- N. N. Light
New Release | Lights of Love: A Dickens Holiday Romance by @MMaloneAuthor #romance #newrelease
Title: Lights of Love: A Dickens Holiday Romance, Book 14
Author: Morgan Malone
Genre: Later-in-life contemporary romance
Publisher: Morgan Malone
Book Cover: Kris Norris, Designer
Saul Rosen has quite a reputation in Dickens. He has only recently become a full-time resident after decades of drifting into town for a skiing vacation, some summer cultural event, or to celebrate the Jewish Holidays at Congregation Etz Chaim. Saul is known as a supporter of local businesses, due largely to the years-long restoration of his vast country property. His frequent travels abroad have given him the world-weary air of international intrigue. His silver hair and bright blue eyes cause hearts to flutter. And he’s a bachelor.
Yehudit Eberhardt is also a recent full-time resident of Dickens. Mystery surrounds her, too. After decades living in New York City and Boston, her voice still carries the slightest trace of Europe. Her quiet elegance graces the halls and sanctuary of Etz Chaim, her laugh echoes in Morty’s Deli and her serene smile greets all she meets throughout the friendly town. Living high above the lights of Dickens in her exclusive condominium, Judy—as she is known to friends—seems to have a perfect life. But, as a recent widow, she lives alone, except for her beloved daughter’s frequent visits from Chicago.
Winter has come to Dickens and its famous Christmas spirit is on full display. Judy and Saul are thrown together as the Jewish community of Dickens prepares for Hanukkah. Judy is certain the spark she feels whenever she is near Saul is due to the static electricity of winter woolens. But Saul recognizes the currents of attraction and is drawn to her. Will these two solitary souls be able to ignore the shared losses that draw them together or will the gentle candles of the Hanukkah menorah light the love in their hearts?
Lighting the Sabbath candles always brought peace to her. And to her friends. Their voices mingled with the familiar blessing. The soft glow from the candles, the rich warm scent of the challah, and the deep fruity taste of the wine, meant the work week was over and it was time to relax, reflect, and rejoice in the company of friends and family. Saul’s deep, slow voice reciting the blessings was different from Len’s brisk blessings and she realized that she found comfort in both.
Saul proved himself the perfect dinner guest, introducing interesting topics of conversation, topping off empty glasses of wine, and rising to assist her in clearing the table between dinner and dessert. She held him off from rolling up his sleeves and helping with the dishes by asking him to cut the honey cake and pour them each a small glass of Hungarian Tokaji Aszu sweet wine.
Margot and Iris—Margot especially—kept glancing at Judy with raised eyebrows as if to ask, “What gives?”
Judy responded with a calm smile and a slight shake of her head—because truly, she did not know what to make of Saul’s acceptance of the dinner invitation and the easy way he had fit into their little group.
The Terrible Twosome left first, reminding Judy that all three were assigned to set out the Kiddush, the after-services nosh, the following morning.
“Don’t worry about me because I’ll be at shul by 9:30, ladies. Margot, see if you can drag yourself there by 10. Please.”
That brought a snort from Iris and a sheepish grin from Margot. She shrugged into her coat and reached for Judy. “Thank you, dahling. I’ll see you in the morning. Good Shabbes.” They all hugged by the door before leaving in a flurry of admonitions from Iris to button up and protestations from Margot that she was not a three-year old.
Judy leaned against the door, laughing at Saul. “I love them, but sometimes they wear me out. They alternate between being sweet little yentas and gossipy, nervy fifteen-year-old girls.”
“I like them. They keep us old guys in line and there is no task or project they don’t volunteer to help with...usually to run. Women like them are the lifeblood of any synagogue and most Jewish families.” His eyebrow went up when he caught Judy trying to smother a small yawn. “And I should be departing too, Yehudit. You have had a long day and are facing another one tomorrow, it seems.” He reached for his coat and scarf, dressing efficiently, the scarf folded just so, the coat buttoned neatly. Extending his hand, he pulled her fingers into his. There it was again. That spark.
Judy laughed—awkwardly this time. “There, you see. So much static electricity in this place.”
“No, I don’t think that is it.” Saul smiled irreverently. Not releasing her hand, he pulled her slightly toward him.
Judy took one step forward then stopped, confused. Surely, he was not going to...hug her. No, it seemed that was not Saul’s intent, as he proved by leaning into her and placing a small kiss on her cheek. Again, with the small shock.
He turned and opened the door, leaving her standing there with what she was sure was a stupefied look on her face. Before the door closed, his deep voice drifted to her. “Thank you, Yehudit. And good Shabbes.”
Sipping the last of the very good red wine, Judy stood and made her way through the living area to the kitchen, turning off lights as she went. After rinsing her wine glass and leaving it in the sink, she detoured by the front door to make sure she had locked it before heading down the short hallway to the master suite. She had not drawn the drapes over the doors to her balcony, so all the holiday lights of Dickens beckoned her to the expanse of glass.
Spread out before her was a storybook village of twinkling lights, wreaths, snowmen, and garlands wrapped around streetlamps. Christmas had most definitely come to Dickens. She smiled at the festive evidence of the holiday that was not her own, celebrated by a town that had become her home.
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Morgan Malone has been reading romance since the age of twelve, when she first snuck her mother’s copy of The Saracen Blade under the covers to read by flashlight. An award- winning published author of fiction by the age of eight, Morgan waited fifty years, including thirty as an Administrative Law Judge for a small New York State agency, to pen her next work of fiction. Now retired from her legal career, Morgan lives near Saratoga Springs, N.Y. with her rescue dog, Princess. When not writing later-in-life romance about men and women who fall in love for the last, or maybe the first, time in their lives, Morgan is penning romantic memoirs or painting watercolors. She travels frequently with her wonderful daughter, a Clinical Psychologist, and spends time with her awesome son, amazing daughter-in-law, and two delightful grandsons who live nearby.
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