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Are you ready for some great Christmas romance?
Whether it's a lonely spinster finding passion at last...an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole...a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places...a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman...two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice...or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes...a Christmas spent in a cowboy's arms is full of hope, laughter, and―most of all―love.
Chick-a-dee Christmas by Rosanne Bittner
Jake Harkner is an ex-outlaw with a ruthless nature, but when it comes to his grandchildren, his heart is as big as the sky. Jake learns how to channel his anger into love and patience in this story about his sweet granddaughter, Sadie Mae, and a young man Jake helps lead away from a path of lawlessness. A life and death situation leads to a lesson in love and forgiveness in A CHICK-A-DEE CHRISTMAS.
In this excerpt, the Harkner family has gone to Brighton, Colorado, to shop for Christmas presents. Jake’s granddaughter, Sadie Mae, has wandered into an alley to chase a bird, thinking she is being devilishly disobedient and that no one will see her run off alone. This little girl has a way of always (though innocently) finding trouble, and she finds it again in the alley. But though he was visiting with someone farther down the street, Jake hasn’t missed a beat. Far be it from Jake Harkner not to notice his precious granddaughter has run off!
Sadie Mae darted around the corner, and the red bird flitted from a barrel farther down the alley. Sadie Mae ran after it to the back of the building, then stopped cold. A man wearing a gun and a black hat was bent over another man. The other man’s face was bloody.
“That’ll teach you to cheat me at cards!” the man with the gun said, jerking the bloody man up.
“I didn’t cheat you!”
“The hell you didn’t!” The man with the gun pulled back a fist to hit the bloody man again, then paused when he noticed Sadie Mae. He just stared at her a moment, and Sadie Mae stared back, frozen in place. He looked familiar.
The man with the gun shoved the other man onto his butt and turned toward Sadie Mae, stepping closer.
Sadie Mae’s eyes widened. It was him— the gunman who’d tried to shoot her grandfather back when those men visited the J&L.
The man with the gun grinned. “Well, well, well,” he said, squinting a little to study her as he knelt nearby.
Sadie Mae couldn’t make her legs move. She just blinked, her throat feeling tight. The man with the gun scared her, not just because she knew he’d just beat up another man, but because he had an ugly, still- unhealed cut on his right cheek where her grandfather had hit him with his gun. One eye was still black, and his nose looked crooked. Did Grampa break it when he hit this man with his fist?
“You look familiar,” the man with the gun told her.
Sadie Mae swallowed. “You’re that bad man who tried to shoot my grampa!” Sadie Mae told him, her little hands moving into fists. “My grampa beat you up! You’re mean!”
The man grinned wickedly. “That’s why you look familiar. You’re one of the little girls who was watching through the front window.” He laughed from somewhere deep in his throat. “You’re Jake Harkner’s granddaughter, aren’t you?”
Sadie Mae pressed her lips together, refusing to answer.
“Well, now, you listen here, you little brat,” the man told her. He leaned in closer, leering with the Devil in his dark eyes. “You’d better not tell your grampa or anybody else that you saw me beat up that man over there. If you do, I’ll kill you, got that? I’ll wrap my hands around that little throat and squeeze till you can’t breathe any more. And after I kill you, I’ll go after your grandpa and I’ll kill him! And then I’ll find a way to hurt your mommy, so you’d better not say a word, understand?”
Tears streaming down her chubby cheeks, Sadie Mae nodded. “I remember your name. You’re Tommy Tyler, and you’re a bad man,” she told him, jerking with sobs at the words.
Tyler poked at her chest. “So is your grandfather! He killed his own daddy! Did you know that? He killed a lot of men and did a lot of bad things. And if you tell on me and he comes after me, the law will hang him! He’ll— ”
The man didn’t finish. He heard the click of a gun hammer behind him.
“Touch my granddaughter again and you’re a dead man!
The Christmas Stranger by Linda Broday
Alone, in a blizzard and no shelter in sight, Hank Destry pushes in all his chips and comes up losing. Half-frozen, he falls from the saddle. He never figures on pretty Sidalee King riding by and finding him under the snow. Her job in the mercantile is all she has but the drifter's plight touches her. Everyone needs someone to spend Christmas with. Could he be Miss Mamie's lost son? And what are the rocks Miss Mamie gives out to repay her for kindnesses? Mystery and love abound this Christmas story about two lonely people who receive an unexpected gift.
“But what about you? What are you going to do now?” Sidalee wondered if Hank would stay or ride on out of her life.
Indecision reflected in his face. “I’m not sure yet. It’s a wonderful feeling to have choices and the freedom to make them.” His eyes met hers as he toyed with the festive ribbon around her neck. “I do know I’m taking you to the Christmas dance. I won’t miss that for anything. No doubt I’ll have to beat off the single men with a club though.”
She grinned. “You’d fight for me?”
“Quicker than you can whistle Dixie.” He took a tendril of hair between his fingers. “I’ll fight, scratch or shoot any man who tries to cut in.”
“I’ve never had a man fight for me before.” She captured her bottom lip between her teeth to stop the goofy smile.
“Then they must all be as blind as suck-egg mules.” Hank tugged the long silk ribbon from around her neck ever so slowly, trailing the red fabric down one arm. He leaned closer. “There’s some mistletoe right over your head. I hope I’m not pressing my luck, but do you mind if I kiss you again?”
A happy, warm glow swept over her. “I don’t see anyone trying to fight you,” she whispered.
He pulled her into his arms and drew the ribbon around her, tethering her to him. Sidalee had never felt more alive, more breathless, more…hot.
She tilted her face to him, feeling the wild beat of his heart that matched hers. He gently anchored her against the hard wall of his chest. The moment his lips touched hers, an aching hunger swept through her, turning her knees to pudding.
The yearning for him was so strong she clutched him to keep from falling in a puddle at his feet. One arm curled around his neck just under his hair. The strands brushed her skin like tiny feathers.
That’s when she knew she was falling in love with Hank Destry.
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I'm a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of full length historical western romance novels and short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed and I can feel their ghosts lurking around each corner. Texas is rich in history and I often get lost when I go exploring it, looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. I might as well confess that quite often I make a nuisance of myself at museums and libraries.
What sounds or noises do you love?
I’m glad this is plural because there are several that fill my soul with happiness. The quiet whisper of big snowflakes falling. Walking through leaves in the fall and the crunch of them beneath my feet. Rain tapping on a metal roof. Gentle ocean waves lapping on the shore. I hear any of these and my soul is at peace. I get this all-is-right-with-the-world sort of calm.
Do you have a motto you live by?
Face each day with hope and optimism and make every second count. Once that day is gone I’ll never get it back. I strive to make someone else’s day brighter as well as my own.
What did you most love about writing The Christmas Stranger?
I loved telling about the magic of Christmas. It’s such a special time of year and impossibilities can happen and often do. Writing this story was very uplifting for me. This time of year is full of so much joy and my heart just swells, leaving emotions very near the surface. I once was a Christmas stranger too. Following the death of my husband, I was so alone and faced the prospect of a cold holiday by myself. A woman at Hospice invited me to go celebrate with her. I packed a small bag unsure about this. I sort of knew her but I was a complete stranger to her parents and grandparents. I found the most caring, giving people. They opened their home and hearts to me and I’ll never forget the warmth I felt. I incorporated the strangeness I felt then into Hank Destry’s story. I hope readers like it.
You can find out more about Linda and her books:
You can find out more about Linda and her books:
Website – LindaBroday.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/lindabrodayauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Broday/e/B001JRXWB2
USA Today bestselling author Rosanne Bittner has written and published 66 novels over the past 40 years, and she promises more to come! Rosanne’s first love is American history, especially the Old West and Native Americans. Her well-researched books cover real events and locations from the Revolutionary War through the discovery of gold, the Civil War, the building of the Union Pacific, the Indian wars, the founding of our great western cities and the late 1800’s Yukon gold rush. She has won numerous writing awards, including a RITA nomination. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West. She and her husband of over 50 years live in southwest Michigan. Together they have traveled the west for over 40 of those years, mostly for research for Rosanne’s stories.
What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
A really moving love story with strong characters who are totally devoted to each other. No bed-hopping and explicit naming of body parts. I will never write erotica. I love sex between two people very much in love and still in love after many years together. A beautiful love scene can be just as erotic – actually more erotic – than those “bang-bang, let’s get laid” scenes I’ve seen in some books. And the books I read have to be about much more than that anyway – especially with realistic emotions and actions – and historical events that are well researched. And my favorite kind of hero is the “bad man with a good heart.”
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Working in my rose garden – do crossword puzzles – color in those books that have wild designs in them.
What’s the first book you remember reading?
It probably wasn’t my first book, but it’s the one that left a lasting affect and inspired me to write about pioneers. A Lantern In Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich. Not a big book at all, but extremely moving. You can’t read it without crying and understanding what it was like for a woman to leave her family and follow her husband west to live a hard, lonely life. I think I was about 14 when I read that book.
What’s your favorite “love” word?
Why do you write romance?
Because the whole era of settling the American West is romantic – people had big dreams and were so much more free to explore those dreams than we are today – plus the western landscape in itself is romantic – and I love powerful love stories about two people who must cling to each other as they face the challenges of settling a wild, lawless land.
You can find out more about Rosanne and her books here:
You can find out more about Rosanne and her books here:
What about Christmas reminds you of home, or of a home you'd like to have?
Or, what are some of your favorite family traditions around the holidays?
Today, Linda is giving away a copy of the anthology with cute boot earrings and a second anthology to two lucky winners.Rosanne will give away her 4-book Outlaw series set and a copy of the anthology. Thank you for your generosity ladies!
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter the drawing!