My first Christmas away from home, I got lucky.
I’d moved from Los Angeles to Prague in the Czech Republic and couldn’t afford to fly back for the holidays. I was expecting a lonely few weeks as all of my new friends scattered to be with their families.
But then I met the most incredible guy—a Brit with a luscious accent and a sense of humor as dry as the desert I grew up in.
We got serious very quickly. We’d only been going out for a week when he invited me back to his parents’ house in England for Christmas. Yep—from “Let’s be more than friends” to “Come meet my family and spend the holidays with us” in one week.
By the time Christmas came around, we’d been together a whopping ten weeks. We spent the next two weeks with his family—and holy cow, did I ever get to know them, and their British Christmas traditions, quickly.
His parents picked us up from the airport. Our flight had been severely delayed, so I fell asleep in the car on the way to their house in Norfolk. It was late when we arrived, and my first view of their house included one of my boyfriend’s brothers standing in the living room wearing nothing but his underwear.
The main thing I remember about that Christmas is how looong dinner lasted. It was incredible. My family tends to eat in about twenty minutes and then the men fall asleep watching TV while the women gossip. My new boyfriend’s family sat at the dinner table for two, three, maybe four hours. My bum went numb. Part way through, I had to excuse myself from the table, go out to the hall and shake my arms and neck like a boxer between rounds, just to get the blood flowing again.
We had Christmas pudding, rum butter and a lot of wine. We pulled Christmas crackers and wore paper crowns. We went to Sandringham to watch the royal family walk to church.
This year, I’m spending my eleventh Christmas with that British boy. We have something extra special to celebrate; it’s our daughter’s first Christmas.
In my Christmas novella Mine Under the Mistletoe, a teacher from California finds herself alone in London for Christmas. Or, at least, she thinks she’s going to be alone, until she wakes up with a strange man in her bed—a British man with a sexy accent and a broken heart. I had so much fun writing their story and celebrating the magic of London at Christmastime. I hope you enjoy it!
Have you ever spent the holidays at someone else’s house? Did you experience culture shock?
Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did not include a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…
Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London—and all its difficult holiday memories—for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.
The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.
Also available in All I’m Asking For: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology
This Christmas, the producer of a small town holiday spectacular is swept away by a handsome Hollywood director. Being stranded in a snowstorm offers a couple a second chance at a future together. And an American in London helps a brooding Brit put the ghosts of Christmas past behind him.
Wherever you are, however you celebrate, this collection of three festive novellas will bring warmth to your holiday season.
Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:
Tinsel My Heart by Christi Barth
Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh
Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham
Stories also available for purchase separately.