These are the short, cold days when all we want to do is curl up in our favorite chair or on the sofa with a good romance to read. It's even better if it's a story geared to this special time of the year. This week in My Writing Corner, I am presenting a great possibility that can take you away to New England for what sounds like a wonderful story and two engaging characters.
My author guest today is Ryan Jo Summers, and her latest book sounds perfect for winter holiday reading. It's a romance titled Magic in the Snow
The ink is barely dry from her divorce when Dawson Patrick and her three-year-old Autistic son,Adam, arrive in Cedar Falls, Maine. She’s here to help her aging father and doesn’t plan to stay long. Soon she and Adam will be on their way somewhere … to a new life. When she finds her dad sitting in a cold house with little food, that’s falling around him, she realizes she might have a bigger problem on her hands. To make matters worse, she has no idea where to start on her long list of home improvement. She needs books on lots of DIY projects, and the man to help her is the local Christmas scrooge.
Samuel Johnson owns Chapter Twenty-five Bookstore. He doesn’t enjoy the holiday season and he doesn’t ‘do’ gifts. He just happens to live in a town that wholeheartedly embraces it, so he’s learned to adapt and lay low to escape the memories of many an unhappy Christmas past. He can’t believe the blonde beauty who marches into his store like a candy-coated snowstorm, along with her pint-sized elfin toddler, and orders up a stack of DIY home repair books for her estranged dad’s house. Before Samuel knows it, he’s letting Dawson and Adam drag him to the town’s tree lighting ceremony, convincing him to foster kittens and to give gifts.
Has Dawson just returned home to forget her past, only to slide into another relationship? Has the town scrooge finally seen the Christmas lights?
Want more? Let's get an excerpt!
Immediately the smell of old and new books enveloped her, as did the warm air. She glanced around for the holiday decorations. The only thing she saw was a spindly tree standing in the corner, with four gold balls hanging from its sparse branches. She blinked twice. Was it a joke? That tree made Charlie Brown’s tree look the National Christmas tree in D.C. Confused, she looked around for the staff.
“Can I help you?”
The baritone voice directed her attention to the old wooden counter stacked high with books. Behind the counter stood a man, one that many women probably wanted to find under their own Christmas tree. He towered over her by several inches, and his broad shoulders gave the impression of firm muscles beneath the checkered flannel. His smile was cautious but friendly. Gold, wire-framed glasses framed brown eyes crinkled at the corners. Dark brown hair curled near his ears and eyes. The early morning scruff on his chin only added to the rugged appeal. Yum.
“Um, yes, I wondered if you had some books.”
He looked around. “Yes, I have a few. Can you be more specific?”
Heat filled her face. Oh, for Pete’s sake! He hadn’t even grinned at her slip. “Home repair,” she blurted. “I have a home that needs repair.”
“All right.” He stepped around the counter and she took one long moment to appreciate his long legs and how well those worn jeans clung to them. Muscular. He led her to a row of books and gestured to a shelf. “Home repair.” His gaze flickered to Adam where he clung to her leg. “Is your little buddy going to help fix up the house too?”
She grinned at his reference to little buddy. “He might. This is Adam. I’m Dawson.”
He knelt and extended his hand to Adam. “Hi, Adam. I’m Samuel.”
Adam tightened his grip on Dawson. “Don’t take it personal, but he’s shy with new people. It normally takes him a while to warm up.”
Samuel stood up. “No worries. So—Dawson—here are the home repair books I have on hand.”
She was a little disappointed he didn’t offer to take her hand. She’d bet his grip was strong and warm. But he made an effort to connect with Adam and that was pure gold in her eyes. She brushed her hair aside and scanned the titles. “Building a patio, installing a fishpond, and putting in a shed.” She looked up at Samuel. Her heart skipped a little. He was good looking. She cleared her throat. “I hate to sound picky, but these aren’t quite what I had in mind.”
“What did you have in mind?”
She exhaled. “Plumbing, basic electricity and wiring, repairing drywall, carpentry and cabinets. That sort of repair.”
His mouth formed an O of surprise as she named her list. “That is some serious repair. And you’re going to do all that?” He arched one brown eyebrow, his tone almost a dare.
Dawson lifted her chin a little higher and squared her shoulders. “Yes, I intend to. Now, that’s why I need the books. Do you have them or not?”
He scrubbed his scruffy chin, like her dad did. “Not on hand, but I can probably order them. Come back to the counter and I’ll see what I can find.”
He led them back to the counter. “Come on around.” He patted the wooden top and stepped to a computer on a lower desk attached to the counter. He moved the mouse and the screen flickered to life.
She watched as he scrolled around and then pointed to the display.
“Okay, here are some repair titles. Look and see if they would work for you.”
She settled into the chair he offered and lifted Adam onto her lap. “Yes, these are more like it.” She pointed out specific titles that offered descriptions suited to her needs. As her finger trailed the monitor and he took down titles and information he needed, their hands brushed. Startled, Dawson looked into his brown eyes and her breath paused. He looked just as affected. He turned away first and cleared his throat. Well, he just made his point loud and clear. She waved to the screen.
“Can you get these?”
“I can order them.” He fluttered the list he’d created. “They should be here in about two days.”
Two days. She was at a stand
“Okay, go ahead and please order them. I really need them as soon as they come in.”
“Yeah, it sounds like you have some important ventures planned. Electricity? Carpentry?” He flashed her a smile. It did wonderful things for his looks. “Is this a side job of yours?”
He nodded. “I get it. If you leave me your number, I can call you once the shipment arrives.” He passed the paper with the list to her. “That way you won’t waste any time.”
She wrote her cell phone number down. “I appreciate that.” She handed the list back. “Tell me, what is the deal with your sad little Christmas tree?” She inclined her head toward the pitiful sapling.
He looked taken aback. “What do you mean?”
“It is the most pathetic holiday tree I’ve ever seen.”
“It does the job. It adds the Christmas cheer required by the town’s good citizens.”
Dawson thought about the lovely lights and festive decorations and stately, full trees she and Adam had seen. She looked back at Samuel’s dejected evergreen. It was almost comical. She took a couple steps closer, aware he was following. “Don’t you want somewhere to put presents?”
She watched his lips thin and wondered what was wrong with an innocent question.
“I don’t plan on giving anyone presents and I don’t expect anyone to give me gifts.”
Her breath hitched. “Samuel, that is quite possibly the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. Don’t you even want an ugly sweater?”
“No.” He held his palm out to her. “Let me stop you right there, all right? I know this town lives and breathes all things Christmas and embraces the holiday with an open-armed spirit that sometimes doesn’t know when to quit. I put up that tree and a handful of decorations to avoid a citizen mutiny, but I do not share the sentiments of the rest of the good people of this town. I guess you need to know that since you’re now a part of Cedar Falls.”
She worked his speech around her mind, looking for the logic and reason. Finally, she gave up. “Well, Samuel, everyone is entitled to their views. Please do let me know when the books are in.” She took Adam’s hand and guided him toward the front door. She paused as she held the door open for Adam and looked back over her shoulder at Samuel as he stood behind his counter. The barest twitch of a grin threatened to betray her.
“Merry Christmas,” she called just before she shut the door.
If you want to read more, you'll have to get the book! I know I'm ready to sit back and enjoy the story of Samuel and Dawson
Here is how you can get in touch with Ryan Jo and check out her other books.
Here is how you can get in touch with Ryan Jo and check out her other books.
Thank you, Ryan, for being my guest today! Any questions or comments for Ryan Jo?