Christmas Wishes [A Jewels of the Quill Christmas Anthology]
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by Jewels Of The Quill
Description: Rediscover the magic of Christmas! Six JEWELS OF THE QUILL authors offer exciting holiday stories--each featuring a wish, possibly small, but straight from the heart! A collection of Christmas stories for readers to enjoy this holiday season ... or any day of the year!
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: November 2008
13 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [425 KB]
Reading time: 252-354 min.
"An anthology filled with Christmas love. "All She Wore Was A Bow" by Christine DeSmet: Christine DeSmet does it again. She never disappoints her numerous fans. This story will keep readers laughing and wishing for their own cowboy. "Little Cat Feet" by Margaret L. Carter: This was probably my favorite story. I love cats. Lauren's story is heart warming, especially knowing that it is true for many teens. "Christmas Faith" by Karen Woods: What a beautiful story. This story captures the spirit of Christmas. "Perfect Cadence" by Karen Wiesner: What could make a better story than a cabin and an old flame? Karen Wiesner is a talented author; I always look forward to her art. "Are You Listening?" by Jane Toombs: This is a unique story from an author that pens distinctive YA paranormal stories. It is sure to be a big hit with teens. "Annie's Outlaw" by Nancy Pirri: An endearing romance. The six stories in CHRISTMAS WISHES are sure to be cherished favorites. Each story centers on Christmas and a wish or need. Pirri, Wiesner, Toombs, Woods, Carter and DeSmet make a formidable team of authors. Each brings their own unique perspective [to this Jewels of the Quill holiday collection]. While this anthology is filled with love, it is not all romance. Thank you, ladies, for another good read."_reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com 5 Stars!
"A delightfully diverse collection, the Jewels of the Quill's CHRISTMAS WISHES Anthology is sure to delight readers of many tastes and fans of these special authors. Six talented ladies take on the task of spinning Christmas cheer to Jewels of the Quill fans; each offer delectable morsels for the reader's imagination as their hopeful and optimistic approach to happy endings brings joy and the glory of the Christmas spirit straight to readers' hearts. From fantasy and the Old West to paranormal, inspirational, and humorous contemporary, all with a powerful helping of romance, tension, and the proverbial happy endings, the Jewels of the Quill Dames delight and titillate with scrumptious holiday offerings to fill any reading table. Although designed for Christmas on the theme of the Christmas Wish, these stories can be enjoyably sampled in any season. Margaret Carter's "Little Cat Feet" examines the different nature of animals at the holiday season, and proves that charity does indeed have its own reward. Christine DeSmet's "All She Wore Was A Bow" is part of the author's Men of Moonstone Series: rodeo star conflicts with wedding planner--all in the name of male friendship--and oh, do the sparks fly! "Annie's Outlaw" from Nancy Pirri's Sapphire Palace Series is a touching and heartwarming Old West romance. Jane Toombs' "Are You Listening?" from her North of Nonesuch Series is a spooky and difficult-to-forget family tale of the paranormal with many unexpected twists and revelations. "Perfect Cadence" is from prolific author Karen Wiesner's Kaleidoscope Series and looks at young singles working in the same office building, whose Christmas plans turn topsy turvy. "Christmas Faith," a heartbreaking yet wholly optimistic inspirational romance from Karen Woods, works on many semantic levels. This story will linger in the reader's mind for a long time to come."_reviewed by Frost for Dark Angel Reviews 4 1/2 Pixies!
"All She Wore Was a Bow" by Christine DeSmet: Sweet and warm as hot cocoa by a cracking fire on a snowy Wisconsin Sunday. Christine DeSmet has penned a delicious little romance you can wrap yourself up with. Loved the setting, loved the characters, and loved her delightful tale of holiday surprises. "Little Cat Feet" by Margaret L. Carter: Ms. Carter gives us a short little gem that reminds us miracles can come from the most unlikely sources. We just need to open our eyes and ears and appreciate them when they come along. "Christmas Faith" by Karen Woods: In a very honest look at pain and the power of healing, Karen Woods exposes her characters' flaws to the light of love and understanding. Her story seems to be a tableau written from an inspired heart, her message universally relevant. "Perfect Cadence" by Karen Wiesner: A warm and hopeful tale of true love lost and found again, this story made me want to book a mountain cabin with my own true love, my own Perfect Cadence. Of course, like Keri, I would let him do the cooking and wood chopping. "Are You Listening?" by Jane Toombs: A happy paranormal Christmas can be found in this Jane Toombs' short story. I liked Rico and his relationship with his baby sister and the resolution was satisfying. "Annie's Outlaw" by Nancy Pirri: A sweet and slightly supernatural story set in the old west, Ms. Pirri's tale shows that love for a child can turn strangers into family, and family into the greatest Christmas gift of all. This anthology has variety, humor, romance, and some old fashioned holiday cheer for flavor. I liked the individual stories, differing genres, and hopeful themes. A good, light seasonal read, Christmas Wishes had me looking for my fireplace and hot cocoa." ~reviewed by Heather for Coffee Time 4 Cups!
"First up in this Christmas collection is "All She Wore Was a Bow" by Christine DeSmet. You won't need to read the first book to enjoy this romance. This is a contemporary love story with some humor and a lot of Christmas.The characters are easy to warm to and the story is a little over the top but it hits the spot. Margaret L. Carter is next up in the anthology with a Young Adult story called "Little Cat Feet". This is a short but sweet story that any reader will enjoy. Magical, inspiring and full of moral, this is the kind of tale that shows what the festive season is really about. "Christmas Faith" by Karen Woods is up next. This was nicely written and had a nice ending. Karen Wiesner carries on this collection with her story "Perfect Cadence". Matchmaking can be fun, and it can work which this story proves. A typical romance with nice characters, this will leave any reader of this genre satisfied and wanting more. And there will be more...the next story in this series will be out for the Valentine's anthology. The next story is another Young Adult tale called "Are You Listening?" by Jane Toombs. This lovely paranormal story was a nice breath of fresh air to the collection. Although short, it makes an impression and reads like a modern day Christmas fairy tale. The last story in this Christmas collection is "Annie's Outlaw" by Nancy Pirri. This historical romance is set in the 1880's. With some nice characters and an interesting story, this story added something different to the collection and gave it a nice ending. This anthology will definitely get any reader into the Christmas spirit. With so many different genres covered, there is something for everyone. With most of the stories being part of a series, this collection gives the reader the chance to try out an array of authors and find some future reading material."_reviewed by Anne Marie Chalmers for Front Street Reviews
"Six Jewels of the Quill authors join forces for a Christmas collection. [T]he stories are family oriented and heartwarming..."--Reviewed by Barb Anderson for Romantic Times BOOKreviews 3 Stars!
ALL SHE WORE WAS A BOW
[Men of Moonstone Series, Book 2}
by Christine DeSmet (Dame Moonstone) * * * *
Minutes after winning another bull-riding event in Las Vegas, Kincaid Hunter's mind switched with his usual precision to the next thing he had to achieve: stopping the Christmastime wedding of his buddy John "Bozeman" Hall. Jason and I looked into her past, Boze, and there's something I gotta tell ya. You're gonna lose your ranch.
It took three airplanes to get to northern Wisconsin, which gave him plenty of time to practice his speech. After landing in Superior, Kincaid drove east on a snow-covered road that split a pine forest into a desolate canyon. It was past three on Friday afternoon with temperatures dropping into the teens, something he wasn't used to anymore. A sky pockmarked with gray clouds spit beebee-sized snow at him. Kincaid shivered inside his ski jacket and heavy sweater.
Kincaid planned to get back to the Vegas lights and glitter mighty soon. Just as he dispatched with a two-thousand pound bull in eight seconds, he would shake sense into Boze and get them both back to the parties.
The champion bull rider even had a date lined up for the party at Bellagio's this Sunday night. She was the latest one-name, blonde singing sensation. Honey? Honesty? Honda? No, the latter was a car. He enjoyed precision, but that didn't include remembering the names of all the women he dated. Dating the same woman more than once was, well, downright wasteful. There were plenty of good-smellin' gals interested in helping the tall, dark, handsome cowboy off with his tan Stetson and finely-tooled, black boots.
His buddy's wedding was scheduled to take place a week from tomorrow, on the Saturday after Thursday's Christmas. Kincaid planned to take this weekend to show Boze what he'd been missing with the guys. They'd go snowmobiling tonight, skiing tomorrow morning, then ice fishing. They would shoot pool and shoot the breeze in country bars, and shoot down this ridiculous idea of Boze marrying a divorcee with a checkered past. Don't you see you're about to land in a nest full of rattlesnakes?
As soon as his rental car hit the west edge of Moonstone, Kincaid sensed trouble. "Holy crap," he muttered, "this town is ... quaint." This mission might be tougher than he expected.
He stopped the car next to a snow bank lining the snowy street. Since his military days he'd always checked out the "lay of the land" before venturing into danger. This place reeked of quaintness. And quaintness was for old people, not for Boze and Kincaid who were only thirty-two and who still had all their natural-color, thick, brown hair.
Kincaid cringed at the wreaths and red ribbons adorning every door in sight as well as the pumps at the two-pump gas station and auto body shop across the street. Banners hanging off light poles said "Merry Christmas" and "Joy to the World" instead of the generic "Happy Holidays." Snowmen stood at cockeyed angles in every yard.
Kincaid wheeled across the street to the gas station, parking next to a semi-trailer truck with its diesel engine running. To face all the quaintness, Kincaid needed black coffee, the kind that put hair on a man's chest. He knew he'd find it here. Truckers were like ranchers--hard-working men who rode the road instead of bulls.
Inside, a swarthy, weathered guy with a thick, dark mustache and black stocking cap was helping himself to coffee at a rickety card table in the window corner. A little creature of maybe six and in pink was with him. Kincaid didn't see many little kids in Vegas. This imp had messy, curly black hair that got in her eyes. Using her fingers, she was mixing a Styrofoam cup of what looked like instant cocoa. Her threadbare, pink coat was a moment away from being soaked in cocoa. A bulging pink and purple backpack with faeries flying on it sat on the floor next to the girl's booted feet.
"Howdy," Kincaid said to the man, taking off his Stetson. "Cold out there." He kept his ski jacket on against the chill. The trucker still wore his coat, too.
"Oui, mon ami, but we get used to it." The trucker settled on a folding chair to slurp his coffee. "The truck stays warm at night."
"You sleep in the truck?"
"Many times, if the roads are bad and we can't get back to Superior after one of our hauls." The man tousled the girl's hair.
Kincaid marveled that she slept in the truck. For some reason, that troubled him. "What're they predicting for weather?"
"Five-below tonight. It'll put an early end to the live Nativity celebration on the other end of Main Street."
"Live? People are standing outside in this?"
"A real Mary and Joseph, and a baby bundled up. They have real animals, too. Anybody who wants to can sing hymns with them at this very moment. We stopped for 'O Little Town of Bethlehem.' If you miss it, there's always next year."
"They do this every year?"
"Oui. This town lives and breathes traditional customs."
Traditional quaint crap. Kincaid filled a cup with steaming coffee. It scalded his mouth and throat; hairs sprouted on his chest. The little girl stared up at him, her mouth agape like a guppy.
Kincaid said to her, "Santa coming to your house this Christmas?"
"He's only bringing one present and I have five things on my list." She showed him one, then five fingers. "Can you tell him to bring me all the things?"
Her dad rose. "Shandra Leigh, that's not nice." He proffered a hand toward Kincaid. "I'm Philippe Montreaux, and this is my daughter. We've had discussions about how one gift is enough. Santa has to have enough presents for all the kids and not just her."
Kincaid had no wisdom on the issue. He'd never bought gifts for kids his entire life, and he'd never believed in Santa. These days he was showered with sponsorship gifts, something he wasn't about to mention here. "I'm Kincaid Hunter. Call me Kade." He liked Philippe's firm, warm handshake.
Shandra kept gawking.
Philippe plopped a hand on her head. "Shandra Leigh, please watch your manners."
She went back to stirring the cocoa, sloshing it onto the table.
"Use the spoon, Shandra Leigh," Philippe admonished, grabbing napkins.
While Philippe mopped the table, Kade looked about the small shop. A handmade, patchwork cloth wreath hung on the wall behind the register. A price tag said two dollars. Kade remembered high school fund-raisers in Montana where such things were sold around the holidays. Thank goodness he'd left that pitiful existence far behind.
Philippe asked, "Driving through?"
"I wish. Here for a wedding. You know a John Hall?"
Philippe laughed. "Had breakfast with the poor guy this morning at The Jingle Bell Inn. He was up at five baking sugar cookies."
"What the heck for?"
"Mon ami, I heard that all the decorations throughout The Jingle Bell Inn restaurant and the North Pole mansion have to be homemade. Your buddy was making sugar cookie stars to hang on the trees. John said they've got six trees."
Aarrgh. "I'll rescue him for a little bachelor party stuff this weekend."
"Good luck. That fiancée Dolly's something else. John's in for a wild ride."
That's what I'm afraid of.
Shandra spouted, "Two creepy boys from Italy are visiting them. Renzo and Romeo. They get like a hundred Christmas presents."
"Please, Shandra Leigh." Philippe's stern look sent her back to her cocoa cup before he smiled at Kade again. "Watch your step over there or you'll be putting together gingerbread houses tonight for your entertainment. There was some wedding planner gal looking for volunteers."
"I plan to take my buddy out for a good time on the snowmobile trails, followed by a few brews."
"First ya gotta get him out of his toga."
"He's playing Joseph this Christmas over in the park. If you hurry, mon ami, you shall find him there with his fiancée playing Mary. Her kid's a shepherd boy." The trucker pulled Shandra's coat hood up over her head. "We gotta get back on the road."
Shandra said, "I don't wanna go back. I wanna finish my cocoa."
"Come along, cheri." Philippe picked up the stuffed pink and purple backpack.
After Philippe and Shandra left, Kade realized that to stop this wedding he had to break up the "Holy Family." That certainly had an awkward taint to it. Dolly O'Toole, you're good at this game of snagging a man.
Back in his car, Kincaid inched down Main Street. Snowflakes the size of goose feathers fluttered onto his windshield. The town's main drag was barely as long as a Vegas casino. As Kade approached the mansion on the other end of town where he'd be staying and where the wedding was supposed to take place, the singing of "Away in the Manger" drifted into his car.
Across the street, about a hundred people huddled in the cold around a tiny, three-sided stable. It appeared Moonstone's town fathers allowed religious events on public property. Strings of lights illuminated the crèche. Kincaid spotted Boze in his flowing blue sheet. He sat amid yellow straw bales with a woman in a pink toga. Some kid in costume--probably her son Finn--appeared to be helping other children pet a donkey, goats, and an alpaca, the latter likely sufficing as a camel. Everybody sang from song books.
And to think I missed the party at the Wynn casino for this. But I'll be back by Sunday night, in time to take Honey-Honesty-Honda-what's-her-name to Bellagio's bash.
Kade was even thirstier now for a beer and a fast blast on a snowmobile. He drove into a tiny parking lot at the back of the mansion that held about ten cars, presumably owned by patrons of The Jingle Bell Inn restaurant. One look at the three-story Victorian house made him groan again. Oh, man, do I have my work cut out for me. The place is right out of a fairy tale.
The white house had a green roof and red trim. It sported a front verandah with railings decked out with red bows. Glass sconces flickered with real candles. His buddy Boze said the place had been dubbed the North Pole because the elderly owner, Henri LeBarron, had played Santa for several years for the town's celebrations. The old geezer had married a former nun in her late twenties. She'd given birth last spring to a baby girl. Kincaid planned to tell Boze to follow Henri's lead: Wait to settle down until you're in your eighties.
Before he could ring the bell, the front door opened wide to reveal a tall, pleasingly plump but shapely, young woman maybe his own age dressed in red and white with a blinking head. A blinking head?
"You're early," she said, her brown eyes wide. "But come on in. We'll need to make this a quickie before they all come over from the park and catch us." She grabbed his bag and his arm, pulling him inside as she said, "What position do you want me in first?"