“Winning the Wallflower” by Eloisa James ($.99, novella, Avon Impulse, available December 6)
Cyrus Ravensthorpe, the only son of a successful solicitor and a duke’s daughter who scandalized the ton by falling in love , eloping, and living quite happily forever after, has devoted his life to restoring his family’s reputation and status. He has gone about achieving his goal quite methodically: he has earned great wealth, bought an estate (the one where his mother grew up that his irresponsible, arrogant cousin has been forced to sell), and proposed to towering Lucy Towerton whose height and propriety have made her a wallflower unlikely to capture the title her mother wants for her.
“The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Carrie” by Lori Wilde ($1.99, novella, Avon Impulse)
If you read The First Love Cookie Club (December 2010), you may remember one of the legends of Twilight, Texas: “On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your own true love, he will be your destiny.” A year later, Wilde takes us back to Twilight, Texas, with three Christmas Cookie Chronicles. I read the first one.
Eight years ago, on Christmas, Carrie MacGregor and Mark Leland, high school sweethearts, eloped to Las Vegas. When they returned home to Twilight, Mark’s parents and Carrie’s older sister persuaded the teenagers that they should annul their marriage. It seems that Carrie and Mark are the pair that casts into question the legend that is the heart of Twilight. More than a century ago, a statue was erected in the park near the town square memorializing the love between two other teenage lovers: a Union soldier and a Southern belle whose love survived the Civil War and fifteen years of separation. Legend says that a lover who threw a penny into the fountain in Sweetheart Park assured a reunion and a happily-ever-after with his/her high school sweetheart. Carrie threw more pennies than she could count into the fountain, but she has never heard from Mark Leland.
But that’s about to change. Mark, now host of a reality, myth-bursting show Fact or Fiction, is returning to Twilight to check out the facts of the town’s greatest legend. Will the hometown hero destroy the town? An even more important question may be whether the legend’s power will work for the hero and his heroine. The chemistry between Mark and Carrie is as explosive as ever, but can an L. A. star and a small-town girl really reunite for Christmas and for their own HEA?
If you have enjoyed Wilde’s other Twilight books, you will appreciate the community feel, the familiar characters, and the unabashed sentiment of this novella. If you are new to Wilde, this sweet bite with a touch of spice may well inspire you to feast on the series.
The first novella will be followed by “The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Raylene” ($1.99, novella, Avon Impulse, November 29) and “The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Christine” ($1.99, novella, Avon Impulse, December 20).
“The French Maid” by Sabrina Jeffries (free, short story, Pocket)
Jeffries's story about a lonely lady unhappy with her ambitious political husband who has no time for her and the mysterious Babette Lebeau, a French maid with a gift for marriage makeovers was released last month, but I read it only a few days ago. It’s short and sweet, and it left me with a smile and a wish to see more of Babette, who steals the show.
“A Very Holly Christmas” by Sheila Roberts (free, sample, St. Martin’s)
Ambrose the cat is on his ninth life, and it’s in jeopardy when a feline Christmas prayer brings a reprieve and a new home with a fireman who, whether he knows it or not, needs Ambrose. This one is an amusing story, sure to please cat lovers that serves to whet the reader’s taste for Roberts’s Christmas novel The Nine Lives of Christmas (October 25).
“The Glass Case” by Kristin Hannah (free, short story, St. Martin’s)
“Dashing Through the Snow” by Diane Farr ($.99, novella, Amazon Digital Services)
“Lord Samhain’s Night” by Jo Beverley ($.99, novella)
The only Jo Beverley Regency I didn’t own, this is a paranormal tale about a love triangle that should never have happened and the danger of challenging the lord of death. This is the first time this novella has been available since its original publication in 1992.
“Only Us: A Fool’s Gold Holiday” by Susan Mallery ($1.59, novella, HQN)
Veterinarian Cameron McKenzie is all Carina Fiore ever wanted, and she loves his young daughter Rina devotedly too. But Cameron, whose former wife walked out on him and his infant daughter, thinks friendship is more permanent than the pleasure and promise of a Christmas kiss. This Christmas romance should please readers who are always ready for another visit to Fool’s Gold, California.
“Mistletoe Mine: An Eternity Springs Novella” by Emily March ($1.99, Ballantine, November 21)
Emily March/Geralyn Dawson made an Eternity Springs fan of me with Angel’s Rest, the first book in the series, and I loved the Christmas short “A Callahan Carol” that she shared with readers last year to end the Geralyn Dawson Callahan series and to introduce Eternity Springs. So I was jubilant when I learned she had written another Christmas story, this one set in Eternity Springs and a reunion tale, my favorite trope.
Emma and Jared Stapleton have been estranged for three years, but now their only child Molly is planning a holiday wedding in Eternity Springs. Can the magic of this special town, the wonder of this special season, and the love of a beloved child work a miracle on two wounded hearts?
This one will touch your heart and leave you eager for Lover’s Leap (December 27, 2011), Sarah Reese’s story, one that I’ve been longing for since I read the first book.
“Christmas Scandal . . . Not by Jeanne Savery” (free—may be $.99 later, short story, Ellora’s Cave)
I love Savery’s The Family Matchmaker and The Christmas Matchmaker, and so I was pleased to find this story about two spinster sisters who are foils for one another and sanctuary for a winter visitor. I’ve already bought Runaway Scandal and House of Scandal because I want to read more of the adventures of Elf and Ally.
What ebook bargains have you discovered? What books are you most thankful for Thanksgiving 2011?