A heartwarming Christmas story about family, friendship and finding love in unexpected places.

Joy Holbrook might be all work and no play, but that changes when her Aunt Ruby takes a fall that lands her in a rehabilitation center before the holidays. Joy takes a leave of absence from her job as a market researcher to run the family farm, even though the timing may hinder her chance at garnering the promotion of her dreams.
Ben Andrews isn’t your average accountant. He also happens to be the handiest man in Crystal Falls. He’s helped his elderly neighbor, Ruby Johnson, decorate for the annual Christmas Home Tour—and win—the last several years. He’s not about to let some drop-in niece break their winning streak.
Ruby seems overly concerned about Joy being able to handle Molly. Under the impression she’s referring Molly the bunny that is one of the menagerie of animals, Joy’s not worried at all until the next morning when a little girl named Molly shows up. For the sake of her aunt, Joy is forced to partner with Ben while Ruby is on the mend to help with preparation for the Christmas tour and, in the process finds her career-focused heart dreaming of a family.
Will the magic of Christmas help her to open her heart and find her everlasting joy?

The next morning, Joy stood at the kitchen sink, sipping a cup of coffee. The house was chilly. An old hooded sweatshirt jacket that had seen better days was draped on the back of one of the kitchen chairs. She slipped it on and pulled her braid free from the back. In so many ways, this place was exactly the same; it made her feel like a teenager again.

She stared out the window at the familiar property in the daylight. Ruby had always been an animal lover, but Uncle George would flip out if he knew that she’d adopted all these wayward animals.

She glanced at the worn edges of the oversized sweatshirt jacket. Had it been one of Uncle George’s? Maybe the animals were Ruby’s way of filling the gap that Uncle George had once filled. Couldn’t blame her for that. Had to get lonely out here by herself, but the place was beginning to look like a petting zoo. The smell was farm-y too. And at the moment, every single one of the motley crew was lined up side by side, like they’d rehearsed the formation all night long.

Seven o’clock wasn’t early. Joy would normally be up, dressed, and out the door by now, but last night’s farm duty had kicked her butt, and she had a little trouble getting a move on. Another twenty minutes of coffee time wasn’t going to kill those animals.

She turned her back on them and held the warm mug between her hands.
Feeding the animals had sounded like a real cakewalk, but Joy was feeling it this morning. In fact, she was sorer this morning than the last time she got cocky and went for the ninety-minute hot yoga session with Renee.

The sound of the front door swinging open caused the hot coffee to catch in Joy’s throat. The animals were definitely getting restless, but without thumbs, it wasn’t likely to be one of them coming in to drag her outside. So what—or who—was it? But this was Crystal Falls. And she hadn’t heard a car.


Now, that was one sick rooster, or someone was messing with her. She relaxed a little, fairly certain that no one was ever murdered after a See ’n Say sound check.

A fast clippity-clomp came charging down the hall, getting closer to the kitchen.

The only image Joy’s mind could muster, besides that giant Foghorn Leghorn from the cartoons, was that pesky goat, Waddles, kicking and galloping down the hall. Now, that could be a mess.

Rushing toward the ruckus to limit the damage, Joy stopped dead in her tracks at the sight of a little girl standing in the hallway, looking like she wasn’t sure whether to scream or scram.

Only about six feet separated Joy from the blond-haired child. “Who are you?”

The little girl clutched a black lunch bag in one hand against her blue jumper with a fancy M monogrammed on the front, and two chubby orange yarn hair ties hung from the other. The freckle- faced child looked so fragile standing there.

“What’s your name?” “I’m . . . I’m Molly.”

“You’re . . .” Like the rabbit? Joy noticed the hand-painted rabbit on the little girl’s lunch bag that looked an awful lot like Molly the Bunny. This can’t be happening.

Little girl Molly’s mouth hung wide and her eyes darted like a wild animal’s. Cornered and desperate. “Wh-where’s Ruby?”

“She’s not here. She’s in the hospital with a hurt ankle.”

“But I come here every day. Ruby makes my lunch and we go to the bus.” Tears welled in Molly’s eyes.

Maybe the goat running down the hall would have been better than this. Oh no, please don’t cry. “Where’s your momma?”

The little girl pointed toward the door, her hand shaking.

“It’s okay. I’ll straighten it out.” Joy whipped around Molly and ran toward the front door just in time to see a blue compact car back out of the driveway. She waved her arms spastically as she took the porch steps two at a time. “Excuse me. Hello!” She raced out to the front yard, but the driver of the car seemed completely un- aware of her yelling and hailing. As Joy ran to the end of the driveway, the car became a dot in the distance, then disappeared.

Out of breath, and out of her element, she turned and walked slowly back to the house.
What am I supposed to do with a little girl? There are certainly no instructions in the barn about that.

CREDIT: From CHRISTMAS JOY by Nancy Naigle. Copyright © 2016 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Griffin.

and you'll fall in love with her. No kidding. I've known Nancy on-line for years but we've never seemed to be in the same spot at the same time. UNTIL we sat next to each other at a reader's conference in Denver.  It didn't take long to be the best of buds. Keeping my fingers crossed that her 2017 trip to Texas will have her and Kelsey Browning (another buddy) close to my hometown of Dallas.

USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series Adams Grove while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a seventy-six-acre farm. She went on to produce works in collaboration with other authors, including the Granny series. Now happily retired from a career in finance, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and enjoying the occasional spa day with friends. A Virginia girl at heart, Nancy now calls North Carolina home.

Download a complete list of Nancy's books from her website, then stay up to date with future releases by joining Nancy's free

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ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
NANCY: Every time I read!  I love the escape between the pages of a book…and I do have a kindle, but I still read mostly in paperback.

ANGI: Hugh Jackman or Chris Pine?
NANCY: Hugh Jackman! Okay, in all honesty…I had to Google Chris Pine. He’s a cutie, but Hugh Jackman makes this girl swoon.

ANGI: What's your most favorite thing to do in your state?
NANCY: Go horseback riding. I’m a Virginia girl at heart. I grew up on the beach, but I moved to North Carolina two years ago. These days I enjoy going trail riding with friends in this gorgeous setting. Oh, and believe it or not, the place we go most often is called Love Valley. Seriously!

ANGI: What’s your favorite Christmas candy?
NANCY: Oh gosh. I’m such a sweet fanatic. I love that old ribbon candy. This isn’t exactly a candy, but there’s a monastery in Virginia that makes chocolate dipped fruitcake slices that are so delicious.

ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
NANCY: The hero of CHRISTMAS JOY is Ben Andrews. He’s just a good ol’ boy doing things for the right reasons. He’s also so patient with Joy. I fell in love with him so easily!

ANGI: Sand or Snow?
NANCY: Neither? Both? Sand follows you around for a year. I grew up around sand, and still have a condo on the Outer Banks and you just can’t get rid of that stuff. But snow means COLD and I hate being cold. Hmmm…but a good day building sand castle or snowman is fun.  Gosh…can I flip a quarter?

ANGI: Santa or an Elf?
NANCY: Santa! I love that twinkle in his eye.

ANGI: Would you rather be in a Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
NANCY: Fairy Tale. That’s easy. My friends say I live in NanLand. My own little version of happiness in the middle of this crazy world. I like it that way.

ANGI: What’s your favorite rerun on television?
NANCY: The Golden Girls. I can watch those episodes over and over and over and over.

ANGI: Hiking Boots or Dancing Heels?
NANCY: Boots. My dancing heels days are long gone. This 50+ girl likes dancing in cowboy boots these days.

ANGI: Are you a Holiday fan? Favorite thing about Christmas?
NANCY: I love holidays. In fact, if you go to youtube you can see a whole bunch of videos about all the things I love about Christmas from cookies to movies and songs.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: What’s one thing from your Santa list?
NANCY’S GOTTA ANSWER:  How about a pony? J

Boot Creek Novels – Book 2

Boot Creek Novels – Book 1

Book 1 of 6 in the Adams Grove series.

ANGI'S back next Monday with
Maggie Tideswell

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or @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

The G-Team Series,  Book 5



  1. Welcome Nancy! Your book sounds delightful. So glad to have you join us on Get Lost in a Story!

    1. Hi!! Thanks so much for having me. It's like getting to hang out at the cool lunch table. :)

  2. I love Decorated Sugar cookies the best.

    1. Mmmm. Sometimes they are almost to cute to eat...but I force myself hahah.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for having me, Angi! I had so much at the booksigning together. So glad to be the N next to your M. I had so much fun with these questions. Hugs~

  4. My favorite Christmas cookies are cut out sugar cookies! I love making them, decorating them & eating them!!! Thanks for sharing your giveaway with us! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! rw620 AT aol DOT com

  5. I commented on the Facebook post because I'm a dolt who missed the link to the interview/post/giveaway, lol. My favorite cookie is frosted sugar cookie cut-outs. But the softer ones, not the ones you break a tooth on :P Thank you so much for the chance to win this ornament which I understand the significance of after reading the book :)

  6. My family bakes and decorates sugar cookies every year. I love those things! Well, I love most cookies but those are the best.

  7. I enjoy so many different cookies -- chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter (but no pieces of peanuts, please, creamy only), snickerdoodles, and for bought cookies: Oreo, Fig Newtons, Sandies. So these are my Christmas favorites as well.

    Enjoyed the interview as well as the excerpt.

  8. I like all of them.. The favorites I make at home are Bourbon balls, gingerbread, and toffee bars.

  9. I haven't meant a cookie yet that I didn't like. My favorite Christmas Cookie my Sugar Cut-Out Cookie I make with Cake Flour! These cookie are delicate and taste sooo good! Going to make them this year Big Santa Face and of course decorated. My grandkids are going to love me!
    Donna Harris