A Season to Celebrate

A Season to Celebrate

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Overview

Make it a merry Christmas with four stories of the special way the holidays warm our hearts…
 
CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING * Fern Michaels
Former Air Force Pararescueman Kevin Matthews is back home in Texas, working at his family’s Christmas tree farm while deciding his next move. Or maybe he won’t move at all, if sparks keep flying with the town’s new surgeon, Kate Stafford . . .
 
AN UNEXPECTED GIFT * Kate Pearce
Widower Billy Morgan wishes his grown children still needed him. Good thing his longtime friend, Bella, does. She’s planning her son’s Christmas wedding and Billy is happy to help. Along the way they just might discover their own occasion to celebrate . . .
 
CHRISTMAS IN BLUE HOLLOW FALLS * Donna Kauffman
Attorney Moira Brogan expects her brother’s Christmas wedding to be a peaceful affair. She doesn’t expect to be cornered by an unwanted lothario, rescued by a gorgeous Aussie chef—or be swept off her feet by said chef. Nursing a broken heart, the last thing she wants is a new romance. But Hudson Walker has other ideas . . .
 
HOLIDAY HOMERUN * Priscilla Oliveras
Event planner Julia Louisa Fernandez dreams of a life in Chicago. But her family in Puerto Rico expects her to take over the catering business. Former pro baseball player Ben Thomas knows what that’s like—and when they meet, he might be the one to inspire a winning strategy, just in time for the holidays . . .

An Official Military Spouse Book Club Pick

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420135749
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 10/30/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 136,827
Product dimensions: 4.14(w) x 6.71(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood, Men of the Sisterhood and Godmothers series, and dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over ninety-five million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is a passionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret. Visit her website at www.fernmichaels.com.
 
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author KATE PEARCE was born in England in the middle of a large family of girls and quickly found that her imagination was far more interesting than real life. After acquiring a degree in history and barely escaping from the British Civil Service alive, she moved to California and then to Hawaii with her kids and her husband and set about reinventing herself as a romance writer. You can find Kate at her website at www.katepearce.com, on Facebook as Kate Pearce, and on Twitter @Kate4queen.

USA Today bestselling author of the Blue Hollow Falls series, DONNA KAUFFMAN has been gratified to see her books get rave reviews in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia and loves to hear from readers! You can contact her through her website at www.donnakauffman.com.
 
PRISCILLA OLIVERAS is a 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes sweet contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. Her debut release, His Perfect Partner, and the second book in her Matched to Perfection series, Her Perfect Affair, both earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Since earning an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she serves as English adjunct faculty at her local college and teaches an on-line course titled “Romance Writing” for ed2go. Priscilla is a sports fan, a beach lover, a half-marathon runner and a consummate traveler who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at www.prisoliveras.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras  or on Twitter via @prisoliveras.

Hometown:

Summerville, South Carolina

Place of Birth:

Hastings, Pennsylvania

Education:

High School

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Kevin Matthews watched from his window seat as the tarmac faded from view. He was finally heading home to Texas after three tours in the military. Home for the holidays. The first time in six years.

At thirty-two, he was going to start his life all over again. Yes, again ... for the second time. Third if you were counting his birth. He had accumulated a lot of experience in the past several years, and his appreciation and vitality for living had been renewed.

Kevin was twenty-six when he joined the Air Force. A Special Forces group known as Pararescues — "PJs" for short. His proficiency at skydiving and scuba, hobbies from his high school days, had made him a much sought after airman. Throw in six years as an EMS volunteer, and he was the perfect candidate to join the group. And it was the perfect group for him to join.

He needed a serious change of scenery, and the French Foreign Legion was no longer an option. Did people really do that years ago? Join the Foreign Legion? He wondered. But being a Texan, it was hard to imagine joining any international organization that wasn't homegrown American, even if Texas would make noise about seceding from the Union every couple of years. He thought the new term "Texit" was hilarious. Nope. He was going to serve his country, the USA, and the PJs' slogan, "Relief from Above," was something he could easily adopt, especially since he was in need of relief as well.

Running his fingers through his full, black, wavy hair — a habit he had had since he was a kid — he hoped he could endure the next ten hours on the plane to Dallas. Sitting in one position for any length of time could get uncomfortable.

He considered asking the fellow in the aisle seat to switch with him, but the guy had his head buried in what looked like an Avengers comic book and simply grunted when Kevin approached the row. He didn't even make a move to allow Kevin easy access. When Kevin squeezed past him, the guy gave another annoying grunt. It was obvious he wasn't going to be very cooperative. As Kevin folded his six-foot-two-inch, lean, muscular body into the seat, he resigned himself to discomfort until he absolutely needed to move around.

Two years back, during a precision air-drop exercise, some of the supplies had plunged from the cargo plane too soon, and he had to jump to retrieve them. His chute got caught in a bizarre tangle that sent him spinning perilously to the ground. Fortunately, he was able to come out of free fall and managed to land safely but not well. Two operations later and he had his mobility back, though he still had a slight limp. No, sir. Rigorous activities were no longer an option. If he ever took a bad fall, the titanium that held his femur together would stay intact, but it would also cause the shattering of what remained of his own bone structure. Nope. Horseback riding wasn't on the menu, and neither was skydiving anymore — maybe scuba diving if he ever got back to Lake Travis. Hiking, fishing, and riding a bike would be his limit. He'd have to avoid anything that would threaten his Humpty-Dumpty leg.

He sighed and smiled at the same time. It was worth it, he told himself. The faces on the refugees as they clamored for the lifesaving supplies were more than a "thank-you," and the rescues from the earthquake in Japan that he participated in were experiences he could never have imagined. Knowing he actually made a difference in people's lives — total strangers, in fact — gave him a sense of satisfaction that nothing else on this earth could replicate.

The broken bones eventually healed. But the greatest recovery was his heart. It had been broken — devastated. Now he was whole, with the additional help of some titanium and screws, and an experience that gave new meaning to life and the little things in it.

Yes, he was thankful for it. He was still alive and heading home to his mom's skillet corn bread. During the flight attendant's safety speech, Kevin thought back to the circumstances that had brought him on this journey: the hobbies that would scare the bejesus out of his mother, and the breakup with Melissa. Funny thing about it — he was grateful. Grateful for the breakup, but at the time, he couldn't imagine what his future life would be like.

They had been high-school sweethearts. Getting married, having a family, and — one day — opening a sporting goods shop were the only things he envisioned. Yes, he was going to thank Melissa when he saw her, because running into her was inevitable. Cedar Park was a small town: the very reason he started his life all over for the second time, counting his birth. Now here he was again, starting fresh. This time, though, he had a much better attitude.

Kevin squirmed in his seat as he imagined what his homecoming would be like. Mom would have the house decorated, as in everything. There was not one tabletop, chair, or dresser that didn't have some kind of Christmas ornament. Even the vanity in the bathroom had elves doling out toilet paper. When he was in his teens, he thought it was totally corny. Almost embarrassing. Now it would be a sight for sore eyes, and he'd be thrilled to assemble the hundreds of pieces that were transformed into a Christmas village, surrounded by the miniature trains that would run around the entire perimeter of the living room. As soon as Mrs. Matthews gave it the seal of approval, Kevin and his dad would start working on the exterior of the house, stringing the thousands of lights collected over the years on every tree, bush, and shrub that had a branch. The giant Santa and his entire entourage would sit proudly on the front lawn. Yes, the Matthews house would rival anyone else's attempt at decorating. "Eat your heart out, Macy's!" would be his dad's battle cry when he flipped the switch. The only other place that presented any challenge was the Cedar Park Christmas Tree Farm, with acres of cedars. Hence the name of the town, Cedar Park. His grandfather had started the farm just under a century ago, and his dad started managing it when Pops retired. As soon as Halloween arrived and the hayrides were over, Mrs. Matthews would be in charge of decorating everything in sight at the tree farm, and everyone would joke about being able to see Cedar Park from the International Space Station.

* * *

They had been airborne for over an hour, and Kevin's leg was beginning to stiffen. He softly nudged the guy sleeping next to him. "Excuse me, sir, sorry to disturb you." His Texas drawl let the words drop politely from his mouth.

Suddenly, he got the attention of a very attractive young woman in a blue suit, whose name tag on her navy blue uniform said ALLISON. "Oh, sir. You're with the military, correct? Thank you for your service!" She beamed her very best flight attendant smile.

"My pleasure, ma'am." Kevin was never fully aware of the effect he had on women. He had always been ruggedly handsome, with his deep blue eyes and his tanned skin from the outdoors. But he and Melissa started going steady at fifteen, so the thought of dating other girls had never been on his radar. Then, after enlisting, he had no time for anything resembling a relationship. Once in a while he would have friendly drinks with other military folks, but a love affair was by no means on the table.

He winced slightly as he climbed over his drowsy seat partner. His leg was aching a bit, and he needed to walk the aisle. Noticing his slight limp, and the cramped situation he was in, the flight attendant touched his forearm, and whispered, "Follow me." She guided him into first class, where there was an unoccupied, sumptuous seat. Being aware his flight was gratis due to his military status, he immediately began to protest. "Ma'am, I do very much appreciate the gesture, but I'm fine." The words poured easily from his lips.

"It's the least we can do for our brave soldiers. The seat is empty, and I am sure you have more than earned it." Again, the beaming, gleaming white teeth, as she flirted with him. "Can I get you something to drink? Headphones? A snack?"

"I do appreciate your kindness, but I should be just fine." Kevin was almost embarrassed by her doting.

"Surely, you could use something?" She looked at him with puppy-dog eyes.

"Well, if you insist. I don't suppose you could wrestle up a very cold beer?" Kevin was beginning to fall into his easy Texas style.

"I think I could find something to your liking." Allison stared into his dreamy pools of azure blue and hoped she would be to his liking. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small plastic bag containing earbuds. "Here. There are a dozen music channels you can listen to, or you can watch one of the in-flight movies."

"Well, thank you very much, ma'am. I sure do appreciate your kindness. And this comfort is heavenly."

Allison headed toward the galley and reappeared minutes later with an icy cold beer and a platter of sandwiches.

Kevin was by no means a virgin, but he was unaccustomed to this kind of attention — even with his strapping good looks, he was surprisingly shy and unassuming. Noticing her name tag, he addressed her by name: "Allison. Thank you for making my journey home enjoyable. A man could get used to this! Don't you go spoiling me, now!"

Thinking she could get used to a few more passengers like Kevin, she lightly touched his arm and lowered her voice. "If you need anything, just ring that bell." She winked and turned her attention to the other passengers, who were noticeably antsy waiting for their unlimited supply of cocktails.

Reminding himself that this was "starting over" number three, perhaps it was time to begin looking at women from a different perspective instead of as heartbreakers. Even though the split with Melissa gave him the second start-over of his life, his subconscious continued to protect him from any sort of emotional entanglement. Allison's kindness struck a chord. This was the next new beginning, and maybe, just maybe, there was someone out there for him. Someone. Obviously, not Allison. She was, after all, the first pretty woman he had encountered in a while, but he wasn't going all gaga. No, she was there to remind him that there was hope. He laughed, and wryly observed to himself, Yes, old boy. You got a lot of catching up to do.

He settled into the lush leather seat, stretched his leg to a comfortable position, inserted the earbuds, and searched for a country music station. Contentment was beginning to envelop him, and he easily let it wrap him in its arms.

His long-overdue nap was interrupted by the flight attendant's announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are beginning our final approach into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Please turn off all electronic devices, make sure your seat back is in an upright position and your seat belt is securely fastened. We should be on the ground shortly."

This had been the longest part of his journey home. Almost ten hours. He had made his way to London via Germany, and before that from Istanbul. Four flights in almost twenty-four hours. It would be good to be on terra firma again. And this time in his home state.

As the plane touched down, the captain's voice came over the intercom. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dallas, Texas — the United States of America." The cabin burst with applause as the captain continued: "And we would personally like to thank our military personnel for their service."

Kevin was surprised at his own reaction of getting a little teary eyed. It had been a long journey — emotionally and geographically. He could barely keep himself from salivating, just thinking about his mom's home cooking. When he had written to his family informing them he would be coming home, not just for the holidays, but for good, he jokingly said, "No parades, please."

Once the FASTEN SEAT BELT sign dimmed, he walked back to his original seat to fetch his duffel. His drowsy seatmate had commandeered both seats and was sloppily draped across the armrest, still snoring, and drooling on his Avengers T- shirt, which was about three sizes too small.

Now Kevin was grateful to Allison for two things: reminding him there was an entire gender with which he could become reacquainted and for saving him from having some strange dude inadvertently snuggle with him.

As he stepped off the Jetway, he headed toward the baggage claim area, where his father had said he would meet him. Looking for the carousel that would be hurling his duffel bag, he heard shouts and cheers: "Kevin Matthews, you are great! Welcome home to the Lone Star State! Kevin Matthews, you are great! Welcome home to the Lone Star State!" There must have been over twenty people surrounding his mom and dad, both of whom were sporting handkerchiefs soaking up the tears of joy and relief. He hurried toward his mom, picked her up, and in good old-fashioned Texas style, gave her a spin that almost knocked his father over!

His mother clung to him as if she would never let go, until his dad had to pry her off so he could give his son the bear hug he had been longing for.

As Kevin steadied himself, he noticed the banner with his name on it, KEVIN MATTHEWS, OUR HERO. He was trying hard not to be overwhelmed by this welcome, but the accolades mixed with holiday decorations were almost too much. He recalled his training, gained his composure, stood erect, smiled, and waved to the onlookers.

"Holy smoke! What a homecoming! Wow! I'm ... I'm ... blown away. Okay, maybe not the best choice of words." Shrieks of laughter came from the bunch. "Who knew I was this popular!"

When he was able to focus beyond his tear-filled eyes, he recognized friends of his parents and folks from the church. "Okay, Dad. Mom. Now that you have thoroughly humiliated me, can we please get home to some of that corn bread I've been dreaming about? Let me grab my bag, and let's get outta here!"

"Sure, son! The car is just outside. They let me leave it there because I told them I was picking up my son who had just served six years in the military." Kevin's dad beamed with pride as they exited the airport. A security guard standing next to the vehicle saluted, and remarked: "Thank you for your service." Kevin saluted back and wiped away the tears he had been trying to quell. Yes, this was a new, new beginning and his heart filled with joy and hope.

They piled into the car and jumped on the interstate, I-35, for the three-hour ride home. Kevin could have flown from Dallas to Austin, but his parents insisted on picking him up, and another plane ride would have been more than Kevin could tolerate. Even though it was a haul to Cedar Park, they could stop along the way and grab a bite to eat, stretch their legs, and catch up. "How did everyone else get here, Dad?"

"Well, it just so happened that there is a Christmas festival in Dallas tonight, and the pastor offered to bring people on the church bus."

"Remind me to put some extra coins in the basket next time I'm there." Kevin was still reeling from the welcome home he had just received.

"Coins? Maybe a few greenbacks would do! And by the way, speaking of green, we need to get the trees over to the church pronto. We're almost a week late."

"Home five minutes, and you're already putting me to work?" Kevin teased, but in reality he was thrilled to be working among the cedar trees again. Dust had become the only thing he had inhaled for a long time. The fresh green scent of the trees would be heavenly.

"How's that leg of yours? Will you be all right to cut, wrap, and carry the trees to people's cars?" Kevin's mom said with concern.

"I couldn't be better. Just a little stiff, but otherwise, I'm good to go!"

"Well, you better not be going anywhere anytime soon. The last time you were thinking about reevaluating your life, you ended up in the Air Force!"

"I learned a lot, Mom. A lot about discipline, a lot about loyalty, and a lot about family.

"When you're as far away from home as I was, and for as long as I was, the people you share life-and-death experiences with become part of a family. And it helped me appreciate my own family. Before I left, I was just going through the motions, living from one day to the next, not fully realizing what I had and what I could do with my life. Now I understand how important it is to be grounded. Be a part of something. The loyalty. The love. The unwavering attention you give to each other. Everyone needs to learn to love just a little more and learn to accept it."

"Oh, Kevin, you sound so grown-up! And philosophical!" His mother began tearing up again.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "A Season To Celebrate"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Kensington Publishing Corporation.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Season to Celebrate 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
yomicat More than 1 year ago
Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read and reviewing A Season to Celebrate. As in many anthologies, there are some very strong pieces and weak ones as well. A Christmas Homecoming and An Unexpected gift were very enjoyable and very quick reads. I really didn't want An Unexpected Gift to end. The exact opposite was true for Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls, I thought it would never end it kept droning on and on. Holiday Homecoming I couldn't even finish, I just found it to be excessively boring and it didn't hold my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though you know boy will get girl... it’s always fun to see how it happens.
_NormaJean More than 1 year ago
A Season to Celebrate 4 Novellas Christmas Homecoming by Fern Michaels An Unexpected Gift by Kate Pearce Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls by Donna Kauffman Holiday Homerun by Patricia Oliveras Christmas Homecoming by Fern Michaels Kevin Matthews was forced to leave the Air Force because of a service-related injury. He is home in Texas working at his family’s tree farm while trying to decide where he is going next with his life. Kate Stafford is the new doctor in town. This is a delightful “chance meeting” love story. An Unexpected Gift by Kate Pearce Billy Morgan is a widower. His children are grown and living their own lives. His life-long friend, Bella, is planning her son’s Christmas wedding. Billy is delighted to help. He loves feeling needed again. Could their friendship become something more? Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls by Donna Kauffman Attorney Moira Brogan is in town to attend her brother’s Christmas wedding. She is recovering from a breakup with the man that she thought she would be her partner for the rest of her life. After the wedding she is having a drink in a local bar, hoping to relax, when she is approached by a very obnoxious and forceful “gentleman” who won’t take no for an answer. Good looking Aussie chef, Hudson Walker, comes to her rescue. Moira has no intention of pursuing another relationship. She isn’t over the last one yet. Another sweet romance from Donna Kauffman. Holiday Homerun by Patricia Oliveras Julia Louisa Fernandez has plans to become a successful event planner in Chicago. Her close-knit family wants her to come home to Puerto Rico to take over the family catering business. Ben Thomas is a former professional baseball player who was forced out of the game by an injury. He is chosen to be the emcee for a large charity event being planned by Julia. I really enjoyed this story. In addition to the wonderful Christmas storyline, I enjoyed being able to test my memory of Spanish phrases learned many years ago when I studied Spanish for four years in high school. A delightful story! I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. I definitely recommend this book for some delightful holiday reading.
Jennann3 More than 1 year ago
This review is for Kate Pearce's novella, An Unexpected Gift. While I have read all the other Morgan novels and LOVED them, this novella was not my favorite. Billy Morgan, the patriarch of the Morgan family, has a troubled past. Having been accused in the murder of his wife, disappearance of his daughter, then drowning his sorrows in the bottle, the recovering alcoholic deserves his HEA! I just pictured him as being more "alpha", than wimp. After rescuing Bella from an upset ex-employee, one would think he'd be "tough", but not so much. He and Bella's banter was so cheesy. If my parents spoke like that, I'd die laughing. It just didn't seem to "fit" with the rest of the Morgan series. I did appreciate their work ethic and care they showed to their family's. This just wasn't the novella for me. I do recommend the rest of the novels in the Morgan series! I read a gifted copy and all opinions stated are my own.
Bukgoddess More than 1 year ago
5 stars Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls! Donna Kauffman pens the Christmas short story in this anthology as the Novella bridge to her Blue Hollow Falls series, where Moira is the focus! Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls!! Who in their right mind gets married on Christmas Day?, Moira asks; apparently her awesome brother and his ultimately more awesome bride Pippa. While sitting at the small hotel bar located in the town outside of Blue Hollow Falls where Moira has left all the still reveling guest from the wedding since she just needed some space and though while alone contemplates there should be a law against it with the barkeep. Sally has her hands full as the small bar is filled to the gills with journalists and reporters who flocked to the tiny rural village in the Blue ridge mountains to try for their 5 minutes of fame in covering the wedding of the year that the whole world wants details of. Unfortunately for the media the small village protects their own and not a peep is being exposed. While drowning her life's questions of "what's next", Moira is approached by a huge unsavory character (a few drinks into his celebration), who has his own ideas on the matter. After many attempts to remove herself from his attention some crass language riddled with innuendo and some brisk manhandling on his part ensues with Moira being pushed through and ensuing bar fight but just as she fears she won't be able to save herself a voice with a fabulous Aussie accent whispers in her ear advises help is on the way. Broken tables and glass wear, along with a trip to the local jail to bail out her rescuer later; Moira again asks who would be insane enough to get married on Christmas Day.
EileenAW More than 1 year ago
A Season to Celebrate by Fern Michaels, Kate Pearce, Donna Kauffman, and Priscilla Oliveras, is a wonderful compilation of four holiday romance romances. Each author brought their romance to life in a short novella and left you looking forward to more from each of them. Each wrote a delightful romance in their style in order to tell their own story. A soldier returning home is given a chance at love with a new doctor in town. A widower learns that love can be found close to home in the form of a longtime friendship. A young woman whose life isn't going the way she wants it to finds love and hope while attending her brothers Christmas wedding. Finally we meet an event planner who meets someone with the same family issues she is struggling with and together they help each other resolve their problems and fall in love in the process. This was a great read, especially if you love romance during the holidays. Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls by Donna Kauffma, novella 2.5 in her Blue Hollow Falls series was my favorite read. This is Moira Brogan’s book, Seth sister. Aussie chef Hudson Walker, wasn’t expecting to be arrested and in jail for checking on his mate’s sister after the wedding party had departed, but that’s exactly where he found himself after rescuing Moira from a nasty situation, that escalated into an all-out bar brawl. Moira is at a crossroads in her life, and Hudson enjoys taking the unexpected turn at any crossroads he comes across, so they are quite the pair of opposites. One is a planner, the other lets life lead the way. Yet, their attraction is undeniable, their connection deeper and more meaningful than either expected. These two were so in tune with each other, and as they discover more about each other, and themselves, they must decide whether to take the next road together or separately. A quite difficult decision for Moira, who was recently hurt by what she had thought, was love. I loved their ending. The train cars were so unique and the entire setting was very picturesque. Ms. Kauffman and the other authors wrote wonderful and moving Christmas stories that are not to be missed. Each story is filled with fun dialogue, endearing characters and the magic of love and Christmas. I highly recommend this book to other. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very short but a really cute book. Book one of four.
FaeScot More than 1 year ago
What an absolutely sweet anthology filled with fabulous stories by wonderful authors. I wanted this book for Kate Pearce's story about Dad Billy from her Morgan Ranch. It was delightful but I have to say Donna Kaufman's story stole the starring role for me in this book. Priscilla Oliveras was third and sweet former athlete story filled with helping others. This was the Fern Michaels story and it felt like the first chapter for a full sized story, a taste and set up for the couple's story. The Stories in this anthology are: Fern Michaels "A Christmas Homecoming", is a series of wrong assumptions until the circumstances work out to dispel them. A few appropriate questions at the start could have eliminated the whole 70 pages and got the story off the ground. Kate Pearce's "An Unexpected Gift" is well named. Prodigal son Billy, and father of the Morgan Brothers, has returned home and hasn't found a place at his family's ranch as his mother and sons seem to have everything covered. He does anything to help, trying to make up for his past failures with his family. He and Bella Williams have been friends since kindergarten. He rescues her from a disgruntled employee and volunteers to help in her kitchen at the Red Dragon Bar when she's short handed. Turns out he went to culinary school after his stent in prison. I loved this story of found love and healing forgiveness. Donna Kaufman's "Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls" was packed with a rich romance filled with wisdom and perspective. Moira Brogan, attorney, is a co-Maid of Honor for her brother's Christmas Day wedding. Hudson Walker is an Aussie Chef for her brother's partner in the Blue Hollow Falls Mill complex. Her brother Seth askes Hudson to keep an eye out for Moira as she was coping with a really rough patch in her life. Hudson ends up trying to peacefully extricate her from a bullying chap bent on dragging Moira away for a night of passion she has no interest in. One massive bar fight later Moira ends up bailing him out of jail. This was such a fun adventure of two very different souls discovering that the life path they've been on can be richer by joining them together. It is jam packed with such great life wisdom that I'll have to go back an pick up quotes I want to keep. That and Donna Kaufman's books will have to go on my list to investigate further. Priscilla Oliveras' Holiday Home Run was a sweet tale about an event planner visiting her cousin and trying to get a foot in the door in Chicago so she can escape her family's plan for her to take over her mother's catering business in Puerto Rico. She's volunteering on the committee to raise money for the Chicago Youth Association. Benjamin Thomas is a retired Pro Baseball Pitcher who agrees to be emcee for the event to help them raise money. The best way to describe this story is sweet and filled with the flavor of the Puerto Rico culture. Thank you Kensington and Kate Pearce for granting me the opportunity to review this story.
howel2ce More than 1 year ago
I received a free eARC through Netgalley. This review is only for Donna Kauffman’s CHRISTMAS IN BLUE HOLLOW FALLS. Moira Brogan is down in the dumps after her brother’s Christmas wedding. She’s happy for her brother and her new sister-in-law, but it’s hard to celebrate when she’s still dealing with a broken heart. Moira wants only to wallow in her misery when she’s accosted at the bar. Aussie chef Hudson Walker has been sent by Moira’s brother, Seth, to keep an eye on her and throws himself into saving her from the boor who cannot accept no for an answer. Although she’s generally more than capable of handling such situations herself, Moira does need help when it escalates out of control. Hudson makes it known that he’s interested in getting to know Moira better. She cannot deny that she’s attracted to Hudson, but she’s afraid of another broken heart. Is she willing to take that risk again? This is a feel good Christmas story and a great addition to the Blue Hollow Falls series. Although this novella is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone.
TarynLee More than 1 year ago
This was a lovely compilation of four holiday romances by four different authors. Each brought their romance to life in a short novella and left you looking forward to more from each of them. With a style of their own each had a delightful romance to tell. A soldier returning home is given a chance at love with a new doctor in town. A widower learns that love can be found close to home in the form of a longtime friendship. A young woman whose life isn't going the way she wants it to finds love and hope while attending her brothers Christmas wedding. Finally we meet an event planner who meets someone with the same family issues she is struggling with and together they help each other resolve their problems and fall in love in the process. This was a great read, especially if you love romance during the holidays.
LawladyCase More than 1 year ago
This is a collection of short stories by four independently well-known authors. Each is connected to Christmas. Two of the authors I already read so I am bias by their stories. The other two, I enjoyed just as much. I will be reading more of their work. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that An Unexpected Gift by Kate Pearce was about two people around the age of 50. I was refreshing to read about older people falling in love again. Thank you for allowing those of us that are 50+ to relate to the main characters in a love story. The stories are just the right length to be able to read them individually when you have time during the holidays. Of course, you are still free to binge read if you desire. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
JigsawGirl More than 1 year ago
This review is for Kate Pearce's story, An Unexpected Gift. I was so happy to read a story about a mature couple, and for Billy to get his HEA with Bella. I have been following the Morgan Ranch series since the beginning, and hoped that Billy would find his place in the family again. A quick read, a touching, sweet, and sensual holiday romance. And that while scene with Billy, Bella, BB, and Chase was too funny. I voluntarily read and reviewed the Advanced Reader Copy. I will update this review when I complete the other books in the set.
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
Every time there is a compilation of short stores that hinge on authors series stories there are always ones that stand out. I loved AN UNEXPECTED GIFT by Kate Pearce which allows Morgan Ranch fans to get the low down on widower Billy Morgan. His chance for a happily ever after is stumbled upon when Bella, Billy's childhood friend, plans a party at the ranch for her son. The other excerpt that stood out to me was CHRISTMAS IN BLUE HOLLOW FALLS by Donna Kauffman This was a new author to experience and I loved this story. A meeting between an attorney and a chef makes for a tasty bit of prose. A copy of this book was provided by Kensington Books via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
Jilleey More than 1 year ago
This is a review of Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls one of the stories in this collection. I was so excited to go back to Blue Hollow Falls at Christmas and to learn more about Moira, who we met in Bluestone & Vine. Moira's story touched me, as chasing after dreams and finding out they weren't what you expected, is difficult. Throw in a bar fight, lamenting over a broken heart and a hot new Aussie chef and this story will make you forget about dreams once imagined. Thankful for this peek back into the community that I have fallen in love with and can't wait for the next full story in the series. I'm also looking forward to reading the rest of the stories in this collection, as I need some holiday cheer and romance to last me through to the holidays.
gdsnv More than 1 year ago
The first thing you need to know is that I will auto-buy most holiday books – I am a sucka for ‘em! As soon as I heard this collection was being released, it went on my to-buy list. I always purchase Ms. Michaels books and Ms. Oliveras was a new author to me, but this set of stories came with a favorite author (Donna Kauffman) and a “newly” favorite (Kate Pearce)! I was fortunate in that I received an early copy from NetGalley but I still pre-ordered. It really was an enjoyable read. The four stories are about novella length so they move quickly. I also love, love, love Ms. Kauffman’s Blue Hollow series and her contribution is a part of that. I have also been reading Ms. Pearce’s Morgan Ranch series and her story is also from that series. No worries; they were all standalone reads. However, I had already “met” the characters from Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls and An Unexpected Gift. I had some favorite lines in all the stories however I don’t want there to be any spoilers. In Christmas Homecoming, that line was almost at the end but Kevin’s and Kate’s story is sort of based on a comedy of errors. They keep misreading each other’s signals and it is Kate’s little girl that will steal the show with her one-liners, IMHO. In An Unexpected Gift, Billy Morgan finds love with an old friend, Bella. My favorite line? Bella’s Navy SEAL son tells Billy, “And all you need to remember is that if you hurt her I’ll come after you, and no one will ever find your body.” “Understood.” Billy nodded. Cracked me up, as you’ll see when you read it. Billy has a past and it plays a very large part of this story. In Holiday Homerun, if you have ever dealt with family expectations, the story will hit home. Julia and Ben both have things in their pasts that are probably direct opposites if you compared them, but they both have to deal with that in order to move forward. Touching and sometimes funny, but always enjoyable. My absolute favorite of the stories was Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls by Ms. Kauffman. Again, it is a standalone however I’ve “met” Moira Brogan in a previous book about her brother Seth however this, too, stands alone. As a matter of fact, she is “rescued” by Hudson Walker after Seth’s wedding, and they are adorable together. Hudson is one of those characters where you think, this guy is too good to be true, but he never gets…sappy, for lack of a better term. And I loved his choice of housing! Moira’s life is in turmoil as she has had some disappointments and discouraging events in her past but always has the love of her big Irish family behind her. She just wishes that sometimes they were fa-a-a-a-a-a-a-arrrrrrrrrr behind her! I love these two and it was a peek into life around Blue Hollow Falls and it made me sigh and say, ‘Awwwwwwwwwwww!’ I love the series and it just carried thru with this story. All in all, well worth the purchase of the book! I will re-read in years to come.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING by Fern Michaels Sweet holiday romance that features veteran Kevin Matthews returning home from duty after a medical discharge meeting Dr. Kate Stafford and her young daughter Emma. There are some ups and downs and misconceptions but eventually they work their way toward a relationship with a future together. (3 Stars) AN UNEXPECTED GIFT by Kate Pearce Billy Morgan has been in the previous Morgan Ranch Series books and is the father of the four brothers that have had their stories told so wonderfully already. There is still a sister and a granddaughter that could have stories of their own but THIS is Billy’s time to find a HEA with a woman he has known since kindergarten. I thoroughly enjoyed the falling in love of this older couple that so deserve a partner, love and a HEA together. (4 Stars) CHRISTMAS IN BLUE HOLLOW FALLS by Donna Kauffman Fun, fun, fun! Moira Brogan is the youngest of an Irish family and has just attended a wedding when she meets Australian chef Hudson Walker. He is such a charming man and so aware of what he wants even as Moira guards her heart for a bit as she gets to know him. They were perfect for one another and I loved reading their story. (5 Stars) HOLIDAY HOMERUN by Priscilla Oliveras Retired baseball player Ben Thomas meets and is rather intrigued by Julia Louisa Fernandez. Why? Well, she is not only attractive but she is not bowled over by his status. They spend time together with quite a bit of Puerto Rico and family thrown into the story and eventually end up with their HEA, too. (3 Stars)
Alisha24C More than 1 year ago
A Season To Celebrate I knew of 2of the Authors in this anthology before reading this and I have found me a new Author to look forward to as well. Fern Micheals as usual brings you a great story that keeps you reading. Donna Kauffman is the main reason I read this anthology so I could keep up with her Blue Hollow Falls Series. As usual a great story that shows great characters and a great story line. Priscilla Oliveras is a new to me Author and I throughly enjoyed her addition to this book. Each story helps put you in the Christmas mood.
Terri_C More than 1 year ago
I am a total nut job for Christmas Anthologies! I've only read the story by Donna Kauffman so far, because I have read all the other books in her Blue Hollow Falls series and there was no way I was going to wait for Christmas to read it. This is the story of Moira. It starts out with her sitting in a bar and drinking in her bridesmaid dress for her brother's wedding. Can you picture that? It's not a hideous bridesmaid dress, but still...it's a bridesmaid dress! Enter Aussie chef that's been sent to keep an eye on her and flames are flying all over the place and there's not even a Bananas Foster in his hands. (I really didn't mean for that to be dirty). Since she's recovering from a broken heart, going back to her law practice soon, and he's here from Australia there is no way they should act on it--but sometimes the heart just does what it wants to! I loved this story and can't wait to read the rest in the book!
Pebbles92 More than 1 year ago
With the exception of Kate Pearce, these are the first stories I've read by these authors. I adore Ms. Pearce's Morgan Ranch series so reading Billy's story was really the icing on the cake for me. Definitely my favorite in this collection! Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls left me wanting to read more so I will be checking into Ms. Kauffman's series. Very engaging and enjoyable story. I enjoyed Holiday Homerun immensely as well and will certainly see what Ms. Oliveras has to offer in her backlist. As for Christmas Homecoming, it didn't flow quite as nicely and the ending was very abrupt. Overall, if you are looking for light stories to get you in the holiday spirit, this anthology certainly fits the bill!
rc1836 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful diverse collection of short stories. I was drawn to this anthology as I've love Priscilla Oliveras' Matched to Perfection series and the Fernandez sister's cousin Julia is the main character in Holiday Homerun. She and Ben have wonderful chemistry. I enjoyed seeing both of them grow as they struggled to be who they needed to be inspite of family expectations. It was great seeing a couple from different backgrounds able to come together for love. The other story that stood out for me was Kate Pierce's An Unexpected Gift. I haven't read the series so I didn't know all the back story but the author did a great job of providing a solid foundation for the characters. I enjoyed that the author showed older mature characters Billy and Bella as having a full life, regrets and all. That they could still grow and find love in their 50s. I received an advance reader copy via Netgalley.
sbart84 More than 1 year ago
I have only read one story so far, Christmas in Blu Hollow Falls by Donna Kauffman, but can't wait to read the other stories. I love Christmas anthologies, perfects for the busy season. Loved the beginning of the story, with barroom brawl. Moria is home for Christmas for her brother's wedding when she is rescued from the brawl by sexy aussie chef
tsmb02 More than 1 year ago
This book has four short holiday stories in it. Perfect types to read during the holidays. CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING by Fern Michaels Kevin Matthews is finally coming back home to Cedar Park, Texas after 3 tours of duty in the military after hurting his leg. He's 32 and not sure what he wants to do, but in the meantime he will help out on his family's tree farm. Before he left, he had his whole life planned out but when his girlfriend Melissa broke things off, he joined the service. Kate Stafford is a doctor, recently divorced and a single mother to Emma. They just relocated to Cedar Park, Texas. When taking Emma to her Sunday school classes, Kate bumps into Kevin and sparks fly. Of course everyone in town is trying to be a matchmaker between these two, even Emma! Some holiday magic is just what is needed to give Kevin and Kate their happy ending. This was a fun, sweet and romantic story. AN UNEXPECTED GIFT by Kate Pearce Widower Billy Morgan has had a tough time of things lately. Still feeling guilty over things from his past, Billy is trying make amends with his family and is wishing he was needed more. When his old friend, widow Bella Williams is in need of his help, Billy jumps right in and a new, different type of friendship is started. When Bella wants to throw a surprise party for her son and new daughter-in-law, she enlists Billy's help. As these two spend more time together, sparks start to fly. It takes some huge leaps of faith for these two people to jump into a relationship again but together they find a wonderful happy ending. CHRISTMAS IN BLUE HOLLOW FALLS by Donna Kauffman We finally get Moira Brogan's story! After her brother Seth's wedding to Pippa, Moira heads back to her hotel and ends up in the bar. When Max, a drunk, rich idiot starts to come on to her and starts to get a little physical, a handsome stranger comes to her rescue. Hudson Walker is her brother's friend and was actually the chef for their wedding. He recognized Moira as soon as she entered the bar but didn't make himself known until it looked like she was in danger. Having been attracted to Moira but knowing she was only in town for the wedding, Hudson didn't make any moves on her since she was one of his best friend's little sisters. Moira ends up going back to Hudson's place for the night after she bails him out of jail from his fight with Max. The next morning the two of them hit if off after her love of his cooking. They spend the day together being open and honest with each other and even though neither of them is looking for anything serious, sparks fly. It takes trust, a leap of faith, and getting over their past before Moira and Hudson can find their happy ending and boy do they end up finding it! I loved this story. My only complaint would be that it was too short! I love Moira and want more of her! HOLIDAY HOMERUN by Priscilla Oliveras Julia Louisa Fernandez wants to live in Chicago, IL, not in Puerto Rico. She finally gets her big chance at catering a big gala and she is hoping that afterwards, the head of the gala will offer her a permanent position. Unfortunately, the guest star of the gala is none other than former pro baseball player Ben Thomas. Too bad all ball players are had egos so big they could barely fit in the room, but Julia was determined to see this gala through. Ben on the other hand was determined to see Julia. He was intrigued by her. As these two spent more time together, Julia realizes that Ben is not like most ball player.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a fantastic collection of novellas by some of my favorite authors. I'm very familiar with Ms. Michael's books as well as the connected series from Ms. Kauffman and Ms. Pearce. Priscilla Owens is new to me but after this sampling of her storytelling I will definitely be looking for more from her. While I enjoyed all these stories my favorite was Ms. Pearce's An Unexpected Gift, having read all of the Morgan Ranch books I was thrilled to see Billy find his own little piece of happy. Overall each of these stories where wonderful and will absolutely help you get in the holiday mood. I highly recommend this book.
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
A Season to Celebrate by Fern Michaels, Kate Pearce, Donna Kauffman, Priscilla Oliveras Love this there are four different authors with their stories in this collection. Have read many of them and enjoyed the reads. . A Christmas Homecoming by Fern Michaels Story about a man who's returning back home from the war-for good. his family runs the tree farm in TX. Also follows Kate and her daughter Emma and they've returned to the area again after her divorce as she has landed a job as a pediatric orthopedic doctor-her dream job. It's Christmas and we learn how they celebrate the holiday in Texas. The adults are attracted to one another but she dosn't know if he's poken for.... Emma has a new friend to play with and Kate learns of her relationship with Keven... Misunderstandings and misconceptions occur...lots of twists and turns... Love all the charity work mentioned. . An Unexpected Gift by Kate Pearce This story focuses around a man released from prison, Billie who's returned home and is able to get out there and move on with life. He'd lost his wife and child in a serious accident. A local Bella who runs the bar with her son is also a widow and he's able to pitch in to help her out of bad situations with the help. Their paths cross often as he helps her out at the bar/diner. What I like about this one is that it's about a couple over 50 and the struggles they have in their lives. Sexual graphic scenes. So many obstacles in their way of a chance at second love. Recipe included. . Christmas in Blue Hollow Falls by Donna Kauffman Never heard of one marrying on Christmas Day. After the celebration some go to the bar and drink, problem is there are many different groups of people there from different counteis. A woman is being shown to the door by a man she doens't know til a man with an Aussie dialect intererupts. He ends up in jail and she comes to his rescue. Love hearing about her degree and lack of but she's able to help him regardless as she is drawn to him. Her broher had asked him to keep an eye on her while he's on his honeymoon. Love his location and how he transpires it into a space for her-pricesless! Predictable story line. . Holiday Home Run by Priscilla Oliveras Like this story because it's a bit differenet being it's the holidays and there is baseball, which is a summer sport in the US. Love the charity work done and how Julia involves the children in all the programs. Like the idea of the parade caloing as we'd do that as a Portugese family. Also like how the baseball star fits in and how Ben uses his fame for good things. Liked hearing about Chicago as we've yet to visit there. . About the authors are included at the end. Other books excerpts from authors are included at the end. Received this review copy from Kensington Books via Zebra at Netgalley and this is my honest opinion. #ASeasonToCelebrate #NetGalley
Claire140 More than 1 year ago
I must admit I wanted to read this initially because of Donna Kauffman's story and a lovely addition to the wonderful Blue Hollow Falls series, but all these short stories were very enjoyable and the cover was just beautiful, so Christmassy! CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING by Fern Michaels - 3 stars This was a very sweet Christmas story that I enjoyed, although it did verge on the too sweet side on occasions for me. Kevin is back in town working at his parents Christmas tree ranch after being invalided out of the Air Force and Kate and her daughter have just moved to town. Kate is a surgeon and looking for a new start after her divorce. They soon bump into each other and feel attracted to one another. It did feel a bit rushed for me though, for instance Kevin got put out when he called around to Kate's house and she had another guy there (an old friend), even though they'd only just met each other and hadn't even talked about dating. Equally Kate jumped to conclusions when she saw Kevin coming out of the house of a woman she knew was married and just assumed something was going on between them. So a bit far fetched at times, probably because it's a short story, but enjoyable nonetheless. AN UNEXPECTED GIFT by Kate Pearce - 5 stars I really enjoyed this story about two people, Billy and Bella, who were both in their fifties and had older children. They had been friends since they were very young and each had married and had children, with various issues along the way, but both are now single. The setting sounded lovely (The Morgan Ranch) and even though this is in the middle of this series it didn't detract from the story, in fact it made me want to read the rest of the series. Very enjoyable. CHRISTMAS IN BLUE HOLLOW FALLS by Donna Kauffman - 5 stars I must admit this story is the one that drew me to this anthology in the first place as I've absolutely loved all the Blue Hollow series so far so this was a definite read in my case. Even though I wish this had been a full-length book I absolutely loved it. Hudson and Moira were such a lovely couple. Moira was in Blue Hollow Falls for her brother's wedding and Hudson is an Aussie chef working in The Falls. Hudson rescues Moira from a nasty guy in the bar who then tries to sue him after a brawl breaks out, and Moira advises him as she is an attorney. Great chemistry between them! The ending was just so lovely. This was definitely my favourite of the anthology. HOLIDAY HOMERUN by Priscilla Oliveiras - 4 stars This was a very enjoyable story set around a Christmas charity event. Julia is helping organise the event, and hoping to move to Chicago from Puerto Rico on a more permanent basis if she's offered a job (and can get away from her over-protective family), especially as she has other family there too. Ben is a famous retired baseball player who is helping out with the charity event. Julia doesn't want to get involved with him as she's trying to concentrate on her career, but of course love gets in the way! Very enjoyable. I've read another full-length book in this series and the Fernandez family are great fun.