Be sure to comment for your chance to win a set of these two eBooks!
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be on your blog. Merry Christmas.
Christmas, Love, and a Set of Twins—What Could Be More Perfect?
This is my first Christmas as a published author. This year has taught me a lesson, one I’d more or less known all my life, but never actually had taken to heart. Never give up on your dreams. Becoming an author was an item on my bucket list, one I thought I’d never fill. It was right up there with all the impossible dreams, the ones on the wish list that will never happen because of age or finances. Since I made this happen, who knows what else on the impossible list might come true?
I’ve always loved reading about Christmas romance. To me, Christmas is the perfect time to forgive and forget—to renew old friendships, to share the love we all have inside. My biggest disappointment in reading has always been not knowing part of the story. I’m nosy! I want to know more than what the author tells me. I want to delve into the lives of the other characters in the story, and I suppose I want to know that the happily ever after lasts. One of my publishers says that there is a difference between writing romance and writing a love story. I’m stubborn—why can’t you do both?
When I chose to write a Christmas-themed story, I ended up with too much material because I had two heroines—a set of fraternal twins. I opted to write a series. Holiday Magic, Books one and two, are about Georgia and Eleni Baxter, twins—one too broken-hearted to think about loving again, the other too gun-shy to even consider the possibility knowing the pain her twin had suffered. Their heroes are imperfect—a jilted groom who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a multimillionaire afraid he’ll never be loved for himself. How could I weave the stories so that the plots followed one another, but the romances were separate? I needed a hook.
I’ve learned that while people may look at things, they don’t always see what they’re looking at, or understand its significance. In Holiday Magic, Book One, Second Chance, Georgia Baxter looked and saw her fiancé naked, in another woman’s bed. She didn’t see the look of confusion on his face or the smug look on the woman’s face. She refused to listen to reason and her heart. Instead, she did what most of us do when we’re hurt—she ran away to hide and lick her wounds. As so many people do under those circumstances, she tried her hand at something new and created a custom jewelry business, Delicate Designs. While she tried to find happiness that way, her twin sister Eleni, opened her dream showroom. Holiday Magic was a special events coordinating and decorating business that offered fairytale weddings, doggy birthday parties, and special events decorating.
Georgia would have remained in New York—hurt, alone, feeling betrayed—had fate not intervened. When Eleni has a chance at a huge contract, she desperately needs Georgia’s help. Returning to Philadelphia to handle Holiday Magic and face her past brings the matter full circle, and the magic of Christmas brings love and peace to her troubled heart.
There are others who are afraid to let go of the painful past for different reasons, people who see only what they want to see. Garth Joseph Smits Simmons the Third, multimillionaire owner of Simmons Casinos and Resorts is convinced that the only thing that would attract a woman to him is the size of his bank account. Over the years, he assumes disguises to move around unrecognized. While he hopes he can fall in love with the perfect woman someday, he’s afraid to let down his guard. Then he sees Eleni Baxter, Georgia’s artistic, carefree twin. It’s love at first sight for Joe, and he needs to find a way to get Eleni to fall in love with him.
Under the guise of Garth Simmons, the casino owner, he offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—three months as the Ocean Front Casinos special events coordinator—with one catch. Eleni has to remain in Atlantic City, at the casino, for the duration of the contract, where Joe, as manager Joe Smits, renews the brief acquaintance they had in Philadelphia. Joe doesn’t see that he uses his wealth as a tool to impress Eleni. He might pretend he wants her to fall in love with a normal guy, but the bottom line is it’s all the things he can do as himself—the rich and powerful Garth Simmons that allows him to woo the woman he loves. As Shakespeare says—what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
The Holiday Magic series uses the wonder of the Christmas season to bring love into the lives of four lonely people. Comment and leave your e-mail address. You could win an e book set of the Holiday Magic Series.
Holiday Magic, Book One, Second Chance
How would you react if you found your fiancé in bed with one of your bridesmaids?
Weeks before their Christmas Eve wedding, Georgia Baxter canceled everything and fled to New York, immersing herself in her jewelry design business. Three years later, unable to move on, she agrees to come home to help Eleni. What her twin fails to mention is that Georgia’s help will include working with the man who broke her heart.
Mark Anderson would do anything to undo the night of his bachelor party when he unwittingly destroyed his future with the woman he still loves. When he learns that Georgia is returning to manage Holiday Magic for the winter months, he is excited. This may be his chance to convince her that it was all a big mistake.
Will there be enough magic in the air this season to give their love a second chance?
Excerpt from Holiday Magic:
“I need you to manage the local business for me. I can finish the jobs I have, and take on others. I just can’t work for any other casinos. There are only four all-inclusive jobs that require your presence during the events. The rest of the bookings can be handled alone by the staff. They’ve managed similar themes before, and know how to put the scenes together. They’ll be fine on their own. I only book one event a day, so that I don’t run short of help.”
“So while you’re having fun, exactly how many events will I have to supervise?”
“It’s not that bad. I have the Christmas Eve Snow Ball, two office Christmas parties, three weddings, and three house parties. The Snow Ball, one office party and two of the weddings are your all-inclusive gigs. You’ll look after any new clients, of course,” Eleni answered with that duh sound in her voice, the one she used when she thought someone was asking a ridiculous question.
“I booked off the month of January, because that’s when the accountants come in and do their thing, so it’s up to you if you want to take any work then, and I’ll be back at the end of February.”
Frustrated that this was obviously a bigger job than she’d anticipated, Georgia paced the room, and counted to ten to control her temper. Eleni never seemed to fully understand the implications of her actions. Helping her would take far more time than Georgia had planned to take away from her own business. She had not intended to leave her shop before the holidays, but since her social life was nil, she had a lot of completed stock. She would have to limit the new commissions she could take.
“So, genius sister of mine, how am I supposed to look after all that on my own? I thought you had a partner who helped out at these events. Will Mr. Mysterious be able to help me?”
“Well…” Georgia could hear the reluctance in her voice. “He will, but I didn’t think you would want his help. Georgia, you do remember that Mark is my partner?”
The bottom fell out of Georgia’s world. She had known going back to Philly would mean confronting the memories and heartache she had buried over the last three years, but she had not expected it to happen this way. How could Eleni even suggest such a thing?
“You said he was a silent partner, providing money. You never said he attended these affairs with you,” she accused, her voice heavy with emotion.
“It’s not as if I have to stay in Atlantic City for the duration. I’ll be back and forth, and once my displays there are done, I’ll race back to Philadelphia to help you. I mean, the man has to be kidding about the twenty-four seven. Even slaves got time off and a day of rest. Besides, Mark handles the church, while you manage the hotel. It’ll be fine, you’ll see.”
Georgia saw nothing of the kind. Searing pain had pierced her heart at the mention of Mark, and it was all she could do to keep from falling to the floor and curling herself up in a ball. She had convinced herself that she could do this, walk the streets of the city she loved, renew friendships she had let lapse, maybe even see him, and be able to be polite, but distant. She had known that he had been involved in the business, but she had assumed his role was that of a silent partner, offering financial support and nothing more.
“I really want to help you, Leni, but I don’t think I can work with Mark, and you know why! I’m not ready to face him. I can’t imagine why you thought I could.” Tears filled her eyes.
“Georgia, just think about it, please?” Eleni begged. “If you can’t do this for me, I’ll understand, but it’s not as if he’ll be here every day. He comes in once a week, does the books and the taxes, and leaves. If I get a request for an event, I make a list of the items, project the man-hours involved, and run it by him, so that I can offer the best price, and still turn a profit. You can do that over the phone, or send him the information electronically. If you don’t want him to help with the events, I’m sure I can give my part-timers more hours. It’s just that having him on hand has generated quite a lot of business, especially from the single ladies.”
She had hung up shortly afterwards and nursed the ache in her heart the conversation had caused. Needless to say, Eleni had worn her down, as she always did, and she had acquiesced to her request.
Holiday Magic, Book One, Second Chance is available at:
Front Porch Romance
Through my website: http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/
The Perfect Choice, Book Two, Holiday Magic
Reclusive millionaire Garth Joseph Smits Simmons wants to be loved for himself, not his bankbook or the prestige that being married to him would carry. Shunning publicity and gold-diggers, he’s spent the last few years wearing one disguise or another to protect his identity. When beautiful, talented special events coordinator Eleni Baxter walks into his life, he’s determined to find a way to make her fall in love with him without revealing his true identity.
Avoiding relationships because of her twin sister’s heartbreak, Eleni has thrown herself into her wedding and party fantasy firm, Holiday Magic. When her design for a Halloween Extravaganza wins a contract as exclusive special events coordinator for the Ocean Front Casino Resort, she sees it as her ticket to the big times. What adds to the contract’s appeal is her attraction to handsome casino manager Joe Smits. Can a relationship built on deceit succeed?
He’d closed his eyes to focus on the music and re-opened them. He was about to stand and leave, when he saw her coming along the sidewalk toward him. She carried an artist’s portfolio and seemed to have all the time in the world. He was stunned; she was without a doubt the most gorgeous woman he’d ever seen. He blinked his eyes to make sure he wasn’t imagining her.
There was something regal about her. He could almost hear his mom speak.
“That’s class, Joe. Someday, when you’re a man, you’ll want to find yourself a woman with class, not a nobody like me.”
She was tall, at least five ten, and well over six feet with the strappy, red, high-heeled sandals she wore. Her short-sleeved, apple-red coat-dress was stylishly short, and showed off an incredible pair of legs. The neckline was a V, not a plunging one, but one that offered a glimpse of a white lace camisole beneath it. Her long strawberry-blond hair was pulled back from her face and earrings shaped like red apples hung from her ears. She wore large black-framed sunglasses and carried a red handbag. She was the most incredible woman he’d ever seen, and he was lost.
As she approached the musician, she waved at him, gave him a beaming smile that all but blinded Joe, and the guitarist saluted her and changed songs. He started to play Georgia on my Mind. She stood still listening to him, a melancholy look on her face that gradually became an open, friendly, and just a little dreamy, smile to show that the music brought back pleasant memories. Joe couldn’t pull his eyes away and stared hungrily at her.
When the song ended, she tossed some money in the man’s guitar case, saluted him, and continued walking toward him, her Mona Lisa smile still in place. He wanted to say something to her, anything to get her to stop a moment, and he was trying to think of something witty when his stomach growled loudly, announcing to anyone who had ears that he hadn’t yet had lunch.
She stopped in front of him, and started to laugh, her laughter as clear and crisp as a crystal bell. She gave him a curious smile and a quick once over, but there was nothing judgmental in her face when she looked into his mirrored glasses. Her sunglasses were lightly tinted, and he could see her eyes clearly through them. For the first time in his life, he wished he were himself, better dressed, standing out instead of blending in with the crowd.
“I’m sorry, that was rude of me. I shouldn’t have laughed, but the only other person I know whose stomach growls like that is my sister, and I was thinking about her. I guess you need lunch. I’m pretty sure they’re still serving at the Mission.” Her voice sounded both amused and friendly. “I’m going in that direction; if you want to come along, I can show you the way. I’ve had a few meals there myself. They don’t charge much, but if you can’t pay, you can do dishes or something.”
“I can pay.”
He was completely disarmed by her genuine friendliness, feeling more comfortable with a woman than he ever had. She was so open and unaffected that he relaxed and enjoyed this unexpected blessing.
“I didn’t want to give up the sunshine just yet. It’s my last day here; I wanted to make the most of it. Tell me, pretty lady, do you always talk to strangers?”
“Only those whose stomachs talk to me first.” She giggled softly. “It’s a unique pick-up line, that’s for sure. Besides, you’re not a stranger.”
“Have we met?” asked Joe, suddenly wary.
She shook her head.
“Nope. We haven’t been introduced, if that’s what you mean, but you were with a friend of mine earlier.”
“You must have mistaken me for someone else,” he said, disappointed that he wasn’t the guy she thought he was.
“Oh, it was you. I recognized your t-shirt. I love the Stones. You were having quite the discussion with old Clyde.”
He frowned in confusion, and she laughed.
“We share a common interest. I saw you in the fossil room at the Academy when I went there this morning. You seemed quite fascinated with him.”
“Clyde?” He stood.
“I feel anyone who’s hung around a place as long as that fossil has should have a name. Clyde just seemed to suit him.”
He laughed—a real belly laugh, the kind he hadn’t given in ages, and slung the backpack over his shoulder.
“Can I carry your portfolio, pretty lady?”
“Sure. It’s not heavy, but it’s awkward. I’m Leni. Welcome to Philadelphia. How do you like my city?” She stuck out her hand.
You can purchase The Perfect Choice from
Front Porch Romance: https://www.frontporchromance.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_81&products_id=246&zenid=4vdcl87g50a2oear0lh2fkapm4
Through my website:
Comment with your email address to win an eBook copy of both books.