Two Christmases will be out in paperback, ebook and audiobook on October 25, 2022!
When city meets country, finding the perfect Christmas will mean finding common ground. Don’t miss this charming opposites-attract holiday romance!
There’s no place like New York City for the holidays…
At least, according to Sonia Gupta. If only she could get South Carolina farmer Beau Abbot to agree. Convincing him to use her family’s art auction house to outfit his new business is turning out to be a hard sell—and keeping things professional in the face of Beau’s Southern charm is a whole other challenge.
A country Christmas can’t be beat…
It takes a lot to impress country boy Beau, given his general aversion to everything in the big city—except possibly Sonia. Certain nothing compares to the charm of Christmas in the South, Beau invites Sonia home to the farm, showing her everything a country Christmas has to offer. But relationship-wary Sonia isn’t looking for a commitment—especially not with a guy who has no plans to stay in the city.
’Tis the season for romance.
Soon, Sonia finds herself swept up in the festivities—and Beau. Too bad embracing the best of both worlds doesn’t allow your heart to be in two places at once…
Where to buy:
“How about a pool full of otters?”
My best friend and boss Priya Gupta pauses hanging an airplane ornament onto my Christmas tree to stare at me in confusion.
“Well, you wanted a spectacular present idea. I saw a video on social media of someone swimming with otters and that sounds like heaven.”
Priya immediately stops being productive and gets on her phone. She stayed over after Thanksgiving dinner last night so we could start our Black Friday traditions: online shopping, decorating, and eating a week’s worth of leftovers in just one day.
Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. Not to shame birthdays or Halloween or even America’s birthday, the Fourth of July. They’re all perfectly respectable.
But all year I look forward to the day it’s socially acceptable to free my decorations from their plastic box prisons and publicly show my enthusiasm.
Which starts at twelve a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. If one is being precise about it. Which I am when it comes to Christmas. One year I was traveling for work, so I put up my decorations the weekend before. Better a week early than a day late, when it comes to Christmas decorations.
This year we’ve already hung lights, started the gingerbread-scented candles, and inspected Christmas trees at three different lots to find The One.
Priya deflates on my couch. “Ugh, the otter swimming is booked for the foreseeable future. Gavin got me a Fabergé necklace for my birthday! I need to get him something better for Christmas so I can win.” She absently scratches her bulldog, Leo, behind the ear and he comes to offer comfort.
I frown. “Christmas is not a competition.” I don’t add that if it was, Gavin already won with that gift; it’s the perfect mix of pretty object and fascinating history that would appeal to Priya.
Priya rolls her eyes. “Everything’s a competition with Gavin Carlyle.”
I mentally roll my eyes right back. Everything is a competition with Priya Gupta, and she found the perfect man to match her competitive spirit.
They make it work, even if I can’t imagine being that vulnerable with anyone. Just because it worked for her, doesn’t mean lightning would strike twice.
I’m not taking a risk on something that might end badly.
Monday morning, belly still full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, I make my way to the exhibition space in our offices, checking in with how the public is reacting to the pieces that will go on sale during Loot’s Christmas auction.
A respectable amount of people are already milling around and I see smiles and approving murmurs. An answering smile takes over my own face.
This is my favorite part of the job. Priya loves every part of auctioneering, from getting pieces to displaying them, to the auction itself. I can do any of those things with a smile that passes for enthusiastic, but the activity I enjoy the most is setting up the exhibitions. Placing all the art objects in interesting ways that enhance each one’s beauty, while also making a cohesive and intriguing whole.
Or maybe I just love decorating spaces.
Walking into the last room, I stop in front of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard painting of a man and a woman sneaking a kiss behind a partially open door, one of his arms pushing the door closed and the other holding the woman close, with a crowd on the other side of that door.
There’s a palpable sense of danger in the scene, like the couple shouldn’t be together, and they could be caught any second by anyone in the crowd.
They don’t care; or at least not enough to stop the kiss.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to want someone that badly, to be willing to sacrifice anything for the possibility of being with that person.
But the atmosphere of the painting captures my attention and makes me linger when I should be getting back to work.
“These estimates are wild. This is all too expensive. Why can’t I just get prints from Amazon?”
I recoil in horror and then jerk around to confront the unwelcome opinion. This is my passion. And my livelihood.
“Let me tell you why…” I open my mouth to let the stranger know why he’s so very wrong, only to come face to pectoral muscle with a solid wall wrapped in white cotton.
My eyes walk up his body and I can see the line between a pale white chest and where his tan starts at the unbuttoned collar of his dress shirt. A light dusting of blond hair peeks through that same opening.
I forget what I was about to say and drag my eyes further up a thick neck covered in a five o’clock shadow (at ten a.m. no less) that wraps around his mouth.
Above that is a Roman nose and a set of arresting hazel eyes. Topping him off is dirty-blond hair cut close to his head. Every feature looks inviting, making me want to take my time stroking, comparing the rough-looking stubble to his soft-looking lips, and every texture in between.
What was I mad about again?
Click here for a bonus scene where Sonia and Beau celebrate Valentine’s Day, as part of Nick’s Valentine’s Special, on her blog, The Infinite Limits of Love!