Together for Christmas: An Anthology

Together for Christmas: An Anthology

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Overview

This Christmas, visit four of your favorite towns, created by four of your favorite authors! Listen to some of the stories people tell at Christmas…

5-B Poppy Lane by Debbie Macomber

In Cedar Cove, Washington, you'll meet Helen Shelton, her granddaughter Ruth and Ruth's husband, Paul. You'll find out how Ruth and Paul met—and you'll learn about Helen's breathtaking adventures during the Second World War.

When We Touch by Brenda Novak

Whiskey Creek, California, the site of a Victorian Days Christmas celebration, is where you'll find out how Noelle stole Olivia's fiancé, Kyle, and what happened next! But is there any chance the sisters can reconcile, especially at Christmas, the time of forgiveness and peace?

Welcome to Icicle Falls by Sheila Roberts

Come to Icicle Falls, Washington, for a Christmas cookie exchange at Muriel Sterling's house. Hear about the summer Muriel fell in love with a handsome stranger. Her dad expected her to take over Sweet Dreams, the family's chocolate company, but Muriel had sweet dreams of her own…

Starstruck by RaeAnne Thayne

And in Cold Creek, Idaho, visit with former Hollywood stuntman Justin Hartford, his daughter, Ruby, and wife, Ashley. Ruby and her friends love the story of how her dad and her new mom met!



There's something special about sharing our memories when we're together for Christmas!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778317234
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Edition description: Original
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 348,932
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a leading voice in women’s fiction worldwide. Her work has appeared on every major bestseller list, with more than 170 million copies in print, and she is a multiple award winner. The Hallmark Channel based a television series on Debbie’s popular Cedar Cove books. For more information, visit her website, www.debbiemacomber.com.

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak has written over 60 novels. An eight-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best and other awards. She runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity that has raised more than $2.5 million for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). She considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life. www.brendanovak.com


Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com).

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

Hometown:

Port Orchard, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 22, 1948

Place of Birth:

Yakima, Washington

Education:

Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college

Read an Excerpt

Ruth Shelton hurried out of her classroom-management lecture at the University of Washington, where she was completing her master's of education degree. Clutching her books, she dashed across campus, in a rush to get home. By now the mail would have been delivered to her small rental house three blocks from the school.

"Ruth," Tina Dupont called, stopping her in mid-flight. "There's another antiwar rally this afternoon at—"

"Sorry, I've got to run," Ruth said, jogging past her friend and feeling more than a little guilty. Other students cleared a path for her; wherever she was headed must have seemed urgent—and it was, but only to her. Since Christmas, four months ago, she'd been corresponding with Sergeant Paul Gordon, USMC, who was stationed in Afghanistan. There'd been recent reports of fighting, and she hadn't received a letter or an email from Paul in three days. Three interminable days. Not since they'd initially begun their correspondence had there been such a lapse. Paul usually wrote every day and she did, too. They emailed as often as possible. Ruth had strong feelings about the war in Iraq, although her opinions didn't match those of her parents.

Earlier in the school year, Ruth had been part of a protest rally on campus. But no matter what her political views on the subject, she felt it was important to support American troops wherever they might be serving. In an effort to do that, Ruth had voluntarily mailed a Christmas card and letter to a nameless soldier.

Paul Gordon was the young man who'd received that Christmas card, and to Ruth's surprise he'd written her back and enclosed his photograph. Paul was from Seattle and he'd chosen her card because of the Seattle postmark. He'd asked her lots of questions—about her history, her family, her interests—and closed with a postscript that said he hoped to hear from her again.

When she first got his letter, Ruth had hesitated. She felt she'd done her duty, supported the armed services in a way she was comfortable doing. This man she'd never met was asking her to continue corresponding with him. She wasn't sure she wanted to become that involved. Feeling uncertain, she'd waited a few days before deciding.

During that time, Ruth had read and reread his letter and studied the head shot of the clean-cut handsome marine sergeant in dress uniform. His dark brown eyes had seemed to stare straight through her—and directly into her heart. After two days, she answered his letter with a short one of her own and added her email address at the bottom of the page. Ruth had a few concerns she wanted him to address before she could commit herself to beginning this correspondence. Being as straightforward and honest as possible, she explained her objections to the war in Iraq. She felt there was a more legitimate reason for troops to be in Afghanistan and wanted to know his stand. A few days later he emailed her. Paul didn't mince words. He told her he believed the United States had done the right thing in entering Iraq and gave his reasons. He left it up to her to decide if she wanted to continue their correspondence. Ruth emailed him back and once again listed her objections to the American presence in the Middle East. His response came a day later, suggesting they "agree to disagree." He ended the email with the same question he'd asked her earlier. Would she write him?

At first, Ruth wasn't going to. They were diametrically opposed in their political views. But in the end, even recognizing the conflict between their opinions, she did write. Their correspondence started slowly. She enjoyed his wry wit and his unflinching determination to make a difference in the world. His father had fought in Vietnam, he said, and in some ways the war in Afghanistan seemed similar—the hostile terrain, the unpredictability of the enemy, the difficult conditions. For her part, she mentioned that at twenty-five she'd returned to school to obtain her master's of education degree. Then, gradually, without being fully aware of how it had happened, Ruth found herself spending part of every day writing or emailing Paul. Despite the instant nature of email, and its convenience, they both enjoyed interspersing their online messages with more formal letters. There was something so…permanent about a real letter. As well, depending on his duty assignment, Paul didn't always have computer access.

After they'd been corresponding regularly for a couple of months, Paul asked for her picture. Eventually she'd mailed him her photograph, but only after she'd had her hair and makeup done at one of those "glamour" studios. Although she wasn't fashion-model beautiful, she considered herself fairly attractive and wanted to look her absolute best for Paul, although she didn't entirely understand why it mattered so much. For years, she'd been resigned to the fact that she wasn't much good at relationships. In high school she'd been shy, and while she was an undergraduate, she'd dated a little but tended to be reserved and studious. Her quiet manner didn't seem to appeal to the guys she met. It was only when she stepped in front of a classroom that she truly became herself. She loved teaching, every single aspect of it. In the process, Ruth lost her hesitation and her restraint, and to her astonishment discovered that this enthusiasm had begun to spill over into the rest of her life. Suddenly men started to notice her. She enjoyed the attention—who wouldn't?—and had dated more in the past few months than in the preceding four years.

For the picture, her short brown hair had been styled in loose curls. Her blue eyes were smiling and friendly, which was exactly the impression she hoped to convey. She was a little shocked by the importance of Paul's re-action—by her need that he find her attractive.

She waited impatiently for his response. A week later she received an email. Paul seemed to like what he saw in her photograph and soon they were writing and emailing back and forth at a feverish pace. A day without some form of communication from Paul felt empty now.

Ruth had never had a long-distance relationship before, and the growing intensity of her feelings for this man she'd never met took her by surprise. She wasn't a teenager with a schoolgirl crush. Ruth was a mature, responsible adult. Or at least she had been until she slipped a simple Christmas card into the mailbox—and got a reply from a handsome marine sergeant named Paul Gordon.

Ruth walked quickly to the rental house she shared with Lynn Blumenthal, then ran up the front steps to the porch. Lynn was eighteen and away from home and family for the first time. The arrangement suited both of them, and despite the disparity in their ages and interests, they'd gotten along fairly well. With her heart pounding hard, Ruth forced herself to draw in a deep breath as she started toward the mailbox.

The screen door flew open and Lynn came out. "What are you doing home?" she asked, then shook her head. "Never mind, I already know. You're looking for a letter from soldier boy."

Ruth wasn't going to deny the obvious. "I haven't heard from him in three days."

Lynn rolled her eyes. "I don't understand you."

"I know." Ruth didn't want to get into another discussion with her roommate. Lynn had made her feelings about this relationship known from the outset, although as Ruth had gently tried to tell her, it was none of her business. That didn't prevent the younger woman from expressing her views. Lynn said that Ruth was only setting herself up for heartache. A part of Ruth actually agreed, but by the time she realized what was happening, she was emotionally involved with Paul.

"You hardly ever see Clay anymore," Lynn chastised, hands on her hips. "He called and asked about you the other night."

Ruth stared at the small black mailbox. "Clay and I are just friends."

"Not according to him."

It was true that they'd been seeing each other quite a bit following a Halloween party last October. Like her, Clay Matthews was obtaining his master's of education, and they seemed to have a lot in common. But her interest in him had started to wane even before she'd mailed that Christmas card to Paul. The problem was, Clay hadn't noticed.

"I'm sorry he's disappointed."

"Clay is decent and hardworking, and the way you've treated him the last few months is…is terrible." Lynn, who at five foot ten stood a good seven inches taller than Ruth, could be intimidating, especially with her mouth twisted in that grimace of disapproval.

Ruth had tried to let Clay down easily, but it hadn't worked. They'd gone to the library together last Thursday. Unfortunately, that had been a mistake. She'd known it almost right away when Clay pressured her to have coffee with him afterward. It would've been better just to end the relationship and forget about staying friends. He was younger, for one thing, and while that hadn't seemed important earlier, it did now. Perhaps it was wrong to compare him to Paul, but Ruth couldn't help it. Measured against Paul, Clay seemed immature, demanding and insecure.

"You said he phoned?" Frowning, she glanced at Lynn.

Lynn nodded. "He wants to know what's going on."

Oh, brother! Ruth couldn't have made it plainer had she handed him divorce papers. Unwilling to be cruel, she'd tried to bolster his ego by referring to all the positive aspects of his personality—but apparently, that had only led him to think the opposite of what she was trying to tell him. He'd refused to take her very obvious hints, and in her frustration, she'd bluntly announced that she wasn't interested in seeing him anymore. That seemed pretty explicit to her; how he could be confused about it left Ruth shaking her head.

The fact that he'd phoned and cried on her roommate's shoulder was a good example of what she found adolescent about his behavior. She was absolutely certain Paul would never do that. If he had a problem, he'd take it directly to the source.

"I think you're being foolish," Lynn said, and added, "Not that you asked my opinion."

"No, I didn't," Ruth reminded her, eyeing the mailbox again. There was an ornamental latticework design along the bottom, and looking through it, she could tell that the day's mail had been delivered. The envelope inside was white, and her spirits sank. There had to be something from Paul. If not a real letter, then an email.

"He wanted me to talk to you," Lynn was saying.

"Who did?" Ruth asked distractedly. She was dying to open the mailbox, but she wanted to do it in privacy.

"Clay" Lynn cried, sounding completely exasperated. "Who else are we talking about?"

Suddenly Ruth understood. She looked away from the mailbox and focused her attention on Lynn. "You're attracted to him, aren't you?"

Lynn gasped indignantly. "Don't be ridiculous."

"Sit down," Ruth said, gesturing toward the front steps, where they'd often sat before. It was a lovely spring afternoon, the first week of April, and she needed to clear the air with her roommate before this got further out of hand.

"What?" Lynn said with a defensive edge. "You've got the wrong idea here. I was just trying to help a friend."

"Sit," Ruth ordered.

"I have class in twenty minutes and I—" Lynn paused, scowling at her watch.

"Sit down."

The eighteen-year-old capitulated with ill grace. "All right, but I know what you're going to say." She folded her arms and stared straight ahead.

"I'm fine with it," Ruth said softly. "Go out with him if you want. Like I said earlier, I'm not interested in Clay."

"You would be if it wasn't for soldier boy."

Ruth considered that and in all honesty felt she could say, "Not so."

"I don't understand you," Lynn lamented a second time. "You marched in the rally against the war in Iraq. Afghanistan isn't all that different, and now you're involved with Paul what's-his-face and it's like I don't even know you anymore."

"Paul doesn't have anything to do with this."

"Yes, he does," Lynn insisted.

"I'm not going to have this conversation with you. We agree on some points and disagree on others. That's fine. We live in a free society and we don't have to have the same opinion on these issues or anything else."

Lynn sighed and said nothing.

"I have the feeling none of this is really about Paul," Ruth said with deliberate patience. She hadn't known Lynn very long; they lived separate lives and so far they'd never had a problem. As roommates went, Ruth felt she was fortunate to have found someone as amicable as Lynn. She didn't want this difference of opinion about Clay—and Paul—to ruin that.

The other girl once again looked pointedly at her watch, as if to suggest Ruth say what she intended to say and be done with it.

"I don't want to see Clay," she said emphatically.

"You might have told him that."

"I tried."

Lynn glared at her. "You should've tried harder."

Ruth laughed, but not because she was amused. For whatever reason, Clay had set his sights on her and wasn't about to be dissuaded. Complicating matters, Lynn was obviously interested in him and feeling guilty and unsure of how to deal with her attraction.

"Listen," Ruth said. "I didn't mean to hurt Clay. He's a great guy and—"

"You shouldn't have lied to him."

Ruth raised her eyebrows. "When did I lie to him?"

"Last week you said you were going to visit your grandmother in Cedar Cove and that was why you couldn't go out with him this weekend. I overheard you," she murmured.

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Together for Christmas: An Anthology 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh sorry did i get in the way ill leave
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the stories very much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Same olr stuff over and over
heathercm2001 More than 1 year ago
So far, I've only read When We Touch by Brenda Novak. I'm excited to read the other stories because I'm sure they are just as wonderful. Here is my review for When We Touch. I've been reading the Whiskey Creek books out of order. I started with #3 then read #4, but now I have gone back to where it all started. This series has a great group of characters, and I have had no trouble following along even though I have not read them in order. However, this novella has added quite a bit to the story. I can't wait to read #1 and #2 now. It will add so much more depth and detail to the Whiskey Creek I know. You can't go wrong with this series. Even if you are reading it out of order. If you want to just try the series and see if you like it, this novella is a great place to start!