USA Today Bestselling Author
Small town Holly Point wasn’t big enough to hold the dreams of golden girl Maggie Benson. So when she left at eighteen, she flew right through college and into the adrenaline-pumping life of a navy fighter pilot. But without warning, a devastating crash destroys the career she loves and sends her back to her overly protective family to heal. Maggie can’t imagine how she can reconnect with the woman she was until the hot local high school basketball coach steps up to show her the way.
Former NBA star Will Fitzgerald knows how an injury can derail more than a career. Still, he’s happy with his life as a teacher and coach at Holly Point High School, until his quiet life is upended by the beautiful, brilliant, and hurting Maggie. Blindsided by the intense attraction, Will wonders if pursuing the woman of his dreams will answer the question of what’s been missing in his life.
Can Maggie trust enough again to let Will past her wounds, inside and out, so that they can both find the Christmas magic they’ve been searching for?
Fighter pilot Maggie Benson has returned to Holly Point after realizing she needed more. More than just therapy and pain. She needed a sense of normalcy, what better time to be with family and friends than the holidays.
Will Fitzgerald was a rising NBA star when his career ended in a freak accident. Now he is a teacher and basketball coach in Holly Point. He meets Maggie at a football game where her brother Matt, is pretty much the star of the show. Matt plays all the sports and excels in all of them. Will however didn’t expect to be swept off his feet by this beautiful, strong woman who invites him to join their family for Thanksgiving dinner.
When Maggie and her friends go out, she runs into Will at the bar, he not so subtlety persuades her to help him with some kids he’s coaching for Paralympics. Of course being a bar, there was a drunk jerk and while she handled him well, he hit an emotional trigger.
This is a favorite scene.
He wanted to fucking pummel the asshole who had been so damn cruel. Feeling her soft hair in his hands, he pressed her head into his chest, and rocked her gently as he held her. “Let it out. It’s okay, just let it out.”
“I’m sorry, I… I hate crying, but… dammit. Why do the crazies always find me? Why? Just when I’m starting to feel better, someone says something that… I don’t know. It just stings. I did everything I was supposed to do. He wasn’t in the blasted plane. He doesn’t know me.” She wiped her eyes. “I hate this. I wish I knew what I was supposed to do.”
“Guys like that are assholes. They have nothing going for them, and it becomes everyone else’s fault. The only thing a guy like that can do is take cheap shots. As far as the other stuff, maybe being home will help you figure things out.”
“Like what?” She sniffled and wiped her nose with her sleeve before looking up at him with tear filled eyes. She was a mess. Her hair was mussed, her make-up was blotchy, and her eyes were red and swollen. Maggie cried ugly… but he’d never seen anyone more beautiful in his life.
“What comes next? You’re young. What are you, thirty? There’s a whole life ahead of you.”
She nodded, but her lip trembled as she spoke. “I thought that life would include a husband and kids. That’s not going to happen now. Stan was crude, but he’s right, who would want me?”
Hearing that made him want to hit Stan even harder. Will wished he could tell Maggie that men would line up to be with her. She had the face of an angel, but beyond that he’d seen a brilliance, an inner fire, that identified her as a special soul. So when that line formed, and it would definitely form, he’d fight to be first. She was extraordinary.
“I don’t think that’s something you have to worry about.” He brushed a strand of hair off her face and tucked it behind her ear. “You’re really very…” He hesitated, then looked right in Maggie Benson’s big brown eyes and spoke the only truth he knew. “You’re beautiful.”
Her eyes stayed on his, searching, questioning. “You really think so?” she finally whispered.
“Oh, yeah. I really do.”
Maggie’s arms slipped around his waist and she hugged him, resting her head on his chest where it fit perfectly. Will held on, knowing this could be opening them up to a whole slew of problems, but he didn’t care. She needed him, this felt right. That was the only thing that mattered.
Moving slowly, she glanced up and he lost himself in her face—the creamy skin, the rosy, full lips, the eyes that held all her pain—it all grabbed his long quiet heart and made it beat stronger. When her fingers brushed his cheek, Will was in more trouble than he ever imagined.
“You’re a very nice man, Will Fitzgerald.”
“I’ll tell my mother you said so.”
He was trying to put her at ease, to make light of a tough situation, but each minute that passed revealed a truth Will wasn’t prepared for. Given half a chance, Maggie would own him, and he’d be okay with that.
“I’m scared,” she choked out.
“Of what?” “I don’t know. Everything. Life. I mean, what’s going to happen to me?” With all the changes in her life, she had good reason to wonder. He wished he could help her, but the answers Maggie was looking for had to come from inside.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” It was one of his favorite quotes. When his basketball career ended without warning, and his marriage went south almost as quickly, Will was facing a new future and he was completely unprepared for the changes. On some level, he could relate to what Maggie was feeling.
He smiled as she tilted her head to one side, thinking about what he’d just said. “Interesting advice.”
“Joseph Campbell. He understood the mysteries of the ancients, I think that gives him some credibility.”
“So, I should face what scares me?” Maggie had faced so much already, she had to be getting tired of facing her demons. But he also knew the woman was made of very tough stuff, and it was time to leave the past firmly in her rearview mirror.
“Sometimes I think it’s the only way. Our fears often define us, and I don’t think we should let them. You might find what you’re looking for when you get past whatever is holding you back, and more than that, you have to look for your happiness.”
Biting down on her lower lip, she looked away, and Will wished he could read her mind. When she tilted her face to his, everything about her moved him—from her bright eyes, to the questions he saw lurking beneath the surface.
“I don’t know if I believe that completely,” she responded.
“It’s true. Face it, and move on. You’re doing that with the kids we’re going to be working with. Right?”
“It’s not the same.”
“Fears are fears. They hold us back from what we really want.”
“So I should go after what I want. Is that what you’re saying?”
“Absolutely.” He believed that was true for everyone. Especially for someone like her, who had so much to give.
She was quiet for a bit, thoughtful, but when her glinting eyes softened to a smolder, Will took notice.
“Don’t hate me for this,” she said quietly, struggling a bit, but finally kneeling up so they were face to face. “Okay?”
“Hate you? For what? I don’t…” He got his answer when she leaned in and kissed him.
It was gentle, tentative, just a light brush of her lips against his.
And it changed everything.
Moon, Jeannie. Finding Christmas (Holly Point Book 2). Tule Publishing. Kindle Locations (555-602). Kindle Edition.
Over the course of just a few weeks, between friends and family Maggie starts to feel at home both mentally and physically. Her interactions with Will become more of a relationship than not as Christmas draws near.
There is a lot of love and emotion in this book as well as a simmer to sizzle romance. We also see folks from the first book, it is a small town after all.
Laughter, tears, mistakes and so much love. A perfect Christmas read with just the right amount of sizzle.
5 Contented Purrs for Jeannie!
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USA Today bestselling author Jeannie Moon, has always been a romantic. When she’s not spinning tales of her own, Jeannie works as a school librarian, thankful she has a job that allows her to immerse herself in books and call it work. The author of sixteen contemporary romances, for Tule Publishing and Penguin Random House, Jeannie is married to her high school sweetheart, has three grown kids, three lovable dogs and is a lifelong resident of Long Island. If she’s more than ten miles away from salt water for any longer than a week, she gets twitchy.