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!








10 comments:

  1. Deb, your story sounds terrific as does Patrica's and Lee's. Congrats on the new release.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I was blessed to be included with Patricia and Lee.

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  2. Another fun Deb Kastner book! What could be better?

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  3. I've read the first two in the series and thought they were wonderful. Can't wait to read yours, Deb! Time to run off the store for some last minute Thanksgiving goodies...and a good book!

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  4. Double-blessed is right. And what adorable covers. I need more grandkids right now!

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    1. I know, right? I keep seeing newborns and get that baby itch...only <> that ship has already sailed. Waiting for my two single daughters to marry their long-time boyfriends and give me some more grandkids!

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  5. Deb, those covers will have the books flying off the shelves. So cute. And your story will great, I know!

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  6. Deb, congratulations! Adorable cover!!!

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  7. Definitely on my list to read! Great post!!!

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