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Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles by @MariaImbalzano is a Christmas Festival pick #romance

Title: Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles

Author: Maria Imbalzano

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Blurb:

Competitive, work-obsessed Bella Simonetti has just been fired from her high-paying job at a Manhattan law firm. At an all-time low, she returns home and helps her parents at their small-town gift shop, but the business is failing and may not make it past the Christmas holidays.

Successful landscape architect Dean Jackson is like a son to Bella's parents. But he's a persistent annoyance to her—he seems to have forgotten his unforgivable blunder thirteen years earlier.

When Bella transforms her parents' gift shop into a cookie cottage, Dean's generosity and magnetic smile are hard to resist, and those feelings of unrequited adolescent love come rushing back. But can Bella let go of the past and accept Dean for the man he is today?


“What’s with you and Bella?” Clive pulled his golf bag out of Dean’s trunk and strapped it onto the back of the cart.

“What do you mean?” Dean figured he could play dumb, and Clive would let it go.

“She didn’t seem all that happy to see you, and then when you teased her about whether she wanted you to have fun golfing, her retort was kind of caustic.”

Ya think? She’d been downright rude. “I haven’t seen her in a long time. Maybe she wasn’t ready for a visitor so early this morning.” That seemed plausible. Because he’d rather that than what could possibly be the real reason. But could she be carrying around a grudge for all these years? Doubtful. She’d left this town in the dust the minute she left for college.

He exhaled. She’d looked pretty sexy, in an adorable sort of way—with those flannel pj’s and her hair falling out of her ponytail—or whatever it was. Just the right amount of rumpled. If she was his girlfriend, he would have had her back in bed in seconds.

But she wasn’t.

And from the reception he’d received this morning, that possibility would never come close to fruition.

Dean pursued a different vein to the same topic. “You seemed surprised that she was staying until January. What’s the story?”

Clive raised a brow. “I’m not sure. When she showed up yesterday, she said she left her job at Coley Green because it wasn’t the right place for her. It’s a huge firm, and she works with multi-million-dollar companies, but she’s behind the scenes. Doing research, writing memos or proposals or whatever it is she does.”

“I guess she has to put in the time before she graduates to working directly with clients—at least at those big law firms. Maybe she’d be better off at a smaller firm. Has she ever considered working here in Princeton?” Then maybe he could crack that icy façade and make her melt in his arms.

Clive laughed. “Not Bella. She’s always been all about the big city. She loves New York—the millions of people, the electricity she likes to call it. I don’t know. I never felt comfortable there. Too big. Too noisy. But she’s loved it since she went on buying trips with Barbara for the shop.”

Dean set up his tee on the first hole, but his mind was whirring. “Is she seeing anyone?”

Clive shrugged. “Not that I know of. Not anyone she’s ever mentioned to Barb or me. I guess if she was, he wasn’t that important. I’m not sure she’s had time to date. She worked sixty to seventy hours a week.” He paused and pointed his driver at Dean’s tee. “Are you going to hit or what?”

Dean put his head down and stood over his ball, taking a practice stroke before whacking it right into the trees on the right. Great. If this was any indication of how he was going to play today, he should give up right now.

“Nice shot.” Clive smiled as he set up his tee. “You’d better get your mind off Bella and onto the game, or I’m going to clean your clock.”

He was right. No use wondering what her attitude stemmed from this morning. Better to have a conversation with her—alone.

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Share a holiday family tradition:

In keeping with the theme of this book, my mom, my daughters and I love to bake cookies together for the holidays. My mom, who is now 94, has pretty much relinquished the job to us, but she still has the need to supervise—especially since I’m a little casual with my measurements and tend to use liquid measuring cups for dry ingredients—a no-no in the baking world. We generally make butter balls (with the key ingredients being butter, ground walnuts, flour, and sugar), kieffle (rolled out dough cut into squares and filled with nuts or lekvar), chocolate walnut clusters and magic cookie bars.

One of my daughters and I tend to eat more dough than we should, but that’s one of the plusses of baking—along with the laughs over the varying sizes and shapes of a given cookie depending on the crafter. After all these years, I still can’t roll out the dough for kieffle as thin as my mother always did, and therefore, those cookies always look like the discards from the bakery.

This year, I did a dry run of red velvet crinkles since it is the signature cookie in my book and I had never made them before. They were so good, they will most definitely be added our list.

This year we will have two more helpers --- my granddaughters who are 4 and 2. They will assuredly double the mess, but they will also double the fun.

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

This story is a sweet contemporary romance that takes place during the two months leading up to Christmas. Holiday decorations, tree trimming, festive lights, a gingerbread house competition and baking cookies are all a part of this Christmas- themed novella. And of course there is romance. So find a cozy chair, a warm blanket, a cup of steaming cocoa and bring your ereader so you can escape into this heartwarming holiday tale.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $75 Amazon (US or Canada) Gift Card.

You must have an active Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to be eligible. Open internationally.

Runs December 1 – 31

Drawing will be held on January 3, 2022.

Author Biography:

Her novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award. Her novellas, “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” and “A Song For Another Day” each came in first in their category in the National Excellence in Story Telling contest and finaled in the Colorado Romance Writers Beverly contest.

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Unknown member
Dec 21, 2021

Sounds like a fantastic holiday read for me and I love the cover and the title! Thanks for sharing it and have a wonderful holiday season! Years ago, the person that owned Popeyes used to put up thousands of Christmas lights, well the were sold off and the state bought them and decorated the state capital, so from that year forward we used to do a walk through of the displays but we haven't done it a few years, I am thinking of re-instating that tradition!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Dec 21, 2021

Thank you, Maria, for sharing your book in our Christmas and Holiday Book Festival!

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