Sunday, December 22, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Stories: A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER by Debra St. John



Newly single, Heather Morgan gathers her courage and decides to take a Christmas ski vacation on her own. However, the festive holiday atmosphere reminds her how dispirited and alone she feels. When she meets a mysterious stranger, her lonely vacation takes an unexpected turn.
Sam is at the resort at the urging of his brother, who thinks he needs to get out and have a little fun. Having no desire to get involved with anyone, Sam needs a way to get his brother off his back. The intriguing Heather seems like the perfect solution to his dilemma, so he makes her an offer she can't refuse.


Sam restores the joy of the season to Heather. Their time together is magical, something she'll never forget. Soon her feelings for him deepen beyond their romantic holiday fling. But Sam has a secret, one that could prevent the fantasy from ever becoming real.


Excerpt:

Sam's gaze drifted up, and his lips quirked. “Well, this may help my cause.”
Her glance rose to the mistletoe dangling over their heads, darted to his, then briefly down to his lips, before meeting his again. When his lingered on her mouth, a tiny hitch tightened her stomach.
“So, why do people kiss under the mistletoe?” he asked softly, his voice as mesmerizing as his eyes.
“I-I don’t know.” Her words were as breathy as they had been up on the mountain earlier. This time she couldn’t blame the altitude.
Sam tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Something to do with Celtic tradition, isn’t it?”
A shiver slithered down Heather’s spine. “Maybe.” She’d be hard pressed to come up with her own name right now, let alone the ancient history of some plant.
“It’s a nice tradition, don’t you think?” His thumb brushed her cheek.
Her lips parted.
“Did I ever mention I’m a very traditional guy?”
She shook her head. A wave of dizziness washed over her as he leaned closer. Her surroundings blurred, until her vision narrowed to only his rugged features drawing nearer to her in excruciatingly slow degrees.
His mouth finally closed over hers as his hand splayed across her back to draw her to him.

Review by Melissa Snark:


A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER is a contemporary romantic novella set against the backdrop of an isolated ski resort and nearby village. Heroine Heather Morgan meets a handsome man who seems almost too good to be true and engages in a whirlwind affair with him that lasts less than a week. The writing style is smooth and seamless; the dialogue sounds natural. Most importantly, the author demonstrates deft control over plot elements so nothing feels forced.


The story opens with the heroine sitting in the lobby of the ski lodge, anxiously waiting to see if her lover of the prior year will meet her again. Initially, I had some reservations about the opening because it seemed a little too commonplace. However, it really worked as a great hook for this story because the author didn't waste a huge amount of words on maudlin navel-gazing. Instead, she states her dilemma and then gets right to the meat of the story: a jump back in time to when Heather and Sam first met one year before.


I love the basic premise of a vacation affair that precedes true love. The mystery maintained around Sam's true identity and job, including his last name, adds to the basic fun of the story. The descriptions of the setting were rich and detailed on multiple sensory levels so the ski resort almost becomes a secondary character. And speaking of supporting cast—the author kept their numbers and intrusions to a minimum, giving maximum coverage to the romance.


Heather and Sam shared good chemistry. Love scenes were sensual, not overly detailed, but emotionally satisfying. I'd have liked to have seen a little more time devoted to the conclusion. The HEA-ending happened a little too quickly for me and felt rushed. I really enjoyed the author's sense of humor and ability to evoke heartfelt emotions.


A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER is a great holiday story for readers looking for a delicious whirlwind romance that leads to a destined true love.

Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press 
Amazon 

Barnes and Noble 

Author Bio:
 

Debra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel some day. Her dream came true when she started writing sultry contemporary romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. Although she's a country gal at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero. She is the author of The Corral Series, which includes her debut release, This Time for Always, a Champagne Rose and Rosebud bestseller at The Wild Rose Press. The second book in the series, This Can't Be Love (Love Romance Cafes Best of 2010 Contemporary Winner) is also available. Her latest release, This Feels Like Home, completes the series. Her holiday stories include A Christmas to Remember, An Unexpected Blessing (Thanksgiving), and The Vampire and the Vixen for Halloween. Wild Wedding Weekend completes her bookshelf.


Learn more about Debra St. John:

Website 
Blogs:

  Book Beat Babes 
  Heroines with Hearts 
  Authors by Moonlight
Facebook

11 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful read! Who doesn't enjoy a story where true love awaits! Merry Christmas!

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  2. Hi Karen...thanks. Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  3. Melissa,

    Thanks for having me here today and thanks for this great series of Christmas reads. I know my TBR list is longer than ever now after hearing about all of these great Christmas stories! Merry Christmas everyone!!

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    1. Debra,
      Welcome and thank you for participating in the Snarkology's 25 Days of Christmas Stories. I very much enjoyed your story. Heather and Sam are a great couple. :-)

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    2. I have to admit I have a soft spot in my heart for Heather and Sam. But then again, I feel that way about all of my couples! :)

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  4. Thank you. This story sounds like another winner and one I'd enjoy.

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  5. Hi Cara,

    I do have to say I re-read it again this holiday season and still enjoyed it, too!

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  6. Nice Excerpt, this sounds like a great Christmas story :)

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. And thanks for visiting!

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  7. Oh the sweet magic of the mistletoe. Cute excerpt, Debra.

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  8. Nice review, thank you for the lovely excerpt.

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