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“A Thrill of Hope” by Karen Thornell

part of the Christmas Forevermore Anthology


After a devastating loss, Christmas holds little appeal for Isabel Reid. But when a snowstorm traps her in the company of a surprising traveling companion, the perpetual winter of Isabel’s heart may just begin to thaw.

One thing is for sure... law school was way easier than love.

September Miller has a ten-year plan for success, and it doesn't include a personal life. So why does it hurt that her colleagues think she's a bore and never invite her anywhere? And, more importantly, why is she enlisting her new next-door neighbor to fix that?

Garrett has barely moved in but somehow he's already caught up in helping his neighbor learn how to have fun. It's selfless of him and has absolutely nothing to do with finding the uptight lawyer attractive.

But maybe agreeing to spend every Saturday together wasn't the best plan for either of them. September's plans can't be abandoned and there's an expiration date on how long Garrett will be around. So what are they supposed to do when more than just Saturdays start to look appealing?

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It's all fun and games until you have to kiss your fake boyfriend.

A random run-in brings old friends April and Jackson back together. A not so random run-in with April's new stalker starts a short charade of Jackson posing as April's boyfriend. Just a few minutes of pretending.

At least, that's how it started, until Jackson needs a date for a destination wedding. And who can say no to a free Hawaiian vacation?

But they never expected to be forced to do every single activity together... from yoga on the beach to kissing for the wedding photos. And pretty soon, those lines between fake and real start to get hazy.

The last thing Amelia Kennington wants is to participate in the London Season. But the daughter of a duke is not afforded such opinions. She must put forth a subdued facade, but beneath it is a well-hidden fire that surfaces only when provoked—such as when an overly familiar gentleman startles her and she falls into the Serpentine.

Edward Drayton, the Earl of Norwich, has gained a reputation as Society’s most decorated rake. And while there are benefits to such a reputation, it no longer gives him the satisfaction it once did. This Season, he plans to find a wife—except she seems to find him instead. And she is nothing like he expected.

Scandal is inevitable following Edward and Amelia’s ill-conceived meeting, forcing them to marry. Amelia’s disdain for this man she hardly knows is more than clear, and Edward’s pride is wounded before their marriage has even truly begun. Yet, against all odds, the two slowly let their guard down, discovering the truth of who they married. But when Society gossip, a sister’s jealousy, and long-held secrets threaten their budding relationship, the unlikely couple must determine if their unconventional love is strong enough to withstand the opposition they face.

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Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes.

When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed from the start?

Nathaniel Blake has been in love with his best friend, Meg, for as long as he can remember. Though a gentleman himself, his status in Society is inarguably below Meg’s own. Determined to avoid the label of “fortune hunter,” Nathaniel has long concealed the feelings of his heart. But when Meg’s parents determine to throw a house party for the sole purpose of marrying her off, it is clear that idleness is no longer an option.

The daughter of a wealthy baronet, Margaret Hall has always known she is expected to marry well. After illness forced Meg to miss her first London Season, her mother is not willing to allow her to sit off the marriage mart for too long. There is to be a house party that will include three eligible men for her to choose from. Meg is determined to make her parents proud. Still, she cannot help but be grateful that her closest friend, Nathan, has been invited as well. But when Meg begins to develop feelings that are far beyond friendship, will she have the courage to choose her own happiness over duty?

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Natalie didn't ask Santa to send her an ex-boyfriend this year. She definitely didn't ask for him to stay at her B&B.

All Natalie wants for Christmas is to survive being in charge of the town's holiday parade and fill up the last few rooms in her B & B. But Santa must have a sense of humor since she didn't really expect to be filling it with her ex-boyfriend.

Cade hasn't been home for the holidays for four years. Not since the Christmas he'd planned to propose to Natalie... before she dumped him. This year's Christmas gift? Running into her again. Surprise!


Now stuck with Cade, Natalie must face the reality that she might have made a mistake. Maybe, just maybe, keeping her secret isn't worth sacrificing their happily ever after.

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