at Paranormal Romantics chatting about Ghosts and unfinished business.
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My hero Carter never did much celebrating of any holiday, and the over-the-top fairytale atmosphere of Christmas Town takes some serious adjustment. Only one person in the world could lure him out of his town, New York City. And only one person could convince him not to give up on her: the same guy who’d left him with a shiny red truck and a sweet red dog, things he’d never imagined he’d own in his lifetime.
I share a little bit of Carter’s bemusement over Christmas decoration, usually when I’m standing in the pet food aisle of the local big box store and become aware of a large, looming presence over my shoulder. The massive Rudolph is watching me. In September. It’s a lot to swallow. Like Carter, for me the season comes into focus in the small moments, the kindness of strangers and the love that seems especially sweet in the holiday season. He’s grumpy and ragged around the edges, thanks to his beginning and his choices, but I like him. Here’s a bit of Carter.
This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release Christmas, Actually.
A Heartwarming Holiday will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1000 pages.
Santa's Secret Heart by Anna Adams Merry Christmas Carol by Melinda Curtis Miracle on Joyful Street by Liz Flaherty Finding His Fiancée by Christmas by Cheryl Harper The Christmas Window by Tara Randel Mistletoe and Holly by Leigh Riker Gingerbread Girl by Carol Ross The Christmas List by Anna J Stewart A Case for Christmas Magic by Amy Vastine Jingle Bell Love by Cari Lynn Webb
Dara Allen has retreated to Christmas Town in order to hide from a broken heart. Life there has softened some of her edges without changing her style. When ex-NYC cop Carter Howe follows her, they’ll have to come to terms with what’s true, what matters, and messages from a friend.
Carter studied Boomer’s nest. “You warm enough, pal?” He scooped the fleece throw decorated with dog bones tighter under Boomer’s legs. The old dog sighed happily and blinked up at him, warm brown eyes sleepy but determined not to miss a thing. “Need a walk?” He stared down the street at what he figured had to be the town pet store. “Pawsitively Merry. Unbelievable.”
He managed to say the name without grimacing, so he was making steady progress.
Convincing Dara to give him a second shot might take some time. Snorting every time someone said a street name or business wouldn’t win him any friends.
When Boomer’s tail thumped hard on the seat, Carter said, “Yeah, I get the message. Let’s go for a walk, then we’ll get out of the snow. I can try again tomorrow.”
He was certain she’d still been in Dockery’s, but short of staging some kind of scene, what could he do? She had to be shocked to see him. After a year, she could have assumed he’d given up, moved on.
The last thing he wanted to do was spook her into running anywhere else.
As soon as Carter opened the truck door, Boomer slid carefully out. He ran across the street and paused to sniff the garland strung across white picket fence. “White. Picket. Fence. This place is unreal.” People were milling around the gazebo, cups of steaming hot chocolate in hand, even while the fat flakes of snow that had been threatening or dusting ever since he’d left the city floated steadily down. “Might as well be in inside a snow globe.”
A truly cliché Mrs. Claus-type beamed broadly at him as if she agreed and appreciated his comment. Her smile slipped at his dark frown, so he said, “Come on, Boomer. Let’s go get a treat.”
Everywhere he looked, something or someone was jingling or flashing bright lights or singing a carol. Red or green or some combination of both covered coats, hats, and buildings as far as he could see. It was kind of cute, but he couldn’t imagine living with it. The single guy dressed head to toe in gray and conspicuous by his lack of heavy winter coat stuck out like the single dead bulb on a strand of colorful lights.
For her, he’d stay. He could do it. His attire, perfectly suited to life in New York, would label him a visitor, and one not too in love with the town’s theme at that, but no one would call him on it. This was a nice town filled with happy souls.
He’d get out as fast as he could.
About the Author:
Cheryl Harper discovered her love for books and words as a little girl, thanks to a mother who made countless library trips and an introduction to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House stories. Now she spends her days searching for the right words while she stares out the window and her dog snoozes beside her. Website