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The last thing Megan wants to do is hurt her family again. After all, is she really...
The last thing Megan wants to do is hurt her family again. After all, is she really sure she and Mick can make it this time around? And when an unexpected delivery causes chaos, it seems only a miracle can reunite this family.
Of course, it is Christmas—the season of miracles.
"Sherryl Woods gives her characters depth, intensity, and the right amount of humor."
-RT Book Reviews
"Infused with the warmth and magic of the season, Woods's fourth addition to her popular, small-town series once again unites the unruly, outspoken, endearing O'Brien clan in a touching, triumphant tale of forgiveness and love reclaimed."
-Library Journal on A Chesapeake Shores Christmas
"A sweet read perfect to enjoy again and again."
-RT Book Reviews on A Chesapeake Shores Christmas
"Warm, complex, and satisfying."
-Library Journal on Harbor Lights
"Timely in terms of plot and deeply emotional, the third Chesapeake Shores book is quite absorbing. The characters are handled well and have real chemistry-as well as a way with one-liners."
- RT Book Reviews on Harbor Lights
"Sparks fly in a lively tale that is overflowing with family conflict and warmth and the possibility of rekindled love."
-Library Journal on Flowers on Main
"Woods . . . is noted for appealing character-driven stories that are often infused with the flavor and fragrance of the South."
Newly divorced and separated from her children, Megan had found the memories had been too bittersweet to leave New York and come back for Christmas. She'd tried to make up for her absence by sending a mountain of presents, each one carefully chosen to suit the interests of each child. She'd called on Christmas Day, but the conversations with the older children had been grudging and too brief. Her youngest, Jess, had refused to take her call at all.
The following year Megan had ventured back to town, hoping to spend time with the children on Christmas morning. Her ex-husband, Mick O'Brien, had agreed to the visit. She'd anticipated seeing their eyes light up over the presents she'd chosen. She'd even arranged for a special breakfast at Brady's, a family favorite, but the atmosphere had been so strained, the reaction to her gifts so dismissive, that she'd driven everyone back home an hour later. She'd managed to hide her tears and disappointment until she was once again alone in her hotel room.
After that, she'd made countless attempts to convince the children to come to New York for the holidays, but they'd stubbornly refused, and Mick had backed them up. She could have fought harder, but she'd realized that to do so would only ruin Christmas for all of them. Teenagers who were where they didn't want to be could make everyone's life miserable.
Now she parked her car at the end of Main and walked slowly along the block, taking it all in. Even though it was only days after Halloween, the town was all decked out. Every storefront along Main Street had been transformed with twinkling white lights and filled with enticing displays. The yellow chrysanthemums outside the doorways during the fall had given way to an abundance of bright red poinsettias.
Workers were stringing lights along the downtown streets and readying a towering fir on the town green for a tree-lighting ceremony that would be held in a few weeks. The only thing missing was snow, and since Chesapeake Shores hadn't had a white Christmas in years, no one was counting on that to set the scene.
The town created its own festive atmosphere to charm residents and lure tourists to the seaside community.
As she strolled, Megan recalled the sweet simplicity of going Christmas shopping with the kids when they were small, pausing as they stared in wonder at the window displays. There were a few new shops now, but many remained exactly the same, the windows gaily decorated in a suitable theme. Now it was her grandchildren who would be enchanted by the displays.
Ethel's Emporium, for instance, still had the same animated figures of Santa and Mrs. Claus in the window along with giant jars filled with the colorful penny candy that was so popular with the children in town. Once again, Seaside Gifts had draped fishing nets in the window, woven lights through them and added an exceptional assortment of glittering nautical ornaments, some delicate, some delightfully gaudy and outrageous.
At her daughter Bree's shop, Flowers on Main, lights sparkled amid a sea of red and white poinsettias. Next door, in her daughter-in-law Shanna's bookstore, the window featured seasonal children's books, along with a selection of holiday cookie recipe books and a plate filled with samples to entice a jolly life-size stuffed Santa. Inside, she knew, there would be more of the delectable cookies for the customers. The chef at her daughter Jess's inn was sending them over daily during the season, some packaged for resale as enticing gifts.
In fact, all along Main Street, Megan saw evidence of her family settling down in this town that had been the creation of her ex-husband, architect Mick O'Brien.
Though all of their children except Jess had fled for careers and college, one by one they had drifted back home and made lives for themselves in Chesapeake Shores. They'd made peace with their father and, to some extent, with her. Only Connor, now an attorney in Baltimore, had kept his distance.
It should have been gratifying to see an O'Brien touch everywhere she looked, but instead it left Megan feeling oddly out of sorts. Just like Connor, she, too, had yet to find her way home. And though her relationship with Mick had been improving—she had, in fact, agreed to consider marrying him again—something continued to hold her back from making that final commitment.
Megan shivered as the wind off the Chesapeake Bay cut through her. Though it was nothing like the wind that whipped between New York's skyscrapers this time of year, the bitter chill and gathering storm clouds seemed to accentuate her odd mood.
When she shivered again, strong arms slid around her waist from behind and she was drawn into all the protective warmth that was Mick O'Brien. He smelled of the crisp outdoors and the lingering aroma of a spicy aftershave, one as familiar to her as the scent of sea air.
"Why the sad expression, Meggie?" he asked. "Isn't this the most wonderful time of the year? You used to love Christmas."
"I still do," she said, leaning against him. Despite all those sorrowful holidays she'd spent alone, it was impossible for her to resist the hopeful magic of the season. "New York is always so special during the holidays. I'd forgotten that Chesapeake Shores has its own charm at Christmas."
She gestured toward the shop windows. "Bree and Shanna have a real knack for creating inviting displays, don't they?"
"Best on the block," he said proudly. There was nothing an O'Brien did that wasn't the best, according to Mick—unless, of course, it was an accomplishment by one of his estranged brothers, Jeff or Thomas. "Why don't we go to Sally's and have some hot chocolate and one of her raspberry croissants?"
"I was planning to start on my Christmas shopping this morning," she protested. "It's practically my duty to support the local economy, don't you think?"
"Why not warm up with the hot chocolate first?" he coaxed. "And then I'll go with you."
Megan regarded him with surprise. "You hate to shop."
"That was the old me," he said with the irrepressible grin she'd never been able to resist. "I'm reformed, remember? I want to do anything that allows me some extra time with you. Besides, I'm hoping you'll give me some ideas about what you really want for Christmas."
Given all the years when Mick had turned his holiday shopping over to her and later to his secretary, this commitment to finding the perfect gift was yet more evidence that he was truly trying to change his neglectful ways.
"I appreciate the thought," she began, only to draw a scowl.
"Don't be telling me you don't need anything," he said as he guided her into Sally's. "Christmas gifts aren't about what you need. They're about things that will make those beautiful eyes of yours light up."
Megan smiled. "You still have the gift of blarney, Mick O'Brien." And over the past couple of years since they'd been reunited, his charm had become harder and harder to resist. In fact, she couldn't say for sure why she'd been so reluctant to set a wedding date when he'd shown her time and again how much he'd tried to change in all the ways that had once mattered so much to her.
When they were seated and held steaming cups of hot chocolate, topped with extra marshmallows, she studied the man across from her. Still handsome, with thick black hair, twinkling blue eyes and a body kept fit from working construction in many of his own developments as well as his recent Habitat for Humanity projects, Mick O'Brien would turn any woman's head.
Now when he was with her—unlike when they were married—he was attentive and thoughtful. He courted her as only a man who knew her deepest desires possibly could. There was an intimacy and understanding between them that could only come from so many years of marriage.
And yet, she still held back. She'd found so many excuses, in fact, that Mick had stopped pressing her to set a date. She had a feeling that a perverse desire to be pursued was behind her disgruntled mood this morning.
"You've that sad expression on your face again, Meggie. Is something wrong?" he asked, once more proving he was attuned to her every mood.
She drew in a deep breath and, surprising herself, blurted, "I'm wondering why you've stopped pestering me to marry you."
At the question, Mick's expression immediately brightened. "Are you saying you've finally run out of excuses?"
"Possibly," she said, then gave him a challenging look. "Try me."
A sheepish smile spread across his face. "Well, for starters, you should know that I have New Year's Eve on hold at Jess's inn," he admitted. "Just in case."
Startled, Megan stared at him. "For our wedding?"
"Or at least a family party, if I couldn't coax you into finally saying yes to a wedding date," he said hurriedly. "What do you think, Meggie? Would you like to start the new year as Mrs. Mick O'Brien? I know for me there'd be no better time to begin the next stage of our life together."
He reached across the table and clasped her hand. "Will you marry me so we can greet the new year together? Say yes and we'll go straight to the jewelry store where I have the perfect ring on hold. Sapphires and diamonds that sparkle like your eyes. I knew the minute I saw it that it belonged on your hand."
It had taken Megan a long time to get over all the times Mick had gone running off for work, abandoning her to care for their five children alone. It had taken years for her to understand that the neglect had been born not just of ego but of a powerful drive to provide for his family. She'd forgiven him long ago. Now it was simply a question of ignoring all the lingering doubts that crept in late at night, when she was alone in her bed in New York, and taking a leap of faith into the future he was offering, to believe it wouldn't turn out the same way as the past.
She took a deep breath and made the leap. "I think New Year's Eve would be a wonderful time to get married," she said, her eyes blurred by tears.
Mick frowned. "If it's so wonderful, why are you crying?"
"Because I'm happy," she said, deliberately pushing her lingering doubts aside. She was stronger now. She'd found a career of her own in New York, one she could bring with her to Chesapeake Shores. She could be an equal partner with Mick this time. Not everything would have to be on his terms. They'd finally have the life she'd envisioned the first time they'd married.
Obviously satisfied by her answer, Mick immediately grabbed his coat and stood, then reached for her hand. "Let's go."
She regarded him with bafflement. "Where? We just got here. I've barely taken a sip of this hot chocolate you were so intent on having."
"We can get more to go. Right now, we have a ring to buy, people to tell, plans to make and not a lot of time." Already waving for the check, he ticked off a list. "We'll stop in to see Bree and order the flowers, then see if Kevin's at the bookstore with Shanna and we can tell them the news."
There he was, barreling ahead with his plans, not two seconds after she'd envisioned a real partnership. Megan regarded him with dismay. "Slow down, Mick. Shouldn't we tell everyone at once? Maybe invite them all over for dinner and make a big announcement? And there's Nell. We don't want your mother hearing this from anyone else in the family. She's sensitive enough about the idea of me coming back and taking over after all her years of running your home. We want to settle how this will work, so she won't feel as if I'm displacing her. After all she's done for this family, we owe her that much consideration."
After a moment's hesitation, Mick sighed and sat back down. "You were always the sensible one," he said.
"And you were always the passionate one with big ideas he expected everyone to go along with," she said. "We need to keep in mind that even though things are better with our children, they may not be as overjoyed about this as we are."
"Abby's been plotting exactly this for a very long time," he reminded her.
Megan couldn't deny that their eldest child had played a role in bringing them back together. "She may be the only one with a longing to see us reunited," she observed realistically.
"They're all adults. They'll just have to deal with it," he said stubbornly.
"Now there's the sensitive side of you I've missed," she said wryly.
"Okay, okay, I see your point. We'll handle this your way," Mick grumbled. "But nobody's standing in our way. I won't allow it."
Megan grinned. "Famous last words."
Posted September 6, 2013
Posted May 14, 2012
I love this town and most of the characters - most of the time! It seems to me that each of the members if this large and wealthy family has a very significant irritating quality. The heroine of this book got on my nerves almost enough to drive me away from the story. The disapproving son was even worse. He came off as a boorish and opinionated brat. Despite these flaws, the remaining characters and the overall charm of the town pulled it together into a worthwhile read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 22, 2012
I OWN AND HAVE READ ON NOOK THE CHESAPEAKE SHORES SERIES. I LEARNED OF THIS SERIES WHEN I SEARCHED FOR BOOKS WHEN I FIRST RECEIVED MY NOOK. I WAS DRAWN TO THIS SERIES BECAUSE I HAVE LIVED IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA MANY YEARS AGO.
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Posted December 2, 2010
Reading a really good book is such a joy that the pages (and time) seems to just fly by! I find that as eager as I am to find out how the story ends, I also try and stretch those last few chapters to savour the story and it's characters. Most times I can't stretch it out for very long as I'm just too eager to get to the end and find out how it all works out (LOL). Well, A Chesapeake Shores Christmas is just such a book! Though this is the fourth book in the Chesapeake Shores series I found it easy to read as a stand alone book. The story is heart warming, the characters are realistic and endearing. I came away from this story with a warm glow and I can't wait to read the other three books in this series! I highly recommend purchasing this book ~ it would make a great stocking stuffer! Many thanks to Kim M. at Nancy Berland Public Relations for the opportunity to review this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 20, 2010
This delightful holiday family story is another in Sherryl Woods series set in Chesapeake Shores. I had never read any of the previous ones but I had no trouble reading this book on its own. After reading "A Chesapeake Shores Christmas", I had a desire to read more of Sherryl's books. She has such a heartwarming way of getting the reader and keeping that reader reading until the eyes close.
Megan and Mick O'Brien had divorced twelve years earlier. After the divorce Megan moved to New York City from the Chesapeake Shores area but she had a very difficult time adjusting without her family. She had made the trip back on one occasion at Christmas to see how things would go while visiting her much-missed children. Megan had the feeling that it was just too much for all of the family to take so she didn't try another trip until twelve years after the divorce. She had called ahead to Mick to see how he felt about another attempt for a Christmas visit. She had repeatedly invited the children to come to visit her in New York but none would come. This made her feel hesitant about going to see her loved ones.
Megan and Mick clicked almost at once with each other, both wondering why they had gotten the divorce since they did love each other so much yet. After a period of time before Christmas, Megan spoke and reconnected with the children except for Connor. He was an attorney and vowed to fight any new marriage of his parents. He did not want Megan to tear up the family again as he felt she had done after the divorce. Despite Megan and Mick's attempts talking to Connor, he still refused to give in. The other children seemed to think it would be great for them all if their parents married again. The battle and persuasion to get Connor to agree went on quite a while.
The Thanksgiving meal preparation went on. All the children, parents, and grandchildren were involved except Connor. He refused to participate with his mother in the picture. Megan was a very valuable employee working for an artist studio in New York and loved her work. Now that she hoped to reconnect with her family she also hoped to start her own studio in Chesapeake Shores if all went well. All the conversations, yea and nay, continued between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The author has woven a very plausible tale that will envelop the reader from cover to cover. Thanks Cherryl.
Posted October 16, 2010
A graduate of Ohio State University School of Journalism, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author Sherryl Woods spent more than ten years as a journalist, most of them as a television critic for newspapers in Ohio and Florida. For several years she also coordinated a motivational program at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center. Sherryl Woods grew up in Virginia, and over the years she has lived in Ohio and Florida, as well as California. Currently she divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida and Colonial Beach, Virginia, the small, river-front town where she spent her childhood summers. In addition to her more than seventy-five romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition, she has written thirteen mysteries - nine in the Amanda Roberts series and four in the Molly DeWitt series. When she's not writing or reading, Sherryl loves to garden, though she's not at her best on a riding lawn mower. She also loves tennis, theater, and ballet. Other titles include: HOME AT ROSE COTTAGE, SWEET TEA AT SUNRISE, MENDING FENCES, STEALING HOME, ASK ANYONE, and ANGEL MINE.
After divorcing many years ago and being apart, Megan and Mick O'Brien are ready to take the plunge together again and make their rekindled love official. Their grown children seem supportive and happy for them, well, all but one. Connor is still harboring bitter resentment for Megan and what she did to the family by leaving them. The last thing Megan wants to do is hurt her family again, but doesn't she deserve the chance for happiness with her one true love? With an impending marriage and holiday season, can miracles truly happen? It seems as if only an unexpected delivery and a miracle can reunite this family. And Christmas is the only time of year for just such a miracle.
I'm normally a huge fan of Sherryl Woods books. She writes with a bittersweet reverie that is so timeless and unique to her, and rarely heard anymore. But this book was not for me. Her readers will disagree with me, as this is a personal preference to me and not a knock on the book. I could not relate to the main character, Megan, at all. Here is a woman who selfishly left her family years before. I realize why, and on some level I understand it, but I cannot relate to a heroine who did that. I'm all for second chances, but not in this scenario for a heroine. I was actually rooting against her.
In saying that, Sherryl's readers will delight in her charismatic writing style and tearful moments in this story, just as her previous ones. It's a heartfelt book filled with miracles and family--what better for Christmas? I am very much looking forward to the rest of the series: DRIFTWOOD COTTAGE- Connor's story (April 2011), MOONLIGHT COVE- Jess's story (May 2011), and BEACH LANE- Susie and Mack's story (June 2011).
Author and Reviewer
Posted October 1, 2010
Memorable characters and exquisite writing makes A Chesapeake Shores Christmas exceptionally good reading.
Megan wants to remarry Mick but she wants to be a partner not a possession to him. Making it happen may be next to impossible. Mick's controlling, I-know-best attitude had made him a successful, rich man but had negated Megan's value in their marriage until she ran to save her sense of self, but their love for each other never died.
She'd tried to communicate that she and the children needed him to be a part of their lives not just a good provider. Communication did take place, but each person interpreted the words from his or her own perspective. It reminds me of a song from 'back when' that said, everybody's talking at me. I don't hear a word they are saying. The lack of understanding brought heartbreaking results-a divorce that colored the lives of Megan and Mick's five children.
Older and hopefully wiser Megan tries to mend family ties that she rent asunder when she divorced Mick and allowed their five children to stay with him-a decision that cut deep wounds in her heart-wounds that bled afresh each time her children rebuffed her.
The children, now adults, play major roles in the reconciliation efforts of Mick and Megan. Connor, the youngest and a divorce lawyer, is an antagonist deluxe. His pessimistic, judgmental attitude not only threatens his parents' happiness, it also threatens his own happiness.
Families squabble, but the O'Briens have developed it into an art form.
Consequently, Megan's being strong enough to stand up to Mick's bulldozer ways gets tested over and over again as he works to make good on his claim that he has changed. An even tougher test is holding on to her convictions while dealing lovely with Connor who has deep-seated anger and abandonment issues that make him truly cruel at times. The other children add opinions to their parents reuniting which makes for some volatile family gatherings. However, great-grandmother Nell and tiny baby Mick just may be two of the most pivotal characters that influence the resolution of some major issues-these two wield lots of power.
Sherryl Woods' character development reveals such true-to-life emotions that the members of the O'Brien family seem like neighborhood friends that weather some of the toughest of life's emotional storms, never giving up, and never taking the easy way out of problems. A mixture of 'muleheadedness', we-will-survive attitude, and an abundance of both family love and romantic love makes A Chesapeake Shores Christmas a story with its share of Christmas miracles. When the chips are down, love wins the day, but not without a ton of conflicts that make a spellbinding story.
Originally posted at: The Long And Short of It Romance Reviews.
Posted September 6, 2010
After a dozen plus years since their divorce, Mick and Megan O'Brien are remarrying in Chesapeake Shores. This will be only the second time since she left Mick to hide in New York that she will be in the place her children grew up. She prays her offspring will accept her back in their lives and that of their daddy, but knows her mistakes of not being there for them could prove too much to overcome.
The adult kids are euphoric that their parents are coming together. That is all except Connor who became a divorce lawyer due to his mother's abandonment of him and his siblings. He cannot forgive her unlike the rest of the family who bless this union. His rejection amplifies Megan's doubts as she does no want to hurt her loved ones again. It will take a miracle to bring the O'Brien family together, but it is the season of miracles.
The latest Chesapeake Shores tale (see Harbor Lights and Flowers on Main Street) is an enjoyable second chance at family drama. The parents and their children are fully developed characters, but it is Connor who makes the story line work. Megan recognizes his relationship with heather as a repeat of the mistakes made by and Mick. Readers will enjoy the return to the O'Brien brood in Sherryl Woods' warm return to Chesapeake Shores.
Posted August 24, 2011
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Posted June 16, 2011
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