Tag Archives: #Christmasread

A Christmas Stranger – K.M. Lowe – new release. Check it out!

Title – A Christmas Stranger Author – KM Lowe

Editor – Karen Sanders

Designer – Francessca Wingfield

Genre – Contemporary romance A Christmas Stranger

A chance encounter with a stranger might just change two lives forever. Going home to Scotland for Christmas is the only thing Ilythia prides herself on doing at Christmas. Family gatherings, eating and drinking too much, and crashing on the couch with games is her idea of heaven at this magical time of year. Until her plans are destroyed. A cancelled flight, cancelled plans, and stuck in New York with no family is her idea of hell…but her path collides with a stranger and things don’t look as dull. Damon hides from Christmas. Nothing about the festive season is remotely happy for him. Give him work to hide away in the shadows with any day. Alone is where he’s happiest. However, when Ilythia and Damon meet for the first time, sparks fly, temperatures soar, and the chemistry is off the charts. Will Damon and Ilythia be able to change their way of thinking, take a walk on the wild side, and enjoy a different Christmas?

Amazon U.K – https://amzn.to/3H8KADA

Amazon .com – https://amzn.to/3kgYPfp

Goodreads – https://bit.ly/3ocKCS3

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/…/a-christmas-stranger-by-km-lowe

Contact The Author Facebook – www.facebook.com/authorkmlowe

Twitter – www.twitter.com/KMLOWE86

Instagram – www.instagram.com/author_k.m_lowe

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/KMLOWe

TikTok – @kmlowe86

Still looking for that ideal Christmas gift for the book lover in your life?….

Make this Christmas a Silver Lake Christmas

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

***** Long Shadows, book 5 in the series is coming 14 February 2021 *****

Have you got Christmas all wrapped up yet?

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It’s that time of year where your life is ruled by lists – gifts still to buy, food to buy, gifts to drop off, friends to visit ….. I could go on and on but you get the picture.

I decided to throw extra chaos into my Christmas preparations by heading off on a mini-UK tour doing 3 rock shows (more on that story another time) so life has been super busy over the last few days.

But, for this week, I’ll keep it short and simple.

Books make great last-minute gifts!  And they are a great shape to wrap and make the perfect present, especially if its all topped off with a festive bow.

If you’ve asked for a Kindle for Christmas, they are also quick and easy to download.

So, in case you’ve missed them, here’s a few links to help with that last-minute gift idea or to treat yourself to a good read to chill with on Boxing Day.

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Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

 

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Amazon.com links –

Impossible Depths https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Amazon.co.uk links –

Impossible Depths https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

 

31068-53 (2)

 

 

Amazon.com links –

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Plus there’s the recently released Shattered Hearts

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Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Amazon.co.uk.link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

And let’s not forget about Ellen

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Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

You can never have too many books!

 

 

 

 

A Little Christmas Eve Tale…

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Happy Christmas Eve, folks. Amidst the chaos of shopping and wrapping and cooking I hope you find time to enjoy this festive tale.

When I was seeking inspiration for this week’s blog I decided to use a writing prompt and to come up with a festive short story instead of a blog moaning about the mania that surrounds Christmas shopping. The prompt words I chose were  “a party dress and an ugly sweater.”

And here’s the result….    happy reading and a very Merry Christmas when it comes.

love and hugs to you all

Coral

 

A Party Dress, An Ugly Sweater And A Christmas Surprise

“How did I let myself get talked into this?” she asked her reflection in the mirror.

She hated Christmas parties, hated corporate Christmas parties even more. She hated getting all dressed up. She hated feeling as if she was on display. And boy when she walked into that function suite would she be on display!

Amid flurries of snow, she had arrived deliberately early, checked into her room under an alias and then spent all afternoon sitting gazing out of the huge picture window at the view of the beach and the ocean. How she longed to walk along the sand but she daren’t risk bumping into anyone who would recognise her. She had procrastinated all afternoon until at five o’clock she surrendered that she had to start getting ready.

Now, two hours later, she was sitting at the dressing table gazing into the mirror.

Her midnight blue dress was a perfect fit, it’s empress line flattering to her figure. A narrow diamante outline accentuated her full breasts, the deep V of the neckline revealing just enough cleavage. Her long sun-bleached hair had been coaxed into soft ringlet curls. Her make up natural, the eyeshadow emphasising the blue of her eyes.

Behind her on the bed lay her silver evening purse and her phone. A green flashing light indicated she had a least one message. Her heart told her it was from him.

Lifting the hem of her dress, she slipped her feet into her silver ballet pumps. Common sense had overruled her love of spike heels and she had reluctantly packed her flats in her suitcase that morning.

Taking a deep breath, she gazed one last time into the mirror.

“It’s now or never,” she said to her reflection.

As she crossed the room to lift her phone, her gaze fell on the chair by the window and the ugly sweater she had been curled up in all afternoon. His ugly sweater.

She’d had it since Easter. She’d had it since the last time she’d seen him before he left to go on tour. She’d had it since they had spent a blissful week together in this very hotel, spending most of it in bed together hiding from the paparazzi. Every time they had left the hotel to enjoy a walk along the beach, they had been followed. Every time they had gone out to dinner, they had been followed. After three days they had given up and stayed in their hotel room, a penthouse suite, and lived off sex and room service.

On their last morning together, he’d wakened her before five, instructed her to wear his big ugly sweater then, with baseball caps pulled down low to hide their faces, they had crept out of the hotel to walk along the beach to watch the sunrise. They had sat snuggled together on the sand watching the first light of dawn and marvelled together at the splendour of the colours of sunrise. They had kissed. They had promised to keep in touch daily. They had promised to meet up at the record label’s Christmas party.

He had left a few hours later to tour Europe, Asia and Australia for eight months. She had re-joined her band, finished their US tour then headed into the studio to record their fourth album. Closeted away in a remote mountain studio she had kept out of the public eye. It had kept her out of sight of the paparazzi who hounded her.

She had kept her promises to him. They had messaged daily. They had spoken most days as their schedules and time differences allowed. There had been a few brief Skype calls too. Every call ended the same way.

“Counting the days till December 23rd.”

Now, here she was back in the hotel keeping her final promise.

With her hand trembling, she picked up her phone. The message was from him. In fact, there were six of them. The last one read “It’s December 23rd. Where are you? I thought we had a date, angel?”

Guilt washed through her for ignoring her phone all afternoon.

“On my way down. See you in a few minutes. X” she typed quickly before nerves got the better of her.

She slipped her phone and the key card into her purse then glanced round the room. Her eyes lingered on the ugly sweater and she smiled anxiously, wishing she was still wrapped in its warmth.

Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, she smoothed out the soft fabric of her dress and left the room.

 

The hotel’s main function suite was crowded, a veritable sea of tuxedos and ball gowns of every shade. Wearing his own newly purchased tux, he stood at the bar keeping an eye on the doorway, hungry for his first sight of her.

With a smile he remembered the last time he had visited the hotel, recalling the days secreted away in his suite. His loins twitched at the memory. The key card to the same suite was in his pocket and, ever the optimist, he hoped they could pick up where they’d left off. In his other pocket his fingers played anxiously with a small token that he had bought for her. In his mind, he had the entire weekend mapped out, including Christmas morning.

Suddenly he saw her.

For a few seconds she paused in the doorway, her sapphire blue eyes scanning the room. She looked stunning. Unlike the other celebrities that filled the room, her beauty looked natural. He caught a glimpse of her bare tanned shoulders, nothing fake about her skin tone.

Setting his drink down, he made his way through the guests to greet her.

 

A wave of anxiety swept through her as she entered the crowded room. Already around her she could hear the whispers and feel all eyes on her.

Where was he?

She turned her back on the room, ready to retreat to the hotel foyer when she heard his voice.

“Anna.”

Taking a deep breath, she turned round and found herself face to face with him.

“Anna!” he exclaimed.

“Ben,” she whispered, forcing a nervous smile.

“You’re….” he began lost for words and struggling not to state the obvious. “Pregnant.”

“Just a bit,” replied Anna with a nervous giggle.

“Pregnant?” he repeated loudly no longer able to hide his shocked expression.

Around them their fellow guests were staring. A small space had opened up around them.

“Eight and a half months pregnant to be exact,” said Anna struggling to remain calm. “I didn’t know how to….”

“No!” he yelled sharply. “No. No. No.”

“Ben?”

“This wasn’t meant to happen, Anna.”

The words were out before his brain had thought them through.

Her blue eyes filled with tears. Without another word, she fled from the room.

 

The crowd closed in around him and before Ben could push his way through Anna had vanished. Pacing the foyer, searching for her, he cursed himself for being so stupid, so insensitive. She was nowhere to be seen. Knowing that she wouldn’t have returned to the party, he figured she’d have gone to her room but which one was she in? Hoping that his celebrity charm would work, Ben approached the reception desk to check which room Anna was in. His enquiry was met with a strict “guest confidentiality” reply. Resorting to the “don’t you know who I am?” card, Ben tried to coerce the information from the receptionist.

“Mr Storm, I know who you are but I still can’t tell you which room a guest is staying in. I suggest you call your friend and have her meet you.”

Angrily he turned away from the desk before he vented his frustrations on the girl.

A flash of colour caught his eye over by the entrance. He’d know that pattern anywhere! It was the sweater Anna had pinched from him. By the time he reached the front steps of the hotel, she’d vanished from sight into the cold dark December night. He had to find her! Slowly he walked down the white polished steps of the plush ocean front hotel, trying to decide which way she would have gone. Beach? It was the obvious answer but would she venture down there in the dark? Would she risk going down there alone and pregnant at night? In his heart he knew she would.

 

Tears were blinding her as she stumbled along the beach in the dark. Cold sand had filled her silver pumps within seconds of fleeing from the hotel. She had known Ben would be surprised but she had never imagined the horrified look on his face that she had seen when he saw her bump. She knew she should’ve come clean and told him about the baby months ago but she hadn’t been able to find the right words at the right time. Their relationship had barely been four months old when she’d fallen pregnant; their schedules for the year had already been packed with work commitments leaving little room to spend time together.

A sharp pain in her side caused her to stop. Breathing heavily after practically running from the hotel, Anna carefully lowered herself down onto the soft sand. She’d been lucky to enjoy an easy healthy pregnancy so far but with less than two weeks to go to her due date her baby bump was huge and low and heavy. At her last pre-natal appointment earlier in the week she had been warned that the baby could come at any time. Sitting cross legged, facing the ocean, Anna focussed on her breathing in an effort to calm herself down. Stress and anxiety weren’t good for her or the baby. She could feel it shifting restlessly and a few strong kicks thumped into her already tender ribcage.

Rubbing her swollen belly, Anna whispered, “Sorry, little bean. Daddy wasn’t exactly thrilled to see us.”

Fresh tears flowed down her cheeks as she listened to the waves crashing in onto the beach in dark.

 

There she was! He breathed a sigh of relief, marvelling at how far along the beach she had come in such a short space of time. In the pale moonlight, she was a picture of fragile beauty. Even from this distance he could tell she was crying. He knew he was the cause of those tears and he felt consumed by guilt. Stress couldn’t be good for her or the baby and he hated that he’d caused it. She looked cute wearing his ugly sweater over her chiffon dress. With a smile forming on his lips, he gazed at her large baby bump. It looked like a leftover Halloween pumpkin resting in her lap from this angle. Then it hit him…. that bump was his baby, his son or daughter. In a few days he’d be a daddy. Subconsciously, he found himself hoping it was a little girl.

He was going to be a daddy…. if Anna would let him.

 

“Anna?”

She hadn’t heard him approach and looked up like a startled rabbit.

“I’m sorry. I acted like a total jerk back there,” he apologised softly. “Can we talk?”

Silently, she nodded.

Gracefully, he sat down on the sand beside her then reached out to touch her hand that was resting on top of her firm belly.

“You ok?”

“Not really,” she replied, her voice barely more than a whisper. “I should’ve told you but I didn’t know how. Everything was so good between us. I didn’t want to ruin that. The longer I left it, the harder it got.”

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“I don’t know. I never asked.”

“Guess we’ll find out soon,” he said putting his arm around her shoulders. “I am so sorry about earlier. I had this whole holiday worked out in my head. Had it all planned. That plan’s been what’s been keeping me going these last few weeks. The tour’s been tough. Seeing you. Seeing you pregnant… well, I guess I panicked. Over reacted.”

“Are you still mad at me?” asked Anna gazing up at him with tear filled blue eyes.

“No, angel, I’m not mad at you. I’m pissed at myself for not realising, for upsetting you, for embarrassing you back there.”

With a giggle, she said, “I’m guessing our social media feeds have lit up like a Christmas tree.”

“Probably,” agreed Ben. “But I don’t care. Let them talk. I just want you to be ok. Want us to be ok.”

“You sure you still want to be seen with me like this?” she asked, her hint of sarcasm not lost on him.

“Forever.”

“I don’t want to be pregnant forever,” she said, smiling at him. “I’m about done with carrying this little bean around.”

“How does it feel? I mean, isn’t it strange to have a little human in there?”

Taking his hand, she pressed it to her belly then moved it a little lower. His eyes widened as he felt the baby, their baby, kick for the first time.

“Wow!”

“Quite something isn’t it?”

He nodded as the baby kicked out again.

Together, they sat in silence, listening to the waves.

 

Beside him, Anna began to shiver. A quick glance at his watch told him they’d been sitting there for hours. It was after eleven.

“Let’s head back,” suggested Ben. “You’re cold.”

Reluctantly, she nodded then allowed him to help her to her feet. As she shook the sand from her dress, he smiled at how beautiful she looked. Everything about Anna was always perfect and it didn’t surprise him that she had grown a perfect, if larger than average, rounded baby bump.  In the moonlight she looked like a goddess.

With his arm protectively around her waist, they walked slowly back towards the hotel.

As they had both feared, the paparazzi were still swarming about the front of the hotel. Hand in hand, the celebrity couple stared straight ahead and walked purposefully through the sea of flashbulbs, ignoring the cries of “Anna!”, “Reuben!”, “When’s the baby due?”, “Anna, is it Reuben’s?”

By the time they crossed the foyer and reached the elevator, there were fresh tears in Anna’s eyes and she was trembling.

“You ok, angel?” asked Ben as the doors of the elevator closed. “You’re safe now.”

“I just hate getting caught like that by those guys. I can just see the headlines now,” she said forcing a smile. “Comes with the territory though I guess.”

Anxiously Ben watched as she placed her hand under her bump as if she were holding it up.

“You sure you’re ok?”

“I’m fine. Baby’s fine,” she assured him. “You might be surprised to hear that this bump is quite heavy to carry around. I’m tired. It’s been a long day.” She paused then said, “We’ve passed my floor.”

“Have we?” said Ben trying to act innocently. “Guess we’ll just need to go to my room then.”

“Ben, I’m exhausted,” protested Anna softly.

“Spare me an hour, angel. Half an hour even. Please?”

“Half an hour then I’m going to bed.”

“Deal.”

As if on cue, the elevator stopped and the doors opened. Slowly Ben led her along the short corridor to the door of his suite. He slipped his hand into his pocket to check if his gift for her was still there. It was. Chivalrously, he opened the door then stood aside to allow Anna to enter first.

She gasped when she saw the room. It was beautifully decorated in silver and red. A huge Christmas tree stood by the window, several small beautifully wrapped packages stacked underneath it. Beside the couch sat a champagne bucket and two crystal champagne flutes.

“Did you have this all planned?” quizzed Anna as he guided her over to the sumptuous cream leather couch.

“I had something planned,” confessed Ben sitting down beside her. Resting his hand on her belly he added, “I think you win for surprises though.”

“You sure you’re ok about…” her question was lost as Ben’s lips me hers.

He kissed her slowly and passionately, trying to ignore the hardening bulge in his pants. Sex would have to wait he suspected. She tasted so good though. Seeing her in the glittering fairy lights of the room made her even more desirable. All he wanted to do was make love to her on that leather couch.

Digging deep for some restraint, Ben said, “Champagne?”

“I shouldn’t,” replied Ann, rubbing the side of her bump. “Oh, what the hell! Half a glass can’t hurt, right?”

“I’d say it was medicinal in the circumstances.”

Glancing at the time, Ben noted he was right on cue with his original plan. Expertly he opened the chilled bottle of Moet and part filled both glasses.

Right on the stroke of midnight, he handed her the flute.

“Happy Christmas Eve, beautiful,” he toasted, raising his glass to hers.

“Happy Christmas Eve,” she echoed, aware of a sudden sharp tight feeling across her stomach.

Taking a sip from the glass, Anna noticed something at the bottom of it. Squinting through the bubbles she saw it was a diamond ring.

“Ben?”

Moving to kneel in front of her, Ben cleared his throat, took her hand in his and said softly, “Will you marry me, Anna?”

Tears filling her eyes, Anna said “Yes,” as she felt a weird popping sensation then a wetness spreading between her thighs. Just as a contraction began to build, she added, “But I think we’re about to have a baby first. My waters just broke.”

“What?”

“Ben, we’re having a Christmas baby.”

Laughing, Ben raised his glass, “Who needs wise men with gold, frankincense and myrrh. We’ve got gold, champagne and sand.”

“And your ugly sweater,” giggled Anna.

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