NIKKI LYNN BARRETT
Nikki Lynn Barrett lives in Arizona with her husband and son. She's an avid reader, a dreamer, and loves everything about books. She runs a book blog, an online used bookstore, and writes various genres of romance. Nikki can also be found outside with her camera when a storm is near, snapping photo after photo. Her dreams of becoming a writer started when she was young, when she started writing books in one subject notebooks by the fifth grade.
THE SECRET SANTA WISHING WELL
The magic of Christmas has been lost to Jacob Winston. At the suggestion of his ill sister, Jacob takes a job as a Secret Santa at the mall, hoping to restore his Christmas spirit. Even that doesn't seem to work, until a special little boy ambles up to make a very special wish...
Cheyenne Jensen is struggling to raise her two kids without the help of her ex-husband who refuses to acknowledge his daughter's existence and doesn't provide for the son he does. This Christmas is shaping up to be as heartbreaking as the last, until her son Ben's kind actions lead a stranger to them.
Ah, but it's Christmas time and the magic has begun.
When Jacob and Cheyenne meet, neither can deny their immediate attraction to one another. As situations arise that require they spend more time together, their feelings grow stronger and stronger.
With Christmas fast approaching, the pair learn what matters most in life. Now, if only they could ditch the ghost of Christmases past.
Maybe this holiday will bring some wishes come true- for everyone after all.
Cheyenne wasn’t sure where she should go. With all the equipment, she felt out of place. Desiree was settled comfortably in her swing, but at least she could move that out of the way. The doorbell rang again. That must be the other person Erin referred to. Cheyenne gasped in surprise when she pulled the door open and came face to face with Jacob.
“Hi! What are you- how did you-” Cheyenne couldn’t talk all of a sudden. Why was Jacob standing on her porch? How had he found her? She never imagined she’d see him again after the weekend. He picked the craziest moment to show up. “I’m sorry. It’s a little crazy right now.”
“I know all about it.” Jacob smiled, his voice easing her nerves. “I’m here for the interview.”
“You are? Why?” Cheyenne blurted. Oh yeah, that was sure classy. Cheyenne opened the door, gesturing for him to come in. It wasn’t until he was inside that Cheyenne noted a stuffed bear in his hands. Her cheeks heated, embarrassed. Could this day possibly get any stranger? It was bad enough she couldn’t shake the nerves for the interview, but now Jacob stood in her living room? The butterflies danced in her gut.
“Mr. Winston! There you are. We’re ready when you are,” the reporter said with enthusiasm. Ben turned, eyes round as saucers when he saw Jacob.
“Mr. Santa’s Helper! What are you doing here?” Ben grinned. Jacob got a better reception from Ben than Cheyenne had given him. What a goof! No wonder she didn’t date. She couldn’t even manage to make a man feel welcome. Blame it on the nerves and the distraction, sure, but she still didn’t know what to say to Jacob when he was around.
“Ben, Cheyenne. Jacob is the person that nominated Ben for the Eyes of a Child Award. I wanted him to be here for this event, as he must have been very inspired by you, Ben, to nominate you,” Erin said. “Okay, guys. Positions. We’re going to get ready to record. Just take my lead. You have nothing to be nervous about.” The woman’s gaze met Cheyenne’s. She must have sensed her worry. Cheyenne gave a small smile, following Jacob into the living room. Since Ben and Erin sat on the couch by the window, that left the love seat for her and Jacob. Cheyenne took the spot closest to Desiree’s swing. Jacob eased beside her.
Just a foot away from her or less. One of the cameramen walked over and set Jacob and Cheyenne up with tiny microphones that attached to their shirts.
ON THE 12TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS
After being mugged, Robin Sorenson is left shaken and her spirit in humanity is broken. Worse, she's not sure how to deal with the new anxieties or who to confide in, since she's always preached to pick oneself up and move on. Yeah, she's been the go to girl when anyone's had problems. Christmas is coming, and her belief in magic and miracles has faded.
Then Jonas comes back.
Jonas Aimes made a mistake when he walked away from Robin a year earlier. A big one. He'd loved her, always had and still does, but his desire to please his aging and strict parents took precedence. Back from the overseas internship they'd struggled to get him in, he plans on winning Robin back. What he didn't count on was discovering the shell of the vivacious woman he'd loved.
Remembering her love of Christmas, Jonas pulls the holiday heartstrings. What? All is fair and love and war, right?
Twelve days, Twelve Dates.
Robin is speechless when Jonas not only refuses to leave her alone, but dares her to accept his cheesy holiday-themed challenge. Twelve dates to give him a chance to prove that he loves her and is never leaving her again.
But in the season known for miracles, can Robin find the magic needed to open her heart and faith once more ... or will she forever wonder about the ghost of the Christmas past that could have been?
"Is it him?" Cheyenne whispered from behind her.
Robin nodded and focused, taking another picture. "Yup. I'm going to send him a picture text of himself." She giggled as she punched the appropriate buttons on her phone to do the task. "I don't know how soon he'll check it."
"Can I help you ladies?" A spiky haired, scrawny man stood behind them now, eyes narrowed. Robin straightened her spine. Ah, they must look a little suspicious.
"No. Just ready to embarrass my boyfriend." She cracked a grin. Whoa. She'd said boyfriend. Well, that made the most sense to tell the guy, as he already stared at them with a frown. He probably wondered what kind of mischief they were up to.
"Is he the Santa unknowingly having his picture taken by you?" The frown on the guy's face disappeared as the corners of his lips twitched.
"Absolutely. I just sent him the picture, too." Robin stuck her phone back in her pocket, stealing another glance over at Jonas. At any time, he would pull out his phone to pretend to check the time, when he'd really be peeking at his texts. At this time, there were no kids around him, as they all had scurried off with their families. Any second now. And boom. The moment she'd been waiting for. The quick sneak into his pocket, pulling the phone out slightly. Then he snapped his head up, searching his surroundings. She tried to back up and ended up bumping into Cheyenne, which caught them both off guard. That only caused a bigger distraction and Jonas caught sight of them. He smiled and waved.
"Well, he's on to you now." The guy smirked.
"Yes, I noticed that. We'll be going now. Have a great day." Robin tugged on Cheyenne's sleeve, pulling her away. They both burst into laughter as they approached Jonas. "That was a bit embarrassing," she whispered to Cheyenne, who nodded. Heat rushed to her cheeks. Cheyenne's were red as she stifled another giggle.
"Ho ho ho!" he said cheerfully. "Santa doesn't appreciate sneaky women taking pictures of him. You two are on the naughty list this year." His eyes sparkled with laughter as he couldn't take them off of Robin.
"I'm shaking in my boots." Robin shivered for effect. She looked him up and down. "You've gained a lot of weight since I saw you last. What in the world is in your diet?" She poked at his fake pudgy belly, laughing at the way he pushed her hand away.
"Hey! Santa does not appreciate naughty girls poking at his belly, either!"
"Boy, Santa doesn't appreciate much this year, does he? Have a little cheer! No more of your grumbling," Robin cracked, elbowing Cheyenne as they both laughed.
Jonas reached into his pocket and handed her a dime. "Here, why not make a wish? Then be on your merry old way and leave Santa to his work." A gentle laugh came from his lips. Robin knew he enjoyed this just as much as she did.
"Can I wish myself off the naughty list?" Robin batted her eyelashes at him, edging closer to the well and preparing to drop the coin in.
"It doesn't work that way, young lady. Santa loves the flirting, but you're still on the list," Jonas said close to her ear. How many more times could he get another shiver out of her?
"Darn." She feigned a sad face, then dropped the coin in after thinking of a wish. "Despite your pudgy belly, you make a really hot Santa." She backed away from him with a smile.
"Santa will be calling you with details for your second date." Jonas used a deep rumbling voice.
"I'll be looking forward to it. Have a good day, Santa." Robin waved at him. Her spirits lifted as she walked away with Cheyenne. A few feet away, they looked at one another and burst into laughter.
Robin made a vow to make the best of the holidays this year.