Publication date: November 25th 2014
TEN fun, romantic holiday novellas by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors
An all-star gathering of some of today’s most popular NYT and USA Today bestselling romance authors in a fun-filled collection…holiday style! With the overwhelming response to the chart-topping summer boxed set, we’ve brought together even MORE of your favorite authors for a winter compilation, and this time, we’ve giftwrapped TEN stories for you all. From the funny & sweet, to the STEAMY & heartfelt, each novella is packed with a whole lot of romance, and hand-picked to infuse perfectly-portioned holiday cheer into your busy days this season…along with hot bursts of holiday steam for those winter nights.
And at just ***99 CENTS USD*** that’s a huge savings of over 95% off retail for the individual books sold separately! This is an extremely limited edition bundle available for just 5 weeks so get your copy today!
THE BOXED SET INCLUDES:
IF I RETURN — by USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett
WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS — by New York Times bestselling author Mari Carr
SEDUCING SANTA — by New York Times bestselling author Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
DECKING DREW — by New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke
FAIRIES & WISHES — by USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS — by New York Times bestselling author Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans)
HOLIDAY SPIRIT — by New York Times bestselling author Cathryn Fox
UNWRAPPED — by New York Times bestselling author Melody Grace
A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE — by New York Times bestselling author Alannah Lynne
HIS CHRISTMAS WISH — by New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine
Alannah’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few grains salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter/margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla
Drain pineapple well, reserving liquid for icing. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Dissolve baking soda in pineapple. Mash butter until smooth, add sugar – blend well. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add sifted ingredients – mixing after each addition. Blend in pineapple.
Bake 6-8 minutes at 375
2 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice
Mixed together powdered sugar and pineapple juice and use to glaze cookies.
About A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE:
All Samantha Mazze wants for Christmas is to create the perfect Christmas Eve celebration for her friends and family. The house is decorated, the meal has been prepared, the guests are arriving… and then all hell breaks loose. There’s no salvaging the burned garlic knots. Her husband’s ex-girlfriend makes an appearance. And the unexpected delivery of a new arrival all ensure that while this isn’t a picture-perfect holiday, it will go down in history as the Heat Wave gangs most memorable and best holiday ever.
Sam Mazze jerked her head back, dodging the burst of steam shooting up from the pan of boiling potatoes. The cubes bubbled and rolled in the frothy water, evading capture as she attempted to stab a piece to test its tenderness. Eventually, she managed to nick the corner of one with the tine of the fork enough to confirm her constant checking wasn’t getting the job done. She replaced the lid and vowed to leave them alone for at least ten minutes, then moved on to the top oven—what she’d come to think of as the guest of honor’s tanning bed.
Watching her husband, Kevin, truss up the turkey had gotten her a little hot and bothered, not to mention envious. The bird, however, either wasn’t kinky or he’d tried to escape, because when she removed the foil blanket to check his tan, she found the string popped loose and him lying there, spread eagle, flashing her.
She shook her head and sighed. “You’re a freak, Sam. You’ve been completely corrupted.” She wasn’t complaining. She loved the sexual adventure and excitement Kevin brought into her life. But it was a little embarrassing to always be thinking kinky, especially when looking at the Christmas turkey.
Setting aside her naughty thoughts, she switched her attention to the second oven. Her seven-year-old daughter Michy’s favorite, homemade macaroni and cheese, bubbled around the edges of the ceramic bake ware, while Sam’s personal favorite, fresh baked garlic knots, filled the air with downhome comfort. She’d fallen in love with Kevin for hundreds of reasons, but gaining possession of his mother’s garlic knot recipe had been the final gotcha.
She sniffed the air like a bloodhound on a scent and followed her nose across the kitchen to the creamy garlic-butter dipping sauce. The minced garlic had settled to the bottom of the bowl, while the colorful parsley and shredded Romano floated on top of the melted butter. Her saliva glands joined the party and made temptation impossible to resist.
She cut her eyes to the kitchen door and cocked her head to the side, listening for the sound of running shower water. Kevin hadn’t asked her to sample the sauce, but as the hostess, she had a responsibility to her guests to make sure everything was perfect. How would she know if she didn’t do a taste test?
Using the spoon Kevin conveniently left in the bowl, she vigorously stirred the contents, then ran her finger around the inside of the rim to gather the remnants. Her eyes rolled back in her head as the flavors burst to life on her tongue. “God, that’s good.”
The sample left her greedy and needy for seconds, so before she dove in with both hands, she fled from that side of the kitchen and found herself in front of the bar. Again. Kevin had the bar so well stocked, even Sunny, a professional bartender, would be impressed. One of the bottles of beer shifted and wiggled as a piece of ice melted beneath it. Any other day, she would take that as a sign from the universe she should grab the bottle up, pop the top, and say, “Ahhhh.”
But this wasn’t any other day. It was Christmas Eve. Her and Kevin’s first Christmas together as a married couple. Her first attempt at entertaining as Mrs. Mazze.
She took a deep breath, trying to get a grip on her tangled nerves. It was ridiculous to be so anxious when all of their guests were their closest friends, but all she wanted for Christmas was for this Christmas Eve dinner to be perfect.
Sawyer’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
This one’s my absolute favorite holiday recipe!
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans.
Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 minutes.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner’ sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.
With an electric mixer, combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you’re ready to slice and serve. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
About IF I RETURN:
IF I RETURN is about a chance meeting between two people that are destined to be with each other, but it just isn’t the right time for them. After meeting and falling into a hot fling over a Christmas resort holiday, shy college student, Hope Camden and gorgeous Army helicopter pilot, Jack Freeman have more of a connection than just what they discover between the sheets. These two just click… on all levels.
In ordinary circumstances, they would have continued to see each other and developed a normal relationship. But Hope is devastated to learn that this can’t happen because Jack is headed off to war. He’s asked her not to wait for him… not wanting her to suffer if he’s killed in action.
He’s made her a promise, though. If he makes it back safely from the war, he will meet her back at this same resort one year from their last night together. Should she wait for him? And will Jack make it safely back? You’ll have to read it to find out, but Christmas is a time for miracles.
I’m about to step outside of the proverbial box.
Pushing away from the elevator wall I had been leaning against, I walk up to Jack, bringing my body close into his. Looking into his face, I see his nostrils flare and unbidden desire leap into his eyes. It’s all the encouragement I need before I smooth my hands up over his chest, winding them behind his neck. My fingers graze over the stubble of his short haircut. I’m pleased when his arms wrap around my waist to draw me in closer. I waste no further time before pulling his head down to me, until our lips meet softly.
Despite the fact my inhibitions are lowered, despite the fact I boldly put myself in Jack’s arms, and despite the fact that his eyes were heated as our lips moved toward one another, the kiss is surprisingly sweet. It’s nothing more than a gentle meeting of our lips. Our mouths are slightly parted as we move against one another, tilting our heads first to one side, and then another as we explore.
Even though the kiss is soft and sweet, I still feel a warmth spreading through my body. It causes me to want more… to experience Jack on the next level. Tentatively, my tongue pushes forward into his mouth and at first he stills. I can feel his fingers flex into my lower back, and I push my tongue in just a little farther, taking a swipe at his.
He answers me with a groan and then he’s gripping my head, holding me in place so his tongue can take charge.
And I let him.
Letting go, for once in my life, I let Jack have his way with my mouth. He deepens the kiss and I can’t help the sigh that escapes me. He eats it up, pleading for more by the insistent way his lips move against mine.
Even though we seem to both be drowning in the kiss, I find myself wanting to submerge further into him. Desire floods my senses and my body moves without thinking. I push myself closer to him, our bodies connecting. My breasts mash into chest and I can feel his hardness against my stomach. I push closer yet, wanting—no, needing—the contact.
This kiss… this amazing kiss. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s full of passion and fire. I realize that my prior kisses have been lukewarm at best. Energy courses through me at the thought of what else I’ve been missing. The shy introvert is gone and I can feel my inner sex kitten awakening.
And I’m ready… ready to let her prowl because the passion that flows between us has firmly shut boring Hope Camden away.