Thursday, October 14, 2021

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Gingerbread & Jingle Bells by Caro Carson

Title: Gingerbread & Jingle Bells
Author: Caro Carson
Publication Date: October 12th 2021
Print Length: 74 pages
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
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You never get a second chance at a first kiss…

Eve Richards has made every sacrifice to become a rising corporate executive in the big city–until this December. Her grandmother needs help running the family bakery, so Eve is finally taking her unused vacation to return to her small hometown to count cookies instead of corporate cash.

Eve isn’t the only person returning to town. Her childhood sidekick, the recipient of her very determined (but fairly disastrous) first-ever attempt at a kiss, has returned as well. Daniel Shepherd, the once-shy boy from England, is now the town’s swoon-worthy new veterinarian. Grandma’s obvious matchmaking attempts are as mortifying as the memory of the awkward kiss that ended their friendship so many years ago, but the more time Eve spends with Daniel, the harder it is to resist the temptation to take a second chance at that first kiss.

But Daniel has come back to Masterson to put down roots; Eve will be gone after the holiday rush at the bakery. Nothing good could possibly come from letting herself fall for the man who was once her best friend.

A kiss before Christmas could be the key. Will it be the sweet ending to their childhood story…or will Eve risk everything for the chance to turn her first love into a forever love?

A heartwarming wintery romance from a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award winner, set in a wonderfully unique 1980s setting. Perfect for fans of sweet and sincere happily-ever-afters.

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EXCERPT:
Eve had been on her feet since six in the morning, but her good mood held as she went to turn the bakery’s Open sign to Closed. “It’s almost two, Grandma. I’ll lock the door.”

“Give it another few minutes. There might be someone else.”

“Who? Are you expecting somebody?” But as soon as Eve asked, a very good-looking man in polished boots and dark jeans came in the door, a cowboy all cleaned-up to come to town.

“Hullo, Evie.” But this cowboy had a British accent and wore an Irish fisherman’s sweater over those jeans, rather than a plaid Western shirt. Daniel looked so at home, yet just slightly exotic for a small town like Masterson.

Oh, heck. He’d turn heads in a big city like Pittsburgh, too.

Eve’s flushed-cheeks thing had to stop. She couldn’t spend her three-week visit turning red whenever her old schoolfriend walked by.

“Hi, Daniel. What can I get for you?”

“Nothing at the moment. Your grandmother’s expecting me.”

Grandma had to know he was here. The jingle bells had announced his arrival, yet she’d evaporated into thin air. Poor Daniel was being forced to talk to Eve instead, like it or not.

He had a cardboard box in his hand. “I told her I’d bring these over for you. My patients pay me in eggs fairly often.”

They weren’t ordinary eggs. Most of the eggs were beige and brown. The few white ones were petite, and two cream-colored ones were absolutely huge.

“Duck eggs,” Daniel explained. “Mrs. Henderson has decided to keep an entire flock.”

“I’ll bet they’re your favorite patients.”

“I like all of my patients equally well. Mrs. Alvarez’s snowball puppies are no more and no less delightful than Andy Ryan’s snake.”

“Wow. Your nose didn’t even grow an inch with that one, Pinocchio.”

“That’s because I did not tell a lie. Snakes are quite interesting creatures.”

“There’s no way you don’t have a soft spot for the ducks. I knew you too well, back in the day. You can’t have changed that much.”

“Don’t give away my secrets.” He placed his finger on his lips to indicate silence, but he winked at her. She caught a quick glimpse of that almost-dimple.

This was nothing like catching up with everyone else from school today. It felt more like picking up where she’d left off with a good friend, but that friend had gotten ridiculously attractive. Eve couldn’t seem to keep her guard up around Daniel for long, so those winks and smiles slipped right past the cool, calm public persona she’d polished as a professional. In short, being around Daniel knocked her off kilter.

She didn’t like it. In her real life, she was in charge of her career, her district, the associates who answered to her, of everything. She hadn’t thought anyone could make her feel like a gauche schoolgirl, not when she’d never been gauche as a schoolgirl, but this casually debonair man seemed almost out of her league.

It’s just Daniel Shephard from elementary school.

She reached for a childish topic for a boy, not a man. “We never got my grandma to bake you a duck-shaped gingerbread cookie. Maybe I should make you one, for old time’s sake.”

“I’d love that.” This time, there was more than a hint of a dimple.

She needed to keep things under control. “It will make up for you being forced into that embarrassing dinner setup last night.”

“Embarrassing?” The dimple disappeared.

“Totally.”

His answering silence made her wish that Grandma would come out and say hello, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen. No doubt Grandma thought a marriage proposal might result from throwing Eve in front of a bachelor under age forty and leaving her there to make small talk.

Eve gave Daniel a little salute with the box of eggs and started edging toward the kitchen door. “I’ll just go give these to my grandmother. They’re so interesting. Eggs at my grocery store in Pittsburgh are just boring and white. Did I tell you that’s where I live now? In an apartment. With a balcony. I can see where all three rivers meet. I’m on the twenty-sixth floor. It’s a great view.”

Was she babbling?

Daniel nodded. “You didn’t have a chance to tell me while you were rescuing my gingerbread giant, but you know how small towns work. I got the full update upon my arrival in September.” He slipped his now-empty hands into the back pockets of his jeans, a movement that emphasized the breadth of his shoulders so nicely, Evie paused in her creeping escape to appreciate it.

“You always did want to live in the big city.” Daniel turned serious, as he had last night when he’d said I want you to say yes. “Not a lot of people do what they say they’re going to do in life, but I’m not surprised you did, Evie.”

It’s just Eve. She’d been gently correcting people all morning when they addressed her as if she were still in elementary school, but she didn’t say it to Daniel. There was something lovely about the way he said her old name. Maybe it was the accent.

Maybe it was the memories—the sweet ones. Not the awkward, embarrassing ones, the kind her grandmother seemed to determine to create more of with her matchmaking attempts.

The swinging door was at Eve’s back. With a little push of her butt, she backed through it. “Bye, now.”

She was a bigger chicken than the ones who’d laid these eggs.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Despite a no-nonsense background as a West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer, Caro Carson has always treasured the happily-ever-after of a good romance novel. After her military service, she worked in the healthcare industry with a Fortune 100 company, talking science with doctors who were rarely handsome bachelor Texans like the doctors in her books.
 
Now a USA Today bestselling author and RITA™award winner, Caro is delighted to be living her own happily-ever-after with her husband (who actually is a handsome Texan) and their two children. They live in the great state of Florida, a location which has saved the coaster-loving theme park fanatics a fortune on plane tickets.

"Caro Carson writes books that touch the heart; they're witty, wise, emotional and filled with intricately layered, fascinating characters." --NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne

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GIVEAWAY:
Win a $25 Amazon gift card!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Xpresso Book Tours assumes all responsibility with this giveaway.)

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16 comments:

  1. I am absolutely reading this book. The excerpt did it for me. Thanks for the great giveaway.

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  2. I really like this cover! It is so romantic!

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  3. What wonderful new book! Cheers on the blitz.

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  4. I love, love, love any book with the holidays as a background. Thank you for the chance to win.

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  5. The book sound terrific, Thanks for your great generosity. Linda May

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  6. David HollingsworthOctober 14, 2021 at 7:24 PM

    The cover is really cute.

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  7. Nice cover. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Reunion stories are my thing! Looks good!

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  9. How do you come up with a story line for your book-true life or made up

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  10. how much editing do you usually have to do? thanks

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  11. sounds like a fun one

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  12. I think the title of the book is very genuine and lovely. Great for a Holiday read for sure.

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  13. My daughter would enjoy this book

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