Love, Christmas 2: A mix up in reservations leaves a mother and her son to share a cabin with a brokenhearted stranger.

My contribution to Love, Christmas 2: Movies you love is based on a Hallmark movie titled: Christmas Getaway.

The premise is simple: two single people stuck in the same cabin during the holidays. In the Hallmark version, a father and his daughter have a Christmas check list and the heroine decides that list is just what she needed. It’s a really cute idea, but I wanted to add a little depth to it.

A female character had been whispering in my ear long before I started writing this novella. I’d been wanting to write a strong, single mother, doing everything she could to keep her husband’s memory alive for her young son. I based Olivia (the heroine) loosely on my best friend who lost her husband four years ago. Deb is the strongest, most loving woman I know and I wanted to use her strength and willingness to do whatever it takes to protect and care for her family. Olivia is a lot like my friend. Family first.

I also LOVE to write strong, alpha military men who are deeply wounded. Ryder Jameson lost his wife and son a year ago and his guilt for not only leaving them for a special assent with his Navy SEAL team, but believing it should have been him, not his family. All he wants to do is crack open a bottle of Jack and drowned his sorrows at night, and ski during the day.

That brings me to Vermont and Killington Mountain. I spent many winters skiing in Vermont and many summers hiking the same mountains. I love writing about places I’ve been. It makes it easier for me to see the setting and put those descriptions on the page. So, between a mix up in reservations and major snow storm, Olivia, her son Noah, and Ryder aren’t going to be going anywhere anytime soon.

There is an odd parallel between Olivia and Ryder. Olivia’s husband was a Navy Pilot and died before her son had been born in a mission that Ryder’s SEAL team had been remotely involved in. While Ryder never know her late husband, he knew of him because his death in a way saved his life.

Olivia only wants on thing: to honor her husband and give her young son some insight into what a great man his father had been. Ryder wants nothing to do with the holiday, but is forced to become part of the traditions, and perhaps create a few news ones along the way.

Here is a little taste of the novella:

The young boy pointed to the rucksack. “Are you in the military?”

Ryder nodded, not wanting to get into the million and one questions a young, inquisitive mind had. It had been sheer hell when he’d stopped to visit an old friend from boot camp who had retired a couple of years ago. His son and daughter wouldn’t stop with the rapid-fire questions on what he did, and when they found out he was a Navy SEAL, well, the reminder of his own son’s curiosity was like a hot poker being jabbed into his lungs. “What’s your name, kid?” Now that was a question he shouldn’t have asked. Anytime you put a name to an acquaintance, it became personal.

“Noah.”

“Nice name.” Ryder swallowed hard as his mind snapped to his own son, Owen. He’d been only three-years-old when he and his mother had been murdered. Ryder wondered how much Owen would have grown this past year. He would have finished his first few months of pre-school, and Ryder wondered if Owen would have clung to his mother’s legs or raced past all the other kids so he could be the first to explore. Olivia and Noah only served as a painful reminder of what he’d lost.

What he’d never have again.

“No. Giving me two free nights does not make up for the fact that you can’t get me a room anywhere for the next four days, and frankly, I don’t care that there is an unnecessary travel ban going on right now. I’ve got my young son with me, and I’m not staying with a perfect stranger.”

Ryder chuckled. He never understood how a stranger could be perfect.

Olivia glared at him, handing him her phone. “Why don’t you try talking to them?”

“Gladly,” Ryder said, moving the phone to the side of his head. “This is Ryder Jameson.”

“Mr. Jameson. We’re so sorry for this mix-up. But honestly, we are totally booked until December twenty-sixth. I have one of my associates calling all the other resorts, but so far everyone is booked, and there is the added problem that the side roads aren’t being plowed right now, and the main roads are about as snow-covered.”

“I’m sure one of the other resorts has an opening, and I have four-wheel drive, so please, call us when you find something. I’m willing to move to another mountain, and I’ll gladly take a few free nights, and I’d appreciate it if you made sure Mrs. Tate’s son has free lessons for our trouble.”

He ended the call. “For now, we might as well make the best of the situation.” He tilted his head so he could see out the window. Another inch had to have fallen, and it didn’t look like it was going to let up anytime soon. “Where’s your husband?”

“I’m not married,” Olivia said.

Noah looped his arm around his mother’s elbow, resting his head on her biceps. Noah couldn’t have been taller than four foot eight at best. He had almost no muscle definition, like most scrawny, young boys.

“I see.” God, he didn’t want these people in his space. No way could he deal with a single mother and her son. Too many reminders. He glanced at Olivia’s phone, cradled in her hand.

Her gaze followed his.

“I’m willing it to ring too, no offense.”

“None taken.” He took his glass and headed for a refill. “You can have the family room and television while we wait. Hopefully we won’t be sharing the cabin all night, but if that happens, there are two bedrooms upstairs.”

“Where are you going?” Noah asked.

“There is a room over there. I’m going to take my drink and go put my feet up. Just knock when you hear anything.” He snagged his rucksack, tossing it over his shoulder effortlessly before tucking the bottle of Jack under his arm. Without looking back, he took the ten steps to the master bedroom. He set his glass and the bottle on the nightstand and dug into his bag, pulling out the small picture frame.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, sipping his whiskey, he stared at the last picture he’d taken of his family. It had been Christmas day, right before he’d been called for a deployment to an undisclosed area on a dangerous mission.

He chugged his whiskey.

“I should have died, not you,” he whispered, setting the frame, face down, on the nightstand.

Download you copy of Love, Christmas 2 today! 26 great stories written by fabulous authors!

Are you interested in winning a gift card or a free book? Click here to find out more details on this month’s contest!

We also offer you a taste of all the novellas in Book Bites 11 ~ A collection of first chapters of the twenty-six, brand new love stories in LOVE CHRISTMAS 2. Discover a new favorite author in these entertaining romances for these special holidays!

Get it here, with our thanks!

We also put together a cookbook. All the recipes are featured in the novellas.Read the small excerpts that prefaces each recipe as each author tells you why her recipe is important to her story.

Get your copy here.

Welcome to my World! I’m an Award-Winning and Bestselling Author of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance. DARK WATER, book 2 in the NY STATE TROOPER series hit number 10 in Barnes and Nobel overall. THE BLIND DATE hit number 1 in the Contemporary Romance/Kindle Worlds List on Amazon. JANE DOE’S RETURN won both THE MOLLY and the BEACON before being published by the WILD ROSS PRESS.

I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.

I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.

Jen Talty

About Jen Talty

Welcome to my World! I’m an Award-Winning and Bestselling Author of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance. DARK WATER, book 2 in the NY STATE TROOPER series hit number 10 in Barnes and Nobel overall. THE BLIND DATE hit number 1 in the Contemporary Romance/Kindle Worlds List on Amazon. JANE DOE’S RETURN won both THE MOLLY and the BEACON before being published by the WILD ROSS PRESS. I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016. I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.

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