Finding your soul mate is a dream Adeline Hamilton thought was just that … a dream. After several failed relationships, she realizes she’s not capable of falling in love. The only passion she’s ever had is teaching U.S. History at the local high school.
A week before Christmas, Adeline is all set for her best friend’s wedding, even though she dreads having to go to it alone. But when she’s given a Christmas wish that could change her future forever, she’s whisked away to the past, to a completely different place and time. It’s also when she meets him, William Blair, the man who steals her heart.
As their relationship grows, Adeline realizes that true love does exist. What she doesn’t know is that her wish can’t last forever, that soon she’ll have to leave the past behind. Will Adeline and William find their way back to each other? Or will their love have to stay where it all began . . . in 1865? With mistletoe and Christmas magic, anything’s possible.
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About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries. She loves to write, but she also loves to play golf, go on mountain hikes, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols. Dover has written countless novels in several different genres, but her favorite to write is romantic suspense. However, she has found a new passion in romantic comedy, especially involving sexy golfers. Who knew the sport could be so dirty and fun to write about.
Read an Excerpt
Be careful with the pictures," I warned.
My students carefully passed the century-old photos around the room. Some faces were lit with wonderment, while others couldn't care less — as was the case with most high school students.
I had always been fascinated with history. My grandfather had preserved the pictures as much as he could, by putting them into protective coverings. Each one was a piece of my heritage. Not many people could trace their family back as far as we could. Maybe that was why I had followed in my grandfather's footsteps and studied history incollege.
Natalie, one of my most inquisitive students, held up the before and after picture of my house. Her chocolate-colored hair was pulled high into a ponytail and she had on a black and red Riverview High sweatshirt. "Is this the same place?"
I walked over and smiled. "It is. Over the years, my family upgraded and restored the original Hamilton Manor. My grandparents left it to me in their will. When my grandfather died over the summer, it passed tome."
She gasped. "That's amazing. Well, not the part about your grandfather, but that you can actually walk in the same places your ancestors did all those years ago."
That was one of the things I loved about my house. "I couldn't agree more. My grandfather used to tell me stories about it when I was growing up. And I always dug around the yard, hoping to find something. Sometimes, I did — mainly old tools. Most of them were put in the history museum." We'd just wrapped up lessons about the Civil War, and I'd wanted to show my students what life was like afterward. Unfortunately, a lot of the Hamilton belongings were destroyed during that time.
"Who are these people to you?" Kylie asked, holding up one of the pictures. "On the back, it says Andrew and Mary Adeline Hamilton."
The photo brought a smile to my face. "I was hoping someone would ask." She handed me the picture, and I held it up for everyone to see. "My grandfather told me the story of these two, right before he died. Andrew Hamilton was a wealthy steel tycoon who took a fancy to my fifth great-grandmother, Mary Adeline."
Kylie raised her hand. "Isn't your name Adeline?"
I laughed. "It is. As you know, my family members are huge history buffs, so I know Mary Adeline was a popular woman in her time. When my grandfather told my mother about her and how much he loved the name, she couldn't wait to use it when she had a daughter of her own." I passed it to a group of students who wanted to look at it. "From what I've been told, Andrew's family didn't approve of Mary Adeline. He was forced to give up his inheritance when he decided to marry her." Gasps erupted around the room.
"What happened after that?" Kylie asked. "Why didn't they want them to get married?"
"She didn't come from wealth, like the Hamiltons. I guess my great-grandfather's parents thought she only wanted him for the money. According to their marriage records, they stayed together for seventy-eight years, and had five children."
"You're not going to catch me giving up my money for a girl," Liam called out, shaking his head. A couple of the girls threw paper balls at him and he laughed. "What? No woman out there's going to want a man who's broke."
I couldn't help but laugh. Walking to the front of the classroom, I turned to address the class. "Money doesn't matter, Liam. It can't buy you love. Speaking of which, did you know that your family, the Blairs, and the Hamiltons have been connected for centuries?"
His eyes widened. "How so? Are you saying we're related?"
"If we are, it's distant," I said. "In my grandfather's belongings, I found a lot of Blairs in the registries. I've tried finding out more, but the Blair family didn't keep up with their history like we have. Although, I'm pretty sure you're part of the original Blairs. My best friend is marrying your cousin this weekend and I know he's one of them."
He snorted and rolled his eyes. "I know. The wedding is all my family is talking about."
The picture of my great-grandparents was handed back to me and I couldn't help but stare at it. Their faces had faded over time, but I could still see them as clear as day, even though the picture was over a century old. They were proof that true love existed.
She glanced at the clock. "All right, class is almost over. Please pass the pictures up front." The class broke into conversation, with some talking to their neighbors about their own family history, and as soon as the pictures were collected, the bell rang. "Have a wonderful winter break, everyone. See you in two weeks."
They all raced out of the classroom, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I loved teaching, but I loved my breaks as well — needed them, really. And Christmas was my favorite time of the year.
Once my desk was straightened, I packed up my things. Before I could walk out the door, my phone beeped with an incoming text from my best friend.
Jessica: I have a surprise for you tonight.
I knew exactly what she was alluding to.
Me: Please don't tell me you're trying to set me up again?
Jessica: He's cute! You'll like him. Besides, don't you want a date for my wedding?
She had a point, but I also didn't want to look desperate. I was thirty and single. It's not like I couldn't get a date on my own. There'd been plenty of men over the years; I'd just never fallen in love with any of them. Releasing a weary sigh, I texted her back.
Me: Fine, I'll meet him. See you at the party tonight.
"Do you have everything all packed up and ready to go?" My father's voice echoed around my office from the phone speaker. I was running out of time to get to the airport for my flight.
I stared at my desk, covered in paperwork. Once I sorted it out, I'd be on my way across the country to Asheville, North Carolina — my hometown. "I'm almost done."
"And you think your partner will be able to handle the load on his own?"
I chuckled. "No doubt at all. Noah puts in more hours than me, and that's saying something. I bet he'll be working on Christmas day."
"Like you?" my father countered. I could hear the disappointment in his tone.
"Oh, come on. You used to do the same thing. I remember countless Christmas mornings where you were shut up in your office, while Trent and I opened presents."
He blew out a sigh. "And not a day goes by when I don't regret that. I don't want to see you follow in my footsteps, son."
"It doesn't matter anyway." I sorted through the paperwork. "I'm not married, and I don't have any kids. Working over the holidays isn't a bigdeal."
"Just make sure to take time out of your schedule to come over for dinner. Your move back to Asheville means a lot to me and your mother. I know you have a life you're leaving because of me."
Even through the phone, I could hear his pain. I'd moved to California seven years ago to expand Blair Realty, and it was now one of the top firms on the West Coast. The East Coast used to be the same way, until all those years of working endlessly caught up to my father. He wasn't able to keep up with the times.
"It's not a big deal, Dad. I'll stay for a few years and get Blair Realty back on the map, then I'll move back to California."
"All right, Son." He sounded tired and worn out.
My mother had told me his health was slowly deteriorating, but I never paid attention to it until now. It was sounding more and more like a smart idea for me to go home. My father might not have been around much when I was a boy, but I still had a lot of fond memories.
Looking around my office, I'd be lying if I said I spent less than ninety percent of my time inside these walls. Then the realization that I'd been acting just as my father had was like a slap in the face, and reality set in hard.
"Dad?" I sat down at my desk and fiddled with a paper clip. "Remember when we used to play cards?"
"How could I forget?" Even though I couldn't see him, I could tell there was a smile on his face.
"After Trent's wedding, I'll have to fly to California for a couple of days to get the rest of my things, but when I move back, I want us to have a poker night."
He chuckled, and it was the first time I'd heard him laugh in weeks. "Sounds good, Son. I look forward to it."
"Good. I'll see you tonight for the rehearsal. My plane will be in around six."
"Be safe, and we'll see you then." We said our goodbyes and I finished cleaning out my desk. Once everything was settled, I stood in front of the windows and stared out over the San Francisco Bay. I was going to miss California, but a part of me couldn't wait to get back to Asheville; even if I did try to convince myself otherwise.
"Mr. Blair?" Jeanine's voice came through the speaker.
I walked over to the phone and pressed the button. "Yes?"
"You have a phone call on line one. It's your brother."
"Thanks. I'll get it." Line one flashed and I pushed it. "Trent, what's up?"
"Hey, man. I wanted to make sure your flight was still on schedule."
"As far as I know," I said, closing my briefcase.
"Great. So, how does it feel leaving the awesome Cali life behind you?"
I glanced back out the window at the bay. "I'll miss it. San Francisco is much larger than Asheville. It'll take some getting used to when I get home. But the biggest question right now is, how do you feel, knowing you're getting married tomorrow?"
He burst out laughing. "Not too bad. You should try it yourself someday."
I scoffed. "Doubt it. I haven't had a relationship last longer than a month."
"That's sad, brother. You should get out more and put yourself first for once."
"So I've been told." I'd tried dating and that was exactly what numerous women had said to me over the years.
"Is that Will?" Jessica asked in the background. She was Trent's fiancée. I'd met her several times over the years, when they'd fly out to California to visit me. I was happy to be the best man in their wedding.
Trent chuckled. "Hold up. Jessica wants to talk to you."
Moving away from the window, I sat back down at my desk.
Hearing her excitement made me smile. My brother was a lucky man. "Hey, Jess. What's up?"
"First off, I'm super happy you're moving back to town. But it got me thinking that you might be interested in meeting some of my people when you get here. That way, you'll have a friend or two to hang out with when you move back for good this week."
Judging by the sound of her voice, something was up. I had a feeling I already knew what it was. "Who is she?"
She cleared her throat. "My best friend, Adeline. I'm sure you've seen pictures of her."
"Doesn't she have blonde hair?" If I remembered correctly, she was a beautiful woman.
"Yep. I'm texting you a picture of her."
My cell phone buzzed, and I opened the text. It was a picture of Jessica and Adeline, with their arms around each other's shoulders and the same red scarf wrapped around them. How in the world was a woman like her still single?
"I'm surprised she's not dating anyone," I said.
Jessica snorted. "The same could be said about you."
"Time is my problem, Jess. I never have enough of it to date anyone."
"That's going to change. Christmas is coming up. You'll have plenty of time to spend it with family and friends. Besides, when it's the right person, you'll make time for them."
"You're not going to win this, Will," Trent spoke up. "Might as well say you'll meet Adeline and see where it goes."
Truth was, I wanted to meet her. "Fine. When I get into town, you can introduce us."
Jessica squealed. "Yay. I can't wait to tell her."
Glancing down at my watch, it was almost time to go. "All right, you two, I have to get off here, so I can get to the airport."
"Go," Trent said. "Text me when your plane lands and I'll drive up to the gate to pick you up."
"Will do. See you in a few hours."
I hung up and a soft knock sounded on my door, followed by Jeanine's muffled voice. "Mr. Blair?"
"Come in." She opened the door, looking sheepish. "Is everything okay?"
She closed the door and lowered her voice. "There's a man here who wants to speak to someone about selling his land, but Noah's in his office with Peter Drake."
Peter Drake was one of our top clients. I wasn't about to interfere on that meeting. I looked at my clock again; I had about twenty minutes before I needed to leave. "No worries. I'll talk to the guy and see what all is going on. I can probably get it done before I leave for the airport."
She cleared her throat. "I'm not so sure about that."
My head jerked up. "Why?"
"Because it's Stan Whitfield, owner of Whitfield properties."
The man owned twice the land Peter Drake had; this account would be massive. My conscience warred within me. A part of me knew I had to leave for the airport, but the other part knew that taking on Stan Whitfield would be huge for Blair Realty. It was a tough decision, but it had to be made.
Taking a deep breath, I stood up straight. "Please send him in." She nodded and started for the door. "And if you don't mind," guilt settled in my chest, "will you please find me another flight to Asheville? It doesn't look like I'll be making it in time."
When I walked into the country club, Jessica rushed over and grabbed my arm. Her auburn hair fell in curls past her shoulders, and she had on a dark green sweater that complimented her milky skin. Although, she looked paler than usual. "I need some wine. How about you?"
"Sounds good to me." I giggled. "Got the pre-wedding jitters, do we?"
She snorted. "I didn't think it'd hit me like this."
We walked through the ballroom, which was already decorated for the wedding. Poinsettias lined the walls, and garland draped from all corners of the ceiling, entwined with lights. If I was ever to get married, I'd want a Christmas wedding.
We hurried over to the bar and the bartender poured us each a glass of white wine. Jessica slammed hers and set it down, nodding to the bartender for another.
"Where's Trent?" I asked, glancing around the room. I could only see her parents and her wedding planner, Margaret.
Jessica tried to hide her smile and failed. "He's at the airport, picking up his brother and one of his cousins."
"Oh, you mean the same brother I'm walking up the aisle with?"
She nodded, her grin growing wider. "And the same man I want you to meet. I still can't believe we never ran into them growing up."
Rolling my eyes, I took a sip of wine. "That's because they're a couple years older than us and went to different schools. Besides, doesn't Trent's brother live in California now? The last thing I need is a long-distance relationship, especially with someone who lives on the opposite side of the country."
"It just so happens that Will is moving back here this week. He's coming in for the wedding, then going back for a couple of days to get the rest of his things. He's excited to meet you."
I tossed back the rest of my wine. "Great," I replied sarcastically.
With brows furrowed, she pulled me over to a vacant corner, away from the bartender. "Please don't be like that. I want you to have fun and meet new people. Life isn't always about history books."
"In mine it is," I said with a wink.
She shook her head and laughed. "You're too much."
We walked over to the other side of the country club, where the party was going to be this evening. Her and her fiancé had decided to have a huge shindig for all their friends, instead of separate parties. I couldn't blame them for that. There were plenty of canceled weddings as a result of wild and crazy bachelor/bachelorette parties.
I snuck a carrot off a vegetable tray, just as more people walked through the door, including the other two bridesmaids, Jessica's younger sisters, Alexis and Bridgette. They all had the same auburn hair.
Jessica nudged me with her elbow. "I'll be right back. Once Trent gets here, we'll go through the rehearsal, and then, party it up."
I grabbed another carrot. "Sounds good to me."
While Jessica conversed with all her people, I sat down at one of the tables overlooking the golf course.
"Sitting by yourself?"
I turned to see Margaret's smiling face. Margaret Grant was the wedding planner — a middle-aged woman with short, curly brown hair and brown eyes. She always had a glow about her, and was very sweet. If I ever got married, I'd want her to be my wedding planner. It was a shame that was probably never going to happen.
"You can join me." I patted the seat next to me.
Margaret brushed her hands down her black pants and sat down. Her red jacket looked festive, with a sprig of mistletoe wrapped in ribbon, and tiny white and red berries pinned to it.
I nodded toward the plant. "You must love mistletoe. Every time I see you, you're wearing it."
Excerpted from "It Must've Been The Mistletoe"
Copyright © 2017 L.P. Dover.
Excerpted by permission of CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
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