THE CHRISTMAS BASKET
More than ten years ago, high-school sweethearts Noelle McDowell and Thomas Sutton planned to elope—but then he jilted her. This Christmas, Noelle is home to celebrate the holidays, and she and Thom discover they are still in love. Now only the decades-old rivalry between their mothers stands in the way of a second chance together.
THE SNOW BRIDE
It’s a month before Christmas and Jenna Campbell is flying to Alaska to marry a man she met online—until her seatmate takes it upon himself to change her plans. Which is how Jenna ends up stranded in tiny Snowbound, Alaska, alone with Reid Jamison (plus a bunch of eccentric old men and a few grizzly bears). And then there’s a blizzard…. Maybe she’ll be a Christmas bride after all!
About the Author
Hometown:Port Orchard, Washington
Date of Birth:October 22, 1948
Place of Birth:Yakima, Washington
Education:Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
Read an Excerpt
On a Snowy Night
By Debbie Macomber
Harlequin Enterprises LimitedISBN: 0-7783-2110-X
Chapter OneNOELLE McDOWELL'S JOURNAL
I did it. I broke down and actually booked the flight to Rose. I have a ticket for December 18 - Dallas to San Francisco to Portland and then the commuter flight to Rose.
All my excuses are used up. I always figured there was no going back, and yet that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm going home when I swore I never would. Not after what happened... Not after Thom Sutton betrayed me. I know, I know, I've always been dramatic. I can't help that - it's part of my nature.
When I was a teenager I made this vow never to return. I spoke it in the heat of passion, and no one believed me. For that matter, I didn't believe me, not really. But it proved to be so easy to stay away... I hardly had to invent excuses. While I was in college I had an opportunity to travel to Europe two years in a row. Then in my junior year I had a summer job and was a bridesmaid in a Christmas wedding. And when my senior year rolled around, I was working as an intern for the software company, and it was impossible to get time off. After that... well, it was just simpler to stay away. Without meaning to, my family made it convenient. I didn't need to visit them; they seemed willing enough to come to Dallas.
All of that is about to end. I'm prepared to face my past. I joined Weight Watchers. If I happen to see Thom Sutton, I want him to know exactly what he's missing. I've already lost five of the ten pounds I need to get rid of, and by next week he'll hardly recognize me - if we even run into each other. We won't, of course, but just on the off chance, I plan to be prepared.
Good ol' Thom Sutton. I wonder what he's doing now. Naturally I could ask, but no one dares mention the name Sutton to my family. It's the Hatfields and McCoys or the Montagues and Capulets all over again. Except that it's our mothers who started this ridiculous feud.
If I really wanted to know about Thom, I could ask Megan or Stephanie. They're the only two girls out of my entire high school class who still live in Rose. But I wouldn't do that. Inquiring about Thom would only invite questions from them about what happened between the two of us. As far as I'm concerned, the fewer people who know, the better.
He's bound to be married, anyway. Good. I want him to be happy.
No, I don't.
If I can't be honest in my journal, then I shouldn't keep one. Okay, I admit it - what I really want is for him to have suffered guilt and regret all these years. He should have pined for me. His life should be a bleak series of endless days filled with haunting memories of me. It's what he deserves.
On a brighter note, I'm thrilled for Kristen. I'll return home, help her plan her wedding, hold my head high and pray that Thom Sutton has the opportunity to see me from afar, gorgeous and thin. Then I want him to agonize over all the might-have-beens.
It would be the wedding of the year. No - the wedding of the century.
Sarah McDowell intended to create the most exquisite event possible, a wedding worthy of Vogue Magazine (or at least a two-page spread in the Rose, Oregon, Gazette). The entire town would talk about her daughter's wedding.
The foundation for Sarah's plans rested squarely on booking the Women's Century Club for the reception. It was why she'd maintained her association with the club after that woman had been granted membership. She was outraged that such a fine institution would lower itself to welcome the likes of Mary Sutton.
Sarah refused to dwell on the sordid details. She couldn't allow herself to get upset over something that had happened almost twenty years ago. Although it didn't hurt any to imagine Mary hearing - second-or third-hand, of course - about Kristen's wedding. As Sarah understood it, Mary's daughter had eloped. Eloped, mind you, with some riffraff hazelnut farmer. Sarah didn't know that for sure because it was her Christian duty not to gossip or think ill of others. However, sometimes information just happened to come one's way...
Pulling into the parking lot of the Women's Century Club, Sarah surveyed the grounds. Even this late in the year, the rose garden was breathtaking. Many of the carefully tended bushes still wore their blooms, and next June, when the wedding was scheduled, the garden would be stunning. The antique roses with their intoxicating scents and the more recent hybrids with their gorgeous shapes and colors would make a fitting backdrop for the beautiful bride and her handsome groom. It would be perfect, she thought with satisfaction. Absolutely perfect.
Sarah had stopped attending the Women's Century Club meetings three years ago. Well, there wasn't any need to obsess over the membership committee's sorry lapse in judgment. For many years Sarah had chaired that committee herself. The instant she stepped down, Mary Sutton had applied for membership to the prestigious club - and received it. Now the only social event Sarah participated in was the annual Christmas Dance. Mary Sutton had robbed her of so much already, but Sarah wasn't letting her ruin that, too.
Sarah did continue to meet with other friends from the club and managed to keep up with the news. She understood that Mary had become quite active in the association. Fine. Good for her. It gave the woman something to write about in her column for the weekly Rose Gazette. Not that Sarah read "About Town." Someone had told her it was fairly popular, though. Which didn't bother her in the least. Mary was a good writer; Sarah would acknowledge that much. But then, what one lacked in certain areas was often compensated in others. And Mary was definitely lacking in the areas of generosity, fairness, ethics... She could go on.
With a click of her key chain, Sarah locked her car and headed toward the large, two-story stone structure. There was a cold wind blowing in from the ocean, and she hurried up the steps of the large veranda that surrounded the house. A blast of warm air greeted her as she walked inside. Immediately in front of her was the curved stairway leading to the ballroom on the second floor. She could already picture Kristen moving elegantly down those stairs, her dress sweeping grandly behind her. Today, evergreen garlands were hung along the mahogany railing, with huge red velvet bows tied at regular intervals. Gigantic potted poinsettias lined both sides of the stairway. The effect was both festive and tasteful.
Excerpted from On a Snowy Night by Debbie Macomber Excerpted by permission.
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