A little teaser from my new holiday release:

MUFFINS & MISTLETOE

Corinne stood under the fresh pine roping that hung from the arched entrance to the main hall and took a deep, lung-filling breath. Fragrant real trees stood tall at each side of the arch, glittering with tinsel, white lights and red glass ornaments. She pulled off her gloves with a relieved sigh, letting the scents of Christmas surround her. She was determined not to give in to her personal despair and allow it to squelch a festive holiday mood. After all, she had a plan.

Mrs. Crane's blue eyes danced with merriment as she held out the signature yellow bag and gave it a shake. "Good morning, Corinne. Fresh from the oven—I know how you love them warm."

"You do know my weakness, Mrs. Crane." Corinne tried not to let her mind race ahead and think what a wonderful mother-in-law Bitty Crane would be. Then Corinne thought about her waistline and decided she might be better off without the permanent supply of the woman's irresistible carbs.

It was hard enough walking by the Itty Bitty Bake Shop every day on her way to work with the tantalizing smells of muffins wafting through the air—having it in the family would be way too tempting.

On the other hand, maybe it was all those carbs that gave Bitty her boundless energy. Always bobbing here and there, dark brown curls framing her cherubic face, her cornflower blue eyes filled with mischief and love. There were no frown lines on her sixty-year-old face, only laugh lines that reached up to her eyes when she winked.

Everyone agreed the annual Preservation Society Holiday Gala would never be the most talked-about event of the season if it weren't for Bitty Crane and her exuberant dedication.

Corinne looked away from the woman whose eyes reminded her so much of Jimmy's. While Jimmy had inherited his six-foot-one height from his father, there was no doubt those dancing, all-seeing, soul-searching eyes came from his mother.

She let Bitty take her by the elbow and lead her into the ballroom. "There's been a slight change in setup plans and so much to do before the gala tomorrow night."

"That's why I'm here," Corinne said with a sigh, trying not to smile as her little white lie slipped easily past her lips. She popped a bite-sized morsel of gingerbread heaven into her mouth while she followed Bitty to the stage. It was difficult to keep her mind off Jimmy when she was so close to his mother, and her mind raced in search of a way to get her to intervene.

Surely his mother had the power to make him listen, didn't she?

Corinne pulled another piece of muffin from the bag while Bitty pointed to her left. "The rest of the ladies will be here any minute, but why don't you get started moving these tables off to the side to make room for the—oh, good, Jimmy, you're here!"

Corinne turned her head so quickly it felt like her neck snapped.

She blinked and he was there, every tall, dark and sexy inch of him, and all she could do was stare. Her inability to speak was thankfully masked by her mouth being stuffed with gingerbread.
Though this was exactly the scenario she'd hoped for, she was grateful her mouth was full of muffin since she couldn't find the right words anyway. It wasn't every day one groveled for forgiveness.


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