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Holiday Hopes: An Anthology

Author(s): Jaden Sinclair, Megan Hussey, Charmaine Pauls, Terry Barr

Secret Santa by Terry Barr

Ten-year old Terry Barr discovers one day just before Christmas that his little brother has found Santa's stash of toys. The secret of Santa is out now, and as Terry tries to help his mother cover the story to retain his brother's innocence, the world of secrets, conspiracies, and emotional entanglements for him only grows deeper. 

An American Noel by Marianna Boncek

Charlie Reardon is a down-and-out bum looking for some returnables and a warm place to sleep on a snowy, Christmas night. Instead, with the help of his on-again-off-again angel, Gabriel, Charlie finds a baby in an alley. Does the baby offer some type of redemption? 

The Three Gifts of Christmas by Nel DuVall

The Three Gifts of Christmas by Nell DuVall is a tender love story of people facing difficult choices in an uncertain world. Family or love? Stephanie Graham must choose between her frail elderly grandmother and Craig, her fiancé, when he gets a promotion that would take him to England. She's never traveled far from home and dreads leaving her friends and all she knows, especially her grandmother, to migrate to a strange country. Besides, if he loved her, he wouldn't go. 

Merry Christmas, India Stone by Megan Hussey and Linda White-Francis

Facing her first Christmas alone as a recent divorcee, India Stone takes an impulsive trip to an Aspen ski lodge; where the handsome, dashing Tristan sweeps her off of her feet and onto the slopes. Spoiling her with romantic sleigh rides, beautiful gifts and romantic candlelight dinners, Tristan lends light, love and color to India's holiday. 

Deck the Stalls by Shannon Kennedy

All Sierra McElroy wants for Christmas is a guarantee the horses at Shamrock Stable will be home for the holidays. Her mother has decided they can't keep every horse and should sell some. Now, what can Sierra do to save her friends and Christmas for everyone? 

A Miracle for Christmas by Charmaine Pauls

Michael Slanders only wants a steady job and a family of his own, but instead he lives from hand to mouth with his sick mother. Fired a week before Christmas and down on his luck, Mike needs nothing short of a miracle. Sometimes, goodness prevails. Sometimes, magic is made. 

The Feast of Yule by Leslie D. Soule

Ash Kensington gets to spend her first holiday in the fantasy realm known as Fallenwood. Her friends, the sorcerer Will Everett, the court jester Terces Solario, and the cat who was once a human, Greymalkin, are put in charge of watching a trio of unruly gnomes over the weekend, and chaos breaks loose! Join Ash and her friends as they celebrate the holiday known as The Feast of Yule! 

Merry Christmas, Henry by Aubrey Wynne

Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream. 

Excerpt


The Three Gifts of Christmas by Nel DuVall

Steffy sighed and stared at the screen of disappointing results from her internet job search. Few listings for flutists appeared, and almost all were out of state. Her part-time slot with the local chamber group would end soon. Her savings weren’t much and diminished day by day. Hopefully, the holidays would offer a few pickup gigs.

Her thoughts turned to Craig, her fiancé. Now, if they got married soon, two could split the bills and save … A small wedding, not too fancy or expensive, just the immediate family and a few close friends would do. Maybe she’d wear a frilly dress or a tailored suit she could wear later. 

The smell of summer roses and—wisteria?—perfumed the air. Buoyed by a melody, she floated down a grassy aisle beneath a baby-blue sky. Somewhere a soft flute played a beloved tune. “Greensleeves.” The haunting melody carried her toward Craig standing at the end of the aisle. He gazed at her, his face filled with love. He waited, arms outstretched—

A ringing noise sounded.

The vision splintered and faded. Steffy blinked, startled, and stared at the phone. Ally’s name flashed on the caller id.

“What’s up, Ally?” She vaguely remembered the mention of some job opening. “Any news?”

“Wait till I tell you,” Ally gasped. “I just heard from Cleveland. Cleveland! I have an audition Tuesday.”

“Oh, Ally, that’s great. I’m so glad for you. Call me as soon as you finish.” Cellists were always in demand, but not flutists.

“Will do. I’m so psyched I can hardly talk.” 

“You had better be. I envy you. I haven’t been so lucky. Columbus isn’t hiring, and I don’t want to go too far away. My Gram is so frail these days. She worries me.”

“Sorry to hear that, Stef, but if you’re not willing to move, you haven’t much job choice. That’s what you get for choosing the flute. Everyone wants to be the next Jean-Pierre Rampal.” 

Ally paused for a moment. “How are things with that hunk of yours? When are you two getting married?”

“Umm, I’ve sort of been thinking about that. I’m not in any hurry you know.” Steffy’s phone beeped. Call Waiting. “I’ve got another call. Talk to you later.”

Steffy switched to the incoming call. “Hi, Craig. How are you?”

“Fine, honey. Thought we might have dinner tonight somewhere nice. Okay with you?” Excitement colored Craig voice.

“Yeah, I’m sort of tired of hamburgers. Do we have something to celebrate?” Steffy waited, wondering what he had in mind and hoping her vision meant he wanted to set the wedding date.

“I’ve some great news to share and … something to ask you.”

“What?” Yes! He wanted to set the date.

“Unh-unh, not now. You’ll just have to wait until tonight. I’ll pick you up about seven. Please wear that blue dress I like so well. Gotta go. Love you.” The phone clicked as he disconnected.

Steffy sat for a moment staring at her silent phone. She and Craig had been friends forever. Well, at least since high school, and had dated each other exclusively this last year. He’d asked her to marry him, but they hadn’t yet set a date. They were both trying to establish themselves. In the present economy and that took time and effort. She sighed and turned back to her job search.


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 9781612357683
Genre: Contemporary
Date Published: 12/01/2013
Publisher: Melange Books

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