THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE COLLECTION – Lori Wilde
Avon
ISBN: 978-0-06-213630-5
November 2013
Contemporary Romance

Twilight, Texas – Present Day

All but one of the four tales in this collection of short stories from The First Love Cookie Club series have been previously published, but since I hadn't read any of them, all are new for me. If you love a romance featuring reunited lovers, then THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE COLLECTION needs to be on your must read list.

Carrie


Most people have forgotten that Carrie MacGregor was married briefly to her high school sweetheart, Mark Leland, who is now a famous television personality. His show has come to Twilight to report on—or debunk—the myth about how throwing pennies into a local fountain helped high school sweethearts find their destiny and love. But Mark hasn't told his producer that he and Carrie were one couple who didn't find their happily-ever-after.

Carrie hates Christmas due to past heartbreak—losing Mark and her mother dying around Christmas—so she hopes to get through the holidays without having to explain why, or run into Mark. But her plans go awry when she meets Mark again. Is their love about to be rekindled? Will the lore of the town's legend soon change their lives?

In the story of Carrie , readers will understand Carrie's feelings, yet the heat rises the moment her gaze locks with Mark. Mark regrets he had to give up Carrie, but even though their romance has never died, has too much happened between them for any chance at happiness?

Rayene


A year ago at Christmas, Raylene's husband, Earl, walked out on her when she revealed that long ago she had given birth to a daughter she then gave up. A couple of weeks before Christmas, a stranger comes into Raylene's bar and asks her if she's looking for help. Raylene hires her, but there is something about the woman that intrigues her.

Shannon Dugan only recently learned that her mother, Raylene, was alive and living in Texas and she's prepared to confront her, but decides instead to hide her true identity and get a chance to understand why she was abandoned. Meanwhile, Nate Deavers is a regular at the bar and is instantly attracted to Shannon. He notices that she's acting mysteriously and wonders what she's up to.

Earl was Raylene's high school sweetheart, but a temporary breakup while she was a teen led to her getting pregnant with another man's child. She'd never told Earl, and he left her when he found out. Will Earl return to Raylene as Christmas approaches? Will Shannon reveal to Raylene that she is her daughter—and can the two start a mother-daughter relationship? What about Nate and Shannon? Will the attraction lead to more than a few kisses? A multitude of questions that will definitely will be answered in Raylene .

Christine


Once a promising runner, Christine Noble now owns a bakery in Twilight but is thinking about her future—one that includes a child. She recently learned that due to the tragic accident that ended her running career that she can't carry a baby, so her heart is heavy as Christmas approaches. A chance encounter with her high school crush, Eli Borden, leads to more than friendship.

Eli has his hands full as the widowed father of four young children, but he enjoys being around Christine, the one woman he's never forgotten from high school. She is wonderful with children, but what woman would want to take on a man with four of them, especially when one is a surly teenager? Yet, the sizzling attraction Eli and Christine once felt for each other in high school reignites and the two wonder if there can indeed be a future for them.

Christine thinks of herself as “damaged goods” since she can't get pregnant and feels Eli wouldn't want her as a potential wife. But they are good together and his kids—save for the oldest—like her, so what's the hold up in Christine ? Their relationship starts out rocky, but soon it's smooth sailing for them.

Grace


The shortest (and newest) tale in THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE COLLECTION is Grace , the headliner who's about to be a Christmas baby. Flynn and Jesse Calloway are looking forward to the impending birth, but it's Christmas Eve and they have a few stops to make delivering baskets to needy families. But Jesse's checkered past (at least by the cops) finds him being taken away during a traffic stop just as they are headed home. Flynn attempts to drive home alone, but an ice storm has her sliding off the road—just as the baby lets her know she wants to be born. Will Jesse reach Flynn in time to deliver his little girl safely?

Flynn and Jesse's tale was first told in THE SWEETHEART KNITTING CLUB, so this is less about finding romance than reaffirming it—all with the harrowing experience that surrounds the arrival of baby Grace. Was it fate that finally led Jesse to rescue Flynn just as the baby arrived? Find out for yourself in Grace .

Four tales of love, hope and happiness that are the perfect recipe for a feel good Christmas read in THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE COLLECTION.

Patti Fischer