A Nutcracker Christmas By Laurie Winter
Sweet Contemporary Romance, Magical
Paperback & ebook, 210 Pages
October 11, 2021 by Champagne Book Group
Suddenly let go from her news anchor position, Aria Roberts heads north to stay at her late Great-Aunt Clara’s house. She has many good memories there and wishes to give Clara’s Christmas Shoppe, which is located on the first floor of the Victorian mansion, one final holiday season. When Aria arrives, she finds the special gift Clara left for her—an antique nutcracker with a poem hidden under the back lever. Aria reads the poem out loud. At sundown that night, those words magically bring the nutcracker to life.
Kort Zellner awakes inside the familiar surroundings of Clara’s house but learns she has passed away and now her great-niece resides there. The curse placed on him three hundred years ago traps him in the form of a nutcracker but allows him to return every December 1st through midnight on Christmas Day—only between sundown and sunrise.
After some convincing, Aria believes Kort’s strange story. She helps him experience life as he is gifted so few hours alive and in doing so, falls in love. He knows his curse makes it impossible to give her the constant relationship she deserves. His plan to leave her forever on Christmas Day collides with Aria’s desire to build a future together, even if for only twenty-five nights a year.
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If only Kort’s state of being was simply a joke. An invisible band tightened around his chest, making him struggle for breath. Think fast. “I’m cursed. Most of the year, I’m trapped inside the form of the nutcracker Clara asked you to care for. In December, from sundown to sunrise, I’m able to return to my human form.” He stood then leaned against the counter, still facing Aria. His legs felt weak. If he couldn’t convince her of the truth, he’d need to leave the only home he’d known for the past sixty years.
Aria came forward, narrowing the distance between them, and ran her gaze up and down his form. “A curse?” Her scowl deepened. “Maybe you should leave…now.”
“No.” Fighting to hold onto his composure, he mentally reviewed the speech he’d given on many similar occasions. Only this time, the stakes seemed higher. “There was a poem stored with the nutcracker, correct? Did you read it aloud?”
“Yes.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “What does a poem have to do with you suddenly showing up in my kitchen?”
“That poem was about me…and my curse. It brought me back to life.” He paused, gauging her mood. His stress mounted. “If Clara asked you to take out the nutcracker from the case, she wanted you to bring me back to life. She placed me in your care.” No room for pride in this negotiation. Although, he hated finding himself in a dependent position time and time again.
She held his gaze. “I don’t believe in magic or curses. Aunt Clara told me to take out the nutcracker because she was old and confused.”
He didn’t blame her for doubting. Sweat pooled under the collar of his shirt. Between his eighteenth-century heavy garments and his heightened nerves, he’d be drenched in another minute. “Let me tell you my story. Hear me out before deciding to send me away.”
Excerpted from A Nutcracker Christmas by Laurie Winter, Copyright © 2021 by Laurie Winter. Published by Champagne Book Group.
ABOUT the AUTHOR:
Multi-award winning author Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running with her dog, Shadow. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she's likely fueling up on wine, cheese curds, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
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One winner will receive a print copy of
A NUTCRACKER CHRISTMAS or ONCE UPON
A PRINCE by Laurie Winter,
$25 Amazon gift card,
a nutcracker Christmas ornament (US only)
Ends December 8, 2021
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