Maybe This Christmas

Maybe This Christmas

by Sarah Morgan

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Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan

"Uplifting, sexy and warm, Sarah Morgan's O'Neil Brothers series is perfection."—Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author 

This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O'Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he's simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he's never ruined, and he's not about to start now. 

Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she's been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture… How can she concentrate on being his friend when he's sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she's always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460341636
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Series: O'Neil Brothers , #3
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 35,141
File size: 395 KB

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes lively, sexy contemporary stories for Harlequin.

Romantic Times has described her as 'a magician with words' and nominated her books for their Reviewer's Choice Awards and their 'Top Pick' slot. In 2012 Sarah received the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. She lives near London with her family. Find out more at

Read an Excerpt

Tyler O'Neil stomped the snow off his boots, pushed open the door of his lakeside home and tripped over a pair of boots and a jacket abandoned in the hallway.

Slamming his hand against the wall, he regained his balance and cursed. "Jess?" There was no response from his daughter, but Ash and Luna, his two Siberian huskies, bounded out of the living room. Cursing under his breath, he watched in exasperation as both dogs cannoned toward him. "Jess? You left the door to the living room open again. The dogs aren't supposed to be in there. Come down here right now and pick up your coat and boots! Do not jump up—I'm warning you—" He braced himself as Ash sprang. "Why does no one listen to me around here?"

Luna, the more gentle of the two dogs, put her paws on his chest and tried to lick his face.

"Nice to know my word is law." But Tyler rubbed her ears gently, burying his fingers in her thick fur as Jess emerged from the kitchen, a piece of toast in one hand and her phone in the other, head nodding in time to music as she pushed headphones away from her ears. She was wearing one of his sweaters, and the gold medal he'd won for the downhill dangled around her neck.

"Hi, Dad. How was your day?"

"I made it through alive until I stepped through my own front door. I've skied off cliffs safer than our hallway." Glowering at her, Tyler pushed the ecstatic dogs away and nudged the abandoned snow boots to one side with his foot. "Pick those up. And leave your boots on the porch from now on. You shouldn't be wearing them indoors."

Still chewing, Jess stared at his feet. "You're wearing your boots indoors."

Not for the first time, Tyler reflected on the challenges of parenting. "New rule. I'll leave mine outside, too. That way we don't get snow in the house. And hang your coat up instead of dropping it over any convenient surface."

"You drop yours."

Holy hell. "I'm hanging it up. Watch me." He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it up with exaggerated purpose. "And turn the music down. That way you'll be able to hear me when I'm yelling at you."

She grinned, unabashed. "I turn it up so I can't hear you yelling at me. Grandma just sent me a text all in capitals. You need to teach her how to use her phone."

"You're the teenager. You teach her."

"She texted me in capitals all last week, and the week before that she kept dialing Uncle Jackson by accident."

Tyler, entertained by the thought of his business-focused brother being driven insane by calls from their mother in the middle of his working day, grinned back. "I bet he loved that. So what did she want?"

"She was inviting me to come over when you're at the team meeting at the Outdoor Center. I'm going to help her cook." She took another bite of toast. "It's family night tonight. Everyone is coming, even Uncle Sean. Had you forgotten?"

Tyler groaned. "Team meeting and Fright Night? Whose idea was that?"

"Grandma's. She worries about me, because I live with you, and the only thing that never runs out in our fridge is beer. And you're not supposed to call it Fright Night. Can I come to the team meeting?"

"You would hate every moment."

"I wouldn't! I love being part of a family business. The way you feel about meetings is the way I feel about school. Being trapped indoors is a waste of time when there's all that snow out there. But at least you get to ski all day. I'm stuck to a hard chair trying to understand math. Pity me." She finished the toast, and Tyler frowned as crumbs fell on the floor.

Ash pounced on them with enthusiasm.

"You're the reason the fridge is empty. You're always eating. If I'd known you were going to eat this much, I never would have let you live with me. You're costing me a fortune."

The fact his joke made her laugh told him how far they'd come in the year they'd been living together.

"Grandma says if I wasn't living with you, you'd drown in your own mess."

"You're the one dropping the crumbs. You should use a plate."

"You never use a plate. You're always dropping crumbs on the floor."

"You don't have to do everything I do."

"You're the grown-up. I'm following your example."

The thought was enough to bring him out in a cold sweat. "Don't. You should do the opposite of everything I have ever done." He watched as Jess bent to make a fuss of Luna, and the medal around her neck swung forward, almost hitting the dog on the nose. "Why are you wearing that?"

"It motivates me. And I like the example you set. You're the coolest dad on the planet. And you're fun to live with. Especially when you're trying to behave."

"Trying to—" Tyler dragged his gaze from the medal that was a painful reminder of his old life. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"I mean I like living here. You don't worry about the same stuff as most grown-ups."

"I'm probably supposed to." Tyler ran his hand over the back of his neck. "I have a new respect for your grandmother. How did Mom raise three boys without strangling us?"

"Grandma would never strangle anyone. She's patient and kind."

"Yeah, right. Unfortunately for you, I'm not, and I'm the one raising you now." The reality of that still terrified him more than anything he'd faced on the downhill ski circuit. If he messed this up, the consequences would be worse than a damaged leg and a shattered career. "So have you finished your assignment?"

"No. I started, but I got distracted watching the recording of your downhill in Beaver Creek. Come and watch it with me."

He'd rather poke himself in the eye with a ski pole.

"Maybe later. I had a call from your teacher." Casually, he changed the subject. "You didn't hand in your assignment on Monday."

"Luna ate it."

"Sure she did. You are allowed one late assignment in each trimester. You've already had two."

"Weren't you ever late handing in assignments?"

All the time.

Wondering why anyone would choose to have more than one kid when being a parent was this hard, Tyler tried a different approach. "If you have five late assignments, you'll be staying late at homework club. That cuts into your skiing time."

That wiped the smile from her face. "I'll get it done."

"Good decision. And next time, finish your homework before you watch TV."

"I wasn't watching TV. I was watching you. I want to understand your technique. You were the best. I'm going to ski every spare minute this winter." She closed her hand around the medal, making it sound like a vow. "Will you be at race training tomorrow? You said you'd try to be there."

Floored by that undiluted adoration, Tyler looked into his daughter's eyes and saw the same passion that burned in his own.

He thought of all the jobs that were piling up at Snow Crystal. Jobs that needed his attention. Then he thought about the years he'd missed out on being with his daughter. "I'll be there." He strolled through to his recently renovated kitchen, cursing under his breath as cold seeped through his socks. "Jess, you've been dripping snow through the whole house. It's like wading through a river."

"That was Luna. She rolled in a snowdrift and then shook herself."

"Next time she can shake herself outside our house."

"I didn't want her to get cold." Watching him, Jess pushed her hair behind her ear. "You called it our house."

"She's a dog, Jess! She has thick fur. She doesn't get cold. And of course I called it our house. What else would I call it? We both live here, and right now there's no chance of me forgetting that!" He stepped over another patch of water. "I've spent the past couple of years renovating this place, and I still feel as if I need to wear my boots indoors."

"I love Ash and Luna. They're family. I never had a dog in Chicago. Mom hated mess. We never had a real Christmas tree, either. She hated those because she had to pick up the needles."

Tension and irritation fled. The mention of Jess's mother made Tyler feel as if someone had stuffed snow down his neck. Suddenly, it wasn't only his feet that were cold.

He clamped his mouth down on the comment that wanted to leave his lips. The truth was that Janet Carpenter had hated just about everything. She'd hated Vermont, she'd hated living so far from a city, she'd hated skiing. Most of all, she'd hated him. But his family had made it a rule not to say a bad word about Janet in front of Jess, and he stuck to that rule even when the strain of it brought him close to bursting. "We'll have a real tree this year. We'll take a trip into the forest and choose one together." Aware that he might be overcompensating, he reverted back to his normal self. "And I'm glad you love the dogs, but that doesn't change the fact you should keep the damn living room door closed when they're in the house. This place is no longer a construction site. The new rule is no dogs on sofas or on beds."

"I think Luna prefers the old rules." Her eyes sparkled with mischief. "And you're not supposed to say damn. Grams hates it when you swear."

Tyler kept his jaw tightened. "Well, Grams isn't here, is she?" His grandmother and grandfather still lived at the resort, in the converted sugarhouse that had once been the hub of Snow Crystal's maple syrup production. "And if you tell her, I'll throw you on your butt in the snow, and you'll be wetter than Luna. Now go and finish your assignment or I'll get the bad parent award, and I'm not prepared to climb onto the podium to collect that one."

Jess beamed. "If I promise to hand in my assignment and not tell anyone you swear, can we watch skiing together in your den later?"

"You should ask Brenna. She's a gifted teacher." He was about to reach for a beer when he remembered he was supposed to be setting an example, so poured himself a glass of milk instead. Since Jess had moved in, he'd disciplined himself not to drink from the carton. "She'll tell you what everyone is doing wrong."

"She's already promised to help me now I've made the school ski team. Have you seen her in the gym? She has sick abs."

"Yeah, I've seen her." And he didn't let himself think about her abs.

He didn't let himself think about any part of her.

She was his best friend, and she was staying that way.

To take his mind off the thought of Brenna's abs, he stuck his head back in the fridge. "This fridge is empty."

"Kayla's giving me a lift into the village later so I'll pick something up." Her phone beeped, and she dug it out of her pocket. "Oh—"

Tyler pushed the door shut with his shoulder and then caught sight of her expression. "What's wrong?"

"Kayla texted to say she's tied up with work, that's all."

"Sounds painful. Never mind. I'll go to the store tomorrow."

Jess stared at her phone. "I need to go now."

"Why? We both hate shopping. It can wait."

"This can't wait." Her head was down, but he saw color streak across her cheekbones.

"Is this about Christmas? Because it's not for another couple of weeks. We still have plenty of time. Most of my shopping gets done at three o'clock on Christmas Eve."

"It's not about Christmas! Dad, I need—" she broke off, her face scarlet "—some things from the store, that's all."

"What can you possibly need that can't wait until tomorrow?"

"Girl stuff, okay? I need girl stuff!" Snapping at him, she spun on her heel and stalked out of the room leaving Tyler staring after her, trying to understand the reason for the sudden mood explosion.

Girl stuff?

It took him a moment, and then he closed his eyes briefly and swore under his breath.

Girl stuff.

Comprehension came along with a moment of pure panic. Nothing in his past life had prepared him to raise a teenager. Especially not a teenage girl.

When had she—?

He glanced toward the door, knowing he had to say something, but clueless as to the most sensitive way to broach a topic that embarrassed the hell out of both of them.

Could he ignore it?

Tell her to search the internet?

He ran his hand over his face and cursed under his breath, knowing he couldn't ignore it or leave something that important to a search engine.

It wasn't as if she had her mother to ask. He was the only parent in her life. And right now she was probably thinking that was a raw deal.

"Jess!" He yelled after her, and when there was no response, he strode out of the kitchen and found her tugging her boots on in the hall. "Get in the car. I'll take you to the store."

"Forget it." Her voice was muffled, her hair falling forward over her face. "I'm going to walk over to the house and ask Grandma to drive me."

"Grandma hates driving in the snow and the dark. I'll take you." His voice was rougher than he intended, and he stretched out a hand to touch her shoulder and then pulled it back. To hug or not to hug? He had no idea. "I was going to the store anyway."

"You were going tomorrow, not today."

"Well, now I'm going today." He grabbed his coat. "Come on. We'll pick up some of that chocolate you like."

Still not looking at him, she fiddled with her boots, and he sighed, wishing for the hundredth time that teenage girls came with an operating manual.

"Jess, it's all good."

"It's not good," she muttered in a strangled tone, "it's like a massive avalanche of awkward! You're thinking this is your worst nightmare."

"I'm not thinking that." He gripped the door handle. "I'm thinking I'm messing it up. I'm saying the wrong things and making you feel uncomfortable, which is not my intention."

She peeped at him through her hair. "You're wishing I'd never come to live here."

He'd thought they'd got past that. The insecurity.

Those creeping, confidenceeroding doubts that had eaten away at her happiness. "I'm not wishing that."

"Mom told me she wished I'd never been born."

Tyler zipped up his jacket viciously, almost removing a finger in the process. "She didn't mean that." He dragged open the door, grateful for the blast of freezing air to cool his temper.

"Yes, she did." Jess mumbled the words. "She told me I was the worst thing that ever happened to her."

"Well, I've never thought that. Not once. Not even when my socks are wet because you've let the dogs drag snow into the house."

"You didn't sign up for any of this." Her voice faltered, and the uncertainty in her eyes made him want to punch a hole through something.

"I tried to. I asked your mom to marry me."

"I know. She said no because she thought you'd be a useless father. I heard her telling my stepdad. She said you were irresponsible."

Tyler felt the emotion rush at him. "Yeah, well, that may be true, but it doesn't change the fact I wanted you, Jess, right from the start. And when your mother wouldn't agree to marry me, I tried other ways of having you live here with us. Why the hell are we talking about this now?"

"Because it's the truth. I was a mistake." Jess gave a tiny shrug as if it didn't matter, and because he knew how much it mattered, he hesitated, knowing that the way he responded was vitally important to the way she felt about this whole situation.

"We didn't exactly plan to have you, that's true. I'm not going to lie about that, but you can't plan every single thing that happens in life. People think they can.

They think they can control things and then whoosh—something happens that proves you're not as in control as you think. And sometimes it's the things you don't plan that turn out best."

"I wasn't one of those things. Mom told me I was the biggest mistake of her life."

His hands clenched into fists and he had to force himself to stay calm. "She was probably upset or tired."

"It was the time I snowboarded down the stairs."

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Maybe This Christmas 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS This is the third book in the O'Neil brothers but the first I have read. I am going to have too read the other two books. I love the characters, how they are all so close to each other. It draws you into their lives and you want to know more about them. Loved the ending. Their are a few love scenes that I did skip over, but easy to do. The setting for this book is in Vermont at a ski resort and small town. Tyler O'Neil is best friends with Brenna Daniels. He has had his 13 year old daughter live with him a year now. He was a World skier before his accident one race. Brenna Daniels has worked for the O'Neils as a ski pro. She has been in love with Tyler for ever, but he has no idea. They were always together from their youth skiing and on the mountain. She does not want to ruin her relationship to Tyler. One issue of the book is about bullying in school. How it effects last years. It makes you want to go out skiing. I don't even ski! Once was enough. I will read more from Sarah Morgan in the future. In fact I want to get the other two O'Neil books. I was given this ebook to read by Net Galley and Harlequin. In return I agreed to give honest review of Maybe This Christmas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this one too. This family is wonderful and I want to be apart of it. This story was so sweet with these two and the kid Jess. I have really enjoyed all three books in this series and would love to keep reading stories about this family. What a delight and so well written. It cracks me up with all the sayings that were very British sounding like backwards and forwards. American people usually say back and forth. There were a few others but I can't remember now. All in all wonderful and charming and such a sweet ending!!!!
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Francesca and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog Oh how I love a clueless hero! I’ve been itching to read Tyler’s story since there was the small hint in book one that his childhood best friend was in love with him. I just had to see that happen!!! Tyler had a successful skiing career, competitively, until an accident ended that. Leaving the only skiing he should be doing to a level of what regular folks can do. This destroyed him emotionally. Add to that the fact that his baby momma just as good as dumped his kid on his doorstep as his responsibility now and Tyler has had a lot of changes to deal with. And if he has any feelings for his best friend Brenna, well with his track record, he can’t afford to try something romantic with her and lose the best thing that’s left in his life. Her friendship. I absolutely adored Tyler’s personality. He’s goofy and laid back when he wants to be, but underneath it all he holds all his feelings locked inside. He may be a little clueless, but totally endearing. His relationship with Brenna was a thing of beauty. They’ve been best friend since they were kids and although their relationship didn’t progress physically to the next level, the feelings did. They are both in love with each other. And that connection runs deep. I loved that! Then there’s Brenna. She’s the epitome of a plain Jane. She just wants to ski and she gets to do that a lot as an instructor at Snow Crystal. She doesn’t own more than one luggage worth of clothes and her idea of dressing up is just wearing the one single dress she has for those occasions. She also feels that she’s not what Tyler would go for because he’s always been attracted to very feminine and beautiful women. And she doesn’t feel she fits that mold. But she’s always there as his best friend. she just has to figure out if that’s enough for her, or if she can handle what’s to come. This is definitely more of a slow burn, we don’t start off this book with things exploding right away between these two. And I liked that a lot. The author gives them time to transition from just friends who hide their feelings for each other, to not being able to suppress the want any longer and the hell with the consequences. As much as we’ve had the two previous books in the series for that, I think it was good that we got to see it progress at this pace. And you know me, I’m a sucker for a kid. And this was almost a ready made family. Brenna and Jess already have a great connection and when you add it Jess wanting Brenna around and maybe being a little sneaky about it (same as the rest of the O’Neil family) and it makes for a very enjoyable read. And the ending is so sweet you’ll need to be prepared to crash from the sugar high after it’s all finished. My kind of perfect Christmas read. I will be looking for more books by Sarah Morgan for sure!
samdLA More than 1 year ago
The 3rd of a trio, this book is as great as the first 2. It has action, tragedy, and a beautiful heroine. It was very satisfying, and doesn't need the Christmas holidays to be read.
BarbaraMO More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book.....funny and sweet and so romantic! Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very intresting book because you can compare youyour life to the book like some kids life feels like war like they are fighting with their parents.have this ever happen to u just think of how it a started and try to forgive each other for it and have that bond with your parents so that when you get older that you can take care of each other charity starts at homee
bouncyberthaCR More than 1 year ago
3.5 - "It's a perfect powder day." Stars. Maybe This Christmas is the first book I have read by Sarah Morgan, it won’t be the last. Seeing as it is actually book three in the O’Neil Brothers series, one could say I have a little catching up to do! She’d been in love with Tyler her whole life, and nothing she did, or he did, had ever changed that. Brenna and Tyler have been best friends, since they could basically put their own skis on. Both have stronger deeper feelings for the other, but it has never seemed like the right time to look at them more closesly. Tyler is now back with the family and helping to run the Snow Crystal Resort full time, and what with having the addition of full custody of his teenage daughter Jess as well, having Brenna move in with them over the Christmas period, due to the resort being fully booked brings the more than friendly feelings they have been holding for each other right to the fore. ”Whenever you hurt, I hurt. Whatever you feel, I feel. It’s horrible, but I can’t help it. I guess I’ve known you too long. It’s as if we are connected.” With them both being a little commitment shy, the path of true love doesn’t run a smoothly as a skier over fresh snow. But having a huge family in the background egging them both on, you can’t help but hope that they will get the Christmassy Happily Ever After. ”I’ve wanted you forever. It’s always been you. Always.” I now have to go do some catching up, Tyler has two brothers, and we haven’t been fully introduced yet! ARC generously provided via Netgalley, and it was my absolute pleasure to provide the above honest review.
caitlinallycesmum More than 1 year ago
I give this book 5 stars. AWESOME, I just love Snow Crystal Resort and its occupants. This story is about Brenna Daniels and Tyler O’Neil, they have been friends for a lifetime – both of them hiding their true feelings from each other. Tyler is an ex skiing champion – supposed womaniser, whose daughter has come to live with him and he wants to make it the best Christmas for her ever. Jess lived with her mum until recently and she thinks she is an inconvenience but Tyler being the great guy he is, shows her he has always truly loved her and that she belongs with him. Brenna is a ski pro working at the resort of her friends and this is the place she call home and she does not want anything to jeopardise this. After Tyler’s dad’s death they found out that Snow Crystal Resort was in trouble and the family all came together to save the place and this Christmas the bookings are up so Brenna’s friends came up with a plan to throw her and Tyler finally together, hoping they will not be able to resist each other. Brenna is the only female relationship that Tyler has not made a mess of and he does not intend to ever tell her of his true feeling towards her but when she moves in to his home, he finds it hard to resist. After a night out with her friends Brenna comes back to Tyler’s tipsy and asks him questions that she has never asked before and this is when things starts to heat up. Sarah Morgan keeps you captivated with her words and this is one of my favourite love stories and a DEFINITE MUST READ. I wish there were more O’Neil brothers as this has been a great series that I have loved.
KristenLaJ More than 1 year ago
Awesome book, great story, wonderful characters. I enjoyed 'catching up' with Jackson, Kayla, Sean, and Elise, and fell in love with Tyler, Brenna, and Jess. I hate to see the series end!
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Julie Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book This book is a wonderful Christmas themed romance that will pull on the heart strings right from the beginning to the end. I laughed at Tyler’s awkward dealings with his teenage daughter, Jess. I was angry about the way Jess’s mother had abandoned her and continued to poison her with her venom, I ached for Brenna as she tried to live her life knowing the man she was in love with would never reciprocate those feelings. I loved Tyler and his efforts to adjust to life after his injury, his honesty with himself and his trying to be a good father. I did get mad at him of course because like a lot of guys he couldn’t see what was right under his nose all the time. Brenna had a hard time in school because of bullying. Tyler always wanted to defend her, but Brenna refused to divulge who the culprit was. Now Brenna still struggles with those emotional scars and has a big issue with her self image. As the story unfolds Tyler begins to see Brenna in a new light, but this scares him more than any hairpin ski slope every could. Can he admit his feelings for her and give her the very best Christmas ever? This is a solid contemporary romance with a little bit of a chick lit or women’s fiction tone to it. I think this novel will make an excellent heart warming addition to the romance lovers holiday reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book just in time for Christmas. Love everything Sarah Morgan writes.
RomanticReadsandSuch More than 1 year ago
Your heart just goes out to Brenna. Being in love with your best friend and not having those feelings returned is extremely hard … and she’s lived with it for years. Tyler has his own troubles and is completely clueless to Brenna’s feelings ... well, he’s very good at denying her feelings. And his own. Full of warmth and heartache and one of the best endings I’ve read in a long time, Maybe This Christmas is an absolutely perfect choice for a feel-good holiday read. Full review is available at Romantic Reads and Such on wordpress. Complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.