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Happy Nerd Year by Nancy Fraser is a Christmas and Holiday Festival pick #romance #giveaway

Title: Happy Nerd Year


Author: Nancy Fraser


Genre: Sweet, Small-Town Holiday Romance


Book Blurb:


James (J.W.) Miller is a nerd. Plain and simple. Far more comfortable amid his books on ancient civilizations than he is among people, J.W.’s not happy when the dean of the university insists he attend a year-end fundraiser to benefit renovations to the on-campus museum.

Local artist Ariel Taylor accepts a commission to create a mural for the entryway into the university museum. Working from the detailed outline provided to her by the dean’s office, she’s thwarted at every step by the most obnoxious man she’s ever met, Professor J.W. Miller. When he criticizes yet another of her sketches, she’s about ready to wrap him in duct tape emblazoned with a list of his half-dozen or so degrees.

J.W. doesn’t believe in doing anything half-way, and is livid with his superiors who are more focused on getting the final sketches for their precious mural done in time to show them off at the New Year’s Eve party than they are about accuracy. So, he takes his alterations directly to the source—an extremely over-the-top artist type who rankles his nerves. As badly as he wants to dismiss her out of hand, he can’t deny it’s not only his professional nerves she’s set on edge.

Will these two polar opposites find common ground in time to present her sketches to an admiring crowd of alumni and donors? Or, will the clock strike twelve and leave them both out in the cold?



J.W. Miller entered Professor Lawrence Belding’s office, intent on giving the man his stringently honest opinion on this cockamamie idea of covering the university’s museum entryway with hand-painted murals.


It wasn’t that the place couldn’t use a bit of sprucing up, but not in the way the department planning committee had in mind. Ever since the suggestion first came up at the end of the previous semester, J.W. had hoped they’d let it drop. Unfortunately, they hadn’t, even going so far as to commission a Michigan-based artist name A.P. Taylor to complete the work.


“Good morning, Dr. Miller,” the young receptionist greeted. “Dr. Belding’s on a call if you’d like to have a seat.”


J.W. glanced down at the woman, and at the nameplate on her desk, before telling her, “I’ll stand, but thank you, Stacey.”


Her smile spread. A prickle of unwanted awareness shot across J.W.’s arm.


“Oh, you’re welcome, Dr. Miller.” She gushed, then added, “I signed up to audit your class on Roman history. I can’t wait for your first lecture.”


“You’re a fan of ancient Rome?” he quizzed.


She shrugged, her slim shoulders lifting and falling in a comically exaggerated motion. “I like all kinds of history. My main focus this year is 19th century Americana.”


J.W. drew a breath. Not that he didn’t appreciate what recent history had to teach us, but it was a far cry from what he taught. “Hopefully you won’t be bored with Caesar and Augustus, and the fall of the empire.”


“I’m sure I’ll—”


Her response was interrupted by the appearance of her boss in the doorway to his office. “Come in, James,” Belding said. “I’ve got some preliminary sketches to show you.”


Following Belding into the cramped space, J.W. could feel the receptionist’s gaze on the back of his neck. He made a mental note to steer clear of the department head’s office as much as humanly possible.


It was always the same. Lawrence Belding had a habit of changing receptionists every couple of years and, each time, they got younger and more impressionable. J.W. said a silent prayer of gratitude for his long-time admin. Mrs. Lacey had been with him since he was an associate professor nearly twenty years earlier. And, if he had his way, they’d retire together.


“How are your first week of classes going?” Belding asked.


“Pretty much as they always do. I present the syllabus, give them a list of required reading, and show them the textbook they have to either buy or download, and then set out my expectations for not flunking out.”


Belding chuckled. “How many drops so far?”


J.W. echoed his laughter. “Just two... so far. This may end up being a record-breaking semester.”


“You realize that even though you haven’t put your archeology degree to use in a few years, the impressionable students still see their history professor as U of M’s answer to Indiana Jones.”


“I own neither a whip nor a rumpled fedora, so I believe the comparison to be both highly overrated, and downright ridiculous.”


“Be that as it may, you’re still this department’s biggest draw for attracting new students. So, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”


“You said you had sketches.” J.W. quickly changed the subject.


“Yes. The artist sent over a few based on the outline Professor Carlisle and I provided.”


Belding shoved a manilla folder in J.W.’s direction and he flipped it open. Moving from one sketch to the next, he shuffled the papers back and forth before laying them out side-by-side. “No.”


“No? No, what?” Belding responded.


“These are all wrong,” J.W. insisted. “There’s no correlation from one to the next.”


“It’s a mural, James,” Belding insisted. “Not an historical timeline.”


“I realize that, Larry,” J.W. conceded. “However, mixing disciplines will only confuse the students and anyone viewing the murals. You can’t have Constantine next to Julius Caesar.... they’re hundreds of years apart. Then... if that’s not bad enough, you put Egyptian Pharaohs from the first and fifth dynasties in the same section with Claudius Augustus.”


“What would you suggest we change?” Belding asked.


“Forget the murals, hire a house painter, and go with taupe walls.”


Belding shot him a dark glare. “That’s not going to happen, so you might as well get onboard. The funds for this project come from one of our most generous benefactors, in honor of his late grandfather. Apparently, the old man was a history buff.”


“Well then, I say we keep the poor soul from rolling over in his grave and at least do this right.”


Belding’s heavy sigh of resignation had him shifting in his leather chair. “I’ll talk it over with the board members. We don’t meet for another week, so don’t hold your breath waiting for a speedy response.”


“The speed of the response isn’t as important as is the content,” J.W. said dryly.


“I’ll let the artist know to hold up on any further work until the committee has met.”


“Probably a good idea,” J.W. agreed. “If he’s anything like my sister, he charges by the hour.”


“The artist isn’t—” Belding was stopped mid-sentence by the loud ring of his desktop phone. “My next appointment,” he whispered, shooing an already standing J.W. toward the door. “I’ll get back to you with our decision.”


J.W. made a mad dash past a smiling Stacey and escaped into the hallway only to crash into a slim and exceedingly tall brunette. “Sorry,” he mumbled, grasping her shoulders to steady them both.


“No worries,” she said, her smoky voice dancing across his nerve endings. “We’re both still standing.”


“Yes,” he responded. “I guess we are.” He sidestepped, and added,” If you’ll excuse me... I’ve got—”


“A class to teach?” she guessed.


“Uh... yes. How did you know?”


A soft laugh proceeded her words. “Are you kidding? From the dark-rimmed glasses to the bow tie and suspenders, you’ve got tenured professor written all over you.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):



Share a holiday family tradition:


The only tradition we have centered around the New Year is to not do anything, at least not on the eve. My youngest son still holds true to my mother’s tradition of black eyed peas on New Year’s Day for luck. It’s always part of our last big meal of the holiday season.


Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood?


Happy Nerd Year is the story of the final Miller family sibling. The last of seven to find their soulmate during one of the holidays throughout the year. I love writing professors, which is why I saved J.W.’s story for last. He’s stood by and watched his brothers and sisters succumb to what he says is a magic potion their grandmother has put in the water. I think being in the holiday mood means looking forward to a bright future, and that’s certain the case with the stubborn eldest brother.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card



Open internationally.


Runs December 1 – 31


Drawing will be held on January 2, 2024.


Author Biography:


NANCY FRASER is a bestselling and award-winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.


When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.


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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Dec 19, 2023

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your new release in our Christmas and Holiday Book Festival!

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