Title: Do You Believe in Santa? Evergreen Lane #1 by Sierra Donovan
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Miracles don’t just happen on 34th Street. They can happen right in your living room—if you’re willing to believe…
What grown woman claims to have seen Santa Claus? Mandy Reese, for one—on a very special Christmas Eve when she was eight years old. These days, Mandy works at a year-round Christmas store in Tall Pine, California, where customers love to hear about her childhood encounter with Saint Nick. But when Jake Wyndham arrives in town—charming, gorgeous, extremely practical—Mandy faces a dilemma. Deny what she saw, or let Jake think she’s sugarplum crazy?
Jake scouts hotel locations all over the country, but he’s never met anyone quite like Mandy before. Her warmth and sparkle are irresistible, but…meeting Santa? Really? Jake’s no Scrooge but he’s definitely skeptical. Then again, there are all kinds of things Jake never experienced until he came to Tall Pine. Like autumn snow. Mind blowing kisses. And the magic of falling head-over-heels, madly in love…
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About the Author
Sierra Donovan is a wife, a mother of two and a writer, though not always in that order. Her greatest joy is helping people find true love on the printed page. She is a firm believer in Christmas, classic movies, happy endings and the healing power of chocolate. Sierra’s first novel, Love On The Air, was a Holt Medallion finalist. Her 2014 Kensington debut, No Christmas Like The Present, won the Golden Quill Award for Sweet Traditional Romance. Her 2015 novel, Do You Believe In Santa? marks the beginning of Sierra’s new Evergreen Lane series.
Mandy had only been to Barrymore’s Steakhouse once before, on an ill-fated date a couple of years ago. Fact: still believing in Santa Claus at the age of twenty-two made even the former high school chess-club champion feel cool by comparison. He’d laughed at her. Then tried to backtrack. The evening had never quite recovered, and she hadn’t gone out with him again.
She wasn’t going to let that happen tonight.
If Jake stayed around very long, it was just a matter of time before he heard she’d seen Santa
Claus. But like Cinderella with her conjured dress and pumpkin coach, Mandy wanted at least one night of being normal. Of not trying to explain herself.
“That’ll be all. Thanks.” Jake handed the menus back to the waiter, a thirtyish blond man she didn’t recognize. It was the main reason she’d chosen this restaurant. At any of the places on Evergreen Lane, someone on the staff was likely to be an old classmate, or one of their siblings. It was a wonder that Mandy hadn’t known the girl who took their order at the Pine ’n’ Dine this afternoon.
“So, I promised you no shoptalk,” Jake said. “Tonight it’s your turn. Has Christmas always been a big deal for you?”
“Always.” If you only knew. “I know some people get tired of it. I’ve just never been one of them.”
“Oh, I think most people like Christmas. It’s just that for most people, once a year is enough.”
“You know, people say that to me all the time. But they still come into the store.” A smile touched her lips. “You did.”
“You’ve got me there.”
Jake had changed into a crisp white shirt with a deep brown tie and a tweedy light brown jacket. Almost like the kind of coat professors were supposed to wear, except that he looked way too young to be a professor. He managed to look dressy and casual at the same time. She knew he’d never been here before, but there was something in the way he sat back from the table that gave the impression of comfort.
Mandy picked up her water glass. “Here’s what I see every day. Some customers are like me. They love it right away. Then there are the ones like you. Their first reaction is, ‘What the heck?’ But they come in a little farther, like they’re trying to figure it out. They look around, they hear the music . . . and it usually happens. They get that Christmas feeling.”
Jake’s eyes glinted. “And they usually buy something.”
“Well, usually. But that’s not the point.”
“Sure it is. The store’s in business to make money.”
“Okay. But what do the customers get out of it?”
When he didn’t reply, she answered for him: “A little piece of Christmas.”
“You’re right. If a business doesn’t supply a benefit, it doesn’t stay in business. But for you, that little piece of Christmas is there twelve months a year. Doesn’t it get . . .”
“Less special? Not for me.” Mandy considered. “The way I see it, those other eleven months out of the year—they’re mine. When the whole world isn’t surrounded by Christmas, and people aren’t so busy getting stressed out about it, they come into The North Pole and just enjoy it. And I get to give them that.”
Jake nodded. He seemed satisfied. Maybe even impressed. “You win.” He picked up his glass of soda. “I’m not a total Scrooge, by the way.”
“Not many people are. It’s just easy to lose sight of Christmas when you’re right in the middle of it. What’s Christmas like for you?”
“Well, it’s the one day of the year I know I won’t be working.”
Mandy flinched. “Seriously?”