The Holiday Courtship Excerpt and A Giveaway

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Hello everyone.  Winnie Griggs here. I have a new book coming up next month that I’m really excited about. It’s the seventh book in my Texas Grooms series set in Turnabout Texas. This one features Janell Whitman, one of the town’s schoolteachers – she’s been in nearly every book since the first one. Her hero is Hank Chandler who owns the town’s sawmill.  There are also two very special little children who I hope you’ll fall in love with just the way I did as I was writing their story.

For today’s post I wanted to give you a taste of this story by sharing an excerpt. And I’m also planning to give away a copy of the book to one (or more?) of the folks who leave a comment today. Read on to find out how to enter.

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“I wonder if you’d mind giving me your opinion on some potential candidates,” Mr. Chandler asked.

“You want my opinion on who would make you a good wife?” Janell couldn’t believe she’d heard him correctly. Did he really see nothing incongruous about asking the woman he’d just proposed to help him pick a wife?

He frowned as if insulted. “Not a wife. A mother for the children. There’s a difference. What I need from you is an opinion on how the lady under consideration and the children would get on.”

“I see.” The man really didn’t have an ounce of romance in him.

He nodded, apparently warming to the idea. “With your insights, you can save me from wasting time talking to someone who’s obviously not the right fit.”

Janell resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Assuming you find the right woman, may I ask how you intend to approach her?”

His eyebrow shot up at that.

“If you’re wondering if I intend to go a’courtin—” his tone had a sarcastic bite to it “—the answer is a very definite no, at least not in the usual way. Like I said, I will make it clear right up front what my intentions are. I don’t want to deceive anyone into thinking this will be more than a marriage of convenience.”

“Your intentions are admirable, I suppose, but I would advise you not to just baldly lay out your intentions, and propose.”

“Well, I—”

She didn’t let him finish. “I understand why you wouldn’t want to go through a conventional courtship or mislead the lady as to your feelings. But don’t you think you and your prospective bride should get to know each other before you propose? I mean, you must take the time to decide if she’s the right one to share your home, and the right one to share the responsibility for the children.”

He drew himself up. “I consider myself a good judge of character. It won’t take me long to figure out if she’s a good candidate or not.”

She held his gaze, hoping to make her disapproval obvious.

Apparently, it worked. “I assume you’d handle it differently.”

“I would.”

“Care to elaborate?”

Was she really about to give him pointers on how to find a wife? Janell swallowed a sigh—It seemed she was. “I’d recruit a third party to act as a go-between.” She leaned forward, trying to emphasize her point. “It should be someone you can count on to have your and the children’s best interest in mind, someone whose judgment you trust.”

“And what would this go-between do, exactly?”

“Go to the candidate on your behalf, of course. He or she would let the lady in question know the situation in general terms without extending any offers or promises, and ascertain said lady’s interest in such a match.”

“So you agree that a businesslike approach is best, just that I should go about it from a distance.”

“It could save a great deal of awkwardness and misunderstanding if you did so.”

“Assuming I go along with this plan of yours to use a go-between, and they acted on my behalf, then what?”

“Well, if the lady appears interested, he could ask a few discreet questions that would allow him to form an opinion of how good a fit she would be for you and the children. Then he would report back to you, and the two of you could discuss whether to pursue her or move on to another candidate.”

“In other words, you think I need a matchmaker.”

“You could look at it that way, I suppose. But you do want to approach this in a very businesslike manner, don’t you?”

He nodded. “I have to admit, it sounds like a good approach.”

Happy that he’d seen the wisdom of her advice, she moved to the next logical step. “Is there someone you could trust to take on this job of go-between?”

He rubbed his jaw, deep in thought. Finally he looked up. “How about you?”

“Me?” She raised a hand to her chest, surprised. “Surely you have some close friend—”

“You’re already intimately acquainted with our situation. I have complete confidence that you’d be looking out for the children’s best interests. And this was your idea in the first place so I don’t have to do a lot of explaining . In other words, you’re the perfect candidate.”

“Still, I would think you’d want someone you know better—”

“It also occurred to me that this is a role that would benefit from a woman’s touch.”

He had a point there.  Why not? “Well then, if you’re sure you trust my judgment, I would be glad to assist you in finding a wife.”

As soon as the words left her mouth, Janell wondered what she’d just gotten herself into. Was she really going to take on the role of matchmaker for Hank?

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He Wanted A Wife by Christmas… 

As Christmas approaches, Hank Chandler is determined to find a wife to mother his sister’s orphaned children. When schoolteacher Janell Whitman offers to help him with his niece and nephew, she seems to be the perfect match—but she won’t accept his proposal. Instead, she insists she’ll find him another bride before the holidays. 

Janell moved to Turnabout, Texas, to put her past behind her and focus on her future—one that doesn’t include marriage. But while she plays matchmaker and cares for Hank’s children, she loses her heart to the two youngsters…and their adoptive father. If Janell reveals her secrets to Hank, will he still want her to be his Christmas bride?

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Leave a comment about what it is you like (or don’t like) about Christmas books and I’ll throw your name in the hat for the giveaway!

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Winnie Griggs
Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author or email her at winnie@winniegriggs.com.
Updated: November 9, 2015 — 12:56 am

87 Comments

  1. What’s not to like about Christmas books? 🙂 It’s my favorite holiday in the first place, and reading books set for Christmas helps get me in the festive mood!
    “The Holiday Courtship” sounds like a great story. The dialog between Hank and Janell was quite humorous and I can well imagine the outcome of her “matchmaking” skills, lol! Thank you for the chance to win a copy and find out what happens for myself 🙂

    1. Hi Trixi! Christmas is my favorite holiday as well 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

  2. Sounds like a good book. My favorite Christmas books ar the ones I read every year.

    1. Hi Naomi – thanks for stopping by!

  3. Christmas books always get me in the mood for the holidays. They just make me feel good!

    1. Hi Melanie – glad to hear you like Christmas stories! Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

  4. I love that little bit of magic that is present in a holiday story. It helps me get in the mood for Christmas. This year more than any I need that bit of magic, it will be the first Christmas since my husband passed.

    1. Hi Lesia (And what an unusual but lovely name!). I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, but I hope you’ll have lots of family and friends around you to help lift your spirits.

  5. I love everything about Christmas books. I love the season period. However, if I am reading a historical set during Christmas I enjoy seeing how Christmas was celebrated back then. 🙂

    I would love to win a copy of your book Winnie. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. Hi Cindy. You are quite welcome and thanks for dropping by.

  6. There really isn’t anything I don’t like about Christmas books unless they aren’t God-honoring. I do prefer a longer and more developed story vs. a novella. There tend to be more Christmas stories written as novellas vs. full-length.

    1. Then this book is right up your alley since it’s a full length novel 🙂

  7. One of my favorite series. Gonna re-read the first 6 before this one comes out. I am so excited!

    1. Oh wow Theresa, thanks for those kind words. I’m so sorry you haven’t grown tired of reading the series because I’ve got several more stories in me 🙂

  8. Oh my goodness! Is Hank Chandler really that clueless? That sounds like a fun book!

    1. LOL – Janell gets him ‘clued in’ before it’s over.

  9. OOOO sounds mysterious. I would love to read it.

    1. Hello Debra – thanks for dropping by and your name is going in the hat!

  10. Winnie, I am so excited and happy for you. To live one’s dream is so fulfilling ad uplifting. This book sounds very exciting and cannot wait to read the rest of it.
    Wishing you continued success, I am

    your former neighbor

    Miss Leah

    1. Hi Miss Leah. Thanks for those sweet words. Hope you’re doing well these days.

  11. Sounds like Hank has a little Scrooge in him, but I bet Janell will get him turned in the right direction-with love of course, by Christmas. Thanks for sharing about your book and an excerpt today.

    1. Hi Linda. And LOL, Hank is really a good guy, just frustrated by the fix he finds himself in. 🙂

  12. I love the whole Christmas spirit of Christmas stories. They are so much fun to read this time of year!

    1. Susan – and every time of year i believe 🙂

  13. Hi Winnie, This sounds like another fun book.I read Second Chance Hero last month and really enjoyed it. Have a great week!

    1. Hi Vickie. I’m so glad you enjoyed SCH – thanks for letting me know!

  14. Congratulation on you need book. The excerpt shows good common sense. I don’t thinkI could have handled that situation better.
    No, I am not a writer. I am an appreciator of well thought out, well written stories. You just hit a major LIKE with me.

    1. Hello Whitney. I’m so glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

  15. I Love Christmas books. They are so uplifting and fun. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book. It looks like a great read.

    1. Hi Susan. You’re quite welcome!

  16. I think Christmas books are my favorite. There is just something about books set around the time of my Saviors birth that I really enjoy.

    1. Hi Lillian, glad to hear you enjoy Christmas stories.

  17. Christmas books have such a warm feeling for me emotionally. I love reading them in late November and early December to set a bit of the Christmas mood in my heart. And Christian themed Christmas books are really the best for that,too! Thanks for the chance to win.
    Brittany McEuen

    1. Hi Brittany! “Christmas mood in my heart’ – I like that!! Thanks for stopping by.

  18. I love Christmas books (and Christmas movies). They are fun any time of the year but an especially sweet way to ease into the holiday spirit without having to fight the crowds and weather.

    I enjoyed the excerpt a lot. Sounds like Janell and Hank might be in for a surprise when they discover life isn’t always as businesslike as you think yo can make it! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    1. Hi Sally. I’m so glad you enjoyed the excerpt! And keeping these two apart when they so much wanted to be a couple was a real struggle!

  19. I love reading Christmas romances because there is just an extra dose of warmth and love in them.

    1. Hi Cheryl. – that’s so true, and I believe there’s an extra dose of warmth and love in us all as well

  20. Love reading christmas books.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kim

  21. I love the excerpt and can’t wait to read more! Christmas stories are among my very favorite stories!! I am always interested in history, traditions, recipes, etc., that others enjoy during this special time of the year. Thanks so much for the giveaway, Winnie!

    1. Hi Britney. I’m so glad you enjoyed the excerpt. And you’ll certain lern a little about Janell’s Christmas traditions in this story.

  22. Oh I do love reading Holiday reads year round! That warm and happy feeling they leave me with is special!

    1. Colleen – I’m with you – the Christmas spirit is something to enjoy year round.

  23. What a fun read! Sounds like a great read!

  24. I like Christmas books to celebrate Christmas, but there is such a short time period where I want to read them before Christmas. I think I’ll need just read them all winter! 🙂

    1. Hi Katie – I like the way you think! 🙂

  25. I love Christmas books and enjoy the longer books more than the novelas. I shall have to check to make sure I have read the others. I am sure that I have because enjoy your books.

    1. i Connie- thanks for those very kind words! And yep, this is a full length novel.

  26. I love Christmas themed books because they have extra warmth from the spirit of the season. I especially enjoy ones that have a snowy setting since that’s a novelty to this southern CA girl!

    Looking forward to reading your new book!

    1. Hi Heidi! I’m afraid there’s no snow in this one but there IS an ice storm – does that count? 🙂

  27. Congratulations on your success so far. It seems as though you have another good book coming out.

  28. I say too, what is there not to like about Christmas? UNLESS, and I wish, things would stop being so commercialized and less spent on people, less presents for kids, more emphasis on family and most, but not least, more emphasis on Jesus.

    The amount of money spent of gifts these days are terrible. Have people ever thought about others, such as the child whose parents are lucky to afford only one, maybe two or three ‘cheaper’ gifts? Then all the kids go to school and tell what they got for Christmas, it upsets some of those other children. No, I am not putting people down for having the money to do that and all are welcome to do as they please. I was one of those kids, I was raised by a single parent in the 1950’s, then we were not rich when we had kids, my kids are not rich and they have kids.

    My kids have told me many times the best Christmas they had when they were little was the year we went to an auction to get their presents, no name brand stuff and not a lot. I also made robes for each one that year and to this day they still remember that year but they did have to go to school and hear about ‘everything’ most of the other kids got.

    God bless all and have a Merry Christmas this year!

    wfnren at aol dot com

    1. Hi Wendy. Yes, Christmas can get over-commercialized if we let it. The key is to keep our focus on the true meaning behind the celebrating.

  29. Contratulations, Winnie. And I so love stories when characters reappear and then get their happiness! I know I’m set for a great read. I love the excerpt and I love matchmakers! xoxox

    1. Tanya – hello my friend! I’m loving that I get to spend so much time (and books!) in the small town of Turnabout. I’ve grown to really love the people there. I thnk I will have either 10 or 11 books all told before I have to say good-bye to them.

  30. I love books with a Christmas theme because they always put me in a cheerful holiday mood, which causes a snowball effect. Then I start thinking of baking and decorating and I love the holidays and reading so they go hand in hand for me.

    1. Hi Leslie. What a wonderful snowball effect! Thanks for stopping by!

  31. I love Christmas – the real Christmas – and I love your books. So, a Winnie Griggs book about Christmas is a win win for me!

  32. I love Christmas books and I start reading this time of the year.

    1. Hi Quilt Lady – glad to hear that!

  33. I love reading books with a Christmas theme. There is always such fun times included in them. I can’t wait to see how this works out between Hank and Janell!

    1. Thanks Donna. And I agree – Christmas is all about JOY!!

  34. Oh Winnie I love Christmas stories they put me right into the holiday mood and I can picture myself with this book in my hands on a comfy spot with a blanket wrapped around me sipping hot chocolate in my home all decorated for Christmas…. Thanks for the great feeling and having me anticipate this book like a child does Christmas gifts can’t wai to read the rest of it

    1. Hi Yvette! I hope that image you’re picturing in your mind comes true real soon! 🙂

  35. Great excerpt! What is it I love about Christmas books? They usually help me escape the not so nice things about the season (pushy shoppers, pushy salespeople, greedy individuals, and the SAME Christmas song playing over and over and over again in every store and radio station 😉 ). They’re a great reminder of the joy of the season!

    1. Hi Glenda. And what a lovely answer! Thanks so much for stopping by this evening!

  36. It’s a Christmas book! It’s written by you! And I love the storyline! Win! Win! Win! I enjoy reading Christmas books. It seems more these days. It helps set the mood for Christmas for me. It seems everything is so commercialized, these sweet stories of simpler times are just fun! And relaxing!

    1. Nancy – LOL your enthusiasm just sparkles – love it! Thanks for brightenig my evening.

  37. I love Christmas books. But I admit I always wished for a Christmas book that was more toward different real life situations. I realize that the point of a book (reference and biographical aside) is to escape from the real stresses. But, for example: the first Christmas my son at 5 months old and I spent after his father was killed was one of the most magical I’ve ever spent, no hero required. That probably sounds stupid, but to me not all happily ever after ends up the same.

    1. Hello Corey. First, let me say how sorry I am to hear that you lost your husband. As for the presence of a hero, by definition a romance book has a heroine and hero who end u getting their happily ever after in the end. But there are many other genres, especially women’s fiction, where the presence of a romance is not prominent or even present.

  38. I can read christmas books all year. How are Winnie? Jenny

    1. I meant how are you?

      1. LOL – I’m doing just fine (other than being a bit stressed by a long list of to-do items) 🙂

        1. Praying for less stress!

  39. I like Christmas books that include accurate information about some of the many variations in celebrations from different cultures.

    1. It is always fun to learn about different customs, isn’t it?

  40. I like reading these kinds of stories since I know they will be joyful and uplifting.

    1. Hi Joye – thanks for stopping by.

  41. Books about Christmas time always seem to have the best endings . But I only like reading them at this time of the year…I won’t read a Christmas story in the summer.

    1. Hi Jackie. Interesting that you only read them in season. I know other readers who feel as you do and some that enjoy them all year long.

  42. they help me escape from the crowds, hype

    1. anon1001 – that’s a very good reason to like Christmas books 🙂

  43. LOVE YOUR BOOKS WINNIE! Reading is my favorite thing so I try to read books that go with the season. I will begin on two Christmas books I have been holding to read for Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving is over! Love your books! Keep um coming!

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