Home for the Holidays [NOOK Book]

Overview

When Rachel loses her Hollywood dream job, a trip home for Christmas seems like a good idea. But she never expects to find a hunk from her past waiting under the mistletoe...

Red-hot stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Porter has it all. Well, sort of. Her luxury beach house is actually a loaner from her #1 client. And her cute Tesla Roadster? Well, that's just another job perk...hers to keep, right? But when Rachel catches her #1 client in bed with ...

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Home for the Holidays

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Overview

When Rachel loses her Hollywood dream job, a trip home for Christmas seems like a good idea. But she never expects to find a hunk from her past waiting under the mistletoe...

Red-hot stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Porter has it all. Well, sort of. Her luxury beach house is actually a loaner from her #1 client. And her cute Tesla Roadster? Well, that's just another job perk...hers to keep, right? But when Rachel catches her #1 client in bed with her boyfriend, she exacts her revenge by tricking her turncoat "frenemy" into committing fashion suicide on the red carpet—and promptly finds herself out of a job. And her house. Her car. Her life. With nowhere to turn, Rachel does the unthinkable: she goes home to Kismet, Michigan.

For Reno Wright, picking up his neighbor's daughter from the airport for a holiday visit sounds like no big deal. But from the moment he spies Rachel in the airport, Reno knows he's in over his head. The girl Reno remembers from high school looks nothing like the glammed-out man-killer who walks off the plane. But for all her attitude, Rachel is really just a small-town girl with a heart too big for Hollywood. The temperature may be freezing, but the heat between Rachel and Reno is burning hot.

Reno is falling hard fast...but will his holiday romance survive once the calendar turns?

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

When Rachel Porter, the hottest celebrity stylist in Hollywood, catches her current boyfriend sleeping with her best client, she retaliates with a rash, flamboyant move that sabotages her own career and sends her home to tiny Kismet, MI, to lick her wounds and wait until things blow over in Beverly Hills. However, she doesn't count on reconnecting with former NFL star Reno Wright, and she definitely doesn't plan on falling for him, something of a problem since Reno is on a reluctant mission to match her up with his best friend. A delightful secondary romance adds to the fun in this upbeat romp that is touching, hilarious, and lightly dusted with seasonal charm. Plumley lives in Chandler, AZ.


—Kristin Ramsdell
Bookloons
If you're in the mood for a fun-filled contemporary romance oozing with seasonal charm, appealing characters, and amusing moments, then Home for the Holidays is just what Santa ordered.
Joyfully Reviewed
"Home For The Holidays is a bit of a modern day It's A Wonderful Life. It's romantic and fun and full of heartwarming moments!
Romance Junkies
Home for the Holidays has charm and warmth. Lisa Plumley captures much of the fun of the season, some of the heartache, but also all of the love that makes Christmas so wonderful. Sure, it has a holiday themed title, but this story is guaranteed to make you smile any time of the year.
Romance Reader at Heart
Home for the Holidays is a fun holiday romanceùwho doesn't love a good love story delivered by Santa? Plumley hits all of the right marks in telling a love story, sharing passion and inspiring us to be our best!
Romance Reviews Today
Plenty of chuckles are on hand in this entertaining romp by Lisa Plumley. Get ready for the holidays and grab yourself a fun read you won't want to miss!
The Romance Readers Connection
Home For The Holidays is a perfect way to get your holiday reading underway. Readers will definitely enjoy the tone and pace of this book, in addition to the funny, romantic and light-hearted spirit of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and suggest that you pick-up a copy too.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781420107623
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 132,710
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

USA TODAY best-selling author Lisa Plumley has delighted readers worldwide with more than two dozen popular novels. Her work has been translated into multiple languages and editions, and includes contemporary romantic comedies, western historical romances and a variety of stories in romance anthologies. Her fresh, funny style has been likened to such reader favorites as Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Jennifer Crusie, but her unique characterization is all her own.

Lisa lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children. In her free time she reads romances and research books by the dozen, practices yoga, and spends time with her family, hiking in the mountains and deserts of Arizona, visiting ghost towns and historical sites, and watching classic movies.
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Read an Excerpt

Home for the Holidays
By Lisa Plumley ZEBRA BOOKS
Copyright © 2008
Lisa Plumley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8217-8053-4


Chapter One The thing about her life, Rachel Porter realized as she scrambled out of her Malibu beach house with an armload of accessories, a collapsible rolling wardrobe rack, and a mouthful of chalky "French vanilla" protein bar at the unholy hour of 9:30 A.M. on a Saturday, was that it never stopped. Never. Ever.

Take now for instance. Most ordinary people would have been lolling in bed. Or making brunch plans. Or maybe-if they were really ultraambitious-hitting a local coffeehouse for a latte and a copy of the Times. But was she doing any of that? No.

Because she hadn't gotten to the top of her game by lolling, brunching, or reading the newspaper, Rachel reminded herself as she took a swig of Dayquil from the bottle she'd carried outside. She'd gotten there by busting her butt for her "team" (aka, her clients), and she wasn't about to stop now. Not even on a perfectly clear December day like today, when the sky soared overhead in pure Tiffany blue, and the sun sparkled off the Pacific, and even the seagulls sounded kind of nice.

Wintertime in L.A. You had to love it.

But if she didn't get a move on, she was going to lose it. A girl like her lived on borrowed time. In a borrowed house. With a borrowed car parked outside. Technically speaking, most of what she called her own was either on loan from a client or courtesy of acelebrity party goody bag. In fact, her whole life was kind of a loaner. Hers for now. But the way things looked, now was going to last a good, long, fantastic time.

After all, she loved her clients as much as they loved her. She made them look fabulous, and they made her look happy. Er, successful. There was no reason to believe their lovey-dovey relationship wouldn't continue. Besides, she'd earned all those freebies (in a way). Perks were part of the celebrity stylist package. She'd have been an idiot to turn them down (although, naïvely, she had at first). She might have been a Midwestern girl once, but she was a bona fide California girl now.

Clattering down the drive in her chicest sandals (to the dinging accompaniment of an incoming text message and her spare cell phone's ringtone), Rachel deftly rearranged two handbags and a tangle of silk scarves. She snared the wardrobe rack with her foot, then steered it toward her Tesla Roadster. The wheelie rack sailed to a tidy stop near the passenger side door, allowing her plenty of time to swallow her first bite of protein bar, glance at the text, then answer cell phone numero dos.

It was Jenn, her new assistant. Thank God. She was already on the job. It hadn't been easy to find Jenn-fourteen interviews later-but Rachel desperately needed the help. Ever since styling the cast of Rendezvous for the Emmys, she'd had more work than she could handle. It hadn't been easy to turn over the reins (even a few of them) to someone new, but Jenn's stellar résumé and outstanding references had helped make the process easier.

It was only smart, Rachel figured, to get solid verification before committing fully to anything. Or anyone.

"Hi, it's Jenn. I have Tiana on the line for you."

"No! I can't talk to Tiana right now." Rachel felt sure she'd made that clear to Jenn already. She propped the phone on her shoulder, added the scarves and accessories to the pile already on the convertible's passenger seat, then started folding up the wheelie rack. Stuffily and a little hoarsely, Rachel said, "Just tell her I'll call her later, okay? Because-"

"Oh, good. Here she is!" Jenn announced cheerfully. Silence. Then a faint click. Damn it. Jenn had weaseled already! She'd sold her out. The sounds of surf came over the line, followed by the clink of cutlery and a strident voice.

"Rachel! I've been trying to reach you since Tuesday."

Uh-oh. Tiana Zane-with Alayna Panagakos and Melina Carras-was one-third of the superstar girl group, Goddess. Or at least she had been. When Alayna had gotten "discovered" by the film industry, she'd all but ditched the group to become the latest Hollywood "It" girl. Rachel respected Alayna's ambition-and was grateful that Alayna had brought her along for the ride-but her break with Goddess had left two very problematic side effects.

Namely, Melina and Tiana.

"I know, Tiana." Another shove brought the collapsible rack into the car, clothes and all. Rachel studied it, then redraped a few items. "I'm sorry. I've been absolutely swamped."

"Swamped working with Alayna?"

Guiltily, Rachel froze. She glanced at her brand-new car, a gift from ... well, guess who? It was all electric, went zero to sixty in four seconds, and was rumored to cost over one hundred thousand dollars. There was a waiting list to get a Tesla Roadster, even for celebrities, but Alayna had had enough clout to snag two of them. Rachel's lit up her driveway in electric blue. Most people opted for fusion red, but not Alayna.

"Too midlife crisis," she'd said in dismissal. "Too predictable. We're anything but predictable, right, Rach?"

Shaking off the memory, Rachel wrenched open her door and got in. Ah. Luxury. "You know I do everything I can for my clients, Tiana. Did you get the dress I sent over?"

"That's why I'm calling. I'm not wearing this."

"It's from a new designer. A very talented man named-"

"It looks like gold Saran Wrap! You're kidding right?"

Inhale. Exhale. Neither was easy, given the head cold Rachel was currently battling. "Of course not. Loo is having a Barbarella moment right now, that's all. That dress is very inspired." Rachel had all but promised the designer that she'd get one of his creations on the red carpet. "It's avant-garde."

"It's tacky, and I hate it."

"Okay." Stealthily, Rachel slipped the key in the ignition. The car started in absolute silence. Thank you, electric engine! "I'll pull a few more things for you. You'll love them."

Tiana breathed a sigh of relief. "Yes. Please."

"No problem." Glancing over her shoulder, Rachel hovered at the edge of the PCH, waiting for a break in traffic. Who needed coffee, when L.A. rush hour could pump up your adrenaline instead? "I'll just have Jenn drop by to pick it up early. They're not doing the Vogue shoot with it until next week, but-"

"Wait a minute. This dress is going to be in Vogue?"

"Mmmm." Blithely, Rachel swallowed another bite of protein bar. She pushed up her sunglasses. "That's what I've heard."

A long silence. Then, "Maybe I'll try it on again."

"Are you sure? I've got a few other things here ..."

"I'm sure. Actually, I mostly called to say thanks. For still being there for me. A lot of people in this town pretty much quit returning my calls, but you ... Well, I appreciate it."

Ugh. Feeling twice as bad for trying to ditch Tiana's phone call earlier, Rachel let a perfectly good opening in traffic pass her by. She stared blindly at the Mercedes and Priuses whooshing past, her lungs filled with exhaust and sea air. Her other cell phone rang. Six text messages had come in, too.

"You're welcome. Anytime, Tiana. Gotta run."

She hung up and swerved into traffic. Because after all, sentimentality was a luxury she couldn't afford. She ran a serious business-in a very cutthroat town-and that was that.

Two and a half minutes later, Rachel pulled her carload of stuff into the busy driveway of the beach house next door-a house much bigger and more lavish than her own. She sighed. Her commute wasn't bad, but the on-call hours were killers.

Time to go to work for real.

Alayna's house overflowed with people, from the gardeners laboring over the grass and flowering bougainvillea to the cleaners, caterers, and delivery personnel coming and going across the imported Italian stone floors. With her cell phone to her ear (and her other phone bleeping for attention in her tote bag), Rachel studied the scene as she popped her first Pepcid of the day. Chasing the antacid with a cough drop, she dodged a florist's van and two window cleaners, then briskly made her way up the steps and through the open front door.

As always, the interior of the place took her breath away. Starkly modern in design, it boasted an unmatched view of the ocean, expansive spaces, luxe furnishings, and a media room with an A/V system to rival any professional theater. The house also featured a chef-grade kitchen (Alayna used it to microwave Lean Pockets and store Diet Dr Pepper), a personal tan-by-mist salon, and two entire rooms that served as walk-in closets-one for shoes and accessories; one for clothing and jewelry.

Everywhere Rachel looked, things were expensively and expertly decorated. Although less than a month remained until Christmas, there was no sign of the holiday here.

There wouldn't be either-not until after Alayna's birthday today. The pop star refused to acknowledge anything mistletoe-and-holly related until after her big day. But with Christmas crowding into stores earlier every year, fulfilling Alayna's request to keep everything seasonal out of sight until ... well, tomorrow-when she'd expect her home to be transformed into a winter wonderland-proved trickier for Rachel all the time.

In the end, she'd enacted her own Christmas boycott, just to keep herself on the straight and narrow. From Thanksgiving through early December, Rachel simply pretended the holidays didn't exist. She didn't wrap gifts, she didn't play her guilty-pleasure 'N Sync Christmas CD, and she absolutely didn't wander around with any delicious peppermint mochas in hand.

"Excuse us," someone said. She turned. Two uniformed workers glided past her with a floral arrangement between them. It looked big enough to serve as a centerpiece at an Oscars after party. In a life this grand, the flowers simply had to keep up-and so did Rachel.

Rearranging the evening bags she'd brought, she charged past the foyer. Forty gazillion steps later (the house was just that big), she stopped to chat with Alayna's party planner, then with the charming French caterer, Henri. He insisted she try a bite of his petite gateau; it tasted orgasmic.

He winked. "I'll save a plate for you at the party."

"Thanks. I never get a chance to eat anything."

"You and me, too, chérie."

As though on cue, cell phone numero uno rang. With a smile and a wave to Henri, Rachel answered it. She talked Jenn through some paperwork and the day's call list as she navigated past a jumble of charity invitations, an array of busy decorators, and an extravagant pile of gifts. They'd been arriving for weeks, Rachel knew, from friends and fans and hangers-on alike.

She passed through the great room, looking for her client as she gave yeses or noes for Jenn to relay to the various designers, celebrities, and sponsors who wanted to meet with her. Alayna was nowhere in sight, but a nearly life-size rendition of the Acropolis-done in sweet red velvet cake and butter-cream-stood in a place of prominence in the dining room.

Yum. People outside the industry probably wouldn't have understood making such a fuss over someone's birthday. After all, they'd have said, despite her Grammy and her acting roles and her number-one CDs, Alayna was just another girl, right?

But that wasn't right. Not at all. Alayna was special, and Rachel had dedicated three years of her life to making sure the whole world noticed that. Besides, it wasn't every day that a superstar turned twenty-five. Rachel had powered past that milestone herself just five years ago. Sadly, she hadn't had an enormous artisanal cake and a truckload of gifts to show for it.

In fact, if she remembered correctly, her twenty-fifth birthday had passed by mostly unnoticed, lost in a whirlwind of preparation for one of her clients' big events. Succeeding in her business required that kind of focus though. If Rachel didn't stay on her toes, another stylist would step in and steal the spotlight-along with her "team"-and then where would she be?

Off the A-list and out of a job, that's where. Probably if she'd been with Tyson on her birthday, things would have been different, Rachel mused as she paused to check her bleary-eyed, red-nosed reflection in the mirror at the bottom of the staircase. Her new boyfriend was thoughtful. Loving. Fun. And drop-dead sexy, too. Tyson would have made sure she had a birthday to remember. He was just that kind of guy.

Which was why she hadn't mentioned that she had to work this morning. Why put the kibosh on their entire weekend?

Instead, Rachel had left just moments after Tyson had gone for his usual A.M. run on the beach. If she were lucky, she could finish early with Alayna, then sneak back home before Tyson even realized she'd gone. Before she knew it, she'd be kicking off her weekend the right way-with a steamy shower, a bunch of frothy, squeaky-clean bubbles, and a whole lot of hot, naked man-her man-to share them with.

Newly determined, Rachel hung up her phone, ignoring the ring of numero dos. She ascended the stairs as quickly as she could, rising above the commotion in the rest of the house and stopping twice to blow her nose. She probably should have brought in her Dayquil for another dose.

At the landing, she spotted Alayna's housekeeper trotting out of a nearby bathroom with an armful of towels.

"Carol! Hang on a sec."

The woman paused, then shook her head as she watched Rachel stuff tissues and cough drops in the pocket of her jeans.

"You don't look so good. Another cold?"

"Just a little one. It's almost gone." Shrugging, Rachel rummaged around in her tote bag-huge, handy, and Hermès. She found what she was looking for. Triumphantly, she pulled it out. "Here. For you."

Carol's eyes widened. "Is that a bottle of Femme Fatale?"

"The genuine article. You said you wanted to try it."

"Try it? I've been sneaking test strips out of Alayna's magazines for months now!" Carol hugged the bottle to her uniformed chest. "But it's not even in stores yet, is it?"

Rachel winked. "I've got connections."

She also had two good eyes. She'd seen Carol rapturously sniffing one of those strips instead of dusting a few weeks ago.

The housekeeper shook her head. "This is too much." She held the bottle at arm's length. "I can't keep this."

"Of course you can. You deserve it."

Carol eyed the bottle dubiously. "I can't pay you back."

"You're not supposed to! It's a gift."

"No." Eyes closed, Carol shoved it away. "Thank you."

Rachel exhaled. She'd hoped it wouldn't come to this. "It's a freebie. From a goody bag," she lied. "I got two."

"Oh." With a wide grin, Carol opened her eyes. "Hurray!"

"Don't use it all at once," Rachel warned with a faux-admonishing finger wag. "I've heard it's irresistible."

They laughed. After a few minutes of chitchat, Rachel headed for her client's apartment-size bedroom suite at the end of the expansive hall. She liked Carol-and most of the other employees she met on the job-but business was business.

She lowered her voice. "Alayna?"

No reply. Like Rachel, the pop star typically wasn't out of bed much before noon. But today, with so much going on for her birthday, Alayna had asked Rachel to be there early-to oversee the work of her hairstylist and makeup artist and to bring alternate evening bags to go with whichever dress (of four) she ultimately chose to wear to her party tonight.

As backup, Rachel had three more gowns on the rack in her car, along with the selection she'd brought for other clients she'd be seeing today. Over the years, she'd learned to expect the unexpected from her biggest client ... like not being anywhere near ready at the time they'd agreed to meet today.

"Alayna? We've got to get busy-"

Putting on her most no-nonsense expression, Rachel nudged the door open, then entered Alayna's sitting room. She strode past a profusion of happy-birthday floral arrangements, a sleek settee, and a side table piled with well-thumbed tabloids.

Seeing them, Rachel shook her head. Alayna kept obsessive watch on her appearances in the media-a mistake, in Rachel's opinion. Stars might live and die by their press, but that was no reason to drive yourself crazy tracking every up, down, and makeup-free, poorly focused, paparazzi horror shot.

"Everyone's scheduled to be here at ten, so you'd better-"

Alayna was in bed, but she wasn't asleep.

"-Get a move on."

And she wasn't alone either.

Rachel glanced up from her watch, still hugging her armful of evening bags, and was confronted with the sight of a rumpled bed, a tangle of arms and legs, and a set of unmistakably hard-pumping naked male buttocks. During the millisecond that Rachel stood there, Alayna wrapped her lithe, famous arms around her partner and urged him on with both hands clamped on his rear. (Continues...)



Excerpted from Home for the Holidays by Lisa Plumley
Copyright © 2008 by Lisa Plumley. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Disappointing

    The storyline feels very forced. The whole thing is based around a stupid, unrealistic misunderstanding. I was very disappointed. There are some much more realistic romances available. I really enjoy Novak's romances and find the storylines believable. I'll have to buy one of those to get rid of the bad taste left behind by this book.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Great read!

    Nice holiday story. Lot's of laughs. Would highly recommend.

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  • Posted February 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I LOVED THIS BOOK

    I thought this book was great i was looking for a book for the holidays just a little pick me upper and it kept me in good spirits.It reminds you that no matter what happens or where you go you can always go home and just might find what your looking for.

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  • Posted December 22, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Cute story to get you in the Christmas mood.

    I read this right around the holidays and thought it was a good book to get into the holiday spirt. <BR/><BR/>Overall a fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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