Christmas Novella Time…and a giveaway!

Mary Connealy Header

I’ve got a novella coming out in about a WEEK!

Today I’m posting an excerpt and giving away one copy. This is ebook only and…drumroll….it’s CONTEMPORARY.

That’s right. Shocking I know!

Room at the Inn for Christmas

Cart came and sat across from Amanda. He reached for a warm roll, tore it open and began buttering. “What we need to talk about tonight is this garbage about you selling the Star.”

Not garbage, just simple truth.

“That’s right, I’m closing it.”

“Closing it?” Cart’s butter knife froze as he shouted the words.

Angel gasped and turned from where she’d just set a tea kettle on the stove to heat.

“Selling it is bad enough,” Cart said. “But you can’t close it.”

Forging on despite how upset they were, Amanda said, “It will be a good thing for both of you. Angel, you can move back into your own home.”

After her children were grown and he husband died, Angel had lived in the back of the Star Inn, but as far as Mandy knew, she still owned a nice house in town. “You can spend more time with that grandson you adore, do some traveling. Cart you can focus on your cattle and horses. I know you’ve made a success of ranching. Dad said you’re just working in here out of habit, you sure don’t need the money. We’ll list the place for sale and see if anyone is interested. They can use it as a bed and breakfast or a private home or remodel and rent out apartments if they want.”

Cart set his butter knife down with a snap. “This place has reservations a year in advance.”

“We’ll have to cancel them. Heaven knows cancelling reservations is common enough in the hotel industry.” And she oughta know since she worked for the Halston at their flagship hotel in Beverly Hills.

“This isn’t one of your posh hotels sitting in a row of other posh hotels, Mandy. If people can’t stay here, they can’t stay at all. It’s the anchor of the town square. What will Heywood do if one whole side of the square is an empty house sitting in darkness? And what about the tourists who stay here? They do a lot of shopping and eating around town.”

“There are other hotels.”

“No, there is one motel, decent but strictly discount and out near the highway, a lot of those folks don’t even come downtown.”

Angel scooted in beside Amanda.

She was well and truly surrounded.

“You can’t just close it, honey. Surely you can see that. If you’re determined to sell, it’ll be much more valuable if it’s kept open.”

“Well, there’s no one to run it, and I refuse to make you do it, Angel. I know how hard you work already, no matter how easy you make it sound.” In fact Angel had been doing everything since Dad had died. It had to be exhausting. “I’m not loading more on your shoulders. And Lorrie is, I’m sure, working much longer days that she planned on when she was hired. And Cart, you don’t have time to—”

Mary 2015 V

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“Mandy,” Cart cut her off, “You’re right we can’t do it. We’re doing what we’ve always done and that’s about all we have time for. We’ve been keeping things going, but it’s too much. It’s your dad that needs to be replaced. Lou Star was the man who made things work. He was the host. He welcomed people and made sure they were comfortable. He joined them for breakfast and hosted the afternoon tea. He was in charge of ordering and billing. I did the repairs, and I’ve been doing my best to keep up with the account books since he died. But Lou’s the one who kept his eyes open for problems. He’s the one who ran this place.”

“I know all of that, Cart. I understand it completely, and that’s why I’m closing up shop.”

Shaking his head, Cart almost looked like he pitied her. “You’ve been away so long you’re forgotten what a vital part of this town your old home is. The town needs you. We need you. We’re not managing the inn, and you’re not closing it You’ve got to run it yourself. Mandy, it’s time to come home.”

Room at the Inn for Christmas

Welcome to Heywood, Oregon where three lost women find healing, hope and love under the bright light of the town’s old Star Inn this Christmas season.

Amanda Star’s father always wanted her to come into the family business, and run the majestic old Star Inn with him but she had bigger plans. She’s a high-powered executive in the multi-national Halston hotel chain. One more promotion—which she expects to get by Christmas—will make her the youngest vice president in Halston history and she’s got her sights set on the CEO job.

Then she inherits the Star Inn. With no time to be away from her job, she impatiently rushes home to list the beautiful old bed and breakfast for sale. Now that she’s here she’s swamped with sweet memories and keen regret. Her father has made the inn a safe haven where weary travelers can get away from their hectic lives, and Amanda, working 10-hour days and living on coffee and antacids, desperately needs that safe haven.

As Amanda struggles against the lure of home, she also is reunited with an old classmate: Anthony Carter, a handyman with a guarded heart. Hurt before by a woman who saw his contentment and pleasure in building and living on his own land as a lack of ambition, Cart reluctantly finds himself drawn to a woman who wants so much more than a man with callused hands and sawdust in his hair. A woman who came home for Christmas and badly needs to stay. With the help of Angel Rafferty, the front desk clerk and a lifelong friend of Amanda’s parents, can Cart help Amanda realize the hospitality industry is far more than spreadsheets and bottom lines in time for Christmas?

Mary Connealy
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules
Updated: October 20, 2016 — 9:58 am

45 Comments

  1. You new book sounds really good.

    1. Hi Janine. It was so FUN to write a contemporary book. It took some mental shifting like….she needed a cell phone. I can’t tell you how long it took me to think of that. LOL

  2. I just love that title.. Very appropriate for Christmas. Can’t wait to read it.

    1. I love the title and was afraid they’d say it’s too short. But they let me stick with it!

  3. Mary no matter what you write it’s going to be fantastical! We do have to live in the present every now and again, right?? Keep on writing!
    ? Amy

    1. I feel like it wakes up some section of my imagination that makes me go back to my other books with more energy. I loved doing it.

  4. Would love to read!

    1. Well, if you win, you’re set. And if you don’t….it’s $1.99! 🙂

  5. Going to be hard to wait for the book release. Have all your print & e-books. Would love to have this one.

    1. You’re in the drawing Susan!

  6. I’m hooked already. Can’t wait to read it!

    1. FIVE DAYS, Pamela. It releases October 25th. It’s available for pre-order right now!

  7. What caught my eye was the smaller print..”Second Chance at Star Inn”. Wouldn’t we all like a second chance to go back and change or make better something we messed up on. Fortunately God doesn’t give up on us the first time we don’t feel like ‘coming home’ to Him. Can’t wait to read this book and see how Amanda rekindles her love of home..and finds new love?? 😉 Love your books, Mary!!

    1. Thanks Ruth. Yes we can all use a second chance.

  8. I love holiday novellas. Those are such busy times that it’s hard sometimes to sit down and read a long story. Love to stay in the spirt. Great excerpt, want more!

    1. I think you’ll enjoy it, Sally. It’s very CHRISTMAS-Y in this beautiful old Victorian house.

  9. I would love to read this book. I left my name in hopes of winning. I know it will be a chance to read an amazing book. I will be honored to read it if I win. Thank you for writing books that are always inspiring.

    1. That’s so nice of you, Deana. Thanks.
      It’s a single Novella but there are two others releasing from other authors all set in The Star Inn.
      Silent Night, Star-Lit Night by Ruth Logan Herne
      Do You Hear What I Hear by Margaret Brownley.

      They three books stand on their own but they’re in the same setting!

  10. This book sounds great! I would love to win. I am a huge fan of your books!

    1. Thanks, Kelly. Good luck in the drawing. Remember if you do NOT win, the book costs $1.99

  11. Sounds wonderful Mary! Congrats and good luck with the novella!! Just in time for Christmas!

    1. Charlene, I love Christmas books. I’m always delighted to be involved with one.

  12. I want to know more just from the excerpt Mary! I love your writing in the first place, and having a contemporary will be something different 🙂 I’ve no doubt you pulled it off with your usual wit & humor, grace, and character depth.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    1. Thanks, Trixi, that’s so nice!

  13. Sounds great cant wait to read it

    1. FIVE DAYS, Darlene! 🙂 Hang on!

  14. Sounds so interesting already!

  15. Ooooh! I love Christmas novellas! Can’t wait to read it!

  16. I am looking forward to reading it Mary.

  17. I can hardly wait! I LOVE that it’s a Christmas story and the Inns is called “The Star Inn.” 🙂

  18. I love Christmas stories! I can’t wait to read this one.

  19. I lveo Christmas stories. TheycaN BE SO MAGICAL.

  20. Room at the Inn for Christmas sounds like it would be a great addition to my Christmas book collection. I always love your books, Mary.

  21. I love reading Christmas stories and this sounds like a good one. I’m glad it’s contemporary because it will be different. You have already written some contemporary and did a good job.

    nina4sm at gmail dot com

  22. A nail biter for sure! Even though we knowbthings just have to work out for amanda and cart. Looks loke another great story Mary.

  23. I have enjoyed reading all your other books. Looking forward to reading this one!

  24. I love all your books!

  25. Funny how you plan and dream of the great things you would like to do with your life. Then you get it and still are’t content. A trip home or an experience can sometimes show you that what you thought you wanted and what you really want and/or need are entirely different things. This sounds like it will be an enjoyable holiday read.

  26. Love all your books, Mary!

  27. I just love everything that I have ever read by you !! I don’t care what era that you write in. I just know that I will love your upcoming book !! I am highly looking forward to reading this next book !!

  28. Hi Mary! Congratulations are your new release coming out! A contemporary? Whoda thunk it!?! I would love to win a copy. I love your work and I love stories set at Christmas! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    May you have a blessed day!

    Cindy W.

  29. Congratulations! Sounds like a great read for a nice quiet day with a comfy blanket and cup of coffee.

  30. I’ve not done as many as I would like to but I do enjoy road trips. My two favorites were going from PA to FL with my grown children. They were more go with the flow than my husband who likes a set schedule lol. He also did quite a few road trips while growing up and was sort of over that. Maybe in my next lifetime lol.

  31. I love your books Mary, I can’t wait to read this one.

  32. I absolutely love the cover, Mary! It’s so cute and clever too!

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