Spend the Summer in Lucky Harbor!

Lucky-Harbor-Launch-Day-Blitz

Lucky in Love

Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As the local good girl, she’s expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she’d like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he’s only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he’s gone . . .

EXCERPT:

“Mallory.” There was a warning in that low, sexy tone of his, a very serious warning.

She’d wanted a kiss, but hearing him say her name like that was almost as good. And now she wanted more. She wanted things she didn’t even have names for. So she wriggled some more, hoping like hell she was getting her message across because she wasn’t all that practiced in the bad girl department. Amy had been right; she needed lessons. She made a mental note to address this as well at the next chocoholics meeting. For now, she’d wing it.

“Yeah?”

“Are you coming on to me?”

“Well, technically, you’re on top of me,” she pointed out. “So I think that means that you’re coming on to me.”

With a groan, he pressed his forehead to hers and swore beneath his breath, and not the good kind of swear either. And though she should have seen this coming, she hadn’t.

He didn’t want her.

It was perfect, really. Perfect for the way the rest of the night had gone. Horrified, humiliated, she pushed at him. “Sorry. I got caught up in the moment. I’m not very good at this, obviously.” He didn’t budge so she shoved him again. “Excuse me.”

He merely tightened his grip. “Not good at what, exactly?” he asked.

“Really? You need me to say it?”

When he just waited, she sighed. “Attracting men. I’m not good at attracting men. Now if you could please get off.”

He lifted his head and cupped the back of hers in one big hand, his eyes glinting with heat. “You first,” he said rough and gravelly, leaving no mistake to his meaning.

She gasped, and he took advantage of that to kiss her, his lips moving against hers until she gasped again, in sheer pleasure this time.

Things went a little crazy then. Ty’s mouth was firm and hungry, his tongue sliding against hers, and God, she’d almost forgotten what it was like to be kissed like this, like there was nothing on

earth more important than her. That long-forgotten thrill of feeling soft and feminine rushed over her.

Then Ty lifted his head, and she realized she was touching his face, the stubble on his jaw scraping against the pads of her fingers.

“To be clear,” he said, “I’m very attracted to you.” And she believed him because the proof of that statement was hard against her hip.

“I think it’s your eyes,” he said.

She was a little startled by the unexpected romance of that. And then she was drowning in his eyes, which were smoldering. But then they were kissing again, and she couldn’t think because he happened to be the world’s most amazing kisser. Ever. She lost herself in it for long moments, loving the fact that he didn’t seem to be in a hurry at all, or using the kiss as a means to an end. Kissing her was an act all unto itself, and she was panting for air when he finally broke from it. He shifted to pull away and she reflexively clutched at him. “Wait—We’re stopping?”

Dropping his head, he rubbed his jaw to hers. “Yeah.”

“But . . . why?”

He let out a low, innately male groan. “Because you’re not the fuck-a-stranger-in-a-storage-room-with-her-boss-waiting type of woman.”

Well, when he put it like that . . . Damn. Her inner bad girl retreated a little. More than a little.

You don’t think you deserve to be happy.

Amy’s words floated in her head. No, she’d never been the type to let a stranger into her heart, much less her body.

But this wasn’t about her heart.

And Ty was no longer a complete stranger. He was the man who’d good-naturedly stepped in tonight when she’d needed him. Multiple times. He was the man who’d just given her the most amazing kiss of her life.

She wanted him to also be the man to vanquish her restlessness and loneliness. “I am for tonight,” she said, and wrapped herself around him.

At Last

Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she’s looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. After a hot night under a starry sky, Amy can’t deny their attraction but she won’t make the mistake of getting involved with the local heartthrob.

EXCERPT:

“You were married?” She was surprised, though she shouldn’t have been. Matthew Bowers was a catch.

“For about twenty minutes,” he said. “Just after I got out of the military.”

“When you were a cop,” she said.

“Yeah.”

“Is that why she thought you weren’t family material?” she asked. “Because of your job?”

“Partly. And partly because I failed her. But mostly because she was pissed off at me.”

Amy wanted to ask how he’d failed, but that felt too intimate, especially given that she was lying in his arms with his ice pack on her ass. But his ex’s words didn’t make sense. He wasn’t the sort of guy to fail a stranger, much less someone he cared about. What he’d done for her today proved that. His job might have brought him here to check on her, but it hadn’t been his job or responsibility to stay the night with her and keep her safe.

And yet he’d stuck.

She’d had people in her life who had been responsible for her and hadn’t stuck. “Matt?”

His wordless response vibrated through his chest to hers, and he turned his head so that his face was in her hair, inhaling as he rubbed her back.

“I think you’re pretty good with people,” she said softly.

She could feel him smile against her. “Thanks,” he murmured. “Now tell me about you.”

“Nothing as interesting as you.”

“Try me,” he said.

That was the last thing she intended to do. “Well, I don’t have an ex-husband . . .”

“How about a mom? Dad? Siblings?”

“A mom. We’re not close.” An understatement, of course. Her mom had gotten pregnant as a teen and hadn’t been mom material. “I was raised by my grandma, but she’s gone now. She died when I was twelve.”

“Any other family?”

No one she wanted to talk about. “No.”

He tightened his arms around her, a small, protective, even slightly possessive gesture. It should have made her claustrophobic.

It didn’t.

They fell quiet after that, and Amy wouldn’t have imagined it possible since she was snuggled up against a very solid, very sexy man, but she actually fell asleep.

She woke up what must have been hours later, as dawn crept in, poking at the backs of her eyelids. For a moment, she stayed utterly still, struck by several things. One, she was no longer cold. In fact, she was quite warm, and the reason for that was because she’d wrapped herself like a pretzel around her heat source.

She cracked open an eye and found him watching her from his own heavy-lidded gaze. He was looking pretty amused at the both of them. “Hey,” he said, and to go along with that bedroom gaze he also had a raspy early morning voice. Both were extremely distracting.

He wasn’t looking like a forest ranger right now. He was looking sleepy, rumpled, and sexy as hell.

“Are you taking this anywhere?” he asked.

Not exactly a morning person, it took her brain a moment to process what he meant. And then she realized that by “this,” he was referring to the fact that her hand had drifted disturbingly low on his abs. If she moved her fingers even a fraction of an inch south . . . “Sorry!” Face hot, she pulled back and closed her eyes. “This is all Mallory’s fault.”

“Actually,” he said, looking down at his obvious erection. “It’s not.”

“No, I mean—” She broke off at his low, teasing laugh and felt her face flame again. “She sent you out here because she thinks something’s going on with us.”

Is there something going on with us?”

She didn’t want to touch that with a ten-foot pole. Or an eight inch one. “It has nothing to do with us. It’s payback for how I set her up with Ty at the auction a few weeks back.”

“What if it’s not?”

She met his warm gaze. “Not what?”

“Payback,” he said.

Their legs were entwined. At some point in the night, the sleeping bag had fallen away so that there was no barrier between them. He was warm and hard.

She felt herself soften as the heat of arousal built within her. Worse, her fingers itched with the need to touch him.

“Amy.” Matt’s voice was pure sin, not a warning so much as a statement, and her hands reacted without permission, migrating to his chest.

“Mm,” rumbled from his chest as he slid a hand into her hair, tilting her head up to his. He searched her gaze. “You’re all the way awake, right?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Just making sure,” he said, then rolled her beneath him.

Forever and a Day

Grace never thought she’d be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh’s lovable mutt to caring for his rambunctious son. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad . . .

EXCERPT:

“There’s one last thing,” he said.

She wondered if he looked as good without his clothes. “What?”

That ship sailed?” he asked, repeating her earlier words to Anna.

Again she tilted her head up. “I just meant we’ve been there, done that. We already kissed, remember?”

His gaze heated. Yeah, he remembered.

“And it was . . . fine.”

He’d probably shaved that morning but he had a shadow coming in. And his eyes. Fathomless dark pools, as always, giving nothing away of himself or his secrets. “The kiss was . . . fine,” he repeated, eyes narrowed.

“Well, yeah.” Fine plus amazing times infinity.

He just looked at her.

“Okay,” she admitted, sagging back against the door. “So it was a little better than fine. But I’m not looking for this. For a guy like you.”

“Like me,” he said slowly, as if the words didn’t quite compute any more easily than “fine” had.

And probably they didn’t. Look at him. He could have chemistry with a brick wall. “It’s just that I’m not going to be in Lucky Harbor much longer, so while I’m here, I’m aiming for . . . fun.”

“Fun.”

“Yeah. It’s a new thing I’m trying.”

“And you think I’m not,” he said with a hint of disbelief, “fun.”

“It’s nothing personal.”

“Hmm.” He took a step toward her, and since there was already no place to go, she found herself once again sandwiched between the door and his deliciously hard body. His hands went to her hips, where they squeezed lightly and then slid up her sides, past her ribs, to her arms and her shoulders. By the time he got to her throat and cupped her face, her bones had gone AWOL.

“What are you doing?” she managed.

“Showing you how much fun I can be.”

Oh boy. Just his husky whisper sent a shiver down her spine, the sort of shiver a woman wasn’t supposed to get for a man she didn’t want to be attracted to. And then her body strained a little closer to him.

Bad body!

Josh’s eyes met hers and held. He was purposely building the anticipation, along with the heat working her from the inside out.

“Still think I’m not fun?” he asked softly.

“You’re not.” She swallowed hard. “You’re . . .”

He quirked a brow.

Hot and sexy, and damn. Fun. Which meant that she was in big trouble here, going-down-for-the-count kind of trouble. Time to wave the white flag, she decided. And she would. In just a minute . . .

“Say it, Grace.”

“Okay, so maybe you’re a little fun,” she admitted. “But—”

He nibbled her lower lip, soothing it with his tongue, then stroked and teased her with his mouth until she let out a helpless murmur of arousal and fisted her hands in his shirt.

His eyes were heavy-lidded and sexy when he pulled back. “Bullshit, a little fun.” His mouth curved as he looked down.

Following his gaze, she realized she was still gripping his shirt. She forced herself to smooth her fingers over the wrinkles she’d left. “Fine. You’re a barrel of fun. Happy now?”

“Getting there.” His eyes were dark with lust and focused on hers, his hands on her back, fingers stroking her through the thin material of her dress. When he lowered his head, he did it slowly, giving her plenty of time to turn away.

She didn’t.

Their eyes held until his lips touched hers, and then her lashes swept down involuntarily. She couldn’t help it; his lips were warm, firm, and oh how just right . . .

With a deep, masculine groan, he threaded his hands through her hair and tilted her head to better suit him, parting her lips with his, kissing her lightly at first, then not so lightly. And then everything felt insistent and urgent, and all her bones melted.

By the time he broke the kiss, Grace was unsteady on her feet, and her breathing was more in line with a marathon run. “I’m not sure what that proved exactly,” she managed. Except he was the best kisser on the planet . . .

Shalvis_Lucky Harbor_TP

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N

JillShalviscroppedAbout the author: New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.

Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Giveaway: 

A Vera Bradley beach bag w/FOREVER romance books, sunglasses & suntan lotion!

ENTER <<< RAFFLECOPTER >>>

My 2013 Contemporary Christmas recommends [part 2]

ACFC KG‘A Cowboy for Christmas’ by Katherine Garbera

STORY: Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things. A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold. She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again.

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left. Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

REVIEW: The next two books as well as this one, you’ll notice, are written by three different authors, but are a part of Montana Born series and is a Copper Mountain Christmas story.

This started off as a bittersweet story, but the more I read and got to know Annie and Carson, the more I liked them.

These two had a lot of history between them before Annie up and married someone else leaving her home town. It’s fifteen years later and she is back in town to pick up the pieces of her life and try to rebuild it, and the house that she inherited.

Again, if you’re a sucker for second chance at romance, you’ll love this one, but seriously, the story is well-written and plotted with some great characters and dialogue, so it will appeal to all romance lovers.

There’s not a better time to read it then holiday time. It’s short, sweet and just perfect fare for young and old.

G b2b

HFC MMcC‘Home for Christmas’ by Melissa McClone

STORY: Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon…the smells of Christmas. The smells of home.

Rachel Murphy longs for home and family. Since childhood, she’s dreamed of owning her own pastry shop, but after being burned by a celebrity chef and losing her new bakery in Arizona, Rachel’s spending the holidays with her brother in Montana. To keep her dream alive, she’s creating custom gingerbread houses and selling them around town. All she needs is a bigger kitchen…and to stay away from her brother’s handsome boss.

Former venture capitalist Nate Vaughn has embraced his inner cowboy and now runs a successful dude ranch where Rachel’s brother works. Nate’s commercial kitchen is perfect for Rachel’s baking needs, and seeing the cute blonde’s business acumen, Nate knows she’d be the perfect partner for a new venture. When he makes her an offer she can’t refuse, he discovers he’s interested in more than her gingerbread.

While Nate could make her dreams come true, Rachel’s heart, as well as her head, tells her mixing business with anything else could be a recipe for disaster. Should she return to Arizona, and leave Nate and her new eager-for-more customers behind? Or can Nate convince her that, here with him in the mountains of Montana, she’s already home? For Christmas…forever.

REVIEW: If there ever was a book to make you want to build your own gingerbread house, this is it! No joke.  I really built one, the only one ever, and it was just too much fun. If you don’t believe me, just go check my pictures of it on my Facebook page. It came out really good.

This story is a part of Copper Mountain Christmas stories and Montana Born series, but I embraced Rachel and Nate’s story as a stand alone.

If you like stories of family reunions, new friendships turning into deeper connection, than look no further. This is a well-written, very realistic and compelling little story that will have you dreaming of home and hearth, crackling fireplace and white Christmas.

I’m really looking forward to reading more of Melissa McClone’s Montana Born stories and I hope you give this one a go.

G b2b

CACM JP

‘Christmas At Copper Mountain’ by Jane Porter 

STORY: Since the loss of her family in a plane crash, Harley Diekerhoff has led a quiet life and keeps to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seems perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas and before she knows it, Harley’s determined to make their holiday perfect.

Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed Mack and Molly’s world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. But Brock is determined to hold on to her and praying for a Christmas miracle…

REVIEW: Here is another Montana Born Book and one more Copper Mountain Christmas story, and out of all three that I read, this one almost broke my heart.

The main characters were different in their personalities, but had so much in common when it came to their pasts.

As stories of broken hearts that need mending go, this one will give you much hope as Brock, a quiet rancher and a single father gets to know his new housekeeper Harley, a woman running away from memories steeped in much pain.

If this was a movie, and I’m so hopping someone at Hallmark reads it, it would be a tear-jerker with an uplifting message of second chances and miracles realized.

If you like your stories with strong, complex and interesting characters who fight their inner demons and insecurities to in the end triumph over them, then you have to read this story.

G b2b

CILH JS‘Christmas in Lucky Harbor’ by Jill Shalvis 

[Simply Irresistible/The Sweetest Thing/Two Bonus Short Stories]

STORY: Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor #1) 
After losing her boyfriend and her job, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim her inheritance-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. She sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if she can give the inn the makeover it needs. Enter Jax, a tall, handsome contractor who knows exactly what Maddie needs…

The Sweetest Thing (Lucky Harbor #2) 
Helping her sister set up the family inn is just the thing to make Tara forget her ex-husband and focus on her new life. Until she meets a sexy, green-eyed sailor determined to keep her hot, bothered, and in his bed. When her ex reappears, Tara must confront her past and decide what she really wants.

Kissing Santa Claus (Lucky Harbor #2.5)
NASCAR driver Logan Perrish returns to Lucky Harbor, Washington, with love in his heart and a ring in his pocket. But can Sandy Jansen forget the past and give him a second chance? Or will Logan be spending another Christmas alone?

Under the Mistletoe (Lucky Harbor #6.5) 
There’s no place like home for the holidays. And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer. But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright. Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet. But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts – and asking for forgiveness.

REVIEW: In ‘Christmas in Lucky Harbor’ you have a compilation of the first two full books in Jill Shalvis’s `Lucky Harbor’ series. `Simply Irresistible’ is the first book and is Maddie’s story, and `The Sweetest Thing’ tells Tara’s story. You also have two short novellas, ‘Kissing Santa Claus’ which is Logan and Sandy’s story and ‘Under the Mistletoe’, Mia and Nick’s story which I reviewed last year.

In book one we’re introduced to Maddie, Tara and Chloe who are three daughters of Phoebe Treager. To make this just a bit different, the girls all have different fathers, you know, sort of like that old ‘Bonanza’ show in which the three boys shared the same father, but all three had different mothers who passed away and were left in care of their father.

In the case of these girls, they all had vastly different upbringing and it shows in their personalities as their mother affectionately dubbed them The Mouse [Maddie], The Wild-Child [Chloe] and The Steel Magnolia [Tara].

As the series opens up, we follow Maddie as she’s on her way to Lucky Harbor meeting up with her other two half-sisters at their mothers resort.

In ‘Simply Irresistible’  Jax and Maddie first meet as she almost runs him over, and you just know these two characters will have some major chemistry.

While Maddie hopes to get rid of her ‘bad luck’ curse and possibly rebuild her life with this chance her mother’s offering all three girls, the only thing the other two are hoping to rebuild is this run down resort and hopefully sell it at a good profit.

Jax is instantly attracted to Maddie so he’s willing to do anything to keep her around.

You’ll like this story of small town life in which cupid is alive and well, just waiting to strike. The sisters will not know what hit them when that happens.

In ‘The Sweetest Thing’ which is Tara and Ford’s story, you have two adults that carry some mutual baggage from many years before, when they were teenagers. After seventeen years and a failed  marriage to a NASCAR driver Logan, Tara is skittish about rekindling her relationship with Ford. Logan showing up in Lucky Harbor helped these two come to terms with their past and decide if they should have future together.

This story I liked a lot because it had the power to make me laugh and cry, almost at the same time!

I loved the tension and attraction of these two, and I think it’s because of their shared past that their story touched me the most.

There are also two extra short novella’s here and in ‘Kissing Santa Claus’ I was glad to see that the handsome ex Logan finds his HEA.

If I could go back and rewrite my review of ‘Under the Mistletoe’ here I would. After reading these stories, I really got better understanding of Mia and Nick, as well as everyone else in these stories.

I know that the fans of this author and this series will love these stories, but I’d like to recommend them to all those that have never read her.

If you like your contemporary romance populated with complex, funny, clever and sexy characters, you’ve got them all in here. This is a book brimming with sexual chemistry and steamy love scenes yet it’s also heartwarming and unpredictable.

I’m glad I read it.

JILL SHALVIS book is up for grabs: 1 commenter/1 print copy 

Tell us about your Christmas reads this year.

*US only, sorry.

*Melanie for b2b.

*Books provided by authors and publishers through NetGalley.

‘Under the Mistletoe’ by Jill Shalvis

UTM JSSTORY: There’s no place like home for the holidays. And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer. But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright. Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet. But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts-and asking for forgiveness.

Nick grew up without a family of his own so he’s overwhelmed by the love that Mia receives from all her relatives, gathered together to celebrate the season. Under their watchful eyes, Nick finds earning back her trust the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. If he succeeds, he will receive the greatest gift of all, Mia’s love for a lifetime.

REVIEW: I am sure that my lack of familiarity with Jill Shalvis and her Lucky Harbor series contributed to my full enjoyment of this story.

It was a bit harder for someone like myself to fully connect with already established community and family dynamic and although the story was well told and can stand on its own, I believe if read in order, I would have enjoyed it better.

The characters of Mia and Nick as well as the situation they find themselves in, were all a bit rushed for my liking. But then, this was a short novella, and there’s so much an author can do.

Mia and Nick had different backgrounds as adopted  children, and while she thrived in her family, Nick had a harder time of it. I wanted to feel Nick’s pain of being a neglected child, but didn’t manage because there was very little description of it. Yes I was told that he’d moved back and forth between foster homes, but there was just not enough of ‘feel’ into it.

Having past characters pop in and out of scenes was also distracting and confusing at times. Carlos was someone who I didn’t like much, but I bet you that the followers of this series were happy to see him appear. The same goes with the rest of Mia’s extended family, Ford and Tara, Mia’s biological parents; Chloe and Sawyer, the bride and groom of the wedding Mia’s attending.

In the end the story, for me at least, was just okay. For all you Jill Shalvis fans this will be a short, sweet, hot and sensual little novella that reunites a few characters you might have missed.

Book provided by NetGalley

Time for some old Christmas reads…

Merry Christmas to all

Can you believe it?! December is here! That means whatever I’m reading that’s not a Christmas story, it needs to be abandoned for everything that is Christmas story.

Before I get to them though, I’d like to thank you all for making our second anniversary a huge success.To all the authors that have participated and to those that have been busy in their ‘writing caves’ and couldn’t stop by this year [and who I'll certainly accost next year], I want to send my heartfelt thanks. You are a bunch of unbelievably generous people that make me appreciate and love your work and you that much more.

My thanks go to all of my new and old subscribers who’ve faithfully followed and made comments [and made my days so much fun just by reading them all], I send my big, huge, humongous Serbian hug and a kiss! Without you, there wouldn’t be bookworm2bookworm. Period.

I also want to thank you all, authors and readers alike, for your patience with me on the contests that ran with every post [thirty-five in total for the month of November], as I procrastinated ’till the very last. I promise that by the end of this weekend many of you will be pleasantly surprised to find your names on our Contest page, and by the end of next weekend, we will have the Grand Prize announced and given away!

This month I’d like to dedicate to Christmas stories and will be recommending some that I’ve read before as well as some newly published. I hope you’ll stop by and join me in the coming weeks to find out which one’s I’m recommending and maybe recommend some of your own… I love this time of year and there’s nothing better than finding that perfect Christmas story that touches your heart, makes you sigh and cry…

Let me start with one of my all time favorites, and that is a story from Anne Gracie from an anthology I read a couple of years ago, Gifts of the Season. If you asked me about the other two stories in that book, I would have to probably think a bit to recollect them, but if you asked me about Anne’s, I’d tell you that I just cried and cried and smiled and smiled, that’s how much I loved the story and highly recommend you pick it up.

Gifts of the Season Anthology 

BOOK BLURB: The Virtuous Widow by Anne Gracie

Ellie was afraid she had no future. Left to her own devices now that her husband had passed away, she worried for her daughter’s welfare as well as her own. But her world changed when a stranger landed on her doorstep.

A Gift Most Rare by Miranda Jarrett 

Sara had never thought to see her precious Rev ever again. Yet here he was, come to stay for the holidays in the very home where she was a governess…and bringing up the painful memories of their shared past.

Christmas Charade by Lyn Stone

Beth didn’t want a husband. But when she agreed to marry handsome Jack as part of a scheme, she didn’t expect to be playing with her heart.

My next two recommends are from Mary Balogh. She never fails to give me one of the most touching Christmas stories and here are the two I think you’ll love.

ACP MBA Christmas Promise

BOOK BLURB: A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.

Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.

UTM MBUnder the Mistletoe Collection

BOOK BLURB: In this collection of five Christmas-themed stories, beloved author Mary Balogh brings together tales of love, marriage, friendship, loneliness, and healing.

Includes four Balogh holiday classics, The Star of BethlehemThe Best GiftPlaying House, and No Room At the Inn, as well as A Family Christmas, which is only available in this anthology.

A Christmas Scandal by Jane Goodger

ACS JGBOOK BLURB: In her latest romance, Jane Goodger weaves an unforgettable tale of a woman who thinks she’s lost everything–until a little Christmas magic reunites her with the one man she could never forget. . .

Dashing, debonair, and completely irresistible, Edward Hollings has all of Newport buzzing–and to Maggie Pierce’s surprise, she alone has caught his eye. But when the handsome earl returns to England without proposing, a devastated Maggie knows she must forget him. Life only gets worse for Maggie, as all her dreams of happiness and love come crashing down around her. When Maggie receives an invitation to go to England for the Christmas birth of her dear friend’s baby, she accepts–vowing to keep her devastating lies and shameful secrets from the one man she has ever loved.

Edward vowed he’d never marry, but he came dangerously close with Maggie. She’s beautiful, witty, indescribably desirable–and Edward can’t forget her. When Maggie visits mutual friends for Christmas, Edward can’t stay away. In fact, he finds himself more attracted to her than ever–a desire fueled even more by Maggie’s repeated snubs. With the love he never thought he’d find slipping away, Edward is determined to make Maggie his own, no matter what the cost. . .

The Present by Johanna Lindsey

TP JLBOOK BLURB: As the entire Malory family gathers at Haverston to celebrate the season, a mysterious present arrives anonymously. The gift is an old journal — a tender and tempestuous account of the love affair between the second Marquis, Christopher Malory, and a dark gypsy beauty named Anastasia, who seeks a love match with a non-gypsy in order to save herself from a prearranged marriage to a brute.

Though the dashing English lord Anastasia sets her sight upon burns for the exquisite, exotic miss, Christopher could never consent to wed such a lowborn lady. But miracles have been known to happen in this season of peace and giving and love, as two extraordinary people separated by circumstance of birth begin a passionate dance of will and wiles.

And in the miraculous blossoming of a glorious romance at a long ago Christmastime, there are wise and well-learned lessons that will enrich the hearts of the Malory descendants — and, indeed, of everyone who has ever dreamed.

Forbidden Magic by Jo Beverly

FM JBBOOK BLURB: Left penniless after her parents’ death, Meg Gillingham was in dire straits. Her cruel landlord threatened to turn her and her siblings out of their home by the New Year—unless she surrendered her sister to his lecherous whims. Only a miracle could save her: a magic statue that granted wishes—for a price.

Meg never expected the statue to bring her a marriage proposal, especially from the handsome Earl of Saxonhurst, who needed a bride to keep his fortune. Her heart raced wildly, for she was held spellbound by her desire for this man. But a villain was determined to destroy their union with mistrust, and see them dead. Now Meg had to put her faith in a more powerful magic—the magic of love.

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

AWC LKBOOK BLURB: Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen…

Winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic…and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

That’s just a handful of books that I really enjoyed in the past and I hope you’d give them a try, unless you already read them, in which case I would love to know what you thought of them. I usually look for short Christmas stories, often found in Anthologies  at this time of the year. They are the best because they give me the feel for the authors that I haven’t read before.

Speaking of, do you like Anthologies and why? If you have any good Christmas recommendations for me please let me know. This month should be fun as we talk Christmas books…and giveaway a few of those…