<i>Seventh Grave and No Body</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Seventh Grave and No Body: Exclusive Excerpt Darynda Jones "Reyes kissed my neck while she was talking...I kind of tuned her out." Watch & Win: Nicholas Sparks's <i>The Best of Me</i>! Watch & Win: Nicholas Sparks's The Best of Me! Team H & H Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Best of Me! <i>Lailah</i>: Excerpt Lailah: Excerpt Nikki Kelly As if he were sampling a glass of wine, he swirled his tongue, nuzzling at my flesh. <i>The Billionaire Cowboy</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Billionaire Cowboy: Exclusive Excerpt Mandy Baxter "For months, he’d thought of nothing but kissing her..."
From The Blog
September 29, 2014
Best Reads of September 2014
Team H & H
September 26, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Falling for Ginger Guys
Team H & H
September 20, 2014
Immortal/Mortal Love in The Shadowhunters Series
Willa aka willaful
September 19, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Foxy Flannel
Team H & H
September 19, 2014
H&H Debriefing: Give a 'Ship
Team H & H
Oct 1 2014 1:00pm

Anticipating The Vampire Diaries Season 6: Say It Ain’t So!

The Vampire Diaries Season 6 PosterLet me start off by saying, SPOILERS. If you are not caught up on TVD, for the love of the undead, SHIELD YOUR EYES.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this—I have severe emotional attachments to my beloved vamps, weres, and vamp hunters. Oh my! And after five seasons I’ve learned that even when TVD rips my heart out and kills off one of my favorite characters (I love you, Alaric), the heartache may not be permanent. Sure, I’ve cried in more than one episode over the years (don’t judge), but the creators have also thrown some pleasant surprises our way (welcome back, Alaric). This is television after all, and these are supernatural creatures. There’s always a way for someone to return.

But season five’s ending was a whopper. Elena sobbing her good-bye to Damon, not knowing he was there to hear it all, and Damon trapped on the other side trying to comfort her? I’m sorry. Let me go mop my heart up off the floor because it exploded out of my chest watching that. Still, I’ve spent the summer rationalizing to myself that Damon and Bonnie can’t be gone for good.
So I’m here, TVD fans and creators, to muster up the strength and prove to all of us that Damon and Bonnie will find a way back, and my heart will beat steadily for my favorite undead, damaged man and the witch who loves to hate him again.

10 Reasons Damon and Bonnie Need to Return

[Let's get counting then...]

Oct 1 2014 12:00pm

Seventh Grave and No Body: Exclusive Excerpt

Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones

Lead me not into temptation.
Follow me instead! I know a shortcut!

Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out Charley Davidson’s jugular and serve her body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that. But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and as she retraces his last steps she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him. Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fiancé who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life. But all of that barely scratches the surface of her problems. Recent developments have forced her to become a responsible adult.  To conquer such a monumental task, she’s decided to start small. Really small. She gets a pet. But how can she save the world against the forces of evil when she can’t even keep a goldfish alive?

A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.

We’re doomed.

Get a sneak peek of Darynda Jones's Seventh Grave and No Body (available October 21, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 3. Want to begin at the beginning? Click here to read Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 3

I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

I tried to convince Reyes to sit outside the courtroom, that I’d only be a minute, but he insisted on going in. We emptied our pockets for the guard, went through the metal detector as my purse was inspected, then went inside. Ubie—that’s the nickname I used to call him before I changed it—sat in the third row, his shoulders straight as he listened in rapt attention. I tiptoed to sit beside him. The captain was on his other side. And like any delinquent forced to enter a courtroom, Reyes chose a seat in the back of the room. He spread out, threw an arm over the back of his pew, and made himself comfortable. Ubie, on the other hand, looked anything but comfortable. He glanced over at me, slid his brows together in consternation, then returned his attention to the witness on the stand.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Seventh Grave and No Body...]

Oct 1 2014 10:55am

Twilight Returns, Sort Of!

Bella and Edward in New MoonIt's not truly nighttime yet!

The film company that produced Twilight has announced that it is teaming with Facebook to produce five short films based on Twilight characters. According to Entertainment Weekly, “A group of female panelists will choose from five aspiring female directors to direct the films, titled The Storytellers—New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga...The panel includes Kristen Stewart; The Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer; Kate Winslet; Octavia Spencer; Julie Bowen; Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke; producer Cathy Schulman; and Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee.” The films will appear exclusively on Facebook, and will not feature any of the original cast.

Whose stories do you want to see? Will you watch movies on Facebook?

Oct 1 2014 9:30am

Watch & Win: Nicholas Sparks’s The Best of Me!

Get a sneak peek at The Best of Me (in theaters October 17, 2015) with a look at the trailer, and a featurette with star Liana Liberato, below.

Excited for the movie? Click here to enter for a chance to win a movie tie-in edition of the book, a mug, and a gift card to go see the movie!*

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C., or non-Quebec Terriroties of Canada to enter. Promotion begins October 1, 2014 at 9:30 am ET, and ends October 7, 2014, 9:29 am ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Continue on to watch the Liana Liberato Featurette...]

Oct 1 2014 8:10am

“I Won’t Because All of Me Wants To": What’s the Ultimate Sacrifice in Romance Novels?

This is not a romance (um, spoiler, he sends her to jail), but the romance between the protagonist and the femme fatale is real, and so it makes his sacrifice that much more intense.

If all I've said doesn't mean anything to you, then forget it and we'll make it just this: I won't because all of me wants to, regardless of consequences, and because you counted on that with me the same as you counted on that with all the others.

Sometimes honor means more than love, and that moral code (albeit occasionally twisted) is currently being played out excellently in motorcycle club romances, for example, like when a heroine feels as though she has to do something that could land her love interest in hot water, either legally or otherwise. 

What was the most difficult decision a hero or heroine had to make regarding their love interest in recent romances? 

Sep 30 2014 4:30pm

First Look: R.C. Ryan’s The Maverick of Copper Creek (September 30, 2014)

The Maverick of Copper Creek by R.C. Ryan

R.C. Ryan
The Maverick of Copper Creek
Forever / September 30, 2014 / $8.00 print / $7.99 digital

Ash MacKenzie broke his share of hearts when he left Copper Creek all those years ago and struck out on his own. Tall, tough, and proud. That's how Brenna always remembered him, and from the looks of things, he hasn't changed much. Once, she thought he could save her-whisk her away from her rough childhood home and start fresh together. Now she knows better . . .

Ash isn't planning to stick around town long. As soon as he uncovers the truth about his father's death and makes sure the family ranch is safe, he'll be back out on his own. And then he runs into Brenna Crane. It broke his heart to leave her once-a herd of stampeding horses couldn't make him do it again. But Brenna has made a new life for herself, one that doesn't include him. Now he just has to convince her to give their first love a second chance. 

If my history of reading romance proves anything, it’s that I have a weakness for cowboys with chest hair. I liked it in Diana Palmer, and I liked it in R.C. Ryan’s The Maverick of Copper Creek. But beyond the physical makeup of Ryan’s hero, I also found myself with a weakness for the setting and its inhabitants. 

[Chest hair + Setting + Inhabitants = A good read!]

Sep 30 2014 2:45pm

September 2014 New Adult Roundup: The Mind is a Battlefield

Shatter by Erin McCarthyTurmoil and angst abound in September’s NA Releases. Many of these characters are struggling with new relationships while trying to tame their inner demons. Sometimes, your biggest enemy is yourself and these characters prove that. Overcoming the limitations you set on yourself can be the hardest task of all.

An uncompromising New Adult story, Shatter by Erin McCarthy features Kylie and Jonathan who have what they thought was going to be a one-night-stand. Eight weeks later consequences rear their ugly head. Told in Dual POV, this is the end of a series I’ve followed religiously and greatly enjoyed. McCarthy holds nothing back for these characters and I’m sad to see them go.

Told in Grant and Harlow’s POV One More Chance by Abbi Glines is the sequel to Take a Chance. Reeling from Harlow’s unexpected news, Grant must quickly make a decision, will he chose Harlow? A heart-wrenching, gripping story —make sure you keep the tissues handy.

The final book in this trilogy, The Certainty of Violet and Luke by Jessica Sorenson brings on the angst. The story picks up right where book two ended and it doesn’t slow down. The finality of their story is focused on their character growth. The encompassing love between Violet and Luke seems to be on the way to a happy ending despite the gloom that surrounds them. When secrets are revealed their foundation is once again rocked. These tormented characters have a long road to reach a place of absolution and happiness.

[We bet it's a bumpy road too...]

Sep 30 2014 1:15pm

First Look: Amanda Scott’s Moonlight Raider (September 30, 2014)

Moonlight Raider by Amanda ScottAmanda Scott
Moonlight Raider (Border Nights #1)
Forever / September 30, 2014 / $8.00 print  / $7.99 digital

Border lord Walter Scott of Rankilburn, grief-stricken after burying his father, goes to the forest seeking solace. Instead he finds a half-naked young lady fleeing pursuit. Wat offers his protection, but honor demands that he return the golden-eyed beauty to her rightful husband-even though the last thing he wants is to see her in another man's arms.

Molly Cockburn has fled her home, family, and the brutal scoundrel she was forced to wed. Her pursuers are closing in when the powerful new Lord of Rankilburn bravely intervenes, then promises to help prove her marriage unlawful. Though fiercely loyal to her family, Molly fears they might harm the man she is coming to love, and now she must decide whether to remain faithful to her blood . . . or to her heart.

Moonlight Raider, the first book in Amanda Scott's new Border Nights series, is a must-read for Scottish history buffs and avid historical romance fans. She does a brilliant job of pulling the reader into the Late Middle Ages of Scotland. Before the Jacobites, there were Border lords—or Border Reivers (according to Wikipedia) during the time of the Stewarts in Scotland and the Tudors in England.

“The attitudes of the English and Scottish governments towards the border families alternated between indulgence or even encouragement, as these fierce families served as the first line of defense against invasion from the other side of the border, and draconian and indiscriminate punishment when their lawlessness became intolerable to the authorities.”

So Molly’s fear for being “returned” to her home, and her bridal bed with her gross villainous illegally-enforced husband, is quite valid. This is not to be confused with her delightful bridal bed with her handsome and heroic legally-enforced husband. Well, it’s more like they’re trying to find a loophole in the marriage laws in order to save Molly. And of course, because Wat is honorable and good-hearted, he wants to properly convince Molly to marry him, since he is the one protecting her from her own family.

[Bound by honor!]

Sep 30 2014 12:00pm

Lailah: Exclusive Excerpt

Nikki Kelly

Lailah by Nikki Kelly

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve darker forces. Jonah and the few like him are fighting with help from an unlikely ally, a rogue Angel named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

Get a sneak peek of Nikki Kelly's Lailah (available October 7, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Lucan, Ireland

LIGHTNING STREAKED AND FORKED INTO THREE, the thunder pounded in waves of two, and the silence fell at once.

In the stained-glass window, the lightning forks illuminated an image of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus in her arms. In the vestry, the devoted clergyman desperately scrawled his panicked thoughts, pausing only to add more coal to the fire behind him. Another clap of thunder exploded and, startled, he hesitated, scraping his hand through his graying hair.

[Continue on to read the full excerpt of Lailah...]

Sep 30 2014 11:00am

Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Lavinia Kent and Violetta Rand!

Today we're revealing two covers that only hint at the hotness within—both feature independent women who can only be tamed by the right man. The first, Lavinia Kent's Bound by Bliss, is an erotic historical that shows what it's like when a woman loses control, while the heroine of Violetta Rand's Surrendered loses control only when there's a man strong enough to handle it. 

[Get ready to be seduced by these covers...]

Sep 30 2014 9:30am

First Look: Larissa Ione’s Chained By Night (September 30, 2014)

Chained by Night by Larissa IoneLarissa Ione
Chained by Night
Pocket / September 30, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

Leader of the vampire clan MoonBound, Hunter will do what he must to save his people from extinction—or worse, a torturous eternity as vampire slaves and subjects of human experimentation.To keep his enemies at bay, he has agreed to mate a rival clan leader’s daughter in return for peace between the clans and an ally in the looming war with the humans.

But survival comes at a price. First, Hunter must break an ancient curse by successfully negotiating three deadly tests. Then he must resist the searing passions of the gorgeous vampire warrior he despises but is bound to mate. Will Hunter stay true to his word? Or will he risk everything for the woman he really loves: the vampire seductress’s identical twin sister?

Vampires and humans being at odds isn’t a new storyline in paranormal romance (PNR). You can easily swing a stick in a bookstore and hit a multitude of books with that exact storyline at any given time. But what makes Larissa Ione’s take on the storyline both unique and engaging is her character dynamics; while the arc is invigorating and written to maximise the story’s ability to branch off in a multitude of directions, giving us the security it won't be ending soon, it’s her characters who make this series what it is.

[Bound to be awesome!]

Sep 30 2014 8:14am

Outlander Thoughts and Predictions?

Now that you've digested the first half of Outlander's season, what do you think of the series? Are you on-board for the second half of the season? What were your favorite parts? What were your least favorite parts?

What do you want to see when Outlander resumes in April?


Gif from Outlander-Starz

Sep 29 2014 4:30pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of September 2014

Always to Remember by Lorraine HeathEach month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

Without further ado, here’s the installment for September 2014 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the Related Posts section at the bottom of the post):

Willa aka Willaful

I finally read Lorraine Heath's classic historical Always to Remember and
have been kicking myself ever since for waiting so long. The hero is one of a kind, a deeply committed conscientious objector who's been suffering the scorn of his town and family after refusing to kill during the Civil War. In a twist on the usual cruel hero, the war widow heroine misjudges him and seeks revenge. Then she starts to see how much courage it required for the supposed town coward to stand up for his beliefs. Thought-provoking and a tearjerker!

[We'll get the Kleenex...]

Sep 29 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Lisa Henry’s Sweetwater (September 29, 2014)

Sweetwater by Lisa Henry

Lisa Henry
Riptide / September 29, 2014 / $6.99, digital / $16.99, print

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.

It's Wyoming, 1870 in Lisa Henry's Sweetwater. Elijah, the adopted son of the town doctor, is seen as mentally handicapped by most people who know him—and they don't even know about his shameful, terrifying feelings. Today he'd be called gay and sexually submissive, but he lives in a time which has no good words for either of those things. And Elijah doesn't trust words anyway. Partially deaf from the scarlet fever that killed his entire family, words for him are a source of struggle to be understood, a tool for others to torment him, and a symbol of a world he can't join.

[There are no safe words]

Sep 29 2014 1:00pm

Downton Abbey Series 5 (Season 5), Episode 2 Recap: Uncertain Futures

Mary and Gillingham in Downton Abbey 5x02Welcome back to Downton Abbey and what's sure to be another year of delicious upstairs/downstairs drama. Come, let's see what Series 5 has in store for our beloved Crawley family, shall we?

Note for U.S. Viewers: Downton Abbey returns to PBS for Season 5 on January 4, 2015. We'll be repromoting Naz's recaps then, so feel free to wait to read them until that time to remain unspoiled.

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Downton Abbey, including last night's Series 5 premiere. Enjoy!

This week’s episode starts with the staff cleaning up Edith’s burnt-out room. As Mrs. Hughes and Anna go through the singed items, Anna finds a picture of a baby under Edith’s pillow, which she promptly hands over to Mrs. Hughes. Oh oh. We all know both these ladies are pretty smart, so they’re going to figure it out.

Jimmy in Downton Abbey 5x02Jimmy leaves (after a heartfelt, friendly farewell scene with Thomas) and the downstairs staff bemoans the lack of a “bonny lad” in their ranks. Molesley is happy about being the first footman, until Mr. Carson reminds him that since he is the only footman, there really isn’t much of a distinction.

Luncheon is a rather tense affair with Mary accusing Edith of behaving like an  idiot for setting her room on fire, and Robert berating the revolution in Russia for displacing so many people who have to establish new communities in order to preserve their culture. He directs his comments to Tom, who of course, immediately responds that he feels bad for anyone who has been exiled from his country! Meanwhile, Charles Blake is going to stop by for a visit (yay!) with an art historian friend of his to look at a della Francesca painting. Mary reminds the family that she’s going to be off with her friend Annabelle for a rambling-through-the-countryside holiday, but of course WE know that she’s going away with Gillingham. When Isobel mentions the addition of a wireless at the hospital, Rose hints at getting one installed at the Abbey to which Robert responds with an emphatic “No.”

[But it's the future!...]

Sep 29 2014 12:00pm

The Billionaire Cowboy: Exclusive Excerpt

Mandy Baxter

The Billionaire Cowboy by Mandy Baxter

Billionaire Ryder Blackwell has got it all under control. The wealthiest cattle baron this side of the Mississippi, he’s built an empire for himself in hopes of getting distance from a tortured past. But when a stunningly sexy—and strong-willed—new vet comes to town just in time for Christmas, Ryder knows he’s met the one spirit he just can’t tame…

Lara Montgomery doesn’t want to be involved with any man, least of all the rich, infuriating, and unbearably sexy Ryder Blackwell. She vows never to tangle with the charming rancher, but when he offers her the ultimate deal—one weekend at his ranch in exchange for a near-priceless horse—Lara cannot refuse. And as the nights get colder and their attraction gets hotter, Lara’s about to get all she’s ever wanted for Christmas…

Get a sneak peek at Mandy Baxter's The Billionaire Cowboy (available October 7, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

“You’re about to have one pissed-off female on your hands, brother.”

Ryder Blackwell looked askance at his younger brother before turning his attention back to the plume of dust rising in a rooster tail behind the Chevy pickup barreling down the road toward his ranch.

“You’re probably right,” he agreed. And that was the point. To get her out here. “She looked pretty pissed at the auction, didn’t she?”

Jason snorted. “She looked like she wanted to take your head off. And while I like a violent streak in a woman, I don’t think you’re prepared for the heat she’s gonna bring. You’ll be lucky if she doesn’t run you over with her truck.”

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of The Billionaire Cowboy...]

Sep 29 2014 10:20am

Outlander Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: Is it Always Like This?

Claire hugs Jamie in Outlander 1x08Claire Randall's adventure continues in the first season of what is sure to be a long-running series on Starz based on the beloved historical fiction/fantasy/romance series by Diana Gabaldon, and we are so ready to recap and then discuss every single moment of it.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Outlander, including Saturday night's Season 1, Episode 8, “Both Sides Now.” Enjoy!

Six weeks after Claire’s disappearance, Frank finds that disappointment is not the word for his feelings about the efforts of the local constabulary.

With no body and no sign of a struggle, Claire probably wasn’t taken against her will. Since Frank himself caught a man staring up at Claire’s window, the prevailing theory is that Claire has run off with her lover. Frank insists Claire would never leave him for another man.

[Well...she didn't mean to. If she just hadn't fallen through time...]

Sep 29 2014 8:29am

Is Edwardian the New Regency?

We've been featuring Not-Your-Usual-Historicals for awhile now, but it seems as though more readers are finding new and different time periods to read in. One of the biggest gains in historical romance is Edwardian-set romance, with recent examples by authors such as Maggie Robinson, Mia Gabriel, and Connie Brockway.

There could be a few explanations for this surge; first and most obvious would be the ripple effect of Downton Abbey's popularity. Second could be because that period is now more than one hundred years from us, and seems more 'historical.' 

While we're not saying the Regency is out-of-fashion, we think Edwardian might be coming more into vogue. If you're a historical reader, have you noticed more Edwardian-set romances?

Sep 28 2014 2:00pm

Shipping Sunday: Castle’s Castle/Beckett

Castle Season 6 official posterCastle and Beckett's romances has to be one of the most successful on TV. They survived near-death experiences, Beckett being Castle's muse, Castle's many ex-wives and -girlfriends, and the dreaded Moonlighting Effect (which to our minds, they never encountered). However, Season 6's finale left us on a cliff-hanger (literally and figuratively), and with the premiere of Season 7 right around the corner, we're ready to make sure Castle and Beckett get their well-deserved Happily Ever After!

[+ enjoy more Caskett perfection, on the house...]

Sep 28 2014 10:00am

Christmas at Seashell Cottage: Exclusive Excerpt

Donna Alward

Christmas at Seashell Cottage by Donna Alward

It's Christmas in Jewell Cove...

And local doctor Charlie Yang finds her quiet, steady life disrupted by both an abandoned baby in the nativity manger, and a real-life mystery man. Sure, she's always wanted a family of her own, but she didn't imagine it coming from a baby that wasn't hers and a man who was more interested in living day by day than making long-term plans.

Ex-SEAL Dave Ricker hadn't planned on making Jewell Cove his forever home, but the talented and tender-hearted Charlie has him reconsidering his position on settling down. Can a beautiful woman, adorable baby and a small-town full of holiday spirit change his mind for good?

Fall in love with Donna Alward's holiday romance, Christmas at Seashell Cottage, exclusively in e-book. And look for the other books in the Jewell Cove series. “Oh, my silly heart be still. This is a wonderful romance, packed with family drama, a sexy hero, an incredible old house. You'll fall in love from the very first page.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author on The House on Blackberry Hill

Get a sneak peek of Donna Alward's Christmas at Seashell Cottage (available October 7, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1&2.

Chapter 1

Charlie Yang had never considered herself much of a joiner. So it went without saying that she was surprised to find herself in the middle of setting up a nativity scene in front of the Jewell Cove church, stuffing scratchy straw into a crudely constructed manger. They’d had an early snow, and the layer of white covering the ground and the branches of trees and shrubbery added to the feeling of holiday spirit that had taken over since Thanksgiving.

Like a well-oiled machine, Gloria Henderson and her army of church ladies had taken charge of the volunteers and had assigned jobs to everyone. The men were tasked with anything requiring a ladder and heavy lifting—including lugging three wise men, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and sheep, and every last bit of the nativity to the front yard. Right now Bill—Charlie had forgotten his last name—from the service station was positioning the figures in the proper places, which were the exact same spots they occupied each and every year, apparently. Charlie gave a dry chuckle. You could always count on small towns, and Jewell Cove, Maine, was no different. It was practically steeped in saltwater traditions.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Christmas at Seashell Cottage...]