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All I Want for Christmas Is You

All I Want for Christmas Is You, November 2019
Angel Falls #3
by Miranda Liasson

Forever
Featuring: Rafe Langdon; Kaitlyn Barnes
672 pages
ISBN: 1455541850
EAN: 9781455541850
Kindle: B07M77WLTR
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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"What a hectic time of year to find out!"

Fresh Fiction Review

All I Want for Christmas Is You
Miranda Liasson

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted February 23, 2020

Romance Contemporary | Small Town | Holiday

Kaitlyn Barnes is already working hard enough, running a bakery, guardian to her sister’s rebellious teen daughter Hazel who has been sent to Angel Falls, Ohio to keep her out of trouble. And now Kaitlyn’s expecting a baby. A single mom at thirty-two. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU is the third mature romance novel in the ‘Angel Falls’ series, and we meet plenty of townsfolk who notice and care about one another.

Rafe Langdon, a popular firefighter, laughs about being a calendar pin up and the female attention he gets. He’d rather be with family friend Kaitlyn, but he’s thought of her as almost a sister for so long. They had one night together but he’s not getting too close to anyone, since his fiancée died in a car crash eight years ago. When Kaitlyn tries to tell him about their baby, some other lady is texting him, so she gets uncomfortable. Rafe thinks she’s expecting her former boyfriend’s baby. And he really doesn’t like Steve.

The misunderstanding grows as Rafe says things which on the face of it are rather tactless, like he doesn’t want kids. Who says that around a pregnant lady? I can only think his antipathy towards Steve, an innocuous high school teacher, makes him act childishly. The only person who gets told the truth right away is Sara, Kaitlyn’s best friend and MD. She’s Rafe’s sister. What a stress to lay on a doctor! To my mind the emphasis on the possibility of a single woman bringing up her child is overdone; there is no reason the employed single man shouldn’t provide for his offspring. I have to think the generally responsible townsfolks would think badly of an absent father too, so his social standing would drop. I do understand that Kaitlyn’s hormones are all over the place and she hasn’t been planning this change. Then there’s the stress of telling everyone. Well, what’s a little gossip and family pressure.

A sub-plot is that Kaitlyn hopes to enter a cookie baking contest, but can’t find an old family recipe. Christmas is just the time for baking, with spicy scents rising on the heat from the oven. Picking out a Christmas tree and strolling past the main street shops, our characters tick off the right notes and yes, they grow up in a hurry. Miranda Liasson demonstrates in ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU that some people don’t change until a situation means they need to change. This is a highly enjoyable read for the modern lady. And after Christmas, that lady probably deserves to sit down with a good book.

Learn more about All I Want for Christmas Is You

SUMMARY

The award-winning author who writes with "humor and heart" (Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author) invites you to visit the charming small town of Angel Falls.

Being naughty was nice, but now these friends-turned-lovers are in for an unforgettable Christmas...

Just when Kaitlyn Barnes vows to get over her longtime crush on Rafe Langdon, they share a sizzling evening that delivers an epic holiday surprise: Kaitlyn is pregnant. And if that weren't life-changing enough, everyone assumes they're engaged -- a charade they must keep alive through the holiday season. But Kaitlyn knows Rafe better than anyone, and Rafe settling down is about as likely as Santa skipping Angel Falls this year...

Rafe would rather Kaitlyn believe a lie -- that their night together was a fling -- than face his own dangerous truth: he's falling for her, hard. After a devastating loss, Rafe swore he'd never risk his heart again. Yet the longer they pretend to be engaged the more Rafe starts to want the real thing. But now he has to convince Kaitlyn he wants to be by her side -- and their baby's -- for all the Christmases to come.

Includes the bonus novel Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains!

Excerpt

The Angel Falls legend says that any couple who kisses in front of the angel statue and throws money into the falls, will have true love forever…

“All proceeds from photos this month go to the shelter party for Christmas presents for the kids,” Mary said, wielding her camera like a weapon. So how about puckering up for charity?”

“For charity,” Rafe said. “Of course.”

“Of course,” Kaitlyn said, as Rafe slid his arm around her back. And oh, she felt his warmth, right through her coat. The dangerous warmth that she was afraid to feel.

“This has gotten out of hand,” she whispered in Rafe’s ear. “We really should say something.”

“Yeah,” he said, staring at her lips and sounding very unconcerned. “We’ll clear everything up…later.”

She didn’t protest. She was too busy staring right back at his nice full lips too. Wait. What was she doing? What were they doing, buying trees and ornaments, walking around holding hands, and now this? And was it wrong to want to keep that magic going just a little while longer?

Mary positioned them so that the statue was directly behind them. Rafe still had his arm around Kaitlyn. If only she could have a little breathing room so she could think, because everything was so muddled in her head.

Suddenly there was the sound of money hitting the ground, pinging and scattering at their feet. A quarter hit one of the iron posts on the bridge and ricocheted into the water.

“Oh-oh,” Kaitlyn said. They all knew the legend: drop in some money, kiss your honey, true love forever, yada yada.

Rafe looked down, searching for the source of the change.

Kaitlyn blushed. “Some change just fell out of my coat pocket,” she said. She didn’t say both pockets had holes, because he’d have a field day with that.

“You don’t have to kiss me,” she rushed on to say. “After all, that quarter plunged right into the falls, just to let you know.” She pretended to laugh, but for some reason she wasn’t finding anything funny.

“I don’t care about the folklore,” Rafe said. “But I do care about kissing you.” He tugged her closer and, smiling, he looked around, scanning something behind her head.

“What are you looking at?” she asked.

“Just making sure no other Christmas trees are about to fall on us.”

She couldn’t help laughing. Rafe was so…ridiculous. Funny. Unexpected. Wonderful. Yes, sometimes he was just wonderful.

“Did you say a quarter fell in?” Mary asked. “They say you need two for the legend to count.”

Kaitlyn could feel her face turning red from embarrassment, but Rafe just chuckled. Probably because Mary always did her best to increase donations for the city treasury.

At Kaitlyn’s feet, perched precariously on the edge, Kaitlyn suddenly caught the glint of another quarter winking up at her, the water under the bridge rushing and gurgling as it ran over the falls. Impulsively, she scooted her boot closer to the cement edge of the bridge and let the other quarter tip in. It was a crazy thing to do, she knew. And she must be out of her mind for doing it. She blamed her crazy behavior on all the confusion she was feeling.

“Smile now, kids!” Mary said, holding up her camera. “Say ‘onesie!’”

* * *

Then suddenly Rafe was leaning in, Kaitlyn’s heart skittering as it always did at his nearness. She let her gaze drift upward, thinking how tall and handsome he was, and how somehow the story he’d told about his past had changed everything between them. And despite the fact that she was pretty freaked out about it, she felt something else she hadn’t felt in a long time…a sense of wonder. Of awe. Of…happiness.

Was that what she was so afraid of?

Rafe smiled a devilish smile, curled a hand around the back of her neck, and pulled her in. His hands were cold but his lips were warm and soft, and his kiss was slow and lingering without getting indecent in front of Mary. Kaitlyn couldn’t help but close her eyes and lean into him, his hard muscle, his strength, his warmth. Her head spun, her breath becoming ragged as the kiss took away her breath and her sense.

Then Mary’s flash went off and Kaitlyn remembered she was standing on a bridge with icy mist from the falls hitting her in the face. The white twinkly lights strung through the trees surrounding the bridge blurred with the stars, and she saw her whole world spin. When Rafe pulled back, his eyes were shining with mischief, but also something else. A tenderness she only recently learned to see. A crack in the walls that surrounded his heart.

She was suddenly filled with the need to tear down those walls whichever way she could to find the man who’d been in there all along.

“Oh my goodness!” Mary exclaimed. “No wonder you two are…um, expecting. That is some positively ferocious chemistry! Lordie, pass me a fan!”

The photo was cute and, sure enough, Kaitlyn’s foot was twisted just a little from nudging that final coin into the falls. But she would be the only person to ever notice such a thing.

For the first time in their relationship, she wasn’t squashing all her feelings down somewhere where she refused to feel them. She was daring to let them out. And it felt more than a little like they just might be two people falling in love.

 


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