Monday, March 10, 2014

Christmas Cookie Collection - Lori Wilde (Avon - Oct 2013)

Series: Twilight Texas (Book 5)

There's a legend in Twilight, Texas. It says that if on Christmas you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your one true love, he will be your destiny. — Carrie, Raylene, Christine, and Flynn are all members of the Christmas Cookie Club. Each has a story to tell, and each discovers the miracles of the season and the power of love.

Carrie: Reconnects with her high school sweetheart . . .the only man she's ever loved.

The town myth is that if you throw a penny in the fountain you'll be reunited with your high school sweetheart.  Carrie and her sweetheart Mark eloped to Vegas, but annulled the marriage right after they got home.  Mark went off to college, promising that he'd come back for her and never spoke to her again.  Carrie stayed in Twilight and runs the local yarn store.  She hates Christmas because that's when her mother died and also when Mark left.  Now he's a big Hollywood celebrity hosting a reality show.  He's on his way to Twilight to do a segment on the town myth.  Seeing him again makes Carrie realize that she had never stopped loving him, but she isn't so sure about risking her heart again.  I liked the way that she pushed back against his Hollywood charm and pointed out that he wasn't following the dreams that he'd had.  Mark had never been back to Twilight but seeing Carrie again reminds him of all the good things about his hometown.  He realizes that he wants another chance with Carrie if she'll just trust him this time.  I ended up really liking Mark.  In spite of the director wanting to totally trash the myth, Mark stood up for the town and for Carrie.  I liked the way that he went after what he wanted.

Raylene: Discovers that the daughter she gave away at birth is living right in Twilight . . .

Raylene own the local bar and ran it with her husband Earl until he walked out on her the year before.  He found out that she had had a child that she gave up for adoption when her previous in-laws paid her to go away.  He wasn't mad about the baby, he was angry that she had kept it secret from him.  Now she just doesn't seem to care about anything except wondering if Earl will ever come back.  She has also thought about that baby girl every day since she gave her up.  Then a young woman comes to the bar looking for a job.  Raylene gives her a job as a waitress and lets her stay in the upstairs apartment.  She gets the feeling the young woman is hiding something, but she doesn't push.  There's something about her that calls to Raylene.  I loved seeing her connect with Shannon.  Raylene got a couple of Christmas wishes granted by the end.                              

Shannon had found out the truth about her adoption earlier in the year, but she was recovering from her divorce.  The man she had married was a con artist who stole almost everything Shannon had.  Now she wants to confront her mother and find out the truth of what happened.  She decides to take the job at the bar to get to know Raylene first. She connects pretty quickly with Raylene and finds that there are many similarities between them. She also discovers that she feels  far more at home in Twilight than she ever did in New York. Shannon also encounters Nate, a former Navy SEAL with issues of his own.  He's immediately smitten with Shannon and works hard to court her.  He knows she has trust issues because of what her ex did, but he has the patience to wait her out.  I really liked all the sweet dates he took her on.

Christine: Has given up on love . . . until the man of her dreams walks through her shop door.

My favorite of the stories.  Christine owns the Twilight Bakery and makes wonderful cakes and cookies.  Her love of baking gave her something to focus on after she was in a car accident that  ended her Olympic dreams.  That accident also took away her ability to have children, ending her dreams of having a family of her own.  Then a blast from her past comes through the bakery door.  Eli was her crush when they were in high school.  Now he is a widower with four kids and he needs a birthday cake for his oldest daughter.  Even though they haven't seen each other in sixteen years their connection is immediate.  I loved the way that Eli didn't waste any time asking her out.  Their date was really sweet and I loved seeing how compatible they were.  There was also some pretty good heat between them, though they worried that their relationship was moving too quickly.  I loved how quickly three of Eli's kids took to Christine.  The oldest daughter was a pill, but completely believable in her attitude.  It was great to see Eli and Christine talk out their expectations and move on in a realistic way.

Grace: It's Christmas Eve and Flynn and Jesse Calloway are thrilled to be expecting a new baby. Then Flynn's car hits a patch of ice, and Jesse must move earth . . . and heaven . . .to save her and their unborn child.

Flynn and Jesse are preparing for their first Christmas and the arrival of their baby.  Things haven't been easy for them since Jesse was released from a prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit.  Finances are really tight as Flynn is going to college and Jesse is trying to get his business back up after a fire.  But they know that they can handle anything as long as they're together.  When they go out delivering Christmas to a poor family, Jesse gets caught up in some trouble.  He sends Flynn on home while he straightens things out, but she isn't there when he arrives home.  An ice storm had hit earlier than expected and she slid off the road.  To top it all off she went into labor, alone in the fog.  With the help of a dog who appeared at his house, Jesse goes off in search of Flynn, arriving in the nick of time.  It was so sweet to see how nervous he was about being a father and how happy he was when the baby arrived.

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