Second chances. I love them, and not just for my characters. In the case of my Hamilton Christmas trilogy, the second chance is for the stories themselves. I was thrilled when my editor told me that Kensington was going to gather the three holiday stories I’d set in my fictional town of Hamilton, stories that had originally been tucked away in three separate anthologies and bring them out again as solo novellas, so readers could enjoy each one of them on their own.
As I re-read the stories again, in preparation for their release, I couldn’t help but reflect back to where I was in my life when I first wrote these stories. At the time, I was living in a heavily developed suburb of our nation’s capital, raising two boys amidst piles of football, soccer, and lacrosse equipment, with two terriers also underfoot as well as an assortment of rescue parrots I was fostering at the time for good measure. My life was never boring, and I loved my furry, feathered, and sports-obsessed tribe.
Admittedly, the raucous chaos that was my daily life did make me dream of quieter spaces. Annual trips out to the Blue Ridge mountains in the western part of Virginia provided a much needed tranquil respite, and I dreamed of living out there full time once I’d launched the two-legged members of our tribe from the nest.
I wrote the Hamilton series with that dream in mind. The town and the county in these stories might be fictional, but in every other way, Hamilton, Virginia is the place I wanted to go to set down new roots, launch a new life.
In the first story, Unleashed, Emma Lafferty owns her own pet-sitting business. You can only imagine where that idea came from! When she takes on a holiday assignment from the wealthy owner of Hamilton Industries, she looks forward to a holiday spent in the old man’s weekend estate in the mountains surrounded by his menagerie of animals, including basset hound Jack, Great Dane Martha, and the African grey parrot, Cicero. She doesn’t anticipate meeting the conglomerate owner’s nephew or getting pulled into a bit of local intrigue about a secret Lionel Hamilton is harboring, one that his nephew, Trevor Hamilton, is determined to uncover. She definitely didn’t plan on falling in love.
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