Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Marie Landry @SweetMarie83

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
by Marie Landry
Release Date: 11/05/13

Summary from Goodreads
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, right? At least that’s what twenty-year-old Ginny Bailey’s grandmother always told her, and Ginny believed it until Grama died. She even put on a brave face the following two Christmases, carrying on Grama’s traditions and decorating her house and cafĂ© with Grama’s favorite decorations.

But Ginny can’t pretend any longer. When she finds out she’s going to be alone for the holidays this year, her Christmas spirit goes out the window, along with her luck. Everything that can go wrong does, and Ginny just wants to spend the holidays hiding under the covers...until Dean Riley comes back into her life. With their shared past, old feelings begin to resurface almost immediately, and Ginny thinks Dean might just be the Christmas miracle she’s been waiting for to help her remember why Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.

When the concert finally ended and people began to file from the hall, Dean put his arm around my waist and led me out the door into the cold night.

“Was that the lamest thing ever to do on a first date?” he asked.

I laughed. “No, it was fun. And you have quite the voice, Mr. Riley. When they did the sing-along, I thought you might just sort of lip synch along, but you were belting it out. I’m impressed.”

Dean chuckled, covering his face in embarrassment. “There’s something about a group of people all singing together,” he said. “You should see me at concerts. Or karaoke.”

“Well, maybe that’s what we should do for our next date…” I bit my lip, hoping I’d sounded casual.

“Maybe,” he said slowly. “Although I think I’d like to go somewhere I can actually look at you and talk to you.” He glanced over at me, his gaze unwavering. “You know?”

I nodded. He was still looking at me, and the intensity of his gaze made me go warm all over, despite the chill in the air. I was about to reply when I slipped on a patch of ice and skidded forward, letting out a little shriek.

I braced myself to hit the cold, hard sidewalk, but Dean managed to catch me before I reached the ground. He was laughing as he helped me straighten up, his arms wrapped loosely around my waist.

“Well, that was embarrassing.” I buried my face in the shoulder of Dean’s coat. I could feel the laughter vibrating through him, and I started to laugh too, shaking my head. “I feel like I should make some cheesy crack about how I’m falling for you.”

Dean’s laughter stopped abruptly, and I whipped my head up to look at him.

“Oh god,” I groaned. “I should just…stop talking. Forever. Then I wouldn’t embarrass myself anymore. You know, unless I fall on my ass in the snow or trip over my own feet or spill coffee on you like I’ve already almost done twice now.”

Dean’s lips quirked slightly as he placed a finger over my lips to stop my rambling. “Are you falling for me?”

“It’s too soon,” I said. “I can’t be. I mean, you don’t just fall for someone this fast, right? We knew each other when we were kids, but that was a long time ago. And even though I was in love with you then, I don’t even know you now. So I can’t be falling for you. Right?”

“You were in love with me when we were kids?”

Crap, had I actually said that? I had been right: I did need to stop talking forever. Maybe I could become a nun and take a vow of silence. Or since I wasn’t Catholic, maybe just the vow of silence part. “Y-yeah, I think so,” I said finally.

“Huh.” Dean released me and took a couple steps away, then came back and repeated the process. He was pacing in a tiny, tight circle, and after a few turns I put my hand on his arm to stop him before we both got dizzy.

“What are you thinking?” I asked, although I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to hear his answer.

“I was thinking…” he said slowly, meeting my gaze again. “I was thinking how mad I am at myself for not coming back sooner. I was thinking of all the time we wasted when we could have been together. I should have come back that summer, and the next, and then moved here when my granddad was still alive.”

I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. I could feel my eyebrows up around my hairline somewhere, and my lips were parted in surprise.

“I mean, I knew I had feelings for you when I was sixteen, and I knew you had a crush on me, but I thought that was it. Two years age difference when you’re that young seems like a big deal, you know? And then the next year when we were older and we talked until I went to college, my feelings for you grew, but I didn’t see how it could work since I was there and you were here. But now…now there’s nothing stopping us. Not distance or a miniscule age difference, or anything. Unless…”

“Unless what?” I asked breathlessly.

“Unless you think this is just some…I don’t know, some leftover childhood feelings or something.” He shrugged. “That we’re both remembering how it was back then and imagining that there’s something between us now.”

Was he right? My mind whirled like the snow around us, and I closed my eyes, trying to gather my thoughts.

No. This pull, this attraction, the way I felt whenever he looked at me or touched me or smiled at me, wasn’t imagined. It wasn’t some remnant of feelings from six years ago. I had been a child then, but I wasn’t now. “I have a pretty good imagination, but I don’t think it’s that good,” I told him.

He let out a little laugh. “Me either.” Gripping my shoulders, he pulled me closer so our bodies were pressed together. “I think I know how we can know for sure, though,” he said, his eyes sparkling in the dim light.

“Like an experiment?” I asked, trying to hold back my laughter.

“Something like that.” With a smile flitting across his face, he lowered his mouth to mine.

For six years, I’d imagined what it would be like to be kissed by Dean Riley. Even when I’d told myself to forget about him and had moved on after we stopped talking, he still slipped into my dreams and fantasies from time to time. But every dream, every fantasy, couldn’t compare to the reality of Dean’s warm lips on mine, his hands gripping my shoulders, his tongue touching and then entwining with mine.

And I definitely wasn’t imagining the warmth that blossomed inside me and spread in tingling waves to every part of my body.

“I’d consider that experiment a success.” Dean spoke softly, but I could hear an underlying huskiness that sent a delicious shiver zinging through me.

Laughing breathlessly, I threw my arms around his neck and closed my eyes as I hugged him. “Are we really going to do this? See if what we felt all those years ago could turn into something real?”

“I’m willing to try if you are,” Dean said, his breath tickling my ear. “And I think we’ve already made a pretty good start.”

Available from:
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About the Author
Marie Landry is the author of BLUE SKY DAYS (contemporary YA—January 2012), THE GAME CHANGER (women's fiction—November 2012), WAITING FOR THE STORM (contemporary YA—April 2013), and THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (a new adult holiday novella-November 2013). Marie has always been a daydreamer; since early childhood, she's had a passion for words and a desire to create imaginary worlds, so it only seemed natural for her to become a writer. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, wandering around with a camera in her hand, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece. 

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What people are saying about The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
“While The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is a quick read, it is an adorable one. This story shows the value of friends and family and the importance they have in our lives, no matter what time of the year it is…If you're looking for a well-written, heartwarming story for those cold days, pick this up.”
~ Jessica Sankiewicz, author of If Only We

“Marie Landry delivered the perfect little holiday novella with The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It has a small-town coffee shop, memories of Christmas with Grandma, snowballs, hot cocoa and a yummy man from our heroine’s past. Mini review: romantic, sweet and filled with holiday spirit.”
~ Kimberly from Caffeinated Book Reviewer

The Most Wonderful Time of Year was quick and sweet, just how I like my holiday reads.”
~ Christy from Love of Books

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