Title: Romancing the Holidays 2019
Eleven warm and sweet Christmas-themed novellas
It’s been real fun getting these together for you. We’re a group of Southern Hemisphere authors, and some of us have only ever met online. That hasn’t stopped us plotting and scheming, though. We really wanted to publish another sampler of our work, and Christmas seemed the ideal time to do it. Lots of messages flew back and forth, and slowly the set of eleven novellas came together – each a third to a half the length of a novel. Great variety, and definitely something for everyone.
From Annie Seaton – CHRISTMAS WITH THE BOSS - From city boss to sexy surfer.
From Susanne Bellamy – SUNNY WITH A CHANCE OF ROMANCE – Secrets and scoops.
From Monique McDonell – MORE THAN ORNAMENTAL - A single dad’s second chance.
From Ebony McKenna – A VERY AUSSIE CHRISTMAS - Teens on the nightshift before Christmas.
From Kris Pearson – A CHRISTMAS TWIST - Handsome double trouble, past and present.
From Ashley Logan – 12 DAYS OF PERSUASION - Resuscitating the doctor’s Christmas spirit.
From Shirley Wine – A CHRISTMAS WISH - A Pastor, very much a man.
From Anne Kemp – A SECOND CHANCE FOR CHRISTMAS - ’Tis the season... to win him back.
From Susan Downham – MELODY’S MISTLETOE PROMISE - True love healed her broken heart.
From Sofia Grey – BLIND DATE WITH A WOLF - An unexpected rescue and a surprise romance.
From Gudrun Frerichs – ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU - The start of four life-long friendships.
My novella in this collection is a dual-time story set in London and New Zealand - with a twist I hope you don't see coming.
The Bennett twins spell double trouble for Gabriella Clifton, and a year of study in London with the handsome brothers ends with souvenirs she never expected.
More than twenty years later, home in New Zealand, a surprise visit from Donny Bennett turns her world upside down. Can she trust his words? Can she believe her eyes? Can she guard her heart against his unrelenting charm offensive?
As the Christmas sun shines down on the big old house by the sea, Gabi must decide the shape of her future.
Excerpt from A CHRISTMAS TWIST (from right when Donny arrives back in Gabi’s life again.)
“Mom, this is Mr. Bennett,” Michelle says, bouncing up off the sofa as an all-too-familiar man stands and extends a hand in my direction.
An all-too-familiar man from more than twenty years ago, who’d been in my mind only minutes earlier.
“Donny!” I exclaim. I can barely stay standing. Fear and panic war for top spot in my astonished brain. Rapidly followed by relief that it’s Michelle who’s home and not James. Hopefully she won’t see her birth father in his masculine features. She won’t translate this tall, well-dressed, dark-haired man with the sparkles of silver at his temples as anything more than a visitor for me. A friend from my past who’d I’d never expected to find in my future.
If James had greeted him it would have been like looking in a mirror for the two men. I’ll wager they’re within an inch and a couple of pounds of each other. Same eyes, same hair (no silver sparkles for James) but the set of the chin, the confident stance. Yes, a mirror image – maybe like that Oscar Wilde story where the man in the painting ages and the real one stays young forever until the horrible day of reckoning. ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’. I fear my horrible day of reckoning has arrived.
“Gabriella.” Just that one word as our hands touch. I want to fling both arms around him because the pull is still that strong. I also want him gone from my home and out of my life forever because the dread is suddenly that real. Somehow I dodge a kiss and restrict myself to a quick hug, a cordial handshake and a fast step backward, away from temptation.
“Tea?” Michelle asks, oblivious to the vibes which I’m surely pushing out like spiky fur from a startled cat.
“Love one,” Donny replies. “Black for me.”
“Thank you darling,” I say to her as though she’s always a gracious hostess instead of a self-absorbed, often sulky little minx. She trots away, beaming.
I slap my forehead. How could I be so rude? “Michelle. Home for the holidays.”
I’m still wondering what to do. Tell him? Mish might remain oblivious, but when James appears the cat will surely be out of the bag. I should have told them. Should have told everyone. Years ago.
Oh, the sins of the fathers… Or in this case, the sins of the mothers.
I hear Michelle’s feet scuffing a few steps back along the hallway. She pops her head into the room again. I have the uncomfortable feeling she’s spying on us and hoping to set me up. Little does she know.
“Jay phoned,” she says. “He’s out with mates to dinner. I’m going to join them.”
“Okay.” Is it worse to be left alone with Donny or better that James won’t be making an appearance for several hours? My heart is still pounding. It’s easy to feel your own pulse if you press a finger or two in the hollow of your throat. Much easier, and less obvious, than your wrist. Yes, racing.
Mish departs again, backless sandals slapping up against her heels with every step.
I wave at Donny to sit again. “What brings you way down this end of the world?” I’ve chosen a chair that’s not too close to him.
“A lecture tour. Was I into genetics back then?”
He means London of course. He was so much of a good-time boy we barely talked about our studies.
“Genetics? Because you’re a twin?”
His bright blue eyes twinkle. “Part of the reason, anyway. Fascinating field.”
I wrap my arms around myself. I’m not cold on this beautiful summer day. It’s a barrier – something I recognize looks unfriendly – so I slide them away and lean back into the cushions instead. “How did you find me?”
Dark brows twitch up above those wicked eyes. “Anyone’s searchable these days.”
“Under my married name? Did you know what that was?”
Donny shakes his head. “Your single name. And struck it lucky with some photos of you on Facebook. It had to be you – even all these years later. You’ve barely changed.”
My single name. My author name. Gabriella Clifton. How did he even know I wrote? I’m hardly Dan Brown or Lee Child.
He follows my lead and leans back into the sofa cushions. Slings a long leg up so an ankle rests on the opposite knee. He’s wearing royal blue socks with his charcoal suit. A royal blue tie, too.
“Crime novels?” he asks with evident amusement. “What on earth brought that on?”
How dare he ask so rudely? I shrug. “Dad was a cop. Quite a senior one. And a good story-teller when not constrained by confidentially. I suppose some of it rubbed off.”
Donny gives a slow nod. “Did you inherit the family home? This place is fantastic.”
Nosy as well as rude. Yes, Donny was always very forthright. He went after what he wanted, and generally with success. It gives me a lot of pleasure to shake my head and say, “A combination of choosing well a long time ago, the proceeds of my writing, and Pete’s work in the aircraft industry. My mother’s still alive and living in her own townhouse.”
He nods again. Doesn’t mention he knows anything about Pete dying in that plane crash with Marty Hansen. They often flew together, but two years ago they plummeted from the sky and the little craft wasn’t found for three days. Three days of hell. The kids and I huddled together, them not yet adult enough to deal with anything so horrendous, and me sure it was my punishment for years of deceit that I’d seen no way past.
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Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YVG9S66
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07YVG9S66
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07YVG9S66
Amazon AUS https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07YVG9S66
It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities. Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2020? If so, please share one.
First of all, I’d like to write two more of my Merry Summerfield cozy mysteries. They’re a real change for me, and you can see more at https://krispearson.com/cozy-mysteries
I have the fun covers ready to go, and I’m well into Book 3.
I’m also committed to write another romantic novella for a follow-up box-set with many of the same authors from Romancing the Holidays 2019.
Why is Romancing the Holidays 2019 a must-read?
Value for money! Variety! It’s a sample of work from eleven different authors, and a great way to read a complete work by each and to see who you might like to read more by.
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
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Runs January 1 – 31, 2020.
Drawing will be held on February 1, 2020.
Thanks for coming to meet me. I love words, and I use them to make the world a happier place by creating people who are perfect for each other – although maybe they can’t see that to start with!
I began writing at my local radio station in New Zealand. After living in Italy and London I returned home and worked in TV, radio again, several advertising agencies, and then spent happy years as a retail ad manager. Totally hooked on fabrics, I followed this by surprising everyone and going into business with my husband as a curtain installer and working for some of the capital city’s top designers. Good for my body, and it freed up my brain to write fiction. In twenty years I haven’t fallen off my ladder once through drifting into romantic dreams, but I’ve certainly seen many beautiful homes and met wonderful people, and I may just have stolen glimpses of them for the books. (I didn’t say that, did I?)
If you love contemporary romance in exotic settings, that’s what I write. They're mostly sexy stories about couples who fall in love and into bed along the way, just like real people do. I’m the author of around twenty novels and novellas, three of which were finalists in New Zealand’s Clendon Award. Each can be read as a stand-alone, but some make up linked series. I hope you enjoy them all.
I also write cozy mysteries, and the lead character Merry Summerfield is not so different from me – endlessly curious, with a brain that never stops, and always able to appreciate a handsome man.
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