In a few weeks, the last Jewell Cove story goes on sale. It’s a bittersweet thing for me. I’m just wrapping up the first book in a brand new series set it small-town Vermont. I’m really excited about that, but I hate to say goodbye to Jewell Cove, too. It’s a special place, with special people. Maybe I’ll get to visit again someday.
Anyway, Christmas at Evergreen Inn wraps up the secret of the rumored treasure that’s been a part of each book. And of course there’s romance (first and foremost) – this time between handsome cop Todd Ricker (we met him in last year’s Christmas at Seashell Cottage) and Lainey Price, who runs Evergreen Inn. Last year’s hook was “baby in a manger” – this year it’s “no room at the inn”. Fun or what?
Here’s the info… and I’m in love with this cover.
CHRISTMAS AT EVERGREEN INN
Jewell Cove Digital Exclusive
Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iTunes / Kobo
Welcome back to Jewell Cove, where this holiday season, there happens to be no room at the inn…
When a December Nor’easter roars up the eastern seaboard, Jewell Cove cop Todd Ricker spends his day off being a Good Samaritan to stranded holiday travelers. But when the roads close and Todd can’t make his way home, he discovers that the Evergreen Inn is full up. Until another Good Samaritan opens her doors and offers him a place to stay…
Lainey Price is not looking forward to Christmas, but just because she’s not filled with the holiday spirit doesn’t mean she’s going to turn Todd out into the stormy night. Even if it means offering the handsome police officer the couch in her tiny cottage. But when the weather takes a turn for the worse, the two are snowed in for a wintry evening by the fire. With Christmas only a few days away, can Todd convince Lainey to open her heart to the season…and love?
Now how about a teaser? Lainey’s just explained why she has no Christmas spirit this year – her Christmas wedding last year was cancelled at the 11th hour, because the groom had already moved on…
He turned around and their gazes met. The alcohol had mellowed her quite a bit, reinforcing some of her barriers but breaking down others. She shouldn’t be staring at him so boldly. She’d deflected his questions but she knew she hadn’t fooled him at all.
“Why aren’t you in the mood this year? The real reason. Because most people at least put up a little tabletop tree or a wreath on the door or something.”
She swallowed against a lump in her throat. Damn him. He wasn’t teasing now, either, and it made him harder to put off. His dark eyes were soft with understanding, even though there was no way he could know. If he’d just been nosy, she might have been able to brush it off. But instead, it was like he cared.
“It’s just . . . well, I don’t know if you remember or not, but last year this time Jason broke off our engagement. It kind of ruined Christmas for me.”
“Right.” His eyebrows pulled together as he frowned. “Why did he do that again?”
She shrugged. “He said he’d found someone else. That it wouldn’t be fair . . .” Her voice wavered and she cleared her throat. “Oh, I’m not getting into the gory details. Let’s just say it tainted my view of the holidays.”
Todd nodded. “Well, if it helps, I think he’s an idiot. And because he’s an idiot, you’re better off without him.”
She stared into the fire, oddly touched by Todd’s declaration. “Intellectually I know you’re right. If he was in love with someone else, getting married would have been a disaster. It’s just that in the middle of all the Christmas joy and happiness, I was canceling wedding plans. We were having a Christmas wedding, you know. Everything had been bought. Dresses, flowers, decorations. Place cards had been printed, centerpieces made up, a wedding-night suite booked. And everything had been green and red. Ugh. Anyway, every time I see all the decorations and hear the carols and all that, it brings me down.”
“Then we need to bring you back up.” He stood back and crossed his arms. “You can’t let one person ruin the most magical time of the year. You’ve got to come out swinging.” It was a declaration, and one that sounded like he was about to do something about her scrooginess.
Please, no. She just wanted to get through the holidays in peace.
“Hey, I tried. A girl can only eat so many cupcakes before her pants get a little too tight.” She sighed. “You know what the worst part is, Todd?” She didn’t quite know why she was confiding in him so much, except that maybe she’d had a little too much whiskey and the fact that she no longer felt like she could vent to her girlfriends, who’d been so supportive in the early days. She knew they all expected her to be fine now and had probably gotten sick of her being such a downer. “The worst is that for the longest time I kept asking myself what she had that I didn’t. Was she prettier? Smarter? Funnier? Sexier?” She shook her head. “Man, I sound so stupid saying that.”
He took a step toward her, uncrossing his arms and relaxing his posture as he turned his back to the fireplace. “Not stupid. Human. You are pretty, and smart, and funny.”
“Yeah, my door’s being beaten down daily by men looking for the perfect woman.”
“I didn’t say perfect.” He smiled while the fire crackled and popped. “Know what else you are?”
She looked at him, waiting for him to continue.
“Sexy. Sexy as hell.”
It wasn’t fair how he said those words and her whole body seemed to respond. Darts of arousal shot through her body, centering in her core at the sound of his low, smooth voice. Something was definitely simmering between them.
“I wasn’t fishing for compliments, you know.” Her voice sounded a little hoarse. She hated that he could have this kind of an effect on her . . . and loved it at the same time. She’d needed the boost so badly.
“I know that. I thought it needed saying anyway.”
He took another step and was really close now, so close she could reach out and press her hand against the breadth of his chest if she wanted. She did want, but fear of making the first move held her back. Her breath was shallow, her body taut with anticipation as he lifted his hand and put it along the side of her face.
“Todd,” she warned, and made the mistake of looking up into his eyes. They were dark and seductive and oh God oh God oh God.
“Shh,” he responded. “Let me show you. Don’t move.”
She didn’t fight it, even though she knew she should. His lips touched hers, gently at first, soft and tasting like warm whiskey. They teased and nipped at her mouth until her lips opened on a glorious, surrendering sigh.
As soon as she melted just a little, he slid his other arm around her back and pulled her close. At the same time he deepened the kiss, his tongue tangling with hers.
Lainey didn’t think. Instead she disobeyed his order to remain still and slid her hands inside the hoodie, up over the warm, smooth skin of his back. Her fingers played over the firm muscles and she felt them shift as he tightened his embrace. His mouth slid away from hers and swept along the curve of her jaw, right to the sensitive point on her neck, just below her ear. A sound came from her throat, half moan, half gasp, and she felt him smile against her skin.
“So. Damn. Hot.” He breathed it against her neck.