Thursday, November 30, 2017

My Hero: The Texas Rangers By Margaret Daley

My Hero: The Texas Rangers
By Margaret Daley

I have written three books in the Lone Star Justice Series for Love Inspired Suspense. The last one, Texas Ranger Showdown, will be out in April 2018.  I also wrote four book in my Abingdon series called the Men of the Texas Ranger. What a group!

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the baseball team in Dallas called the Texas Rangers. I’m talking about the oldest state organization of law enforcement officers. Sam Austin formed the first version of the Texas Rangers in 1823. The word “rangers” was coined because these men ranged over the land they protected and guarded.

Through the early years the Texas Rangers, one of the main duties of the group was to protect the people against Indians. Then after the Civil War in 1874 the organization was divided into six companies with 75 men and usually a captain. Their duties were partly a soldier and partly a police officer. By the 1900s the organization totally focused on enforcing the law. A Texas Ranger was called in when the case was too risky for the local agency.

Today there are 172 Texas Rangers who served the state in many investigative capacities. They are part of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Texas Rangers’ headquarters is in Austin. There are six companies: Company “A” headquartered in Houston, Company “B” in Garland, Company “C” in Lubbock, Company “D” in Weslaco, Company “E” in El Paso, and Company “F” in Waco/San Antonio. The companies were adjusted recently.

The Texas Rangers handle the usual kind of cases like murder, assault, robbery and kidnapping, but they are also tasked with investigating threats against the governor and other state and federal officials. I used some of these crimes for the stories in my series: Lone Star Justice (High-Risk Reunion and Lone Star Christmas Rescue).


Lone Star Christmas Rescue blurb:
A baby's frantic cries lead Texas Ranger Drake Jackson to an injured woman in Big Bend Park, the infant by her side. But "Kay" has no idea who she is or what happened. All she seems sure of is that she's in terrible danger. When someone comes after her—determined to snatch the child—Drake takes her and little Kaleb to his family's ranch to protect them. But with the attackers circling closer as Christmas approaches, the guarded ranger knows they won't be safe there for long. Vowing to uncover her identity and catch her attacker, Drake plans to give mother and child the holiday they deserve…safe by his side forever.


My newest release in the Lone Star Justice series is my November book, Lone Star Christmas Rescue available at: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Cards

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.  Don’t you just love this time of year – the crisp weather, the holiday gatherings, folks in a thankful, giving frame of mind, festive decorations, the airwaves filled with carols and Christmas movies – it’s truly joy-filled!

One of the things I usually do the week after Thanksgiving is begin addressing Christmas cards to send out.  This year I got to wondering about how and when that particular custom originated and decided to do a little research on the topic.

I was delighted to discover that the first person to commission a commercial Christmas card was an author.  Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882), using the pseudonym Felix Summerly, wrote children’s books in addition to handbooks and articles on a wide variety of topics. But writing wasn’t his only passion. Sir Henry was a member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers, and Commerce, was instrumental in the development of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and he is credited with the design of the world’s first postage stamp, the Penny Black.  He also designed the Felix Summerly Tea Service, an award winning design that was produced by the Herbert Minton ceramic Factory.


Because of his various interests, and high level of success, Sir Henry became a popular and exceedingly busy man. It was custom in his day to hand write letters of Christmas greetings, and to respond to everyone received with a personal missive as well. But in 1843, at the height of his popularity, Sir Henry knew he just wasn’t going to have time to meet this particular obligation. So he hit on an idea to simplify the process. He commissioned a London artist named J. C. Horsley to design a card for him based on an image idea he had. Sir Henry then took the illustration and carried it to a printer who created 1000 copies on stiff cardboard. Sir Henry then mailed these out to his family and friends in lieu of handwritten missives. Those he didn’t use for himself he sold for a shilling a piece. 
Here is what they look like.



It's estimated that there are a little over a dozen of these cards still around today and they have become quite the collector’s item.  In 2013 one of these cards sold for over $6,800!


So what about you – do you send out Christmas cards? (I have to admit that there have been years when I let the busy-ness overwhelm me and let that tradition slide). Do you prefer funny, sentimental, spiritual or homey type cards? Do you select custom cards for each recipient or pick one you love and send it to everyone? Leave a comment below and I’ll enter you in a drawing for winner’s choice of one of the two Christmas books I have out this year.

ONCE UPON A TEXAS CHRISTMAS

Partners for the Holidays 
Abigail Fulton is determined to find independence in Turnabout, Texas—and becoming manager of the local hotel could be the solution. But first, she must work with Seth Reynolds to renovate the property by Christmas—and convince him she's perfect for the job. If only he hadn't already promised the position to someone else… 
Ever since his troubled childhood, Seth yearns to prove himself. And this hotel is his best chance. But what does someone like Abigail know about decor and furnishings? Yet the closer the holiday deadline gets, the more he appreciates her abilities and her kindness. His business ambitions require denying Abigail's dearest wish, but can they put old dreams aside for a greater gift—love and family?




CHRISTMAS ROSES Anthology

Come visit a place where love blooms and holiday magic fills the air…

There’s no better gift than finding love among the roses. In this collection, you’ll find second chances at love, couples who find more than friendship under the mistletoe, and holiday reunions that bring the joy of the season.

 Set against the background of the Gardens of the American Rose Center, these stories are sure to warm your heart and put you in a festive mood, so grab a cup of hot cocoa and curl up with Christmas Roses.




Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Christmas Realities

Arlene James here with a few thoughts on Christmas.
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the Christmas season is in full gear. In essence, Christmas is a big birthday celebration. Everyone who participates enjoys the party and, ideally, both receives and gives gifts to commemorate the birth of our Savior, Who is a gift to the entire world. Faith being a very personal thing, families naturally come together to pay homage and celebrate a miraculous event with those of like mind and tradition. It's such a joyous occasion that even non-Christians have signed on for the celebration. Sadly, commercialism has robbed Christmas of much of its significance. Santa Claus has pushed out Jesus Christ--except for those of us who believe.

Still, Christmas is often filled with angst for those without family, funds, or faith. Depression during the season is common. Family time often means altercation. Finances are stretched. Expectations are sometimes unrealistically high. Greed can creep in.
Let's face it. Families are never perfect. Even our most halcyon memories of Christmases past usually include a disappointment or two, if not truly cringe-worthy moments.

My novella, THE RANCHER'S CHRISTMAS BABY in the CHRISTMAS ON THE RANCH duet with Lois Richer (CHRISTMAS EVE COWBOY), addresses a less than perfect family situation. Primarily raised by his grandparents, Dixon Lyons now has a good relationship with his father and half-brothers. He's looking forward to a relaxed, low-key Christmas on the ranch he inherited from his grandfather--until his estranged mother shows up ill, with a baby and beautiful stranger in tow.
Compassion and patience are in short supply as Dixon deals with the realities of the situation. His mother's hard living has contributed to her health issues, and Dix can't get over the feelings of abandonment and shame that her actions and lifestyle have brought on the family.
But it's Christmas. What's a Christian man to do?
As the reality of his mother's situation is revealed, Dixon must try to find the forgiveness and understanding that his mother needs.  However, will that be enough to warm the heart of beautiful Fawn Ambor, his mother's chief defender and caregiver? Can he even truly love Fawn and not his mother?
And what about that baby? His mother wasn't ready to be a parent to him. Is he ready to parent a child?
Only the Spirit of Christmas knows the answers to those questions.

Merry Christmas, and God bless you!


Purchase here:
http://bit.ly/2AyYQXc
http://amzn.to/2AaeXZV

Website:
http://arlenejames.com

Also available:
 DECK THE HALLS      


http://amzn.to/2zGZiSY
http://bit.ly/2zGajUG

Monday, November 27, 2017

Another Side to the Ladies of Love Inspired Romance

Many of the Ladies of Love Inspired Romance write more than their Love Inspired Books. Starting this month, we'll be featuring our authors' other new releases the fourth Monday of each month (except in December, when the fourth Monday is Christmas Day.) Here are this month's. Just click on a cover to buy one. And to learn more about these talented ladies, click on their names.

https://www.anniesfiction.com/home.php?program_id=HAC
Love Comes Quietly
by Jo Ann Brown 

Unsure if she's ready to set down roots with the church district's local beekeeper Seth Eichner, Leah Kauffman instead finds herself going out on a limb and befriending the local Englisch botany professor and recent widower, James Holden, and his 5-year-old daughter, Abby. Leah understands the difficult heartache that the young child -- who hasn't spoken a word in over a year -- is experiencing. Leah lost her own mother at a very tender age, and even now she feels the loss of her mother as strongly as she did all those years ago. Is that why Leah is so drawn to the little girl ... or could it the growing bond between Leah and James that has her spending more time with the outsiders and dreaming about a forbidden life she knows she must resist?

http://amzn.to/2zAFvnZ
Honor's Love Song
by Arlene James

Charlie Biggs lives up to his surname in size, talent, and commitment. Though he’s been blessed with much success, he’s waited 39 years for God to bring him the right woman. He doesn’t expect her to be familiar, untrustworthy, and a criminal. From the moment he discovers her battered and bruised beside the road, however, he can’t imagine himself with anyone else.


http://bit.ly/mistletoe2017

Cowboys Under the Mistletoe

by Deb Kastner and Danica Favorite

Bring Five Cowboys Home for the Holidays with New Stories from Best Selling Christian Romance Authors

Wilde About You by Deb Kastner
When their best friends' wedding is about to collapse the night before the nuptials, the best man, wrangler Matthew Wilde, and the maid of honor, Riley Weaver, must work together to make their friends' Christmas wish come true. Despite their differences and a family feud, can Matthew and Riley embrace the holiday spirit--and each other--before the clock ticks down?

Memories + Mistletoe = Love by Danica Favorite
Mallory McPherson’s act of desperation in accepting a long-lost relative’s Christmas invitation brings up difficult memories she doesn’t expect. Cowboy Nolan Masters knows what it’s like to come from a painful past. Can the lessons he’s learned bring healing- and maybe a happily-ever-after- to Mallory?

The Cowboy's Christmas Wish by Kristen Ethridge
Sarah Murdoch knew bringing her daughter, Jamie, halfway across the country to Port Provident, Texas would cause more anxiety than feel-good Christmas memories. But when Jamie bonds with Grant McCray, the owner of Beachcomber Stables, she begins to come out of her shell. Can this big-city mom learn to embrace small-town simplicity and let a heart-scarred cowboy make a little girl’s Christmas wish come true?

 Up on the Housetop by Liz Isaacson
Archer Bailey has already lost one job to Emersyn Enders, so he's beyond angry when he sees Emery at the ranch interview anyway. Then the owner of the ranch announces a contest to see which cowhand applicant can earn the most stars by Christmas. Whoever does will win the job. Will Emery and Archer be able to navigate the ranch, their close quarters, and their individual circumstances to find love this holiday season?

Home for Hope by Jessica Keller
When Hope Beckett crashes on Rider Longley’s property during a snowstorm, she wonders if life could get any worse. Running from her troubles, she can’t afford to stay in Bitterroot Valley for long. But Rider’s kind and steady personality makes it hard to leave, especially in the midst of the Christmas season.

http://amzn.to/2A5Ee7O
The Woman Most Wanted
by Pamela Tracy

Did Tom Riley Arrest the Wrong Woman?
For six years, the Sarasota Falls police chief has been hunting the cunning beauty involved in his partner's death. Now here she is, back in his New Mexico town, her face a match to the one on the wanted posters. But the woman Tom Riley knows as Rachel Ramsey insists her name is Heather Graves.

Is Heather really as innocent as she claims? And what is he supposed to do about their undeniable mutual attraction? As his search for answers uncovers secrets in Heather's past, Tom realizes that Heather is the woman he most wants…

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Scripture and Prayer Requests

The Last Judgement, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, 1475-1564.
[PD-US]

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him. 
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. 
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink? 
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.'
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."
Matthew 25:31-46


In this time of Thanksgiving, the Love Inspired authors who are part of this blog community give thanks to all of you for your friendship and support. May the Lord bless you and those you love.

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

My First Sale

Hello everyone, Patricia Davids here. 

Today I get to share one of my favorite stories. My first sale. The date was June 14, 2004. But we need to go back a few years to when I decided I was going to write a book. I told my husband and he said he thought I would be good at that. He believed in me. I researched how to write a book, joined a local romance writers chapter and set about writing a sexy contemporary romance. When I finish the manuscript, I let my mother read it.
Her comment was, “This is a good story, but I could never let your father read it.” I said, “After five kids, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in there that Dad doesn’t already know.” My mother said, “Write something I can show my friends.”

I finished three contemporary romances and started collecting rejection letters. One of the reasons an editor gave for turning down my story was that the hero was just too nice a guy. I like nice guys. I wasn’t familiar with inspirational romances until Deborah Raney spoke at my writers group. It was a true lightbulb over the head moment for me. I revised my third completed manuscript and my agent sent it out. And I began collecting rejection letters again. A lot of them said I needed to study the inspirational market, but one letter came back from Joan Marlow Golan at Steeple Hill books that wasn’t a rejection. 

It was one paragraph about my strong writing and my unique voice and three pages of revision requests for the manuscript. She wanted it cut from ninety thousand words to seventy-five thousand words and a whole lot of other changes. It’d taken me over a year to write the book and now someone wanted me to chop twenty thousand words out of it. I was flabbergasted. It was my story. I was in an NICU nurse and the story was about a woman who had a premature baby. I wondered as I read the letter again if I should maintain my artistic integrity or if I should change the story and maybe get paid. On one hand, artistic integrity. On the other hand, money. It didn’t take me long to decide. I revised the story following her suggestions and six weeks later my agent called the tell me I had made a sale.

I squealed in delight and told my husband, “They bought my book.” He was watching Stargate SG1 and said, “That’s nice.” I needed something more than nice. I was so excited, I could have had champagne in my veins.

I called my mother. She wasn’t home. I left a message. I called my critique partner. She wasn’t home. I called another critique partner, she didn't answer. I called a third critique partner and she wasn’t home. I was ready to burst with happiness and nobody was answering the phone. Then my phone rang. I snatched it up. It was Rhonda Nolan, a nurse in my NICU unit wanting to know if I could work extra. I told her I just sold a book and she screamed with delight. I screamed, too. It was exactly the reaction I needed.


His Bundle of Love was released in January 2006 and I have been writing for Love Inspired ever since. Thanks to my husband who believed in me, my mother who encouraged me to write stories she could share with their friends, inspirational author Deborah Raney who showed me there was a market for my work and a special thanks to Joan Marlow Golan who gave a budding writer a chance to shine. 


Thanks, too, to my friend Rhonda who knew exactly how I felt making that first sale.

Happy Thanksgiving





HAPPY THANKSGIVING
FROM THE 
LOVE INSPIRED: A STORY FOR EVERY READER
 AUTHORS


May your Thanksgiving be full of hugs, shared stories, and the magic of family.
Pamela Tracy and her family are waving turkey legs your way.  Happy Holiday!
Pamela Tracy

Wishing you abundant blessings and much love on Thanksgiving and
throughout the holiday season. We are all so grateful for your
friendship and support! 
Debby Giusti

 Wishing you and yours a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving. Blessings!
Jean C. Gordon

The Lord has showered me with so many blessing that I can’t begin to list them, but I am most grateful for you, the women and men who read my books. Danki. You have helped keep my dream of being a writer alive and well. (In case you are wondering, the Amish celebrate Thanksgiving much the same as the rest of us.) May the Lord bless you with abundance and love. Happy Thanksgiving.
Patricia Davids

Hope you find you have more blessings this Thanksgiving than you can count. I'm counting family, friends, a career I love, and the fact that kitchen renovations mean someone else gets to cook the turkey this holiday! 
Jo Ann Brown

I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. May God be with you.
Margaret Daley

Wishing all of you a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends. Thank you for your encouragement and support, dear readers, you are the reason we write our stories. 
Christine Johnson

Writing has been the best of all possible worlds for me. For nearly 40 years, I've made a living at my desk at home, raising my children (one with a serious illness), and being deeply involved with my grandchildren. I am so thankful. God has blessed me in so many ways, from agents to editors and especially readers. Blessings on all! 
Arlene James

It is easy to take blessings for granted. I know I do. Friends, family, beloved pets, and all the basics that we expect to always be there - until they are not. The first conscious breath of morning air is the beginning of the most amazing gift God will ever give us - life here and the promise of forever. Your day is special because YOU are. Celebrate it with me.
Psalm 107:1 "Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good!"
Valerie Hansen

As we gather with family and friends I pray you have a blessed and safe
Thanksgiving holiday.
Terri Reed

I'm thankful for my family, friends and all of the wonderful Love Inspired readers! 
Truly blessed - Laura Scott

I can’t thank the Lord enough for all the blessings He has given me. I’m especially thankful for my family, my church family, and my health. 
I wish Thanksgiving blessings for all of our readers.
Merrillee Whren

I’m thankful for twenty years with Love Inspired and being able to continue the job I love, writing books. Thankful for my family and friends and the many readers who are so loyal to all of us. We couldn’t do our jobs if you didn’t like our books. 
Thanks to all of you and Happy Thanksgiving!
Lenora Worth


I'm thankful for my wonderful family and friends who provide love and support all year round.  I feel blessed to have my dream job as an author.  I'm very thankful for all of my readers.  Wishing everyone a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving.
Belle Calhoune


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's that time of year again...time to prepare our favorite traditional dishes and spend time with loved ones. Do you have recipes you fix every year? I do. I'm responsible for deviled eggs, green bean casserole, and homemade mac and cheese. I mix it up each year with different desserts. I'm in the mood for chocolate, so I'm making a chocolate cake with Oreo cookie filling. I can't wait to dig into my mom's cornbread dressing and pretzel and raspberry jello salad. I'm sure I'll eat too much and eventually get tired of the leftovers. But as much as I enjoy the food, I treasure the fellowship more.
For many years, my husband was in the Marine Corps. We were stationed in another state and didn't get to make it home for every holiday. I'm thankful we are now within a few minutes drive of my family. And that's what this season is about, isn't it? Being thankful. Reflecting on the many blessings God has given us. I have a lot to praise Him for...my husband and three sons, good health, a home, the ability to stay home and teach my kids and also write romance novels. Oh, and two standard poodles that make me laugh every day.
What are you thankful for this year?

The chocolate Oreo cake

Two crazy adorable poodles, Venus and Jupiter

My November release, available now!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Double the Trouble, Double the Fun! by Deb Kastner


Happy Birthday to my newest book, Texas Christmas Twins!

When the editors at Love Inspired approached me about participating in a miniseries for the Christmas season working with two very talented authors, Patricia Davids and Lee Tobin McClain, I didn’t have to give it a moment’s thought before I said yes. 

For one thing, I adore everything about the Christmas season, from the carols and Christmas spirit to the Baby in the manger. Plus, the editors handed me the perfect trifecta where my brand is concerned—Christmas, Texas (read “Broody Cowboy”) and of course, and adorable set of twins. Add to that a bright, bubbly heroine and you have the makings of a great holiday read.

Here’s the Back Cover Copy to spark your interest:

Christmas on the Ranch

Miranda Morgan’s Christmas will be twice as busy now that she’s guardian of her sister’s sweet twin babies. But the celebrity photographer is happy to trade a glamorous LA lifestyle for motherhood in her small hometown of Wildhorn, Texas. Unfortunately, the twins’ handsome godfather, Simon West, is unconvinced. The brooding rancher isn’t thrilled about letting sunny, spontaneous Miranda into his carefully managed world. Though they disagree on almost everything, Simon and Miranda discover common ground as they work to make the twins’ first country Christmas cozy and bright. Could this holiday transform Miranda and Simon’s tentative friendship into a forever love?

Want to read the first few pages? Did I hear a yes? Why, here they are…

Miranda Morgan wouldn’t even know what hit her.

He was here in front of her cabin, preparing to make certain of that. After he was through with her, the powers that be would want to name a tempest after him.

Hurricane Simon.

It didn’t matter that he hadn’t seen Miranda since high school, or even, as his best friend Mason’s kid sister, that she’d bared the occasional brunt of his pranks and mean jokes. In another situation, he might be considering how to make amends and not additional strife. He was a new man, a man of faith. The Lord had changed his heart, and now Simon’s goal was to change his life to match what had happened internally.

But try as he might, he fell short of being able to forgive Miranda for ignoring her responsibility to the sweet nine-month old twins now in her care.
If this was a spiritual test, a trial in his bumpy new Christian life, it was a doozy.

Miranda was an eminently successful celebrity photographer. But he couldn’t care less about movie stars and the la-di-da lifestyles of the rich and famous. He was a simple ranch owner and dog trainer and he liked his solitary country life.

What he didnt like was Miranda. She couldn’t even be bothered to fly home to Texas long enough to attend her own twin niece and nephew’s christening, and she was not only Hudson and Harper’s aunt, but had also been named their godmother.

And yet she hadn’t managed to spare even one weekend for them.

Even Simon had been in church that day, though at the time he hadn’t been a churchgoing man. He remembered feeling uncomfortable, but he’d been there. Simon was the twins’ godfather, and to him, it was a big thing, a sacred duty, a promise that he’d always be there for Hudson and Harper in any way they needed.

Obviously, Miranda didn’t feel the same way. Family obligations clearly meant nothing to her.

And now, through a cruel twist of fate, Miranda had been named the twins’ permanent legal guardian.

How could that even be? The very thought of it was both confusing and infuriating.

It was painful enough that Mary, Mason’s youngest sister, and her husband John had been taken from this world prematurely by the merciless act of a drunkard who’d made the deadly choice to drive while intoxicated.

But for Mary to name self-serving, high-flying Miranda as the twins’ legal guardian, even after all she had done, or not done, for Mary and the babies—
Well, that made less sense than putting a Border collie in a room full of cats and expecting him to herd them.

What had Mary been thinking? How could she have considered her sister a worthwhile guardian, one with whom she could entrust innocent children? What kind of mother would a woman like Miranda possibly be?

Inconceivable.

Why hadn’t Mason and his wife, Charlotte, been named the twins’ guardians? They already had four children of their own with a fifth on the way. They were wonderful, experienced parents who had been there for Mary and the twins during every stage of their lives.

Mary might have sincerely believed that two more children would have been too much of a burden on Mason and Charlotte, and that they had their own family to think of and provide for.

But choosing Miranda?

Mary might have been sincere, but she’d been sincerely wrong.

However the future played out now that Miranda was the twins’ legal guardian, Simon’s determination to be a positive influence in his godchildren’s lives hadn’t changed one iota. They had always been a priority with him, but even more so now.

If Miranda was anything like Simon imagined her to be, Harper and Hudson would need all the protection and stability they could get.

He was going to step up for those two precious babies.

Unfortunately, that also meant he would, by default, be in contact with Miranda. She would have to let him into her world, whether she liked it or not. And likewise, he’d have to learn to work with her. They didn’t have to be friends, but they would have to get along.

For the twins sake, he reminded himself as he removed his brown Stetson, combed his fingers back through his thick blond hair and knocked on the door.
“It’s open,” he heard Miranda call from somewhere inside the cabin, her voice muffled and distant.

Feeling awkward at having to let himself into a cabin he was unfamiliar with, he opened the door and stepped inside. He didn’t immediately see Miranda, or the twins, either, for that matter.

His attention was instead captured by the insane display of Christmas decorations, red and green, silver and gold, everywhere his gaze landed.


An enormous eight-foot Christmas tree stood in one corner, the flashing angel topper just barely clearing the ceiling. Presents wrapped in colorful aluminum paper were piled high underneath the tree.

She’d arranged a large Nativity set, complete with a stable and an angel proclaiming Peace on Earth, on the end table.

Shiny red and gold garland adorned every wall, with evergreen garland gracing the fireplace where the stockings were hung with care, as the poem went. Homemade stockings, with Hudson and Harper’s names written in flourishes of red and green glitter glue.

This woman was clearly obsessed with Christmas.

And apparently, shiny things.

It took him a moment to focus and find Miranda. He supposed he’d expected to find her changing a diaper or two, or feeding the twins their bottles—or whatever it was that nine-month-old babies ate—as the reason she couldn’t answer the door. Instead, she was right there in the middle of the living room, stretched out on her stomach underneath a card table that she’d draped with sheets, holding a flashlight she was beaming on a picture book as Harper and Hudson cuddled on either side of her.

Of all the crazy, unexpected scenarios, this one took the cake.

Or the Christmas fruit cake as the case might be.

The tent was ingenious. She’d used stacks of hardback books to fasten the edges of the sheet to the sofa on one side of them and an armchair on the other, with the card table holding up the structure in the middle.

Lying on her stomach, jammed under a table only a few feet high, couldn’t possibly be comfortable for her, with her tall, lithe frame, and yet she had an enthusiastic smile on her face and didn’t look the least bit put out by the awkward position. He suspected her feet might be protruding out the back, although he couldn't confirm that from his current vantage point.

She shined the flashlight at his face, momentarily blinding him, and he held up a hand to block the light.

“Simon?” she questioned, surprise lining her tone. “Simon West?”

He was astonished she recognized him. He’d added a few inches to his frame in the years since they’d seen each other last, not to mention a few pounds . He'd stayed at the outskirts of John and Mary's funeral and hadn't spoken to anyone but Mason and Charlotte.

Uncle Simon,” he corrected her tersely, nodding toward the twins. “It’s an honorary title.”

Of which he was very, very proud.

“Well, Uncle Simon, you’re more than welcome to join us.” She shifted herself and the twins to the side to make room for him in the tiny, strung-up tent.

“I’m welcome to—” he repeated. He’d walked into her house out of the blue. She had no idea why he was here, and yet she’d immediately offered him the opportunity to join in their…adventure.

"What are you doing here, by the way?" she asked curiously.

"I--er--"

Her offer completely threw him off his game, and for a moment he was fairly certain he was gaping and couldn't remember his own name, much less why he had come.

Eventually, he shook his head. There was no way he was going to get his large frame under that small table, no matter how hard he squeezed. And honestly, he didn’t even really want to try.

“We can make it work,” Miranda insisted, clearly not taking no for an answer. “I’m sure the twins will love spending quality time with their uncle Simon .”

She couldn’t possibly know it, but she’d just touched on his weak spot. He hadn’t been spending as much time as he should have with his godchildren. If she’d been trying to give him a guilt trip, those words would have done it, especially given the reason he was here.

“Grab another sheet from the linen closet in the hallway, and grab a few more books from the shelf,” she instructed. “Oh, and get a chair from the kitchen. Drape the end of your sheet across the card table and onto the chair. That’ll give us all a bit more wiggle room. Believe me, these two are regular squirmy wormies.”

By the time he’d followed all her instructions and lengthened the makeshift tent, she was fully absorbed reading the twins their book. He stood before them, wondering how he was going to get where Miranda wanted him to go.

She flashed the cover of the book at Simon, as if finding out what she was reading would somehow convince him to crawl in.

“We’re reading Little Red Riding Hood. Hudson likes the wolf, don’t you, buddy?” she asked the baby, making a growling sound and tickling his tummy.
Hudson squealed and giggled happily.

“Tell Uncle Simon you want him to come on down,” she said to Harper, giving her the same affectionate tickling treatment Hudson had just received. “I think he’s being a little bit stubborn, don’t you?”

Simon balked at her words. He wasn’t being stubborn. He was being practical.

And this was definitely not how this confrontation was supposed to go. He hadn’t envisioned anything of the sort when he’d first knocked on her door, but then, how could he have? This whole scenario was mind-boggling.
He was losing his momentum by the second and he couldn’t seem to do anything to stop it.

“But this is—” he started to say.

Ridiculous.

Humiliating.

Mortifying.

She raised a jaunty, dark eyebrow. There was no question about it. She was outright daring him to make a fool of himself with the twinkle in her pretty hazel eyes.

This was nuts. He was crazy just to be thinking about it.

There was no way he was going to get out of this with his dignity intact. But he’d never been the type of man to walk away from a challenge.

Not now. Not ever.

Grumbling under his breath at the ignominy of it all, he dropped onto his belly to army crawl into the mixed-up files of Miranda’s imagination makeshift dwelling.



Does this sound fun or what? Babies, puppies and conflicts abound! 

I'm excited to share that Texas Christmas Twins is available TODAY at a store near you wherever Harlequin books are sold. 

Prefer to read on your favorite eBook reader? Preorder now for delivery December 1st.

And be certain to catch the first two books in the Christmas Twins miniseries: Amish Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids and Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain!