“The First Christmas of Many for These Couples”
(Monday, December 15, 2014)
Reviewer: Nancy Narma
Four memorable stories by four extremely talented Authors—what more could anyone want for Christmas?
Mary Burton’s “A Ranger for Christmas” is set in Austin, Texas where History Professor and workaholic Dr. Marisa Thompson has just returned from a 6 mo. Sabbatical that was spent in the jungle west of the Yucatan. How she wishes she was back in the wilds, investigating a Mayan ruin,
especially when she receives a puzzling text message. She
also has always dreaded Christmastime and this year was no different. To complicate matters, an old acquaintance, Texas Ranger Lucas Cooper arrives in Austin, hoping she can help him as he knows she is somewhat of an expert in ancient languages and needs her help in breaking a drug dealer’s code—but at what price? The history between them doesn’t make life any easier for Marisa and neither does cocky, pesky Junior Professor Kyle Stone and her selfish, arrogant with a reputation of being hungry and getting what he wants no matter who it hurts ex-boyfriend Professor Bradley Rogers. Will she be able to crack the code? Will personal feelings override professional demeanor? Did what happened in Merida, stay in Merida? Who is Reed North and what part does he play in all of this? Will Marisa and Lucas both lose each other as they vanish into their respective sunsets? Or will the magic of Christmas be recaptured once more?
Mary Carter’s “A Southern Christmas” takes us to charming Wilmington, North Carolina, “The Softer Side” magazine feature writer Danielle Bright’s old hometown. She is chosen to write an article about a Southern Christmas, but her stay and assignment may take another twist as she attempts to win back the love of her life, talented artist Nathaniel Hathaway, who she walked away from two years ago on Christmas Eve. There are a couple of barriers standing in her way—one is a beautiful British Art Curator named Anya Pennington. Could the other be her co-worker/hunky photographer Sawyer Drake, who tries to create doubts about her devious, love-starved plans? Sawyer seems to have an agenda all his own. Who, if anyone, will be hurt by Danielle’s scheme? Dani herself,
Nate, Anya, or, maybe, Wilmington Historian/Nate’s Grandmother Ruth Hathaway? You’ll want to shake up a few misguided souls and, at the same time enjoy the armchair tour of historic Wilmington with its eye-popping decorations and heart-warming traditions. This is the first of Ms. Carter’s work I have read—but it will not be my last!
Cathy Lamb’s unforgettable characters and stories never cease to amaze me, and her “Christmas in Montana” was no exception. Manager of the Hard Rock Band, “Hellfire”, fiery-haired Laurel Kelly has had enough. She’s been traveling around the world like a gypsy for ten long years, “babysitting” the lead singer and his band members and feels it is time for a change. She heads for her sleepy hometown of Kalulell, Montana and the light green farmhouse her Grandparents built so long ago. She hopes to
catch up with her Mother and Aunt Emma before Christmas and the onslaught of her crazy, dysfunctional family. Little does she know what changes her beloved apron designers/perpetual motioned Mom and Aunt have waiting to be discovered. A large part of the changes have to do with Laurel’s ex-boyfriend, the ruggedly handsome Josh Reed who, much to Laurel’s dismay, strolls into her life once more, with secrets of his own. Laurel Begs and pleads to make a deal with him to rectify her Mother and Aunt’s mistakes—the problem is, it comes with a price—not so much monetary but the dredging of old memories, some heart-wrenching as well as those thought to be well buried after all of these years. It is an unusual deal to say the least! Do old regrets supersede sad memories? 12 years! Isn’t it time to let go of the guilt? Between helping launch the new line of “Naughty Aprons for Naughty Women”, handling her feelings for Josh, and preparing for a chaotic Christmas Eve, one wonders if she’ll ever have time for her own wishes. Believe me when I say you won’t want to put this story down—you’ll laugh, cry, cheer and ultimately feel the love and want to adopt kooky Chantrea, Velvet, Camellia, Violet and Laurel’s tree-named step-brothers. I bet you’ll want a Christmas frog too—and by all means, “Drive Careful”.
In Lisa Jackson’s “Under the Mistletoe”, Attorney Megan Johnson is dreading the Christmas Season. Not only because of the usual hustle and bustle, and tender memories of Christmases past, but about the looming sad news she must impart to Daughter, Lindy and Son, Brody. She and Husband/Father, Chris, are getting a divorce. Meg learns the hard way that life can change course on a dime when Chris is involved in a multi-vehicle accident. Memories of their first Christmas which started over 20 years ago, flood her muddled mind. It doesn’t help that her Brother-in-law (and Chris’ Cousin), Adam Newell, the one man she has dreamt about and loved from afar for what seems like forever, joins the same law firm as a senior partner, complicating her career as well as her home life. But, is Adam the real reason for the break-up? Amidst the anger and bittersweet memories, realization comes to call. Sometimes in your life, you’re only given one chance to right a wrong, so grab that golden ring tightly and hold on. The simplest thing can re-affirm what the heart is trying to impart. Besides, would letting her “Inner Wild Child” out help anything? This is a wonderful, heart-tugging story you won’t soon forget.