THE CHRISTMAS TREE by Allyson Charles
It was one little fender bender. Sadie was only in picturesque Pineville, Michigan, for a day, trying to handle the ramshackle house her grandmother left her and juggle the sale of her failing design business at the same time. Her debtors don’t care that it’s almost Christmas. But then neither does the big bad contractor whose truck got squashed.
Colt McCoy might be the least festive person she’s ever met. He’s gruff, rude, and way too upset about a minor accident. Of course, he is nice to look at, with dimples hiding in his scruffy beard and a body like a lumberjack’s. And Sadie will have plenty of time to enjoy the view, since their community service sentence has put the two of them in charge of Pineville’s jinxed Christmas tree.
But as their squabbles over ornaments turn to laughter, anyone can see Colt and Sadie have something electric. The hard part is guessing if they’ll light each other up—or just keep blowing the fuse . . .
THE ACCIDENTAL ELOPEMENT by Maggie Dallen
First comes love, then comes marriage—or is it the other way around?
Lucia is an Italian spitfire with big dreams like her billionaire grandfather. But she wants to become a top tier fashion designer, not the heir to the family business in Italy. Now is her only chance to forge her own path. And what better place to start than in New York City? But working behind a bar doesn’t exactly pay the rent. Her trust fund would come in handy, but she needs to get married first. Luckily, she may have found the perfect husband candidate in her co-worker, who just happens to be the most charismatic and devastatingly gorgeous man she’s ever met . . .
There’s more to Ryan’s charming smile than meets the eye—he’s out for revenge and working for his enemy is his best bet at getting it. When Lucia comes to him with her crazy plan, he sees a perfect opportunity to make his move. But doing that could mean hurting his new wife. They say nothing’s sweeter than revenge—but “they” never met a woman like Lucia . . .
The Accidental Elopement
Lucia had exactly nine dollars and thirty-six cents in her pocket as she fought her way onto the crowded F-train heading downtown. Enough to buy one more coffee and a bagel—a combo she’d come to adore during her six-week stint in New York—but not much else.
She reached through a thick crowd of people so she could hold onto the cold metal pole in the middle of the train to keep her balance. The subway. That was one thing she would not miss when she left. But even that bit of optimism was enough to bring tears to her eyes. Who was she kidding? She was going to miss everything about this city, even the crowded, smelly subway.
She had just enough left on her Metrocard for a train to the airport but her credit card had long since maxed out and she had no clue how she could pay for the airfare.
You could call Grandpa.
She shook her head in disgust. It was bad enough that she was going back to Italy with her tail between her legs; there was no way she would beg her grandfather for the airfare home. When her grandmother was alive, she used to describe him as overprotective. More like smothering. Of course he only had her best interests at heart—as did her ex-fiancé— but that didn’t mean they knew what was best. She would be the one to pave her future, even if it meant she failed.
Lucia watched as the subway door opened and closed before continuing on downtown. The next stop was SoHo. She knew where she had to go. If she was being honest with herself, she’d known where she was heading the moment she’d walked away from her disappointing meeting with her former boss—her last lifeline to the new life she’d been working for this past month.
Perching on a barstool, Lucia kept an eye on the front desk. Maybe she should have called first.
“Would you like to see a bar menu?”
Lucia swiveled around to find the bartender watching her expectantly. “We’re not serving dinner yet but we have some appetizers available.”
The bartender was hot. Like, movie star hot. Lucia’s mouth went dry and her ability to speak English took a momentary hiatus from her brain. This guy was intimidatingly hot. Dark hair and bright blue eyes with a chiseled jaw—he should play a superhero in a movie.
When one corner of his mouth turned up in an amused smile, Lucia came back to her senses. “No, thank you. I’m not hungry.” Her stomach gave a little whine of protest but she ignored it. Those nine dollars had to last her until she got home.
The bartender put away the little menu but didn’t move.
“Something to drink?”
Lucia shook her head. “No, thanks. I’m just here to meet someone.”
The hot bartender’s eyebrows lifted in new understanding. “Oh, you’re here for the job?”
“Um….” He looked down at his watch and then back to her with that amused, sexy-as-hell little smile. “You’re early.”
Before she could finish, he tossed the dishrag he’d been holding under the bar and headed toward the register. “But you’re in luck. I’m the one conducting the interviews so we can get started whenever you’re ready.”
Allyson Charles lives in Northern California. She’s the author of the “Pineville Romance” series, small-town, contemporary romances published by Lyrical Press. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest disappointments is living in a state that doesn’t have any Cracker Barrels in it.
Sign up for Allyson’s newsletter at allysoncharles.com/newsletter.
You can find her at www.allysoncharles.com, on Twitter @1allysoncharles, and on Facebook at facebook.com/AuthorAllysonCharles.
Maggie Dallen is a huge fan of happily-ever-afters. She writes contemporary and YA romance and has been known to rewrite the endings to classic love stories to ensure that they end on a happy note. In Maggie's version, Ingrid Bergman does not get on the plane. She lives in Northern California and works at a yarn store to support her knitting addiction. For more info please visit maggiedallen.com.
Follow her on Twitter @Mag_Dallen. Or connect with her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-Dallen/871611042878073
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