Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells

Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells

by Donna Kauffman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420148886
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Series: A Hamilton Christmas Novella , #2
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 126
Sales rank: 27,850
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. She is the recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, a RITA® finalist, a National Readers’ Choice Award-winner, and a PRISM Award-winner. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C.’s politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife. A contributing blogger for USAToday.com, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener, and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at www.DonnaKauffman.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Holly Berry Bennett hated Christmas. It was all her parents' fault, really. She was born ten days early, on Christmas Eve — ruining every birthday forever — and christened with a name that other children would mock well beyond adolescence. Her father, a family accountant, had been more excited by the really nice write-off she'd provided than anything else, and, when confronted with her schoolyard-provoked tears, had cluelessly chuckled that it could have been worse; they could have named her Mistletoe.

Her mother, on the other hand, would only have been more thrilled had her only child waited at least three more hours and been born on Christmas Day proper. Her mother loved Christmas more than anything, and would celebrate it 365 days a year if she could. And, by launching Santa's Workshop, a crafts, antiques, and collectibles store dedicated to all things Christmas, Beverly Bennett did.

Or had.

Holly stared out the window of the jumbo 757 as it lifted off ... leaving Heathrow, her little London flat, and the entire life she'd built for herself in England all behind her. So, okay, maybe that life hadn't exactly turned out to be all she'd hoped for. But it was her life, dammit.

Now she was heading back to the States, back home. To her mother's life.

She fingered the set of keys that weighed heavily in her jacket pocket. Keys to her old life ... keys to the life she'd fled all the way across an entire ocean to get away from. Keys to her past ... and now, not a little terrifyingly, her future. Her immediate one, at least.

She tipped her head back and closed her eyes, but all she saw was what awaited her. Santa's Workshop. Owned and operated by ... Holly Bennett.

Heaven help them all.

What had her mother been thinking? Or drinking? When Holly had made her annual trip home for Thanksgiving, the very last thing she'd expected to receive along with her mother's perfectly roasted turkey and oyster stuffing was the shock of her life ... and the keys to the family store.

Her parents had calmly informed her that they had a buyer for the family home — the one they'd moved into almost fifty years ago as newlyweds, the very one she'd grown up in, and had been fairly certain both her parents would live out their days in — and had already purchased lakefront property in a senior community in Florida. Which they'd giddily announced they'd already begun moving into to start their brand-new, retired life.

Holly had simply stared — gaped, really — half tempted to rush her mother to the nearest hospital for a full neurological workup. None of it had made sense. It still didn't. This wasn't how things were supposed to work out. Her dad would be running his accounting business out of the detached garage-turned-office and her mother would run Santa's Workshop, until they were both too frail and old to do so — and even then, she'd pictured quite the battle. Her parents were now in their early seventies. She'd figured she had at least another decade, possibly more knowing them, before that battle would begin in earnest. Until then, she'd stay safely tucked away in London.

At eighteen she'd gone sailing off to college. Literally. To Oxford, in England. No following in her parents' footsteps. She wanted to be a painter, with her work displayed in the most interesting galleries from the West End to Milan, from SoHo to San Francisco.

She'd ended up in advertising. Which was not exactly the same thing, but was at least creative and occasionally called on her skills with pen and brush. However, her career enabled her to keep a roof over her head and still dabble on the occasional canvas when she could find the time. Italy, Spain, Portugal. Germany, Switzerland, Austria. All had provided stunning backdrops to her occasional artist forays. She'd worn out several rail passes and filled many canvases. It kept her sane in the demanding world of advertising ... which she didn't love. But it paid the rent. And kept her far away from home and hearth.

It wasn't that she didn't love her parents; she did. They meant well. And while they might not have had the first clue how to raise their unexpected late-in-life child — she'd grown up in a house that was more a museum than an actual home a person could live in (Holly, don't touch that! Don't sit there! Leave the figurines alone!) — they were definitely made for each other. And the three of them had long since settled into a comfortable pattern of happy coexistence. They bugged her about not waiting too long to get married and start a family, she bugged them about not waiting too long to retire and get a life ... each fairly certain their admonitions were going in one ear and out the other, and everyone was content. Right up until the day they took her advice.

It had been two weeks since she found out and she still couldn't wrap her head around it. Any part of it. She couldn't imagine her father spending time on a golf course and not umbilically attached to his calculators and computers and endless shelves of bound volumes on the most recent tax legislation. And her mother ... how in the world was she going to embrace life in a place that never even had a frost, a place where Santa was often seen sporting board shorts and buddied up with flamingos?

And yet ... Holly had never heard them sounding happier. They truly were giddy with it. Both of them had been lifelong workaholics, dedicated to vocations they dearly loved as much as they dearly loved each other ... and, in their own absentminded way, their daughter, who had largely raised herself, with the help of this housekeeper or that and the occasional babysitter. But now? Now they were two of the most relaxed, happy, laid-back strangers she'd ever met. How could she be mad at that? Hadn't she been telling them they needed that very thing for years?

She'd just never seriously entertained the idea that they'd actually do it. Nor had it ever crossed her mind that her mother would leave Holly the family business. Why? Why would she do that? Holly knew what her mother had said. She couldn't bear to sell it to a stranger, and the few employees she had were all retirees who weren't interested in taking on the full-time burden. And she couldn't possibly sit there and sell off her precious, beloved pieces, one by one. She simply couldn't bear it.

So, she'd bequeathed it — a little early — lock, stock, and jingle bells, to her only daughter. Holly had always figured that, at some future point, when her mother passed on, she'd be faced with the burden of dismantling the shop and doing with it whatever one did with such a thing. Never once in her wildest dreams — or darkest nightmares — had she contemplated it would be dumped in her lap while her mother was still alive and kicking ... and would know exactly what was being done with it.

And, to make it even better, Christmas was in ten days. Which meant her thirtieth birthday was in nine. Double goody.

If she planned to keep the shop, it couldn't stay closed, which her mother had reminded her during her most recent phone call. Her mother, who had been packing for the three-week Mediterranean cruise she and Holly's father were taking. In December. During High Season. High, having to be the operative word, Holly was certain. Her mother hadn't even sounded twitchy when she discussed the store. She and her father had been far too busy, running off to play cards, going out to the theater, visiting Sea World. Sea World. With friends. They had dozens of them now, apparently. They'd had their home in Frost-proof — a name they both found hysterically funny — for all of three months now. It was like they'd run away to summer camp for seniors. Permanently.

One thing was very certain. They weren't coming back.

Holly stared at the thickening layer of clouds, still fingering the keys in her pocket. She had taken the remainder of her annual holiday time and the rest of her sick leave to come back and sort things out. Which meant she had a whole two weeks and three days to figure out what in the hell she was going to do with the new life that had been dumped on her.

It didn't seem like near enough.

CHAPTER 2

Sean Gallagher loved Christmas. It brought back some of his very best memories. Leaving Willow Creek, Virginia, and going on holiday to his grandparents' farm in Cork, Ireland, spending time with the tumble and chaos of his very large, very extended family, with more cousins than even he could keep track of. He loved the rich, centuries-old family traditions that had gone along with it, from the food, to the decorations, to the music, and to the storytelling. He always wanted to stay longer, had always left happier, eager for summer to come, when he got to go back again for school break. But even those long, languid summers couldn't compete with the twelve days he got to spend each year during the Christmas season.

His grandparents were gone now. His parents were, too. But the rest of that very extended, chaotic family still existed and thrived, and had been in large part the reason why he'd regained his focus and perspective after such a devastating and sudden loss. The Gallagher clan thrived in both Willow Creek and County Cork, but as he'd taken over running the family restaurant after his parents' death, it was a rare occasion now when he was able to go over and see the Ireland-based side of the clan. And definitely not at Christmas.

Sean unlocked the front door to the restaurant, then positioned the large, oak-framed chalkboard at an angle so his customers would see the day's specials upon entering through the heavily carved doors with the stained glass, mullioned windows, both hand-crafted by some of his Corkborn cousins. He turned to head back to the kitchen, knowing the day was going to be a busy one, but paused when he saw a car pull up in front of Beverly Bennett's store across the street. It was an airport taxi. He continued watching.

Everyone in Willow Creek had been stunned when Bev and Stan Bennett had up and retired. He still couldn't quite believe it. When he'd gone over to give her and Stan his best wishes, and ask what she intended to do with the place, she'd stunned him again when she assured him that Holly was coming home from England to run it. However, in the ensuing weeks, Sean hadn't seen any sign of that. The store had remained locked up and dark, through what was easily the busiest time of the winter season for their little Civil War town. In fact, it had gotten to the point where the only car he'd expected to see pulling up in front of the brightly painted row house shop was one with a Realtor inside.

But it wasn't a Realtor who climbed out of the black and white cab.

It was Holly Bennett.

He'd known the Bennetts his entire life, but, for the past seven years as fellow business owners, they'd developed a true friendship based on mutual respect and support. Still ... Sean couldn't deny that hearing that their only daughter might come back to town had been welcome news.

He'd had a crush on little Holly Bennett for as long as he could remember. Not actively the past dozen or so years since she'd been gone. She only came home on Thanksgiving, and that was crunch time for him business-wise. So, other than a passing wave, he hadn't really ever been given the opportunity to see if there might still be an ember or two left over from the flames he'd always wanted to fan back in their high school days, but had never worked up the nerve to try.

So, despite knowing the hubbub and controlled chaos that awaited him back in the kitchens, and his cluttered office as well, he took the time to indulge himself in watching her climb out of the cab. She really hadn't changed much from high school. Sure she was more polished, presumably more mature, her features and her fashion sense a bit more refined. But her dark brown hair still swung around her shoulders like a shiny, silky curtain, and even in her smartly belted, British tweed coat, she was still a slight little thing who looked like she might blow over in a stiff wind. He knew better. She might be nothing like her gregarious, outgoing, fireplug of a mother, but he knew from growing up in the same small town as she that she not only had her father's reed-thin frame, but his reserved, rock-steady strength as well.

It hadn't surprised him a bit when, as a barely turned eighteen-year-old, she'd moved a continent away to continue her education. Or that she'd stayed to build a life for herself in such a metropolitan, worldly city as London. He had no doubt she could handle whatever life threw at her. She'd been preternaturally poised as far back as he could remember.

He watched as the cab pulled away, leaving her with a single piece of luggage and what looked like a computer bag slung over her shoulder. She didn't immediately go inside. Instead she stood, curbside, and stared up at the store that had become part of her family decades before either Sean or Holly had come into the world. Sean knew the whole story by now. Bev had grown up in Willow Creek and had started dating Stan while completing her business degree at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Stan had been a few years older, born in Charlottesville, but had inherited a family home in Willow Creek and was establishing his own accounting business there. They'd been planning their wedding by the time she graduated and took over the dusty little antique book shop in town from Old Lady Haversham. Both Bev and Stan had poured everything into their respective businesses, and took the same kind of pride and joy in watching them grow and flourish as most folks did with their children. Holly had come along much later. In fact, though Sean was a few years older than Holly, his parents had been several decades younger than hers.

Like Holly, Sean had gone away for college, too, only he'd just gone as far as the Culinary Institute in New York. He loved his family dearly, but while his mother and father had built the family restaurant in Willow Creek using cooking skills they'd learned at the elbows of Sean's grandparents, great-aunts and -uncles, on both sides of the ocean, he'd wanted classical training. He'd envisioned opening his own place in the nation's capital, attracting the locals, the politicians, and the out-of-towners. There were Michelin stars in his future, he'd been sure of it. And though he'd missed being in the middle of the boisterous Gallagher clan, he'd only been a train ride away, and the visits back and forth had been frequent in both directions. His parents and the rest of the family had supported his dreams and he loved them all the more for that.

And then, in one night, everything changed. His life, his dreams, his foundation, his strength. Instead of moving to D.C. and beginning the climb toward opening his own place, his parents' death had brought the brand-new culinary graduate back to Willow Creek instead. But while he still missed them both, every day, he'd never regretted the new path fate had set him on. As it turned out, he loved running Gallagher's, loved having family and lifelong friends surrounding him. He wondered if he'd ever have been so truly fulfilled with his old dreams, but was too busy, too content and focused on the here and now to really give it much thought.

Staring at Holly, he remembered what it had been like, coming back. Only he'd come back into the warm embrace of extended family, sharing their grief over a devastating loss. She was coming home to an early inheritance, her parents happily alive and kicking up their heels in the Mediterranean right about now. So ... no grief, no tragedy to overcome. But, perhaps, a similar weight of sudden obligation on her slender shoulders. Did she resent it? Was she happy to be back?

He couldn't fathom what it would be like to come home to, well, no home, actually — he knew the house was newly occupied by a young couple with toddlers — and no family waiting with open arms. Only a darkened shop welcomed her back. She'd always been quiet, smart, focused. He remembered how he'd catch her watching his boisterous, crazy family with a combination of terror and wonder in her oh-so-serious deep brown eyes, and wonder what she was thinking. Her family was the opposite of his: small, neat, tidy. But friendly. He'd always found Mrs. Bennett's holiday world somewhat amazing and the woman herself nothing short of a wonder. He enjoyed the friendship they'd developed, and had often spent time chatting with her at her shop when he'd bring her dinner on the nights she checked in this late shipment or that. He'd enjoyed Mr. Bennett, too, and could see where Holly got her seriousness and quiet demeanor from. He wasn't much of a talker, but he was dedicated to his wife and their business, and Sean respected both. He still couldn't really process that they were off playing golf and cruising the high seas. It was almost impossible to picture it.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Donna Kauffman.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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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Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
JWright57 More than 1 year ago
Book 2 in the Hamilton Christmas Series but each book can be read as a stand-alone as each novella features it’s own characters with fleeting mentions of characters from previous books. Holly can’t belive her parents have retired to Florida and handed over their Christmas and Antique Store to her to run, she may have been born on Christmas Eve and been given a name that makes you think of the holiday season but that doesn’t mean she has to love the holidays as much as everyone else does in Willow Creek. Sean Gallagher can’t believe the girl that got away is finally coming back home can he give her a reason to stay and will the timing be right this time around...... A second chance romance set in my favourite time of year, this book may be short but it still packs a punch and it has adorable characters. This is a really enjoyable seasonal read and it’s a great addition to the Hamilton Christmas Series.
MaimeosAngelsEL More than 1 year ago
4 Star review of Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells by Donna Kauffman I love any story that is centred around my favourite holiday of the year, Christmas and is a time for family and friends to get together; I love everything there is about the holiday season, the decorating, the carols, the cooking, the shopping for the presents for family an friends and honestly, I would love to have been in Holly Berry Bennett’s position. Holly hates Christmas, despite the fact that her mother absolutely adores it and even runs a Christmas novelty store. When her parents decide to retire early, Holly is given the store and she is not to happy. When her old friend Sean (whom Holly had a crush on) decides that he is going to help her turn her feelings towards the holiday season around he has not idea what he has started. Unbeknownst to Holly, Sean had also had a crush on her so now he decides to see what “sparks” are between them. This was a fun , quick read filled with the holiday spirit which will get you ready for Christmas and one I really enjoyed.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Yep
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great reading wanted to stay up all night
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There+are+too+many+run+on+sentnces%2Cincomplete+sentences+and+other+typos-+re-edit+again+and+try+again.+
Bukgoddess More than 1 year ago
5 stars! The Hamilton series novella book 2! There's a mystery to be solved and more pieces to the puzzle, along with the prerequisite romance in the air as it is the holiday season no less (again)! Holly Berry Bennett stared out the airport cab's window upon the place she spent most her life hoping to keep behind her; sadly this wasn't to be the case...it had to be a cruel joke put upon her by her parents, (besides the name she thought she'd ever live down), and although her mother lived in a world of Christmas 24/7 that wasn't Holly's world; in fact if Holly was asked she'd truly say she hated Christmas. The tiny Christmas shop her mother ran in the small village of Willow Creek, a civil war town, was a long way from her newly adopted home in London, England and her job in advertising, while not the job of a lifetime, she thought was far enough away from here that she'd not be back except to visit on the rare occasion! Apparently her parent's insane decision to retire to Florida and leave the store to her was now a burden she was left with, two weeks vacation during the Christmas holidays Holly feared just wasn't going to cut it. The only thing constant in those earlier days that had any semblance of comfort was Sean Gallagher, the most popular boy in school who she worshiped from afar, but never even saw her among the bevy of followers the star athlete surrounded himself with. Who now not unexpectedly ran the family restaurant across the street from her mother's shop. She was sure all the villagers, and potentially with his vested interest, Sean included, were just popping to see what Holly was going to do. All these years later just the thought of the handsome Sean being in such close proximity to Holly was enough to make her think of catching the next flight to Heathrow airport, the status of the shop notwithstanding! So much so that as the cab pulled away and Holly stared at what was to become her inheritance in bewilderment, the deep voice coming from behind her asking "Hey, let me help with that", was enough when she turned to face him, all grown and rugged to want to call the cab back!
EileenAW More than 1 year ago
I loved reading Sean and Holly's story in Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells by Donna Kauffman, book two in her Hamilton Christmas series. Holly moved to England as soon as she graduated high school to study art while Sean stayed close to home to learn culinary skills. Sean ended up back in his hometown to take over his parent’s restaurant after they were both killed while Holly stayed in England. Holly just learned that her parents have retired earlier than she expected and she now has to deal with her mother’s Christmas store, back home. While back in town she runs into Sean. They grew up together in their small town. Both had crushes on the other while they were in high school but neither acted upon it. Now that they are both in their thirties and they are ready to see if what they felt when they were younger could be the start of something. During this journey they discover the secret that was focused on in the first book Unleashed. It was so easy to fall in love with Sean. He was so patient, kind, caring and totally hot. He knew what he wanted and he went for it. As for Holly she wants to stay friends since she doesn't know if she is going back to England or not, and I was really pulling for her to fall for Sean. She had never had the love and support that Sean had; but when he takes her into his family, she realizes that she may have found her home after all. These two friends definitely had more than just friendship between them. Ms. Kauffman wrote a wonderful and moving story about friends finding their soulmate, filled with great dialogue and endearing characters that is not to be missed. I highly recommend this book to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
ArleneArredondo More than 1 year ago
A Christmas novella filled with romance and steamy love scenes. The story line is centered in the big decision Holly has to make regarding her inheritance from her parents, the family Christmas and antique store. While her main concern is to settle her affairs and go back to her job in London, her will may change with the presence of her high-school crush and what truly makes her happy.
_NormaJean More than 1 year ago
Holly Berry Bennett returns to her home town from England to take care of the business her mother has run for most of her life. Sean Gallagher, Holly’s high school crush, owns the restaurant across the street from Santa’s Workshop, her mom’s Antique/Christmas business. Her parents retired and left the business to Holly to run. Holly has no interest in running the business. She plans to liquidate it and return to her life in England. Sean has other ideas. This is the second in the Hamilton series of Christmas novellas. It is a small town/second chance romance with a touch of mystery. I really enjoyed the light holiday reading. I would like to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this delightful book.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars It's ten days before Christmas and Holly Berry Bennett finds yourself traveling across the Atlantic for the third time in roughly two weeks. Holly isn't going home to celebrate Christmas with her parents. She's returning to what's left of her parents old life, or should I say her mother’s. During her Thanksgiving visit, her parents happily informed her that they were retiring and moving to Florida. Her mother wants Holly to take over running Santa’s Workshop, an all-things Christmas and antique store. In fact, the family home has already been sold, the parents have already moved to Florida, and they are spending Christmas aboard a cruise ship. There are a couple of problems with this: 1) Holly's life and job in London and 2) Holly's isn't very big on Christmas. What's a girl to do? While Holly isn’t a fan of Christmas, her high school crush and owner of the restaurant across the street from Santa's Workshop is. Sean Gallagher knows all about Holly’s dilemma. With a possibility that Holly might leave town forever, he decides it's now or never to confess his attraction to her. Over quiet daily meals at the shop, Holly and Sean grow closer and closer. But things hit a snag when Holly stumbles upon a mystery involving Sean's family. As the two work on a resolution to both the mystery and Holly's future, Holly realizes that Christmas isn't so bad after all. Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells is the second book in the Hamilton Christmas Novella series. Originally published in 2009 as part of the Kissing Santa Claus anthology, this is a story about finding yourself and your place in the world. Holly and Sean were both likeable characters and I enjoyed watching them come together as a couple. **Received a copy of the book from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed.**
tracier More than 1 year ago
Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells is the second novella in the Hamilton Christmas series and picks up from book 1, Unleashed. I really enjoyed this story I found Sean and Holly fabulous characters and as a secret crush becomes very real we get to enjoy the journey. I highly recommend you read the Hamilton Christmas novellas and fall in love with the characters and their stories
sbart84 More than 1 year ago
Loved Holly and Sean. Holly has returned home after her parents left her mother's Christmas Shop to her as they have retired to Florida. Holly has never liked Christmas but her childhood friend, Sean hopes to change her mind. Sean owns the local restaurant after his parents have died. Sean has always had a crush on her growing up but were very different. There is an instant chemistry between the two but Sara tries to fight it because she is there only temporarily unless Sean can change her mind. This is the second book in the Hamilton collection, originally published in the Kissing Santa Claus anthology. A fun short read that is perfect for this holiday season.
MLH438 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading Donna Kauffman's lovely, romantic and well-written Christmas novella. Holly Bennett has returned to Willow Creek after her parents' unexpected retirement to Florida. They left her to deal with Santa's Workshop, the Christmas-themed store that had been their life's work. Anticipating Holly's return is Sean Gallagher, who has known and had an unrequited crush on her since high school. He thought she was so poised and sure of herself that she wouldn't give him the time of day. "What I didn't know, and was too chicken to find out...was if the one person who seemed completely unaffected by me would return my interest...or turn me down flat. I didn't want to risk the rejection. Not with you. It would have mattered." Sean is determined to take advantage of this second-chance opportunity. I absolutely loved Sean and how he fought for the relationship, especially upon learning he had been the focus of Holly's adolescent fantasies too. "I already lived with the regret of not pursuing you once. I don't want to make that mistake again." Sean knows what he wants and won't let Holly give up on them. He is supportive and helps her see all the possibilities for the future. The book is part of Kauffman's three-book Hamilton Christmas series but can be read as a stand-alone. Now, I need to read the other books!! I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
howel2ce More than 1 year ago
I received a free eARC through Netgalley. This novella was originally published as part of an anthology. This is book two of three in the Hamilton series. Holly Berry Bennett may have a Christmas name, but that in no way implies she is a fan of the holiday. Quite the opposite in fact, especially having grown up in a store dedicated to all things Christmas. Holly has been living in London but has returned home for the holidays after her parents decide to up and retire out of nowhere, leaving Holly a store she in no way wants. Sean Gallagher is quite happy to see Holly back in town. They’ve known each other their whole lives and, unbeknownst to each other, shared a mutual attraction. Neither thought they stood a chance back in high school so they never pursued their crush. Sean’s not about to let the opportunity slip through his fingers. While Sean is interested in Holly, he tries to be a friend first having had his own course in life altered and can relate to what she is going through. Holly and Sean are an enjoyable couple and share humorous moments together. Although this can be read as a standalone, the family mystery from the first book in the series, Unleashed, continues in this story.
TarynLee More than 1 year ago
In this second book of the Hamilton Novella series we meet Holly, a young woman who hates Christmas for so many reasons. It never helped that her mom owned a Christmas themed store and she was made to help out whenever she could, or that her birthday falls on Christmas Eve. Holly moved as far away as she could as soon as she graduated high school and only comes home during the Thanksgiving holiday. When her parents surprise her with the fact that they are moving to Florida but taking a cruise before they do she is shocked, Holly never thought they would leave the life they had built for themselves. Even more shocking her mother has left Holly her Christmas store to do with as she likes. Is this an early inheritance or an albatross around her neck? Holly returns to figure out just what she is going to do with the store and ends up running into an old crush. Sean is happy to see Holly back in town, he has always felt a connection with her but never had the nerve to do anything about it. Follow along as the two do an age old dance, Sean takes a step forward and Holly takes a step back. Sean is ready to make his move and see just where he can fit into Holly's life, Holly on the other hand isn't sure where her life is headed and isn't sure if she should take the chance. Will they end up dancing together or will Sean be left on the sidelines alone?
gdsnv More than 1 year ago
Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells is a standalone however it is book two of a set of novellas about a mysterious “secret”. For this story, Holly is living in London but is called back to the US as her mother has bequeathed her the family Christmas novelty store…but at her mother’s retirement, not her demise. Holly has run long and far to get away from what she considers an oppressing holiday theme (that’s around all year long!) yet here she is, back in her hometown. Dealing with a store she doesn’t want to run. Living in the US, not her London home, trying to decide what to do with her “new” life. Enter an old friend, Sean. Sean stayed in town, where Holly left, and runs HIS family’s restaurant. Although they knew each other all their lives, Holly always considered Sean out of her reach. He was very outgoing and gregarious where she was a bit of a nerd. Her words. Sean makes it his mission to show Holly that the season can be wonderful, and loving, without being TOO pushy. They are a hoot together and come up with their own mystery to solve. Again, standalone story but a definite big part of the overall mystery in the three books. Truly enjoyed reading this story again, as Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells is a re-release. Great fun!
Terri_C More than 1 year ago
This wonderful Christmas novella by Donna Kauffman brings Holly back to America from her home and job in England to take over her mother's Christmas store. The only thing is, Holly doesn't want it. She's really at a crossroads as to what to do with her life. She thinks she has the store thing all figured out, but the hunky guy who's restaurant is across the street is a complication in a huge, sexy way. This is a second chance at love trope and a Christmas story. You can't go wrong with Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells. It will warm up your heart and get you ready for snow and Christmas!
tsmb02 More than 1 year ago
Holly Berry Bennett (yep, that's her real name!) hated Christmas. Holly's mother loved it. So much so that she runs a Christmas novelty store. Well the time came for Holly's parents to retire so they decide they are giving her, their only child the store and they are moving to Florida! This might not sound so bad, but Holly lives in London, England! Taking a few weeks off, Holly decides to head back to Willow Creek, VA to try and decide what she should do. While she is there she see's Sean Gallagher. He was the guy who was a few years older than her in school that she crushed on from afar. Boy, he was even better looking now! Sean Gallagher comes from a large, crazy Irish family. For generations his family has run Gallagher's restaurant and now that his parents are both gone, he is in charge. After attending the Culinary Institute in New York and earning his degree, he is using his new talents at the family restaurant. Imagine his surprise when he sees Holly Bennett getting out of a cab. Wow...she is even prettier than he remembers. Sean always had a crush on Holly but she'd never give him the time of day. Deciding he missed out on a chance at her once, he decides to go and talk to her. Of course sparks ignite. Sean keeps pushing her for a date....she keeps putting him off since she doesn't even know if she is staying in Willow Creek. After spending more time together things start to heat up. When things are looking like there may not be a happy ending, Holly finds a diary and realizes it may have to do with someone from Sean's family. Throughout the mystery of the diary, Holly starts to realize that her happiness just may be with Sean in Willow Creek if she only can take that last leap of faith. I just adored this story! Such heart and warmth with Christmas mixed in was perfect! A great fun read for the holidays!
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
A great holiday short story originally published as part of the Kissing Santa Claus anthology. It's the second of three holiday novellas in the Hamilton Christmas series that are being released individually this season. In this one we get to know Holly Berry Bennett who returns home to decide what to do with the Christmas shop her mother left her, as well as Sean Gallagher who runs the restaurant across the street. Sean always had a crush on Holly but she never seemed to notice him. Now that she's back he plans on making her take notice! Great read that gives you all the Christmas feel goods! I definitely recommend.