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It might be a little early for Christmas, but I just wanted to share my newest title:  my contemporary Christmas romance short story “Practice Makes Perfect” is coming out in the anthology Christmas is in the Air in time for the holidays.

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Here’s a little bit about it:

Lily Archer is working on Christmas Eve, and she has no one to go home to.  Divorced and broken hearted, she’s afraid to love again.
But when Logan Grant wanders into her coffee shop, he opens her heart, and awakens her courage, teaching her that practice makes perfect.
(Follow the link for an excerpt)
The anthology will also feature stories by Amy Blizzard, Billie Warren Chai, Annette Louise, and Polly McCrillis.
Keep an eye out.  It’s coming soon!

For something completely different, here’s a little sneak peek of my upcoming Christmas romance story.

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“I have a feeling you would have been a good mom.” 
 
Lily met Logan’s eyes over the rim of her coffee cup, smiled, lowered it.  “I would have.  I know it.  Maybe not a perfect one, but a good one.”
“Who’s perfect, anyway?  Not me, that’s for sure.”
 
Lily privately doubted that.  
 
“I feel like I’m parenting by the seat of my pants most of the time.  I’m lucky if I get my girls to school with their hair brushed and their lunches packed.  It sure makes me appreciate what I took for granted before.”
 
“I wish you could have said that to my ex a year ago.”  Lily gazed at him wistfully.
 
He gave a short laugh.  “Yeah, well, I think you can hear it from someone else a million times and still when it all comes down to it realize you didn’t listen.”  His face turned serious, and he sipped his coffee again.  “I totally thought I was appreciating her.  But it takes real loss to understand what it is you’re losing.”
 
Lily fell silent, sipped her coffee.  What could she possibly say to that?  After the silence became unbearable, she ventured into talk again.
 
“I feel like I got the opposite effect.  I know exactly what I’m not looking for in any future relationship, anyway.”
 
“Yeah, how do you get back into that—dating I mean.”
 
“Oh, don’t ask me!” Lily said with a laugh, her eyes wide.  She laid her palm on her collarbone.  “I haven’t got that brave yet.”
 
“Really?” His surprise flattered her.  
 
She shook her head, sighed.  “No, I’ve been steering pretty clear of the dating scene.  Keeping busy with other stuff.  I guess I’m just afraid.”
 
“Afraid of putting yourself out there?”
 
“Yeah.”  She gazed into the space between them.  “That, and afraid my stellar judgement will strike again and I’ll end up right back where I started.  Sometimes being alone is easier than getting hurt.”
 
He nodded.  “I can relate to that.”
 
“You have no reason to be afraid,” she chided.  “You’d be a perfect catch for any girl.  I bet all the moms at your girls’ school swoon over you.”
 
He came as close to blushing as Lily had ever seen in a man, and she began to wonder if she’d gone too far.
 
“Just because my wife didn’t break my heart doesn’t mean I’m immune to dating jitters.  I’m not exactly twenty anymore.  I don’t know the first thing about dating in this century, let alone this decade.  The idea of starting from scratch is … daunting, to say the least.”
 
“Tell me about it!”  Lily slumped in the chair.  “So you do understand.”
 
“Well—” he looked at her, an odd questioning light in his eyes.  “If you’re scared, and I’m scared, at least we could be scared together …”
 
“What are you saying, Logan?”  She held her breath as he searched for words.
 
“We could … we could go on a date.  Call it a practice date, if you want.  Unless that’s too creepy …”
 
“No,” she said, forcing herself not to leap on his offer.  She didn’t want to look too desperate.  “That sounds like a great idea.  But where are we going to go at midnight on Christmas Eve?”
 
“I’m sure there’s somewhere.”
 
Lily cast her mind about.  There was no doubt a small number of 24-hour places in town, any of which would suffice.  Or she could invite him to her place, if she was feeling extra brave.  She tried to picture her apartment the way she’d left it.  Was it clean enough?  
 
Suddenly the stakes were higher.  Suddenly this was no longer just two strangers killing time in a coffee shop.  Lily was instantly aware of her flour-dusted apron, her severe bun, her all-purpose work make-up and sturdy slacks.  
 
Was Logan feeling the same?
 
 

As always, please share your reaction.  I’d love to hear what you think! 🙂