Tinsel and Tea Cakes by @Piscj18 is a Christmas in July Fete pick #holidayromance #sweetromance
Title: Tinsel and Tea Cakes
Author: Jill Piscitello
Genre: Sweet romance, holiday romance
Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.
After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family's event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.
When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?
Lights flashed in the side view mirror. Another car parked behind them, but snow blocked all visibility through the back window. Boots crunching through snow announced the hulking figure before he appeared at the door. A scarf and hat covered most of the stranger’s face, and only a pair of emerald, green eyes peered in.
Scarlett inched down the window a crack. The possibility of this person being a deranged lunatic couldn’t be overlooked.
“Scarlett?” The man stepped back and tugged down the scarf.
She knew that face and opened her mouth to speak but couldn’t find a word. This day just kept getting better. Those eyes should have been the first clue, but never in her wildest dreams did she expect to see him again. The blur of memories racing through her mind dropped a throat-constricting concoction of confusion, hurt, and vile hope on her chest. “Wes.”
“What are you doing here? Aren’t you a little far from home?” A line formed between his eyebrows.
Clarice leaned forward to get a better glimpse of their potential knight in shining armor.
“More than a little.” Coherent thoughts took shape in the form of questions and accusations. Every fiber in her being burned at the thought of asking him for help, but alternative options were few and far between. Who knew how long before roadside assistance arrived? Fine, maybe he’d get her out of this mess, but making small talk didn’t need to factor into the exchange. “Any chance you have a shovel? If we can dig out my wheels a bit, I might have a chance of moving.”
“Give me a minute.” He trudged over to his car.
The heat from Clarice’s gaze bore into the back of her head and slid down her neck.
“How do you know him?”
A telltale lilt crept into Clarice’s voice. Scarlett released a breath and met her inquisitive gaze. “We crossed paths a while back. I don’t know him well.” At least not as well as she’d once thought.
“Let’s hope this works.” Clarice sat back and held up her phone. “I’m not getting a signal, and you probably aren’t either.”
“He’s coming back.” Scarlett pulled on a hat and gloves. She opened the door and stepped into the frigid air.
“Get back in the car. This isn’t a two-person job—at least until I get some of this cleared away.” Without waiting for a response, he plunged the shovel into the snow.
Scarlett snapped her mouth closed. Who did he think she was, a helpless damsel in distress, incapable of using a shovel? On second thought, let him have at it. This wasn’t the time to wave her independent woman flag in his face. A bit of manual labor was the least he could do after what he’d put her through. Ducking her head did little to stave off the wind whipping wet flakes into her eyes. As she climbed inside, the animated expression on Clarice’s face shredded any lingering threads of patience.
“Where’d you meet? You know, a chance encounter such as this might just be the kick in the pants you need to stop moping around over that good for nothin’ Niall.”
Great. Another lecture on the time she’d wasted with Niall Olsen and an interrogation asking how she knew Wes Harley. Sure, Clarice meant well. But they’d reached the tail end of a four-hour, treacherous drive from Rhode Island. Getting out of this car and off the road couldn’t happen fast enough.
“Right now, I’m focused on reaching our destination in one piece. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re driving through a freakin’ blizzard.” A flicker of guilt settled on her chest. Getting snappy with Clarice wouldn’t help matters. Desperate for a diversion from all subjects, Scarlett twisted the dial on the radio, found a cheery Christmas station, and cranked up the volume to drown out the sounds of the shovel crunching through snow and any further questions. With her stomach clenched into a tight ball, she rested her head against the seat and closed her eyes against the flakes piling up.
A dull thud propelled her forward. Newly accumulated snow disappeared from her windshield and revealed Wes, now an abominable snowman. Her resolve to maintain a steely vibe softened. Watching him approach the window, she fought the half-smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
“I think you’re all set. When you hear me knock on your trunk, put the car in Drive, and I’ll push. Once you’re on the road, just keep going.”
“Thanks, Wes.” Unable to meet his penetrating stare, she averted her gaze. Did he have something else to say? Well, he could save it. Any heartfelt apologies should have been offered a year ago. Or worse, was he waiting for her to say more? She wasn’t about to grovel in gratitude.
“Where are you headed?” he asked. “I hope it’s not far.”
That made two of them. Abandoning her car on the side of the road and asking for a lift was tempting. But the more rational side of her brain took over, admonishing that Wes Harley was not someone to depend on. “Once we get going, we’ll be fine.”
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What I love most about the holiday season:
I love the energy of the holiday season. The spirit is a mishmash of excitement, anxiety, joy, and sadness. Every human interaction sparks with emotion, whether it’s finding the perfect gift, the anticipation of seeing family and friends, or reflecting on memories of holidays spent with loved ones who’ve passed on.
In New England, the cooling temperatures and unique scent of impending snow tinge the air with an electricity that disappears after the new year.
Gifts are supposed to be the least important part of the holidays. But there’s no denying how wonderful it feels to give or receive something truly thoughtful. My personal favorite is a blanket with a collage of family photos. Of course, the cats are included.
With two children in college, time is speeding up. I cherish the month spent with them during the winter break and wonder how many years I have left to enjoy a full house during the holidays before they move out. Until then, we will fill our home with warmth, laughter, and Christmas cookies.
Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?
Tinsel and Tea Cakes is the perfect story to get readers into a festive mood. We all know how hectic the holiday season is. For me, that means precious little time to submerge myself in a full-length novel. My novella is the ideal length for anyone who has only snippets of time to carve out for a heartwarming, holiday romance.
The destination, themed wedding at The Timeless Manor brims with the gowns, décor, and food of a Victorian Christmas while staying firmly planted in a present-day contemporary, second-chance romance.
I adore all that the four seasons have to offer, but Christmas in July is always a delightful way to catch a glimmer of the holiday spirit mid-year. Tinsel and Tea Cakes tells the story of a woman learning how to forgive herself and others for past mistakes. Though the mention of a few snowflakes may hint at cooler weather to come, this is a book to be enjoyed year-round.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs July 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on August 1.
Jill Piscitello is a teacher, author, and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.
A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.
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