NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
To reach her heart,
he must face a spirit,
an angel…and himself.
The spirit of Cameron Douglas has totally screwed-up…again. Now, he has to fix his mess in one night with the help of his best friend and somehow encourage his widow to move on.
Holly Douglas is anguished that this is the last Christmas she’ll be visited by her late husband, Cameron. For three years he’s sent her the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and they’ve helped her cope with her loss. But now all that ends, and she doesn’t understand why her late husband must push her away.
Ethan Stewart has been in love with Holly since Cameron’s death, but she isolated herself from everyone, including him. Then something changed, and he was welcomed back as her friend. But he wants more— to love her openly, and most of all to make her happy again. Though he loved his best friend like a brother and will do anything for Holly, as he’s pulled into the spirit world, he discovers not all is as it seems. If he doesn’t figure it out soon, none of them will have a Merry Christmas…ever.
After reading ‘Temptations of Christmas Future’ I was concerned that in spite of everything, Cameron had still messed up. He wants to have eternity with his wife, but she has to accept that she has another soulmate out there and they have to connect so they can all be together. Somehow he has to make this right, he just doesn’t know how.
Holly has done what she needed and yet she’s sad that this would be the last Christmas she gets to see Cameron. She and Ethan have become much closer this past year, but he loves her and she just wants to be friends.
Ethan gets a visit from Cameron, to say he’s surprised is an understatement. What Cameron is asking of him really isn’t a hardship since he loves Holly, but he’s not entirely sure the methods put forth will work.
Mac, the cat plays a big part in this book as well.
This is a favorite scene and a tad longer than I usually use, but I wanted to include both Mac and Ethan.
Tears she hadn’t shed in almost a year gathered, making her kitchen blurry. Wiping her eyes to clear them, she pulled air into her lungs. No, she wouldn’t be alone. She’d have Brooke, and Brody and Sarah…and Ethan. At the thought of the man she’d come to lean on in the past year, she balked. Whenever she was around him, she felt happy and guilty, comfortable and uncomfortable. It was too confusing. Instead, she focused on Mac, picking him up despite his weight.
“You’re just going to have to stay alive forever. Okay?”
Mac wriggled to be put down, his claws snagging in her green turtleneck.
“Okay, okay. I just wanted you to know I love you.” Kissing the protesting cat on the head, she let him go. He immediately sat and proceeded to wash his face as if her kiss had cooties or something.
Throwing her arms up, she moved to the cabinets and pulled out a big mug. Tonight definitely called for a large cup of tea. She had to tackle her emotions and her living room and bring them into some semblance of normality.
The kettle whistled, so she poured the hot water into her mug with the “Christmas Tea” in the strainer. The scent of orange and clove reminded her of Cam’s cologne. He always smelled like Christmas to her. Taking a deep breath of the hot tea, she frowned. There was another scent in there that reminded her of something. Was that ginger, maybe? She hadn’t noticed it before, but she’d been late in breaking out her Christmas tea as well this year. What was wrong with her?
Again, she looked at the fridge. She really didn’t want anything in there. Maybe what she needed was some Christmas music. Oh, and Christmas cookies. Setting her tea on the counter, she opened the cabinet next to the fridge and pulled out the tin of homemade Christmas cookies Mrs. Bell had dropped off just a few days ago. Opening it up, she sighed.
“Now that’s what I call Christmas.” Stuffing one into her mouth, she bit half and held the rest between her lips as she picked up the tin and her tea and strolled back to her wrecked living room. She’d just reached her comfy chair when the bell rang.
She glanced at the clock. It was only half past six. It felt like nine to her. She set her tea on the small table next to her chair and grabbed the cookie from her mouth. “Coming.”
Quickly, she stuffed the rest of the cookie back in and chewed as she approached the front door. Swallowing, she turned the knob, but the door remained closed. Real smart, Holly. Unlocking the deadbolt, she pulled again to reveal a bundled-up Ethan on her doorstep.
“Ethan. Oh no, did I forget I was supposed to be somewhere?” She racked her brain trying to think of what it could be.
He laughed, his green eyes sparkling in the reflection of her living room light. His hair, wavy now that he’d let it grow a little longer, was sprinkled with a few snowflakes and his teeth gleamed. “No, I thought since you’ve been working such long hours that a fresh mincemeat pie might be just what you need as you decorate your tree. You did say you were hoping to do that tonight, correct?”
She lifted her brows. “Did I?” She probably had, but she was flustered. To have Ethan in her home seemed more intimate than she was ready for. They always met at public places or at his parents’ house in town. He was far too handsome, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Michelangelo’s statue of David. He was also kind and good looking and considerate and muscular and tall and…she swallowed, uncomfortable with her thoughts. She shook her head to clear it.
“Aye, you did. But you also said that your tree was broken, so I brought you a new one.”
She tensed. Why did everyone want her to have a new tree? “I’m not really interested in one of those new automatic trees. I prefer to put some work into my décor.” Though to look at her house right now, no one would believe her.
He frowned, shaking his head. “I hope not. I didn’t take you for the automatic-tree type, though that was what was recommended to me.”
She relaxed a bit at that. “Good, then what kind of tree did you get?” She was a bit curious now. As nice as Ethan was, he was still a man, and she doubted he had any more taste than Cam. Cam would have bought an automatic tree and a pink or blue one at that.
Ethan handed her the hot pie, and she balanced it on her tin of cookies as he disappeared for a moment.
“Better back up.”
Uh-oh. Reluctantly, she stepped back. She really needed to tell him to keep the tree. It wasn’t right. Yes, that was the right thing to do. Opening her mouth, her protest died as the scent of spruce wafted in with the cold outside air. He’d brought her a live tree?
She took ten steps back, her memories of New Hampshire and Christmas with her family flooding her as Ethan wrestled what looked like a ten-foot Christmas tree into her house.
Closing the door, he pushed the tree to lean against the entrance and looked up at the cathedral ceiling of her home. “I should have purchased the fifteen-foot size. You still have plenty of ceiling height.”
She stared in awe at the beautiful tree filling her living room with its Christmas scent. She plopped her butt on the arm of Cam’s chair, her knees too weak to hold her, her heart filled with the warmth the spruce aroma gave her.
Ethan turned to look at her, his ready smile dimming as he caught her gaze.“You don’t like it. I can return and buy the large one. It’d been so long since I’d been in here, I couldn’t remember exactly how tall your ceilings were.”
Though he’d obviously not meant it as a slap in the face, the sting of his statement brought her to her feet. It was true. She hadn’t had anyone into her shrine to Cam in four years. What good were all those Christmas spirits Cam sent her if she still kept him alive in their home and refused to share. No wonder others had moved on with their lives.
Ethan’s brow lowered in concern. “Or is it because it’s real? They have some very true-to-life looking artificial trees at the hardware store. I think they’re still open.” He looked at his watch.
She rested her hand on his arm to get his attention. “No, not at all. It’s just so perfect, I was stunned.”
She swallowed down the sudden lump in her throat at his thoughtfulness.
“Yes. I grew up with live spruce trees for Christmas. It reminds me of home.” She gave him a small smile, her family suddenly feeling so close. “And that’s a good thing.”
His brow finally eased, and he relaxed before his eye caught the state of her living room. “Bloody hell, were you burglarized? We need to call the police.”
She snorted. “Hardly.” She squinted at her traitorous cat, who had hopped down from his chair and was rubbing against Ethan’s legs. She removed her hand from Ethan’s tan wool coat and pointed. “That’s the culprit. He tore this place apart while I was at work then got stuck in a box. Served him right.”
“Mac did all this?” Ethan bent over and picked up Mac the Destroyer. “Hey lad, you look like you’ve put on a little weight since I last saw you.”
Just as guilt centered in her gut, Mac pushed his head against Ethan’s chin. She’d forgotten how much Ethan adored Mac. “Well, he’s spoiled and I don’t have a lot of time to play with him. I tried putting him on a leash, but he just fell over and didn’t move as if I’d killed him or something.”
Ethan’s quiet laugh drifted through the room before he set the feline down. “I’m thinking someone needs a few cat toys for Christmas.”
She scowled. “Only good cats get presents.”
“And fat ones.” He pointed to her hands. “Did you already eat? I see a Mrs. Bell cookie tin there.”
She’d completely forgotten she’d planned to have cookies for dinner. Ethan didn’t say anything, but she was pretty sure she’d gained a few pounds in the past year. Now, with the scent of nutmeg and beef tickling her nose, she found the willpower to wait on the cookies. “Yes, I felt I deserved a treat after walking into this mess.”
“I understand.” He looked over the living room. “Would you like help cleaning it up? Then I could set up the tree for you. It will probably take two people.”
Well, crap. She wasn’t being very hospitable. She was sorely out of practice. “That would be great. Have you eaten yet? Are you hungry?”
Ethan unbuttoned his coat and shrugged it off his broad shoulders. He seemed bigger in her house. He turned and hung his garment on the coatrack in the corner next to the door. “I didn’t realize I hadn’t eaten until I put that in my rented van. Now my stomach is yelling at me.”
Thankful to have something to do, she lifted the cookie tin and pie in her hands. “Then let me get this dished out so we can eat before tackling this mess.” She beat a hasty retreat into the kitchen. He’d even rented a van to bring her the tree. Holy crap.
She set down the cookie tin and pie. Her kitchen was a small room, cozy. The little two-person table in it had been perfect for her and Cam. At the thought of Ethan sitting there with her, she moved to the cabinet and pulled out a tray. They could eat in the disaster zone.
Post, Lexi. One of a Kind Christmas (A Scottish Christmas Carol Book 4) (pp. 22-27). Lexi Post. Kindle Edition.
As Ethan makes a bit more progress with Holly, Christmas Eve arrives and with it Cameron, there are no other spirits this year.
With Ethan and Holly in tow, Cameron makes the effort to correct the mistakes he made.
I loved the way this plays out, many revelations and we do learn more about Mac.
A wonderful Christmas tale, with laughter, love, tears and so much more!
5 Contented Purrs for Lexi!
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Lexi Post is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of erotic romance. She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she’s read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.
But Lexi’s first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two first loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it. From hot paranormals to sizzling cowboys to hunks from out of this world, Lexi provides an erotic experience with a “whole lotta story.”
Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you will never see her without a hat.