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Funny, heartwarming, and deliciously romantic - Get ready to fall in Love in Holiday Junction!

Enjoy this hilarious series of sweet, small town romances featuring strong heroines, charming heroes, and a cast of quirky townspeople you’ll never forget.  Jam-packed with witty banter, flirty fun, and heart-stopping happily-ever-afters, these stories will make you smile, swoon, and sigh with satisfaction.

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Violet Chalmers frowned at the enormous, sparkly, red heart welcoming her to Holiday Junction and seriously considered jumping out the bus window and hightailing it back to New York. Sure, it was only a heart, but Vi knew the closer she got to the center of town, the more glitter and Pepto Bismol pink would assault her eyes.

And cupids. Oy with the cupids already!

It wasn’t that she hated Valentine’s Day. Not really. But when your heart was broken, a celebration of love kind of made you want to crawl inside a gallon of Rocky Road and not come out until St. Patrick’s Day.

Or maybe Labor Day.

No. Easter at the latest. Vi wasn’t that overdramatic.

Okay, so maybe she was a little overdramatic. She was an actress, after all. Or at least, she used to be.

Vi caught sight of her reflection in the bus window and grimaced at the horrific sight of what bore a striking resemblance to a bedraggled raccoon. She dug in her purse for a compact and patted on some powder in a fruitless attempt to hide the dark circles under her eyes, then tried to fluff up her hair a bit, but there was no rescuing it after being mashed against the seat while she dozed. Vi swiped on a little pink gloss and shrugged.

This was as good as it was going to get.

She tucked away her things as the bus splashed through slushy puddles and pulled up to the Greyhound station at the edge of town. Dirty, gray snow still sat in piles around the low, dingy concrete building, but most of it had melted on the sidewalk and parking lot. Holiday Junction was caught in that murky drabness between the sparkling snow-covered brilliance of winter and the pink-budded beauty of spring. The bus hissed to a stop and Vi stood, drawing her bag over her shoulder and bracing herself for what was coming.

She didn't want to be there. But she didn't really have a choice.

Following the line of disheveled travelers down the aisle, she spotted her mother waving wildly from beside her little red car. Despite her sour mood, Vi couldn't keep from smiling. Louise Chalmers—Lou to her friends—was a force of nature with her spiky blonde hair, a few shades lighter than Vi's own, Audrey Hepburn sunglasses and a black wool coat over jeans and wedge-heeled leather boots. Her mom would be fifty-two on her next birthday but didn't look a day over forty. Thanks, she was quick to say, to her hairdresser, monthly facials, and a glass of red wine with dinner every night.

Maybe two, on occasion.

Lou hurried over to the bus just as Vi stepped off. “You're here!” she said, pulling her daughter into a tight hug. “It's about time!”

“Hi, Mom.” Why was it no matter how old you were, a hug from your mom made you feel like you were ten years old?

“Are you hungry? You must be hungry. I have some cookies in the car.” She pulled back, holding on to Vi's shoulders as she scrutinized her face. “You look tired. Are you sure you're all right?”

Vi resisted the urge to roll her eyes—barely. “I'm fine. Just a long trip.”

Lou frowned, not buying it. “It's Ben, isn't it? You don't need him, honey. He doesn't deserve—”

“It's not Ben,” she said, maybe a little too loudly if the startled reactions by the people around them were any indication. Vi cleared her throat and lowered her voice. “I promise. I'm fine. I just need some sleep and maybe dinner?”

“Of course!” Vi waved a hand. “You must be starving. I can't believe you wouldn't let me pick you up in Seattle. We could have gotten a nice dinner at that seafood place—”

“I wasn't going to make you drive all the way to Seattle,” Vi replied quickly. “Besides, I like the drive. It was nice to see the mountains.” That part was true. The Cascades were beautiful at this time of year and it was one thing she had missed while she was in New York.

They retrieved Vi's bags and packed them into the car, smooshed between the boxes and bins from her mother's various events. Lou was on the planning committee for all of the town's festivities—and when you lived in Holiday Junction, there were a lot of town festivities. As the brochure said, Holiday Junction is the place to celebrate every holiday . . . and it's where the holidays come to celebrate.

No, it didn't really make sense, but it got the point across.

“How was your flight?” Lou asked once they'd gotten into the car and pulled out of the parking lot. “Did they give you anything to eat besides mustard pretzels?” She made a face.

Vi laughed. “I had a sandwich,” she said. “But I've been dreaming about your roasted chicken . . .” She gave her mom a hopeful look.

“Well, you're in luck,” Lou said, turning onto Main Street. “It's in the oven and should be about ready once we get home.” She reached over to pat her daughter's leg.

“Can't wait,” she replied, looking out the window. “The town looks good. The same.”

And it did. Holiday Junction seemed to be trapped in time—a quaint small town that looked like it had been plucked out of somewhere in New England and plopped down into a mountain valley in central Washington. Store fronts bore striped awnings and stately columns, wood and brick facades and brightly painted doors. And, of course, the holiday decorating was already underway.

“They've changed the lights,” Lou said, pointing up at the pink and red twinkle lights twined through the trees running down both sides of the street. “But the mayor thinks we need new hearts for the lamp posts and it's causing a whole thing—” She twirled her fingers in the air. “So that pushed everything back and now we're behind schedule.”

“Well, it's not even February yet,” Vi pointed out.

“It will be tomorrow.” Lou lowered her sunglasses and shot her an offended look. “Besides, there's a schedule for a reason,” she said. “Holiday Junction isn't Holiday Junction—”

“—without the holidays,” Vi finished with her.

She pursed her lips. “It's just another—”

“—small town that's nothing special.”

“I hate it when you do that.” Lou said, but her lips quirked with amusement.

“Sorry,” Vi said. “You're right. The mayor is being unreasonable, and the schedule must be kept!” She pounded a fist on the armrest.

“Do you want me to turn this car around? Because I will turn this car around.”

“No!” Vi folded her hands, begging. “Mom, if you do, who will eat the roasted chicken? Think of the chicken!”

Lou fought it for a moment, then burst out laughing. “I'm so glad you're home.”

Vi couldn't say exactly that, so she settled for, “Love you, Mom.”

They pulled into the driveway in front of Violet's childhood home, a bungalow with a wide front porch and white shutters. “You painted the house,” she said. The main floor was no longer green, but a pale blue, the second-story dormer a darker blue, and the front door, bright yellow.

“Didn't I tell you that?” Lou asked as she put the car in park. “I think it's better don't you? Cheerful.”

“Yeah, it's nice,” Vi replied, getting out of the car. Her eyes drifted to the similar house next door, painted in shades of gray with white trim. “Hey, is Kade still around?”

“Hmm? Oh, yes. Such a nice kid. He helped me out when the furnace broke last month.” She opened the trunk and yanked out one of Vi's suitcases. “I better check the chicken,” she said, rolling it toward the front steps. “Can you get the rest?”

“Sure, no problem.” Violet rounded the car, her gaze taking in the street where she played as a child; learned to drive as a teenager.

Ten years. It had been almost ten years since she’d been back. Vi felt bad about that, but as a struggling actress, she could never afford the trip. Money was tight for her mom, as well, but she’d made it to New York a few times over the years. They’d walked through Central Park, ice skated in front of Rockefeller Center, and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the extravagant holiday window displays.

Of course, the last time Lou had flown out, it was after everything had happened—after Ben had left, and—

Well, it was not a fun trip, that one.

Vi sighed, her stomach rumbling. It was only a little after four, but she'd been up since three in the morning, New York time, and hadn't had much to eat other than the sandwich on the plane. She tugged on her bigger suitcase, frowning when it refused to budge.

“Come on,” she muttered, shoving aside one of her mom's boxes before taking hold of the bag once again.
“Come on, I've got chicken waiting.” She propped a foot up on the bumper and pulled harder. It barely moved, so she took a deep breath, tightened her grip, and gave it a good hard jerk.

The bag came flying out and knocked her back. Vi fought to maintain her balance, but failed, landing on her backside with a grunt. The suitcase hit the concrete driveway and the zipper gave, the bag bursting open in a shower of clothing and accessories.

“Perfect,” Vi muttered.

“Need some help?” a deep voice asked.

She startled, looking up to find a man watching her with humor in his eyes, and various items of silky clothing draped over his extremities. Vi scrambled to her feet, vainly attempting to brush the dampness off the back of her jeans. “I am so sorry,” she said, grabbing something pink and lacy off his shoulder and shoving it under her arm, desperately hoping he hadn't noticed it.

"They really need to make those zippers stronger, you know?" She stuffed a bra into her jeans pocket, her face flaming as she spotted another one caught on his jacket zipper. "Be assured, I'll be drafting a sternly worded letter to the suitcase company. This is highly unaccep—"
She froze, finally focusing on the guy.


He winked. “Hey, Vi. Heard you were back in town.”

She tossed the ball of clothes into the trunk and threw her arms around his neck. “It's so good to see you!” she mumbled into his neck.

Kade hesitated for a moment before returning the hug. “Good to see you, too.”

They pulled apart, and she was surprised to find herself looking up a little more than she used to. “Did you get taller?”

He laughed, brown eyes crinkling at the corners. “Since high school? Yeah, maybe a little.”

Kade was definitely taller . . . and bigger. Well, he was still lean, but not skinny like in high school. His shoulders were broader, too. Dark hair cropped short, and was that—

She reached out before she could think better of it and scratched at the stubble covering his cheek. “This is new, too.”

He swiped at her hand. “Give me a break. I didn't have time to shave today!”

Vi's mouth dropped open and she pressed a palm to her chest in mock surprise. “You're shaving now?”

“Shut up.”

“You shut up!”

“That's it.” He grabbed her around the neck and began to rub his knuckles on her head. “Say it!”

“No!” she shrieked, struggling against his grip.

“Say it!”

“Let me go!” She couldn't keep from laughing.

“Not until you say it!”

Vi collapsed against him, defeated. “Kade is the king,” she mumbled.

“And . . .” he prompted.

She let out an annoyed sigh but was still giggling. “And I am but his lowly servant. Now let go!”

He released her immediately, a smug smile on his face. “Glad we're in agreement.”

“I take it back. You haven't changed a bit.” She grinned at him. “You're as annoying as ever.”

His eyes widened. “I resemble that remark.”

She groaned. “You're still saying that?”

“Only to you,” he replied, and the thought made her feel warm all over. She'd missed him. He had been her best friend and they'd drifted apart over the years, but somehow, it seemed like no time had passed at all.

She smiled. “So, how have you been?”

He shrugged. “Good. You know, the usual. Filling young minds with the wonders of Calculus.”

“Ugh.” Vi grimaced. “I can't believe you enjoy teaching math. I could barely tolerate it when I had to take it.”

“It's a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.” He slid his hands into his jacket pockets and kicked one booted foot against the driveway. “I hear you'll be joining our distinguished faculty at good old HJHS.”

She extended her arms with a flourish and gave a little bow. “The new choir and drama teacher, at your service. I start on Monday.”

He winced. “I assume you know the reason for the sudden job opening.”

“I might have heard something about the former teacher, a bottle of moonshine, and a rather unfortunate incident of streaking?”

Kade shook his head. “Bertram Russell naked in the town square. That's something you can never unsee.”

“Sounds traumatic.” She shuddered. “Well, fortunately, I have my lesson plans all ready to go, and auditions for the spring musical are already done, but any survival tips would be much appreciated.”

“Well, avoid the coffee and the vending machines and you should be fine,” he said. “And the moonshine, of course.”

“Of course.” Vi nodded sagely.

Kade looked down at his feet for a moment. “I saw you on TV. In that commercial for the orange juice?”

“Oh no!” She covered her face. They'd made her wear a goopy facial mask for that one.

“No, you were good!” Kade pulled her hands down. “You were always really good.”

And that—that was something she really didn't want to talk about. “Well, at least one person thought so.” Before he could say anything more, she added. “You want to join us for dinner? Mom's making roasted chicken.”
She held her breath, hoping he'd drop the subject. He did, of course. Kade had always understood her.

“I wish I could,” he said. “But I have to be somewhere—” He looked at his watch. “—right now.” He backed away toward his car, a black SUV. “Rain check?” he asked.

“Sure,” she replied. “We need to catch up.”

He nodded and got in his car and drove away, leaving Vi surrounded by a broken suitcase and piles of dirty, wet clothing.

“Good to be home,” she mumbled as she gathered it all up and headed inside. At least there'd be a hot bath and a good meal waiting.




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