Kimberly Hope Introduces Her Billionaire Bachelor

Banditas and Buddies, I am thrilled to welcome my dear friend Kimberly Hope back to the Lair today for the 6th Bandita Day Of Christmas! You may recall she was with us on Dec. 2 as one of four authors from the eclectic holiday anthology A Season For Romance. Well, today Kimberly is here to talk to use about her new romance The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for this book, so I have known for a while now how fabulous it is. I insisted Kimberly come tell you all about it so you can enjoy it, as well.

Kimberly, welcome back to the Lair! Pull up a chair by the fire. Cookie? We are awash in them these days. Really, take three, they’re small. Sven, can we get some eggnog over here? Thank you. So, we’re talking billionaires and cookies today instead of Disney princesses?

I am so excited to be back with you guys again this month! I had a lot of fun considering everyone’s choices for which Disney character they’d be when we released A Season For Romance. So, pralines and something that goes well with pralines (vodka tonic, maybe?) to you, Caren, for letting me come hang with you guys twice this month. Thanks!

Sven, cancel the eggnog! Looks like we’re having vodka tonics – olives, no lime, please. That should be divine with pralines! Well, maybe not, but it is my go-to drink. Anywho, back to the cookies and billionaires!

When Caren told me we’d be celebrating the 12 Bandita Days of Christmas with holiday recipes, the only thing going through my mind was 11 pipers piping. OK, well, I was humming it anyway, while wondering what recipe I could share, because I love to bake. And baking over Christmas is the best! Some of my favorite memories are of baking gingerbread cookies with my grandmother.

But what recipe? Irish Cream Truffles take 3 days (and about as long to explain the process). Pralines, as I rediscovered this morning while testing the recipe for you, are not easy. Butterscotch Shortbread…ooh, my favorite cookie this year!

My favorite thing about this cookie dough is that, unlike sugar cookie dough you have to refrigerate for half your life before you can struggle to roll it out and cut it, you can work with this dough immediately.

Now that’s my kind of cookie!

Butterscotch Shortbread

 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (Yes, butter. It’s Christmas. It’s Shortbread. It needs butter.)

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

4 Tbls white sugar

2 cups, plus 4 Tbls flour

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300° F. Cream the butter and sugars together. Mix in flour and salt. When it’s done you’ll have well-mixed clumps of dough. You should be able to form a ball with it.

Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper to 1/4 inch thick. I’m guessing on that. Roll it until it’s cookie thickness because these guys don’t spread. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. My kids like to decorate the cookies with sugar and stuff at this point, but this cookie tastes fantastic without the added sugar.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until set. You need to be careful with these guys because they don’t like over-baking. At all. The original recipe called for them to bake longer, but for my over, it’s 15 minutes. It could be as many as 25 minutes depending on how thick you roll the dough. Keep an eye on them because due to the color of the dough, it may be hard to tell that they’re browning.

This ends the cookie portion of our presentation. Now, Kimberly, let’s move on to the billionaire bachelor!!

What better to go with a cookie, than some reading material? So here’s the opening to The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. It’s my second book, and the first in a Northern California trilogy I began one day when I was homesick. It’s a reunion story because I’m a sucker for a reunion. Not sure what that says about the men in my past. Here’s the opening scene, my Christmas gift to you.

Meg looked up at the man who hated her almost as much as her father did, and said the four words that would change her life forever. “I need your help.”

Evan Alton’s slate blue eyes flashed like a cat who just received a mouse for Christmas. But he didn’t slam the door in her face. Which was either a really good sign, or the end of her peace on earth. Guessing which was more likely, she plowed on. “May I come in?”


She brushed her wet hair off her forehead. “Because it’s raining and you’re a nice guy.”

Evan let out a grim laugh. “I haven’t been a nice guy for a long time. And I don’t have meetings at home on Friday nights.” He shot her a pointed look, which she completely ignored. She’d passed proud months ago.

“I can’t imagine you have many at the office since you won’t take phone calls.”

“Most people would take that as a hint.”

She didn’t say a word. Nothing she could say would change anything.

“Give me one reason why I should listen.”

“Because you loved me once and I did the right thing.”

He glared at her again, but didn’t misread her reference. The way she left him eight years ago had been completely unforgivable. She could only hope her recent actions would count for something.

“If that’s the case, why are you standing on my doorstep?”

“Because you won’t let me in.” She gave him a weak smile, and for once was rewarded with one from him as well. Butterflies erupted in her stomach. She should have eaten lunch, but the thought of this meeting had ruined her appetite. The butterflies were not because of his grim smile.

“Evan, please.” Her gaze locked with his and didn’t waver. She couldn’t afford to back down. There was too much at stake. “If you’re the devil you’re claiming, making me stand in the rain is hardly payback. It’s just frustrating for me and costly for you to keep the door open.”

 “Currently it’s money well spent.”

 Meg blew out a harsh breath. This was going worse than she’d imagined in the thousand possible scenarios she’d run through over the past week. She’d counted on his curiosity, but apparently that had disappeared over the years.

 “You’re the only one I can turn to,” she blurted.

He raised an eyebrow. Just one. The glint in his eyes told her he remembered how much it irked her. He was playing with her. Fine. She could play too. She stood quietly, matching his gaze, and waited. It was like playing chicken with a lion. She just prayed he didn’t extend his claws before she begged for help. She didn’t kid herself. It was going to take begging. And from his vantage point, after the way she’d left him, she deserved it.

His other eyebrow joined the first, and he stepped aside to let her in. A small victory, but she took it. Meg gave a mental sigh of relief before walking into the lion’s San Francisco County lair.

Stepping into the foyer, she brushed her wet locks off her face again, and tried to ignore the puddle she was making on the hard wood floor. Evan walked towards the living room, then paused. “Aren’t you coming?”

She could see the gleaming white carpet from where she stood. “I’ll make a mess of your floors.”

“I’ve got a service. If you want to talk to me, you’re going to do it where I’m comfortable. It’s been a long day.”

Meg watched him walk away and swallowed hard. The man was as sinfully built as she remembered, especially in the suit pants and crisp, white shirt. His black hair grazed his pristine collar. He’d shed his tie and undone a few buttons, teasing her with a hint of his strong chest. And now, looking like a drenched rat, she was facing down the one man she’d hoped never to have to see again in her life. Wonderful.

She grumbled to herself about not bringing a raincoat with her. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t heard the weather report this morning. But as usual, she ignored common sense and rushed out the door. She hadn’t planned on having to track Evan down at home.

Coming here was crazy, but he was the only person who had both the money and a reason to help her now. No one else would take her calls. Not that he had either. Her name was tainted and no one wanted a Taylor anywhere near their business. She didn’t blame them.

She slipped out of her heels, as much for her own safety on the slick floor as for the floor itself. The Celtic design of light and dark woods had clearly been hand-laid by a master and she couldn’t bear to leave wet footprints across it. Not that her wet stocking feet were doing much better.

Meg followed the path Evan had taken into the living room that was three times the size she’d thought from the entryway. The walls were stark white, and blank, except for a Chagall in one corner. It was as if the house had recently been purchased and the owner didn’t know what to do with the room yet. But she knew he moved in several years ago. The only thing breaking up the room was a wall of solid windows, giving her a phenomenal view of the rocky California coast and Pacific Ocean below. From here you couldn’t tell the city was fifteen minutes away.

That wasn’t what she was here for. She shook her head and tried to get her thoughts in order. Evan’s interior decorating –or lack thereof – wasn’t her problem.

She turned and jumped. While her mind had been wandering, so had he. From the bar to her. His eyebrow floated again. “Nervous?” he asked as he handed her a glass.

Irish whiskey. He remembered? She only drank it with him. Only when she was worried. This was never going to work if she was that transparent.

She took a sip. “Thank you. You’ve got a beautiful home.”

“You didn’t come here to talk about the house, so get on with it so I can say no and get back to the game.”

Meg glanced at the black TV screen, but didn’t contradict him. All the words she’d practiced left her and she was unsure how to begin. She’d already said what needed saying. And, years ago, a lot of things that didn’t. That bridge was toast, but there was nothing she could do about it now. “I need you to buy into Jennings.”

Ooh, I love that part! This really is a fantastic book. The conflict and stakes are so high. I was rooting big-time for these two strong-willed people to get together, but they had all those darned ethics forcing them to live by their individual codes of honor! You’ll love them, too. Promise! Oh…back to Kimberly.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Tell me your favorite thing about the holiday season and you’ll be entered to win a free Kindle copy of The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. Even if your favorite thing is Christmas carols in October (that would be Snarky Daughter’s answer)!

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more of the 12 Bandita Days Of Christmas! (Plus, you need to check the Treasure Chest to see if you are a winner from one of the previous days.) We are building up to our Christmas Day giveaway of a huge bundle of books and goodies from Banditas and friends like Lydia Dare, Dianna Love, Liz Carlyle, Annie West, Deb Marlowe, JD Tyler, Addison Fox, Sabrina Jeffries, Miranda Neville, Marquita Valentine and Sandy Blair. This is big, people! 😀

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  • Fedora says:

    My favorite holiday thing is definitely all the homemade treats! Mmm…

    Thanks for the intro, Kimberly! Will quite enjoy catching up with your billionaire bachelor 😀

    • Caren Crane says:

      Fedora, how will you get anything done today with the kids and the GR under your feet??

      I agree with you on the homemade treats. Good gravy, I am knee-deep in cookies already this year. Plus, at work all our vendors are sending massive packages to our department. We are awash in cookies, cupcakes, nuts and popcorn of all sorts!

      I would enjoy it all more if I didn’t know that January and all that exercise awaited me. *sigh*

      Kimberly is traveling from NC to CA today, so she will be a bit late (Pacific time late!) answering comments today. But let me say, this book really is fantastic. You’ll wonder where she’s been all your reading life! Okay, I may be one smidge prejudiced, but it really is fantastic. 🙂

    • Hey Fedora,
      Taking 3 minutes out of packing like a mad woman to check and see what people said. You would NOT believe the number of goodies I have packed in our carryon luggage for family.

      Gingersnaps, milk chocolate chip cookies, spiced pecans… It’s insane! But that’s what I love about the holidays too. So many tasty treats we never have the time (or the free calories) to make the rest of the year.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Kimberly and Caren,
    Besides getting to see family and friends I love the atmosphere during the holidays. I love seeing the lovely windows at the department stores and the festive decorations throughout the city.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, you have a double advantage of sorts being in NYC for Christmas. The decorations and displays are simply marvelous – plus, you know how and when to see them without getting completely stampeded by tourists like me! 🙂

      Plus, I’m sure lots of friends and relatives want to come visit around the holidays so they can play tourist, too. Win-win!

      We have some incredible yard displays by our Clark Griswold wannabes here in Raleigh, but nothing compares to NYC at Christmas. *sigh* What is your most favorite thing to ogle in Manhattan?

    • Jane,

      I’m on my way back home to San Jose, CA for the holidays for the first time in 3 years. I’m trying to fit everyone in while still doing some touristy stuff with my kids in San Francisco. Hopefully when we’re up there we’ll get to take in some of the window displays.

  • Barb says:

    Hi Kimberly and caren

    First of all I want to thank Kimberly as I won her book on Dec 2nd … thanks.

    I think catching up with family and friends is what I like best and hearing Christmas carols… I would love a cold Christmas as I was born in the UK and was in my 30’s when I came to Australia and although I have been here for over 30 years can still not get used to the hot Christmas’s lol

    • Caren Crane says:

      Barb, I love all the family and friend get-togethers, too. Even getting cards and notes from people is lovely, just to get a little bit of them and their lives.

      I can’t imagine that it feels like Christmas while it’s summer, even after 30 years! It’s been unseasonably warm here (as high as 72 F) for the past couple of weeks. It makes it hard to hang onto the Christmas spirit when it’s so warm! I always longed to live somewhere where it actually snowed at Christmas, but I’ve seen very little of that in my lifetime. I imagine you will always long for cold weather at Christmas!

      Kimberly was very happy to have you as a winner on Dec. 2. I hope you enjoyed her book. This one is so wonderful! Kimberly is traveling clear across the US today, so she will be late responding to comments. But check back later, because she will be popping up and wanting to chat!

      • Barb, I hope you enjoyed the book. And while I understand how odd it is to have warm Christmases, it’s the norm for me having grown up in Northern California. This week we had people begging for snow, and all I could say was, please let it wait until after my plane takes off!

        That said, I have some great memories of Christmas Eve in the snow. First kiss and all that. But also some great memories of Christmas Eve in Hawaii, where I got engaged many moons ago.

        But I think I’d love to enjoy a cold British Christmas, a la The Holiday.

  • Lianne says:

    I enjoyed the intro of the book!
    I like that I get to spend some with family and to enjoy yummy food!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Lianne, for me it is all about the get-togethers and the food! I adore my family and nothing makes me happier than being piled up together, eating and laughing and talking.

      Last year, one of my nieces and my nephew (who were 11 and 10 at the time) got together and performed a number for us. She plays trumpet and he plays trombone. They both had the same music book from school, but had not practiced together. It was wonderful, though! We were all beyond delighted. That’s what Christmas memories are made of!

    • Is it wrong that I’m offering the flight attendants some Butterscotch Shortbread? Seriously, any left-over cookies that hadn’t been handed out to neighbors, etc this afternoon were packed into the carryons for our dining pleasure. And since the airline is charging $3/cookie for their not-homemade items, I think I could make a killing.

      I’ve got family events backed up all week, and can’t wait to see kids we haven’t seen in three years, as well as some friends I haven’t seen in 15!

  • Mary Preston says:

    I love catching up with family, all the delicious food, the wine, the giving & receiving of gifts, the Christmas Carols, the Christmas tree, the town all lit up, the fireworks…….

    ALL OF IT!!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Mary, you’ve hit all the essential pleasures of Christmas. Except…fireworks? You have fireworks for Christmas?!? Wait…you live somewhere warm, don’t you? I hear they do those sorts of things in places where it’s supposed to be warm.

      I can’t see the rednecks huddling over camp stoves at the NC State Fairgrounds to watch Christmas fireworks…oh, never mind. I can totally see that happening! Why don’t we have fireworks??

  • Minna says:

    My favorite holiday thing… All those Christmas lights. Otherwise it’s so dark this time of year.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Minna, that’s right. You have the more-or-less dark all day thing going on right now. And I’ve been complaining about it being dark at 5:00 pm! *head smack*

      I have to say, the Christmas lights really boost my spirits during the (relatively) long nights. Happily, we are only TWO DAYS from the winter solstice, so more light is coming! In the meantime, I hope you get to see lots and lots of lights. Do people over there get all crazy with their displays like we see here?

      How long will it be before you really notice the lengthening of the days?

      • Minna says:

        Yep, and in Lapland they don’t see the sun at all this time of year. We at least have about 5 hours of daylight right now.

        Nope, we don’t get as crazy about Christmas lights displays as you do. Back in town where I live now my neighbours have maybe 1 or 2 sets of lights on the outside (considering they have a balcony or small piece of yard. And blue lights seem to be in at the moment. Those without balcony or yard have some lights on the windows. And at countryside where I am now people don’t really have any more lights than people in towns do. Besides, at countryside you can actually see the stars in the sky and if you are lucky, northern lights.

        How long will it be before you really notice the lengthening of the days… Well, at least I start to notice when the day is about an hour longer.

        • Caren Crane says:

          Lucky you to be out in the country where you can see all the stars. And especially nice when the moon is bright. 🙂 I’m glad our days will soon be getting longer. We are quite spoiled being so far south. If we go for two days with no bright sunshine, everyone gets very grumpy. None of us southerners would survive the long, dark winter. You northerners are quite the hardy souls! 😀

        • Minna, I’m jealous of those Northern Lights. Caught the meteor shower last week from my yard. I’m in the country too.

          Alas, no lights on my house. In fact, since the kids will be with their dad when we get back from this trip, Snarky Daughter was kind enough to take down all the Christmas decorations today before we left.

          Yes, seriously. We wouldn’t have put them up but the kids wanted to decorate a tree, and since ours in artificial, there was no reason to say no. But there also was no reason to trust two kittens with the tree by themselves for a week!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Caren and Kimberly

    I so love Christmas and here in Australia it is hot but I still love cooking Christmas Cakes rich fruit cakes that the family love I am loving all of these cookie receipes as well and I am going to try some very soon.
    Also have to say that I love Christmas carols and Rod Stewarts new album is fantastic.

    Have Fun

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, I love fruit cake! My mother makes great fruit cake, though I know she hasn’t made it this year because my grandmother is living with her. I heard the new Rod Stewart Christmas album was great. So glad you have that to enjoy!

      Kimberly will be popping in later when she is safely ensconced in CA with her relatives. Do stop back by!

      • Kimberly scored a plane with Wi-Fi and coughed up some cash to talk to you all because her darling children are reading/watching Avengers. Again. Says the woman who packed it.

        It’s funny you should mention fruit cake. I don’t like it, but I was thinking of MY favorite holidays traditions today and remembered making them with my mom for years.

  • Maureen says:

    My favorite thing is seeing my family but Christmas cookies are also very important. My daughter just baked a bunch of them last night.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Maureen, I am happy to see you do not take the role of Christmas cookies too lightly. They are quite important to my family, as well! But having the family around to enjoy them is pretty great, too. 😀

      So far, I have baked none, but my daughters have baked several types, plus brownies. More will follow, I’m sure! enjoy your daughter and the cookies!

      • Caren, how is it you have baked none and I’ve baked about 15 batches? Including the test pralines for you guys, which taste great but look like something the cat coughed up. That’s what happens if you don’t get them on the wax paper really quickly.

        Maureen, in our house the cookies are more important than the tree. But that may be because I’m a stress baker. Wow, you guys are learning all my deep dark secrets!

  • Mozette says:

    Okay… the day is stressful as crap.. honestly. There’s the cooking the entertaining, the trying to be nice to the one – possibly two – relatives you just can’t stand!

    But once the lunch is all done, the coffee has been made and we’ve all eaten ourselves into a stupor that can only be compared to being drunk at a bux night, we all want that illusive nanny nap. The kids are playing with – or have already broken – their presents. Everyone’s had their swims (here in Australia that’s what we do), most of us feel a little bit bloated and sick with indigestion and have broken out the Gaviscon and ant-acids before the afternoon is gone.

    But for me, it’s the nanny-nap session… when everyone is at the point where we all just need a snooze, the afternoon is cruising by and most men have undone the top button of their pants/jeans along with the belts and let the food through to be properly moving long (I know, I’m being gross now)… it signals them to go to sleep while us ladies organise a tiny itty bitty snack for dinner. 🙂

    That is if we want anything.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Mozette, that is a perfect picture of the gastronomic proceedings of Christmas Day at our house, too! Without the swimnming, of course. 🙂

      These days, we usually have a lovely breakfast at my brother’s house (thanks to my excellent sister-in-law!), then we go back to my mom’s (about a mile away) and open family gifts. Eventually, we have lunch (usually about 2:00 pm), then settle in to talk and let the urge to nap take over. Early evening, we’ll make coffee and have dessert, then later we will have snacky-type dinner (usually hors d’houevres and leftovers). It’s all wonderful! 🙂

    • Mozette, usually when we’re in CA for Christmas, it’s a crazy rush of eating Kringle (pastry) for breakfast, opening presents and fighting one or more dogs for them, eating lunch and then me trying to get everything packed up to fly back home the next day.

      This year, schedules worked a little better and I can relax on Christmas because we fly out later in the week.

  • Connie Fischer says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading your new book. I cannot get over how much the heroine looks like my granddaughter.

    I think the best part of Christmas is seeing the excitement and anticipation in the eyes of the children. That amazing and total belief in Santa Claus is wonderful. If only we could keep them that innocent for just a little longer.

    Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas – oh and lots of cookies that slide right off your hips!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Connie, how funny that the heroine looks like your granddaughter. And cool, too! I promise you, this heroine gets her happy ending, so you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

      I was thinking about how fun it is to have little children around at Christmas when I was posting about my niece and nephew. They are the youngest of my mother’s grandchildren and they are 11 and 12 this year. They are in that “we don’t really believe but we wish we did” stage that is rather heartbreaking. I recall it too well myself!

      Thank you for your kind wish for cookies that slide off our hips. May all your holiday treats leave you with nothing more than fond memories! 😀

    • Connie, I love the holidays with little ones. I commandeer them and read The Sweet Smells of Christmas, a scratch and sniff book that I had when I was a kid. We’ve gone through multiple copies in our house and it’s a staple gift for young ones from me. Giving it to someone this year. And I’ll be around to read it to her!

      Alas, at 13 and 15, Snarky Daughter and Scout Son are no longer believe, but they are more than happy to help keep the magic alive for others!

  • Regan Black says:

    Hi Caren and Kimberly!
    My favorite thing is having the family home. Because as much as I love baking, it’s more fun to let my daughter do it these days (and just reap the yummy benefits).

    Best of luck with the book, Kimberly – you know I absolutely LOVED it!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Regan Black in the house! Isn’t Kimberly’s book wonderful? I keep saying that, but it seriously is just great writing.

      I am so with you on having the kids home to do the baking. I used to really get into it, but now it’s exhausting just to think about. And they’re so young and full of excess energy! Of course, if I wasnt to eat the goodies I really should be moving my carcass around more, but there’s that whole motivation thing. Maybe I can ask Santa for motivation to exercise for Christmas!

      Oh, and Kimberly is flying to CA today, so she will be a bit left coast tardy commenting on the blog today. But do stop in later to enjoy all the Kimberly Hope goodness! 😀

    • Regan, as you know, Snarky Daughter isn’t in to baking. Although she made her dad an apple pie for Christmas. He was delighted to get it — and not have to share!

      I’d love it if the kids took over some of the baking, but it seems they have to be in, what’s it called? Oh yeah, school, all day. But Scout Son wants to make a gingerbread cake for family while we’re in CA, so I think my holiday baking is done for the season.

      So glad you liked the book. I’m supposed to be plotting Meg’s brother’s book as I type, but…

  • May says:

    Ooooh… such a great cookie… butterscotch sounds yummy… will make it this weekend.

    Your book sounds great too!

    • Caren Crane says:

      May, I think you will be delighted by both the cookies and the book. I haven’t made the cookies, but since I love butterscotch and I love shortbread, these sound like heaven! And seriously, any cookie that does not require you to refrigerate the dough is a good one in my book!

      As for Kimberly’s book, it is just great writing. She won’t say that, but I can. 🙂 Right now, I think it’s only available in Kindle format. But anyone can download a Kindle reader onto their computer FREE. It will be available in other reader formats once we get to the time limit Amazon requires for exclusivity. *grumble, grumble*

      • Yes, Caren, the time limit thing is rough, but the benefits of that exclusivity are many, so I caved on this one. But as you pointed out, the Kindle app is free to anyone with a computer and then you can read anything they have. The book is also part of Amazon Prime.

        Ssshhhh! Don’t tell anyone but… as a Christmas gift to all the busy women out there this holiday season, A Season For Romance, our anthology will be FREE this weekend. Happy Holidays, everyone. Hopefully that will soften the blow of the exclusive on Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge.

    • Thanks, May. The cookies are definitely to die for. My Girl Scout troop made them this year as a prize for a school food drive, and everyone loved them. It’s just a great, basic cookie that’s standing up to travel really well today.

      Hopefully the gingersnaps I made for my dad are doing half as well!

  • Kenya Wright says:

    I love egg nog during the holidays!

    I’m really excited about this book!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Kenya, do you really love eggnog? I never have, though I’m not sure why. It contains a bunch of things I love and I do adore boiled custard.

      Oh, yes, now I remember why. It contains two things that are on my Most Hated Foods list: bourbon and nutmeg. But I completely understand that other people take great delight in these things! 😀

    • Caren Crane says:

      Sorry, Kenya, I got distracted by the whole bourbon and nutmeg business. I meant to say, you will love Kimberly’s book. It is fantastic!

      Kimberly will be with us after she safely lands in CA and gets settled in with the relatives. More later! 🙂

    • Kenya, I love eggnog too! My mom used to make it with about 1,000 cups of liquor. I do not lie. I found the recipe a few weeks ago and posted it on my blog. Now, I never actually had hers, since I’m all about easy eggnog from a carton, but here’s the link to the recipe:

  • GovernessInRed says:


    Your book sounds lovely! 😉

    The recipe you posted looks so yummy. I have to admit that I have a major sweet tooth around the holidays and cookies and cakes are made weekly the month of December here at the homestead. I’ll have to give your cookies a go.

    My favorite thing about the holidays? Don’t know if I could settle on just one. The joy and fulfillment of being with family and friends, the desserts, the sparkle in my children’s eyes as they await Santa to come. Not to mention the blessed days the kids are out of school.

    I wish you and the other readers out there a very Merry Christmas and God Bless!

    • Caren Crane says:

      GovernessInRed, what a lovely picture you paint of the holidays and the joys therein. Little children make Christmas extra-special, don’t they? I am seriously enjoying having my college-age kids home right now. Even though they sleep until noon every day, they are great company. 🙂

      Kimberly’s book is marvelous. I hope you get a chance to check it out. Great stuff and a lovely gift to oneself this season!

    • GovernessinRed, what a lovely thought. The joy and fulfillment of the season. Must say, I find it much more fun to give the gifts than to receive them. Watching kids open presents, or seeing eyes light up when they realize the one with the “really pretty, glittery bow” is for them. Priceless.

  • Yes, the goodies certainly were a highlight… back when my Mom cooked ’em. Maybe next year I’ll be organized enough to dig up the old recipes.

    Until then, I’ll get my biggest kick out of TIME OFF without having to take vacation days. Hooray for that! And when you add vacay into one side or the other of the holiday, that makes for a lovely bit of time off.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Carol, hallelujah for the holiday time off! Sadly, I used lots of time off this year to do things like take a kid to college orientation, move people to school, pick people up from school. You know, necessary stuff that is not really “vacation” but is definitely time away from the office. I always look forward to January 1, when the PTO reloads and I can start planning vacations and long weekends and extended holidays. Good stuff! 🙂

      You know, if I didn’t have my girls to bake for me *eg*, I would probably do what I did when they were babies: bake with friends. We used to plan a day to get together and make our most work-intensive cookies. It was great, because none of us would have made them otherwise and many hands make light work!

      I still have no intention of baking this year, but I sort of wish I intended to. Sort of. Not enough to do it, though. 😀

    • Hey Carol, it’s been forever since I’ve been out your way!

      I have lots of time off these days while looking for a day job, but I remember the pressures of trying to get everything done with the holidays and no time off from work. Definitely enjoy you vacation!

  • Pat Cochran says:

    For me, it’s not just one thing. I enjoy the
    family gatherings: my sibs and all our fami-
    lies, our immediate family together on
    Christmas Day. I enjoy singing in the choir
    for Midnight Mass. Most of all, I enjoy the
    grandchildren singing “Happy Birthday”
    to Baby Jesus and blowing out the candle
    on a special cake!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Pat, what a great collection of Christmas treats to enjoy! Recently, friends from church were pressuring my husband and I to join the choir. Since the kids are all away now, we have no more excuses, so it looks like we’ll be going to choir practice come January. I think it will be fun, even though I don’t have the best voice.

      The grandkids will always remember the Happy Birthday Jesus cake, too. My kids sure do! 🙂

    • Pat, that is an awesome idea! What a wonderful holiday you have every year.

  • Kimberly, welcome back and congrats on your new release! That’s a fun excerpt.

    My favorite thing about the holidays is the anticipation in the air. Not at the mall, particularly. There tends to be a certain frenzy in the air just now. But around the city in general.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Nancy, I’ve felt that air of anticipation, too. Isn’t it exciting? I have, however, avoided the mall at all costs! I happily admit I have not set foot in a mall in months, except to return something I ordered online.

      I used to work in a retail store when I was college age and spent a number of Christmases working at the mall. I think it cured me of thinking that “going to the mall” was a fun thing. Ha!

      • Caren, I find that sense of anticipation stronger in small shops than in the mall. And I hate being accosted by people working kiosks. If I’m interested in the product, I’ll stop, and ploys to make me stop only make me irritable.

        • Caren Crane says:

          Ack! The kiosk people are a plague. I know they have a job to do, but I loathe their jobs. I try to shop small, local stores when I have to get out to buy something. I still need stocking stuffers, so I’ll be heading into the fray in the next few days. 🙂

          • Oy! The mall in December. I remember working at B Dalton Books in high school, and having to hand key every ISBN and price into the register. This is why I’m at a cashier at the RWA Literacy for Life Signings!

            I’ve been trying to avoid anything that looks at all retail and large for weeks, but I had to cave today and run into WalMart. Last minute travel supplies.

            But I’ve definitely hit the anticipation of the holiday stage. I think it’s because I did all the shopping early to ship it to CA, and now I’m headed there for the wrapping.

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Caren, and hi Kimberly. Welcome back!

    This sounds like a wonderful read. Love the tension in that scene! And I love it that he’s not being Mr. Nice Guy. *grin*

    As to my favorite thing about the season…I don’t know if I can pick one thing. The holiday lights, maybe. And since we gave up obligatory shopping–our whole family decided to just not do that(we only buy for the kids) I like shopping for friends and finding things to surprise them–things I know they’ll love or that they need.

    I also love the foods that we don’t usually get any other time of year.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Cassondra, I love all those things, too. I think I would love the lights even more if we had snow on the ground. Since it was 62 F again today, that hardly seems likely!

      But as I nibbled a kifli cookie (it has almond paste filling) that a friend gave me as a gift today, I was reflecting on how great it is to have these things we only get once a year. Definitely makes each of those things special!

      Also, I love picking out gifts I know people will love. I haven’t bought much this year, but each thing I did buy was something the recipient either needs or will treasure. I love giving gifts!

      Oh, and Kimberly’s hero & heroine have a boatload of conflict. The compromise they work out surprised me, too. It is a great story all the way around!

      • It couldn’t have surprised you as much as it surprised me. Which is saying something because, as Caren knows, I have index cards for each scene in my books.

      • Cassondra says:

        Caren, you never know. At least, here in Kentucky, it really is true that if you don’t like the weather, hang around for 48 hours. It’ll change. Especially this time of year. It was in the 60s today, but Friday, the high is supposed to be something like 35!

        That’s snow weather, here.

    • Cassondra, Evan is not a nice guy. Well, he’s a really nice guy overall, just not with Meg. She burned him badly years ago, and he’s out for revenge. God, he was fun to write!

      You mentioned lights and that reminded me of spending Christmas Eve driving around the Chicago suburbs with my family. My grandfather would pile us all into the car and we’d drive around for hours looking for the tackiest light displays. We had so much fun!

  • Beth Andrews says:

    Welcome, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing your fabulous excerpt – sounds like a great read!

    I love so many things about the holiday but this week I’m really enjoying the baking/candy making part *g*

    • Caren Crane says:

      Beth, it warms the cockles of my heart that you still enjoy the baking and candy making. I have happily deferred to my girls for most of that. I have a feeling that one day I will really want to get back in the kitchen and start baking again, but for now I content myself with making things when I need to. No baking for pleasure these days. I’m not sure why except that I have so much else to do. Which is sad!

    • Hi Beth, I’m finally on solid ground again, and eating pralines because I haven’t eaten enough food today! Obviously baking is my favorite. Do you have a specialty you make over the holidays?

  • catslady says:

    Oh, shortbread cookies are one of my favorites but I’ve never made them. It seems like a simple recipe so if I find some spare time…I love being able to get together with friends and family – love the gatherings! We’ve had my daughter’s tree trimming party and this weekend I’ll have mine!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Catslady, I love it that you and your daughter host tree-trimming parties. That sounds like such fun!

      I have found shortbread cookies to be really easy to make and they are so delicious. These might make a nice addition to your party this weekend!

    • Catslady, these would be the perfect addition to your party.

  • Hi Caren! Hi Kimberly! Both the excerpt and the recipe were delicious. Thanks so much for swinging by to celebrate our 12 Days of Bandita Christmas with us! How exciting to have two releases in one month. Santa won’t know what to pick up from his TBR pile! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Merry Christmas, Anna! I want you to know that I got a little card in the mail today from one of my most favorite Aussies – you! I was beyond thrilled to get it, too, and see your handwriting. It’s not the same as seeing you, but a lovely surprise. Thank you, love!

      Also, I devoured The Winter Wife and enjoyed it so much. I just wished it was longer – naturally! No matter how long your stories are, I always want more. If anyone is looking for a lovely reunion Christmas novella, pick up Anna Campbell’s The WInter Wife. You will love it!

      Also, it goes well with butterscotch shortbread. I’m just saying…

      • Caren, so glad the card turned up. I posted in what I hoped was plenty of time but the mails to the US have been really odd this year. Some stuff has taken weeks! And how lovely that you enjoyed The Winter Wife. I’m so glad about that. I think it’s the perfect time of year for some bite-sized fiction! And for some butterscotch shortbread!

  • CrystalGB says:

    My favorite thing about the holiday season is spending time with family. Thank you for the cookie recipe. They sound awesome.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Crystal, nothing is quite like having your family gathered round, is it? I am so looking forward to seeing my own huge family for Christmas next week. Eek! Yes, less than a week away now. I still have to find stocking stuffers, too. Oy!

    • Crystal, I know what you mean. I thought when we landed I’d come home and pass out. Instead, we’re having wine, some BBQ, and chatting. And my step-mother (not the wicked kind) is making sure I get over here and finish up for the night.

  • Shadow says:

    Hi! Thanks for sharing! Your book sounds awesome! Already added it to my wishlist! Thanks! And nice recipe! My dad loves butterscotch. I dont but this will make his day! 🙂 Thank you! I hope your having a wonderful time! What i love about Christmas is being with my family. We dont do the tradition Christmas thing. Instead of going to families houses, opening presents, etc. We stay home, cook a nice dinner, and eat tons of junk food! We watch christmas movies, sing and listen to music, play games, etc. I love our christmases. Thank you!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Shadow, your Christmas sounds wonderful! We have traveled every Christmas for the last 22 years, so the thought of staying home has magic all its own. 🙂 Then again, I would be really sad not to see my huge family, so I don’t mind packing everything up and driving down to see them. Enjoy your holiday!

    • Shadow, I love your Christmas! I brought several DVDs with us so we could all watch Rudolf and the Grinch (the original). Can’t wait to enjoy them with the kids and grandparents.

  • Hi Kimberly! A hearty Christmas welcome to the lair! My, those cookies look good:) Posh, thanks for hosting Kimberly today.

    I’d have to say the best thing about Christmas is having the family all together, or as much of it as we can muster. Also, singing carols and eating far too much! Plus my dh makes a mean Christmas cocktail:) Merry Christmas to you and best of luck with THE BILLIONAIRE BACHELOR’S REVENGE!

    • Christina, thanks for the well wishes. Christmas cocktails, huh? Does he have a favorite recipe he’d like to share here?

      We’ll be singing with my cousins on Sunday night. Every carol we can think of. A few years ago we watched Snarky Daughter (age 12) channel Eartha Kitt with Santa Baby. It was a window into high school.

  • Louisa says:

    Hello KImberly! Hi Caren! Great interview and LOVED the excerpt!

    My favorite thing about the holidays is spending time with my family. I don’t get to see my brothers and my niece and nephew nearly as much as I would like. And I LOVE my Mom’s homemade holiday food! Look out chicken and dumplings! I’ll be there for Christmas!

    • Louisa, chicken and dumplings? Sounds wonderful, and I’m thrilled you enjoyed the excerpt. I had a blast writing this book. So much fun torturing Meg and Evan. Can’t wait to start torturing Meg’s brother, Devlin.

      Merry Christmas!

  • Thanks to everyone for sharing their holiday memories today. I’ve had a wonderful time reading what makes the holiday special for you.

    Between the cooking, wrapping, eating, cooking, etc, etc, make sure to take some time and relax and enjoy yourselves!

    Happy holidays, everyone!