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Christmas Countdown! Cole In Her Stocking – Crossing Forces Book 2.5 by C.A. Szarek

Cole In Her Stocking
Crossing Forces Book 2.5
USA Today Bestselling Author
C.A. Szarek


Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

It’s Christmas in Antioch, Texas.

Detective Cole Lucas and his wife, fellow detective Andi are taking it easy for the holiday—time off from the police department.

Andi’s plans for Christmas are shattered when her family cancels. They’re not coming home to Texas. She’s crushed, sure Christmas will be ruined. But Cole is fine with an intimate affair—just them for the holiday, forging new traditions.

Can Cole show Andi she can rely on him and prove he’s all she needs for Christmas?

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

I found this book while looking to add to my Christmas Countdown. I haven’t read the others in this series but I can tell you I definitely will be.

This is Cole and Andi’s first Christmas together as a family. They have two children and the baby Micah is teething leaving Andi tired and distraught.

As this story opens, Cole has taken their four year old son Ethan shopping, in an effort to give Andi a break. A break she doesn’t get because Micah won’t be consoled.

When Cole returns, as usually happens with cranky babies, Micah responds to him and quiets. A protesting Andi agrees to nap.

This is a favorite scene.

Cole took one look at them and froze under the archway leading into living room. “Awww, babe. The whole time?”

Her lip wobbled as she nodded, her vision blurring again.

Micah turned toward his father’s voice and stopped crying, taking big gulps of air and sucking in his bottom lip.

“Mama.” Ethan smiled, but his big blue eyes were concerned. “Baby Micah okay?” her four-year-old asked.

“He’s fine.” Andi’s voice shook.

Your mother, on the other hand, is touch and go.

Her husband set his many shopping bags down by the Christmas tree and was at her side in seconds. “Give him here.”

She relinquished the squalling baby and sighed.

Micah looked up at Cole and whimpered, but as his father whispered to him and bounced him a bit, the little traitor quieted.

Andi frowned. “I tried that!”

He chuckled, but when his gray eyes met hers, his expression sobered. “It’s okay. I got him. Why don’t you go catch a few?” Cole pulled her into his chest with his free arm and pressed a kiss to her lips.

Ethan grabbed one of her hands as she rested her head against her husband’s chest.

Andi let her eyes slip closed and inhaled his aftershave, mixed with Micah’s clean baby scent.

Cole rubbed her back and she pulled their older son to her side, his slender shoulders against her thigh.

She patted his little chest and he pressed a kiss to the back of her hand. Andi smiled. “Thanks, baby. I needed that.”

Ethan grinned, then pulled away, dashing to the shopping bags. “Mama, we got ornaments and presents!”

“Buddy, you’re not supposed to tell her that,” Cole admonished, but he laughed.

Unrepentant, the little boy started to dig in the bags.

Micah sniffled but his dad bounced him, and once again, their baby quieted, sucking on his small fist.

She yawned and shook her head, but kissed his soft cheek and caressed his downy hair. “Go ahead and nap, babe,” Cole whispered. “I got the boys.”

“You sure?”

“Yes ma’am.” He kissed her. “I’ll change and feed him. You need a break.”

“I do not.” Andi harrumphed.

Her husband smirked and she couldn’t bite back a wry smile. “My stubborn wife. It’s okay to let me help you. Thought you would’ve learned that by now. My kids, too.”

“I don’t want to admit defeat. I should be able to handle him.”

Micah gave a loud yawn that made both his parents smile. “Looks like you wore each other out,” Cole said.

“Yeah yeah. See you in a few, then.” She made a dismissive gesture. “Ethan, come give me a kiss.”
Szarek, C.A.. Cole in Her Stocking (pp. 2-4). Paper Dragon Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Andi’s parents call to cancel their trip to join them for Christmas because of illness and this is the last straw for the tired Andi. She was looking forward having her Mom helping with Micah over the holidays.

Now Cole has to show Andi they can have a wonderful Christmas with just their little family.

I sense a lot of unease between these two in spite of their obvious love for each other. Andi seems not to truly trust everything Cole says.

I give Cole a lot of credit, he is patient and understanding and full of heartrending surprises.

A wonderful Christmas Story that has me wondering what happened with these two that this is their first Christmas together as a family.

5 Contented Purrs for C.A.!

Christmas 2015 Blog Other Books

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

C.A. Szarek

USA Today Bestselling, award winning author of romantic suspense, epic and historical fantasy romance, C.A. loves to dabble in different genres. If it’s a good story, she’ll write it, no matter where it seems to fit!

She’s a hopeless romantic and always will be. Risking it all for Happily Ever After is what she lives by!

C.A. is originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She’s happily married and has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

She works with kids when she’s not writing.

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Once Upon A Valentine – A Valentine Collection For Charity – 12 Authors – 12 New Stories to support Autism.

100% of earned royalties go directly to
the American Society of Autism
to help fund programs that support families with children on the spectrum.
Help us educate and make a difference
one dollar at a time.
12 BRAND NEW BOOKS from some of your favorite paranormal and contemporary romance authors!


Once Upon A Valentine
12 New Novellas – 12 Fabulous Authors

In This Collection

Accidentally In LoveEmma Roman
Love, Honor, and Ink Carrie Ann Ryan
Secrets of a Silver MoonJodi Vaughn
Loving HallieKrystal Shannan
Highland ValentineC.A. Szarek
Wrong Valentine DateGeri Foster
Kiss of Her DragonJulia Mills
Cupid StupidSylvia McDaniel
His Moonstruck WolfHeather Long
Death by ChocolateGwen Knight
Valentine KissesRebecca Rivard


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Winter Blog Blurbs and Reviews

I was fortunate to have received two of these wonderful stories as ARCs so I am spotlighting and reviewing those first.

I have this preordered, so once I have it in my hot little hands, I will read and review the rest.

His Moonstruck Wolf
Wolves of Willow Bend #9.5
Heather Long
Winter Blog BlurbSm

When a matchmaker gets toasted at the after party, she finds the perfect wolf for her in the most unlikely of places. Of course, the last thing he wants is a mate, much less a matchmaking one.

Winter Blog ReviewSm

I have to say right from the start I love the Wolves of Willow Bend. With the packs currently in turmoil this was a welcome reprive for everyone in the Delta Crescent pack.

A Voodoo Valentine’s Ball celebrating the mating of Christopher and Rachel Ferrar done up as only their Alpha Serafina could do. One of the guests celebrating the mating of is Lesley-Anne Saucier the pack matchmaker. Now it’s not what you might think. The matchmaker only scents whether a couple is a possible mate match. It’s really up to them to make the choice.

As this celebration floats around her Lesley-Anne is approached by a male. Not just any male but by his scent a possible mate for her. That is until he removes his mask.

Hugo Ferrar the brother of the groom is one of Sarina’s Hounds. The last thing Lesley-Anne wants is a mate who is never around and is in constant danger.

It seems Hugo is very opinionated about matchmakers and the fact his brother had gone to one. This is a favorite scene.

“It’s a pity that sometimes mates can’t recognize each other right off. It’s not always mate at first sight.” He’d aroused her interest with that statement; he felt the weight of her focus shift to him. “Most often it just simply requires a knowledge. Wolves are human, too, of course, and we’re very busy. In times like these, it can be even harder to see the promise or the potential that’s there.”
“Yeah, but to go to a matchmaker? Really?” He stared at his brother and shook his head. “You have to be pretty desperate to ask someone else to find your mate for you.”

“Is that what you think a matchmaker does?” A thin, hard layer edged her words.

“I have no idea what a matchmaker does. I’ve never needed one, nor would I ever seek one. The very idea that some wolf takes one look at me, gets my scent, and then goes willy-nilly through the pack to find the other wolf that matches it before returning to tell me whom they’ve chosen— that’s bullshit.” He couldn’t keep the derision out of his voice.

Matchmakers might be a part of Delta Crescent and dated back to their founding, but that was like saying the fortunetellers in the quarter were the only way to get a bead on what was coming down the pike. They had enough voodoo in the pack.

“Only a fool asks an outsider for assistance in finding who is meant for them. Now, Christopher and Rachel would’ve found each other eventually. They just needed to be patient. Besides, the matchmaker still has to identify the scent and then see if she can match it to another wolf. It’s only one factor and a gamble at that. You can’t tell who your mate is going to be until you get to know them. None of it is fait accompli.”

“So, you think the matchmaker is what? A jester for the pack? A false hope to those around her?”

“I think she’s just like any other curiosity in New Orleans. Here to please the tourists.”

“Well, that’s utterly fascinating, Mr. Ferrar. Thank you for your insight.”

“Lesley-Anne,” Serafina called as she came to the door with Lincoln quick in close attendance. “There you are. This party is every bit as much you for you as it is for the happy couple. Get in here and dance.”

Lesley-Anne? Lesley-Anne Saucier? Hugo’s hackles rose.

The woman straightened and inclined her head toward their alpha. “I was just getting some air and a lesson on the tomfoolery of having a matchmaker in the pack from Mr. Ferrar here.”

Oh shit.

“He’s been quite illuminating on how utterly touristy my talents are. Isn’t it fascinating?” She turned and met his gaze. Amidst the laughter in her eyes, he glimpsed a hint of hurt and his wolf snarled. “It’s been fascinating talking to you Mr. Ferrar. Good evening.” With that, she whirled then stalked away, her skirt flowing behind her. She paused to give Serafina kiss on the cheek and to receive one in return before disappearing into the rest of the party.
Heather Long. His Moonstruck Wolf: Wolves of Willow Bend 9.5 (Kindle Locations 288-311). Heather Long.

Hugo will have to do more than just apologize for putting his foot in his mouth if he is to claim his mate.

Sweet, snarky, fun and sizzling hot. You won’t want to put this one down.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

Heather’s Links
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Kiss of Her Dragon
Dragon Guard #18
Julia Mills
Winter Blog BlurbSm

Dragon kisses, bear hugs and evil wizards…Valentine’s Day should come with hazard pay.

Winter Blog ReviewSm

The Dragon Guard Brannoc has known Annie is his mate from the moment he rescued her from the the O’Baoill’s dungeon. Now they have been destroyed, he has to read through all the unspeakable tortures so they would know how to better help such victims.

Taking a break he sees a bear near the tree line outside the cabin. All the bear had to say was that she was Annie’s sister Tabitha and Annie needs him for him to follows willingly.

What he finds is a male bear trying to get to his mate who is in heat. A favorite scene is after he dispenses with the bear and he claims his mate.

He had to give her props for fully committing to avoiding his questions, but Brannoc wasn’t about to be deterred. Crossing his arms over his chest, the Guardsman narrowed his gaze, raised a single eyebrow, and with a low growl warned, “Annie…”

Her eyes opened wide, her jaw dropped, and his little bear stood staring. Sure that he had her complete attention, Brannoc spoke in a low, even tone as he asked, “Are the males of your sloth planning to take you by force? Will they be coming back in greater numbers anytime soon?” He cleared his throat, amazed his independent mate was still being silent and added, unable to keep the growl from his tone, “Yes, Tabitha came to get me and thank the Heavens that she did.”

His last comment lit the fuse on the powder keg of his explosive mate’s ire, just as he’d been sure it would. Annie’s expression changed to one of adamant disbelief. She huffed and mumbled under her breath about pain in the ass dragons and meddling family members before finally looking up at him and spitting, “What? You think I can’t take care of myself? You think I’m a damsel in distress and need a big bad dragon to come save the day? Is that it, Brannoc?” She stepped forward, planted one fist on her hip while the other continued to hold her sheet in place, and demanded, “Well, is it? Is it?”

She didn’t give him time to answer before spinning around and beginning to pace. “That’s the problem with men… they think because we have boobs, we can’t think. Like it takes extra brain power to carry these,” she motioned to her chest, “around. Or that their penis came with extra IQ points. Oh, you let us take care of our homes and your children. Cook your meals and wash your dirty underwear, but when it comes to protecting hearth and home, you think we somehow fall short.”

Stopping beside the bed, Annie blew her hair out of her face, glared at him and with a look of utter defiance, growled through gritted teeth, “Well, you are sorely mistaken and if that is the kind of woman you are looking for then I suggest you pull those fancy wings outta your ass and fly back where you came from because I’m Annalissa Olivia O’Bairne, the next Matriarch of the Golden Bear Sloth and Keeper of the Magic of the Ancients and I, Mr. Dragon Guardsman, can take care of myself.”

The flush on her cheeks, the conviction in her voice, and the unwavering strength he felt pouring off her was the sexiest thing Brannoc had ever seen. Gone was the poor, broken, timid shifter who’d been kidnapped and abused. His Annie was now a force to be reckoned with. She was formidable and unbending in her beliefs. A true match for him in every way.
Julia Mills. Kiss-of-Her-Dragon-ARC (Kindle Locations 333-353). Julia Mills.

Annie hits Brannoc with some hard truths, one of which is that she is the future Matriarch of her bear sloth.Yes, the male bears came and a challenge gets issued. Not an ideal way to begin a mating.We have the male bears, the dragons, and wizards. Not good wizards by a long shot.

This is a story of love and trust between mates with plenty of heat in more ways than one.

5 Contented Purrs for Julia!

Julia’s Links
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Accidentally In Love:
Bad Boys, Billionaires & Bachelors
Somewhere, TX
Emma RomanWinter Blog BlurbSm

A client who won’t listen and a matchmaker who won’t give up.

Emma’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Love, Honor, and Ink:
A Montgomery Ink Novella
Carrie Ann RyanWinter Blog BlurbSm

A wedding planner and her neighbor. Falling in love with your best friend is never easy.

Carrie Ann’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Secrets of a Silver Moon
Jodi VaughnWinter Blog BlurbSm

Some Valentine secrets are too hot to handle.

Jodi’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Loving Hallie:
Vegas Mates #6
Krystal ShannanWinter Blog BlurbSm

One kiss will change her life.

Carrie Ann’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Highland Valentine:
C.A. SzarekWinter Blog BlurbSm

Her forever is put in jeopardy when her husband pushes her away; He must face his worst fears to win back his wife before she flees to the future.

C.A.’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Wrong Valentine Date
Geri FosterWinter Blog BlurbSm

Cupid comes knocking on the wrong door.

Geri’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Cupid Stupid
Sylvia McDanielWinter Blog BlurbSm

When three women dance naked around Cupid’s fountain, there will be consequences.

Sylvia’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Death by Chocolate
Gwen KnightWinter Blog BlurbSm

Love is death…but so is being single on Valentine’s Day.

Gwen’s Links
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Amazon Author Page

Valentine Kisses
A Fada Shapeshifters Novella
Rebecca RivardWinter Blog BlurbSm

Jenny’s just looking to spice up her life when she says yes to a date with a sexy Latino shifter. But there’s magic in a Valentine’s kiss.

Rebecca’s Links
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Heart of A Hero
Camryn RhysWinter Blog BlurbSm

A Valentine’s Accident, an ancient spell, and Paul Banfield will never be the same.

Camryn’s Links
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Amazon Author Page