Holiday Magic

Holiday Magic

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Overview

Holiday Magic by Fern Michaels, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter, Terri DuLong

Mistletoe, magic, twinkling lights, and stolen kisses. . . Experience all the wonders of the holiday season with these four irresistible stories. . .

"Holiday Magic" by Fern Michaels

Ski shop manager Stephanie Marshall is counting on a holiday bonus so she can put a down payment on a home for herself and her daughters. But her handsome boss, Eddie O'Brien, has his own Christmas wish—one that could lead to a lifetime of loving. . .

"A Very Merry Christmas" by Cathy Lamb

Meredith Ghirlandaio's to-do list is already overflowing, between keeping her B&B afloat, directing the town's holiday concert, and trying to avoid rancher Logan Taylor. Doesn't he know Meredith's through with men—even rugged, alpha, drop-dead-gorgeous men? Then again, some vows were meant to be broken. . .

"A Very Maui Christmas" by Mary Carter

Tara Lane has the perfect plan to avoid another hellish family holiday—fly to Maui. Too bad her family decided to follow suit. But a laid-back handyman is about to prove you don't need snow to have a sparkling, sexy Christmas. . .

"A Cedar Key Christmas" by Terri DuLong

Single mom Josie Sullivan is proud of her young daughter, Orli, for helping local fisherman Mr. Al restore his crumbling home. And when Mr. Al's nephew, Ben, pays a visit, Josie realizes just how much Christmas magic one good deed can bring. . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420108354
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 11/05/2013
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 348,071
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 6.73(h) x 1.33(d)

About the Author

FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood, Men of the Sisterhood, and Godmothers series, as well as dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over one-hundred ten million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is a passionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret. Visit her website at www.fernmichaels.com.

Hometown:

Summerville, South Carolina

Place of Birth:

Hastings, Pennsylvania

Education:

High School

Read an Excerpt

Holiday Magic


By FERN MICHAELS CATHY LAMB MARY CARTER TERRI DULONG

ZEBRA BOOKS

Copyright © 2010 Kensington Publishing Corp.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4201-0835-4


Chapter One

Telluride, Colorado November 26, 2010 Black Friday

Stephanie glanced at her watch again, making sure she wasn't running behind her self-imposed schedule: 5:50 A.M. They were opening the doors at seven o'clock sharp as today would be the busiest day of the year at Maximum Glide's ski shop, Snow Zone, where Stephanie had been working as manager for almost two years.

With an hour to go before the doors opened, she adjusted the volume on the hidden stereo filling the ski shop with the soulful sounds of Michael Bolton singing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." She took four large cinnamon-scented candles from beneath the counter, grabbed a pack of matches, then lit and placed each candle in a secure place where it couldn't be knocked over by a customer reaching for something or an accidental bump from a ski. Though there were signs posted at the main entrance and throughout the shop stating NO SKIS ALLOWED INSIDE, that didn't mean that customers always paid attention to the posted rules. She'd brewed coffee and heated water for hot chocolate and bought several dozen donuts for the early risers. Judging by the amount of sugar consumed, shopping must be hard work.

Stephanie smiled, thinking about the upcoming Christmas season. For the next four weeks, Maximum Glide would be packed with vacationers from every part of the world, and, of course, the locals, who came in droves on the weekends. Scanning the shelves one last time, she refolded three bright red sweaters with matching scarves and toboggan caps. The many styles of ski boots on sale were stamped with bright orange stickers. Last season's waterproof gloves were placed next to this season's newest designs. People could decide for themselves if the price difference was worth purchasing the latest style. Personally, Stephanie thought they were pretty much the same except that the current style had a zippered pocket for an extra set of hand warmers.

She adjusted the Spyder jackets and the North Face ski pants, making sure they were evenly spaced on the racks. These were the biggest-selling items in the shop. She'd ordered more than she had last year, not wanting to risk running out before the holidays were over. Last year, the general manager of Maximum Glide, Edward Patrick Joseph O'Brien, who preferred to be called Patrick though privately she always thought of him as Eddie, like that cute kid on Leave It to Beaver, insisted that she place the order on her own. After checking her inventory, Stephanie had decided they had enough ski pants and jackets in stock for two seasons. What she didn't know then was that the famous ski shop, part of a resort owned by an Olympic gold medalist, attracted skiers with bushels and barrels of money to spend. She'd ended up placing another order, then had to spend hundreds of the ski shop's dollars for an overnight delivery. A lesson learned. More secure in her position this year, she'd placed her order with confidence, knowing she'd be lucky to have anything left after the holidays. For the moment, Stephanie was sure she'd ordered enough to get them through the busy holiday season. She wouldn't get a day off until after New Year's, but she didn't mind. She needed the extra money this year. With all of the overtime pay, plus her Christmas bonus, she would finally be able to afford the down payment on her very own home, a first for her and her two daughters, Ashley, ten going on twenty, and Amanda, an adorable seven-year-old. She'd been searching the paper for months and had finally found a perfect three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style house that she adored and could afford.

Last week she'd made a special trip into town to Rollins Realty, who'd listed the property. Jessica Rollins, a smartly dressed woman in her mid-fifties, took her to the house, and Stephanie was immediately smitten. She'd practically salivated when she saw the deep garden tub in the master bath, a luxury she hadn't counted on. When Jessica saw her reaction, she explained that the former owners were avid skiers. Stephanie figured that covered about three-quarters of Colorado's population but knew a good soak in a tub of hot water was considered a necessity after a day on the slopes. After she viewed the house of her dreams, one she could actually afford, she had made a silent promise to herself and her girls: They would have a home of their very own, and unbeknownst to the girls, she planned to surprise them with a new puppy sired by Ice-D, Max's Siberian husky. She intended to keep both promises no matter how hard she had to work.

Placerville was her home now. She'd hated leaving Gypsum, but she was only a twenty-minute drive from Telluride. Grace and Max often made the four-hour drive to visit the resort. They always stopped at the shop to see her, and, of course, Grace wouldn't dream of missing a chance to see the girls. Grace was like the sister and best friend Stephanie had never had.

For nearly two years, Stephanie and the girls had been living in a one-bedroom garage apartment that Grace had found for her when they left Hope House, a shelter for battered and abused women. Grace, along with her new husband, Olympic skier Max Jorgenson, who just happened to own the ski resort where Stephanie worked, had announced yesterday during the Thanksgiving dinner they'd shared that they were expecting their first child. Grace had made jokes about her age, and Max had insisted she didn't look a day over twenty-one. Almost forty, and finally Grace's dream of having a child was about to come true. Funny, how it had all come together. If anyone had told her two years ago she and the girls would be on their own, happily on their own, she would have told that person he was out of his mind. Women like her couldn't support two young girls on their own, certainly not without financial help or a husband.

Well think again, buster!

So far she'd proved herself wrong, and she intended to keep doing so. She'd escaped from her abusive husband, high school-sweetheart Glenn Marshall, who was now serving eight years at the State Penitentiary in Canon City, Colorado, a maximum-security prison, for escaping the minimum-security prison he had been sent to when he'd originally been jailed for abuse. Stephanie cringed as she remembered how he'd managed to escape while being transported to another minimum-security facility.

It had been her first week at Hope House, just a few days before Christmas. She'd allowed Grace to take the girls to see The Nutcracker at Eagle Valley High School. On her way back to Hope House, Grace had to take another route because roadblocks had been set up along I-70 in an attempt to catch the escaped convict. She'd gotten lost with the girls, wound up searching for help at the first house she'd located, which just happened to be the home of Max Jorgenson, the famous gold medalist Olympic skier. Stephanie recalled the horror-filled night she'd spent when Grace did not return to Hope House with her girls. Fortunately, Grace and the girls had found Max's log cabin on Blow Out Hill and remained there until the roads could be cleared, but not before Glenn, lost and on the run, also found Max's cabin and the girls. When Max found Grace tied up and the girls frightened to death, he'd made quick work of returning Glenn to the deputies who'd lost him in the first place, but not before delivering a few choice knocks that shattered Glenn's nose. Stephanie detested violence, but secretly she'd been delighted when she heard that Glenn had received what he'd dished out to her on a daily basis. And as they say, the rest is history. Almost two years later, Max and Grace were married and expecting their first child. Stephanie couldn't think of a better gift for the couple. They were made for one another.

Unlike her and Glenn.

Two years ago had found her beaten down and afraid to do anything to change her life. With no immediate family, and no close friends to speak of, Stephanie had resigned herself to a life of misery until she'd read an article on battered women. She remembered the part that convinced her she had to make a change, and she'd best make it fast.

It wasn't uncommon for the abuser to turn his anger on his children....

Stephanie knew then she had to get away from Glenn no matter how difficult it proved to be. Two police officers had escorted her and the girls to Hope House immediately after Glenn's arrest. Since they'd been living with Glenn's best friend and drinking buddy, Stephanie had nowhere to go. Shamed, hopeless, and frightened for her children, she'd swallowed what little pride she had and allowed the officers to whisk them away in the middle of the night. Grace had greeted her and the girls like old friends, made them feel welcome, made Stephanie feel as though she was more than just another woman who'd remained in a bad marriage for the sake of the kids. Grace had set Stephanie on a path that had changed her life, and the girls' lives, too.

No longer did she feel worthless and afraid. The girls were resilient, just as Grace had predicted. Though Stephanie knew they were well aware of Glenn's violent behavior, she didn't allow them to dwell on it. Instead, with Grace's effective therapy, they'd acknowledged that some men hit women, and those that did needed to be punished by the proper authorities. Though Glenn wasn't eligible for early parole, Stephanie knew the day would come when he would be released. Until that day arrived, she would continue to work hard to provide a safe and happy home for Ashley and Amanda.

Melanie McLaughlin, her landlord's daughter, had just finished her last year of college when she answered Stephanie's ad for a sitter, explaining that she wanted to take a break before she headed out into the business world. Stephanie was delighted, and the girls adored her. Two mornings a week, Stephanie had to open the shop early for deliveries, so she'd needed someone to see the girls to the bus stop and be there when they returned. Melanie had been a godsend the past two years. She'd started a computer graphics business from her new apartment, which allowed her to continue caring for the girls. This week, they were out of school for Thanksgiving break. Melanie, ever the trouper, was bringing the girls to Maximum Glide later in the day to spend the afternoon on the slopes.

That night was the official lighting of the resort's main Christmas tree. Stephanie had promised the girls they could attend. It would be a long day for all of them, but fun. And she would see Patrick. He'd asked her out several times when she first started working at the shop, but she'd always told him no, saying she wasn't going to date until her divorce from Glenn was final. He'd said he respected that and would ask again. The day her divorce was final, she called to tell Grace, who informed Max, who then let Patrick know. That evening, he'd arrived on her doorstep with flowers for her, two Disney movies for the girls, and a piping-hot cheese pizza for all. She hadn't the heart to turn him away. They'd been out three times since then.

On their last date, they'd gone to the movies. She remembered the movie was a romantic comedy about a couple who each had six kids and married in spite of the antics the kids pulled hoping to keep the couple apart. As expected, the movie ended happily. Stephanie had enjoyed the movie immensely and remarked to Patrick how wonderful it was that the children finally accepted their new stepparents in spite of their earlier misgivings. He hadn't called since. Something was up with him, though she hadn't known what it could be and didn't ask. He was her boss, and she wasn't going to jeopardize her job by asking him why he hadn't called again. If she were completely honest with herself, she would admit it'd hurt her feelings when he hadn't bothered to call or offer an explanation for his sudden lack of interest in her. Even worse, Amanda and Ashley continued to ask when Patrick was coming over again. She'd put them off, telling them it was the busy season at the resort. They'd accepted her answer, but Stephanie knew it was more than that.

Putting all thoughts of her personal life aside, she inspected the store one last time. Everything seemed to be in place. Last but not least, Stephanie plugged the extension cord into the outlet, filling the small shop with bright twinkling lights on the eight-foot blue spruce. Candy Lee Primrose, a bright and witty high school senior and part-time employee, had spent the day before Thanksgiving decorating the tree. Tiny sets of skis, tiny snowboards, miniature sets of ski poles, scarves, brightly colored mittens, and hats hung from its branches. Fresh pine perfumed the air, reminding Stephanie of the giant pines that flanked her favorite blue run, Gracie's Way.

Glancing at her watch for the umpteenth time, Stephanie booted up the computer, clicked a few keys to record the time, then counted out the cash drawer. The credit card machine was up and running for a change. She replaced the white spool of paper with a brand-new one, then went to the alarm panel and punched in the security code to turn off the alarm. Twenty minutes later, Candy Lee raced through the back door. "Smells wonderful in here," she said as she removed her snow boots and replaced them with a pair of tan Uggs.

"It does, doesn't it?" Stephanie said as she took in the shop, decorated in all its Christmas finery.

She took a deep, cleansing breath.

Here we go, she thought, let the season begin.

Chapter Two

Edward Patrick Joseph O'Brien, Patrick to his friends and family, placed a gloved hand on the dash of his most beloved possession, his bright shiny black Hummer. The love of his life. His passion, his reason for getting up in the morning.

Shit!

He was losing it. Too much cold weather had warped his brain, he figured, as he cranked the engine over. He'd become obsessed with Hummers ever since he purchased this baby two years ago. Couldn't get enough of them. He knew just about everything there was to know about the vehicle. If asked, he could tell you there were six different styles; they were originally designed for the military; some were equipped with caterpillar tracks for use in heavy snow and were nicknamed the Snow-Vee. He could go on and on, and did when asked, but mostly he appreciated their performance in the often harsh Colorado winters.

He adjusted the rear-window defroster, then clicked on the fog lights as he maneuvered the Hummer out of the narrow drive at the base of the mountain where he lived in a newly constructed log home. Today was usually one of the busiest days of the season at Maximum Glide, where he was the general manager. He wanted to get an early start before he was bombarded with lost skiers, missing skis, snowboarders monopolizing the slopes, and the broken bones that were sure to happen to some poor unlucky souls. Glancing in his rearview mirror, he caught a glimpse of himself. His coal black hair was in need of a trim, big-time. His dark blue eyes were shadowed with gray half-moons. He'd spent too many late nights carousing with the guys. But what the hell? He was a single guy. What else was there to do after-hours? Currently, there was no special female in his life, no woman for whom he really cared. Not really, or at least no one that he would admit to. He'd been out with Stephanie Casolino-Marshall, the manager of Snow Zone, a few times, but he'd put a stop to that going anywhere real quick-like. Not that he would admit this either, but that woman had touched a part of him that had remained untouched for all of his thirty-nine years. He wasn't about to involve himself with a woman whose past was as dark as his black Hummer. No way. Women like her did nothing but cause pain and heartache. At least that was what he believed. He'd seen too many of his best buds go down that path. A woman with kids and an ex was pure trouble with a capital T.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Holiday Magic by FERN MICHAELS CATHY LAMB MARY CARTER TERRI DULONG Copyright © 2010 by Kensington Publishing Corp.. 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.

Table of Contents

Contents

"Holiday Magic" by Fern Michaels....................1
"A Very Merry Christmas" by Cathy Lamb....................95
"A Very Maui Christmas" by Mary Carter....................245
"A Cedar Key Christmas" by Terri DuLong....................383

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Holiday Magic 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Holiday Magic Fern Michaels, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter and Terri DuLong Zebra, Nov 1 2010, $7.99 ISBN: 9781420108354 "Holiday Magic" by Fern Michaels. Colorado Ski shop manager Stephanie is a single mom looking forward to a holiday bonus so she can purchase a house for her and her daughters. Her employer Eddie hopes to persuade her to take a chance on him though he knows her ex husband left Stephanie and the girls wary of males. "A Very Merry Christmas" by Cathy Lamb. In Montana, Meredith has plenty of items on her wish list but her to-do list is much longer. At the top of both lists is her hardest entry: avoid Logan the rancher. "A Very Maui Christmas" by Mary Carter. Chef Tara flies to Maui to avoid her family's annual Christmas in hell celebration. However, her sister leads the charge to Hawaii. On the other hand the man she just met Darren makes the mistletoe seem right. "A Cedar Key Christmas" by Terri DuLong. Single mom Josie is proud of her daughter Tess who has helped fisherman Mr. Al restore his home. When Mr. Al's nephew, Ben the publisher arrives, she finds he may be gruff, but she does not mind kissing the Grinch who stole her heart. These four holiday romances are warm, somewhat throwback, straightforward tales of love at Christmas time. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Descriptive bio. Can't wait to read it! -Reflections, author of Winterberry's Struggle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For paragraphing, use the code < p > with no spaces. <p> Like this. <p> For single-line paragraphing, use < br > with no spaces. <br> Like this. <br> :)
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jen Book provided by the author for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book There is just something irresistible about Christmas anthologies during the holiday season. So when I saw a copy of Holiday Magic, I just had to pick it up. Too bad it just wasn&rsquo;t as magical as I&rsquo;d hoped. The title of the anthology comes from Fern Michael&rsquo;s contribution, &ldquo;Holiday Magic&rdquo;. This story was about a single mom and her boss. Stephanie is a store manager at a ski resort and Patrick is the resort manager. They had dated in the past, but Patrick doesn&rsquo;t want to get serious, especially with someone with kids. Now, I loved Stephanie. She was strong and had her priorities straight and her history just broke my heart. But Patrick on the other hand was harder to like. In typical romance fashion, we have a typical bachelor who acts like an idiot and in the end redeems himself and gets his happily ever after. I liked the story, but nothing really stood out for me. It was, however, one of the stronger and more enjoyable stories in this anthology. Up next was Cathy Lamb&rsquo;s &ldquo;A Very Merry Christmas&rdquo;. This story is about Meredith and Logan and is set in a small Montana town. Meredith runs a B&amp;B, is taking care of her niece and nephew and gets roped into directing the town&rsquo;s holiday program. And she&rsquo;s being courted by Logan, a rich, alpha male, rancher. Something about this story didn&rsquo;t work for me. I think part of it may have been the overabundance of characters stuffed into 100 pages. And there was so much going on with all those characters. It was just overwhelming and often times I just wanted to get to the romance. The third novella is &ldquo;A Very Maui Christmas&rdquo; by Mary Carter. This story features Tara, a chef, who goes to Hawaii for the holidays and ends up spending an interesting vacation with her family and sexy handyman Darren. I just didn&rsquo;t &ldquo;get&rdquo; this story. I think it was just not really to my tastes. I couldn&rsquo;t really connect with Tara or Darren, and that makes it hard for me to really enjoy a story. And the anthology wraps up with Terri Dulong&rsquo;s &ldquo;A Cedar Key Christmas&rdquo;. This story is part of her Cedar Key series but even though I&rsquo;ve never read the series, this does stand on its own. And I think it was my favorite story of the bunch, even if it was a little light on the romance. This story pairs single mother Josie and Ben together. However, the romance isn&rsquo;t all that developed, but rather hinted at. The story is more about Christmas spirit and community pulling together to help on of their own&hellip; and it was a great feel good story. I would have loved to have gotten to know more about Ben since most of the story focused on Josie and her daughter Orli. But in the end, I was satisfied with the tale, if still wanting a little more. The stories were a little hit and miss for me. But overall, it was a solid if somewhat forgettable read. However, it is worth a little time to brighten your holiday with a little cheer.
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OAKSSKKK
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After the first story, it went downhill. There must be better selections to read. My recommendation... skip this one and look for something better.
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