Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of twenty historical and contemporary romances including OPERATION CINDERELLA, the launch to her new “Suddenly Cinderella” series of contemporary fairytale-themed romances. Hope is also a co-founder and current principal of Lady Jane’s Salon™, New York City’s first and so far only monthly romance fiction reading series now with satellites in four other U.S. cities.
Places to find Hope:
Happily Ever After and Home for the Holidays – Now What?
by Hope Tarr
A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS, the second installment of my Suddenly Cinderella Series for Entangled Publishing, opens on December 24th, Christmas Eve, picking up where OPERATION CINDERELLA left off. Two months have passed. Newlyweds Macie and Ross, my opposites’ attract lovers from OPERATION CINDERELLA, are cuddled up in their Washington, DC condo for their first holiday season as a married couple. Ross’s teenage daughter, Samantha—Sam—has moved in with them full-time. All is right with the world…Or so it should be.
Only Macie can’t get Cynthia “Starr” Starling out of her mind. Macie’s quitting On Top Magazine and jettisoning “Operation Cinderella” has left her on the outs with her former friend and managing editor. As a holiday peace offering, she sends Starr a pair of vintage Saks Fifth Avenue shoes. The shoes, originally worn by a glamorous Hollywood film siren, are said to bring lasting love to the wearer. They certainly seem to have worked their magic for Macie! The gift is more than a peace offering. It is Macie’s way of paying it forward.
What not even Macie knows is that Christmas Day is also Starr’s birthday, her thirty-fifth. Starr would really like to receive the sexy art director, Matt Landry, for her holiday birthday--gift wrap and clothing both optional. Only along with being seven years’ younger, Matt is her employee—and intra-office dating at the Manhattan-based magazine is a major no-no.
Can a visiting Christmas ghost guide and a mojo-packing pair of shoes turn this set-in-her-ways Scrooge into a Cinderella in time for True Love? Enjoy this excerpt from A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS CAROL.
Wishing everyone a holiday season brimming with mistletoe moments and fairytale dreams come true.
“What is it, Landry?” she’d snapped, and immediately felt the hot sting of a blush strike her cheeks, her redhead’s porcelain complexion, as always, a dead giveaway.
He’d hesitated, the florescent hallway lights haloing his shoulder-length hair—the wavy chestnut locks freed from his customary work ponytail. “A group of us is going for drinks. You know, chill out and celebrate tomorrow being a holiday. I—we—were wondering if you might want to come with.”
She’d shoved a copper-colored curl out of her eyes and let out a brittle laugh to cover her heart’s wild drumming. “And risk being lynched? I don’t think so. Thanks but no thanks.”
It might be Christmas week but the magazine world had already moved on to Valentine’s. As the month of hearts and flowers, February was their single biggest seller of subscriptions and generator of ad revenue. It was also scarily behind schedule, and with Macie’s replacement yet to be found, Starr was seriously short-staffed on the editorial side. To make up the missed time, she’d told her entire team, including Landry, to be back in the office on December twenty-sixth. She’d never been exactly popular with her people, but the tough decision to curtail Christmas vacations had hefted the bar toward hate.
The December holiday-themed issue had come out weeks ago. She mentally ticked off the article titles and taglines. Cuddling up on Christmas Eve, Latest Lingerie Trends and Mistletoe Must-Haves, What to Wear (and NOT to Wear) to Sleigh Him on New Year’s Eve, and, of course, the latest reworked take on what was pretty much every month’s anchor story: sex. Hanukkah Hankie Panky and Christmas Canoodling: Seven Sexy Secrets to Have Him Ho-Ho-Hoing in the Sack. Imagining canoodling with Landry beneath a brightly lit Christmas tree—the silken feel of his taut, Florida-tanned flesh bared and rippling beneath her fingertips, her wearing skimpy scarlet lingerie and five fewer pounds—shot a quiver of desire through her.
“The way you’re smiling, Ms. S, you must be planning on some serious celebrating for sure.” Her doorman’s comment called her back to the moment.
Starr spied the knowing smile on Jimmie’s face and felt hers flame. “My plans aren’t anyone’s business.”
There’s nothing On Top managing editor Cynthia “Starr” Starling hates more than Christmas. With an important deadline looming, plus her dreaded Christmas Day birthday, Starr just wants the holiday to end. But when she wakes up Christmas Eve night to the ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future—all in the form of the super-hot Matt Landry, the new art director—she knows she’s in for a long night.
Matt is the one person on Starr’s team she can’t boss around and the only one she doesn’t need to. He’s also her employee and totally off limits, even if he does seem interested. Though he’s seven years younger and all kinds of forbidden fruit, he’s the form the Powers That Be decided she’d be receptive to.
Because they have a message for her: learn the true meaning of Christmas spirit or risk being alone for the rest of her life.
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