But that's now what I'm going to talk about today...as much as it pains me not to. Nope today I'm going to talk about the wonderful town of Holiday, Vermont.
What is Holiday, Vermont you ask?
Well, it’s a town I made up.
Is it based on a real town?
Why, yes it is. It's based on a small college town in Southern Utah at the base of mountain called Cedar City. It’s where I spent the first thirteen years of my life, and if Mr. Lire and I had our way, where we would be living now.
Where Holiday and Cedar City differ is in the fact that Cedar didn't go all out for the holidays like in Holiday. Which I have to admit sucks, but I fixed that in my town. Much to the annoyance of some of the residents of Holiday.
Namely Averie Baldwin, local school teacher. She hates the fact that her town goes all out and then some, but as the daughter of the former Mayor she didn't have a choice about participating in all the hoopla. So as soon as she could, she escaped. Now she's back and has been chosen to represent the local school district in the town’s annual holiday play.
In A Holiday Christmas (yes it's time for all the Christmas stories to start showing up) Averie discovers that with the right person the holidays, especially Christmas can be magical.
Now that I've caught your attention about her how about a sneak peek into her story?
Averie took a deep breath and opened the door to the mayor's office. She'd been praying to every deity she could think of that her name wouldn't be drawn out of the bowl. She didn't want to be the school district's representative in the however many annual Holiday Christmas production.
When she was a little girl she had loved the annual play. When she was a teenager she had tolerated it. Now that she was an adult she dreaded it.
Averie paused in the doorway and took in the various people in the room. She knew all of them, well, all but one, and she ignored him.
"Hi, everyone. Sorry I'm late. What did I miss?"
She took her seat on the opposite side of the room from the man who made her squirm every time he looked at her. He affected her like no one ever had, and every time she saw him her heart rap-tap-tapped. Not that she was interested in him, or any man for that matter.
Nope no men. Not for her.
She'd sworn off the entire species almost a year ago and hadn't looked back, except for those moments when she could swear he was looking at her. Then her entire body would tingle with awareness.
"You're just in time to find out the name of the play we will be performing this year…"
Averie smiled at the barely-contained excitement she could hear in the older woman's voice. Mrs. Bullock was her grandma's best friend and had been in charge of the play for as long as anyone in town could remember.
Averie caught her excitement and wrapped it around her like a warm coat on a cold winter day. As much as she didn't want to be in the play, she couldn't ignore the excitement in the air. She accepted the manila envelope with her copy of the script and waited like everyone else to be told when they could open it.
"And open them." Mrs. Bullock laughed as everyone pretended they were opening the envelopes at an award show.
Averie pulled out her script and that warm coat was ripped away from her body, leaving her standing in summer-weight clothing with freezing temperatures.
The Gift of the Maji.
She normally loved this story. But not this year.
Not when the only two people under the age of fifty working on the play were her and Officer Sexy.
She glanced around the room as the others talked about the play and who would do what. She caught the looks being passed between Mrs. Bullock and the mayor. If he mentioned pairing her up with the "I'm too sexy for my own good" cop, there would be words. And as the mayor hadn't won an argument with her in twenty years, she was fairly confident she wouldn't be starring opposite the officer in a Christmas love story.
Mrs. Bullock clapped her hands for everyone's attention.
"Ok then, we have a little more than three weeks to get this show ready. As it's a small cast we thought it would be nice if, Averie, you played the female lead, and Corey, you the male lead."
Averie kept her eyes glued to the script in her lap. She didn't want to see his reaction to playing opposite her.
The timbre in his voice sounded throughout her system, like hitting a note on the piano. He was the hammer and she the wire. How was this possible? The last time she'd seen him he was eighteen and she was fifteen, and only at a distance. Yet he affected her like no one ever had before.
"Good then. Averie my dear, exchange phone numbers with Corey and set up a time to go over the script. We'll have our first practice in three days."
Averie stayed in her seat as the room emptied, except for her, the mayor, and the man who threatened her vow of no men. She waited for him to approach her. If she attempted to stand and walk, she was afraid her legs would crumble beneath her and she would look weak and pathetic -- the very last thing she wanted to be in front of him.
"Hi, I guess we should exchange numbers."
Oh my, a shiver went through her body, and she clasped her phone so hard she was surprised it didn't break.
"Sure." She rattled off her number and watched as he input it into his phone. Open your mouth and say something, Averie, she thought. She opened her mouth, but shut it without uttering a single word. She had no idea what to say.
Her phone buzzed in her hand. She glanced at the screen and saw an unknown number.
"I texted you so you could have my number as well."
She resisted slapping her forehead in a duh moment.
"So when do you want to get together?"
He wanted her to think right now? That wasn't going to happen.
"I'm not sure what my schedule is like right now. Can I text you?" There, she didn't sound like an idiot.
"That's fine. If I don't answer leave me a message at the station.."
Call the police station. Was he insane? There was no way she was calling there and leaving a message.
"If you don't answer, I'll just leave a message on your voice mail."
"That works. I have to get to work so I'll talk to you later."
He said something to the mayor she didn't catch, before he left the office. When only she and the mayor remained, she stood and turned to face him. She put on her sit-down-and-listen-to-me teacher face she'd been told intimidated not just her second graders, but their parents as well.
"You better be careful with that face you're making, wouldn't want it to become permanent."
"You," she growled. "You are the worst big brother in the universe, do you know that?" She dumped her stuff on the chair she'd just vacated, and began to pace the length of the office.
The mayor -- a.k.a her pesky older brother -- leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on his desk.
"No, I'm not. I'm the best big brother in the universe."
"Really? Because you couldn't tell by me. You threw me under the bus with Mrs. Bullock."
"You supported her making me the lead."
His brow creased in confusion.
"How is that throwing you under the bus?"
She stopped her pacing in front of this desk, clenched her fists, tilted her head back to look at the ceiling and yelled, "Because I don't want to be in the damn play!"
Oh wow, that felt good, she thought.
"Since when do you not want to participate in the holiday play? You've always been a part of it." Averie could hear the confusion in Zach's voice. She knew he didn't understand why she didn't want to be a part of it. But she had her reasons.
"Yeah, I did when I was ten." There was no keeping the sarcasm out of her voice, not that she wanted to. "I can think of several things I'd rather be doing than being in this play."
"Like what? Moping around your townhouse? Not interacting with anyone?"
Averie ignored Zach. She'd never told anyone she hated the fact her family's Christmases were politically motivated. Maybe that was harsh. They weren't politically motivated, but her mother had been one of those "appearances matter" kind of people. She hated it.
Not that she could tell her family that. If she even mentioned hating all the crap her mother made them do during the holidays she would get a lecture on how her family was one of the oldest families in town, and it was their civic duty to participate.
They could take their civic duty and shove it up their civic asses.
"I'm not moping in my townhouse. I go out with my friends. I'm just not dating."
She didn't look at him as she gathered up her things and left.
Isn't she great? I think so. Do you want to see the blurb for the book? I thought you might.
There’s magic in the air this Christmas Season in Holiday.
Averie Baldwin wants nothing to do with men. But her family and friends are determined she won’t spend her first Christmas back in Holiday, Vermont alone. So far she’s managed to avoid all their attempts to set her up on dates. Until she’s chosen to represent the school district in the town’s annual Christmas play…with the sexiest man she’s ever seen.
Corey Evans has a job he loves, great friends and a loving, if interfering family, but something is missing. When Averie shows back up in town he knows exactly what he needs in his life. Her. Getting to know her however has proven difficult, until they are thrown together on the annual Christmas play.
And I can't wait for everyone to discover the spirit of Christmas (yes I know it's still October 1st) in Holiday.
A Holiday Christmas will be available on November 1st at all major e-retailers.
Because it is October I thought I'd give away a copy of Second Chance of Forever the first book in the Holiday, Vermont Series. All you have to do is tell me what you love about this time of year.
Heather Lire has traveled all over the world, speaks multiple languages, collects romance books like they’re going out of style, and has multiple book boyfriends. Ok, she hasn’t been all over the world, except in her mind. She does however speak multiple languages and collect romance books. Her long suffering husband and sons roll their eyes at all her book boyfriends. When she’s not busy traveling the world in her mind she can be found at one of her sons many sporting events and on twitter, where she talks about what else, romance books. She loves to hear what you think about her stories so please drop her a note and tell her. www.heatherlire.com