For me, December is a time where love mixes with stress in a uniquely potent way, leaving me sobbing “Everyone’s going to hate the gifts I got them—especially you!” on my husband’s shoulder on Christmas Eve.
Thank God he’s got broad shoulders. They’ve absorbed a lot of stress-induced tears over the last nine years.
The very last thing I feel I have time (or money) for during the holiday season is treating myself. That’s why one of my favorite things about the month before Christmas is the opportunity to find short stories and novellas from new-to-me authors. First, they’re reasonably priced. Second, when it comes to Christmas stories, I usually don’t want a full novel. A novel is too much commitment at a time when my to-do list is already laughable and could only realistically be tackled by five military strategists, not one scatterbrained woman.
Here are a couple of novellas I’ve read that are the perfect length for diverting your mind while you stand in an impossibly long line at the post office.
Peppa Grant’s fellow employees may call their new CEO Mr. McSexy, but she’s also heard that he’s aloof and distant. Cameron McCormac certainly seems cold toward Christmas when she meets him at the company’s annual party…but he’s also the sexiest man Peppa has ever seen. And when he offers to forgive the damage she accidentally caused to his expensive car in exchange for accompanying him to his family’s holiday get-together, she agrees.
Cameron needs a date to the family party to get his matchmaking relatives off his back. Their chemistry is instant and undeniable, leading to an incredible one-night stand. But Peppa wants love and family, while Cameron’s only interested in temporary pleasure. When their relationship takes an unexpectedly serious turn, will he run the other way—or will he give love a second chance?
(Note: This can be bought on its own or in the anthology Holiday Kisses by Carina Press. I won This Time Next Year on Alison Kent’s blog and really enjoyed it. I’d love to know what other readers think about the other stories in the anthology.)
Brenna Keating is on her way to spend Christmas with her grandmother when treacherous roads and a skittish deer put her car in a ditch. Riding to the rescue—literally—is Dillon Craig, a reclusive doctor who insists she weather the storm in his cabin.
Since returning from Afghanistan where he treated wounded soldiers on the front lines, Dillon’s made it a point to avoid any emotional involvement. But his unexpected guest has him dangerously close to breaking his own rules.
Brenna has a plan for her life—until she’s stranded for three days with Dillon. Soon, the chemistry sizzling between them forces her to reexamine her priorities. The man is gorgeous, if taciturn, and a true hero in every sense of the word. No woman in her right mind could resist him, and so Brenna doesn’t—even though she can’t stay…
If you get a chance to read any of these, I hope you enjoy them. Because really, there’s no better genre than romance for helping you escape the crap the holiday season can heave in your face, while reminding you that love is the real reason you’re hitting the mall at a time when any sane woman would be lounging at home with a glass of mulled wine and a masseur named Carlos.
How do you feel about holiday novellas and short stories? Can you recommend any?