Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving
November 2016
Count down to Thanksgiving with one of our 13 poignant Harlequin Heartwarming short stories. This is a time to get together with family and friends, and reconnect over pumpkin pie and hot apple cider…or read about the stories where heroes and heroines struggle to get their dream holiday!

Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine
Is there a doctor in the house? 
Pregnant and alone, social media editor Sheridan Colfax is scared to death, and her overbearing family isn't helping. In an attempt to avoid them over Thanksgiving, she turns to the internet for some holiday high jinks. A special delivery and a rekindled romance with a doctor might just be the perfect combination for this year's heartwarming holiday viral video! 

Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty
From Thanksgiving bridesmaid to…Thanksgiving bride? 
When her seventy-something grandmother announces plans to elope over Thanksgiving weekend, twenty something Jenny Boyle has to laugh. The single schoolteacher barely dates, and now even her granny is outpacing her! But then, as Jenny makes sure the groom-to-be's intentions are pure, she meets his grandson, Zeke McNeil. And the strapping firefighter is the one starting the fire this time. Soon Jenny and Zeke are spending plenty of time together as they get sucked into their elders' elopement scheme. The connection is instant, and Jenny begins to wonder if maybe she should take a page from her granny's playbook…

Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker
What is it about men in uniform that drives her nuts? 
Daisy McCall hasn't seen Caleb Henderson in years. But she can tell right away that her old friend is hurting. Caleb reminds her of the soldiers at her rehab center: jumping at every loud noise and haunted by memories. Determined to help him through the holiday—his first Thanksgiving out of uniform—Daisy draws him into her own preparations. But she can't get too close. There's no way Caleb would leave the military, and she won't lose her heart to another man in uniform. 

Mr. Right All Along by Jennifer Snow
He's been the only constant in her life all this time… 
Surprise! Kayla Dawson has two days to learn how to cook. Ha. That's because her NYC boyfriend is "surprising" her by bringing his mother to their so-called private Thanksgiving dinner at the Brookhollow B&B. What else can she do but enlist the help of her best friend, Aiden Bond? Who just happens to also be Riverside Grill's executive chef. 
With a busy Thanksgiving menu to plan, the last thing Aiden has time for is to teach his best friend how to cook a dinner to impress her new boyfriend and his mother, especially since he has always been in love with Kayla while she's dated one Mr. Wrong after another. However, he's never been able to say no to her and the holiday is no time to start! If only she'd realize that he's her Mr. Right and he's been in front of her all along… 

Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson
Does "all things country" have to include her boyfriend? 
Corporate raider Elena Striotikos knows that returning to her boyfriend's hometown to meet his mother and sister is the final step to getting what she wants: a marriage proposal. Except Dylan's town is the exact kind of closed community she grew up in and has spurned…and he's falling back in love with all things country. Can city slicker Elena stay with a guy who's discovering he's a cowboy at heart? 

The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn
A table for two 
When Joe and Corinne Armstrong are unexpectedly left to their own devices for Thanksgiving dinner, things couldn't be more awkward. They're in the middle of a divorce, and the holiday—usually spent with their close friend and her young son—brings up memories of each other they would both rather forget. Six months ago when Corinne suggested they go their separate ways, Joe agreed. They vowed to always be friends, but such a feat proves impossible when neither is sure what the other is really thinking. Suddenly, it becomes clear that what they wanted all along was each other. Thanksgiving becomes the do-over they needed…and there's plenty to be thankful for! 

Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy
Will the truth help them find peace this Thanksgiving? 
When Nathan Williamson discovers he was stolen at birth from his mother, all he has is questions. Who was responsible? Was the woman who raised him involved? Was he the only one? Where does he belong? Now, he's back in his hometown of Gesippi, Arizona, to find the answers. And he doesn't care whose Thanksgiving he ruins to get them. 
Dr. Shainey Fitzsimmons isn't happy when Nathan shows up at her grandmother's house, demanding information. He could've at least had the decency of better timing! But Shainey is shocked to discover that her own family might have a connection to the baby snatching… 

Thankful for You by Karen Rock
A Happy Reunion? 
Maggie James has worked hard to get over her commitment phobic ex, firefighter Lt. Eric Langley. Yet old feelings resurface when they’re reunited to put on a Thanksgiving dinner for foster children displaced by their group home’s fire. She still loves Eric, but she’d grown up vowing to have the traditional, nuclear family her loving parents provided and won’t accept anything less. This time around, does she dare give them a second chance? 
After watching his vibrant mother retreat from life following his firefighter father’s tragic death, Lt. Eric Langley vowed never to inflict that pain on anyone, especially Maggie. When she’d begun talking kids, marriage, it’d nearly killed him to break things off. But how could he take the risks his job required if he worried about a family counting on his safety? Although he’d shut away his pain when he and Maggie had broken up, his old feelings rush back after one glimpse of her beautiful face. He should want to avoid her, but feels thankful for this time together instead. Is it possible some surprising wisdom from the children he saved could rescue him, too? 

Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross
A new dawn 
Wounded veteran Ryder Shelton wants to retreat from the world, and can think of nowhere better than his hometown of Rankins, Alaska. It's cold, clean and best of all—isolated. Though Rankins is small and remote, the people who live there are warm and caring, and butt their way into Ryder's life, especially one pretty and determined neighbor Jessie Madigan. Jessie and her special dog Fife start to mean a lot to Ryder. But is he ready to return to normal life? Is Ryder ready for romance? 

The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James
An accidental love… 
When Jacqueline (Jax) Warren is in a serious motorcycle accident, firefighter Ryan Hudson is the first to arrive at the scene. Ryan takes a special interest in Jax, particularly when he discovers that her stepmother shows little interest in her. But Jax learned early in life that she can't rely on other people, and her six-year-old half brother is the only person she cares about. 
Ryan convinces her to celebrate Thanksgiving with him and his family, to show her that not all families are like the one she's known. When he presents her with an unexpected gift, she finally lets him into her life…and her heart. 

Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb
When the right girl comes along 
Some things just don't mix: champagne and pizza, major holidays and once-in-a-lifetime weddings, and an uptight PhD maid of honor and a world weary, laid-back best man. But Ruthie Cain's twin sister Becca never got the memo! Ruthie's maid of honor duties have expanded and include more than holding the bouquet during the vows. Thanks to her psychology degree, she's been elected to rein in Becca's bridezilla tendencies. Ruthie even needs to find someone who can cook enough turkeys to feed an ever increasing guest list. Now if only she could persuade the best man Matthew Wright that his responsibilities include more than looking good in a tux. 
Matt's always kept his distance from Ruthie, strangely perhaps because he's always been so attracted to her, but respectful of their friendship. With the pre-wedding chaos throwing them together so much though, their status quo is under threat. Matt's considering telling Ruthie how he feels, and possibly turning a hidden crush into something more…if only she'd slow down long enough for him to talk to her! 

The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara
The initials were still there, carved in their tree… 
Environmental activist Serena Myss thrives on difficult situations, so tying herself to a tree in her hometown to protect a wildlife habitat should be a no-brainer. Except she hasn't been back in five years—not since her brother died. Not since Austin, the man she loved, failed to save him. It's not just any tree, either. Serena and Austin carved their initials in its trunk and shared their first kiss under its canopy. But Serena's not one to let her emotions get in the way of a cause. Even if seeing Austin brings up all the pain she's tried to escape…and new feelings she can't ignore. 

Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis
A marriage of convenience—or not! 
Football star Clinton Hadley has been in trouble with the law once too often recently. When a night out with friends turns into a night in jail the week before Thanksgiving, Clinton knows the judge will throw the book at him if he doesn't think of something. Fast. 
Brenda Thomas has only started working in the law offices of Wilson, Wilson & Wyatt when she's asked to cover for her boss while he takes a Thanksgiving vacation in the Bahamas. She's not thrilled with the clientele, as she's called in to defend the handsome, irksome Clinton Hadley so he won't miss Sunday's big game. She shouldn't be surprised that Clinton tries to pull a fast one with the judge. But she's speechless when he announces he'll be staying out of trouble because he and Brenda have had a whirlwind romance and plan to marry right away. With her reputation and job at stake, and Thanksgiving plans with—coincidentally—the judge only days away, Brenda sees no other play, but to accept Clinton's proposal. 

Between The Pages
Doing a complete review of each story would take forever to pick out everything I enjoyed, so I decided to review each story by applying three words to best describe the story lines.

Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine – Cute, fun, drama.
Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty – Humourous, family, romantic.
Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker – Emotional, tender, sweet.
Mr. Right All Along by Jennifer Snow – Return to Brookhollow (yay), fun, chemistry.
Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson – Twists, fun, sweet.
The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn – Drama, rekindled love, emotion.
Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy – Mystery, captivating, gripping story line.
Thankful for You by Karen Rock – Emotional, sweet, tender.
Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross – Dogs! (yay), emotion, heartwarming.
The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James – Dogs! (yay), captivating, family.
Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb – Dogs! (yay), fun, sweet.
The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara – Second chances, interesting, romantic.
Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis – Fun, chemistry, enjoyable.

The two elements all thirteen stories have are heartwarming romances and incredibly delicious recipes.

Every story is a hit, and picking favourites would be difficult, but if I absolutely had to choose a top four, they would be: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy, Thankful for You by Karen Rock, Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross, and The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James.

I highly recommend this collection of short stories to read during the Thanksgiving holiday, and anytime you’re in the mood for heartwarming reads.

5 Stars


Leigh Riker said...

Thank you so much, Darlene!

Karen Rock said...

I adore Still Moments magazine! Thank you so much for reviewing A Heartwarming Thanksgiving and featuring us on your wonderful blog, Darlene <3

Liz Flaherty said...

Thank you so much for the lovely review--we're so glad you enjoyed our stories!

DarleneLF said...

Thank you, ladies, for letting me slip away into the world of romance with your stories. I look forward to reading more 'Heartwarming'.

GiniRifkin said...

Thank you for the cornucopia of choices for a good Thanksgiving Day read. Quite an undertaking, getting all of those read in time.

Kate James said...

We're thrilled that you enjoyed our anthology, Darlene. Thank you for the wonderful review!