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Book, Reviews, Excerpt

A Valley Ridge Christmas, Holly Jacobs

A Valley Ridge Christmas

Harlequin SuperRomance 12/13
ISBN  978-0373718948

Holt Medallion Award Winner

NJRW Golden Leaf Award Winner

A CRW Award of Excellence
Finalist



The whole town's in on this Christmas secret! 

Maeve Buchanan isn't the jealous type. But with another Valley Ridge wedding approaching, she's feeling a twinge of envy. Everyone seems to be finding "it"—except her. Not that romance is high on her priority list! Inspired by the arrival of a homeless family one snowy night, Maeve—Valley Ridge's own George Bailey—is determined to give them a permanent home by Christmas. 

To make this surprise happen, fiercely independent Maeve is going to need a lot of help. Particularly from the irritating newcomer Aaron Holder, who thinks Maeve is just too good to be true and suspects her motives. Working together won't be easy. But it'll be worth it…in so many ways!

Valley Ridge Series:
1. You Are Invited
2. April Showers
3. A Walked Down the Aisle
4. A Valley Ridge Christmas




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Book, Reviews, Excerpt

 

Reviews:

"A generous heroine who shares everything but herself and a smart but wary hero who needs to make peace with his past find friendship, love, and belonging in this sweet confection that channels It's a Wonderful Life and has links to Jacobs's earlier Valley Ridge books." ~Library Journal, 10-15-14

"...quick witted dialogue and spark." ~RT Bookreviews 

USA Today

 

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

A Valley Ridge Christmas
Copyright, 2013 Holly Jacobs

PROLOGUE


Boyd Myers wanted more than anything to glance over at his wife, Josie, but he didn’t dare take his eyes off the road. Not that he could see much of the road beneath the white wall of snow.

“We need to pull off the interstate.” His voice seemed very loud after listening to the wind buffet the RV for so long.

He white-knuckled the steering wheel and hunched forward, as if moving closer to the windshield would help him see some landmark. A guardrail. A sign. Another car. He hadn’t seen headlights in what felt like forever. That didn’t mean there was no one else on the road, only that the snow hid them—and that possibility scared him.

“There,” Josie said, pointing to the right.

Boyd jumped and tightened his grip, thinking she’d spotted some other vehicle, but Josie simply said, “A town. Valley Ridge.”

A small sign bearing the words, Valley Ridge, lit up for a split second under his headlights. There must have been other signs farther back that they’d missed because the turn-off was almost immediate. If he’d been going sixty-five miles an hour, he’d have shot right by the exit ramp. But because he was only going ten, maybe fifteen miles an hour, it was possible for him to ease the RV off the highway.

“Now I know how the shepherds felt,” Josie murmured.

“Shepherds?” he asked.

“They had a star that lit the way to Bethlehem—all they had to do was follow it.”

Despite the weather and his anxiety, he chuckled. “If there were stars tonight, we’d never see them through the snow. We’ll have to be thankful for the street signs.”

The off-ramp ended and he brought the RV to a halt. “Which way?”

“All we have to do is follow the signs,” she said, pointing.

There was another sign proclaiming Valley Ridge to the right.

Some of his anxiety eased—Josie always knew what to say. He put her through so much, but her optimistic attitude never wavered.

Boyd had never heard of Valley Ridge. He wasn’t sure if they were in New York still or if they had crossed over into Pennsylvania—not that it mattered. Just as it didn’t matter how small a town this Valley Ridge was. It would have some parking lot he could pull the RV into. And if not, pulling over to the side of the road there had to be a great deal safer than pulling over to the side of the interstate. Frankly, he hadn’t been sure he could tell where the side of the interstate was.

He eased the RV onto the two-lane road and followed the sign that pointed to the right. It felt as if it took hours to enter the town proper, but he finally spotted a sign that read Valley Ridge Library. He couldn’t see the building, but there were reflectors that marked what he assumed to be the driveway. He pulled the RV between them and parked. It was probably the middle of the unlit parking lot, but for tonight, that would suffice.

He turned off the engine and finally looked at his wife. “I wasn’t sure we were going to make it.”

“I never doubted you for a minute.” Josie’s arms were resting on her enormous stomach. “Carl slept through the whole thing.”

He glanced at his two-year-old son, safely strapped into his car seat in the back.

“I’ve never driven in such a bad storm.” And he never wanted to be out in weather like this again.

His fault. This was all his fault.

If the plastics plant he’d worked for hadn’t closed. If he hadn’t lost his job, they wouldn’t have lost their tiny bungalow in Plattsburgh, Vermont. If they hadn’t lost the house, he wouldn’t have sold everything to buy a twenty-year-old RV that had seen better days and packed up his family, then headed off to North Dakota and the promise of work there.

As if she knew what he was thinking, Josie leaned over and kissed his unshaven cheek. “It will all come out in the wash, Boyd.”

He smiled to hear her using her grandmother’s saying. Her grandmother had been a crusty old woman who’d scared the heck out of him at first, but eventually became a grandmother to him as well. When their families objected to them marrying at such a young age, she’d stood up for him and Josie.

“We’re all here together, safe and warm,” Josie said. “The storm can blow the rest of the night. It won’t bother us.”

“I should…” he started, trying to prioritize what needed to be done.

“You should go to sleep.”

He nodded, knowing she’d worry if he didn’t go to bed with her. “After I turn on the propane so we have heat.” He pulled on his parka and opened the driver’s side door. The snow was almost up to his knees and blowing so hard that he couldn’t see the library or any other houses. He shut the door and felt small and alone, standing in the midst of the snow storm. Then he looked back through the window and saw Josie kneeling by Carl. He took a deep breath. Josie didn’t deserve the situation they were in. And somehow he’d find a way out of it.

For a moment, the wind stopped howling and rather than being pelted by flakes, the snow fell gently around him. He glanced up and caught the merest hint of light in the sky. A star. One small beacon in the sky, shining like a promise of better things.

He heard the thought and laughed at himself. Josie the eternal optimist, forever talking about signs, had turned his brain to mush. He was thankful he was alone and hadn’t said the words out loud.

As if on cue, the wind picked up again and the small star disappeared behind the whirling snow.

Boyd turned on the propane and went back into the aging RV.

Josie had Carl unbuckled, and as Boyd picked him up, his son stayed asleep. “I’m sorry,” he said softly as they walked toward the bed in the back of the RV.

“Boyd Myers, you’ve got nothing to be sorry about.”

He gave voice to his thoughts this time. “If I hadn’t lost my job, then we wouldn’t have lost the house, and we wouldn’t be out here in the middle of…”

“Snowmageddon,” she supplied with a grin. “We could play ‘what-if’ all night, but that’s not going to get us anywhere.”

“We’re going to spend the holidays in a RV. We’re driving away from everything we know. We’re driving across country, not knowing if there will really be a job waiting for me.”

“We’re going to spend the holidays with each other. With Carl. With the new baby.” She patted her stomach. “We have a roof over our head, and we have each other. For Thanksgiving next week, I have a whole list of things I’m thankful for. You’re at the top of it. You’ll find a job,” she finished with utter conviction and certainty. “Everything happens for a reason. Plattsburgh wasn’t our real home. We’re on our way to finding the town we belong to, but no matter what, we’re already home as long as we have each other.”

“My little optimist,” he said as he shucked his jeans and sweatshirt and crawled under the covers.

Josie tucked the sleeping, pajama-clad Carl into the middle, then climbed into the bed on her own side.

“We’re lucky, Boyd. We might not have much money…”

He snorted at the understatement.

Josie continued as if she hadn’t heard him. “And you could make a whole list of what we once had and were forced to sell, but we’ve got the RV. We’ve got Carl and soon we’ll have this new baby. We have each other. Everything else will work out.”

“Everything else will come out in the wash,” he repeated. “You really believe that.” He reaching over and stroked her fine, soft hair that lay spread on the pillow next to his.

“I really believe that. Life is funny. One moment, you think you’ve lost everything, the next you discover that you’ve found something even better.”

The image of that lone star shining in the midst of the blizzard flitted through his head. He leaned across their sleeping son and kissed Josie’s forehead.

She was right. He’d lost his job, but so had many other people in recent years.

He might have lost the house because he couldn’t afford the payments, but again, so had many others.

But even though he was in the same boat as all those other people, he had one advantage. He had Josie. He’d loved her since the moment he’d met her their first day of kindergarten.

She always denied that and insisted he’d never even noticed her until high school, but she was wrong. He’d noticed her all right. It had taken him the nine years between kindergarten and high school to work up the courage to approach her as anything more than a friend. But he’d known as a five-year-old that Josie Bentley was someone rare and special, just as he’d known she deserved someone so much better than him. But to his utter amazement, she loved him. She’d picked him.

They may have lost everything, but somehow, he’d find a way to get it all back—if for no other reason than because Josie believed in him. And that thought, like one lone star in the midst of a blizzard, burned bright as he closed his eyes. Somehow, he’d get it all back for Josie.

No matter what it took.

There's no way Josie and Boyd could know that whatever it took would come in the form of one fiesty, red-headed librarian who lived by the words, 'I can't change the world, but I can try.' Maeve rallies the entire town of Valley Ridge and they all find the true meaning of Christmas...and maybe, just maybe, Maeve finds her own special someone in time for the holidays!

 

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

From the book: A Valley Ridge Christmas
By: Holly Jacobs
Imprint and Series: Harlequin SuperRomance
Publication Date: 12/13
ISBN:  978-0373718948
Copyright © 2013
By: Harlequin Enterprises
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com

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