Monday, December 14, 2015

*Holiday Spotlight* A Christmas Homecoming by Melissa McClone

 Author: Melissa McClone
Genre: Romance
Published: October 25, 2015
Pages: 206


A kiss is just a kiss… 

Unless it’s under the mistletoe. 

Ellie Smith is determined to make up for Christmases past by spreading holiday cheer throughout the Bar V5 dude ranch, but tech “bah, humbug” billionaire, Josiah Whittaker, refuses to bask in the spirit of the season. 

Unwilling to let the geek-to-gorgeous Josiah win, Ellie plans to give him a Christmas he’ll never forget. But after a simple kiss under the mistletoe, Ellie and Josiah both start questioning everything. Can Christmas really bring the gift neither one of them were expecting: true love?


Ellie Smith stood in front of Room 104, holding a tray. Cookies and milk were typical of the welcome treats given on check-in day, but Nate had never asked her to “report back” on a guest after she finished her delivery. Special treatment for Mr. Josiah Whittaker? Most likely. And not surprising. He was the Bar V5’s first billionaire guest. She couldn’t deny her curiosity. He’d been her late brother Buck’s high school classmate and friend. The two boys had been opposites. Josiah was brilliant, but struggled socially. Her brother was everyone’s best friend, but barely made passing grades. Somehow, they’d found common ground, even with Buck’s illness. She knocked on the door. “Go away, Nate.” Only three words, but she recognized the pissed off tone. “Not Nate.” She used her sunshine and daisies voice that had calmed riled guests in the past. “Ellie, with housekeeping, Mr. Whittaker.” The ranch had a casual and laidback atmosphere compared to the fancy Graff Hotel in Marietta, but Meg Redstone Murphy, who was in charge of guest services at the Bar V5, had told Ellie to address guests with Mr., Mrs., or Ms. unless instructed otherwise. “I’ve got enough towels and pillows,” he said. Ellie blew out a frustrated breath. Why did everyone assume her only job was to deliver extra linens? No one noticed what she did unless something was missing or not working. But she hadn’t taken this job to receive compliments. “I’m glad you have what you need.” She spoke through the door, trying to raise her cheery tone by a factor of ten. “I have something special for you.” Silence. She stood there and waited. And waited. And waited. Ellie knocked again. No response. Stay or go? She ground the toe of her shoe against the floor. Hanging outside a guest’s door for more than a few minutes wasn’t first-class customer service. More like loitering or stalking. Footsteps sounded on the other side of the door. “Are you still here?” We aim to please at the Bar V5. She repeated the ranch’s motto, and then smiled. “Yes.” The deadbolt clicked. The door opened three inches, maybe four, enough to see a thin space between the doorjamb and the edge of the door. “Welcome to the Bar V5.” “There are a million other places I’d rather be than here.” His deep, gruff voice was a hundred and eighty degrees away from the shy, quiet geek she remembered. Ellie used to spy on him and her brother during their study sessions. The door opened wider. Oh, baby. Her mouth watered. Heat climbed up her neck. Talk about a hottie. This couldn’t be…him. Over six feet tall, he wore khakis and a forest green hoodie. His brown hair was messy as if he’d been sleeping. The ends curled, begging to be wrapped around a finger. Hers? She tightened her grip on the tray.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over thirty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.


What inspired you to become an author?
When I was growing up, I always kept a diary and liked to rewrite endings to the movies and shows I watched. My senior year of high school, I read my first category romance as part of an AP English assignment and was hooked. I knew then I wanted to write for Harlequin. I bought a book on How to Write a Romance, but then college got in the way. After I graduated I was still an avid reader, and one book made me decide to finally give it a real try!

I assume all authors also love to read, so what book inspired your love of reading?
I've read my entire life so hard to say, but I was totally addicted to the Trixie Beldon books and The Dragonriders of Pern series.

How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I wrote some during school for assignments, but my writing when I was younger wasn't stories as much as journaling other than a play our neighborhood performed when I was around 9. My first start to finish story was when I was twenty-four and decided to write a romance novel.

Who are some of your favorite authors now?
Stephen King, Nelson DeMille, George R.R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Barbara Freethy, C.J. Carmichael, Nora Roberts

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotter. I'm a former mechanical engineer and I like to know what's going to happen.

Are your characters based on people you know?
No. I may have taken a gesture or phrase I've heard but that's about it. Though many think I will be using them or tell me I should use them in books, but I much prefer creating fictional characters.

What are some of your writing rituals?
I like having iced tea, M&Ms and my cats with me. Unless I'm at Panera. I write there two mornings a week. I write in 20 minute sprints. During the breaks I will do something around the house or just relax for a few minutes.

How do other books influence your writing? 
They make me want to improve my craft and become a better writer. I'll read something and wish I'd written it!

How do you get motivated to sit down and write with all the real world interruptions?
It's hard, but I have no choice because writing is my job and how I earn money. My family comes first no matter what so when I do have a minute (sometimes I just get a few at a time) I write, no matter where I am. I don't watch TV. I rarely go to movies. Socializing with others if very limited. But it's the only way I can get the words down while still doing the other stuff that needs to be done around the house and with my kids.

Which one of your books is your favorite? 
That's like asking which one of my kids are my favorite. Each is different and I love them all.

If you could have a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be and why?
I would love to go to the mountains, any mountain with pine trees and snow, where there be quiet and no Internet or cell phone reception. That kind of solitude and lack of distraction is a boost to my creativity.

If your main character were an alcoholic beverage, which beverage would they be and why?
Josiah Whittaker would be a Whiskey Sour because a couple of the ingredients lemon juice and sugar seem to match his personality that needs to find balance.

If you could live in a fictional world, which world would you choose and why?
If it were one of my fictional worlds, it would be Hood Hamlet. I wrote a series featuring mountain rescuers on Mount Hood and it is so beautiful and welcoming, I'd go there in a second. Not to mention all the good looking guys who live there.

What’s the best way to hide a body?
No idea, but I know a couple of former military guys who have helped me with book research who would probably know and could help me.

This or That
Coke or Pepsi? Neither. I don't drink soda.
Paperback or e-reader? Paperback
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
Peeta or Gale? Gale
Edward or Jacob? Jacob
Money or love? Can't I have both?
Tattoos or bare? Bare
Hairy or smooth? Smooth
Call or text? Call
Hot or cold? Cold
Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? Lord of the Rings
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Halloween or Christmas? Christmas
McDonald’s or Burger King? McDonald's
Batman or Spiderman? Spiderman
Oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip? Chocolate chip

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