New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde returns to Twilight, Texas, with a love story filled with the magic of the season, about a couple who discover an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve-Eve.
It’s Christmastime in Twilight, TX. The lights are twinkling, carols are being sung, and the cookies are baking. And this year, best friends Joel and Jana discover a shocking surprise: as they are organizing the living Nativity, they find a sweet little baby in the manger with a note saying the mother will return…soon.
Jana tucks the infant into her arms, and she and Joel make the impulsive decision to take the baby home. Jana is spontaneous, Joel is a planner, but they agree that it’s better to care for this precious bundle for the holidays, in hopes that the mother really will come back by New Year’s.
As the days pass, the pair begins to fall in love with the child and they’re also forced to face facts: their relationship goes far deeper than friendship. As the spirit of Christmas—and the magic of Twilight, TX—takes over, this unlikely couple must open up to the feelings they’ve been hiding from each other all along.
It was three days before Christmas and she had no money, no food and no place to stay. Every measly thing she owned was tucked inside the battered backpack weighing heavy on her shoulders.
Shivering in her in her thin jacket, not nearly warm enough for the winter storm rolling through North Central Texas, the teen tightened her grip on the tiny bundle in her arms.
Some dude she barely knew had said she could couch surf with him for a couple of days, but the guy had been adamant. No brats allowed.
Panic rose in her throat, swelling and bubbling like the sourdough starter Grammy fed on her kitchen counter. No, not anymore. Grammy and her sourdough were gone forever, and she was all on her own.
A gust of wind blowing off Lake Twilight, shook the tinsel garlands strung from quaint lantern lampposts. Gaily colored lights flickered through the thickening darkness like fickle beacons. On-off. On-off. Her teeth chattered, braces clicking together. Her bare knee, poking from the hole in her jeans, turned as numb as her nose.
For the past three hours, she’d ringed the entire town square, entering boutiques and restaurants to get in out of the cold, leaving when shop owners started giving her dirty looks.
In one restaurant, with hunger gnawing a hole in her stomach, she’d pretended to need to use the restroom, then slipped into the dining area targeting an un-bussed table and flitching leftovers.
It wasn’t stealing, she’d told herself. The food was getting thrown out.
Then she saw a ten-dollar bill on the next table and her heart leaped. That was stealing. She inched over, reached for the ten, and had it in her fingers when one of the servers caught her.
“Put that back!”
She dropped the ten. “I wasn’t—”
“Get out. Now!”
Ducking her head, she moved toward the door. As she passed, the server whispered “you’re disgusting” with a curled lip. Then the woman’s gaze landed on the baby tucked up underneath her jacket and the curl had become a full-on snarl. “For shame! What kind of mother are you?”
That was a knife through her heart. She was a horrible mother. She knew it. The baby would be much better off without her.
“Get out.” the server said. “before I call the cops.”
Three fan-favorite Jill Shalvis novellas are together for the first time in this holiday anthology!
One Snowy Night
It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to her family. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, her long-time crush, and his big, goofy, lovable dog. A long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past…and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.
When Sean O’Riley shows up for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, the last person he expected to see is Lotti Hartford, the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago. As the weekend continues, Sean realizes he wants to leave his hook-up life behind, but can he convince Lotti to open her heart to him again?
Mistletoe in Paradise
Years after their secret fling ended, Hannah isn’t eager to see James during their families’ annual joint holiday-themed yacht adventure. But when they’re the only people who show up, James and Hannah are stuck together on the high seas for days. As the former lovers try to make the best of the Christmas snafu, they soon realize the best things in life can’t be planned, and sometimes love is sweeter the second time around.
Lindy Carmichael isn’t feeling particularly joyful when she returns home to Wenatchee, Washington, for Christmas. The man she thought was “the one” has cheated on her with her best friend, and she feels completely devoid of creativity in her graphic design job. Not even carolers or Christmas cookies can cheer her up–but Lindy’s mother, Ellen, remembers an old tradition that might lift her daughter’s spirits.
Reading through a box of childhood letters to Santa and reminiscing about what she’d wished for as a young girl may be just the inspiration Lindy needs. With Ellen’s encouragement, she decides to write a new letter–not to Santa, but to herself. Little does Lindy know that this exercise in gratitude will cause her wishes to unfold before her in miraculous ways. And, thanks to some fateful twists of Christmas magic–especially an unexpected connection with a handsome former classmate–Lindy ultimately realizes that there is truly no place like home for the holidays.
In Dear Santa, Debbie Macomber celebrates the joys of Christmas blessings, old and new.
Debbie Macomber invites you to join in the holiday spirit with a collection of forty-five gorgeous black-and-white drawings ready to be brought to colorful life with your creative flair. Now you can escape to the peaceful, snow-covered settings and revel in the festive celebrations signature to her Christmas stories. Debbie Macomber’s Very Merry Christmas Coloring Book is perfect for anyone looking to experience the comfort and joy of the season.
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 1,000 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Thirteen of these novels hit the number one spot.
In 2021, Macomber’s all-new hardcover publications include It’s Better This Way (July) and Dear Santa (October). In addition to fiction, Macomber has also published three bestselling cookbooks, an adult coloring book, numerous inspirational and nonfiction works, and two acclaimed children’s books.
Celebrated as “the official storyteller of Christmas”, Macomber’s annual Christmas books are beloved and five have been crafted into original Hallmark Channel movies. Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.
She serves on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, is a YFC National Ambassador, and is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington, the town which inspired the Cedar Cove series.
The Somerville sisters believe in love, but they’ve lost faith it will happen for them. Reggie hasn’t been home since the end of the world’s shortest engagement. When her parents decide to renew their vows, she buffs up her twinkle to help with the Christmas wedding. Unexpectedly, Toby, her first love, is back too, and the spark between them shines as brightly as ever. In the spirit of the season, will they let go of past hurts and greet the New Year together?
Done waiting for the one, Dena is pregnant and on her own—on purpose. But then a gorgeous, sad-eyed songwriter checks in to a room at her inn. Micah, unable to write since he lost his wife, finds inspiration in Dena’s determination to be a mom. One snowflake-speckled kiss and he’s a goner. But Dena is afraid to believe that a rock star could fall for a cookie-cutter small-town girl like her.
As the Christmas wedding draws closer, these two sisters just might unwrap the most treasured gift of all—love.
“It’s a vacuum,” Reggie Somerville said, trying to sound less doubtful than she felt. “You reinvented the vacuum?”
Gizmo stared at her, his hurt obvious, even behind his thick glasses. “It’s a smart vacuum.”
“Don’t we already have those round ones that zip across a room?”
“They’re not smart. They’re average. Mine is smart.”
Reggie was less sure about the vacuum’s intelligence than her client’s. Gizmo had a brain that existed on a different plane than those of average humans. His ideas were extraordinary. His execution, however, wasn’t always successful. A basic knowledge of coding shouldn’t be required to work any household appliance—a fact she’d tried to explain to him about fifty-seven thousand times.
She eyed the triangular-shaped head of the vacuum. The bright purple casing was appealing, and she liked that it could roam on its own or be a regular stick vacuum if that was what she wanted. The printed instructions—about eighteen pages long—were a little daunting, but she would get through them.
If the trial went well, she and Gizmo would discuss the next steps, including her design suggestions. Once those were incorporated, they would start beta testing his latest invention. In the meantime, she would be doing a lot of vacuuming.
“I’ll get you my report in a couple of weeks,” she said.
Gizmo, a slight, pale twenty-year-old who lived with his extended family just north of Seattle, offered her a small smile. “You can have until the first of the year. I’m going to be busy with Christmas decorations for the house. We started putting them up just after Halloween, and it’s about to get really intense. I’ve worked out some of the kinks from last year, so the animatronics look more real. It’s taking a lot of time. My grandma’s really into it.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“We’re launching the Friday after Thanksgiving, but we’ll be upgrading everything through December. Come by close to Christmas. You’ll be blown away.”
“I can’t wait,” she said with a laugh.
She and Gizmo talked for a few more minutes before she walked him out of her home office. When the door closed behind her client, Belle, her one-hundred-twenty-pound Great Dane, poked her large head out from behind the desk.
“You didn’t come say goodbye to Gizmo,” Reggie said. “I thought you liked him.”
Belle shifted her gaze to the purple vacuum sitting in the middle of the area rug, obviously pointing out that potential death still lurked.
“It’s not going to hurt you,” Reggie told her. “It’s not even turned on.”
Belle’s brows drew together, as if she wasn’t willing to accept the validity of that claim. Reggie tried to keep from smiling. Belle made a low sound in her throat, as though reminding Reggie of Gizmo’s last invention.
“Yes, I do remember what happened with the dog walker robot,” Reggie admitted.
The sturdy, odd-looking robot had started out well enough—walking a very concerned Belle around their small yard. Unfortunately, about ten minutes in, something had gone wrong with the programming, and the robot had started chasing her instead. Belle, not the bravest of creatures, had broken through the screen door in her effort to escape the attack, hiding behind Reggie’s desk for the rest of the day.
Gizmo had been crushed by the failure and had needed nearly as much reassurance as the dog. Sometimes, Reggie thought with a sigh, her job was the weirdest one ever.
“I’m going to leave this right here,” Reggie told Belle. “It’s turned off, so you can poke at it with your nose and get used to it.”
Belle took two steps back toward the desk, her body language clearly saying she would never get used to it, and why couldn’t Reggie have a regular job that didn’t threaten the life of her only pet?
“Or you could sit on it,” Reggie pointed out. “The robot weighs about ten pounds. You’re more than ten times that size. You could probably crush it like a bug.”
The dog’s brown eyes widened slightly, filled with affront.
Reggie held in another smile. “I’m not commenting on your weight. You’re very beautiful and way skinnier than me.”
She settled on the sofa and patted the space next to her. Belle loped all of three strides before jumping up and leaning heavily against Reggie. The soft rose-colored sweater Belle wore to protect herself from the damp cold of mid-November looked good on her dark gray fur. Reggie put an arm around her dog and pulled her phone out of her pocket. A quick glance at the screen told her she’d missed a call. From her mother.
She tried to ignore her sudden sense of dread. Not that she didn’t love her parents—she did. Very much. They were good people who cared about her. But they were going to insist she come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she couldn’t think of a single reason to refuse.
Last year had been different. Last year, she’d stayed in Seattle, with only Belle for company, enduring the holidays rather than enjoying them. She’d given herself through New Year’s to mourn the breakup and subsequent humiliation that went with the man of her dreams proposing at the Lighting of the Trees on the Friday after Thanksgiving, arranging an impromptu celebration party on Saturday, and then dumping her on Sunday.
After sharing her happiness with nearly everyone she knew, having her friends coo over her gorgeous ring and ask about wedding plans, she’d had to explain Jake had changed his mind. She assumed. His actual words, “I can’t do this. It’s over. I’m sorry,” hadn’t given her much to work with.
Hurt and ashamed, she’d buried herself in work and her life in Seattle. She hadn’t returned home to Wishing Tree even once since it had happened, preferring to lick her wounds in private. She’d told herself she was healing, but Reggie knew the truth was less flattering. She was hiding, and it was time to suck it up and get over herself. She’d worked hard to put Jake behind her and move on with her life. Thanksgiving was next week, and she was going home, like she did every year. Besides, it wasn’t as if she was still mourning her ex-fiancé. She’d gotten over him, and now it was time to demonstrate that to her hometown…and possibly herself.
“At least, that’s the plan,” Reggie told her dog and pushed the button to phone her mother.
“Hey, Mom,” she said when the call was answered.
“Reggie! It’s you. You’ll never guess. It’s so wonderful. Your dad and I are getting married.”
Reggie blinked a couple of times. “You’re already married. Your thirty-fifth wedding anniversary is coming up next month. I thought we’d have a party or something.” She and her sister had talked about the possibility a couple of weeks ago.
Her mother laughed. “You’re right. Technically, we’re married. We eloped and I have to tell you, I’ve always regretted not having a big wedding. Your father pointed out I’ve been upset about that for the last thirty-five years, so maybe it was time to do something about it. We’ve decided we’re renewing our vows with a big wedding and a reception afterwards. It’ll be the Wednesday before Christmas.”
“You’re having a wedding?”
“Yes. Up at the resort. We’re inviting everyone. It’s been so much fun, but the planning is getting out of hand. I was hoping you could help me.”
SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.
Author’s Note: Children’s mental health is a growing concern in today’s schools. Often kids suffer in silence because of the stigma attached to their mental health needs. Mental health organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association work hard to change this mindset. It can’t come soon enough. As a teacher, I worked with troubled teens and saw firsthand the devastating effects of their silence. With this in mind, I began writing The Keepers, for if I could help just one “Alexandre” find his voice, my efforts would be well worth it.There are a few mature scenes and some bad language here and there, reflective of a character coming-of-age.
Despite struggling to raise a troubled teenage son on her own, Beth Marshall has no intention of selling her beloved vineyard and moving to the city where her ex-boyfriend awaits with open arms. She has strong ties to the land, where she is happy living with her granddad and aunt in the old farmhouse, so when she gets an offer to sell her property, she turns it down. Meanwhile, a writer recovering from a shattering past moves into the guest house, tugging at her heart. She’s not going anywhere.
But after her granddad discovers a dead body in their shed, Beth fights jail time. She can’t imagine a worse nightmare until she gets a call in the middle of the night with shocking news about her son!
Joy Lynn Goddard teamed up with husband Daniel Pike to write contemporary adult fiction. Their first and second novels, Moonshadow and The Keepers, have global appeal and won Canada Book Awards. Besides novels, they wrote Buyers, Liars, Sellers and Yellers, a collection of humorous short stories about the real estate industry. Although she is well known for her young adult and junior fiction—starting with the award-winning Daredevils and including Hello, my name is Emily, Charlie’s Song, Jazz, When Pigs Fly, and Mrs. Maloney’s Garden—her adult novels are quickly attracting attention. Each book involves romance, mystery, and suspense genres.
Joy and Dan divide their time between Guelph and Belleville, Ontario, where they spend time with family when not working on their next book.