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Holly Jacobs
Book, Reviews, Excerpt

Once Upon a Thanksgiving
by Holly Jacobs

Harlequin American Romance
ISBN 978-0-373-75236-2

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE finalist!

When they miss the first PTA meeting of the year, three women who had perfected the art of avoiding PTA jobs find themselves ‘volunteered’ into the Social Planning Committee.  Over the coming school year, they not only plan a Thanksgiving Pageant, a Christmas Fair and a Valentine’s Dance, they also all find love...and a deep friendship that will outlast their stint on the committee!

Single mom, Samantha Williams has work, four kids, a one-eyed cat and now the PTA’s Social Planning Committee–she’s too busy for love.  But when Harry Remington takes over as interim Principal of her kids' school, she finds herself drawn to her childhood white-knight.  But not only is Harry recovering from a bad break-up, too, he’s leaving in December.  Maybe an interim relationship is what they both need?  They can date and know that there’s an expiration date in December.  But sometimes the heart doesn’t follow a time-table.  By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, neither is ready to let go of what they've discovered together, and yet, both are afraid to hold on.  Will their love be enough to overcome their pasts and look beyond their present to a future together?  

In the first book of the "American Dads" trilogy, Samantha and Harry find they have a lot to be thankful for...building a family together.
 

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

 

 Book, Reviews, Excerpt

"If you're looking for a comfort book as the season gets busier and busier, you can't go wrong with Once Upon a Thanksgiving, Holly Jacobs' entry in the American Romance series by Harlequin. And, for those of us who are fans of Jacobs, it's wonderful to discover this is the first in her new holiday series." ~Lesa Holstine in USA Today

"Beyond delivering a compelling read, or the first in an inventive series about parenting, Holly Jacobs earns her kudos by seriously dealing with the difficulties of divorce on children and parents." ~ RT Bookclub

"Award winning author Holly Jacobs creates a heartwarming story filled with humor and a multitude of reasons for her characters to avoid each other. Despite distance, emotional baggage and family interference; Samantha and Harry realize that they must be together. Their precarious journey to a HEA is creatively told by Holly Jacobs in her signature compassionate style which will have you grinning ear to ear." ~CataRomance

"I love Holly Jacobs’s writing and I was thrilled to get the chance to read her first book for the American Romance line, Once Upon a Thanksgiving. This is the perfect home for her stories which are a pleasing blend of charm and humor surrounding everyday life. It doesn’t get much more American than a PTA Mom trying to bring order out of chaos. I laughed out loud over the antics of Stella, Stan, Seton, and Shane and I felt their pain, especially Stan’s, over the breakup of their parents’ marriage. Holly truly captured the thoughts and feelings of young children trying to adapt to a new life." ~
© Kelley A. Hartsell, September 2008. All rights reserved.

"Few writers can combine humor inside a serious issue as well as Holly Jacobs consistently does. The three male banditos bring plenty of amusement with their antics (as long as you are not their victim), but also much angst as the audience obtains a deep look at divorce from the perspective of the elementary school age offspring. The romance is fun to follow as Sami and Harry sing the refrain from I’m Not in Love, but everyone know otherwise." ~Harriet Klausner

" I thought Holly did a wonderful job of making you feel part of the family, just with her words. " ~ Dina @ Publisher's Weekly Beyond Her Book

 

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

EXCERPT

Once Upon a Thanksgiving
copyrighted 2008
Holly Jacobs

Prologue

Samantha Williams looked at the reflection in her bedroom mirror as she strained to button her jeans. She knew she needed to lose at least ten pounds, but starting up with the Women’s Weight Center again didn’t enthuse her. And she wanted to be enthused.

After the hardest year of her life, Samantha was determined to cultivate a more upbeat disposition. She’d picked up How to Be Happy Without Really Trying at the Borders Express in the Millcreek Mall last week. Step one on its path to happiness was to cultivate optimism. Well, she was going to be optimistic this week, even if it killed her.

Samantha implemented her return to rose-colored glasses as she struggled with her jean’s button. She could do this. She was optimistic. She believed. She sucked in her stomach and tried the button again.

It slipped through the hole and Samantha felt a spurt of elation.

Okay, it was a small victory, but Samantha reveled in it a moment, then released her breath and found the small bit of stomach that she referred to as her baby-pooch had oozed over the waistband.

For a moment, she started to slip off the positive-bandwagon, but then she hoisted herself back up on it and sucked in her stomach. One bit of baby pooch wasn’t going to ruin her sunny disposition.

She’d just hold her stomach in today and maybe, if she made it an all day project, her abs would get stronger without doing millions of crunches. And if her abs got stronger her baby-pooch would disappear, her clothes would fit better and she could skip Women’s Weight Center meetings all together. And that would definitely make her happy.

Yes, there was an upside of everything, even the fact her jeans were a bit too snug. All that stomach sucking in would save her working out.

With her optimism firmly back in place again, her day seemed full of possibilities.

The kids had just started a new school year and she was going to make it a new start for herself, as well. She was going to regain a healthy outlook and a healthy body. Positive thinking would take care of the outlook part, but she probably needed something more than sucking in her stomach to take care of the physical part. Maybe something as simple as a daily walk?

Her kids had all been lobbying for a dog. Maybe, if she had a dog that had to be walked, she’d be more inclined to actually get out every day.

It couldn’t hurt to go down to the pound and just take a look. The kids would love a dog. Of course, she wasn’t sure if the cat would, but he’d adjust.

The phone rang, interrupting her dog thoughts.

She picked the receiver up off the night stand. “Hello.” She started walking toward the kitchen, knowing the kids were going to be late for school if she didn’t hurry them along. She had Tuesday mornings off, and after she ran them to Erie Elementary, she planned to spend the rest of her morning running all over Erie, Pennsylvania, doing the dozen errands on her list.

“Hi, Samantha, it’s Heidi.”

Samantha stopped dead in her tracks, and it had nothing to do with Stella’s makeshift tent that was blocking her path.
Phone calls from the PTA president first thing in the morning did not bode well.

Be positive, she reminded herself. Heidi was a friend, of course a phone call from her was a lovely way to start the day.

“Heidi, it’s so good to hear from you.” She smiled as she said the words, hoping to infuse them with sunshine that she wasn’t quite sure she felt.

Samantha climbed over the tent and into the kitchen as Heidi said, “We missed you at the PTA meeting last night. It was the first one of the year, and you know how important those meetings can be.”

The remnants of the kids’ breakfast lay scattered all over the island counter. Grunge, the cat, was licking a puddle of spilled milk off the floor. She gently pushed the cat off the spot and started wiping the mess up. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I got home from a crazy day at work and PTA is normally the first Monday of the month, but that was last week and Labor Day. It never occurred to me that in September the meeting was the second Monday--” She stopped mid-wipe. She had a sneaky little suspicion that there was more to this phone call than just an early morning hello and update on the meeting. “Well, you don’t want to hear my excuses for missing the meeting. Suffice to say, I’ll be there next month for sure.”

“About that, Samantha--”

Samantha dropped the sponge. She knew she was done for.
“I know what happens when someone skips a meeting.”

She remembered when Connie missed the April meeting last year. She was volunteered for the eighth grade all-day bus trip to Toronto. To this day, Connie wouldn’t speak about the trip. When asked, she turned pale, the tick near her left eye would start to jump and she’d change the subject.

Occasionally she mumbled the word coatroom, but that was all.

Samantha just hoped there were no field trips scheduled this early in the year. “You might as well just tell me just what job I’ve been assigned.”

Maybe it was a fun job. Reading to kindergarten or something. Or working a bake sale, which might not be good for her overflowing stomach, but was always a prime PTA job to snag.

Her attempts at positive thinking faded rapidly when Heidi didn’t respond. “Heidi?”

“Well...”

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

I recently ran a Jeff Foxworthy-esque contest on eHarlequin.com in honor of my new trilogy. So here we go:

YOU MIGHT BE A PTA MOM IF...

10. ...when you appear in the teacher's workroom all the teachers rush over to see what you brought them to eat. ~Ellen Too

9. ...you know the location of every public washroom in town---field trips help that along. ~Kaelee

8. ...you've dressed up in a grass skirt, aloha shirt, and carried around a pink, plastic, blowup dolphin as volunteer reader for the annual Scholastic book fair . . . in a snowstorm.~Shelley Burbank

7. ... your kids' friends call you "Mom." ~Patti Mann

6. You might be a PTA mom if you can sing "Found a Peanut" in your sleep. ~Jody

5. ...you take every school fundraiser to work and then end up having to carry in 100 tubs of frozen cookie dough ~Tammy

4. ...you've popped so much popcorn to sell on Fridays that when you go to the grocery store later that day, you notice people around you sniffing the air and saying, "Do you smell popcorn?" ~JV

3. ...the students wave in the hall and say, "HI Laminating Lady!" rather than "Mrs. ____" ~Donna Alward

2. ...you're so busy with PTA stuff that your husband has to dress out of the dryer in the mornings. ~JV

AND THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO KNOWTHAT YOU MIGHT BE A PTA MOM IS....

1. ... if you've ever forged another mom's name on a volunteer sheet. ~Ellen Hartman

Check out my new trilogy...Once Upon a Thanksgiving, Once Upon a Christmas, Once Upon a Valentine's...maybe you're a PTA mom too??

 

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