Candlelight and Kisses Anthology
By: Kaylie Newell, Nola Cross & Pepper Anthony
A Home for my Heart by Nola Cross
“They say you can never go home again. Try telling that to your heart.”
When big-city attorney, Jonathan Silver, agreed to be godfather to his infant niece five years before, he didn’t dream he would actually end up as her guardian. He’d never imagined himself as a family man. Now he’s not only an instant father to little Rachel, but also inherits the house where he grew up in the small town of Everfield, Washington. When he left Everfield fifteen years before, he never planned to return. Now for Rachel’s sake, he’s reordered his priorities and come home to join a two-man law practice.
Merridee Cresswell always wanted a big family. She and her ex-husband tried unsuccessfully for years to have kids; their marriage eventually failed from the strain. Since then, she has poured all her maternal feelings into her children’s clothing store, Frog’s Togs, and the special program she runs to help disadvantaged kids in Everfield.
When his first legal client hires him to sue Merridee for negligence, Jonathan has to investigate the shop keeper’s character. Is she really as flakey as his client says? Or is she the warm, lovely woman she appears to be, the woman so ready to take Rachel under her wing and make Christmas special again? And what about him? Could there be room in her heart for Jonathan too?
Sunny’s Second Chance by Pepper Anthony
“What if love really is lovelier the second time around?”
It’s a rough Christmas for the just-divorced Sunny and her six-year-old daughter, Jasmine. When your no-good husband leaves you for a pretty young dancer, it’s hard not to feel old, fat and frumpy. But then she meets a handsome widower, Ben Stillman, and his young son, Spencer. The two kids hit it off, dragging their parents into an unwitting friendship.
Sunny’s never thought about dating a white man. The whole interracial thing seems risky, especially since Jasmine is still struggling with adjusting to her father’s defection. What if the little girl gets attached to Ben and Spencer, and things don’t work out?
Ben has been struggling under the weight of grief since his wife’s death a year ago. He suspects it’s too soon to move on, but somehow he wants to make Christmas special for Spencer. Then he meets Sunny and everything changes. She chases away the darkness and makes him feel alive again. Can the two of them learn to trust the magic between them long enough to give love a second chance?
The Mariner’s Gift - by Kaylie Newell
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you least expect.
When LA Times journalist Zola Mitchell decides to head home to San Francisco this December, it’s to write a piece on the legendary Alcatraz prison. It has nothing to do with her high school crush Oliver Tworek, who’s recently moved back to start up a tour boat business to The Rock. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.
But when Oliver ends up asking her to dinner, Zola can’t refuse. And when he kisses her under a display of Christmas fireworks from aboard his boat, she can barely remember her own name. After twenty years, nothing seems to have changed. Oliver’s still popular and gorgeous, and Zola’s still…well, Zola. Behind the successful job, and underneath her shiny new grown up exterior, Zola still feels like the skinny girl from junior year English. Will she ever be able to conquer those little girl insecurities? And more importantly, will she ever get to know the real Oliver; the one who might just have a few secrets of his own?
A Home For My Heart
Jonathan never expected to become a parent or to go back to his hometown. When he becomes guardian of his niece he does both. Trying to start over in a law firm and learn how to care for his niece is his new priority. He is hired to sue Merridee and that becomes the last thing he wants to do. Merridee loves helping others and loves kids. She has had problems in the past and is afraid to let anyone in now. They both have some letting go if they are to have a happy ending.
I really enjoyed this story as it was easy to connect with the characters. I really liked how sweet and caring Merridee is. She seems like such a great person. She has had some problems and fears rejection. Jonathan may not have expected to be a parent but he does a wonderful job as one. He loves his niece and will do anything to make her happy. He and Merridee make a great couple they just have to learn to trust each other and take a chance. The author does a great job with writing this book as each scene really plays in your head.
The Mariner's Gift
Zola is back home to research a project for work. Knowing her high school crush Oliver is the tour host is a bonus. They were friends in high school but he never asked her out. Oliver notices how much Zola has changed since high school. She is still smart but has become more beautiful. He isn't looking for love as he has someone else to worry over. Zola has problems at times believing in herself. They both have to take a chance to have a Merry Christmas.
Zola is talented but has to learn there is more to her than work. She has always liked Oliver but hates to hear that he thought of her like a sister. Oliver had a bad marriage but will do anything for his daughter. She is an important part if his life and anyone he dates has to accept that. I really liked that as it showed how great he is. I liked this story as it showed how things can change. You see the good in some people and realize how cruel some people can be. Zola and Oliver may start off as friends but there is a wonderful connection between the two.
Sunny' s Second Chance
Sunny has recently got divorced and is trying her best to make her daughter's Christmas a good one despite her ex forgetting to be there for their child. Ben is also trying to make it a good Christmas for his son. He is a widower and hasn't thought of another way since his wife died. Sunny brings him back to life. Sunny has never thought of a dating a white man but she can't help be drawn to Ben. Things seem to be going good when both their past seems to tear them apart. They have to let go of their past before they can move on.
Sunny loves children and hates to see one sad. When it's her daughter it hurts even more. Her ex is a jerk and I really hated him. He was a selfish jerk. Ben I really liked but hated to see how he kept getting his feelings torn. He is a great dad and always worries if he is doing good. He loved his wife and in some ways is afraid to move on. I liked the chemistry between Ben and Sunny. They are sizzling when they are together and wonderful with each other's kids. I got pulled in easily to this story and love the spicy and sweet scenes it had. The ending was great was very heartwarming.
Overall I enjoyed all three stories. They all had great characters and heart warming stories. This is a great book for the holidays. You get three great stories each one has a nice steady pace and nice plot. Recommended for anyone wanting a holiday read or just feel good stories.
4 out of 5 Stars
Nola Cross is a two-time Golden Heart finalist. She’s been working toward her dream of being an author for almost thirty years. A Home for My Heart is her first novella-length story to be published, and is the introduction to the Everfield series she’s currently writing. She loves writing stories of small-town America, with plenty of emotion, the perfect touch of sizzle, and always a happy ending. Nola lives with her husband and younger son in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains of southwest Washington State. She hopes you’ll check out her website and email her with your comments.
For Kaylie Newell, storytelling is in the blood. Growing up the daughter of two gifted writers, she knew eventually she’d want to follow in their footsteps. While she’s written short stories her whole life, it wasn’t until after her kids were born that she decided to shoot for the moon and write her first romance novel. She hasn’t looked back since!
Kaylie lives in Southern Oregon with her husband, two little girls, two indifferent cats and a mutt named Pedro. She would love to hear from you! You can find her at:
Like most writers, Pepper Anthony has worn quite a collection of hats over the years ~ voice actor, artist, bookkeeper, retail sales ~ but she’s always wanted to be a writer. Her biggest dream has been to see her name on a book cover. Now, with the advent of e-publishing, the covers may be virtual, but the thrill of seeing her name on them is real. She’s humbled by the idea that her stories might draw in a reader and provide an hour or two of entertainment.
She’s been married to her best friend Tom for thirty-one years. Together they’ve raised two amazing sons, and recently welcomed their first grand-daughter. Most days you can find Pepper at the family's computer repair shop in a small town outside Portland, Oregon. At night she goes home to her rambling fixer-upper in the woods and toils at her writing, attended by a small menagerie of furry assistants.
She loves it when readers take a moment to reach out and let her know what they think of her stories. She hopes you'll feel free to contact her.
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