Confession time… I am one of those annoying people who actually enjoys the craziness of the December holidays. I’ve downloaded the new Pentatonix Christmas album already, and soon I’ll be listening to the classics (like Bing Crosby and Andy Williams) along with Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas, the theme song from Christmas Vacation, and dozens more.

I know Christmas can be stressful. I know that most families are more like the Simpsons than a Norman Rockwell painting. I even know that Christmas is a time for some that increases feelings of isolation and depression. Even so, I choose to celebrate. I love the lights and the garlands and the yummy smells in the kitchen.

Even as I race around trying to do everything I want to do, I make a special effort to be nice to store clerks. I never play “chicken” when it comes to prized parking spaces at the mall. I stuff extra cash in the Salvation Army pail, and I participate in charitable activities at my church.

Is this because I’m trying to get on Santa’s “nice” list?? Not at all… I’m simply hoping to convince the rest of the world that there really is something magical about the holidays. We sometimes cover it up with frowns and squabbles and complaints. Our outlook may be the equivalent of dirty snow on the side of the road. But if we let go of the grumpiness and the impossible expectations, we might be surprised by what happens.

Simple pleasures are the secret to the season. A warm cinnamon muffin on a snowy morning. Seeing a child giggle on Santa’s lap. Watching a young teenager help an old woman with her packages. Hearing a song on the radio that makes us think of fun times at Grandma’s house…

December is about hope and the light of the human spirit. It’s been a tough year here in the States and around the world. Division and strife everywhere. Take a deep breath. Eat a cookie. And if you have a couple of hours to spare, you might enjoy reading BY FIRELIGHT, a combo of two holiday novellas. Lots of humor and heat and hope.

I’m wishing a spectacular December for each of you. Joy to outweigh sadness, kindness to overcome hurt, and the reassurance that you are special and exactly what the world needs. Happy holidays!

 

Maybe it’s the mistletoe—or maybe there’s something magical in the air this Christmas. USA Today bestselling author Janice Maynard delivers the perfect gift with these two romantic, heartwarming stories…Hot Arctic Nights

In North Pole, Alaska, Christmas spirit is everywhere—except in Hallie Prentiss’s heart. At least her two-week stint managing the Dancing Elves B&B will pay the bills. Then she gets a look at long-term guest Daniel Reynolds. Whether dressed as Santa or (even better) wearing next to nothing, the man is gorgeous, charming, and sexy as hell. Workaholic Hallie is tempted to take a walk on the naughty side for once. But when she does, will she ever want to leave?

By Firelight

There’s nothing like nearly freezing to death on the Appalachian Trail to make a woman want to live a little. And when Madison Tierney stumbles upon Grant Monroe’s mountain cabin during a blizzard, she’s gripped by something more than gratitude. Soon, the glow of firelight sparks hot, sweet kisses…and the start of a Christmas adventure she’ll never forget.

Previously published as By Firelight in A Very Merry Christmas and Hot Arctic Nights in Wicked Wonderland.

 

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