Monday, November 29, 2010

Victory Tales Presents their Christmas Collections!

Let's Welcome the Authors of Victory Tales Press! They're here today to share their wonderful new stories of romance in every genre from sweet to spicy. There's something here for everyone. So grab your hot cocoa or your favorite glass of wine and indulge! The authors will be popping in throughout the day, so feel free to ask them questions or just say hello. The more the merrier.


A Christmas Collection Anthology: Sweet


Christmas with Hope by Anne Patrick

Hope Erickson, a Blackhawk pilot, and Nick Cunningham, an army ranger, renew their acquaintance on the battlefields of Iraq. Will they risk their hearts to one another or does fate have other plans in store for them?

A Christmas Full of Memories by Markee Anderson

Piper Sage knows the man who enters her travel agency franchise is trouble from the moment he tells her he's the owner's son. He demands an old-fashioned Christmas, with a ready-made family…and Piper has to deliver.


Severed Hearts by Laurean Brooks

Julie Blanton's dream is realized when shy Johnny Michaels all but professes his undying love. When he enlists two days later without so much as a goodbye, her world crashes. Will these severed hearts survive?


An Unexpected Holidate by Evie Alexis

Audrey Christensen, legal secretary, is in no mood for Christmas cheer. Defense attorney, Tom Finster, generally hates the holidays. Will the duo move past all that and make a little Christmas magic of their own?


Homecoming by Cheryl Pierson

A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission for a dying Confederate soldier—his enemy. Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?






A Christmas Collection Anthology: Sensual


Scarlet Ribbons by Cheryl Pierson

Miguel Rivera is known as El Diablo. Men avoid meeting his eyes in fear of his gun. Persuaded by a street vendor, he makes a foolish holiday purchase—two scarlet ribbons. Can a mysterious priest and the miracle of the Scarlet Ribbons set Miguel on a new path?


The Proposal by Diane Craver

Jacqueline Andrews hopes her boyfriend is giving her an engagement ring for her birthday. Her best friend, Tyler Jordan, wants Jacqueline to be happy, but not with Brad. Will Tyler's hot kisses sway her? Or is she going to marry Brad?


My Life and Times with Nickolopolus Christog Cringelenstien Clausener by Charlotte Raby

Miranda Jane, a milk bar waitress at the North Pole, looks forward to the end of her shift, but one last customer turns an ordinary work night into something magical. MJ's letter to the world answers how she became Mrs. Claus and what it's like being married to a famous elf!


Angel and the Cowboy by Celia Yeary

U.S. Marshal Max Garrison meets lovely Daniella Sommers and his life changes. Daniella has been different her entire life, with dusky skin and black hair. When Max Garrison enters her lonely world, will she learn love is all that matters?





A Christmas Collection Anthology: Stimulating


Christmas in Bayeaux by Stephanie Burkhart

The ravages of war have taken their toll on Aiden and he travels to Bayeaux, France, on a pilgrimage of sorts. Noel provides a place for him to stay and acts as his guide. Will Noel be able to help him feel again and can Aiden find what he is searching for?


Mars Needs Men by Gerald Costlow

Carla, a communication specialist, tries to help an astronaut who will be in space for another year not have an unhappy Christmas. Now she is the one with a problem. Next Christmas the astronauts will return and her secret will be revealed. She needs a Christmas miracle.


Fast Forward Love by Rita Hestand

Connie and Ed are both widowed and everyone thinks they would make a great couple. Connie is interested, but Ed seems to have an on-again, off-again attitude that rocks her self confidence and adds to her loneliness. What is wrong with her? Or is it him?


Wanted by Karen Michelle Nutt

Emma Kelly is convinced her Christmas wish has come true when outlaw JoBeth Riley is brought into town. Sheriff Jace Kelly must keep JoBeth from being broken out by the outlaw gang. JoBeth finds the Kellys a strange lot when forced to spend Christmas with them.






A Christmas Collection Anthology: Spicy


Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate

Gabriel Hawkins wants vengeance for a boy's death. The son of a powerful man is to blame, but Hawkins won't let that stop him. Will his reputation as El Angel de la Muerte (The Angel of Death) mean his own death as Christmas draws near?


Underneath the Mistletoe by C. A. Paris

Scott Helling allows his best friend, Tiffany Ashby, to talk him into playing Santa for a group of children. Tiffany has waited ages for Scott to see her in a romantic light. When circumstances force a passionate kiss underneath the mistletoe, will their relationship finally change?


White Christmas by Cheryl Pierson

Since her divorce, ER nurse, Carlie Thomas, works on Christmas. This year she’s taking a break. What she gets instead is an unexpected houseguest who needs special care after being injured in a fire. Could this Christmas spark a new, beautiful friendship…or something more?


The Hands of Time by Laura Shinn

Lady Graciela Scott is imprisoned in a snow globe after seeing Lord Kennith Whittingham die. Centuries later, she is released when Ken Montgomery finds the globe. They must find a solution to reverse the spell or she will return to the snow globe forever.

To purchase your copies of the Christmas Collections, please visit Victory Tales Press Links are available to all the major online bookstores. Thanks so much for stopping by.


45 comments:

Markee Anderson said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey, Karen!!! Thank you so much for having us at this beautiful blog!



I wrote a 'Christmas Full of Memories.’ Here's an excerpt:





The bell over the door rang and a tall, wannabe cowboy walked inside the Sage Travel office, shaking the snow off his coat. “Howdy, Ma’am.”

Considering this was Snow City, Iowa, the accent threw Piper Sage a bit. “We don’t get many southerners in Iowa. Did you take a wrong turn at Dallas or something?” She snorted her laughter, making her coworker, Jill Harper, chuckle behind her.

“You’re right funny, Miss,” the man said, never cracking a smile while removing his hat. “I’ll have ya know I’m none other than Chase Remington, III, heir to the Remington fortune down in Austin.”

“Uh-huh.” She’d seen it all, but this took the cake. “And what do the Remingtons have a fortune in? Fake Stetsons?”

Jill walked up to her and high-fived her, laughing. “Good one. And I thought it would be a boring day today.”

Chase huffed, then pulled up a chair and sat down, holding his hat in his hand. “Look here, little lady. Do ya want a client or not?”

Jill’s eyebrows rose. “A client? This close to Christmas? Are you serious? Dressed like that in Snow City? Do you want to travel back to Texas? Is that why you’re here?”

As Piper raised a hand to silence her coworker, she studied the man’s two-day stubble and blue eyes. “I had no idea you were a client. My sincerest apologies.” She pulled out a few brochures and laid them on the desk. “Our business, sir, is to give you the opportunity to organize your trip to what you want it to be. As part of the Life’s Adventures franchise, we’re willing to go the extra mile to make you happy. We have a money-back guarantee on our services, and everything is above board and legal, with high marks in satisfaction and enjoyment—”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said. “I know all about this-here Life’s Adventures franchise.” He leaned closer. “My family owns Life’s Adventures, which is why I’m here.”

Piper felt her heart stop, watching the man in front of her. “No one owns Life’s Adventures—it’s run by a board of directors. If someone owned it, I’m sure I’d know about it.”

“My family started Life’s Adventures and owns the entire thing, but that’s a secret. We set up the board of directors for the general public. Since it’s close to Christmas, I figured y’all wouldn’t have much to do up here in Snow City. So I decided to watch how y’all work up here in the north.” He leaned closer to Piper. “And I don’t like what I see so far. Are y’all so nasty to everyone up here, or just potential clients?”

“Uh, no one. But we haven’t had a client in over a month, so we assumed—”

“—wrong. No, I’m going to be your client… To rate you on how well you do your jobs.” He took out his wallet, overflowing with cash. “I’ll pay my way, too, because I don’t want to be swayed with a free ride.” He laid a bunch of bills on the desk. “I want to have an itinerary full of things I want to do, or three wishes—”

“Three wishes?” Jill asked. “Sorry, buddy, but we’re not a magic genie.” She motioned around the room. “Do you see a magic lamp around here?”

“Y’all are downright mean up here,” he snarled. “That’s going to be my first job. To make y’all nicer to keep the Life’s Adventures industry pleasant.”

Miss Mae said... Best Blogger Tips

Excellent excerpt, Markee!

And fantastic guests at your blog today, Karen! Hello to all VTP authors!

Markee Anderson said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Miss Mae!!! :)

Diane Craver said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen,
You have a lovely blog - thanks for having us!

My story "The Proposal" is in the Sensual book! I have a yummy recipe at the end of my story which was made by Alex for his sister's b-day! Here's an excerpt:


Celebrating Thanksgiving at his parents’ house might be miserable. If Brad proposed, Jacqueline would be ecstatic. But he’d have a hard time pretending to be thrilled with their news. I want Jacqueline to be happy…but not with Brad. She’d loved him enough once to pour her heart out to him. That love must still exist somewhere for him. If buried deep in her heart, he needed to get her past love for him to surface again.

Jacqueline walked into the kitchen and asked, "How about ice cream for dessert?"

He patted his stomach. "I guess I have room for a small dish of ice cream. Don’t tell my mom, but your lasagna’s even better than hers."

"That’s quite a compliment because everything your mother makes is delicious." She smiled at him. "I just had a thought. Would you like to come here for lasagna on Christmas Eve, and go to Mass with us? We can go to the five o'clock service and eat here afterwards."

"I like that. Midnight Mass is too crowded. When’s Brad coming for Christmas?"

"He’s not sure yet." She opened the dishwasher and pulled a tray out. She sighed. "The dishes are clean in here. Alex never emptied it. He can remember to ask me fifty times a day if he can drive, but he can’t remember to do his chores."

He carried his plate to the counter, then watched Jacqueline lean against the refrigerator. She wore a black sweater with her tight fitting jeans. At the gleam in her brown eyes, he tugged her into his arms. Her breathing became uneven, but she only squirmed slightly. He felt relief that she didn’t break his embrace. His pulse quickened with her warm body against him. She looked too adorable not to kiss. His lips pressed against hers, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. She returned his kiss with sweet passion. She wasn’t kissing him like a best friend, but a lover.

Suddenly her body stiffened and she looked up at him. "Tyler, what’s going on?"

"I had to kiss you. It’s not my fault you look so sexy in that black sweater." He saw her frown so continued, "Hey, you waited to get the ice cream. Then you gave me a look like you wanted me to kiss you."

"I did no such thing. I was just waiting for you to say what kind of ice cream you wanted."

He chuckled. What a liar she was. She wanted him to kiss her, but he wasn’t about to mention that fact again to her. "How could I tell you that when I don’t know what you have?"

Cheryl Pierson said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey y'all,
I was SO fortunate to have three stories accepted for these anthologies, the sweet (HOMECOMING), the sensual (SCARLET RIBBONS), and the spicy (WHITE CHRISTMAS).

Homecoming takes place during the States' War, with a very odd twist at the end and paranormal elements.

Scarlet Ribbons is the story of a gunfighter who finds redemption in a Christmas miracle. It takes place south of the border in the 1800s and it, too, has paranormal elements.

White Christmas is a contemporary story, a bit "spicier" than the others. It is about a couple who finds love in an unlikely circumstance at Christmas.

I have really enjoyed being a part of these anthologies. So many great authors and fantastic stories.

Karen thanks so much for having us here today.

Cheryl

Diane Craver said... Best Blogger Tips

Cheryl,
I just read your "Scarlet Ribbons" and I loved it! Your other ones sound like great reads too!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Welcome everyone! Thanks for stopping in and sharing a little about your tales.

Everyone,
Is there a special movie you watch during the holiday season? If so which one and why?

Redameter said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi there,
I wrote Fast Forward Love in the Stimulating collection. It's about love between two adults both widowed with nearly grown children living in a small town and NOT getting together. Connie wonders why Ed isn't interested the entire town thinks they should be together, but Ed doesn't seem the least interested. Or is it the fact he isn't over his dead wife yet. It's not like it hasn't been years, though, so what's wrong? See even mature adults have hard time finding love! LOL Happy Holidays everyone.
Blessings
Rita

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Good morning, Karen! Thank you so much for hosting Victory Tales Press and the Christmas Anthology authors. I'm in the SENSUAL--the pretty blue one! and this is an excert between Marshal Max Garrison and Daniella Sommers:

EXCERPT FROM Angel and the Cowboy

“Dani, let me set you straight, here. I left law enforcement to come home, settle down, and
raise a family. To do that, well, dang it, I need a wife. Now, to tell the God’s truth, I didn’t come
to town today thinking I’d find a wife on the street, waiting for me to swoop her up and propose.
That’s exactly what happened, though. You. I met you and I’ll tell you right here and now, I want
to marry you.”
A tiny laugh escaped Daniella’s throat. She covered her mouth with her hand and looked
directly up at him. Shaking her head and lowering her hand, she said, “Mr. Garrison. That’s
absurd. Absolutely…”
She paused when she interpreted the look in his eyes and on his face. Anger. She’d made him mad. He stood there clenching his jaw, with thinned lips pressed together and narrowed eyes, blue eyes, usually the color of bluebonnets or a summer Texas sky, but now cold and dark. He was gorgeous, and oh, how she wanted to throw her arms around his neck and kiss his mouth.
Max spoke, low and slow. “I do apologize, Miss Sommers. My manners and common sense must have gone out the window. It's from all those years alone on the trail, hunting some outlaw not worth spit, dealing and mingling with the scum of the earth. My brain has turned to mush with all that thinking and planning and wishing about a pretty wife, one who was smart and good, and who might see me for something more than a worn-out lawman.”
His statement struck her heart with regret. “Oh, no, you’re not…”
“Shhh, Dani.” His face relaxed, as did his taut body, and he rubbed his knuckles down her
left cheek. “Don’t. You’ve done nothing wrong. I should have waited.” He straightened, standing tall, straight, and smiled gently. “Miss Sommers, I retract that marriage proposal, for now. So, let me begin again. Will you do me the honor of having supper with me tonight at the cafĂ©? And ma’am, I damn sure won’t take no for an answer.”

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Coffee Time Romance and More said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the invitation Karen! These books look great!

Cheryl Pierson said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Diane!

I'm so glad to know you liked Scarlet Ribbons so much. I wrote that story several months ago, wondering where I was going to be able to sell it. Thanks to Rebecca Vickery for these wonderful anthologies that truly have something for everyone. Scarlet Ribbons and Homecoming are both entered in a western writers' contest. I'll know something after the first of the year. Thanks again for letting me know how much you enjoyed Scarlet Ribbons.

I just started THE PROPOSAL a couple of days ago, but have not had a chance to finish it yet. I'm loving it so far, though--and cheering for Tyler already!!! LOL

Cheryl

charlotte said... Best Blogger Tips

Good Morning!!

I wrote "The Life and Times of Nickolopolus Christog Cringelenstien Clausner" in the sensual anthology. It's about how Mr. and Mrs. Claus met and came to marry, and how they handled some surprises about married life! It's humorous,with paranormal elements, and I really had a good time writing it! I cracked myself up, and hope that others will laugh, too!

Charlotte

charlotte said... Best Blogger Tips

My favorite holiday movie is "It's a Wonderful Life". I like the message that we really don't know how many people we touch, how many lives we improve just be existing and being who we are. We watch it every year, after all of the presents are wrapped and under the tree.

Charlotte

StephB said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen,
I'm so excited to be a part of the VTP anthologies! My story is Christmas in Bayeux in the Stimulating anthology. I have the sensual and spicy anthologies as well and I'm looking forward to reading them now that NaNoWriMo is over!

My story takes place in Bayeux, France, on the Normandy coast. It's a contemporary and I really enjoyed the research and writing for it.

Smiles
Steph

Anne Patrick said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen! Thanks for having us today. My story, 'Christmas with Hope' is in the Sweet Collection. Here's an excerpt.

Hope glanced up from the weight bench midstride. They locked gazes. If she was surprised to see him, she didn't show it. She did two more reps before straddling the bench.

Nick's carefully thought out plan just went out the window. Without a clue as to what he was going to say, he walked toward her.

Lieutenant Garret, on the weight machine next to her, smiled at him. "Heard you got yourself in a bit of a jam today...bad Intel?"

"Yeah. But thanks to Captain Erickson here, we all made it out alive."

Lieutenant Garret glanced at Hope. "You were flying the bird that rescued them? I thought they only used women pilots to ferry supplies and VIP's."

She tossed him a smug smile, "Not in this war," then grabbed her towel and walked off.

Nick quickly followed. "Bet you get a lot of that, huh?"

"I'm used to it." She stopped at a treadmill and stepped on, draping the towel across her right shoulder.

Nick climbed on the one next to her. After programming his speed and incline be began a brisk walk. "How long have you been flying?"

"Since I was fifteen," she answered with barely a glance.

"I meant in the army."

"Nine years. Did Kylie tell you I was here?"

"Who's Kylie?" he avoided her question, hoping to keep his promise.

"Never mind." She met his gaze. "What do you want, Lieutenant?"

He gave her his best smile. "For starters, I'd like for you to call me Nick."

"There are rules against fraternizing."

"We're only talking. Besides, if I did have aspirations toward you in that capacity, that rule refers mainly to relationships between officers and enlisted personnel."

She shook her head as she glanced away.

"Whoa...wait a minute, was that a smile I just saw?" he teased. When she refused to look at him, he stepped off the treadmill and moved to stand in front of her. "I was a horrible kid, I admit it. And I'm sorry."

"Forget about it. It's no big deal."

"Why don't I believe you?"

"Believe me or not, that's your prerogative." She grabbed the towel from her shoulder and stepped off the treadmill. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go."

He followed. "Now you see; if you didn't keep brushing me off I might believe you."

She paused at the door, turning to him. "Are you always this tenacious?"

"Yes. It's one of my many attributes. Have coffee with me and I'll share some of my other qualities."

Hope laughed.

"Is that a yes," he asked, hopeful.

"All right, I'll have coffee with you. But not tonight. I have a pre-flight briefing at 0700."

"Tomorrow night then...after dinner with your crew, I'll meet you right here."

"Okay."

"It's a date then. Don't forget."

"It's not a date, its coffee, and I won't forget."

Rebecca J Vickery said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen and VTP authors,
Thanks so much for hosting us, Karen. You have the greatest blog site.

I loved each and every story that was included in the Christmas Collections (nd of course I'm not at all biased). LOL What a wonderful group of authors, and the stories are so varied and imaginative while combining the elements of Christmas and romance.

Thanks to everyone for all the hard work that went into these books.

And a very special thank you and Holiday Greetings to all of our readers and supporters.

Kit Prate said... Best Blogger Tips

As usual, I've arrived late at the party! Have to admit that I was outside enjoying November "in the 40's day" in Wisconsin, a rare treat so late in the year.

This is a beautiful blog! Thank you for inviting us in (hopefully for Irish coffee!).

Rebecca has done a fanatastic job with the Christmas Collections, and there is something for everyone. I hope you all enjoy taking a peek.

Kit

Gerald Costlow said... Best Blogger Tips

Just arrived home after a hard day's work and love reading the comments. I'm the author of "Mars Needs Men" in the Stimulating anthology, and I had so much fun contributing to the collection.

Debra St. John said... Best Blogger Tips

I do so love a good Christmas romance. And I love that the anthologies have varying levels of sensuality...you know what you're getting right off the bat. A little something in a Christmas stocking for everyone!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Here's my excerpt for "Wanted." My western flavored with wee bit of the paranormal is available in the Stimulating Collection.

Excerpt:

With Jace's hand securely fastened on the prisoner’s upper arm, he led her inside and to the jail cell.

“Wow, we got ourselves a real live outlaw.” Beau followed behind. “She’s an itty bitty thing to be an outlaw, don’t you think?”

“Beau, don’t you have some place to be?” He met the young man’s gaze.
“I do?”

“Travis,” he reminded him of the old man.

“Oh yep, sorry. Plum forgot with them deputies bringing the prisoner to us.” Beau remained planted where he stood, staring at JoBeth with open curiosity.

Jace arched an eyebrow. “Beau, that means go now.”

“Why do I have to always miss out on all the fun,” he mumbled under his breath as he headed out the door, leaving Jace to contend with the prisoner.

“Let’s get you out of those binds.” Jace removed the gag. Her tongue licked over her chapped lips. When he loosened the ropes, he could see where the rope dug into her skin, blood crusted over in areas.

“Thank you.” Her voice was raspy from lack of use or perhaps from the tongue lashing she’d most likely given the deputies.

“You’re welcome Miss Maverick, or is it Misses?”

“I prefer to be called JoBeth.”
“JoBeth it is then.” He stepped out of the cell, unhooking the keys from his belt to lock the door. The woman stood no higher than his chest with hair matted to her scalp and skin smudged with dirt. Her skirt may have been blue once, but was faded to a dull gray. The jacket she wore looked two sizes too big with the way it hung on her. Dark rings shadowed her eyes, making him wonder when she had last slept, but beneath the grime and the fatigue, JoBeth Maverick might be a handsome woman. Dangerous, too—he reminded himself. She robbed stagecoaches for a living.

“Are you done staring, Sheriff?” Her voice was a smooth drawl, the words rolling off her tongue in accusation. One lovely, dark brow arched on her forehead and eyes narrowed to green slits.

His gaze met hers and he had the decency to look abashed. “I beg your pardon. I couldn’t help but wonder why a woman would turn to thievery.”

Her laugh was anything but stating her amusement. “For a sheriff, you sure are sheltered. Why don’t you step out of your nice warm cubbyhole you have here and enter the real world? Then you can get back to me with that question.” She plopped down on the cot, eyeing him warily. Her lips pressed together in a fine line and her arms crossed over her chest like a steel armor plate.

He let her be. There was no sense in talking to someone who had no wish for conversation.

Caroline Clemmons said... Best Blogger Tips

Stop making me buy books! These anthologies contain so many stories that sound too good to miss.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Everyone,

Thank you for the lovely compliments about my blog. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

My favorite Holiday Movie is While You Were Sleeping. My husband and I will watch it while we wrap presents. It's become a tradition. lol

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Steph and Gerald,

I had the chance to read your stories and enjoyed both of them!

If you both have the chance, post a short excerpt. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Debra,

You are so right. There's a story for everyone. I love the variety.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Charlotte,

It's A Wonderful Life is a great holiday story.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Hello Miss Mae,

Waving to you!!!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Coffee Time,

Thanks so much for coming by and saying hi!! I just love your site. I spend way too much time on it sometimes. lol

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm enjoying all the excerpts. Thanks for sharing them with us today.

Diane Craver said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen and everyone,

I love While You Were Sleeping. It's one of my favorite movies.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Diane,

Re: While You Were Sleeping.

It's just one of those funny,sweet and heartwarming love stories you never grow tired of watching.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Caroline,

lol-- I know what you mean. Thanks for coming by. :)

Gerald Costlow said... Best Blogger Tips

I probably should post an exerpt of my story, Mars Needs Men, shouldn't I? Let's see if I can grab a page that gives people a taste of it.

“Hey Carla! Ready to go?”

Carla jumped and stabbed the keyboard, quickly closing the forbidden file. She turned to confront Nancy. “You like to gave me a heart attack, sneaking up on me like that!”

“Oh, were you surfing naughty websites instead of working?” Nancy looked over Carla’s shoulder. “Come on, show me the kinky.”

Carla turned off the monitor and got to her feet, struggling to put on her sweater and sure her face was bright red. “You’re terrible! Anyway, I wasn’t looking at porn. I was just...caught up in thought. Let’s get out of here.”

She drove to their usual deli while thinking about Howard and that bitch, Jessie. She was halfway through a tuna sub and ignoring Nancy’s usual nonstop chatter when the woman cleared her throat and rapped on the table to get Carla’s attention.

“What’s wrong, Hun? You ain’t been this upset since your cat died. You haven’t said a word since we left the office. Usually, being around you at Christmas is like having my own private Santa’s Helper.”

Carla looked at her friend Nancy. The young black woman was loud, crude, outgoing and everything else Carla wasn’t, but somehow they’d hit it off. “Have you ever had a boyfriend dump you for another woman?”

Nancy reached across the table. “Oh, Hun, boyfriend problems? I didn’t even know you had a guy. And the louse picked Christmas to take a hike? No wonder you’re upset!”

“No! It’s not me.” She picked up her drink and took a long pull on the straw while she figured out what to say. Then it dawned on her that the truth would serve, with some detail left out. “It’s a guy I know,” she explained. “I found out his longtime girlfriend is going to dump him, and he’s got no clue it’s going to happen. He’s under a lot of stress as it is. I’m worried about him.”

“Well, you should be. Hun, everyone has a breaking point and people do crazy things when their heart gets broken. Guys get drunk and want to find something—or someone—to hit and aren’t particular about what gets broken. They’ll trash their own house and beat up their best friend for getting in the way. We gals are smarter than that. We throw that cheating man’s belongings in the street, take him for everything he’s got, and then track the Ho down and yank out her hair! Teach her to mess around with my man--"

“Nancy! Keep your voice down.” Her friend was a loud talker and the other diners had gotten quiet as they stared at the unexpected lunch time entertainment.

“Well, anyway, that’s if you’re lucky,” Nancy continued, slightly more subdued. “The people that can’t get angry and get it out of their system just get depressed. And at Christmas? Hun, if this man is a friend of yours like you say and he gets blindsided by the love of his life, you keep an eye on him. I had a friend kill herself over a man. Just sayin’”

Nancy of course tried to press Carla for more details, but beyond telling her friend that it was nobody in the office and swearing on a stack of Bibles she wasn’t the one getting dumped, she kept her dilemma to herself.

Laurean Brooks said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, shoot, I'm late! Better late than never. Pass me a cup of hot chocolate, please. Mmmmmmm!

Karen, thank you for hosting our Victory Tales Press, Christmas Stories. So sweet of you!

My story "Severed Hearts" is in the sweet "Christmas Collection."

Here's an excerpt. I hope you like it.
*****
June, 1970

Johnny pulled in front of Blanton's Grocery whistling,"Julie, Do Ya Love Me." He jumped out of his truck and strutted toward the door. Lady Luck sure was smiling on him.

He'd lain awake half the night plannning a life with Jule Blanton, down to naming their four kids. Two boys and two girls. The girls would have their mother's eyes and hair.

Johnny reached the steps and paused, faced with a dilemma. He had to find the courage to ask Julie for a "real" date. At the most inopportune times his shyness raised its ugly head.

How should he word his question? Just come out and say, "There's a great movie playing at the Varsity on Saturday night. Would you do me me honor, Miss Blanton...?" Nah. Too prim and proper.

"Love Story" was the featured film. Though he preferred a spy movie, he figured Julie's choice would be a romantic one. Besides, a romantic theme would set the mood for his plans afterward. They would drive over to Tims Ford. Then he would bare his heart. He'd come close yesterday, but this Saturday night she would know the extent of his feelings toward her. He hoped she felt the same.

Johnny swallowed hard, took a deep breath and reached for the screen door handle. While he silently prayed for God to give him the right words, Juie's voice drifted through the open door.

"So, what are you trying to say, Nelson?"

Nelson! What was that jerk doing here? Johnny snapped his head around. How had he missed the flashy, red Mustang parked next to his truck? Too distracted? He froze, not sure whether to proceed or just leave.

Nelson's sarcastic tone reached his ears. "What I'm saying, Julie, is you can do a lot better than Johnny Michaels. He'll never amount to anything. Look at his family."

Johnny felt the gall rise in his throat. His fists clenched until the knuckles turned white. He couldn't wait to get his hands on your scrawny neck! He started to grab the door handle, but something stopped him. A silent voice spoke, "Think before you act."

Johnny released the door hande while a ragged breath escaped.He waited for Julie's reply.

"Do you think I care--?"

Did she mean she didn't care about him?

Nelson's voice cut her short."Look, Julie, the Michaels are poor...and will always be poor. You deserve a lot better. You need someone on a higher social scale. A guy with money to take you to places like...Hawaii, buy you designer clothes...build you a nice house, and can afford to take you to the finest restaurants. You'd never have that with Johnny Michaels."

"What if--?"

Johnny's heart couldn't take any more. He dashed to his truck and sped away, laying rubber on the highway. Tears pricked his eyes, spilled over, and dripped off his jaw. When had he last cried? Not since his little sister almost died from that bout with pneumonia last winter. But Nelson's words echoed through his head, cutting him to the core. "You can do a lot better than Johnny Michaels..."

Not only had Nelon insulted him, but his entire family. Johnny slammed a fist against the steering wheel and yelled, "That arrogant smart-aleck will not get Juile!"

Before he reached his destination, Johnny made a decision. He knew what he must do. It was the only way. But, he had to act fast...before he backed out.

Laurean Brooks said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey Markee! I loved your story, "Christmas Full of Memories." Your lively characters are like people you meet every day.

You have the gift of writing humor. I laughed out loud several times. Keep up the great work. And may God continue to bless you.

Laurean Brooks said... Best Blogger Tips

To Caroline Clemons: If you can't decide, Caroline, just buy them all! LOL.

Seriously, the ones I've read are awesome.

Markee Anderson said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow...Laurean...you're so kind!! I'm about ready to cry from how sweet you are! I rarely get reviews for my work, and this one is a MAJOR keeper! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

And as for Johnny in your story...man...I really feel for him! Poor guy!

Laurean Brooks said... Best Blogger Tips

Celia,Diane, and Cheryl are also awesome writers. They know how to spin a tale and make you feel like you are there.

Laura said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen,

What a beautiful blog site! Thanks so much for featuring the 4 Christmas anthologies. We had quite a variety and four heat levels, so there really is something for everyone. *g*

I have a story in the Spicy anthology, "The Hands of Time." It's a time travel. I've been trying to write it for over 2 years and finally got the chance when I signed up for a spot in the Spicy collection. Below is an excerpt:

Gracie felt movement and struggled to open her eyes. Ken carried her through the house. She opened her eyes enough to see him walking into his bedroom. “Ken?”

“You need to sleep, Gracie. You’ve been reading that ancient journal for over six hours. You’re exhausted. It’s dark outside and you should probably eat something first, but I’m going to make you rest. At least for a few hours. We’ll have supper when you wake up.”

Too exhausted to argue, Gracie held still as Ken undressed her. She didn’t argue when he stripped her of her undergarments as well. He sat her on the edge of the bed and she opened her eyes once to find him stripping off his own clothing and undergarments. Strong hands eased her onto the bed before covering her with a sheet and blanket. Gracie smiled when she felt his warm, strong body press against her back. He liked holding her this way, and she admitted to feeling a peaceful contentment when his strong arms wrapped around her middle, pulling her against his body.

Taking a deep, relaxing breath, Gracie gave herself up to his loving arms, knowing he would never allow her to come to harm. Within minutes, she fell into a deep sleep.

Ken felt his body react to her closeness and hoped it didn’t wake her. After long minutes of suffering, he realized she was out for the count. He needed to rest too. Even though he’d been watching TV, every few minutes he looked over his shoulder, trying to judge what she read by the expressions on her face. She kept flipping pages back and forth until he thought he’d scream with frustration. He’d been wound up tight for six hours, waiting to hear anything helpful.

The last time he glanced over his shoulder, her head nodded toward her chest. They’d rest, eat supper, and then he’d find out what secrets the infamous Lord Irwin kept hidden in his journal.

As he began to drift off to sleep, two things hit him like a ton of bricks. One, he was falling crazy in love with Lady Graciela Scott; Two, he’d move heaven and earth to keep her with him, in his world.

Breathing deeply to try and relax his muscles and mind, Ken had a very strong feeling they’d need to find those answers and soon—before something happened to make him lose Gracie forever.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Laura,

I love time travel. I'll have to check this one out soon.

Cate Masters said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, four great collections. All sound like wonderful holiday treats!

Lisa Lickel said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey, Laurean, You're everywhere this Christmas! How cool. I'm excited about your anthology.

Great site, Karen.

Diane Craver said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, Cate! Glad you stopped by.

Cheryl, glad you're rooting for Tyler. :) I enjoyed writing "The Proposal" and happy to be in an anthology with Celia, you and Charlotte!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Cate,

Thanks so much for stopping by. Great to see you.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Lisa,

Thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. :)