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Mistletoe Madness: Larissa Ione

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Thank you for stopping by That’s What I’m Talking About for today’s Mistletoe Madness spot. For a line up of all of the authors featured here and at The Book Nympho, and to enter the overall event giveaway for a free book (two chances to win!), please click on the image above or go to the kickoff post on December 2, 2013.

Larissa Ione

Book: Reaver
Release Date: December 17, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Oh, Christmas Hells, Oh Christmas Hells…

“Shade!” Runa strode into the master bedroom of the cave Shade had lived in before they were mated. Now it was their romantic jungle getaway. Usually. “Your children are impossible.”

Shade shrugged into a sweater — forest green, which was as Christmas-y as he got. Even then, it was under protest. But damn, the green played up his tan skin and black hair, and if the boys weren’t wound up in anticipation of the Underworld General Christmas party, Runa would have Shade up against the wall in a heartbeat.

“They take after you,” Shade said, his voice gruff, but the twinkle of amusement in his dark eyes gave him away. He loved being a father, even when things got hairy.

He brushed past, slowing to kiss her on the cheek. Heat flushed her face, and her knees actually went a little wobbly. They’d been mated for four years, and still his touch made her skin tingle and her heart beat faster. Every. Single. Time.

Oh, yes, she couldn’t wait to get him alone. Here in the cave or in a supply closet at UG, it didn’t matter. As a Seminus demon, he needed frequent sex to survive, but things had chanced in the last three years. When a Sem mated and had children, his needs, both sexual and reproductive, adjusted to what his mate could handle.

Fortunately for Shade, Runa could handle a lot.

She kept her gaze firmly on his jeans-clad butt as she followed him into the living room, where the triplets were fighting over a Spiderman action figure. Rade, who, with his black hair and dark brown eyes was the spitting image of his father, held Spiderman over his head and shoved at his brothers as they tried to grab for the toy.

“Hey!” Shade’s booming voice froze the three boys instantly. “Knock it off.”

“But Daddy…” Tears filled Stryke’s champagne eyes. He’d gotten Shade’s hair but Runa’s eyes, and he was the best at using them to manipulate his father.

“Don’t even start,” Shade said in his best stern dad tone. Then, just as the other two boys started getting teary, he grinned. “But what do you say we wrestle?”

He dove onto the carpet, and a moment later, he was covered in giggling kids.

Runa sighed. So much for discipline. But she couldn’t be angry, not on Christmas Eve, and not when she was trying to get Shade to enjoy the uniquely human holiday. Heck, she’d be happy if he only pretended to like it for the kids’ sake.

A flash of light signaled a heavenly arrival, and Reaver materialized, decked out in black slacks and a sapphire button-down that was only a little less blue than his eyes. Blade, usually the quietest of the triplets, squealed as he threw himself into the angel’s arms. Stryke and Rade joined their brother, turning poor Reaver into a jungle gym.

“Thanks for doing this,” Runa said. “We didn’t want to haul them through the jungle to the Harrowgate.” And she wanted to have a little chat with Shade.

“No problem.” Reaver popped Stryke onto his shoulders. “I was thinking of starting an angelic taxi service.”

“Well, we appreciate it.” She caught Rade as he dashed toward the couch, and tucked him into one of Reaver’s arms. “Are you flashing to the parking lot?”

“Yep.” Reaver hauled Blade against his chest so he had all three kids together. “Jillian and Idess will be waiting to help corral them to the party.”

“Are all of the Horsemen going?” Shade shoved to his feet, kicking aside a minefield of toys. “Because Ares owes me a drink.”

Rade grabbed a fistful of Reaver’s blond hair, but he didn’t so much as blink. “There’ll be too many humans at the party, and they react badly to him. We’ll all be together for Christmas, though.”

A smile played at the corners of his lips, but it never went further than that. She knew he was happier than he’d ever been now that he had children and grandchildren in his life, but still, there was a lingering sadness about him. It wasn’t always there, but she caught glimpses now and then, as if he sometimes realized that there was something missing in his life.

She’d have to ask Shade if he knew any females who might like an angel with a mysterious past and four children who were Biblical legends. Then again, those might not be selling points.

“We’ll see you in a little while.” She blew kisses at the boys, who waved as Reaver flashed them out of there.

“It’s pretty cool having an angel as a babysitter.” Shade slipped his arm around her waist and tugged her close. “No one is going to fuck with him. Plus, he kind of fits in with all this Christmas crap.”

Damn, him. He wasn’t even trying. “Shade. What did you say to the kids? Knock it off? Well, knock it off.”

He rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on. This isn’t a demon holiday. It’s a human one.”

“And I used to be human, remember? We agreed to raise them to understand both our worlds.”

His teasing grin said he wasn’t taking this seriously. “Then I can take them to a traditional Seminus orgy on Samhain?”

With a huff, she stepped back, hating the cold space that bloomed between them. “Seriously? You’re going to compare a demon orgy to a holiday where kids sing songs and get presents and candy?”

“You can get presents and candy at an orgy.”

She glared. “Why are you being so stubborn? It’s not like you haven’t lived among humans for decades. And Wraith made you guys exchange gifts. On our first Christmas, it was you who decorated the tree.”

“So?”

“So what’s wrong with you? Ever since the boys were born, you’ve been all Grinchy. Why?” When he said nothing, she pressed harder. “Shade, you need to talk to me. Something’s going on. What is it?”

Silence stretched. Shade turned away, and just as she thought he was going to walk out, he spun back around and blurted, “It’s the lie.”

Baffled, she searched her brain for any hint as to what he was talking about, but nope, still baffled. “What lie?”

“The one about Santa,” he growled. “I don’t want to lie to my sons.”

She blinked. “That’s what this has been about? For three years, you’ve been afraid to pretend there’s a Santa?”

He patted his chest and his jeans in what she knew was a search for gum. A futile one, at that. “My parents told us they’d keep us safe, and they didn’t. It was the first and last lie they ever told. I don’t want our sons to one day realize that the first thing they truly believed in was a lie we told them.”

Runa’s heart melted right into her feet. “Oh, Shade,” she whispered. “If it means that much to you, we can be honest with them about Santa. But first, just listen to me, okay?” He nodded, and she took a deep, bracing breath. “I had a crappy childhood. You know that. Almost all of my memories are horrible. But the good ones? They’re all about Christmas.”

She thought back to the bottles of alcohol that were strewn around the house, and how sometimes her brother, Arik, would stuff Christmas lights inside them to decorate the house. Their mother always made sure there was at least one present for each of them under the crooked plastic tree on Christmas morning, and twice she even took them caroling.

“The thing I remember most was when my mom took us to see Santa. We always did it without our dad, and we’d spend the whole day out. She’d buy us ice cream, and then she’d get us hot cocoa to warm up. When we finished we’d go see Santa, and for a full year after that, when all the bad shit happened, I’d remember that Christmas was coming. It was the one day when my parents got along, and the one day nothing bad ever happened.”

Shade moved to her, all grace and rolling shoulders, and hugged her to him. “All our days are like that, Runa,” he said into her hair. “Our boys don’t need a special day set aside to feel safe and loved.”

“No, they don’t. But maybe we do.” Pulling back just a little, she palmed his chest, right over his heart. “Someday the boys are going to grow up and leave, and you know how dangerous it is out there, and how strong the crazy Seminus instincts are. Christmas needs to be an anchor, the one time of year that we can count on everyone being together. A little white lie about a jolly man in a red suit is going to be the least of their worries someday.” Beneath her hand, Shade’s pulse pounded, and the mate-mark on her arm began to throb in time with his heart. “Give them that. Give us that.”

“You’re right,” he rasped. “I’m sorry, Runa.”

“No,” she said softly. “You don’t need to be. We come from different worlds, and we’re going to clash. It’s why we have to talk. Instead of, you know, being grumpy for three years on Christmas.” She playfully pinched his biceps to punctuate that last part.

“I’ll make it up to you, I swear.” His hand dropped to her butt, and he hauled her even harder against him. She growled in approval and nipped the skin over his collarbone. His hiss — and the insta-erection behind his fly — told her he’d liked it. “What do you say we go grab the boys and take them to see Santa?”

She grinned. “Really?”

“Really?”

“Now?”

A naughty smile spread across his face as his fingers delved between her thighs. “What do you think?”

“I think I love you,” she whispered.

“I love you too, baby,” Shade whispered back. “Merry Christmas.”

About the Book:

ReaverFinal600WARRIOR OF HEAVEN

Reaver is an angel with a past, a record, and a less-than-heavenly attitude. Powerful enough to fight alongside the fiercest battle angels-and crazy enough to risk his wings on a one-way mission to hell-he’s agreed to go where no angel has ever gone before…to steal the most seductive and dangerous prize of Satan himself.

ANGEL OF HELL

Harvester is one of the Fallen, a once-heroic angel who sacrificed her wings to work as an undercover agent in hell. But now her cover has been blown, and she’s been doomed to an eternity of agonizing torture. Even if Reaver can snatch her away from Satan’s lair, even if they can fight their way out of the underworld’s darkest depths, there is one thing Harvester can never escape-her newfound thirst for an angel’s blood…

To learn more about the book, visit: http://larissaione.com/blog/books/reaver/

Giveaway

Larissa is offering up a Reaver-color-themed tote bag and swag to one lucky commenter. To enter, just leave a comment letting Larissa know one of your favorite holiday memories and fill out the Rafflecopter form, below. The giveaway is open internationally, where not prohibited by law. Winner will be selected at random from the eligible entries. Giveaway open from December 16 to December 28, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST. Open to all readers, 18 years or older, who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please email me at twimom227 (at) gmail (dot) com if you have trouble entering.

Now, head over the THE BOOK NYMPHO to see today’s feature with M.L. Buchman.

  • jovial_1

    Having all the family crammed into my Grandma’s little house. Her Canadian family would all show up and we’d eat and have a good time. I was very little but still recall the warmth.

  • EthiopianSiren

    Thanks for the contest! One of my favs would be coming down the stairs on Christmas Eve and finding my new puppy wrapped in a bow 🙂

  • Stephanie Scott

    Thanks for the giveaway. One of my favorite Christmas memories is baking tons of different cookies with my grandma. It’s a tradition I still carry on today.

  • Shelley Samec

    Thanks for everything you do!

  • Sheena T.

    Best memory- When I was 12 my sister and I is 2 years older decided to leave out Milk and cookies for santa. Yes we were past the age of believing in him but we were recently moved to CT from Jamaica and we never really celebrated Christmas there like they do in the states. So we watched alot of christmas movies and decided we wanted him to come to our house. I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning waiting. We lived in a house apartment on the 2nd floor and I figured he could not get in since there was no fire place and the doors were locked. Well that is what I am still telling myself. 🙂

  • Mel

    Nice to see Shade and Runa again. Thanks for a lovely Christmas story.

  • Angie Osorio

    Waking up Christmas morning to a tree towering over tons of presents. My grandparents and dad sitting, waiting, smiling, taking it on all in as I squealed with joy with every gift I opened. Than afterwards take pictures with all the bows and ribbons on my hair and clothes.

  • Carolina

    Thanks for the giveaway and for the story.

  • Susan Clement

    Appreciate the giveaway! I loved Christmas Eve with my whole family! It was the best! What I would not give for one more of those!

  • Jenny Kells

    Last year I was living in Ireland and I booked a flight home to Canada on Christmas Eve without telling my family… they were all totally surprised and it was awesome!

  • Melanie Woodward Mellon

    Going to my grandma’s on Christmas Eve. It was always a wonderful memory. I miss those times!!

  • Brandy

    My favorite memory is making a ton of cookies on Christmas eve with my mom and brother

  • D’eBook Sharing

    My favourite memory is from when my son was 7 years old. I’d wrapped his main Santa present and stashed it in the boot of my friend’s car. On Christmas Eve, I went to retrieve the present only to find the seal on the boot was busted and snow had leaked in ruining the wrapping paper and box. I could have cried 🙁

    Too late to do anything, I quickly scribbled a card from Santa apologising that a mischievous elf had knocked the gift off the sleigh and into the snow.
    I was so nervous Christmas morning, terrified that his Christmas would be ruined but he was more ecstatic that Santa had written to him than he was about getting the present 😀

  • Tracy

    Going to my Grandma’s on Christmas and playing with all of my cousins is my favorite memory !!!

  • Jennifer Tilney

    My favorite holiday memory? Tough one as I always enjoyed each. Even though it was just my mom and me, we always had a great Christmas. Homemade fudge after the midnight church service. Some eggnog and one present to open. So excited to go to bed knowing that Santa would be here soon. No chimney? No problem as Santa would shrink down and come through our key hole at the front door – and he always delivered! My mom did not have much money at all and would shop all year long to give me a wonderful Christmas!!! Every year it was.

  • Library Lady

    My favorite memories always include getting up super early to open our presents and then going to grandma’s for a huge breakfast and even more presents.

  • Dante Malebranche

    Very Sweet!

  • Brenda Hyde

    The Christmas after my 19 year old brother died my family drove 4 hours to pick me up so I could spend Christmas with them. It was a rough time for everyone and that really meant a lot to me, especially when we had to drive through heavy snow!

  • Latisha Bramlett

    Waking up to see the tree and stockings full of presents. Eating all the good food and having the family all together.

  • jessie

    Saturday Night Live used to have a skit called “Toonses the cat who thought he could drive a car.” Well we redid it with our family dog, a German Shepard named Bully. The cats were in on it. He stole car keys and drove my brother’s Mustang into a snow bank!

  • Eli White

    We don’t often get snow in the part of the UK I live, but we got loads overnight on Christmas Eve a few years ago. Christmas Day we (brothers and sisters in law, nieces and nephews) and after dinner we all went outside to build a snowman and ended up having a snowball fight with neighbours and random people walking past. It was SO much fun, and it wasn’t until later I realised I was wearing the Harry potter cape my mum got me as a gag gift for Christmas (i was 36 lol) explained why all the kids wanted to be on my team! Without a doubt the funniest and most memorable Christmas I’d had since I was a kid 🙂

  • Nikki Mock

    Eating xmas dinner in the steps with my cousins at my grandmas house because there were no chairs left!

  • Amy Keith Jacobson

    My grandfather alway had and envelopes on the tree with everyones name on them, inside was a $2.00 bill. No matter how hard times were the envelopes we’re on the tree. When my grandfather passed my dad continues the tradition.

  • Louise Wheeler

    We have themed christmases and the first year my daughter went to university we all (4 daughters ,one grandson and lil ole me ) had a 50s theme . The best funniest christmas ever all dressed up as 50s as we could get swishing about in petticoats and flared dresses enjoying being together for the holidays .

  • Nikki Moses Brant

    I loved going to my Grandmother’s family and seeing everyone there! Christmas was the one time we could all be together!

  • LAHill

    When we were kids we got to open 1 gift on Xmas Eve-only one! Aunt Laura was the savings and coupon queen and every year we would get a box of gifts from her after she got them from huge sales all year long. Of course we picked one of hers every year! My sister and I each picked the same BIG gift one year-opening it we found another box, and another! Finally we get to the gift…a box of corn flakes!! My evil mother planned it with her, knowing exactly what we would do.

  • Dawn Neff

    Being with family

  • Trudy Spraker

    Since you said favorite “holiday” memory and it does not have to be Christmas specific, I am going to share my favorite holiday tradition which is the cause of all my favorite holiday memories. Every year instead of staying home for the traditional Thanksgiving my family heads camping. We usually go to the coast but if the passes are covered in snow we stay a bit closer to home. We always have such a great time. We go on walks, take family outings, play games, and sit around the campfire just being with the family and I love it so much! It is quality family time without the usual stress of the holidays! We still have a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner but there is always some craziness that happens from cooking in a small trailer instead of a full sized kitchen. One of my favorite memories was the year my husband left the turkey outside instead of listening to me and putting it in the trailer! When I woke up I noticed that something was a bit off. Sure enough the raccoons had gotten in to the cooler and nibbled on the turkey! My husband took or daughter to the store and thankfully was able to get the last fresh turkey and Thanksgiving was saved but it made for an interesting holiday and a wonderful memory!

  • Elizabeth Foust

    One year before my mom passed away me and her spent hours making our own decorations for the tree. We both ended up a mess from all the glitter and tacky glue but it was fun and we both laughed a lot.

  • Erin Jeffrey

    One of my best holiday moments may seem silly but it was back when my grandma was still alive. She LOVED post-it notes (and passed that love on to me) and one year my grandfather got her a big pack of them. She leaped out of her chair and started yelling “I got post-it notes!” and danced around. It was so funny and so her and it’s one of those memories that will be with me forever…my amazingly silly grandma who was happy to get the simplest of things.

  • flchen1

    We loved decorating every year to the sounds of the Andrews sisters and Williams brothers singing Christmas carols 🙂 Good times!

  • tresa

    First Christmas with my husband 🙂

  • Kathleen

    Great Short! Favorite Christmas Memory? Watching Claymation Christmas with my sister and parents (we loved those singing camels!!)

  • Rebecca Ritchey

    I love having my family around during the holiday.

  • Jennifer Beck

    all the family come together and we have a great time

  • Natasha Kaja

    I was born on Christmas. So growing up I always had to celebrate my birthday and Christmas together. I used to get Christmas cards with Happy Birthday in them, birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper, and I hardly ever got to have a birthday party or a birthday cake. One year my Dad suggested that I swap birthdays with him. I remember being so excited. I finally got a day all to myself. I had a party and cake and got Birthday cards with no Merry Christmas. Christmas that year was the best one I had. It was all about Christmas complete with cookies for Santa, family gatherings and going to bed with a heart full of love. That was the first Christmas I remember my Mom going to bed happy, she didn’t forget my birthday.

  • Bethany Frost

    My favorite memory was when my Papa was still alive. He used to always dress up as Santa on Christmas. One year when I was about 4, I figured it out, and when I sat on his lap I said “Hi Papa!” and my mom had to try for 20 minutes to get me to understand that my little brother hadn’t figured it out, so I needed to keep my mouth shut. Every Christmas I remember that because it was one of the last Christmas’s with my Papa.

  • Madalyn Snellings

    I remember a perfect Christmas when our entire family came into the new home we recently have moved into. Usually on Christmas two family weren’t there and it was kind of sad. Especially when the kids got together it was always so wonderful. Well on that faithful Christmas all of us were together, we watched as the kids played outside in the snow and the new addition to the family which was my baby cousin Ethan who said his first word and that was Eat. Yet he always had his hand out and said “Eat Eat Eat.” Then after presents we sat by the chimney and had marshmallows roasting them singing together. That day was so wonderful i cried because I’ve never seen my family like that ever. Christmas always brought out the fun in my family and that is why i love it so much. Thank you for reading Merry Christmas or how my family says it Merry New Year 🙂

  • Justine

    One of my favorite memories is sitting around an enormous round table with my extensive extended family and eating dinner on New Year’s Eve.

  • Marta cox

    My first time cooking for my own family! Now I truly appreciate what my mum went through!

  • WOW! Thank you all for sharing your excellent stories! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season this year!

  • Lianne

    I used to like the Christmas day that the extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins etc) would all gather happily

  • Brenda Starling

    One of my favorite traditions as a kid was having the whole family together on Christmas Eve. We would eat a crap ton of snacks and drink egg nog and open Christmas presents from each other. Christmas day was for Santa and his presents to us kids! My mom passed away in July of this year so it will be our first Christmas without her, but I will always hold those happy memories close to my heart. I know it’s early but Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Tina Myers

    I loved when we were all small and went to Grandma’s house she lived in a three room house and there we were all 8 of us sitting around and eating laughing and opening presents..

  • Kimberly Shank-Mitchell

    Going downstairs. Waiting for my son to see his face light up… The best ever.

  • Michelle Crompton

    My very first memory is actually Christmas related. We were living in K-town, Germany and I was just over two years old. Coming back from my Dad’s company party, we were in a German taxi but on the radio was I believe Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby singing “Santa Claus is Comingto Town ” . I still remember the lights shining from the stores and being with my Mom and sister.

  • DJ Hernandez

    My favorite Christmas memory came when I was 7 years old. That year for Christmas my father made me a doll-sized high chair, a child-sized ironing board with a little cast iron iron, and a child-sized wardrobe with hangars that fit my doll clothes. I don’t know what happened to the high chair or the ironing board but the wardrobe has now been passed from me, to my daughter, and on to her daughter. The memories in that can never be replaced.

  • My favorite memory of Christmas when we were trying to assemble a crooked ginger bread house, I think we never laughed that hard.

  • Sue Sattler

    One of my favorite memories was when my son was stationed in Iraq. I knew that several of the men and woman there would get nothing, so I sent my son four care packages, all filled with 40 pounds each of Christmas goodies. I put about 20 Christmas cards in the boxes and told my son to give stuff to the one’s who received nothing. On Christmas day my son called and I heard a group of voices yell Merry Christmas to me and thank me for the goodies. My son said, with tears in his voice, that I had really made the day for many who had been forgotten and he loved me so much for doing that. My son passed away on Jan 2, 2011, but that is one memory that I will hold and cherish forever.

    • Larissa Ione

      Sue, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your story made me cry (trying to type through tears as I write this.) As a veteran and wife of a Coastie, please know that I (and my entire family) appreciate your son’s service and your generosity. You and your family (as well as all servicemembers who can’t be home for Christmas) will be in my thoughts and prayers this year. (((hugs)))

    • Sue, I echo Larissa’s words. Thank you for sharing such a special memory.

  • Lenna Wright- Berry

    I was 7 years old and I woke up on Christmas morning and found the tree surrounded by presents but the the only present that stood you for me making this my best memory is that I received a Western Star Barbie Horse, it not what everyone woulds call special but to me it was the best memory. I have always loved horses but that was the closest thing I received that is as close to what I love. It might be just a gift but to me its the memory of receiving such a thing. I’m all the years since that day I still have this horse and its takes center stage on my mantel and it will stay there. Its the only thing now that takes me to all those years ago when I had a happy and loving family with my parents and now I look at the horse and remember all the love I have form my mother and my father that passed away but I see that I can still feel him around, giving me his love.

  • Donna

    Every Christmas I can remember has been full of music, my Dad playing the guitar and everyone singing carols, and the last song we’d sing was “Here Comes Santa Claus”, and Santa would come down the stairs and hand out presents to the children, my neices and nephews. And we still do this, my Dad is now 87, but he still plays guitar and we still sing carols!

  • Heather Lire

    When I was little and we all lived in the same small town every year we would gather at my grandparents house on Christmas Eve. Towards the end of the night Santa would always make an appearance. I loved it.

  • Nicole

    Growing up my family was poor, and sometimes homeless. But I remember my mom who was a single parent to my brother and I, would work 2 sometimes 3 jobs. So that come Christmas time we always had a little tree to decorate. She always got us what we needed..socks, under garments, and a new toothbrush as gifts. But she worked so hard so my brother and I had 1 gift that wasn’t a necessity. 1 toy to play with. While she never asked for anything in return. I’ll always remember the sacrifices my mom made for her kids, especially during the holidays.

  • Kathy Valentine

    I love this little story!!!! thanks larissa for such great Christmas time treat! xoxoxo’s!

  • Ayame Itolya

    Hm, the best memory I have of Christmas is well all of them. Family getting together for the holidays, opening presents, talking to each other, listening to the holiday music, gathering around joking and laughing about all the dumb things we have said and done over the years. What could be better? Spending the holidays with your loved ones is the best time of year in my opinion. Especially if the snow falls, THAT is just the best. Happy Holidays everyone! <3

  • Sherrie Counts

    My favorite Christmas is when we were at grandmas house and I was able to sleep on the cot, all of us kids love the cot. Grandmother had her famous brownies made with the marshmallows and nuts on top, and all the family was there chipping in, and grandmothers canary was over on the side in the cage,
    in the kitchen singing a song!!!

  • Renee Mc

    One of my favorite memories of the holidays is going to my grandmother’s house every Christmas Eve and freezing outside while all the older kids, my Dad and Uncles all popped fireworks for us after opening presents. Then we’d all run back inside and fight for spots in front of fireplace.

  • Vikki @ V’s Book Life

    Haha! I’ve been waiting for a little Shade and Runa update for years! So glad I’ve got one now.
    I love christmas, my birthday is Christmas eve and I can categorically tell you that my least favourite Christmas was after my 18th birthday (legal drinking age here in the UK), when I’d been tricked by my ‘mates’ in to drinking more than I could handle…the smell of the Turkey made me nauseous and the pulling of crackers felt like a sledge hammer to my head…but other than that I had a great day!

  • Deborah Favorito

    Thank you for this contest, my best Christmas was the year my ex no longer lived with us. Sad but he made Christmas very stressful for me. I didn’t realize it until he had left. It was a quite. peaceful day.

  • Karen Bauer

    We used to go to both grandmother’s places on Christmas Eve…I even remember seeing Santa come to my Nana’ house to give some gifts. Its was probably an uncle but we didn’t care. Now its seems like a lifetime ago but now I get to watch it happen again through the eyes of my 2 year old niece. Next year another two young ones will be here to explore the magic of Christmas. Merry Christmas to all. Peace for the New Year.

  • Rabidreader

    Loved this short story about Runa & Shade, cant wait to read Reaver!!

  • skyla11377

    My favorite holiday memory would have to be from this year. This is the first Christmas were my boys and I actually have an artificial Tree that is bigger than 2 and 1/2 inches. We got to do everything together from buying the tree to picking out our own ornaments. Back when we last had a tree it was my mother’s tree with all her old ornaments including ones from when I was younger but they got destroyed so we haven’t had any for a long time. That is why this Christmas is the most memorable because my kids were old enough to help decide what we wanted on our first official family Christmas Tree. .

  • Loraine Oliver

    My favorite memories of Christmas is when we were little there were 10 of us and we used to get so excited when they would bring the tree home and we all got to help decorate it, and then after we went to bed my Mom would calmly rearrange a few of the ornaments!!!

    • I don’t ever do that, never… *crosses fingers*

  • Ann Archambault Waters

    Love your books!

  • Glynis Evans

    One of my favorite Christmas memories is being at my Grandparents home. Grandpa Bowe was the best. He always included the kids in games. He taught us all how to play Sheepshead and then grinned when he won our pennies. 🙂 Happier, simpler times! 🙂

  • Hayley Brandon

    My favourite Christmas memory is when I received Ballet Shoes (when I was 10) I sat and read it that day, it started my love affair with books!

  • Skye Louise

    i remember being allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast! hehe and being surrounded by all the presents and mountains of wrapping paper while mum and dad watched us open them all. Then spend the day together pigging out on food and playing with our toys.

  • Jasmine

    Decorating the tree with my mom… Each year she would “teach” me how to decorate it the right way. How to seperate the branches and evenly space them, since we had a fake tree. As well as lights going on first, which ornaments went first, next, and last. How to space all of the ornaments. Each year was the same, she would act like it was all new to me, she was teaching me for the first time. Then afterwards, we would watch a ton of christmas movies, just me and her, and she would let me sleep on the couch in front of the tree since the lights always make me sleepy. I still try and do this with her, even though we do not live together, but even when we cannot do it together I have the same process on my own. Those darn tree lights still make me sleepy too!

  • Tina S Tippett

    Havingg holiday meals at grandparents house. We have rotated to others but never seemed the same at my grandparents. It just seemed right. Both grandparents are gone now but the memories will be there.

  • Redheaded Bookworm

    My favorite memory is one that happens every year. My mother, sisters and I get together to make tons of Christmas candy. It takes hours but we have so much fun talking and laughing while we do it and now the grandkids are old enough to help too! I love this tradition. Thanks so much!

  • Sinrh

    Going to grandmas Christmas Eve.

  • Sarajane Ilamathi

    My favorite part of Christmas was singing in the midnight mass. The church was so warm and decorated so beautifully and there was an air of magic as we joined together to sing.

  • KV

    I liked to bake sugar cookies & make fudge with my family.

  • Maria Rios

    Favorite memory is going to my grandparents house on Christmas Eve.

  • Tania

    Big family lunches and dinners on Christmas Eve!

  • Sherry Arnold

    When I was maybe 5, I got this awesome Breyer horse and a plush Yorkshire terrier for Christmas. It was the first time anyone had gotten me something that I really wanted, instead of a doll or something. I was so thrilled.

  • Melanie Tikalsky

    Hells Bells I cannot wait for this book to come out! As a fellow Wsiconsinite I am hoping this book will heat up the chilly nights on the Lake Shore!! My favorite Christmas memory is when my husband proposed to me on Christmas day.. He was as sweet as can be!! I will never ever forget that moment!!

  • Robi Ehrlick

    One of my favorite memories was sitting down with my mom and sister and stringing popcorn for the tree. I loved it and plan to do it when my youngest is a little older.

  • Sacha Tiona Rollock

    My favorite holiday memory was the first Christmas for my son. Just the way he lit up over EVERYTHING, from the lights to the gifts to the food. He helps keep me in the spirit each year.

  • Beth Haney

    Loved the story!

    My favorite Christmas memory is when I was about 4 or 5 and Santa Clause came to our house! I was so excited! Years later I found out it was my dad. He passed away when I was 6 and that is one of the best memories I have of him.

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! Merry Christmas!

  • Emily Wojciechowski

    My favorite memories are baking cookies with cousins at my grandmother’s house.

  • Beth Kennedy

    My mother and siblings were having our first Christmas after we got to leave the battered women’s shelter and got our own place. We weren’t expecting to get anything for Christmas because we had no money and left everything behind but the clothes on our backs. On Christmas Eve a charity showed up with so many presents for us that we couldn’t even enter the lining room. We all cried. They also gave us a night at a hotel for Christmas day to play in a pool and have some fun. I will never forget the kindness of some people who give to hose that have nothing.

    • It’s stories like yours that help restore my faith in human-kind. Thanks for sharing!

  • Deb

    Love! Getting a glimpse of the kiddos with Shade and Runa was fun!

  • Iris Salazar

    I’ve always loved the family get togethers. Even if its only once a year.

  • Amy Haith Smith

    love love love it

  • Joyce Bennett

    When my kids were little & elves brought presents to the house for them. This is also my kids favorite Christmas memory!

  • Margaret Cook

    One of the very few memories I have of my grandfather is going to visit him for Christmas. I remember the little musical train toy I got that year chugging all around his house.

  • lopster1024

    Love shade and runa wish i could tag along to that christmas party

  • Krissy Holstein

    Every X-mas with my son is my favorite.

  • Valerie Valicento

    The Christmas I was 8 I found out about Santa–the truth. I love that my Dad denied it and still put my presents from Santa under the tree while I was sleeping. It was the last year I received presents from Santa, but my Dad still denies that it was him.

  • bn100

    decorating the tree together

  • debbie

    Thanks. One of mine is the year my sister lost the hermit crab and almost gave my mom a heart attack.

  • Kim

    Cookie and candy baking w my mom. We make a mess bigger than an Army but always have a laugh!

  • Deb

    Decorating the tree with tinsel. I don’t ever recall a Christmas tree in our house growing up without it. Whenever I see tinsel it reminds me of my mom and how she loved it.

  • Michelle Willms

    When i was a child, my dad would take my sister and me up to the mountains to cut our tree. We would trek for hours through the snow to select the ‘perfect’ tree. Each year, we’d get home with our hard-won prize and discover its flaws as we thawed out. One year, the tree turned out to be THREE trees that had grown together. Of course, we didn’t know that until my dad started chopping. We decided the tree was still beautiful enough to work. It was so warped, it wouldn’t stay in the stand. We had to have the tree both in the stand and WIRED to the ceiling. It was hilarious. My mother wanted to go to an artificial tree each year, but we outvoted her, in spite of having an “interesting” tree year after year. We loved our trees. michelle_willms(at)yahoo(dot)com

  • Sue V

    I scheduled my 2 weeks R&R leave during my first Iraq deployment to get me home to celebrate Christmas with my two daughters. Even though my girls were 12 and 10 years old at the time, I knew I wanted to make those 2 weeks extra-special for them.

    Sue V
    suzanne_voris AT yahoo DOT com

  • Shannon Bechard

    I love Christmas dinner with all my family. My sisters and brother all there kids all my kids and husband its my favorite meal all year.

  • Nicole Fowler

    having all my family together at my grandparents

  • Josette Schaber

    Every year trying to get my husband to let the kids open their gifts early. I’m more impatient than the kids are! LOL So far this year, we’ve already had two separate present opening nights. One present each night.

  • Verna

    One of the best Memories of Christmas was when I was about 5 yrs old ..Dad had let our terrier Sandy boo out in the yard and then hearing him barking his head off…When Dad opened the door Sandy boo was there with a female hound who was in obvious labour and was very skinny ,cold and malnourished …Later that morning she presented us with 5 healthy puppies We named her Sulky because she looked so sad and she became our most prized Christmas gift 🙂 I will never forget that beautiful dog and her precious gift !

  • Loretta1469

    Spending Christmas at my grandmothers house with my cousin.

  • giggleskk

    Going out finding a tree and coming home turning on Christmas music and all of us decorating it. That always gets me in the Christmas spirit.

  • MaureenE

    One of my favorite memories is of my children opening their presents on Christmas morning when they were little. My daughter tore through everything so quickly while my son would slowly open each present and look at it and talk about what he would do with it before going on to the next one.

  • Sara Tassoni

    My copy of Reaver is on its way! OMG, I’m so excited!

  • Janet Rodman

    One Christmas we applied for tickets to attend midnight mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. We were chosen and received 4 tickets. My husband was called into work so he couldn’t go with us. I went in with my son Chris and friend Donna. We were sitting in the back when an usher came to us and said that we could move up a few pews. Chris told us to wait a minute. When he returned, he told us to follow him. We did. He found us seats in the front section. We saw everything. After the mass, Chris walked up to the Cardinal and got his autograph and a picture. To really make Chris’ night, we ate in MacDonald’s at 3 in the morning. We had an amazing night.

  • Meg G.

    I loved that story! Thanks for the giveaway! I love getting new PJs on x-mas eve.

  • Maisie D

    I just got Reaver on my Kindle last night. I so want to start reading, but…. Christmas cookies must be made. I’m saving it for after all the mess is cleaned up! I know I won”t be able to stop reading it once I start.

  • Jennifer

    Driving 9 hours to see my Grandparents every year when we were little

  • shanon

    Awwwwwwwww! Sweet little story!

  • Thanh Truc Nguyen

    when all family members are together 😀

  • Eva Millien

    My daughter 3 at the time decided to become the present, she gathered all the wrapping paper from where everyone had opened their presents got a huge box and put it under the tree, she got in the box and pulled all the paper over her so we couldn’t see here, few frantic minutes of not being able to find her until I heard her little giggle, Best present ever!!!

  • eyvonner

    My favorite memory is how we always spent Christmas Eve at my Grandmother’s house. She always had special treats to eat and lots of presents that she made. Thanks for the contest!

  • Barrie

    Christmas was always a great time growing up. My hubby, daughter and I started making our own traditions by cutting down our own tree and opening one gift on Christmas Eve, a family game that we play immediately with egg nog and cookies.

  • Janie McGaugh

    My favorite holiday memories are watching my children open their presents when they were little.

  • Goddessglam

    My mom always went psycho with presents at xmas…i mean overboard. There was ibe xmas my dad had a hip caat on and wasnt working and she was working minimum wage. She cried becuz she thought she didnt get me enough. She got me everyrhing i asked for and i was so happy! I told her that it wasnt about how much she got me but how much she loved me. She cried harder and told me how lucky she was to have a daughter like me. After that she still continued to go nuts at xmas but thats the one i remember the most. I had the best parents ever.

  • Keli Groenfeldt

    Having a Christmas birthday is hard when you’re young as the big holiday overshadows the thoughts of a birthday often forgotten, but I remember the one when I got everything I wanted… Skis, boots and a great season pass to the local ski hill, Nor Ski Ridge, in beautiful Door Cty, but I forgot to ask Santa for the snow… Learned how much fun you can have at the ski hill just visiting with everyone and enjoying the wonderful people you are with. The best memories are the people you are with not the things you receive.

  • battlekitty

    Larissa,
    Thank you for the stories you write! My favorite Christmas memory would be the last Christmas I got to spend with my Nana. I flew home from Guam (stationed there thanks to the Navy) and spent time with her baking and enjoying each others company. Four months later, she was gone. But I always remember that Christmas!
    Tami
    Jacksonville

  • Mary Dellenbusch

    Watching my furbabies open their gifts.

  • Sarah Dickerson

    One of my favorite holiday memories is when my children were old enough to realize Santa didn’t put candy in Mom’s stocking, too. They wanted to know if I had been naughty. From that year on, when I got up in the middle of the night to fill their stockings, I always made sure to fill mine, too. Now they are grown, but stockings are a favorite part of my childrens’ Christmas morning.

  • Tammy Sargeant

    One of my fav memories was when my grandfather died my grandma moved away to live with my aunts in Canada. She raised me so I was missing her dearly and crying myself to sleep at nights. One Xmas day, about 7 yrs later, I woke up went into the living room, and there she was sitting next to the Xmas tree with her arms spread wide. Best Xmas present I could ever have.

  • Susie B.

    My favorite memories are from when we used to visit family in Ohio for Christmas and we were able to have a white Christmas! I love the snow and I have lived in Florida my whole life and in these 28 years it has snow flurried twice lol.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Kimberly Diane Gill

    my favorite holiday’s are the ones i got to spend with my grandma Thanksgiving and Christmas. For Thanksgiving we would fix food pies and food that needed to be ready early then finish cooking in the morning and after we ate we would head over to grandmas. On Christmas we would open presents and eat at home then head over to grandmas house and eat more food and open presents. I loved going to Grandmas house at Christmastime she has a tree on the table, a Santa Claus,lots of angels and more. Even Halloween was fun I stayed over at grandmas and helped her get ready for trick or treaters it was fun i miss the days i got to spend with grandma. We now celebrate halloween, thanksgiving, and Christmas with mom, dad, my sisters, nieces, nephews and brother in laws and i know grandma is looking down on us and watching over us.

  • Natasha D

    Going to my Grandma’s when I was little for Christmas.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  • junemanning

    I always loved going to my grandparent’s house each Christmas Eve for dinner and presents with my family.

  • K McLean

    Australian Christmas – 30 plus degrees, air conditioner working away to keep the kitchen cool with the oven on. Kids faces as they open presents – who doesn’t love Christmas anywhere in the world!

  • Meghan R

    I lived in an apartment across the hall from my nana growing up, so after we did Christmas morning at our place we would run across the hall and basically have a second Christmas there.

  • Traci Horton

    When I was young we would all gather at my grandmothers house…all of us kids would gather around the kitchen table and decorate the Christmas cookies my grandma would make. We used the same cookie cutters each year and each of us had our favorite. All the girls loved the little girl angel cookie and we would decorate them to match us (hair and eye color). Every couple of years we’ll still get together and watch the kids decorate those same cookies…until we kick them out and decorate one or two for ourselves.

  • Lis

    Runa and Shade, one of my all time favorite couples! My favorite memories are the Christmas mornings with my son and husband. Christmas during my childhood years sucked.

  • Misty Gee

    It was the last christmas with my grandmother. She had taken me out to christmas shop on christmas eve to get my parents something special and she bought me a special unicorn to remember every christmas of the special day that she and I spent together.

  • desola

    Reading the Night before Christmas to my children on Christmas eve while drinking hot chocolate. and later watching movies.

  • Perla Munoz

    One of my favorite holiday memories is of one Christmas when I had asked for a pet turtle, I opened my present to find a pet shop turtle instead. We couldn’t stop laughing.

  • Gene

    I remember one day some of my family members flew in for the holidays and I hadn’t seen them for a couple of years so it was a great reunion.

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