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Mistletoe Blues #MFRWhooks

Jackson Holt wants to surprise his girlfriend, Meredith with the wedding of her dreams, but a jealous co-worker is bent on keeping the lovebirds apart.

Meredith Baxter is overjoyed at the prospect of a Christmas Eve wedding. When the groom goes missing just moments before the ceremony, she’s left to wonder if it’s a case of cold feet or something much more sinister.

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Did he really think a bunch of silly flowers and puppy dog eyes would make her forgive him? Meredith Baxter snatched the bouquet of pink carnations from Jackson’s hand and tossed it to the icy sidewalk.

He widened his green eyes in surprised amusement. “Don’t be that way, sweetheart,” he said. The warmth in his voice was enough to cause the cold air to melt, but not the hurt and anger surrounding her heart. He rested a hand on her arm. “It was just a misunderstanding.”

She jerked from his grasp and glared at him. “A mis...” she sputtered, then drew a deep breath. “A misunderstanding is showing up an hour late for a date. You went on tour with the band. Without telling me!”

Confusion clouded his eyes and knitted his brows together. “But I thought—is that why you didn’t bother to show up for the last gig?”

She huffed, her breath forming white wisps in the wintry air. “I’d slap your face if I thought it’d knock some sense into you.”

Jackson chuckled, the soft sound moving over her like hot chocolate, soothing and sensual.

“You always had a temper.” He stepped closer, his body heat chasing away the chill from hers, and lifted a hand to brush a wayward snowflake from her hair. “But it never lasted very long.”

She hated that he was right and even now her anger was dissolving with each frigid blast of arctic air, but he would not do this to her. Not today. And especially not after the way he left. She gazed into his face. A couple of cinnamon brown dreadlocks peeked beneath the black wool newsboy cap he wore. He could do with a shave, but the shadowed beard darkening his jaw added depth to his narrow face. She swept her gaze over his mustache and tried not to think about the way the hairs tickled her lip when he kissed her or how his mouth always drove her crazy with its whispered seductions.

Meredith fought her rising desire and stared into his eyes once more. Green. His eyes were a remarkable shade of emerald she’d never seen anywhere or on anyone else. Mix that with his caramel complexion, decadent body and a hell of a voice and she was stuck faster than a compact car in a snowdrift.

His dulcet tones mesmerized her. The way his raspy baritone warbled on blues notes was enough to grab her attention, but it was the haunted look in his eyes that captivated and his selfless giving that kept him in her heart.

He’d always been attentive and caring. But that was three months ago, before he decided to fill in for another bassist. Before he left her without so much as an email or old-fashioned ‘Dear Jane’ letter. She’d have settled for a text message, anything was better than him leaving with her heart and not telling her why. Especially after all the promises he made.

He’d pledged his love, promised her grand adventures, made her believe in the magic of love, then he took it all away.



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They’re called ‘Santa Muggings.’ #MFRWhooks

Secrets abound in Benson's Bakery. A crazed Santa wants something valuable hidden inside the building, and only two things stand in his way...Jake and Sara.


When Sara Henderson receives threatening letters just days before Christmas, she asks sexy bread baker Jake Benson for help. Jake is more than happy to provide the muscle to keep the beautiful cake decorator from harm, but he has an ulterior motive--to steal a kiss under the mistletoe. Sara wants that kiss as much as he does, but first they have a mystery to solve.


Will they find out who is stalking Sara, or will Santa succeed in stealing Christmas?

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She combed trembling fingers through her hair. She’d rather leave the police out of the equation, but maybe if she showed them the letters they would take her seriously this time. Either way she wanted the harassment to stop.

She sighed. “Wha-what did you hear on the news?”

“They’re called ‘Santa Muggings.’ Several individuals have been robbed by Santa, mostly at the mall though. The police can’t really help without a better description.”

“Did they receive threats, too? Did you read that note, Jake? This guy is very specific.” Apprehension flickered through her stomach, twisting her in knots. She paced the small office. “What am I gonna do? Do you know how many Santas are running around this time of year?”

He grinned. “Can you imagine how this has hurt sales at the mall?”

She tossed him a frosty glance. “You’re making jokes, and I’m serious.”

Jake captured her hand. His warm, rough palm calmed her agitated nerves. She met his stare, and surprised delight flickered under his concern. Had he also noticed the tiny jolt arcing between them?

She rested her gaze on his lean, boyish features. His smooth toffee skin held a smattering of day-old stubble and seemed to be the only thing she could think of some days. Well, that and his mouth. She longed to lean across the desk, to taste his full, sexy lips and never stop. She blinked. Now was not the time.

“I’m here for you, honey.” He drew lazy circles on the back of her hand with his thumb.

She loved the contrast of their skin tones, his a rich caramel and hers a warm chocolate. Butterflies whispered through her veins until Sara had a hard time concentrating on anything but him. “I think these notes may have something to do with your grandfather’s death.”

“Why do you say that?”

With reluctance, she withdrew her hand. “Every year Jerry would open twelve of the deposit boxes downstairs. If he found something valuable, he would split the contents with the rest of the staff, as kind of a year-end bonus.”

For more than fifty years, the bakery had serviced the Genesee County area, but in the early to mid-1900’s the building had been occupied by a private company specializing in lock boxes. Somehow the deposits boxes remained.

Jake sat up straight. “You really think this has something to do with the safety deposit boxes?”

“I didn’t start receiving the letters until after the funeral.”

He stared at her, concern flickered in his eyes. “You mean this isn’t the first one?”

She shook her head. “I didn’t want to bother you, especially since I thought they were a joke at first. But the wording is becoming more aggressive.” She sighed. “Why else would someone send threatening letters right before we’re planning to open the boxes?”

She turned to leave, but Jake recaptured her hand. Heat sizzled up her arm, down through her body and pulsed low.

“You’re not in this alone, Sara. All you have to do is call me.”

She closed her eyes, unease forming an icy knot in the pit of her stomach. “I thought someone was following me the other day.” She shuddered. “And just now. Outside.” She gazed into Jake’s compassionate gray eyes. “I don’t like being afraid.”

He stood, bringing his other hand to her waist.



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Why was he here? #MFRWhooks


Leo Shepard has few regrets, but leaving his wife Symmone to pursue his career was a catastrophic mistake. Now that he’s achieved his every dream and is about to make partner at Greene and Banks Architects, he lacks one thing, a wife. But Leo doesn’t want just any wife, he wants the woman he left behind.

From the moment she laid eyes on Leo, Symmone knew she would have her happily ever after. The last thing she expected was a divorce and a broken heart. Devastated by the end of her marriage, she has no choice but to quit school and pick up the pieces of her life.

Working two jobs to support herself and her children, Symmone has little room in her life for romance and even less for her pulsating attraction to her ex-husband. When Leo strolls into the cafe where she works, bent on reconciliation, the chemistry between them is more powerful than ever. Yet she won't give in to his soft words and expensive gifts. More than just her heart is at stake, her children are, as well.

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She squared her shoulders. But why was he here? There was no reason for him to even seek her out. They were divorced, good and proper. She hadn’t asked him for anything in the ensuing years, even going so far as to return the monthly support payments. She didn’t want or need his guilt money. Besides, ten years was a long time to carry a torch for anyone, and she had too much going on in her life to waste her time with teenage fantasies and lovelorn dreams. And certainly not on Leo Sheppard.

Quickly she mopped up the errant coffee and did her best to avoid Amanda’s wave and point.

“You have a customer. And he asked for you,” Amanda said, slapping a stack of menus on the counter.

“I was really hoping to…”

“C’mon, Symmone. He’s absolutely gorgeous and he’s wearing this really great cologne.” Amanda swept her gaze over Symmone from head to toe and just barely wrinkled her nose. “Why he would ask for you I have no idea.”

Disdain from the snotty hostess was a given, and Symmone could ignore the cattiness; what she couldn’t ignore was the hot, bitter emotion roiling in her stomach. For a second it felt a lot like jealousy. Ten years and she was jealous? Unbelievable.

With an eye roll, Symmone picked up the glass of water and approached the table where Leo sat. Thankfully he had his back to her and she had time to gather her thoughts. Why was he here? She couldn’t seem to get past that question.

Her footsteps slowed as she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the windowpane. She paused long enough to straighten her dark ponytail. With a huff of disgust she dropped her hand from her ebony tresses and shook her head. She couldn’t believe she was primping for her ex. Primping!

She set the glass on the table with a thump. He looked up with a tentative smile, and she was lost. She opened her mouth to speak and not a single word came out. God, he was even more handsome than the last time she’d seen him. Gone was the youthful softness of his face. Now he had a man’s face, a jaw that spoke of strength and maturity. His brown eyes, while bright and intelligent, seemed to hold a tinge of sadness, but what drew her attention most was his mouth. How many hours had she fantasized about the taste and shape of his mouth, about the firm press of his lips against hers or the butterfly kisses he used to flutter over her skin.

His smile widened. “You’re speechless.”

The warm rasp of his rich baritone danced over her, opening wounds she thought long since healed and igniting a desire she’d hoped long dead. He couldn’t come in here, to her place of employment, and upset everything she’d ever worked for with just two words.

Everything came back in an aching, throbbing fireball, and she clenched her hands at her sides.

“What do you want?” She didn’t bother to hide the annoyance or anger in her voice.

He blinked, and his smile drooped a bit, but he managed to maintain it. “I came to see you.”

“You haven’t given a damn about me in ten years. What’s so special about now? Are you dying? Or have you come to assuage some misplaced sense of guilt? Either way, the café has very good takeout I believe you would enjoy.”

He chuckled, and it produced an ache in areas she didn’t want to acknowledge. “I suppose I deserve that, but you’re wrong, Symmone. I’ve never stopped thinking about you.” His quiet admission stayed her irritation. “And I was wrong to do what I did.”

Tears burned and clogged the back of her throat. Somehow he’d stolen all of her righteous indignation with a few short sentences. “Well, I’m glad to hear you admit it. So is this what makes amends for anyone you’ve wronged? Fine. You’re forgiven. You may go.” She spun on her heel, would’ve made a clean getaway, except he grabbed her wrist. The chair scraped across the floor, and a moment later the hard line of his body met her back.

Need slammed through her system, sparking little used nerves and sending her pulse into overdrive. The heady scent of his cologne, a little pine and sage, promised slow, sensual seduction.

She whirled around and snapped her gaze to his face. Molten desire shone in the depths of Leo’s milk chocolate eyes. Her breath caught in her throat. She never expected to see such passion on his face, not after all this time. Biting her lip against the answering wave of desire pulsing through her veins, she snatched her hand away.

“Don’t touch me again!”

He backed up, hands raised. “Okay. I’m sorry. I just”—he inhaled—“I want to talk to you, Symmone. I meant what I said. There has been no one else since you and, well, I would really like to take you out to dinner tonight.”

Dinner? She pierced him with an icy stare and savored a small victory when he shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “I’m. Busy.”

Nodding, he reached inside his jacket pocket, pulled out a card, and laid it on the table. “If you change your mind, my cell is at the bottom and my hotel is on the back.” His gaze lingered on her a moment. “If I don’t hear from you, I will be back every day until you agree to see me.”

He brushed past and she stared after him, dumbfounded. What game was he playing now?


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