Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection
Publication date: November 25th 2014
Publication date: November 25th 2014
IF I RETURN by Sawyer Bennett
Hope Camden is relentlessly serious, awkwardly shy, and in complete need of a walk on the wilder side. At least, that's what her sister tells her when she drags her off on an impromptu Christmas getaway in the mountains, where Hope meets gorgeous, enigmatic Army helicopter pilot Jack Freeman...who's headed off to war in a week.
SEDUCING SANTA by Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
All Faith Roberts wants for Christmas is one sexy night with Matthew Carlton, the hot, gorgeous pediatric surgeon posing as Santa for a visit to the children's ward where she volunteers. While Matthew is more than willing to fulfill her naughty wishes, he's determined to show Faith that he's the kind of gift that keeps on giving.
TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS by Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans)
When Lula Jo refused Carter's proposal one dark December night--unwilling to abandon her hometown to live the dangerous life of a treasure hunter's wife--the holiday lights went out in her heart. She vowed to keep her distance from dangerous men and untamed cowboys. But now Carter is back and hoping for a holiday miracle to reunite him with his first and only love.
DECKING DREW by Violet Duke
If anyone can make Drew Lawson believe in the magic of Christmas, of course the universe would pick the addictively sweet, mind-wreckingly beautiful Skylar Sullivan to try. She's only the girl-next-door of his dreams he'd classified as completely off-limits two years ago...the same one now standing on his doorstep on Christmas eve.
FAIRIES & WISHES by Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
Lily the holiday fairy is given a new assignment this Christmas season--teach a lonely doctor how to love again. But all Lily knows how to do is gently coerce people into embracing the Christmas spirit; she doesn't have a clue what love really is. So imagine her surprise when she falls madly in love--and lust--with the good doctor in the process.
WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS by Mari Carr
It's Christmas Eve, and all seven of the Collins siblings have gathered together to give their father Patrick a precious gift. Gather 'round the tree and join the Collins family as they pass a bottle of Jameson, and Patrick shares the story of how he won the heart of Sunday, his true love, his soul mate...and the mother of his seven Wild Irish.
UNWRAPPED by Melody Grace
Lacey James is wild, spontaneous, and up for anything. Daniel Sullivan is careful, sensible, and mending his broken heart. When the unlikely pair get stranded together on the way home for the holidays, Lacey finds her long-term crush impossible to ignore. And as a game of truth or dare spins out of control, Daniel discovers the one girl he truly wants is the last person he expected.
HIS CHRISTMAS WISH by Marquita Valentine
War hero Joaquin Morales is back in Holland Springs for the first time in years. His mission? To convince his wife that they have a future together. But falling in love with her husband for the second time is not a part of Sage Caswell's plans this holiday Season. With the help of a little Christmas magic (and a well-timed snowstorm), can Joaquin and Sage's dreams come true?
HOLIDAY SPIRIT by Cathryn Fox
What's a girl to do when she finds herself held captive in a bedroom--with the man she's been lusting after for months--by a voyeuristic spirit on Christmas Eve? Give it what it wants, of course. If a holiday romp with her sexy co-worker is what it'll take for Elly Watson to solve her latest Paranormal Task Force case, she's up for the challenge...over and over again if need be.
A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE by Alannah Lynne
All Samantha Mazze wants for Christmas is to create the perfect Christmas Eve celebration for her friends and family. The house is decorated, the meal has been prepared, the guests are arriving...what could possibly go wrong? Come spend the holidays with your friends from the Heat Wave series, and meet a few new additions.
About the Authors
USA Today Best-Selling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn't have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. Her books have been Top 10 bestsellers on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble, as well as NYT, USA Today, and international bestsellers. When she's not writing or feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, Violet enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools, trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, and cooking 'special edition' dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. She lives in Hawai'i with her two cute kids (daughter Violet & son Duke) and similarly adorable husband.
Melody Grace is a small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover. After spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Marquita Valentine, writes sexy heroes that make you swoon and sassy heroines that make you laugh. She's the author of the bestselling contemporary romance series, Holland Springs, and the new adult romance series, Boys of the South. Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man--and if that doesn't work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.
Writing a book was number one on Mari's bucket list and on her thirty-fourth birthday, she set out to see that goal achieved. Now her computer is jammed full of stories -- novels, novellas, short stories and dead-ends. A New York Times and USA Today bestseller as well as winner of the Passionate Plume, Mari found time for writing by squeezing it into the hours between 3 a.m. and daybreak when her family is asleep and the house is quiet.
Karen Erickson lives in central California with her husband, three kids, one dog and too many cats. Being a romance writer and bringing her characters to life is her greatest dream come true. She's also known as New York Times and USA Today bestselling new adult author Monica Murphy, the name under which she does all her social media (leading a double life is tough!).
www.karenerickson.com / http://monicamurphyauthor.com/
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessie Evans, gave up a career as an international woman of mystery to write the sexy, contemporary romances she loves to read. She's married to the man of her dreams, and together they're raising a few adorable, mischievous children in a cottage in the jungle. She grew up in rural Arkansas, spending summers running wild, being chewed by chiggers, and now appreciates her home in a chigger-free part of the world even more. When she's not writing, Jessie enjoys playing her dulcimer (badly), sewing the worlds ugliest quilts to give to her friends, going for bike rides with her house full of boys, and drifting in and out on the waves, feeling thankful for sun, surf, and lovely people to share them with.
Janelle Denison is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over fifty contemporary romance novels. She is a two time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award, and has also been nominated for the prestigious RITA award. Janelle is a California native who now calls Oregon home. She resides in the Portland area with her husband and daughters, and can’t imagine a more beautiful place to live. When not writing, she can be found exploring the great Northwest, from the gorgeous beaches to the amazing waterfalls and lush mountains. Janelle also writes as NYT & USA Today bestselling author Erika Wilde.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Cathryn Fox is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love. Cathryn also writes New Adult Paranormal under Cat Kalen.
Alannah believes there’s nothing more magical than finding the other half of your soul, experiencing fiery passion, and knowing you’ve found happily-ever-after.
She loves going to work each day (in sweats and a T-shirt) and writing about hot heroes and feisty heroines who torment each other in the most delicious ways before finding their happy ending.
She lives in the coastal region of North Carolina with her husband, who also happens to be her best friend and biggest fan. They have two sons, a dog, Sadie, who is always causing trouble, and two cats.
Alannah’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
2 Cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few grains salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter/margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla
Drain pineapple well, reserving liquid for icing. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Dissolve baking soda in pineapple. Mash butter until smooth, add sugar – blend well. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add sifted ingredients – mixing after each addition. Blend in pineapple
Bake 6-8 minutes at 375
2 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice
Mixed together powdered sugar and pineapple juice and glaze cookies.
Cathryn’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
This is a family recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. It’s so easy and a family favourite.
Peanut Butter Squares
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup graham wafer crumbs
2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons of milk
Put all ingredients together and spread in 9 by 9 inch greased pan.
Melt one half a package of chocolate chips (1cup) with one teaspoon of peanut butter and spread on top. Let set, but cut before firm.
Janelle’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (super easy and SO yummy!)
1 (18-24 count) package of miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
1 (18 ounce) package Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Before starting, unwrap peanut butter cups and place in freezer.
2. Using miniature muffin tins, place a 1-inch ball of dough in each cup.
3. Bake for 5 minutes (less than package instructions of 7-8 minutes)
4. Remove from oven and leave cookies in pan.
5. Remove candy from freezer and carefully press one into each cookie.
6. Remove from tins after they have cooled, and cool completely on a rack.
Jessie’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
This is one of my favorite holiday recipes!
(From Chef Andrew Sprugin link: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/brussels-sprouts-chestnuts-bacon)
Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon (From Sunset Nov 2012)
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
12 ounces canned or vacuum-packed shelled chestnuts, large pieces cut in half (or about 1 lb. fresh, if available)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved
6 slices (8 oz.) thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss chestnuts in oil and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning often, until slightly toasted but not dry, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. Cook bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until almost crisp. Drain bacon in a strainer, reserving fat in a bowl.
4. Wipe out pan and add 3 tbsp. reserved bacon fat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add drained brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often and adding more fat if needed, until browned and starting to crisp, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice, stirring to combine.
5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with reserved bacon and chestnuts.
Karen’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
Okay, I'm a total cheater. When I make sugar cookies with my kids, I use the Betty Crocker sugar cookie pouches. It's just so much easier! We can bust those cookies out in no time. But I do make homemade frosting and the secret I learned from my grandma to make the frosting taste extra delicious? Include a splash of coffee. Yes, coffee! Sadly, she doesn't make sugar cookies during the holidays anymore but I do. Trying to keep up the tradition!
2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick salted butter
1-2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Splash of coffee
Stir until desired thickness/consistency. Taste test to make sure it's sweet enough to your liking! Then get to frosting all those cookies. ;)
Here's a link to a photo from a couple of years ago - me making all the cookies and various holiday goodies and the mess I leave behind (note the diet Coke in the photo, too funny): http://karenwritesromance.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/misc-010.jpg
Mari’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
Cream of Crab Soup
¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes (crushed)
dash of white pepper
salt to taste
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 quart whole white milk
1 quart half and half
1 pound back fin crabmeat
1. Remove cartilage from crabmeat.
2. In a Dutch oven, melt butter. Blend in flour, pepper, and Old Bay. Stir and simmer over low heat 2-3 minutes.
3. Add milk, half and half, and bouillon. Simmer and stir constantly until bouillon is absorbed and the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon.
4. Salt to taste, then add crabmeat. Heat through; do NOT boil.
Note: You can simply double recipe for a bigger amount.
Marquita’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
So, I’m not much of a cook, but Hot Builder (my husband) is and he makes the most delicious chocolate tarts. Every one loves them, especially me!
8 ounces of semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup of milk
¾ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 package of individual small pie shells
1 tub of cool whip
Preheat oven to 350
Place pie shells on baking sheet
Combine heavy whipping cream and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until hot. Don’t forget to stir! Add chocolate, stirring until blended. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Whisk in egg. Pour mixture into pie shells and bake for about 23 minutes. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes. Place tarts upside down on plate and add dollop (or two or three) of cool whip on top. Serves six, unless you like to share. I don’t.
Melody’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
One of my favorite fall/festive recipes is ‘Mom’s Apple Cake’ from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. It’s a delicious, buttery cake that’s perfect for get-togethers: just add whipped cream or ice-cream, or even eat some for breakfast like I do. (recipe courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen)
Mom’s Apple Cake
6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples 1 tablespoon cinnamon 5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups sugar 1/4 cup orange juice 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 4 eggs 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.
Violet’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
Aunty Pam's Cornbread Recipe
This recipe is near and dear to my heart. I’ve always loved cornbread. Always. However, growing up in Hawai‘i with immigrant parents from Japan, it wasn’t exactly a staple of my diet. Luckily, my dad was a fan also. The first time I tasted really good cornbread, I was hooked. When I was younger, we didn’t have much money and I used to shop for books in thrift stores (yes, a book addict even then). I found an old local cookbook circa faded brown paper and basic clipart for images and just a few colors on the cover. I distinctly remember the cornbread recipe in it – “Aunty Pam’s Cornbread” it was called. Even though I lost the book after we moved years later, I never did forget how good that cornbread was. Fast forward a few decades after my marriage to the love of my life. I met a good friend of my husband’s parents, like an extended aunty for him through most of his life, who was well-known for the fabulous cornbread she always makes for parties – almost cakey and just scrumptious. The woman’s name? Aunty Pam. The Aunty Pam. Living on a small island, things like this happen all the time. And my taste buds sure are thankful! Enjoy!
2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup Sugar
2 sticks of Butter
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 cup Cornmeal
1. Mix all ingredients together well.
2. Pour into a 9" x 13" pan.
3. Bake at 350º for 1/2 hour.
4. Let cool before cutting.
P.S. I know that’s a lot of butter (I just close my eyes and throw the sticks in). That’s why I only make this during the holidays. LOL! Here’s the link to another cornbreadk recipe I like with less butter! ^_^
Sawyer’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
This one’s my absolute favorite holiday recipe!
Ingredients 3 large eggs 1 cup granulated sugar 2/3 cup canned pumpkin 1 teaspoon lemon juice 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 cup pecans, finely chopped 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner' sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes. With an electric mixer, combine the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you're ready to slice and serve. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.
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