Saturday, September 8, 2018

A sneak peek at Second Chance Christmas by Kristin Wallace

I’m very excited to be part of Sweet Christmas Kisses 5, our annual holiday box set, which launches Tuesday, September 25th. This year’s set features 9 contemporary holiday tales from USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and award-winning authors. These stories will take you from snowy Maine to Florida, New York to San Francisco, and even romantic European cities like Paris and Florence. You can get all 9 stories for only 99cents. 

My contribution is SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS, which is part of a new trilogy in my Palm Cove Tales series. It’s the follow-up to The Heiress Games trilogy, which launched this spring. This tale features desperate single mom, Mia Reynolds, the cousin of security expert Damon Grant (who appeared in the Heiress Games books). Mia has been hiding a very big secret about her daughter and now the truth is about to be revealed. 

Second Chance Christmas
A Palm Cove Tale

Ten years ago, Mia Reynolds and Winthrop Barrington spent one magical Christmas together. Until lies and manipulation at the hands of Win’s wealthy family tore them apart and left Mia to raise a daughter on her own. Now, both of them have returned to their hometown of Palm Cove, Florida. Once they uncover the truth about what happened, can Mia and Win rediscover the love they once lost and celebrate a Second Chance Christmas with their daughter?

Now here’s an excerpt…

Chapter One

            There ought to be a law about Christmas carols bringing up memories a person wanted to forget. Mia Reynolds violently twisted the knob on the car radio, silencing the opening strains of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas”. Unfortunately, the lack of noise allowed her to think too much. Mostly she thought about the mess she’d made of her life, starting with allowing herself to believe that Christmas could be a time of miracles and magic. Starting with dancing under the moonlight to this song, with a guy who’d betrayed her and then cast her aside without a thought. Everything that had happened afterwards was a direct result of that long-ago, forbidden dance.
            The devastating betrayal that had broken her heart.
            Fleeing town in the dead of night, with her old boyfriend as a cover.
            The “plus” sign on that little white stick a few weeks later.
            Her outright terror at the thought of being a single mother. 
            So many mistakes. Up to and including the fact that she who was now jobless and homeless, with a ten-year-old daughter to support, all on her own.
            Right on cue, a plaintive voice piped up from the back seat. “Mom, will we everget there?” 
            Mia’s hands tightened on the steering wheel as she braced for impact. Riley had just turned ten a few weeks ago, but suddenly she sounded like a bored socialite going on thirty. 
“Just a few more minutes, honey,” Mia said, hoping they weren’t launching into anotherargument.
            A deep sigh drifted through the car, backed by the full force of Riley’s displeasure. “It’s not like I want to be there, anyway.”
            “Come on, honey, I think you’ll love Palm Cove,” Mia said. “It’s a great little town.”
            Riley’s “oh please” expression met Mia’s in the rearview mirror. “If it’s so great, how come we never visit? You always make Aunt Chloe come see us.”
            If only Riley understood that Mia hadn’t stayed away because she hated Palm Cove. She’d had a much more devastating reason for her self-imposed exile, but at this point, she had no choice but to return.
            This move was a last-ditch effort to get back on her feet after a series of bad breaks. Mia’s job as a cashier at a convenience store had barely been enough to pay the rent. Then she’d gotten sick, with pneumonia. There’d been doctor’s visits and a three-day hospital stay, followed by strict orders not to move from the couch for two weeks. It’d been long enough for her to get fired from the crappy cashier position. As a result, she’d fallen way behind on the rent and everything else.  
            Hence, Mia was now slinking back to her hometown with her tail between her legs. Not her choice, but as a single mother, she had to swallow her pride and do what was best for Riley.
            “It won’t be so bad.” Mia tried – she really tried – to instill some enthusiasm into her voice, but knew she’d failed miserably. 
            Honestly, Mia didn’t want to live in Palm Cove, either. For a number of reasons.
            Again, it wasn’t a bad town. It was just so small. Everybody knew everybody’s business. It also had a rigid social code, which decreed that the rich folks – known as the South-siders – had little to do with the poor North-siders. Like Shakespeare’s Montagues and Capulets, only without the sword fighting and tragic deaths. However, any interaction between the two sides was frowned upon, and crossing the line invariably led to heartbreak. 
Mia should know. She’d attempted to cross that barrier once, with disastrous results. She still had the scars on her heart to prove it. Not to mention a daughter who’d been forced to grow up without a father around. Mia had never told anyone the identity of Riley’s father, and she had no plans to change that. The jerk had turned his back on them both. Still, she’d kept the secret by purposefully staying awayfor the last ten years so no one would see the evidence in her daughter’s eyes. Not that anyone would ever guess the truth. Only him, and he’d made it clear that he wanted nothing to do her or Riley.
Up ahead, Mia spotted the Palm Cove welcome sign. 
“We’re almost home,” Mia said, again attempting to sound happy about this fact.
“Oh joy.” So much tween disgust injected into those two words. Mia might have admired the depth of her daughter’s skill if she wasn’t busy having a quiet nervous breakdown. 
I hear you, baby girl. I hear you.
The closer Mia got to the center of town, the more her hands shook, until the steering wheel literally began to vibrate. Too many memories. Too much heartbreak and betrayal. Too many tears. 
 “I bet Aunt Chloe has made something amazing for us to eat,” Mia said, trying one more time to be upbeat. 
The one positive thing about slinking home in shame came in the form of an older sister who made a living as a baker. No doubt, Chloe would shower them in delicious treats and home-cooked meals, the likes of which Mia hadn’t eaten since she’d left home. 
In the rearview mirror, Mia saw her daughter straighten. “Yeah.”
At least in this mother and daughter were alike. Mia loved food and had the hips to prove it. Besides the ability to create magic in the kitchen, Chloe might be the only person on the planet that Riley still liked. 
Mia turned onto Main Street and it was like going back in time. A lump formed in her throat. Despite the way she’d left all those years ago, Mia did have good memories of Palm Cove. Memories of her parents and a cramped, three-bedroom house. Memories of her sister, Chloe, and later, her cousin-slash-big-brother, Damon. She remembered a yard littered with bikes, even if they’d been bought second hand at garage sales. Laughing over dinner. Board games on Fridays and movies on Sundays at the dollar matinee. The Reynolds clan might not have had much money, but as a child, Mia hadn’t really noticed. She’d certainly never seen herself as poor. Not until much later anyway.
Her childhood had been pretty idyllic, but that was all before cancer took her mother when Mia was barely twenty. Before her father had a heart attack and followed his wife right into the grave. 
Mia shuddered and forced her mind back to the present. If she thought about her parents too much, she’d collapse in sorrow. At least they weren’t alive to see how much she’d screwed up her life. Right now, she needed to hold it together. For Riley’s sake, Mia would smile and act like everything was fine.
Up ahead, Mia spotted the bakery. “We’re here!” 

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Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. She is the author of 3 popular series, Covington Falls ChroniclesShellwater Key Tales and Palm Cove Tales. Find out more by visiting Kristin Wallace Author.  


  1. Great excerpt, Kristin. Can't wait for our SCK 5 to be released!

  2. Another fun story. I looking forward to reading the whole collection!