4... Guest Blog: Ashley Nemer

6... Interview with Ann Mayburn

8... Interview with Lois Winston

10... Interview with Sylvia McDaniel

14... Interview with Laura Kaye

16... How I Turned Scrooge into a Sexy Alpha Male by Jina Bacarr

20... Christmas Memory by Robbie Hess

21... Mistletoe Accomplished by Maggie Devine

22... Boughs of Holly by Olivia Deveraux

23... The Kindness of Strangers by Liberty Blake

24... Unexpected Gifts by Darlene Fredette

26... Sizzling Hot Irish Kisses by JoAnne Kenrick

30... Editor’s Corner: Writing Romance for Christmas – or Any Holiday by Shanon


32... Flash Fiction: Santa’s Boots Under Her Bed by Stephanie Queen

36... Interview with W. Lynn Chantale

40... Christmas Reviews

Publisher: Marissa Dobson

Assistant & Interviewer: Heather Powell

Editor’s Corner Columnist: Shanon Grey

Material in this publication should not be reproduced in any form without

written permission. Sizzling Scoop is open to submissions of articles, short

stories, please email them to

Guest Blog: Ashley Nemer

Christmas-One of the many holidays that everyone worldwide celebrates. People of different

countries, different languages and different backgrounds come together on this day to celebrate

the fundamental belief in Christianity. Yes, Christmas, a holiday that no other holiday in the year

can compare too.

Often times people are asked, “What’s your favorite Christmas memory?” I have so many Christmas

memories that pinpointing just one isn’t fair to all the others that I have experienced in my

short life. To me Christmas isn’t about that exact day, December 25th, but that season. What

happens during it and as a result of it.

I am not a huge advocate of presents for Christmas. If I could, I wouldn’t do any Christmas gift

exchange because to me, Christmas is the coming together of family members; you’re supposed

to laugh, talk, sing, eat, be merry. The gift exchange to me is the last thing on my mind. Do I enjoy

them, of course who doesn’t, but that’s not what it’s supposed to be about.

Growing up in a Christian household I went through Sunday school like so many people. The

message I always took away from it was this is the time to be thankful for Christ’s birth. God’s

gift to mankind.

As a Catholic the ‘Christmas Season’ lasts from Christmas through Epiphany and in my opinion

this is the prettiest time of year for the Church. Everything is decorated in the best shades of red

and green (two of my favorite colors) and the people are more kind and giving. Everything you

could want from life is present. It’s this reason I chose to get married during this holiday. The

year my husband and I wed, there was only one available Saturday that would work. We couldn’t

get married on Christmas or epiphany (for obvious reasons) so we received the Sacrament of

Marriage on December 30th, the weekend in between.

My family and friends came to celebrate with us, I remember waking up that morning and feeling

as light as a feather, I was marrying my best friend (who is still my best friend by the way).

Nothing could bring me down from that high. It even rained for a few moments that day, you

know they say that is a sign of good luck!

My hair was perfect and my make-up exquisite. My dress fit like a glove and my life was perfect.

What I remember most as I walked down the aisle, my dad. The greatest man I know. I started

crying the moment we all lined up for the processional. They were not tears of sadness but tears

of joy. This man had held me through my whole life and now he was leading me down the aisle

to start a new family, a new journey.

We got to the end of the path and he handed me off to my husband. Till the day I die I will remember

the smile he had on his face as he took my hand. The service went so fast and before I

knew it we were exchanging rings. That’s when the tears stopped. I realized I was becoming the

wife of the man I love. Forever. The rest of the afternoon and evening flew by and we left to enjoy

our honeymoon. It was my fairytale.

So when people ask me about Christmas and what my favorite memory is or what I remember

most it’s that. I remember pledging my life and my love to the one man who knows me the most.

My husband.

Interview: Ann Mayburn

Please tell us a little about your Christmas novel?

Adore is the third novella featuring a couple that my

readers know and love, Sam and Cody. In my book

‘Want’ we saw how Sam and Cody met, in ‘Cherish’

we get a peek at their honeymoon, and in ‘Adore’ we

join them in their efforts to adopt a baby.

How did you come up with the idea for your holiday


I love Sam and Cody and I wanted to continue to

watch their lives together unfold. I decided to make

it a Christmas story because, at least for me, the holidays

are about surrounding yourself with your friends

and family. Well Sam and Cody want a child, desperately,

and after a series of setbacks they just might get

their Christmas wish.

Did something or someone inspire you to write this

book, or did it just come to you?

In Sam and Cody’s books I wanted to portray a gay

couple the same way I would portray a heterosexual

couple. I want to show my readers that just because it is two men starting their lives together

doesn’t mean they don’t face the same universal joy and sorrow that all couples experience.

Did you use any of your own holiday memories or experiences when writing this book?

Yes, there are things in the book that come from my own life, both happy and sad. I’ve suffered

through infertility and looked into adoption so I know a bit about the whole overwhelming and

draining experience of wanting a child but not being able to have one. I also know the joy that

comes from finally having your baby and how your whole world changes. That is why I titled the

book ‘Adore’. The love you feel for your child is something so strong that it is impossible to describe

other than to say that you will completely adore your child. Until they hit 13.

Was this the first holiday story you have written, or have you written more in the past?

No, I have another holiday story, Peppermint Passion, that is a super steamy BDSM ménage

novella. But I swear it’s still a holiday story!-lol-

Do you have a favorite holiday book yourself? If so, what is it?

The Polar Express. I love that book and I love sharing it with my kids.

What is your favorite thing about the


Family. The good, the bad, and the insane.


Do you decorate? If so do you go all out?

(Feel free to share a picture if you wish)

Oh hell yes I decorate! I love making my

home festive and comfortable for my

family. Unfortunately I’m also the mom

of three very active, very destructive little

boys. You know those super cute Christmas

villages that they sell around the

holidays? We have one that my husband

and I have collected over the years. Take

a peek at what the savages, I mean my

darling little boys have done to it while

playing with their dinosaurs in the village.

Yes…they Godzilla’d it.

Favorite holiday food? Drink?

Food would have to be Christmas cookies. Nom

Nom. Drink would be hot chocolate with butterscotch

schnapps in it.

Do you have any holiday traditions?

Yes, constantly chasing the cats out of the Christmas

tree. :P

What is your favorite Christmas memory as a child?

Barbie! My favorite was my Peaches ‘n Cream Barbie

I loved/coveted/worshiped my Barbie Dolls.

Anytime I got one I was stoked and would spend

days working her into my always evolving soap opera

like fantasy world of my Barbie dolls. Yeah, my

dolls tended to live rather complex lives. ;)

Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

The Christmas Story. I can pretty much recite the

entire movie word for word.

Favorite holiday Cookie?

All of them. I do not discriminate. ;)

Interview: Lois Winston

Please tell us a little bit about your Christmas novel.

Elementary, My Dear Gertie is a novella sequel to Talk Gertie To Me, my 2006 debut novel (now available as an

ebook for Kindle, Nook, and iPad.) Talk Gertie To Me combined humorous women’s fiction with romance and

added Gertie, a snarky imaginary friend, to tell the story of Nori Stedworth, a young woman who leaves her

conservative Midwest hometown for Manhattan, while her menopausal “Martha Stewart” mom Connie plots to

bring her home to marry the town’s most eligible bachelor.

In the novella sequel, Elementary, My Dear Gertie, Nori and Mac, her New York boyfriend, journey to Ten

Commandments, Iowa for a Christmas they won’t soon forget. Connie’s Christmas gift to them is a cross stitched

pillow with a none-too-subtle message regarding marriage and children. Mac is all for exchanging I do’s. He’s

even bought the ring, but before he can pop the question, an explosion (literally!) hurls him and Nori right into

the middle of a murder investigation. Of course, Gertie can’t help but lend her acerbic wit to the twists and turns

as yet another scandal envelopes the not-so-pious residents of Ten Commandments.

How did you come up with the ideal for your holiday story?

When I decided to write a sequel to Talk Gertie To Me, I thought it would be fun to bring Nori and Mac back

to Nori’s hometown of Ten Commandments, Iowa. The town and its residents are such a sharp contrast to their

lives in Manhattan and perfect for creating all sorts of conflict, both internal and external, for them. However, I

needed a compelling reason for their visit because the last thing Nori wanted to do was return to Ten Commandments.

What better reason than Christmas? The sequel takes place two years after the original book. Nori has

agreed to head home for the holidays, but she does so with all sorts of trepidations.

Those trepidations prove justified because in the ensuing years I’d turned my attention to writing mysteries. As I

contemplated a plot for my sequel, everything I came up with involved a mystery of some kind. I finally gave in

to my inner muse, coming up with Elementary, My Dear Gertie. As it turns out, Gertie liked the idea of playing

Sherlock and is now prodding me to write additional books where she can help figure out whodunit.

Do you decorate? If so, do you go all out?

Oh, absolutely! In my other life I’m a designer in the consumer crafts industry. I design the needlework and craft

projects you find in magazines, craft books, and kits. How could

I not go all out for Christmas? The cover of the November/December

issue of Create & Decorate magazine. The cross stitched

wall-hanging featured on the cover is one of my designs.

What was the best gift you received for Christmas? Worst?

When I was seven years old, I received a Shirley Temple doll from

a very wealthy relative. I loved that doll. When we moved from

the city to the suburbs a few years later, my parents decided I was

too old to play with dolls. Shirley never made it to the suburbs. I

don’t know if she wound up in the trash or was given away. About

twenty years ago my husband surprised me with an exact replica

of that Shirley Temple doll, right down to her red polka-dot

organdy dress.

The worst gift I ever received was a few years after receiving Shirley.

My parents gave me a book on wild animals. It was the year

I was reading every Cherry Ames book I could get my hands on.

I’d dropped plenty of none-too-subtle hints about wanting more

Cherry Ames books for Christmas. I never had an interest in

wild animals. Still don’t. Maybe the book was on sale.

Do you have any holiday traditions?

When my children were little, after visiting Santa

they were each allowed to pick out a new Christmas

ornament for that year’s tree. Finally, they came to

realize that Santa Claus wasn’t the guy depositing all

those gifts under the tree and in their stockings, and

the trips to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas


At that point we began a new tradition. Every year I’d

buy a nutcrackers that were decorated in ways that

meant something to my boys. The collection includes

everything from football and baseball playing nutcrackers

to a Kermit the Frog nutcracker. After my

sons married, we divided up the nutcrackers between


Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without watching

both White Christmas and A Christmas Story. The

former always makes me cry, and the latter always

makes me laugh, no matter how many times I’ve

watched them.

Cross stitched pattern picture credited to Sean

O’Brien Photography.

Interivew: Sylvia McDaniel

Please tell us a little about your Christmas


Colin McDermott hates Christmas and is

the type of man who is focused on making

his first million. His only family is his grandmother

and he’s alone.

How did you come up with the idea for your

holiday story?

Christmas can be a difficult time for a lot of

people and I wanted to write a holiday story

about a man who had every reason to hate


Did something or someone inspire you to

write this book, or did it just come to you?

It came to me and then my good friends from

The Plotting Princesses helped me plot the

book. The hero in the book lived in a homeless

shelter when he was a little boy. After I

finished the book, I learned that my ex-husband

had lost his job, his home and was now

living on the streets. It shocked me that someone

I knew was living this life.

Was this the first holiday story you have written, or have you written more in the past?

No, this was my first one. If I write another one, it will be shorter.

Do you have a favorite holiday book yourself? If so, what is it?

I love Debbie Macomber’s Christmas stories about the angels.

What is your favorite thing about the holidays?

Spending time with family is my favorite thing about the holidays. Last year for the first time in

twenty years, my husband’s family all got together. All his brothers and sisters were at his mother’s

house for the holiday. We had such a good time, but it was also sad because we all knew this

was the last year we would have with his mother. She was so happy to have all her kids and their

spouses together. We took pictures, we laughed and we cried. In June she passed away, but we

have such wonderful memories of all of us being together. It is one of my favorite Christmas


Do you decorate? If so do you go all out?

If we’re going to be home I decorate.

Favorite holiday food? Drink?

Dressing -- I love homemade cornbread dressing. We have it at Thanksgiving and also at Christmas.

Eggnog with a little dash of nutmeg and scotch.

Interview: Laura Kaye

Please tell us a little about your Christmas


North of Need is the first book in the

Greek-mythology-inspired Hearts of the

Anemoi series and tells the story of a powerful

snow god seeking his humanity in the arms

of a widowed woman still grieving the loss of

her husband two Christmases ago. The winter

season and the Christmas holiday itself are

central to the story, even though I didn’t write

it specifically as a “Christmas story.” I’m very

excited to share that North of Need won the

2012 PRISM Award for Best Light Paranormal

Romance and that RT Book Reviews magazine

called the Anemoi series a “favorite returning

paranormal series” before book 2 released this

past summer. Woot!

How did you come up with the idea for your

holiday story?

I have always loved snowmen. I have a huge

collection of snowman figurines I put out each

Christmas. When the story first came to mind,

I thought the snow god, Owen, was simply a snowman come to life, just a bit of winter magic

to help Megan through her grief. But Owen would not cooperate with that characterization. He

demanded he was a snow god. So I began exploring different winter traditions, and it was interesting

to see that many cultures have a weather/season-related pantheon. When I found the

Greek Anemoi—wind gods the Greeks associate with the weather and seasons—I knew that was

the perfect mythology for Owen’s story and would allow me to create a whole series.

What is your favorite thing about the holidays?

I just love the festive spirit of the holidays—lights in trees and on houses, decorations in stores,

Christmas carols, and parties! It’s so much fun! I also really enjoy the sense of togetherness that

the season brings. Plus good food and presents! What more could you want? *grins*

Do you decorate? If so do you go all out?

I do! We go as a family to a tree farm and get a live tree every year. Then the girls help me put

our huge collection of ornaments on it and I retell the same old-but-fun stories about the ornaments

in answer to their eager questions. Our tree topper is a star cut out of a Healthy Choice

dinner box that’s covered with

aluminum foil. I made it the first

Christmas my husband and I lived

together when we couldn’t afford to

buy a tree topper. That was 17 years

ago, and we continue to use that

star. I also like to put out my collection

of snowmen figures and, if

I’m really up for decorating, I have a

whole collection of Dept. 56 ceramic

light-up houses. Plus lights in the

trees outside!

Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

My absolute favorite holiday movie is Love, Actually. I love the British setting and adore how

many different types of love stories the movie portrays.

Favorite holiday Cookie?

I love iced sugar cookies at the holidays. It’s the only time of the year I make them and it’s so fun

to work with the kids to cut them out and decorate them with colored icing and sprinkles.

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About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling

author of nearly a dozen books in contemporary

and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s

large extended family believed in the supernatural,

and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye

curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with

storytelling and all things paranormal. A published

non-fiction author, Laura’s work as an historian and

training as an archaeologist help her create vivid and

accurate portrayals of other times and places. She

lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters,

and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of

the Chesapeake Bay every day.

How I turned Scrooge into a Sexy Alpha Male

by Jina Bacarr

I’ve always loved the Dickens’ classic about

Scrooge and his scratchy quill pen.

But what if Scrooge worked on Wall Street and

used a smart phone instead?

Sounds good, I thought, and set my fingers to

tapping on my keyboard. I knew the story by

heart, even the dialogue with Scrooge complaining

about giving his clerk the day off on Christmas

and sending the poor to workhouses.

But we live in a techie world with faxes, GPS,

and Twitter. I had to update the story. And don’t

forget, I wanted my Scrooge to be a sexy hunk.

So I let my imagination run wild.

Here, let me show you:

Imagine you’re rushing around doing last minute

Christmas shopping and you run smack into

the most gorgeous man you’ve ever seen. Tall,

broad shoulders, muscular chest filling out a

well-cut $5,000 suit. Silky pin-striped tie, platinum

cuff links. His deep blue eyes casting bold

glances your way that your mama would never

approve of. But you do.

He looks you over like he wants to strip off your

clothes and bend you over his knee and spank


Oh, my.

“Do you work around here?” you ask casually, loving the way he smells when he leans over to

see if you’re okay. You nearly faint when you get a whiff of his aristocratic masculine scent. Sweet

tobacco, musk. Cinnamon? Who cares? He smells divine.

“I work on Wall street,” he says, smiling.

A banker, nice.

It’s hard to get a taxi this time of day, he says, so he’ll send you home in his limo.

You can’t believe your luck. Is he one of those sexy billionaires you’ve been reading about?

You bet. You’re hooked. A Christmas present in your silk stocking and it’s only Christmas Eve.

He gives you his business card and invites you to have holiday brunch with him in his penthouse.

You’re beside yourself with glee as you rub your thighs together, lovely contractions making you

hum a jingly tune.

Then you read his card:

Ebenezer Scrooge.

No, no, no…

I hit the Delete button.

It ain’t gonna work.

No matter how handsome, how sexy, how rich, who’s going to fall in love with a guy named

Ebenezer? Dickens’ curmudgeon with his ill-fitting suit and stovepipe hat isn’t exactly cover

model material. No way would you want him swinging his cane over your butt.

Therein lies the rub: How was I going to make my Scrooge sexy?

And stay true to the Dickens’ classic?

A timeless story of the hero seeing the error of his ways.

That’s what we love about the story, watching him change. I wanted to take that idea a step further

and write about an alpha male gone wrong who finds his way home through the love of a

beautiful woman.

First, Scrooge needed a new name.

Nick Radnor.

“Nick had a cast iron stomach and tight abs. He was tall, handsome and could wheel and deal

with the best of them. Talk on his cell to his bankers with one hand and find his way under the

elastic band on his secretary’s black silk panties with the other.”

I had to make the other characters sexy as well. What if his faithful clerk, Mr. Cratchit, was a

gorgeous blonde secretary named Jinger?

“Standing in the doorway, the six-foot tall blonde wore red high heels, a black garter belt and

black stockings with a red-and-white striped candy cane strapped to her thigh. She wore nothing

else but a leather collar around her neck studded with rhinestones and jingle bells.”

I decided my modern Scrooge would also have a beautiful fiancée named Monique:

“Monique Ashford had the face of an angel and the figure of a model. Came from an old Newport

family…Her pink babydoll top barely concealed her full breasts and her tight white panties

pinched the crack of her ass…”

Nick frequents Mamie’s, a gentleman’s club in the financial district. Since I write erotic romance,

I made it a BDSM club:

“She [Mamie] first strapped on her plastic stilettos and diamond choker back in the Reagan

years when she opened up shop in the Silk Stocking district in a swank six-room apartment once

owned by a famous madam during the Depression. Business was good and her “private parties”

soon began to draw customers from Wall Street…She schooled her girls in the art of the tease as

well as how to walk, talk and bend over with grace.”

Marley the Ghost became Nick’s business partner, Charlie Harris, who died in the arms of a

beautiful woman at Mamie’s.

“A jovial but debauched son of a gun who played the game hard and liked his women rough.”

And we can’t forget the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future: three sexy female spirits

with great bods and killer wardrobes. Not to mention magical powers.

Once I had my cast of characters (yes, I have a Tiny Tim character, too), now what?

I wanted to stay true to the Dickens’ classic, so I opened the story on Christmas Eve in Nick’s office.

It’s late and Nick is working overtime when Jinger reminds him it’s time for holiday sex. No

romance, just sex. And no promotion for Jinger either, Nick says. Not this year.

Nick sounds like a heartless one-percenter, doesn’t he? Just like Scrooge. I had to find out why

Nick is so cold-hearted. It goes back to Christmas Eve when he was a kid and his corporate raider

father gave him coal in his stocking every year. That’s why Nick hates Christmas.

Now we’re getting somewhere. We also meet Nick as a young man and discover that he wasn’t

always a greedy businessman.

He’s cold and heartless now and he’s about to find out where that path is taking him when he

convinces Mamie to open up her club for him late on Christmas Eve.

The old gal adores Nick, and not just his generous tips. Mamie sees something in him that no

one else does: he’s a lost little boy. She also knows that Nick is still grieving over the sudden death

of his business partner last Christmas Eve, Charlie.

When Charlie’s ghost shows up after a night of wild drinking and whipping, we’re off and running.

The three ghosts make their appearance just like in the classic story. Three sexy babes who

take Nick on a whirlwind tour of his past, present, and future with each episode tied to his beautiful

fiancée, Monique.

Monique is the anchor in my story. She never stops believing in her man, no matter what. It is

through her eyes that we fall in love with Nick, all the while hoping that he wakes up before it’s

too late and he loses everything.

Including her.

“A Naughty Christmas Carol” was a blast for me to write. And yes, it has a happy ending. It’s an

erotic and sexy 50 Shades of Grey Scrooge with three sexy female ghosts trying to save the soul

of a Wall Street trader on this naughty Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Check out my Naughty Christmas Carol book video and a naughty excerpt on my website at:

Christmas Memory by Robbi Hess

When Christmas rolls around I always wish I had

the stamina and forethought for planning that my

mother did because my mother made Christmas

a production. We started weeks before Christmas

day making the red and green construction paper

chains used to count off the days until Santa

arrived. The chain was hung on the fireplace and

we’d (my sister, brother and I) fight over whose

turn it was to remove the link before bedtime.

We also knew that with the making of the chain

came the making of the cookies, and my mother

loved to bake. She’d pull out all of the recipes

clipped from magazines throughout the year and

put a holiday twist on them. She’d bake during

the week when we were in school and we’d help

with frosting and decorating on the weekend. Our

house seemed to smell of vanilla and warm cookies

from the beginning of December until Christmas

Eve. Our friends and relatives benefited from

my mother’s

cooking prowess and received gifts of the homemade


Once I had children of my own, my challenge came in the fact that our son was born on Christmas

Eve! My obstetrician came to visit me on Christmas day and brought me one of the original

Cabbage Patch dolls as a gift – I still have her in my china cabinet and she’ll be celebrating her

27th birthday this year!

While I am not the cook that my mother was, my husband and I made sure that every year we

at least made Christmas cut out cookies with our son and daughter. My kitchen was a mess of

dough, frosting and sprinkles (somehow my mom’s kitchen never looked like a cookie bomb exploded

when she baked!) but it was a time everyone looked forward to – even when the kids got

to be teenagers they still set aside time for cookie decorating.

One of the challenges of having children that were seven years apart in age was that our daughter,

Alexa, could never understand why her brother got to have a birthday party the day before

Christmas and why he got to open presents and she didn’t. Because of this, and after Nicholas’s

birthday party was over, we’d let each kid choose one present from under the tree to open. To

this day, even though they both say they are “too old” for the tradition, no presents get put under

the tree or stuffed into the stockings until they are in bed so when they wake up the tree is

turned on and gifts are scattered beneath it. I worry about the day when they both move out and

I no longer have those Christmas morning memories so I capture them in photos and hold them

close to my heart.

Mistletoe Accomplished by Maggie Devine

Someone recently asked about my favourite

Christmas memory ever, and it got me thinking.

I love the season and with so many memories

to choose from it was a tough slog through my

memory-bank. There are the standard memories

that stand out from a child’s point of view,

like the time when I was five and woke up to my

very own Barbie Camper Van, or the following

year when I woke up to find my very own Barbie

House. It was not the typical Barbie house

but rather a mansion that was not in any catalogue

I had seen, and I was up on my Barbie

gear so I knew Santa thought I was special.

It was neither of those.

My favourite Christmas memory would have

to be when I was at school in England in 1992.

I had never celebrated Christmas in England

before, but it felt like I was home because of my

mother’s two sisters and my cousins. My other

from New Zealand whom I happened to have spent Christmas with in 1988 were also in England

at the time (my mother had three sisters) so we were quite a large group. I remember looking

about the sitting room at one point, wondering if I would ever get do this again. It was a very

special time and I knew how exceptionally rare this moment was, and I cherished it, placing it

into a corner of my mind forever as a pivotal moment in my life.

You need to understand my mother’s family – they hail from Liverpool and as everyone knows,

Liverpulian’s have a wickedly dry sense of humour. We were not short of laughs at any point over

the holidays, and I did miss my parents and brothers but knew that I would have many Christmases

ahead with them, so I wasn’t too torn up about missing Christmas at home. I went back to

school on the 29th happy and content.

Fast forward 19 years to last Christmas. I went back to England, but not for the Holidays. My

mother’s youngest sister had been sick. She left us all behind on the 14th of December. We buried

her on the 23rd. And as I looked about the sitting room Christmas Day, it was clear someone

was missing. But before the melancholy struck we pulled out some pictures – and there they

were – the memories of a Christmas that felt like yesterday. That joyous Christmas when we were

all together, when we were all happy, and when we were all healthy and walking upon this earth.

When I think of my happiest Christmas memory I think of Christmas 1992. It is always the one

that comes to mind. And it will live in my memory forever.

Boughs of Holly by Olivia Devereaux

I lost my grandmother recently and it’s made

me reflect on my wonderful memories of a

strong woman who would do anything for her

grandchildren. If my uncle wasn’t telling one of

his fantastic stories (which I doubt), we were

all angels that could do no wrong in her eyes.

Parents did not rule the house when we visited

Grandma. Our wings sprouted fully and our

horns tucked away as soon as we hit that green

porch. Grandma’s was the happening place in

our childhood.

We grew up poor of material things but rich

on family and love. Christmas, especially with

four kids on an enlisted man’s salary, were slim

on the huge gifts children are lavished with

these days. Even my own son doesn’t really do

without though I hope I’ve instilled in him that

things aren’t important in life.

Family is.

One Christmas, I don’t remember the circumstances, we were staying at Grandma’s for Christmas.

There was one toy for each of us under the tree. Mine was a plastic truck one might see a

child play in the sand with though we never went to the beach for vacations. I didn’t think, as I

gaze under the tree, that I was getting gypped. All I saw was there was a toy under the tree just

for me. Me! And it wasn’t a frilly little girl’s toy either. The tomboy in me sang a merry tune and I

thought of way to get not only the truck but me head to toe dirty. That great expanse outside our

front door was the stomping grounds of my youth. Fear had no place in the bubble of Grandma’s


Grandma always made us hot chocolate on the stove. A little canned milk and cocoa. She stirred

it until it was just right. Nothing had us hopping out of bed in the wee hours like her concoction.

She had our rapt attention.

I reflect a lot on how fortunate I’ve been that every year we manage to get the whole gang together

to celebrate Christmas. This year will be one of memories and the joy we shared on those cold

wintry days in the outskirts of Pittsburgh. Eyes full of wonder and souls full of cheer. Grandma

will be there, too, firmly in each one of our hearts.

The Kindness of Strangers by Liberty Blake

In September of 1990 I had my fifth child, the baby was

perfect, but my future looked bleak. My ex, became my

ex the week before I gave birth. He was my second child

in two years. My hormones were going crazy.

For months my ex put me through an emotional

wringer. He had promised to spend Thanksgiving Day

with the children, and then never called. The next day

my emotions overwhelmed me. I realized I could not

remain on the rollercoaster ride I had allowed my ex to

turn my life into.

That night I went to my first Al-Anon meeting. Listening

to other people describe the scenarios I had lived

through, I realized I was not crazy. I felt infinitely better,

but I knew by midweek I would be buried under stress

and self-doubt. I needed to re-enforce the message.

I lived in a very small, rural town. I didn’t own a car. The

daily Al-Non meetings were forty-five minutes away.

They suggested I attend AA meetings and apply the

principals of Al-Anon.

Every day, after Sesame Street, I packed the two babies

into the double stroller and walked to the AA meetings.

My babies and I were welcomed with open arms. I remained

quiet at the meetings, absorbing the strength the

program gives to those who seek it.

Christmas Eve morning, my ex was at my door. He was drunk. To get him out of the house without further upsetting

the children I walked him downtown, otherwise his girlfriend would pick him up at my house.

The day was sunny, with a blustery wind coming off the snow covered mountains. I was agitated, afraid I would

let emotions overwhelm me, I dreaded going home. Then a man from AA stepped out of the Post Office. He

looked at my face and offered me a ride home.

He reminded me there are things in life we cannot control, especially the actions of others. My job was to take

care of myself and my children. My ex was responsible for his own. He asked if I planned to attend a meeting that

night or on Christmas Day. He assured me he would find me a ride if I needed one.

I felt better. The people in AA had been strangers a month earlier, but now they were my friends.

I felt whole.

I have since relocated to another state, but I always remember that year. It was the year that I had the worst

Thanksgiving and the best Christmas ever.

That’s when I realized Christmas isn’t about material gifts; it’s about caring for others. The stranger who drove me

home talked to me when I needed it. I gave my children a happy day instead of moping. I didn’t go to a meeting;

instead I invited people who were alone to spend the day with us. Good companions warm the soul like a fire in

a hearth on a winter’s day.

Unexpected Gifts by Darlene Fredette

Even though I dislike the winter season, the

one thing I look forward to is Christmas.

It’s my favourite holiday. There’s no other

time of year when warmth and friendship

spills from even the grumpiest of people.

Everyone is filled with Christmas spirit.

Unlike many, who wait until the last moment

to do their shopping - hoping to get

those last minute sales, I’m not one for the

crowded malls and the racks that have sold

out of the size you’re looking for. By mid

November, I start and hopefully by early

December my shopping is done. I then

decorate the house and enjoy the season…

without any stress.

I’m definitely a gift-giver. There’s nothing

more enjoyable than to watch the faces of

my family (especially my daughter) as they

open their gifts. When they receive that one

special gift they weren’t expecting, their

smiles are priceless.

Speaking of unexpected gifts, I have received a few. I don’t ask for much, maybe a bath bar or a

new pair of slippers. I’m not a woman who expects expensive items and flashy jewelry. So when

my husband surprises me with something totally unexpected, I’m at a loss for words. A few years

ago, a delivery truck arrived mere days before Christmas and as they brought in a refrigerator, I

asked my husband, “What’s with the fridge?” We already had one and it worked, even though the

freezer was too small, which I complained about every time I unpacked groceries. My husband’s

response, “It’s your Christmas present from me.” I stared at him as though he had four heads.

Who gives someone a fridge for Christmas? But I loved that gift and haven’t complained about

having no room in the freezer since.

Just last year, after opening several gift boxes, which the starting medium sized box ended up

having another five inside each other, I finally reached a smaller box…hoping this was the last

one. As my husband and daughter laughed at the scattered boxes around me, I peeked inside that

final box. Again, that same sense of disbelief ran through my head. A computer mouse? But not

just any computer mouse my husband and daughter informed me…it’s a wireless mouse. Being

a writer and publisher, I spend long days in my office working on my laptop, complaining about

having to use the mouse pad on my lap top, not to mention my wrists hurting after a full day of

typing. Well, to my surprise and delight, the last gift I opened contained a wireless keyboard! The

gifts you least expect, are usually the best ones.

Sizzling Hot Irish Kisses

from the boys from Bell’s

by JoAnne Kenrick

To prepare for the winter nights--and to celebrate

the release of HOT WINTER KISS, a

holiday Irish Kisses story--the boys from the

fictional pub in my bestselling Irish Kisses series

share some of their best selling cocktails during

the festive season. So slip into your fuzzy slippers,

wrap up in your Snuggie, and… get toasty

with Shaun Bell and Devlin Kinney as they prep

Sandra for a Hot Winter Kiss!



At Bell’s BEFORE Sandra embarks on her

Christmas adventure in HOT WINTER KISS,

Irish Kisses book four

Devlin finished his drink and slammed the

empty onto the aged oak bar. Sandra held out

her hand for cash and he took her fingers in his

like a proper gent might. Except for the slobbering

kiss that followed.

“Two quid, mate.” Sandra broke free of his grip and scrubbed herself with a wet-wipe.

“Yeah, yeah.” He slapped two one-pound coins on the bar which Sandra tried to claim for the

cash register.

Shaun, the boss, stopped her mid-money grab. “This one’s on me.”

Sandra rolled her eyes. “Drinks are always on you. Anymore and you’ll be swimming in ale.”

He laughed. “No kidding. Hey, how about I made ya something tasty ta make up for ya troubles?”

“Fancy a Decadent Irish Kiss?” Devlin pointed at the mistletoe above them and puckered his lip,

leaned over the bar.

She pushed him back and shook her head, a grin so wide and a sparkle of joy in her gaze. Although

she enjoyed the pub panter, she looked forward to the quiet an isolated Irish castle would

offer. And all the uninterrupted reading time.

“Or something a little more Kick-Ass?” He pivoted and spanked his rounded bottom.

“Nope.” She giggled.

“Then what?” Devlin threw his arms in the air, seemingly puzzled.

“All I’m after, boys, is some peace to read my book.” She shimmied to the end of the bar where

the cash register sat, and where she’d hidden her paperback. “I’ve got one hour left before I leave

for my holiday, so how about you donkey-ass idiots behave until then?”

“No such luck!” Shaun chuckled and lined up four mugs. “I’d rather give ya a wee taste of what’s

ta come during ya winter break in Ireland.”

“What are ya thinking?” Devlin cocked an eyebrow, and she knew trouble was afoot.

“Hot Winter Kisses, let’s lay them on her.”

“She needs ta practice accepting hot winter kisses.”

“Are you sassing me? Why on earth would I need to practice that, all that keeps me warm at

night is me fuzzy slippers.”

“Come on, Sandra, let us warm you up with our Kisses!”

“Nope.” She waved her hands in front of her face and turned her back to them, desperate to get

back to the series romance she held.

“Fine, then at least get your booty over here to accept our christmas present.”

“I told you boys, no kisses. You’re both taken and besides, you’re both far too young for me.”

“Sandra, baby.” Devlin hopped over the bar and gave her a squeeze. “Ya a doll, so ya are. What

will the place be like without ya?”

Shaun joined him, with a present all wrapped in hot-hunks decorated wrapping paper. “Because

ya special ta us, Sandra. Kind of like our sister….”

“Or our mum.” Devlin planted a smacker on her cheek.

“Okay, okay…you can stop there before you say grandmother and really make me feel old.” She

grabbed the present and peeled away the corner of the paper--

“No! Ya can’t open it here. Wait until ya settled into the Irish Castle. It’s a surprise.”

“Better not be anything embarrassing, boys.”

“It won’t be…now how about a Hot Winter Kiss ta get ya warmed up?” Shaun got busy prepping

her a tasty treat. First a mug of hot coffee, then he added a shot of Irish cream and a shot of coffee

liqueur to it.

Devlin leaned over his shoulder and squirted cream from a can over the top as Shaun stirred the

drink, giving the cream a swirled pattern. “Go sip on this in front of the fire, and enjoy the rest of

ya story.”

continued in HOT WINTER KISS, out November 30th, 2012

Here’s HOT more drinks from Shaun and Devlin’s arsenal to keep you warm this holiday


Decadent Irish Kiss

Hot Chocolate, shot of Irish Cream. Top with whipped cream and mini Marshmallows

Kick-Ass Kiss

Hot coffee. Add teaspoon of milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and a shot of Irish cream and Orange


Mocha Kiss

To a mug/cup of hot black coffee, add shot of chocolate liqueur and Irish cream.

This holiday season, enjoy some Irish Kisses…. and join Sandra on a Christmas May-to-December

adventure with an Irish hottie in Belfast and see how her Christmas present turns her world

upside down and inside out.


Hot winter kisses to warm broken hearts....

Sick of tending to everyone else’s needs around the holidays, divorced barmaid and granny

Sandra ferries it from London to Belfast. All she wants for Christmas is some peace with a romance

story in front of a roaring fire in a remote Irish castle. What she gets is a most unexpected

Christmas present from her friends at Bell’s—A 1Night Stand with a young Irishman.

Can she hack it in the real world of romance, or are life’s complications and treacherous snowstorms

best left to the pages of a book?

Newly widowed Ardan Draighean owns Ballygalley castle. Once run as a hotel with his late wife,

the stone building now serves as a home for him and his son. After hearing about Madame Eve’s

matchmaking skills, he contacts her in search of the perfect match. Although much older than

him—by fifteen years—Sandra is his ideal woman. He be damned if he’ll let a good story get in

the way of his happy ever after with her.

Hot winter kisses are all this couple needs to stay warm this Christmas, but will the heat stay

long after the magical season of mistletoe has finished?

for more details, trailer, and excerpt

About the author

Born n bred Brit, JoAnne Kenrick grew up in a wee sea-side town in North Wales and has enjoyed

a variety of vocations such as holistic healer, window dresser, and ghost tour guide. Having

lived in Wales, England, and Scotland with her dear family, she finally escaped the dull British

summers to reside in sunny Australia. After two years, they moved to the States where she endured

three harsh winters in Minnesota. She now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two

kids and two puddy cats. When they aren’t demanding her attention, or jumping on her head,

she strums away on the keys of her little laptop, creating worlds and adventures she could only

ever dream of. Come across the pond and faraway....with JoAnne Kenrick! Find out more about

JoAnne by visiting her website and get exclusive sneak peeks at

her new and upcoming releases by signing up to her quarterly newsletter here http://tinyletter.


I thought, being the season of snow bunnies, Santa, and holiday tidings, we would talk about

writing for the season. No matter what the holiday, I think it will be appropriate.

First of all, Christmas novels aren’t written at Christmas. Publishers generally start asking for

them around spring so they can schedule them for release around October. Some come out as

early as September. So, if you are determined to write your novel during the season—do so with

the knowledge that it probably won’t be out until the next season. I understand that self-publishing

makes it much easier to write and release within a short time frame, but we are still talking

editing time, as well as research. And, most importantly, you want to give yourself enough time

to perfect your story. It’s your writing, after all.

One thing I have noticed—and I’m a great lover of the holiday romance—is that many authors

rerelease their stories in a compilation about every five years. I put out Pennyroyal Christmas, a

novella, last year. Because of my work on Meadow’s Keep, I didn’t get to finish the one I wanted

to do for this year, but Pennyroyal’s sales have picked back up—because of the time of year. I will

probably do one for next year—or maybe several, three’s always a good number of novellas in a

paperback—and plan a release next year. Which brings me to another point—

Remember, when writing, be careful about putting in references that will date your story. Location

is great, generic references to things that have been around for some time are always

timely, but be careful about talking about things like your Android Smartphone, or I-Phone.

Even clothing can be very telling, unless you want your story to be dated. Fashions can change

drastically in the course of a year. I once wrote about a character wearing a mid-length skirt and,

by the time it went to press, I had to do a rush edit, raising the hemline. Body piercings may be

all the rage right now, but in two or three years, it might just date your story. You always want to

think ahead, so when you are famous, you can sit back and do that compilation without a lot of


While I’m addressing out-of-sync references, I might mention location. We all know snow is

very romantic.. At least the idea of snow is very romantic. I actually had the real-life experience

of falling into a passionate embrace in a snowdrift. Let me tell you, it can cool down your ardor,

fast. Now, as to writing. If you’re a writer from the Deep South or someplace else that’s never

seen snow, you might write about what you know. The reader just might enjoy experiencing

something different for a change. It will give you a great vehicle for sharing some of your traditions.

Speaking of traditions. Remember, not everyone celebrates Christmas. There’s Hanukkah, Kwanza,

and Yule. Do some research and expand your horizons. I know I would love to see a romance

that centered around a Yule gathering or drum circle. Just be sure and do your research. Or, you

could make up your own tradition. Who knows, it might catch on—especially, if it’s romantic.

Again, when you’re famous—you can say to your great-grandkids, “Hey, I started that.”

Well, that’s all I have right now. Except to say—have a wonderful holiday season. Read, write,

and make merry. Remember, everything is fodder for your stories. Be safe. Be well. Be happy.

Kateri Chance comes

back to Ruthorford for a

fresh start and runs into

the man that caused her

to leave in the first place.

She must resolve her past

before she can move forward.

However, someone

doesn’t want that to

happen. Join Kat as she

explores Ruthorford, the

small town that protects

its own.

Amazon / B&N

Flash Fiction: Santa’s Boots Under Her

Bed by Stephanie Queen

Of all the places she might find that darn crystal tree ornament, she didn’t really expect to find

it under the bed. Nevertheless, Margot got down on her hands and knees and bent her head

disgustingly close to the threadbare carpet to peer under her pathetic little twin bed. It’s not like

there were a lot of places she could have misplaced her one treasure in this two room apartment.

So why couldn’t she find it?

“What on earth?” She said to herself since there was no one else in the room—or so she thought.

“What have you got there?” A deep voice rumbled from behind her.

A current of electricity went through her to make every hair follicle on Margot’s skin stand on

end as she heard that impossibly familiar voice. She jumped to her feet fast, bumped her head on

the bed and twisted around, dizzied by the prospect.

But there he stood plain as day. George. George E. Keller the Third to be exact. Before another

thought passed through her mind, she said, “Are those your boots under my bed?”

“That’s what you have to say to me, standing here in your door way after all these years?”

She gulped. He had a point. He leaned on the doorjamb, arms folded and a Santa hat sitting

askew atop his dark wavy hair. He looked…well, if she had to be honest—edible.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes, Margot. Every bit as beautiful as I remember.”

“What are you doing here?” Admittedly, she should probably be more gracious, but in her defense

she was probably in shock.

“Couldn’t stay away. Family be damned.”

“That’s it? After all these years? You suddenly decided you don’t care about the great and powerful

Keller family legacy? And so you show up on my—in my apartment—how did you get in

anyway?” She rambled on as ungraciously as ever. Guess she wasn’t really over her bitterness

after all. George had left her raw those years ago and she still felt it.

“Can I come in?” He quirked a smile and didn’t wait for her answer. He lifted himself off the

doorjamb with that carelessly elegant grace she remembered, and moved toward her.

Her heart melted—or rather something in her melted, but it may have been further south than

her heart. As she watched him close in, her body anticipated the excitement of touching him.

She felt familiar sparks fly between them.

“I’m sorry for everything, Sweetheart.” He enveloped her in one of those embraces that closed

off all exposure of her senses to anything but him; the cool, fresh spicy scent of him, the warm

feel of his body radiating against hers, the sound of his heart beat and murmuring of his kisses

against her hair.

She hugged him back and closed her eyes in that secure comfortable circle of his arms, the electricity

humming at idle inside her, and sighed a big breath.

“There, that wasn’t so hard was it?” He said, pulling back enough to look at her upturned face.

“That was just a polite merry Christmas hug. Nothing’s changed between us. You’re still a deserter

and I’m still….”



He laughed. She thought it nervy, even for George, so she extricated herself from his embrace

and leaned to retrieve his boots from under her bed.

“Take these with you and leave.”

“I can’t”

She blinked. It was the last thing she might have guessed he’d say. And he actually looked troubled.

“What do you mean you can’t?” Margot heard her own voice rise an octave.

“I belong here. I have nowhere else to go. I’ve been on my way back to you ever since I left and

I’m so, so sorry it took me this long to make the journey. But my journey is at an end now and

I…I don’t know where else I would go. There is nowhere else to go.”

She hesitated. He looked really troubled. Emotional. But this was malarkey—had to be. “Why

don’t you try the family estate in Vermont? Probably nice there this time of year.”

“I can’t.”

“What are you talking about? Did the family sell it?”

“No. I don’t care. I’m here. This is where I belong.”

“I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing buster, but I don’t even belong in this place. Look

around—it’s pathetic. I’m moving out first chance I get. Whenever that is.” She looked around

at her tiny bedroom, her gaze landing on the painted crate she used for a night stand and felt a

pinch of embarrassment.

“I think it’s charming—it has you. Your personality is everywhere. From the chintz chair to the

bright curtain to the…”

“It’s shabby. It’s small.” She paused. “What the hell are you doing here? What do you want with


“Same thing I’ve always wanted. I want a life with you. But now I know exactly how much that’s

worth to me.”

“Yeah? Slow learner aren’t you? It’s been three years. So how much am I worth to you?”


“Sure.” She used the most skeptical voice she could muster, but her heart beat like a jackhammer.

“So you gave up all your worldly possessions and all your ties with your family so you could

finally come back and be with me?”

“No.” He laughed.

That brought an instant mist of tear drops to her eyes before she could stop it.

“No—I’m sorry I’m being so clumsy about this.” He took her back in his arms and brushed a

teardrop off her cheek. She didn’t know why she let him. She felt like she was waiting for the other

shoe—or boot—to drop—or at least an explanation about the boots under her bed. She looked

around and saw no other clothing or bags. He still wore his long black cashmere overcoat—like

only he could wear it.

“I didn’t give up my worldly possessions or family ties. They’re all still in tact. But I’m in control

of them now and not the other way around. It took me three years to manage it.” He smiled a

sad smile, but his right dimple showed. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I had to leave you. I told you I’d be


“I didn’t believe you.” She confessed the words in a whisper and her heart thundered as her pulse

roared. Had she been wrong? Wrong to ignore his emails and wrong to change her phone number?

“I got that.” He said and squeezed her in for another world-changing embrace. When he let go,

his face looked lighter, less troubled. “Do you like the tree?”


“I got us a Christmas Tree—in the living room.”

“There’s no tree in the living room—what are you talking about?” She still felt foggy from his

embrace—from him being there at all. There hadn’t been a tree when she came in. She’d only

been searching for her crystal ornament for a few minutes in her bedroom, hadn’t she? It was the

gift he’d given her three years ago before he left she realized. It had meant everything to her. She

meant to find it and hang it in her window over the sink in her kitchenette.

“Wait—I need to find something…”

“Don’t worry about it—come see the tree.” He took her by the hand and took the three steps

back out to the living-kitchen area. The room was no larger than twelve by twelve and had been

stuffed with a sofa, TV and small table with two chairs. But now all she saw was a giant fresh

Christmas tree brushing the ceiling and standing directly in the center of the room nearly blocking

their path.

“What! I’m certain I’d have remembered this—how did you get this in here without me knowing—or

hearing anything?” A laugh bubbled up as she surveyed the unadorned beauty of the

evergreen and breathed in the pine scent that filled the room.

“Elves. You were busy. I decorated it for you.” He took her around the other side of the tree then

stood behind her with his arms hugging her against him. “Look. It’s all we need.”

She looked at the tree up and down and then saw it. Three quarters of the way up—at his eye level—hung

her crystal ornament—the one he’d given her. She gasped and her throat clogged with

emotion that heated her body down to her very center.

“It’s perfect,” she whispered.

“It is, isn’t it?” He kissed the top of her head, then leaned down and whispered in her ear, “I’d like

to leave my boots under your bed. Call it a Christmas wish.”

She closed her eyes and breathed him in and felt a tingle of warm emotions flow all the way

through her. “You have your wish. I’ll call you Santa.”

Interview: W. Lynn Chantale

Please tell us a little about your Christmas novel?

As of this writing I have two available for purchase

and two more waiting to be released. :-)

Stealing Christmas is my most recent Christmas

novel. A sinister Santa is terrorizing bakery

owners Sara and Jake.

How did you come up with the idea for your

holiday story?

My DH and I were watching HGTV I think

and there was a lady who’d bought an old bank.

When she went to renovate the basement she

discovered all the safety deposits boxes were

still there. I thought something like that would

make a great little story. Wild Rose Press had a

submission call for Santa stories, Santa could be

either the hero or the villain and well, Santa is

the villain in my story and he even has an elf.

Did you use any of your own holiday memories

or experiences when writing this book?

The few experiences I used for this story, were working in a bakery. I was a cake decorator before

writing full-time and walking through the streets of Flint.

Was this the first holiday story you have written, or have you written more in the past?

No, Mistletoe Mambo was released as a stand alone this year. I’ve also written Mistletoe Blues

look for it at Whispers Publishing and Winters’ Thaw from Evernight Publishing.

What is your favorite Christmas memory as a child?

One of the best Christmas memories I have, is waking up to find my Barbie dream house. That

thing was HUGE and fully furnished. I think my brothers got G.I. Joe for Christmas, but for me

it was ll about the Barbie.

Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

My favorite holiday movie is ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ When I had cable. we’d watch it every year

and when I saw the DVD in the store, I begged and begged him to buy it for me. Now I watch it,

White Christmas and Miracle on 34th St.

“Only one man dances

to the music of

Madeline’s heart.”

~Christmas Reviews~

Holiday Montana is a nexus for supernaturals, especially

those of the holiday kind. And somehow it

seems that the Cooper boys are at the center of it all.

Justin Cooper receives a call telling him he is one of

Santa’s Executives. He hangs up on the giggling elf,

only to have her show up at his door, and man oh man

he didn’t know elves could be so sexy!

Rina loves being an elf. But, she hates her job. Stuck

in the basement sorting old naughty and nice lists just

isn’t what she wants to do. The highlight of her year is

when she gets to call Santa’s Executives and give them

their assignments for the season. But, when she calls

Justin Cooper and finds out no one has trained him,

and he doesn’t even know what he is, she has a crazy

idea... she’ll go and train him. Rina grabs a ride on a

magic snowglobe and heads for Holiday.

As if Rina doesn’t have enough on her plate trying to train Justin and keep her naughty elf hands

off the handsome executive, who shows up but her boss, Jack Frost. Holy peppermint balls! She’s

in trouble now.

Santa’s Executive is a wonderful combination of light and funny, and sweet and spicy.I adored

Rina. I loved the subtle feminism of her fight to advance in the “elf world”. Her irresistible giggles

and her determination to get both the job and the man of her dreams.

Santa’s Executive further explores the world of Holiday Montana, and the people who live there.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in this wonderful little town. If you love Christmas stories,

like I do, don’t miss out on Santa’s Executive, in my opinion one of the best Christmas Stories of


Winter Eve is a prequel to Lia Davis’ new

Ashwood Falls Series. And what a whollop it

packs. Ashwood Falls is town that most humans

don’t even know exists.Somewhere in

the Smoky Mountains two packs of shifters

have joined together, cats and dogs... well,

leopards and tigers, and wolves. How do these

two groups work together? And what happens

when a human stumbles into the mix?

Winter Eve brings Nevan Mathews, a human

(but one with a foot in the shifter world) and

Danica, a leopard shifter together in a raging

snow storm. Danica has physical and emotional

scars from a fire. She has withdrawn from

her pack to live a solitary life, away from their

pity and sympathy. She fears she will never

find a mate who can love her in spite of her scars. But, she is instantly drawn to the unusual human.

Nevan and Danica’s story is the central focus of Winter Eve, and it is a wonderful and emotional

story. I really liked both Nevan and Danica. I loved how excepting Nevan was of Danica. He always

seems to know just the right thing to say. I also liked that even though Nevan is human, he

has his own secrets, and understands what he needs to do to fit in with the shifter pack.

But, Nevan and Danica aren’t the only ones with a story to tell. SO many secondary characters

are introduced in Winter Eve, Keegan, the feline alpha, Cam and Blaine, his enforcers, Jared, the

rat (not really, he’s a feline, but I think he’s a jerk... so rat) Shay, the princess and many more!

As a good prequel should do, Winter Eve gives you just enough information about these characters

to leave you dying to know their stories. When I got to the end I kept trying to turn the

page! It can’t end there, I still have so many questions. Oh, Lia you are diabolical, now I can’t wait

for the rest of the series.

Discover the world of Ashwood Falls in Winter Eve and you will fall in love, just like I did. I can’t

wait for my next “trip” hope you’ll join me!

The sweet sexy sugarplum fairy is really an out of

work teacher. Melissa works part time jobs to make

ends meet. With Christmas around the corner she

was again unable to make the trip home. At least

this year she could tell her family she had to work.

Needing money to make the rent, Melissa agrees to

play the part of the tooth fairy to a little girl. Imagine

her surprise when she finds not a little girl in

bed, but her handsome father who grabs her and

thinks he is dreaming! Little did she know it would

lead to Mistletoe Magic!

Rafe Damon is enchanted by the tiny fairy come to

pay them a visit. As a recently divorced father, with

custody of his children, he has not had the time or

desire to really have a relationship. He is a photographer, making his living photographing children.

Since the divorce, trying to get the children adjusted to life without their mother, Rafe and

his mother have indulged them. He doesn’t want to get involved with a woman who can’t settle

down like his ex-wife.

Melissa works two to three jobs to be able to afford rent and food. Living in New York is not

cheap and she has to pay the whole rent since her roommate moved out. She was laid off at the

school she worked at and finding a full time teaching position is not easy. Melissa is leery since

he grabbed her and teased her that first night. As they work together, they enjoy each other’s

company and find it hard to ignore their attraction. As Melissa and Rafe become closer, the

children try to do everything they can to break them apart. Rafe doesn’t see it and when Melissa

points it out he accuses her of not having any idea of how to raise children because she is so


Mistletoe Magic has its ups and downs. Rafe and Melissa seem like the perfect couple, but like a

lot of divorced parents, Rafe tries to give his children anything they want to make them happy.

Melissa’s view is different and she can see the damage he is doing. Mistletoe Magic felt like I was

reading about real people. Enjoyable and heart wrenching by turn, Mistletoe Magic is a holiday

read not to be missed.

These extremely short novellas are really growing

on me, and The Holiday Hoax by Jennifer Probst,

was definitely no exception. With two very likable

characters, some steamy chemistry, and an

adorable Christmas premise, I thoroughly enjoyed

living in Aiden and Isabella’s little world, even

though I was only there for a little over an hour.

What does a lonely school teacher and New York

Cities most eligible bachelor have in common?

They’re both just looking for a little bit of love

and happiness int their lonely lives, that’s all. But

Aiden wants someone real; someone who doesn’t

want him just for his money and social status. So

when he meets and banters with a girl looking for

a Charlie Brown esque’ Christmas trees, he

realizes that she might just be the one.

But Isabella’s been hurt before and her ability to trust isn’t quite there. But with a few stolen kisses

and serious flirting, intermingled with some definite Christmas cheer, can her trust grow into

something more with Aiden, or will his little white lie only hinder what could have been?

Aiden and Isabella characters were actually very well-developed for The Holiday Hoax, being

such a short story and all. I greatly enjoyed their flirting as well as their constant back and forth

banter. Isabella was a stubborn girl, while Aiden was a little more laid back and at ease kind of

guy. They meshed well as a couple, making The Holiday Hoax seem more realistic.

Do I recommend The Holiday Hoax? Of course, especially if you enjoy holiday themed books

with a sweet sensual twist throughout. So grab a warm blanket, curl up on your couch, and enjoy

this lovely little tale. It shouldn’t take long to read, but it definitely will put you in the Christmas


one” until he finds her.

The fourth book in the Red Stone Security series,

Miami, Mistletoe & Murder is my favorite in the series

thus far. Katie Reus is a wonderful story teller, be

it paranormal or contemporary, she has yet to write

anything I haven’t enjoyed.

I loved the characters in Miami, Mistletoe &a Murder.

Travis was wonderful. A tattooed, pierced, big

rough looking man, who takes months to work up

the nerve to ask a woman out. I loved Travis’ dichotomy,

his outward appearance is so different than the

person he is inside. Yes, he is tough. But, he is loyal

and good-hearted and sweet. Travis has been through

a lot.War, loosing his mother and many friends, and

he has suffered from survivors guilt. But, he faced his

problems and got help. Travis never believed in “the

Noel was terrific too. A strong, independent and caring woman. She loves her family, gives to

her community and she sees Travis as he really is. Though there are class and social differences

between Noel and Travis, she never looks down on him, she actually kind of hero worships him.

I loved how honest and straight forward Noel was.

Miami, Mistletoe & Murder was both sweet and hot. I couldn’t put it down. While Miami, Mistletoe

& Murder has the requisite suspense for a Red Stone Security novel, the interaction between

Travis and Noel was all I needed to hold my interest. I just loved their story. Take a Christmas

vacation in Miami with Travis and Noel and Red Stone Security, even at Christmas time

Miami is hot!

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