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The Last Cottage on Pinewood Lane by USA Today Bestseller Melissa McClone is a Christmas in July Fete pick #romance #holidayromance #christmasinjuly #giveaway

Title: The Last Cottage on Pinewood Lane


Author: Melissa McClone


Genre: Contemporary Romance


Book Blurb:


She’s his Christmas miracle. Now all he has to do is convince her of that…

Figure skater Tasha Ramson used to love the holidays. But with her career on the skids, she needs a break from the festive season—and Berry Lake is the perfect place to take it. Organizing a Christmas fundraiser was not on her agenda. Neither was falling for the small town’s handsome lawyer. But…she did…

Elias Carpenter needs a break, too. Between the demands of his family firm and managing the ice show fundraiser, he’s at the end of his rope. Tasha showing up is the best thing that could’ve happened for him professionally and personally. Now, if only he could convince her to move him out of the friendzone…

When a pesky ghost from Tasha’s past arrives to wreck her present, will she hang onto Elias when it matters most? Or will she let her happily ever after skate away forever?



“Dog. Higgins. Stop.”


Pulse pounding, Elias raced out the door. His feet sank into the snow covering his front yard.


Higgins ran toward the end of Pinewood Lane. The blue leash dragged behind him like a malfunctioning kite tail.


The dog wouldn’t get far. Elias’s legs and strides would overtake the dog’s shorter legs soon.


His breath huffed. At least there were no cars. “Higgins!”


The dog didn’t slow but sped up.


So much for Higgins being smart and chill. The dog needed obedience lessons.


Or a new foster.


Elias picked up the pace, ignoring the stitch in his side and the burn in his thighs. He’d been away from the gym for too long if a brief run wore him out.


Higgins ran past the last cottage. He veered between the tall pine trees onto the path that led to the frozen lake. For a dog who’d only arrived, he seemed to know where he wanted to go.


Please don’t go on the ice.


It would be harder to catch the dog out there.


“Higgins!” Elias’s voice hung on the wind.


He cleared the trees to a snow-covered area known as Pinewood Beach in the summer. Higgins sat facing the lake at the edge, where a short ridge of snow had built up. Elias walked slowly so as not to spook the dog.


Movement caught Elias’s attention. He glanced past Higgins to the lake and squinted.


Someone was on the ice.


He did a double take.


A figure skater wearing black—except for her skates and a multicolor beanie—glided across the ice. Her graceful movements with outstretched arms and fast spins reminded him of the ice show his grandmother had dragged him to when he was twelve. He’d gotten snacks, which made the two hours pass quicker, but he would have rather watched the Mariners or Seahawks. That was well before the Volcanoes, an expansion hockey team, had arrived in Seattle.


No music played, yet she skated as if performing for a packed arena. She…captivated Elias.


The skater must have tucked her hair inside the beanie, and he wanted to know what color her hair was. Eyes, too, but he stood too far away.


And then he remembered…




The dog sat facing the skater.


Elias took a slow, careful step and then another. The dog didn’t flinch.


Only another two feet to go. Snow crunched under his left foot. He inhaled sharply.


Higgins bolted across the ice directly in the path of…


“Stop!” Elias yelled.


Neither the dog nor the skater listened. The leash slid across the ice right in front of the skater, who skated with her chin up.


“Be careful!” Elias shouted.


The scene played out in slow motion. Higgins froze. Her right skate hit the leash and she stumbled. The skater tried to keep her balance by sticking her arms out, but her action didn’t stop gravity. She hit the ice with a thud.


Higgins jumped on top of her and licked her face.


The skater laughed. She reached into her jacket pocket. “Well, this is a first. Where did you come from, cutie?”


Her voice wrapped around Elias, as warm and comfortable as a fleece blanket. He wanted to hear it again, only he wanted her to speak to him.


He stepped onto the ice, taking small steps to keep from falling. “Are you okay?”


The skater looked at him.


Gorgeous green eyes. Elias’s mouth went dry. He nearly fell flat on his back.


Forget speaking. All he could do was breathe.


“Is this your dog?” she asked.


“Sorta.” He came closer, unsure why he found himself so tongue-tied. A friend from law school had once told Elias that dogs were a chick magnet. But Higgins running into this woman seemed more like luck. “I’m fostering him for the holidays.”


She rubbed Higgins with a gloved hand. “Friendly.”


“He’d been in my house for less than five minutes when he took off. I’m sorry. Did you hurt yourself?”


She grabbed the leash, placed Higgins on the ice, and carefully stood. “I’ve taken much harder falls over the years, but thanks for the concern.”


“You skate a lot?” he blurted.


“Yes.” The amusement in her voice matched the twinkle in her eyes. “Not a fan of the sport?”


He shrugged. “I prefer hockey.”


“Of course you do.” She appeared more resigned than upset. “Here you go.”


He took the leash from her. “Thanks. I’m Elias.”


She hesitated. “Tasha.”


Tasha. The name suited her. “You’re not from around here.”


Tasha brushed off the snow from her backside. “No.”


Only locals came to this part of the lake unless… He remembered seeing a car he didn’t recognize drive by when he’d brought in the mail before he ate lunch. “You’re staying in the last cottage on Pinewood Lane.”


Tasha stiffened, and her eyes narrowed. “How do you know that?”


“I live in the second house on the right. The one you’re in is the only rental on the lane.”


That might change. Dalton Dwyer had bought the cottage where Tasha was staying and would take possession in January. No one knew Dalton’s plans for it yet. Some thought he would relocate from Portland since he’d grown up in Berry Lake, but the guy was in real estate and business development, so the property might just be an investment.


She laughed. “Small towns are always the same.”


“Everyone knows your business.”


Tasha nodded. “Aren’t you freezing out here?”


Elias wasn’t wearing a jacket, but somehow, he was warm. “I ran after Higgins, so I’m not cold.”


“Higgins.” Tasha’s face brightened, taking his breath away. “What a cute name. Is he named after Henry from Pygmalion or the one from Magnum P.I. or the guy in Ted Lasso?”


Who knew Higgins was such a popular name? Elias scratched his chin. “I don’t know. The rescue told me that was his name from his…person, who died.”


Tasha bent over and petted Higgins. “I’m so sorry, sweetie.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):



What I love most about the holiday season:


For me, the spirit of giving that is in the air. People just seem to open their hearts more and help others out.


Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?


This story takes place in a small town set on a lake in Washington state. It features a former figure skater, who gets roped into putting on an ice show to raise money for a local charity. She has to work with a lawyer, who’d rather do anything else. The story has a lot of vibes similar to TV Christmas movies so it’ll have you humming your favorite Christmas carol by the end!


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card.



Open internationally.


Runs July 1 – 31, 2024


Drawing will be held on August 1, 2024.


Author Biography:


USA TODAY bestselling, award-winning author Melissa McClone writes heartwarming women’s fiction and sweet contemporary romance novels for Tule Publishing Group, Harlequin Books, and Cardinal Press. She has also optioned two screenplays. When she’s not writing relatable characters and sigh-worthy happy endings, she spends her time in the rainy Pacific Northwest reading from her Kindle’s ever-growing TBR, napping with her Norwegian Elkhound and two mini panthers, and decorating her Happy Planner. Melissa graduated from Stanford University with a mechanical engineering degree, but discovered she prefers writing happily ever afters to jet engine testing and analysis. 


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Jul 09

I enjoyed reading this story.

Jul 09
Replying to

I enjoy baking Christmas goodies.


Colleen C.
Colleen C.
Jul 09

I love time with family... the decorations and the music.... the joy all around.


Jul 09

Spending time with my family!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jul 08

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your book in our Christmas in July Fete!

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