12 Stocking Stuffers [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Anne Stuart & Beverly Barton & Maggie Shayne
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Get out the mistletoe! Twelve days of Christmas ... twelve stories filled with the magic of holiday romance ... perfect reading for a snowy winter's day. Bundle includes Faith, Hope and Love, The Christmas Bride, Christmas Passions, A Seasonal Secret, Return of the Light, Star Light, Star Bright, Naughty or Nice?, Christmas Fantasy, A Christmas Marriage Ultimatum, A Prince for Christmas, The Millionaire's Christmas Wish and Merry Christmas, Baby
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Special Releases
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2007
19 Reader Ratings:
Faith Sheridan locked the door to Toddle Town Day Care, the business she had opened in February, only a few short weeks after her recovery from hypothermia and pneumonia nearly ten months ago. With a bank loan, cosigned by Margaret Tompkins, and seventy-five percent of her savings, Faith had purchased a downtown building that had once housed a dry goods store that had gone out of business a couple of years ago. Located on Hickory Avenue, a back street in Whitewood, the two-story building was ideal. Her office and nursery were upstairs, where the infants were kept away from the toddlers on the ground level. Out back Faith had cleared off the empty half lot and put in playground equipment.
Opening a day-care center had seemed the perfect choice for Faith since her background was in child care; plus she had the added bonus of being able to keep Hope with her all the time. But today, her baby daughter was running a fever and she couldn't risk exposing the other children to what the doctor had said was a twenty-four-hour virus. Luckily Lindsey Dawson had become like a grandmother to Hope, as had Margaret, and today Lindsey was looking after Hope.
Life wasn't perfect, but Faith was content. She had a new business that was thriving, good friends all around her in Whitewood and best of all, four-month-old Hope. Her baby was the absolute joy of her life. But despite everything being well with her, she hadn't forgotten Worth Cordell. How could she, when Hope was a living, breathing reminder of the man Faith still loved? She never talked about Worth anymore, not to Lindsey or Margaret—and certainly not to Jody, who was convinced Worth Cordell was a low-life scum.
As Faith headed toward her car, the November wind whipping chillingly all about her, she paused on the sidewalk and glanced around at both sides of the back street already decked out in holiday gear; not quite as elaborately decorated as Main Street, but shimmering with white lights. And each shop door on Hickory Avenue held a festive wreath. Every year, the decorations went up earlier and earlier. Here it was a few days before Thanksgiving and already the town was in Christmas mode.
The turn-of-the-century reproduction streetlights cast a mellow golden glow over the entire scene. Since she kept the day-care center open until six-thirty and all the other shops on Hickory closed at five-thirty, she was quite alone. But she never felt afraid, not here in Whitewood. Their crime rate was one of the lowest in the state.
Hitching her shoulder bag higher, she reached inside her coat pocket for her car keys, then headed straight for the used SUV she'd bought from one of Lindsey's sons who lived in Columbia. The back seat held Hope's infant seat and an array of toys scattered about, even in the floorboard. She couldn't wait to pick up Hope and head straight home. She was unaccustomed to being away from her child all day and she longed to hold her baby in her arms.
Faith unlocked the driver's door of the Chevy Blazer. Just as she stepped up to get inside, someone grabbed her from behind. She gasped, startled by the unexpected hand on her shoulder. When she tried to turn to face the person, she felt something hit her on the head. For a couple of seconds her vision blurred. What was happening? Was she being attacked? She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. Oh, God, help me! Whoever had hit her was dragging her away from the car. She tried to struggle, tried to put up a fight, but she felt so weak. When she managed to squeak out a protest, something struck her head again.
Suddenly everything went black!
* * *
Worth Cordell finished the paperwork on his most recent assignment for Dundee's, pushed the print button on the computer and leaned back in his plush office chair as he waited for the information to print out. This job had lasted nearly a month and ended with the apprehension of a stalker who'd been obsessed with her college professor. The twenty-year-old coed had finally moved beyond threatening behavior to actually trying to kill the professor's wife. Worth had come damn close to taking the bullet meant for Marcia Hallmark.
After snatching the pages from the printer, he slipped them into a manilla file folder and laid it on his desk, then started to get up; but a sharp pain splintered through his bad leg. Hell! Leaning slightly to the left, he rubbed his thigh. The bullets he'd taken in that leg nearly a year ago had left him with a slight limp. For months after he'd been released from the hospital, he'd used a cane just to get around, but now, after endless therapy, he was about eight-five percent back to normal. He relied on the cane only when he'd been on his feet for too many hours and his limp grew decidedly worse. His life had pretty much returned to normal, but he'd have both the scars and the limp to always remind him of what had happened. He'd taken three bullets—two in the leg and one in the side—when a crazed fan had decided to become famous attempting to kill a rock star who had been in Atlanta for a concert.
"Worth Cordell," Dundee office manager, Daisy Holbrook, called as she knocked on the door, then stuck her head into Worth's office. "Mr. McNamara wants to see you right this minute. It's urgent."
Worth rose to his full six-four height, nodded to Daisy and said, "Tell him I'll be right there."
"Will do." Daisy beamed that thousand-watt smile of hers and scurried away.
The young woman ran the Dundee office in downtown Atlanta with unequaled efficiency and had for the past year, since she'd been hired to replace the retiring former office manager. Daisy had been the first employee that new Dundee CEO, Sawyer McNamara, had hired when Sam Dundee had asked Sawyer to take over the top job when Ellen Denby married and left the business. Sawyer was the right kind of guy to run Dundee's. He was smart, shrewd, and hard-nosed, as well as fair-minded. He was a no-nonsense type of man who instilled confidence and loyalty in his employees. Well, everyone except Lucie Evans. Worth had thought one of two things would happen when Sawyer took over the reins: either Lucie would resign or Sawyer would request her resignation. The two had been former FBI agents and the animosity between them apparently had deep roots. No one in the business knew the particulars; they only knew Lucie and Sawyer didn't like each other. But to everyone's surprise Lucie remained a Dundee agent and despite an occasional flare-up between the two, Sawyer and she somehow managed to coexist whenever they were both at the downtown office.
Copyright © 2007 Harlequin Books S.A.