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I’m thrilled to share this special story with you. Avery, the girl in Christmas Bells is a real-life inspiration to me. Get your copy now.
Included within the covers of Christmas Bells, you will find the first chapter of Her Heart’s Desire and Behind The Mask..
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Amazon US https://amzn.com/B01MFHZN72
Please meet Morgan and Alex in these excerpts.
Morgan in Chapter One
Tapping two fingers to her bottom lip, Morgan scanned the studio kitchen at the television station. Bright spotlights brought every item on the cooking island into sharp focus. Her set needed a few personal touches before today’s shoot of Cooking with Kids. Had she healed enough to bring that sentimental item out of storage? Maybe.
Her crew had decorated the set professionally with a winter theme, but it still needed something special. A feature item. The perfect statement piece, handmade locally, waited tucked in the back of the prop room. The kids on her show would love it, not to mention it would be new to many of her viewers, since the last time it graced a set was three years ago…
Satisfied that Corinna had the conversation well in hand, Morgan reached for a green felt-covered box. She hadn’t looked inside it for three years. Maybe this year the pain had finally lessened enough for her to find joy in opening the box again. She’d brought it to work to hide it. The pain of storing it at home was just too much.
“How can you be so sure?” Tina’s voice took on an accusatory tone.
“Because the only time his eyes light up, since his wife died, is when Morgan walks into the room.”
Morgan’s heart quickened.
What had Corinna just said?
No. She and Alex were friends. He was Avery’s father. No, Corinna couldn’t be right about him.
“But she’s old,” Tina whined. “She’s like thirty-two or something.”
“Ms. Marshall isn’t old. And Mr. Blake is thirty-five,” Corinna shot back.
“So what’s a dozen years between soul mates?”
Corinna snorted. “Soul mates? No, darlin’, you’re mistaken. We both know you’re looking for a sugar daddy. Besides, the man has a daughter he adores, and you are not stepmother material. Not in this lifetime, anyway.”
Morgan straightened and pushed her dark brown hair behind her ears. Clearly, Corinna paid attention to those around her if she noticed all the things she told the other woman.
“Want to bet how long it takes me to get him into bed?”
Alarms clanged in Morgan’s head. Her heart fluttered like the wings of a panicky bird. She’d heard enough. “Corinna? Would you mind helping me in here?”
Surprised at her reaction to the dialogue taking place out of sight, Morgan pursed her lips. It was none of her business what this Tina person did or with whom. Nor was Alex’s private life any of her concern… Except she liked him as a friend. Admired him as a gentleman. After all, he had been devoted to his wife who passed more than a year ago, and his daughter Avery held a special place in her heart.
Alex in Chapter Two
This year, for the first time in his life, he would undertake December traditions without his mom or his wife overseeing everything. He was a topnotch elf, and would do as instructed, but he didn’t have the eye for all the extra details. Like coming up with an original theme for decorating the Christmas tree. White lights only, twinkle on a timer, or blinking? What about a mixture of red, green, and white lights? Then there was the selecting and buying of different wrapping paper for each person in the family—his mother insisted on it each year for as long as he could remember, and his wife had considered it a brilliant idea.
The holiday to-do list was daunting enough, but managing life and the holidays…insane. He couldn’t wait for his parents’ plane to taxi to the gate at the Jacksonville airport. After the last five days of juggling his schedule, plus melding his daughter’s school and social calendar, he wondered how his mother managed it—more importantly, would he survive fatherhood?
He wanted his daughter to grow up with a mother, but life took an unexpected turn and robbed them of the anchor in their life. But he also wanted a wife. A woman who would bring love and laughter to him and Avery. His mother had been encouraging him to consider dating. Even raised that eyebrow at him the last time he scoffed at her suggestion. She’d be shocked to learn he had given the idea some thought lately. But when he attempted to make a list of women he would consider, only one name had come to mind. She had beauty and brains. Beauty in that wholesome woman-next-door kind of way, not the drenched-in-makeup-and-jewelry kind of woman several of his friends had married. High maintenance wasn’t his thing. Her inward beauty shone, too. It was revealed in her kindness and patience with kids. Her laughter was lilting and captivating. Her smile heartwarming. Her conversation was informed and stimulating. She could tell a good story.
He’d met Morgan Marshall during a fundraising event for the television station about three years ago. Unlike most other TV personalities he’d met, she drew people in, more interested in finding out about others than boasting about herself. She exuded a quiet grace and radiated an inner strength. He’d offered his condolences back when he heard about her tragedy. She politely thanked him, and they’d never spoken of it again.
Yet, she always talked eagerly about Avery with him, ever since his daughter started taking her afternoon cooking class. Most recently, her eyes danced with delight when she told him about his daughter’s accomplishments with food.
Yeah, he’d made a list of women he was interested in. A list of one. And then he had completely dismissed it.