The Holiday Season That Wasn’t
Writing Christmas Rekindled was tremendous fun. Both Charlie (Charlotte) and River have very good reasons for hating Christmas—grief-related reasons in both cases, plus lots of family strife. I loved the process of constructing their found-family holiday love story, which includes reconciliation with their birth families as well. I hope you’ll check it out.
It’s kind of funny, actually, that my first indie-published book (after four with The Wild Rose Press) should be a Christmas romance. I’ve always had a weird relationship with the winter holidays. Not religious in the traditional sense, I still feel the sentimental pull of the Christmas season. A rebel against traditional expectations of femininity, I love to cook and entertain guests. For my entire adult life, I’ve lived far away from my relatives—they were in California, I was in Germany and am now in Washington State. During my 30 years overseas, Thanksgiving was sometimes spent with friends, sometimes just my daughter, ex, and me. Ditto Christmas. We did our best to create our own celebration, but we just couldn’t match those warm, fuzzy holidays we saw on TV and in films.
Since moving back to the U.S. in 2014, I’ve been able to spend either Christmas or Thanksgiving with my California family, and the other with Hubs’ Washington/Utah family—a huge improvement. But what’s given me the most peace and joy during the holiday season is simply letting go of expectations. My life is not a Hallmark movie. I enjoy the bits that come easily: concerts, minimal decorating, holiday music, mulled wine, driving around the neighborhood to Ooh and Aah over the Christmas lights—and let the rest go.
Then came 2020. We can’t travel to visit family, can’t invite friends to gather for a holiday celebration—unless said celebration is held outdoors, widely spaced, with masks and parkas. And that’s what we’ll probably do. Mama’s a cancer patient with a delicate immune system, so our visit to her will be virtual. I haven’t hugged my daughter in a year, ditto Hubs and his son.
Is it time to give up on the holidays? Nope. The fake tree we ordered will be delivered today, and I’m hitting up all our grand-nieces and nephews for trace-your-hand turkeys to decorate our Thanksgiving tree! Until this year, I was a strict No-Christmas-Deco-Before-December, Real-Tree-Only gal, but now we’re jumping into the holiday spirit with both feet. And we may just keep that tree up until it’s safe to gather with friends and family for the holidays again. Here’s to our MLK Day tree, our Valentine’s Day tree, our Mardi Gras tree, our St. Paddy’s Day tree… Let’s hope we’re able to take it down by the time next Halloween rolls around. If not, Halloween tree it is.
Whatever form your celebration takes this year, I wish you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season.
Tagline: When two Scrooges unite to save a bar in trouble, a kiss under the mistletoe sparks the sexiest Christmas miracle ever.
Bartender River Lundqvist has a damn good reason for hating Christmas. Bangers Tavern is the perfect place to lay low over the holidays—until Charlie walks in. His first encounter with the saucy server nine years ago was utter humiliation. Her reappearance stirs up powerful desires and hopes for a new start. But the timing is all wrong.
Back in Tacoma to care for her estranged dad over the holidays, freelance web designer Charlie Khoury braces herself for the suckiest Christmas ever. A temporary job at Bangers Tavern gives her a chance to escape Dad’s criticism and blow off some steam. But why does the hunky bartender seem to hate her?
A pretend girlfriend is just what River needs to keep his family off his back—until a kiss under the mistletoe flares hot enough to melt the North Pole. When greedy developers threaten Bangers Tavern, River and Charlie must team up to save it. Their sizzling chemistry feels like the real thing—but everyone knows rebound relationships don’t last.
Come to Bangers Tavern for an enemies-to-lovers tale of reconciliation, found family, holiday cocktails, and the steamiest Christmas miracle ever.
Read to Review:
Link for ARC download page on Bookfunnel: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/caw7o03nb8
Link for ARC download page on Story Origin: https://storyoriginapp.com/reviewcopies/b509cb13-a6ea-4d03-93d2-e35584992b44
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-rekindled-sadira-stone/1137720901?ean=2940162818212
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1532772664
Google Play Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=R3X_DwAAQBAJ
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55430214-christmas-rekindled
Universal book link: https://books2read.com/b/3JjPxP
Story Origin Universal link: https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/ccc92634-0333-11eb-a6bb-ff78f1d0dee5
Bookbub link: https://www.bookbub.com/books/christmas-rekindled-a-bangers-tavern-romance-by-sadira-stone
“Listen, I’m really sorry about that. I don’t usually get so emotional, but…” He shrugged. “The tree, the music, the people. Lots of memories, you know? Should have warned you.”
She planted her feet, forcing him to stop and face her. “Why didn’t you?”
His jaw muscles bunched. His eyebrows raised, then lowered. Lots going on behind that pretty face. “It’s hard. You’d think, after a year, it would be easier. It’s not.”
Her resentment evaporated. “No, it’s not. My dad put up the tacky old aluminum tree we used before my mom died. Last night, I came home and saw it sparkling in front of the fireplace, and I just bawled.” She swallowed the ache in her throat. “Christmas is an emotional time.”
He squeezed her hand. “How old were you when she died?”
He nodded. “And now you’re…”
He huffed a laugh. “Really? Thought you were older.”
She pulled away and socked his arm. “Thanks, pretty boy.”
“No, I mean—you’re gorgeous. Sophisticated. Confident.”
When she continued to glare, he pointed to his muddy boot. “Should I eat this now, or save it for dessert?”
Hard to stay mad at him when he made that sad-puppy, big-eyed expression. She crossed her arms. “And how old are you?”
“I’ll be twenty-nine the day after Christmas.”
“A Christmas baby, eh?” And not as young as I thought. Interesting.
“Yeah. I always got shortchanged on birthday presents. So.” He slid closer. “Thanks for coming. And for pretending. You saved my ass.”
A warning prickled along her spine, but she shoved it aside. She was only in town for a month or two. Consequences would be minimal. Besides, it was good to know she could still feel this rush of heat for someone new. Something about River tickled her in places numb since Marvin’s sudden departure.
She squared her shoulders and gazed boldly into his hazel-green eyes—rich brandy and stormy sea. A woman could get lost in there—or drunk. “Who says I was pretending? You do have a certain charm. And I’m going to hold you to your end of the bargain. Santa parade, tomorrow at three.”
He grinned and bit his lip. Shiny white teeth, plump pink flesh.
A tingle pulsed between her thighs.
Where’s the mistletoe when you need it?
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance from her new home in Washington State, U.S.A. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, plays darts (pretty well), plays guitar (badly), and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at www.sadirastone.com.
Visit Sadira on All the Socials!
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Sadira-Stone/e/B07KWK5FBX
Author newsletter: https://eepurl.com/dKLMP2
Tell us about what you write (short stories, novellas, novels, non-fiction)?
I write steamy contemporary romance set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. My Book Nirvana series centers around a quirky bookshop in Eugene, Oregon. Gelato Surprise is a steamy older woman/younger man beach romance novella. The Bangers Tavern Romance series is set in a neighborhood tavern in Tacoma, Washington, where I live—the town, not the tavern! Each story features a holiday celebration in Bangers Tavern: Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Halloween, etc. During this sad time when so many bars, restaurants, and other businesses are shut down, Bangers Tavern gives me the chance to virtually share the fun, camaraderie, and bar food I miss so much. And each volume includes tasty cocktail recipes I’ve personally tested and tweaked—a tough job, but I do it for my readers (wink).
Under my own name, I write cozy mysteries and creepy short stories—think The Twilight Zone—but so far only one creepy short has been published. I’ll get to the rest of them eventually, but right now I’m having too much fun writing romance!