|Liquid Silver Books|
Baby it's cold outside! Heat up your holiday with 15% off Christmas Romances from LSbooks.com. Enter coupon code 2014BeNaughty at checkout and received 15% off Christmas Titles. (Coupon code valid from 12:01 am EST 12-9-2014 to 11:59 pm EST 12-10-2014.
Liquid Silver Book presents ... Spotlight on Christmas
|Just a Holiday Fling|
Just a Holiday Fling, Pine Lake Book 1 by Tiffany Marie ... She just wants to get through the holiday season. He wants to celebrate. She just wants a fling. He wants forever.
A holiday memory from author Naomi Bellina:
My dad played the violin and I played the piano, so one year we decided to record some Christmas carols. We had one of those flat recorders with a cassette tape (giving away my age here!) and we spent a few evenings on several memorable recording sessions. It's not all that easy to play along with another instrument. You have to get the timing just right and eventually, we did.
|Naomi Bellina and Father|
A few nights before Christmas, my brother, sister, mom and dad and a family friend piled into the Volkswagen and drove around our neighborhood singing along to the carols. I doubt anyone in the houses could actually hear the music and I'm pretty sure we sounded like a chorus of cats in heat yowling at the moon, but all I remember was how much fun we had.
I still love Christmas music and have assembled a nice collection. I think of my dad when I listen, and picture him playing the violin in heaven.
Wolf At the Door, Snowdonia Wolves Book 1 by Sofia Grey ... An icy road, a wounded wolf, and a haunting lover she only meets in her dreams all weave together to thaw Lillian's frozen heart.
All He Wants for Christmas by Trista Ann Michaels ... Trapped in a mountain cabin over the holiday, sparks will fly and passion flare.
A holiday memory from author Tami Lund:
I met my hubs, Chris, on May first, at a party, through a mutual friend. At the time, I lived on the other end of the country, and had gone home to Michigan to visit friends and family. When our mutual friend mentioned that I was from out of town, Chris jokingly asked, "Would she be interested in a one-night stand?"
(This is a funny remark because first, Chris is *not* that kind of guy. And second, at the time, well, I... was that kind of girl. Or at least was open to the option. Hey, we're only young once....)
By the end of the night, he'd fed me cheesecake, given me a heart-pounding kiss, and we made plans to see each other again the next day. We then proceeded to spend every day of the rest of my vacation together, discussing potential bridesmaids and groomsmen (nope, not kidding), meeting his parents, and getting the approval of his best friend. Apparently, Chris didn't have a great track record when it came to dating...
When I left to go home to Louisiana, I had Chris' demo tape in my bag (he was a television editor/producer), which I gave to the general manager of a local television station. (I worked at a nonprofit, doing PR at the time, and the GM was on my board of directors.) He called Chris and set up an interview. The week of Memorial Day, Chris flew to Louisiana, interviewed, got the job, and went home and put in his two weeks' notice.
Two weeks later, he moved to Louisiana... and in with me. Yep, six weeks after we met. I told him I didn't "play house," though, so if this thing was going to work, I needed to have a ring on my finger by the end of the year. Christmas would be good. In fact, I informed him, just one tiny box under the tree would be perfect. Nothing else. Hell, we couldn't afford anything else anyway.
Two days before Christmas, I came home from work to find several boxes under the tree, all addressed to me, and none were appropriately ring sized. Talk about depressed. I didn't even want to go out that night, even though my best friend was in town, and we'd made plans with a small group of friends to go to a local karaoke bar.
We ended up going anyway, and I drowned my sorrows in wine .... Until shortly before midnight, when the karaoke DJ summoned Chris, and then someone placed a chair in the middle of the dance floor, and then my friends herded me to the chair... And halfway through singing Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel, my soon-to-be husband dropped to one knee, whipped out a ring box and proposed.
That was sixteen years ago this Christmas.
Disenchanted Christmas by Sandra Sookoo ... Bethany needs a Christmas miracle. What she gets is a proposition from a rich gentleman!
The Zebra Wore Red Stockings by Pepper Espinoza ... It's their first Christmas together, and she wants everything to be perfect—the sort of special holiday she never had before.
A holiday memory from author Sharon Callender:
I was an awkward twelve year old struggling with a boatload of insecurities. Even though I was painfully shy, I still managed to become a member of the school's traveling chorus. This particular year we were asked to sing at a local nursing home. For some reason, the thought of singing there terrified me.
When performance day arrived and I stepped off the yellow school bus, my stomach knotted up. As I entered the lobby, the antiseptic like odor, the faces of the residents, and the lit Christmas tree in the room all overwhelmed my senses. Then something happened that changed everything. A tiny, frail woman in a wheelchair smiled at all of us and said "thank you for singing here today." We hadn't even sung a note yet and she was thanking us. Her simple words erased my fears. None of this was about me, it was about them.
The traveling chorus had an assignment and it was spreading holiday cheer. I'll never forget the sheer joy on the faces of the residents as we performed our rehearsed songs. It was the coolest feeling in the world to be part of such a simple act of kindness wrapped up in the gift of song. Because of this one moment in my life, the holidays have become a season for giving back and helping those in need. There are so many ways each of us can make a difference all year round and sometimes what we consider to be the smallest gift can be the greatest one. Happy Holidays!
Believe by Megan Slayer ... Long distance relationships are never easy, especially at Christmas time.
Jessica's Wolves, Wolf Masters Book 3 by Becca Jameson ... A traumatic childhood has left Jessica Murphy in complete denial of her true self.
A holiday memory from author Tara Quan:
Airport Haute Cuisine
Because of my husband's career, the holidays for me are synonymous with travel–the international kind. While I wish I could enjoy the same level of comfort during my various flights as the heroines in my romances, I'm usually among the majority of weary travelers flying coach. More often than not, my airport meals were eaten standing up or seated on my carry-on, with one hand precariously grasping a cup of coffee.
That said, airports are where I've had some of my most memorable meals. The first was after my flight to Bangkok. Once I was done hugging my parents, I made a mad dash to an airport restaurant and ordered some mango and sticky rice. By Thai standards, the desert was serviceable at best. But after a year of deprivation, the fruit tasted like heaven. (Sorry America, your mangos do not taste like they do in Asia. There is no competition. None!)
The second time airport food had the White Castle effect (Harold and Kumar reference) was at London Heathrow during my first trip out of the U.A.E. While I love Abu Dhabi, I am very much partial to pork products. After close to a year of making do with chicken sausage, turkey bacon, and fake pepperoni, my taste buds were dying for a taste of home. The moment I reached my layover spot, I made a mad dash to a place where I could order a proper (and extremely unhealthy) breakfast.
My most memorable airport meal to date, however, was actually a flat white in Wellington International Airport. Prior to this trip, I had been in Pakistan for six months, and our health unit strongly advised against anything but UHT milk (which tastes like colored chalky water). Words cannot describe how divine that cup of milky coffee, paired with a proper scone, tasted after my very long flight.
One thing all these meals taught me, however, is that the holidays aren't about specific dates in the year or a particular location. They are about sharing the things we enjoy with the people we love, wherever and whenever that might be.
A Clockwork Christmas, The Blackwell Legacy by Nina S. Gooden ... Sorcery, danger, and a mysterious stranger will make this Christmas one Olyve will never forget.
The Promise by Tory Richards ... This holiday season, Ryan will learn he can keep his promise and still have his heart's desire.
Lucky Enough, Whisper Hollow Book 1 by Kelli Evans ... He'll need more than luck to find his happily ever after.
A holiday memory from author Annette Mardis:
If any kid deserved to get a stocking full of coal it was my brother, the Christmas I was in fourth grade.
After all, it was his fault I spent much of that Christmas Eve night in the emergency room.
He didn't mean to hurt me, but that's little consolation when you're hurtling out of a tree on a direct path to the hard ground below. It wasn't how I envisioned passing what started out as a rather ordinary and even a little bit boring day.
Like most children, my brother and I thought Christmas would never come each year. The wait seemed interminable. We'd both outgrown our belief in Santa Claus by then, but Christmas remained a magical time for tidings of great joy, presents piled beneath the tree and family gathered around an overloaded dinner table. Even when my family didn't have an abundance of material riches, we had a bounty of blessings.
That Christmas Eve day, though, the hours passed as swiftly as a slug sliding along a sidewalk. The neighborhood was quiet and my older brother and I had nobody to play with but each other, always a recipe for some bickering and a crying jag or two. Paul is only 18 months older than I am, but in those days he was, well, let's call it husky, while I had the physique of Olive Oyl, minus the clown-shoe-sized feet.
One of our favorite pastimes was climbing the big tree in our backyard. Paul had nailed seating platforms at different spots among the branches, most about midway up. Being a typical big brother, he often had little patience where his younger sister was concerned. And on this particular day, he seemed determined to take his usual needling to a higher level.
No matter where I settled in the tree, he rousted me out of my spot. "Move, I want to sit there," he'd insist, and I'd scramble to another platform. And then he'd want me to leave that seat, too. I don't remember how many times he did that to me, but finally I'd had enough.
Now in hindsight, I should've said something like, "Okay, fine. If you want to be like that I'll just go do something else." But common-sense, discretion-is-the-better-part-of-valor decisions often don't occur to children, and I was no exception, especially on this day. And so when my brother ordered me off yet another platform, I refused to budge.
He demanded at least once or twice more and I continued to defy him. Growing ever more frustrated, he reached out and shoved me as he ordered me to move one last time. Unfortunately, I wasn't hanging on and went sailing backwards out of the tree.
As I fell, my lower half thankfully caught up with the top part of my body because instead of hitting the ground head first, I landed on my back. I must've blacked out, at least briefly, because I had visions passing before my mind's eye, but they weren't scenes from my life. Oddly, enough, they were images from a circus, of all things. I had no clue what it meant then or now. To be honest, circuses creeped me out a little. But that's a story for another day.
The next thing I knew, my mom knelt by my side with a stricken look on her face, asking me if I was all right. She'd been in the kitchen when she heard a thud and looked out the window that overlooked our backyard. I can only imagine her panic when she saw me lying as still as death on the ground.
By the grace of God, I didn't break my neck or my back, either, and except for a very sore shoulder I seemed no worse for the wear. My mom still hoped to go to midnight Mass, as was our Christmas Eve custom, and she insisted on washing my hair in the kitchen sink while we waited for my father, a police officer, to get home from work. I could've done without the jostling, but I didn't intend to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus with unkempt locks.
As the afternoon wore on it became evident that my right shoulder suffered the brunt of the impact. It had swelled to softball size by the time my father walked through the door, and it was obvious I needed an X-ray. So off to the hospital we went.
Now bear in mind that by now it's early to mid-evening and—this being the 1960s—most businesses had closed for the holiday and people were hunkered down at home, theirs or someone else's, knocking back eggnog and nibbling on candy canes. (Or whatever else people did on Christmas Eve before 24-hour stores and the Internet.) I remember having to wait while they summoned a doctor to come talk to me and my parents.
The verdict: I'd broken my shoulder. The solution: taping my arm to my stomach, wrapping my upper body mummy-style so the only movement I could manage was to wiggle my fingers.
Despite being in pain, I still wanted to go to midnight Mass. I loved everything about it: seeing the luminaries lining the street leading to the church; singing Silent Night and other beloved yuletide hymns; being wedged, warm and cozy, in the pew between my parents; hearing the scriptural reading of the nativity story.
Some Christmases in Florida are so warm that everyone's in short sleeves, often with legs bared, but that year it was chilly outside. I'd looked forward to wearing a long-sleeved shirt beneath my new red-plaid jumper, but being taped up like that limited my wardrobe choices. Whatever I selected needed to button up the front so I could leave one button undone and stick my hand out the opening. Finally, after much consternation and gnashing of teeth (my mom's, not mine) we decided on a summer-weight dress in pastel green.
Despite having looked forward to midnight Mass and insisting I didn't want to miss it, I was miserable once we were seated. The pews felt even harder than usual, and rubbing elbows with anyone on my right side was a painful proposition. The Catholic worship ritual of stand up, sit down, kneel sapped the last of my strength, and I slunk back into my seat. I couldn't wait to hear the priest dismiss us with the traditional "Go in peace."
My parents always allowed us to open one small present on Christmas Eve after Mass. But I had little enthusiasm for that privilege on this night. I went through the motions, eager to hit the bed, close my eyes and, hopefully, find relief from the ache in my shoulder.
I don't remember the rest of our Christmas celebration that year, but I'm sure I wasn't in my usual festive mood. The years have taught me, however, that it was but a small inconvenience in the grander scheme of things.
|Naughty and Nice|
Naughty and Nice by Robin Danner, Pepper Espinoza, and Lisa Maire ... For most, Christmas is the time of happiness and good cheer, where people are a little nicer, a little kinder.
A holiday memory from author KaLyn Cooper:
The following is a true story. On December 9th, Macho Marine and I will celebrate our 36th Anniversary. That's a lot of Christmases. The following will always be the most memorable.
Thirty years ago while Macho Marine was the active duty Captain in charge of a Marine Corps Reserve Center in central Virginia, his Marines handled everything for Toys for Tots. After collecting all the boxes filled with new and used toys, they would set up tables in the drill hall and sort everything. Social Services and churches would send people over on the Saturday before Christmas to "shop" for the free toys. The day after the big event, we boxed up the very few remaining toys, most worse for wear, and loaded them into the trucks to be donated to an orphanage.
Snow spit from heavy gray clouds as the ancient car—which had seen better days two decades before—sputtered through the gate. The driver's door groaned as it swung open.
"I promised I'd ask," the haggard woman told the children. "Wait in the car."
Hopeful faces pressed against the closed windows as the woman limped toward the pickup truck we were filling with boxes of unchosen toys. Her worn bedroom slippers whispered as they slid across the pavement. Biting wind plastered her thin cotton dress against her frail body. She wore no makeup. Only the lines and dark circles of a tired woman colored her face.
"Excuse me, gentlemen." She caught sight of me and added, "Ma'am." She looked down as if embarrassed, then over her shoulder at her car. As though the children had given her strength to continue, she asked in a quiet voice, "I know I shouldda been here yesterday, but, you see, my car didn't start, so I borrowed my sister's today." She didn't make eye contact with anyone, but shot nervous glances at the Marines in utilities who were now drawn to the situation.
She stepped back, and stood silently for a long minute.
Macho Marine and I exchanged a look. With seven years of marriage behind us, and six years dating before we stood in the church and pledged the rest of our lives to each other, neither needed to say a word. We stopped loading and approached her.
"Can I help you, ma'am?" Macho Marine asked in what was his gentle voice, which in reality was a fraction less commanding than usual.
She flinched. I gave him "that" look I'd perfected early in our marriage that clearly said dial it down, Marine.
He tried again. "I'm the captain in charge." He pulled me next to him. "And this is my wife, KaLyn. What can we do for you?"
Relief washed over her pale face. Another glance back at the car was all it took. "Do you have any toys left? I know I should have been here yesterday—"
"Yes, ma'am. We do." Macho Marine's eyes scanned the car. "How many children do you have?"
"Six," she proudly answered, then hurriedly said, "but if I could just get one toy, they can all share it"
My heart broke.
"No, ma'am." Full command had returned to my husband's voice. "We can't allow that."
I watched her whole body and spirit collapse in on itself.
"We have plenty of toys for your children." He wouldn't let her leave with just one toy. "Do you want to pick them out, or do you want the kids to do it?"
"Well...I...uhm—" she stared at the car.
"Usually the kids pick the toys," he added helpfully.
She flicked her hand and car doors flew open. The rag-tag children poured out to join their mother. The hand-me-downs they wore had been reused far too often, none seemed to fit their scrawny bodies.
Each overly-polite child hesitantly chose one toy from those remaining on the tables, and returned to their mother's side.
"Thank you so much." She gathered her children and turned to leave.
"What about your other toys? You get four each, you know." Macho Marine lied and defied his men to argue with him.
For the next fifteen minutes, the Marines assisted the children, opening boxes and guiding them to age-appropriate toys. By the time they left, their arms overflowed. The Marines kept slipping them more and more toys. With the names, ages and address in hand, a requirement for participating, we watched the smoke-spewing car leave...filled with happiness.
Three hours later, the woman met us at her door, butcher knife in hand. It was her only weapon in the uninsulated shack half-way up a mountain on an unplowed dirt road. The old iron cook stove served as heat source and for food prep. It was a scene that belonged fifty years earlier, not in the mid 1980's when every home had a microwave and central heat.
We carried in bags of groceries and wrapped toys for each child. One of the Marines was also a fireman, and he'd brought coats and boots from their service project. Another had gotten a tree donated from a closing lot, and nailed two boards to the bottom so it stood relatively straight.
The woman, beside herself with joy, hunched in a kitchen chair and wept. While the children helped place boxes under the tree, and I filled her nearly-bare refrigerator.
With hugs and handshakes, we left them to celebrate a truly joyous Christmas.
Sometimes Santa Clause wears the uniform of a United States Marine.
Flight of Her Life by Diane Saxon ... Accident-prone Bailey must negotiate her way through a snowbound airport, a cancelled flight, and a blackout to get to her own engagement party.
If Only by Lisa M. Owens ... A poignant tale of second chances, and a woman's fight to find her happily-ever-after.
Happy Holidays to all from Liquid Silver Books!
|Go ahead and be naughty.|
Save Santa the effort.
Baby it's cold outside! Heat up your holiday with 15% off Christmas Romances from LSbooks.com.
http://www.lsbooks.com/happy-holidays-c342.php Enter coupon code 2014BeNaughty at checkout and received 15% off Christmas Titles. (Coupon code valid from 12:01 am EST 12-9-2014 to 11:59 pm EST 12-10-2014.