Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “It’s a Mall World After All,” Young Adult Holiday Romance from Janette Rallison

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 13, Book 13

Mall WorldIf they gave out diplomas for what you learn at the mall, Charlotte could graduate with honors. Ever since she got a job as a perfume spritzer, she’s become an expert on all things shopping related―oh, and she’s getting really good at spying on her classmates who hang out there. What she hasn’t mastered is the art of convincing her best friend Brianna to dump her boyfriend Bryant. After Charlotte caught him flirting with a mysterious, blond-haired girl, she knows he’s up to no good. Worse still, now Brianna is taking his side. Charlotte must prove who is right, once and for all, and that means catching Bryant in the act. This is where her mall roaming skills will come in handy. Perfume anyone?

Fans of Sophie Kinsella will love this book!

Excerpt

Bryant strode up to the Santa chair. He scowled at me, his eyes narrow and his face a blotchy red. In a low voice he said, “You just can’t mind your own business, can you? You’re some kind of freaking stalker who follows me around and sends pictures to my girlfriend. I bet you think you’re real smart, don’t you?”

I smiled back at him, refusing to be rattled. “Smarter than someone who doesn’t notice a stalker dressed in a bright red and green elf outfit.”

“You think you’ve taken Brianna away from me? This isn’t over.”Colton turned to Bryant and still using his Santa voice—although not quite so jolly at the moment— said, “This is over for right now. My elf is busy. Go home, cool down, and we’ll talk about it later.”

Bryant threw a disgusted sneer at Colton. “Don’t tell me what to do, fat boy. This doesn’t concern you.”

Colton prodded T.J. off of his lap, stood up, and faced Bryant. He lowered his chin to let Bryant get a better look at his face. “Stop yelling at the elves,” he said with forced humor. “Or Santa will put you on the naughty list.”

Bryant took a step toward Colton, squaring his shoulders. “Yeah, I’ll tell you what list you can put it on. You can put it on the list that you shove—”

“Bryant,” I said, “will you please just go away. You’re upsetting the children.”

Out in the audience every single eye was riveted on us. The kids had completely lost interest in their presents, and all stared at the guy who was yelling at Santa. Harris and Preeth took off in a fast pace for—I’m not sure where. They hurried into Bloomingdale’s and away from us. Maybe to call for mall security, or maybe just to avoid the ensuing bloodshed.

“Oh, you’re worried about upsetting people?” Bryant flung at me. “Too bad you never worried about upsetting me. You’re nothing but a self-righteous, two-faced, piece of—”
Colton put his hand on Bryant’s shoulder. His baritone voice had a growl to it. “Go. Home. Now.”

Bryant shrugged off Colton’s grip. “Don’t touch me. You don’t own the mall. I’ll say whatever I want to you and your little ho-ho-ho.”

“Bryant,” Colton said, and it was almost his normal voice. Bryant should have recognized him, but still didn’t. Bryant took a step toward me, but before he could reach me, Colton took hold of his arm and pulled him backward.

That’s when Bryant yelled a few words that weren’t appropriate for a room full of elementary students and swung at Colton’s face. I heard a smack and saw Colton’s head jerk back. He took a staggering step backward. His Santa hat nearly fell off, but remained attached to his wig at a drunken angle.

A collective gasp went up from the children, along with two or three shrieks from the girls sitting in the front.

And then in the next moment, Colton convinced me that wrestling is not such a useless skill after all. He grabbed Bryant’s elbow, threw his right arm over Bryant’s head, and in one swift movement pulled him over his hip and to the floor. Bryant struggled to get up, but Colton stayed on top of him, keeping him headlocked and on the ground.

Next to me T.J. let out slow breath. “Santa rocks!”

The girls in the front row clapped, and the kids in the back row all started cheering at once.

Colton said something to Bryant, which made him stop struggling, but I couldn’t hear it for all of the kids applauding. One girl said breathlessly, “I don’t care what my parents say. I’m staying up to see Santa this year.”

“Wait until my mom hears what Santa does to the people on the naughty list!” her friend replied.”

Purchase It’s A Mall World After All Now ~ Universal Amazon Link

About the Author

USA Today, bestselling author, Janette Rallison/ CJ Hill writes books because writing is much more fun than cleaning bathrooms. Her avoidance of housework has led her to writing thirty novels that have sold over 1,000,000 print copies and have been on many reading and state lists. Her books are fantasy, sci-fi, and romantic comedy because hey, there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage of humor, romance and hot guys who fight dragons. She lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, kids, and enough cats to classify her as eccentric.

Connect with Janette Rallison/CJ Hill  Website ~  Amazon

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Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Corporate Christmas” A New Holiday Romance from Bernadette Marie

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day 12, Book 12

Chloe Richardson had just landed the biggest client of her career. A promotion was in her future, or so she thought until the handsome Jason Mitchell walked into her office with his gorgeous smile and searing blue eyes—and took her job.

Losing her job so close to Christmas, Chloe’s only choice was to go back home to Aubrey Heights, where the Christmas spirit is celebrated in a tourist loving, wonderland. Perhaps she can pull herself together before the new year—before her new career search.

However, Jason follows her to Aubrey Heights—with a mission of his own. First he stole her job—now he wants to steal her heart.

Is the spirit of Christmas alive enough in her to let that happen?

Excerpt

Jason was sure that he’d bleed out before they could take him back and stitch up his head. A nurse had given him a gauze pad to replace the tissue that had dried to his skin.

Chloe sat next to him frantically filling out his medical record in her beautiful penmanship.

“Address?”

He gave it to her and watched as she made perfect fours.

“Phone number?”

She wrote it down.

“I’m a Pisces. My favorite color is red. I like my pizza with just sausage, and I’m sensitive to gluten, but I can’t keep away from it.”

She stopped writing and looked up at him. “I don’t think I need all that. But thanks,” she snapped, but it only made it funnier to him.

“I just thought it was a good time to get to know each other. My turn, why don’t you answer those questions for me?” He tried to smile, but each time he did it hurt his head.

“Everything you need to know about me is in my employee file. You can ask H.R. if you need to see it since you’re my boss.”

She directed her attention right back to the form, but he got the message loud and clear. She wasn’t happy about his new position.

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About the Author

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011. Since then she has authored and published over thirty-five books. The married mother of five sons promises romances with a Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it because she lives it.

When not immersed in the writing/publishing world, Bernadette Marie and her husband are shuffling their five hockey playing boys around town to practices and games as well as running their family business. She is a lover of a good stout craft beer and might be slightly addicted to chocolate.

Connect with Bernadette Marie

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page Part 1  and Official Event page Part 2

 

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Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Mending Christmas with the Billionaire,” Clean Romance by Lorin Grace

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 11, Book 11

5173tYF5NiLOne shattered window. Two bruised hearts. And twelve days until Christmas. Tessa Doyle’s semester in Europe left her a much wiser woman. But then she takes a job referral from her ex-boyfriend, and agrees to repair the stained-glass window, the last work she will need for her MFA. With a two-week deadline, she will have no time for anything else, especially men. Sean Cavanagh’s Christmas season has lost all its cheer. Nothing has gone according to his plans for Christmas since the drone broke the window. Now organ pipes are missing, and a blizzard is threatening to cancel what could be Granda’s last sermon. With a little magic and a lot of snow, Tessa and Sean work together to repair not just a window, but also their hearts. August 2018 Extended Ending: Granda’s house hid more than boxes of papers could they be worth a million or more?

 

Excerpt

The mayor laughed and turned to Granda, handing him the microphone. “We have Christmas—to remind us of all the things that matter. Family, love, kindness, and giving. We have Christmas so we can come together as friends, old and new, and so we can experience the miracles going unnoticed each day. But most of all we have Christmas to remind us to pause and remember God.”

Purchase~ Universal Amazon Link

About the Author
 

Lorin Grace was born in Colorado and has been moving around the country ever since, living in eight states and several imaginary worlds. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Graphic Design. Currently, she lives in northern Utah with her husband, four children, and a dog who is insanely jealous of her laptop. When not writing Lorin enjoys creating graphics, visiting historical sites, museums, and reading. Lorin is an active member of the League of Utah Writers. Her debut novel, Waking Lucy, was awarded a 2017 Recommend Read award in the LUW Published book contest. Mending Fences received a 2018 Recommend Read award in the LUW Published book contest.

 

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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page Part 1  and  Official Event page Part 2 

 

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Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “The Miracle of Joie,” an Elfin Holiday Romance from Betsy Love

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day Nine, Book Nine

 

 

Joie, an over-confident rookie elf, is on her first assignment.

Miracle of Joie

It’s one week before Christmas, and she must find a mother for eight-year-old Emily. Not an easy task, since Emily’s grieving father, Matt, is not ready for marriage. He’s still bitter about the accident that killed his wife and handicapped his daughter.

When events turn Joie into a human, she loses her magic and must use her ingenuity to heal the broken family. How could falling love be the answer?

Excerpt

Smoke still poured out the door and rose into the evening sky. “Don’t worry, I put the fire out. It’s going to be alright.”

A man walking his dog stopped. “Are you girls all right?”

Emily nodded and pointed to Joie. “She stopped the fire.”

“Where’s your dad?” the man asked.

“He’s on a not-date.” Emily looked as if she was about to be carted away and put in jail. It wasn’t Emily’s fault the kitchen caught on fire. Joie alone held that responsibility. If she’d just done what Matt had asked, they wouldn’t be in this horrible predicament.

“A not-date? What is that?” The man eyed them both.

Joie bit her lip before answering. “It’s where a woman insists on going out for a drink. The man agrees. And hopefully, they find enough interest in each other that he asks her out on a real date.”

Purchase The Miracle of Joie Now  Universal Amazon Link   

About the Author

Betsy Love has loved to write from the moment she could hold a pen and has been creating stories ever since she was in elementary school. Her high school creative writing teacher told her that one day she would be published. When not sitting at her computer pouring her heart and soul into her novels, she loves going to her mountain property for inspiration and to escape the desert heat. She loves spending time with her family. At last count she has 20 grandchildren, has given up on gardening. If she had a horse, she might give up writing.

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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page Part 1 and  Official Event page Part 2 

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New Release Spotlight! “Gift of Grace: A Sweet Holiday Romance” by Hopeless Romantic Shanna Hatfield

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day Eight, Book Eight

Sometimes the best gifts are those freely given from the heart . . .

Gifts of GraceReady to begin a new life far away from the sad memories of the Civil War, J.B. and Nora Nash head west on the Oregon Trail. They settle into the small community of Pendleton, Oregon, on a piece of land where they’re excited to build a future and their dreams together.

A devastating tragedy leaves them both reeling as they draw further and further apart. Nora blames J.B. for her unhappiness while he struggles through his own challenges. Only a miracle can bring them through their trials and reunite them for Christmas.

Together, will they discover the gift of grace in this sweet holiday romance brimming with hope, history, and abiding love?

Gift of Grace is the first book in the Gifts of Christmas series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome romances, featuring precious gifts given straight from the heart.

Don’t wait! Order your copy today!

About the Author

shannaUSA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

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New Release Spotlight: “The Perfect Love Song,” a Perfect Christmas Love Story by Patti Callahan Henry

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day Seven, Book Seven

Just in time for Christmas, escape with a perfect love song, a perfect love story, and a perfect dose of holiday magic. 

perfect love songCan one song change the course of a life?

Brothers Jimmy and Jack Sullivan live a nomadic life doing what they love: touring with their band, The Unknown Souls. But Jack’s recent engagement to Kara has everyone looking forward to a Christmas destination wedding in Ireland.

Unlike his brother, Jimmy never expected to fall in love. But he feels a sense of peace and happiness whenever he’s around Kara’s best friend, Charlotte—which has him wondering what he’s missing. Over Thanksgiving, Jimmy and Charlotte write a song while sitting together on the back porch. When the band sings it at a Christmas concert the next night, Jimmy insists it’s the perfect love song—but a manager for another famous duo is adamant that it’s the perfect Christmas song. Before Jimmy knows what’s happening, he’s on tour with the hottest country band around and suddenly everyone knows his name.

But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Jimmy finds himself far away from those he loves—especially Charlotte. Only a Christmas miracle—or two—will be able to lead Jimmy back to Ireland, to his brother, and to love.

Purchase The Perfect Love Song Now

About the Author

PCHPatti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels, including the historical fiction, Becoming Mrs. Lewis – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, now a USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and The Globe and Mail bestseller. In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner “Best Book of the Year.”

The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original “Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series” launched,  October 2019.  The podcast audiobook will be released, January 7, 2020, and available for pre-order now.     ​

Patti’s books include Losing the Moon, Between the Tides; Where the River Runs; When Light Breaks; Between the Tides; The Art of Keeping Secrets; Driftwood Summer; The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story; Coming Up for Air; And Then I Found You; The Stories We Tell; The Idea of Love, The Bookshop at Water’s End, Becoming Mrs. Lewis and The Favorite Daughter. 

A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is published in numerous languages. Her articles and essays have appeared in Southern Living, PINK, Writer’s Digest, Garden and Gun, Portico Magazine, Love Magazine (UK), Red Magazine (UK), Atlanta Journal, Birmingham Magazine, and more.

Her essays can also be found in anthologies and collections such as Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy; Southern Writers Writing, and State of the Heart. Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs, and women’s groups.

Growing up in Philadelphia as the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Patti learned early the value of storytelling. At the age of twelve, her family moved to South Florida where Patti found the sanctuary of libraries and began her slow but steady journey into understanding the power of story to navigate confusing times in life.

Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time.

The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

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Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Love at Christmas: A Crystal Creek Holiday Romance” by Heather Tullis

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day Five, Book Five

Love at ChristmasChristmas is in the air.

Pulling Garrett Johansson over isn’t the most auspicious beginning to a relationship for Officer Lisa Weight, but at least she didn’t have to give him a ticket. Not that she’s looking for a guy—even if her mom says she should be.

Garrett is glad to visit his sister, Sheila, during the Christmas season, but he hadn’t counted on a major snow storm as soon as he landed in Kansas City. When his sister introduces the cop who pulled him over as a friend of hers, he puts their less-than-stellar beginnings in the past and gives her a chance. The more he gets to know her, the better he likes her. If only he didn’t live 1600 miles away in California.

With everything trying to keep them apart, can they still have a Merry Christmas?”

Excerpt

Her smile curved in invitation and Garrett wished they were alone somewhere.

“Kiss her,” a woman in her fifties said, breaking the mood. “You’re standing under the mistletoe. You have to kiss her.”

Garrett looked up and then around the room. All the alcoves had a sprig of mistletoe dangling in them. He looked back at Lisa, wondering if she’d planned this. He lifted a brow, questioning if she wanted to please the other party goers. She gave a nearly indiscernible nod of ascent.

Deciding he shouldn’t feel self-conscious if the people were egging him on, Garrett leaned in and pressed his mouth to Lisa’s.

Purchase Love at Christmas Now Universal Amazon Link ~ Books2Read

About the Author

Heather Tullis writes sweet, small-town romance and cozy mysteries. She has published three dozen books. When she’s not dreaming up new stories to write, she enjoys playing with her dogs and chickens, cake decorating, trying new jewelry designs, inventing new ways to eat chocolate, and hanging out with her husband. Learn more about her at her website and sign up for her newsletter at http://heathersnotes.com/

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Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Goodwill for the Gentleman,” Historical British Fiction from Martha Keyes

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day Four, Book Four

Goodwill for the GentlemanHe jilted her sister. She will never forgive him for it. Can her anger survive a snowing in and a Christmas truce?

Emma Caldwell doesn’t hate anyone—except for Hugh Warrilow, the man who jilted her older sister and left like a coward to join the army. Men are clearly not to be trusted, and Emma is determined not to give her heart to one. No, a marriage of convenience is the very thing to suit her.

Hugh Warrilow has been secretly in love with Emma Caldwell for years, so when the time comes to live up to both families’ expectations and marry her sister, he can’t find it in himself to do it. Disgraced and misunderstood, he joins to fight Napoleon on the Continent, hoping he will forget Emma and be forgotten by everyone he has disappointed.

An injury brings Hugh home—just in time for Christmas and the snowstorm that leaves him trapped under the same roof as Emma. How will he explain that his unforgivable act was motivated by how desperately he loved her? Her icy reception doesn’t leave him the chance, nor does it offer much hope for the season’s expectation of peace on earth and goodwill to men.”

Excerpt

Melted snow trickled down her forehead, her cheeks, and her chin.

He bit his lip and then searched in his great coat.

She couldn’t resist a smile. “Is this how you treat your allies, Lieutenant?”

He pulled out a handkerchief, wiping at the small streams of thawing snow on her face. His forehead was wrinkled in concentration, but he grinned. “No, certainly not. But we are only temporary allies, after all.” He met her eyes, and his hand slowed.

Her skin tingled, and her stomach flipped erratically. Her eyes flitted to his mouth, and she forced them back up.
Was this temporary, what she was feeling? It felt like much more than the civil terms of the truce she had suggested. She swallowed. Surely it was simply the combination of their physical proximity, the mystical landscape, the rush of the snowball fight, and the stark contrast between her recent animosity and current friendliness toward him. It couldn’t be anything more. It simply couldn’t.

“Yes,” she said, turning away. “Temporary allies.”

Purchase Goodwill for the Gentleman Now  Universal Amazon Link  

About the Author

Martha Keyes was born, raised, and educated in Utah–a home she loves dearly but also dearly loves to escape whenever she can by traveling the world. She received a BA in French Studies and a Master of Public Health, both from Brigham Young University.

Word crafting has always fascinated and motivated her, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she considered writing her own stories. When she isn’t writing, she is honing her photography skills, looking for travel deals, and spending time with her family. She lives with her husband and twin boys in Vineyard, Utah.

Connect with Martha Keyes

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Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Special Delivery: A Fake Fiance,” Contemporary Christian Romance from Didi Lawson

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit. That’s 37 books!  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day Three, Book Three

Special DeliveryErin O’Neal loves Christmas, except not this year because she’ll be all alone for the holidays. To make matters worse, she receives a dog as an early Christmas present, but cannot keep it. The man who delivers the dog is the snob who has embarrassed her in public a few days ago.

When the snob, a handsome veterinarian, injures his ankle and needs someone to drive him home to Prescott for the holidays, Erin is available. Getting to know him better, she falls in love with him. There are only two obstacles: his girlfriend and her own dog phobia.

Excerpt

 While she still pondered the question of the elusive gift giver, she heard tires screeching out in the parking lot. “Crazy driver,” she mumbled as she turned her attention back to the Christmas tree. She might as well put on the lights. If someone should come by to claim it, he or she would have a ready-made tree. In the meantime, she could enjoy it.

A short time later, her doorbell rang. Hmm. She didn’t expect anyone, except perhaps the owner of the tree.

The light string dropped to the floor as Erin hurried to open the door. “P—P–Pierre,” she stuttered, but stopped short when she saw a small dog cradled in his arms and blood on his hands. She gasped.

“I need your help,” he said as he made his way to the kitchen. “Could you clear the table, please? Quick.”

“What do you need to do?” she asked.

“Laceration,” he said. “I need your help. Wash your hands with soap and hot water and bring some towels.” As an afterthought, he said, pointing to a box of latex gloves. “Put on the gloves when you come back.”

“W-what happened?”

“I’ll tell you later. Now hurry.”

Another look at the poor animal laying on her kitchen table with blood oozing out of an ugly tear in its side, Erin’s stomach revolted. With her hand pressed over her mouth, she turned on her heels and made it to the bathroom in time. Her insides felt like mush, and she wanted nothing more than to run away and forget the scene from her kitchen. Yet, Pierre had said he needed her.

After a few deep breaths, her stomach settled somewhat. She washed her hands thoroughly and grabbed a few towels from the linen closet before venturing back to the kitchen. As she approached, she heard the little dog whimper in pain. Her heart lurched and pounded against her chest. Poor little fellow.

Pierre held the animal in place with one hand while trying to open his bag. When he saw her, he motioned for her to come closer. “Gloves,” he commanded. That done, he said, “Hold the animal steady while I prepare the anesthesia.”

Erin took a few hesitant steps.

“You can talk to him to keep him calm,” said Pierre.

She laid a hand on the dog’s head. “You’re such a sweet dog. I’m sorry, you’re hurt but the doctor will help you feel better soon.”

As soon as Erin glanced at the open wound, her stomach churned.

“Don’t look if the sight of blood makes you feel queasy.”

She nodded and looked away.

“Take a deep breath. Alright, now hold him still while I give him the shot. It’ll only take a split second.”

Erin looked at the syringe, saw Pierre spritz a tiny amount of liquid into the air before lowering it to apply the anesthesia to the dog’s neck. She squeezed her eyes shut and held on to the dog.

“You can open your eyes now,” said Pierre with a chuckle in his voice. “The deed is done.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“First, I need to shave around the wound.”

“Won’t that hurt?”

“He won’t feel anything.”

Pierre shaved the area around the wound before he debrided the skin. Several times, Erin turned her head to avoid looking at the exposed flesh. When her stomach tried to revolt, she took a few deep breaths to suppress the urge. Once or twice, Pierre looked up but didn’t say anything.

With the area around the wound clean, he took a tweezer-like instrument out of his bag to work on the fleshy part.

He pointed to a stack of gauze pads. “While I clean the wound, I need you to gently dab away any blood or fluid that may ooze out. Once the wound is clean, I’ll pull the skin together and suture the laceration shut.”

Pierre bent over the wound when his hand accidentally brushed her arm. Immediately, a tingling sensation like an electric current raced down her arm, creating a warm feeling throughout her whole body. Her heart skipped a beat only to hammer against her chest with renewed force.

When she closed her eyes for a split second to gain control over her feelings, Pierre’s command, “Dab,” pulled her out of her emotional confusion. With tweezers in hand, he removed small particles of skin and dirt, and Erin watched closely to be ready with the gauze before he even had a chance to call her to action again.

Before long, the wound looked clean. He put the instruments aside and pulled a vacuum-sealed pouch out of his bag containing the items for the suture.

Erin watched his confident movements, his concentration, but also his gentle touch. She admired his athletic physique, his muscular arms and lithe figure, but even more his expertise as a vet. Jess was right. He is quite a handsome specimen.

When he was almost done, Erin heard voices outside her front door. She looked up, puzzled.

“The boy and his mother,” explained Pierre.

“What boy?”

“The owner of the dog.”

“Why didn’t you have them wait in here?”

“The boy is only about six years old and I didn’t want him to see all the blood and gore. He was devastated when he watched his pet being hit by a car. I told them to wait in the stairwell.”

“Do you want them to come in now?”

“Let’s give the dog a few minutes to wake up. In the meantime, I’ll clean up here.”

While Erin took the towels to the clothes hamper, Pierre stuffed his tools back into his bag.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a box big enough to make a carrying case for the dog?”

Her gaze went to the Christmas tree in the living room and the boxes underneath it. The bigger one would make a perfect bed for the animal. She pointed to it. “Would that one work?” she asked.

“Perfect.” He went to retrieve it. With a twinkle in his eye, he said, “I’m glad to see you finally invited Christmas into your apartment.”

She laughed. “My secret Santa brought the tree and the decorations.”

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About the Author

Didi Lawson exchanged her town car for a pick-up truck and learned to operate a tractor when she and her husband moved from Arizona to a farm in  Missouri where she now weaves her tales. Her love for writing started early in  life when  she entertained her friends with her stories, won prizes for he essays in high school and wrote road shows and poems for the youth group in her church. She enjoys the outdoors, her children and ten grandchildren, and keeps an active social calendar.

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Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Two Sisters and the Christmas Groom” by Zina Abbott

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit. That’s 37 books! This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day Two, Book Two

Two Sister and the Christmas Groom coverAnnie Flanagan happily moves to Jubilee Springs to work as a maid for Delly Nighy, the daughter of her former New York City employer. For one thing, very few know that her next younger sister, Kate, has signed up with the Colorado Bridal Agency and started writing to an Irish miner, Michael O’Hare, in the same town. Both Annie and her mother back in New York grow concerned when the second man the bridal agency puts Kate in contact with is a miner in Central City. He’s not Irish—and he’s not Catholic. What is worse, she seems to prefer him over Michael. Kate Flanagan, working as a scullery maid to help support her family, desperately desires to escape the dead-end poverty allotted to Irish women living in the lower east side of Manhattan in New York. Anxious to find a husband out west, she signs up with the bridal agency suggested by her sister. After living with her alcoholic father, she is leery of choosing Irishman Michael O’Hare for a husband. As much as she wants to live near her sister, dare she take the chance Michael O’Hare will not turn out like her da?

Annie and Michael grow closer as they work together in order to persuade Kate to come to Jubilee Springs. She needs to come soon—before winter sets in and disrupts the railroad service that will bring her to the high mountain mining community. Kate agrees to travel to Jubilee Springs before Christmas, but several factors, including the train, threaten to derail this romance.

Michael knows what he promised. He knows what he wants. In the end, will he marry the bride who has captured his heart?

Excerpt

“Your last name is Flanagan?”

Annie spun on the balls of her feet to face a man who appeared to be about her same age and a few inches taller than she was. His sturdy, indigo work pants and a heavy, brown wool jacket over a white muslin shirt that did not hide his well-developed physique advertised him as one of the miners in town. His reddish-brown hair, round face, and freckles—a pleasant-enough face to look upon—marked him as Irish.

A movement against the far wall caught Annie’s eye. She glanced that direction long enough to observe another man standing next to a shelf of books.

That one wore a black wool suit, a maroon vest over a dress shirt, and a string tie. Wind-blown locks of medium brown hair stuck out from beneath a black bowler. He held an open book in his hand. His blue eyes, set in a thin face with angular features, stared at her until he realized she had spotted him.

He turned his back to her and focused once again on his book.

Annie returned her attention to the Irishman who had asked about her name. Suspecting he spoke to her in an attempt to flirt with her, Annie’s eyes narrowed with suspicion. “That it is. And who would be wanting to know?”

The man yanked the dusty brown slouch hat off his head. “My apologies, miss. My name is Michael O’Hare. I’ve been writing to a Miss Flanagan in New York City.”

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About the Author

My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history. I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.

 

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To view Loving the Book’s Christmas Countdown Blitz schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page Part 1 and Official Event page Part 2. 
 

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