Friday, November 29, 2013

A Christmas Bonus by Patty Froese

Yes, the season has arrived. I just love Christmas stories! So the second Christmas story in my 2013 lineup is:

A Christmas Bonus 
by Patty Froese.

Welcome Patty! What a wonderful story!

Back cover:

When Millie's boss asks her to work over Christmas, she's hesitant to give him any more overtime. She has plans for her life that include quitting this job and starting her own photography business, and she promises herself to quit by New Years.

Andrew Holmes has no desire to go back to his tiny hometown for the holidays, but his manipulative grandfather gives him an ultimatum that he just can't refuse. So in order to get the last project of the year finished in time, he asks his assistant, Millie, to make the trip with him.

With a disgruntled brother, a sister-in-law struggling with infertility and a little boy who shows up claiming that one of the Holmes men is his father, Christmas is about to get complicated...

Here's a peek:

"So, Millie says she'd like to stay," Andrew announced.

"Good." Louise shot her a smile. "Do you like fruitcake, Millie?"

"I think so." Mille sank into a seat next to her boss.

"Me, too..." Louise disappeared into the fridge, her voice meandering out from the chilly depths. 
"Except I always hate the fruit in it. So I just make the cake. But the cake is rather dry."

"It's more like a Christmas cracker," Andrew murmured, and Millie repressed a laugh.

The dense, dry confection that landed with a heavy thud on the tabletop looked nothing like the fruitcake she'd seen in the past.

"Guests first." Louise announced cheerfully, and when Millie shot Andrew a "help me" look, he pointed under the table.

"Give it to the dog," he mouthed.

The dog? So far, Millie hadn't seen a dog in the house, and when she slowly raised the plastic tablecloth to peer under the table, she was met with the biggest canine face she'd ever seen in her life. Stifling a yelp of shock, she turned her ashen face towards Andrew.

"That's Edgar," Andrew said.


He nodded. "Get used to him." When she turned her attention to the plate deposited in front of her, Andrew leaned in and murmured in her ear. "Thanks for coming, by the way."


What a great story! I actually felt like I went home with Millie and Andrew and walked right into that crazy mixed up family with them. Between Andrew being uncertain of Millie, Millie thinking she knew what she wanted from life up until now, Andrew's brother and his wife with their problems, and all of it going on under the eyes of his parents and grandpa...this is one crazy mixed up lovable family, just like in real life. There are some light moments and some heart tugging ones, too. 

You'll certainly enjoy the twists and turns in this one.

Buy link:

Author Bio
Patty Froese writes from Alberta, Canada, where the winters are long and cold. This suits her just fine, since it gives her plenty of time to write and she can enjoy the snow from the right side of the window. She has her degree in English Literature and has written in other genres, but she particularly enjoys writing romance.

Patty also writes for Harlequin Love Inspired under the name Patricia Johns.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

I thank God for the many blessings in my life, more than I could ever name, but here are just a few.

I thank You for the beauty all around me,
created by Your loving hands.
I thank You for the bountiful blessings in this place,
the way You nourish both our bodies and our spirit.
I thank You for my family and friends,
and everyone You have brought into my life,
and hope I can be a witness to them of Your love.
I thank You for the many freedoms in this land,
and for those you have appointed to protect these freedoms,
may You protect those who go in harms way.
 I give thanks to You, Lord, for all that I have, 
for all that I am, and for all that I will be.
Thank You for the many blessings You give us each day.

May God bless you all.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Christmas Homecoming - MaryAnn Diorio

Here's a Christmas story from last year's releases that I missed, by an author I've never had the pleasure of reading before. So welcome MaryAnn, and thank you for stopping by today!

Back cover blurb:

Seven Christmases have passed since Sonia Pettit last heard from her daughter Jody. Since Jody’s departure, Sonia’s world has been turned upside down. Her husband has died of a broken heart, and her son, bitter over his sister’s destructive actions, has become rebellious.

Her greatest desire is to have her family together at Christmas, but after what Jody has put them all through, can Sonia truly forgive her daughter?

Jody Pettit O’Dair ran away to experience a life of adventure and excitement, but since her departure, her world has been turned upside down. She’s been abandoned by the man she met and married, lost her job, and is unable to care for her two children. With nowhere else to turn, this prodigal daughter begins the long journey home and prays she will be welcomed after walking away so long ago.

Will Jody find forgiveness in the arms of her family as easily as she received it from God?


Sonia Pettit pressed her hand against her chest in a vain attempt to ease the gnawing, endless ache in her heart. In a few short days, she’d mark the seventh Christmas since her daughter’s frightful disappearance. A sudden, unannounced, and, worst of all, voluntary disappearance with no explanation, no sense, and no forwarding address. A disappearance that had incinerated Sonia’s soul and left it a cold heap of ashes.

Outside the living room window, autumn had long since passed, leaving behind bare branches, scrawny bushes, and gray-white skies. A soft snow fell, dusting the yellowed lawn of the 1920s Victorian home she and Rick had purchased as newlyweds twenty-nine years earlier. The home in which they’d raised their children.

But those early happy times had turned into a nightmare.

She leaned her forehead against the windowpane, her eyes searching far into the distance. More times than she could count, she’d riveted her gaze on the sidewalk leading up to the house, hoping against hope her daughter would suddenly appear. But each time, Jody’s imaginary figure would evaporate into nothingness.

Sonia blinked back the stinging tears. Truth be told, some days worry clawed at her, tearing her heart to shreds. But there were other days, just as wrenching, when rage gripped her to the point she never wanted to see her daughter again. Like a scorching iron, raw pain seared the edges of her memory, leaving only blame to vent the hurt.

After all she’d done for her child. To have Jody leave without warning, without saying good-bye, without so much as an “I’ll be in touch, Mom.” Nothing. Just cold, heartless rejection fueled by arrogance and ingratitude that bordered on the cruel. A vicious slap in the face to a mother who’d given her life for her children.

Sonia turned at the hissing sound coming from the kitchen. She rushed to the stove where her soup had boiled over. She reached the pot just in time to remove a rattling lid from its precarious perch. A small puddle of homemade chicken soup covered the gas burner. She turned off the gas and moved the bubbling mixture to a back burner. Then she took the dishcloth hanging on the faucet and carefully wiped up the mess just as Ben walked into the kitchen.

“Good morning, Ben. I’m making your favorite homemade chicken soup for lunch later.”

“Morning, Mom.” Ben scratched his disheveled head in a valiant attempt to jerk himself to wakefulness. “Got any coffee?”

Sonia pushed down her anger and forced a smile at her lanky twenty-two-year-old son. The second-born of her womb. The son with the tender heart gone awry. “Just made a fresh pot. I’ll pour you some.”

“Thanks.” He yawned. “I’m not awake enough to pour it myself.”

She took a large blue mug from the cupboard and held it in her left hand while she poured coffee into it with her right. She handed the mug of steaming brew to Ben. In a few months, he’d be graduating from college and moving right into a job with a local accounting firm.

His father would have been proud of at least one of their two children.

She squelched the painful memories. Christmas was coming, and she needed to put on a smile for Ben, if not for herself.


So much heartache in such a short story! As a mother I can only imagine the pain of having a child move away leaving no contact information. Much like the prodigal son, though, this a story of love. 

What a heartwarming story of forgiveness - and a wonderful reminder of the real reason for Christmas! He came to seek and save the lost, and to forgive and make a way home. I think Ms. Diorio gave us a wonderful gift in this story!

Buy links: