easily managed.”

He grinned. “That I believe. And I know you’re no animal to be trained. You’re a strong woman with a mind of your own. But even the strong-willed like to be pampered. Wouldn’t you like it?”

“I…I wouldn’t mind being pampered.”

“And pleasured?” His hair looked like spun starlight.

She stepped backward, and the heel of her boot met stone. Flustered, she clambered onto the step.

Wulfstan’s demeanor darkened. “Get down from there.” His large hands invaded her mantle and encircled her waist.

She wriggled free of his hands and backed onto the second step.

He crossed his arms. “Didn’t you hear me? Come down. That’s an order.”

Her body heat flared anew, and she climbed three steps higher. “I heard you, but I’ll not play the bitch to any man.”

“This isn’t a game.”

“No? What would you do if I ran all the way to the top?”

His words, exactly measured, were a promise. “I would stop you.”

“You could try.” She whirled around and started upward.

He grabbed her from behind and hoisted her several inches off the stairs. She struggled and kicked, and her left foot connected with his flesh.

“Woden’s blood!” He hauled her away from the stairs and planted her on the ground.

She twisted in his arms to face him. “Your nerve is unparalleled.”

His face was mere inches from hers. “Trust me, it bows to yours.”

“You’ve a clever tongue, my lord.” The hard, hot length of his body pressed against her.

His eyes were now dark and inviting. Expectant. “Would you care to see how clever?”

 

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The Novels of Ravenwood, Book One

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The Novels of Ravenwood Book 3

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Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven, Soul of the Wolf, and Shadow of the Swan are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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Author Showcase – Nan Reinhardt (A Small Town Christmas)

Winemaker and single father Conor Flaherty is determined to make this Christmas holiday special for his daughter even though his family’s winery, Four Irish Brothers, is facing some challenges.

High-octane Chicago attorney Samantha Hayes is looking forward to some delicious food, fine wine, small town charm, and a break from her hectic big city life when she agrees to do a favor for her boss and help his younger brother with a lawsuit that’s been slapped on his family’s historic winery in River’s Edge. She’s not expecting that her sexy new client will have a smile that will melt her heart and remind her that there’s more to life than work.

Sam falls hard for Conor, his daughter and the small, friendly town, but can she trust her instincts and risk her heart? Sam hasn’t seen a lot of happy-ever-afters in her life, but Conor and the magic of Christmas make her want to believe.

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“Get in here!” the voice commanded, but this time it sounded familiar. “You have got to taste this.” Heavy footsteps hurried toward her and around a tank appeared . . . the man who had changed her tire yesterday? He was holding a bottle in one hand and a small tumbler in the other, but practically squealed his tattered running shoes as he halted mid-step. “It’s you.”

They gazed at one another for a long moment, his blue eyes narrowing, color staining his cheeks. “Um, you want to try this? It’s pretty amazing,” he blurted as the flush on his face deepened from pink to scarlet.

She stepped back. “It’s nine o’clock in the morning.”

He eyed her, clearly debating what to say next. At last, he shrugged and the love of his product won out. “I know. But I wanted to taste it one more time before I put it up in the racks for sale.” He held the wine up to the sunlight streaming in through the high window. “You can just spit it on the floor here if you want. I usually do but, man, this is too good not to swallow.” He swished the wine around in the glass and extended it toward her.

Everything Sam knew about client meetings was suddenly upside down and, for a moment, she was at a loss. One didn’t drink wine at a morning meeting or dress in jeans and a sweatshirt to meet their attorney. At least not in Chicago. She hesitated, meeting his blue, blue eyes over the tumbler and something in her released ever so slightly. Finally, she reached for the glass and offered a tentative smile.

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Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last 22 years, she’s earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. But writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing–she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten. She’s still writing romance, but now from the viewpoint of an older, wiser, slightly rumpled woman who believes that women only grow more interesting and everybody needs a little sexy romance.

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Multi-Author Showcase: Christmas Revels (Anthologies)

Four Regency Christmas novellas, from Kate Parker, Hannah Meredith, Louisa Cornell, and Anna D. Allen.

“A Light in Winter or The Wicked Will” – Debt-ridden Connor Grayson inherits his uncle’s title and ruined estate. But in order to receive his uncle’s money, the new Viscount Roxbury must marry an ancient crone—a fate he considers…until he meets her companion. 

“The Lord of Misrule” – Everyone expects the Earl of Morrell to propose to Alice Caruthers during the Christmas holidays. Finally! But when the earl’s best friend arrives as the lucky First Foot on New Year’s Eve, Alice’s world turns upside-down. 

“God Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen” – Newlywed Eugenia, Lady Hunter, wants to impress her aristocratic in-laws with her first Christmas house party — but blackmail, dead bodies, and being snowed in with a killer are not part of her plan. 

“A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas” – Three not-so-wise gentlemen, a pregnant stranger, several tumbling footmen, and an unexpected snowstorm will turn Elizabeth’s Perfectly Ordinary Christmas into a disaster…or a Christmas miracle with the man she loves.

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Let the Revels begin—again! Four new stories with four distinctive voices: 

“The Vicar’s Christmas” – Margaret Trent never needs anything or anyone, but when two London solicitors show up on her doorstep, she needs a hero. Enter Henry Ogden, mild-mannered village vicar. Hardly the stuff of heroes . . . until adversity brings out unexpected talents. 

“A Christmas Equation” – A chance meeting between a reluctant viscount and a self-effacing companion revives memories of their shared past—a time when they were very different people. With secrets to keep, Sarah Clendenin wishes Benjamin Radcliff gone . . . but he’s making calculations of his own. 

“Crimson Snow” – A trail of blood drops leads Jane Merrywether to a wounded stranger—the only person standing in the way of her wicked guardian becoming an earl. John Rexford, long-thought dead, has returned to claim his inheritance and his promised bride . . . if he can survive a murderous Christmas. 

“A Perfectly Unregimented Christmas” – After years at war, Viscount Pennyworth returns to his ancestral home to find some peace and quiet and to avoid the holiday he loathes. But four naughty boys, a bonnet-wearing goat, a one-eyed cat, a family secret, and one Annabelle Winters, governess, make this a Christmas he’ll never forget. 

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When days turn dark, Christmas brightens the way… Come Revel with us again!

“Magdalena’s Christmas Rake” – Thomas Eddington comes home for a family Christmas to discover his mother in a matchmaking mood. Worse, she has invited his childhood nemesis, “Mad Maddie” Winslow, to act as chaperone to the eligible debutantes. For her part, Magdalena Winslow hopes to go unnoticed. She certainly wants nothing to do with a London rake, and she’s not afraid to let him know it. 

“Christmas Promise” – When skaters at a Christmas house party find a dead man beneath the ice, the squeamish local magistrate relies on Eve Franklin to help with the investigation. Complications arrive with Lord Adam Downing, who is searching for the dead man – and stolen jewels – on orders from the Prince of Wales. Eve must now convince the aristocrat to view her as an equal—but he sees her as so much more. 

“The Christmas Rose” – Lord and Lady Trenton have an exemplary society marriage—an amicable partnership. Simon dedicates himself to his Parliamentary responsibilities and estate concerns. Emma devotes herself to their children and her charitable endeavors. But when the stress of the coming Christmas season fractures their facade of marital harmony, they discover what they both really need and want. Each other. 

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The Revels Continue…

“The Sergeant’s Christmas Bride” – Sergeant Jacob Burrows just wants a place to bed down for the night. He never expects to be confronted by a lady with a gun. Elizabeth FitzWalter intends to drive the stranger off her land, until she realizes he meets her most pressing need.

“Home for Christmas” – When Charity Fletcher receives a mysterious bequest—a house by the sea—she hopes to rebuild her life. Lord Gilbert Narron leases a seaside house to hide from his memories of war. Charity’s refuge is Gil’s bolt-hole… but what both are seeking is a home for their hearts. 

“A Memorable Christmas Season” –The last thing Lady Roekirk expects at her Christmas party is a dead traitor in her parlor… or the Crown’s Spymaster helping her hide the body. Thirty years earlier, she’d been forced to wed another and Lord Keyminster became a spy. After this long, does their love stand a chance?

“A Perfectly Unforgettable Christmas” – Every day, Lucien Rollinsby endures a memory of Christmas Eve. Not even his lovely new neighbor can make him forget that horrible night five years ago. Caroline McAlasdair remembers that Christmas Eve, too. But if Lucien recalls her presence there, it will destroy their only chance at happiness forever.

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Christmas with the Regency Lords and Ladies is Always Unexpected—So Let the Revels Begin.

“Mr. Hunt’s Christmas Caller” – After his anticipated betrothal falls apart, Matthias Hunt wants nothing to do with Christmas festivities. Yet, when quiet, demure Constance Blackwell unexpectedly gives him a piece of her mind, he wonders why he never considered her. Delivering gifts for her aunt, Constance dreads facing Mr. Hunt in the wake of her hasty words. After years of secretly loving her neighbor, she can hardly expect a Christmas miracle… until the weather changes.

“The Christmas Gamble” – In exchange for her guardian’s gambling debts, Lizzie Hancock is pledged to marry the Earl of Stonebrook, a man she’s never met. When she arrives for the Christmas wedding, the bridegroom is missing, the servants are secretive, and a prodigal brother has returned. Could Lizzie gain everything she desires—if she’s willing to gamble on love?

“The Gnome and the Christmas Star” – The Earl of Marle has an uncanny ability to judge political candidates, but he’s a failure in matters of the heart. After years spent caring for her late husband, the Dowager Viscountess Lyndon fiercely clings to her new independence. An unlikely meeting offers them both a second chance at happiness, but a Christmas miracle is needed to claim it. 

“A Perfectly Ridiculous Christmas” – Valerian, Viscount Keynsham will do anything to ensure his best friend’s marriage to a wealthy heiress, including claim the man’s three young Creole daughters as his own. Lady Catherine Chastleton needs a manageable husband to claim her inheritance. As the children try to keep their stories straight, Christmas will be anything but manageable.

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Hannah Meredith is, above all, a storyteller. She’s long been fascinated by the dreams that haunt the human heart and has an abiding interest in English history. This combination led her to write historical romance. She hopes you enjoy her tales. You can visit Hannah online at www.hannahmeredith.com.

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Anna D. Allen is an award-winning writer noted for her eclectic style in the genres of speculative fiction and Regency Romance. She is also a scholar specializing in the people and lost communities around Cane Creek, Calhoun County, Alabama, in the mid-19th Century. Her fiction is available from Smashwords, ibooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. (Original cover art by Adam Tetzlaff)

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Kate Parker began reading Agatha Christie mysteries and the Nancy Drew books while her classmates were reading Dick and Jane. She particularly likes historical mysteries and the feeling of time travel a good historical book can give the reader. Combined with her love of late Victorian to World War II architecture and fashions, she found an outlet for the stories and characters that fill her head by writing The Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and The Deadly series, as well as taking part in the Christmas Revels anthologies.

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 For a long time, reading fairytales was enough for me. Then I had to write them, because there are stories in my head that simply must be told. 

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Author Showcase – Barbara White Daille (Snowbound with Mr. Wrong) (One Week to Win Her Boss)

~~ On sale for $.99 all through November! ~~

Worst. Day. Ever. After Lyssa Barnett’s sister tricks her into reprising her role at Snowflake Valley’s annual children’s party, she doesn’t think anything can be worse than squeezing into her too-small elf costume. Then tall, dark, and way too handsome Nick Tavlock shows up to play Santa…and an unexpected storm leaves them snowbound in the isolated lodge.

The last thing Nick wants is to spend a cozy Christmas Eve with a trio of kids and the woman who dumped him. But as much as Lyssa frustrates him, he can’t stop thinking about her. And soon, he’s fighting very un-Santa-like thoughts of kissing a certain sexy Miss Elf under the mistletoe. As Nick starts to fall for Lyssa all over again, he knows it will take nothing short of a miracle to have Lyssa in his arms on Christmas Day. 

 

~~ EXCERPT~~ 

Lyssa could so easily see Nick with children of his own…and hers… But she had already decided there was no point in dreaming about a future with him. Considering his single-minded focus on work, he could never be the man for her.

She got to her feet and, forcing a smile, said, “I think it’s time for some hot chocolate.”

Four voices rose in agreement, and she escaped gratefully to the kitchen. The more she saw of Nick connecting with the kids, the harder it was for her to watch and the more she wanted to stay away. Yet she knew this trip to the kitchen was only a temporary reprieve.

She just hadn’t realized how temporary.

She had barely started heating the milk in a pan on the stove when Nick entered the kitchen. He came to lean against the counter beside her. “Need something?” she asked brightly.

“Yeah. To tell you I forgot how much fun it is being around you. It’s been a great afternoon.”

She flushed. “No thanks to me. That’s all on the kids. They’re quite a bunch.”

“And you’re quite a woman.”

“No, I’m—”

He reached up and touched his finger to her lips. “Don’t do that, Lyssa. Don’t sell yourself short.” He moved his hand to trace her chin. A shiver tickled along her jaw. “You know what else I need?”

“Hot chocolate?”

“That, too. And this.”

He leaned down and brushed his mouth against hers. He tasted so like the man she had fallen for months ago. His kiss was so tender, so sweet, she couldn’t help but want more. Another thought hovered at the edges of her mind, a thought she felt sure she didn’t want to know. Not now. Not here. Not when his taste and his touch and his total concentration on her were all exactly what she needed.

One dizzying kiss led to another and then another, until she had to curl her fingers in the fabric of his T-shirt to keep herself standing upright. But finally she forced herself to come to her senses. She tilted her head back and whispered, “Stop.”

“Why?” he murmured.

“What would we say if one of the kids walked in?”

“That the chocolate will be ready as soon as I’m done kissing the cook.”

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Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It’s a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she’s the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…

A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude.

Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she’s looking for.

 

~~ EXCERPT~~ 

The jingling of Santa’s sleigh bells jolted Amber Barnett awake on the couch. Following the bells came a thud, a crash, a clatter, and a long string of muttered curses. That couldn’t be. Santa wouldn’t swear like a sailor, especially not on Christmas Eve.

Time to wake up. She was hearing things and not making any sense. Well, it had been a long, stressful trip here. With the storm racing toward Snowflake Valley, heading up to her boss’s mountain lodge after her family’s open house might not have been the brightest idea ever. But it was the best solution she could come up with.

She glanced at the small playpen near one end of the couch. In the dim light from the table lamp, her four-month-old daughter lay looking up at her peacefully, unbothered by whatever Amber thought she’d heard.

Amber leaned down to tuck Penny’s lightweight blanket around her. “We left later than planned,” she murmured, “and the snowstorm was worse than I expected. And okay, maybe we shouldn’t have come here at all.” She looked around the large living room she had decorated for the holidays only a week ago. “But it’s not like I had much of a choice. The mean old electric company turned off our service. It was either hide out here for a few days, or go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and face everyone.”

Right. And let Callie and Lyssa know she had screwed up—yet again.

The thought made her shudder. Her older sisters loved her and she loved them. But living with their tendency to fly to her rescue? Not so much to like there. It was as if they both felt they couldn’t trust her to do anything right.

Her ex’s attitude had been even worse. With him, there was no seemed about it. He told her outright and on a regular basis she needed him to take care of everything. Another good reason she now called him her ex.

A loud thump made her heart leap.

Those noises she’d heard hadn’t come from a dream.

Someone was in the kitchen.

It couldn’t be her boss. Michael was spending the holidays with his family in California.

The footsteps grew louder. He—or she—was getting closer to her and her daughter. Scoop up Penny and run. But the car keys were in her room. She would never reach the stairs in time. And even if she could make it as far as the front door, how could she escape on foot in a snowstorm?

Nobody’s getting between me and my baby. She grabbed a heavy ornament sitting on the coffee table.

The footsteps came even nearer to the door.

Swallowing a shriek, she raced across the room and past the dining area. Her slippers padded silently on the wooden floor.

As she reached the doorway, her weapon held high, a towering man stepped through the opening. Recognition hit—too late. Fear and adrenaline had her in full swing. The ornament zeroed in on her boss’s snow-frosted head.

Michael lunged, reaching up to wrench the weapon from her hands. “What the…? Amber?”

Well, one consolation—if you could call it that—he looked as shaken up as she felt. The reply whooshed from her mind straight to her mouth. “You’re not supposed to be here!”

“Neither are you. And especially not armed for battle. I didn’t mean to scare you. Heck, if I’d known you were here, I’d have called ahead, if only to keep you from trying to knock me out with a…with a…” He looked down at the ornament in his hand. “A troll?”

“It’s not a troll. It’s an elf. A Christmas elf.”

“Oh. Well. That makes it all right, then, doesn’t it?”

Her laugh shook so badly, it rattled. “Well, after all, it is Christmas Eve.”

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I’m Barbara, and I write small-town romance that usually includes quirky characters and a touch of humor.

Have fun looking around the site and my blog, The Daille-y News.” And consider signing up for my newsletter, where you’ll get insider info on my writing life, sneak previews, and access to subscriber-only book giveaways.

 

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