Cowboys & Mistletoe – Part 1 – THE STORY

A Christmas Courtship

Christmas Eve

Nicholas Hunkston eyed the spindly fir in front of him. “You sure this is the one you want?”

“Oh, yes. It’s perfect!” The blue-eyed beauty at his side clapped her mittened hands in delight. “Widow Ellison has a soft spot for things others tend to overlook. She will love this tree.”

Susannah Sweetpeach smiled at him, and all thought of how silly he might look carting this lopsided tree through town to the widow’s house fled Nick’s mind. He’d thought to impress the fair Susannah with his manly skills and chop down a monster tree, but if she wanted this small one with the ugly bald spot and crooked trunk, his pride would just have to take the hit.

Nick unhooked the ax from his saddle and flexed his half-cooked chicken. “If this is the one you want, this is the one you’ll get.”

Excitement filled her wide blue eyes. “Oh, Nick honey, you’re my hero.” Taking a wide stance next to the tree, he shimmied the ax in the bark, snapping the handle.

The broken axe handle flew through the air toward Susannah. She jumped back, caught her heel on a fallen branch and fell into the snow. Nick dashed toward her. “Are you hurt?” he asked, a googly expression playing on his handsome face.

Susannah shook her head, dislodging snow from her hair. Nick dropped to one knee beside her as her rosy lips turned up in a beguiling smile. “It was a good thing I landed on my lunch.”

Nick arched an eyebrow at her, then offered her his hand. She chortled to her feet instead, cheeks pink, and gave him a shy smile. “We’d better look for your ax handle.”

Nick gave a low sigh as Susannah moved a step away from him. Impressing her was not going to be as easy as he’d hoped–especially with no way to bring in the chocolate tree that she had her heart set on. What could he do? Offer to bring her back tomorrow? There were other men in town waiting in line for their chance to help Miss Susannah Sweetpeach with her holiday preparations, and she might just take one of them up on it.

“Susannah,” he blurted. “Uh…will you–I mean can you wait until tomorrow afternoon to get the tree? I’ll bring my spare axe, and we can come back–”

“Oh, I can’t tomorrow, Nick. I’ve already made plans.”

Well then, he’d have to figure out something fast. As Nick stood there trying to think of a solution other than hunting down a local beaver to do the job, a rodeo clown came charging toward them.

“Look out!” Nick hollered and stepped in front of Susannah, intending to protect her by putting himself in harm’s way.

Instead, he missed his chance when the toe of his cowboy boot caught on a rock buried beneath the snow, nearly causing him to lose his balance. To his surprise and, he admitted, his chagrin, Susannah grabbed hold of his elbow to steady him before bobbling sideways, her hands outstretched. 

“No worries. I’ll handle this.”

What was she thinking? A petite thing like Susannah, no matter how chapped she was, could never stand up to such a rampaging menace. Nick scrambled up but before he could intervene, Susannah whipped out a large, brightly-colored kerchief and waved it with unladylike vigor. To Nick’s stunned surprise the confused troublemaker veered away, crashing into the tree and felling it before running off as quickly as it had appeared.

Now that the tree lay at his feet, what to do with it? He turned his gaze to sweet Susannah and his heart did a little flip. She was peaches and cream. He had to get this tree into town just for her. He recalled the small pig in his pocket, but that had to wait until the job was complete.

Nick rolled up his sleeves. “I think I can get this into town without any help at all.” He lifted the splintered trunk and threw it over his shoulder.

Nick was relieved, now that he was carrying this little tree, that he hadn’t picked out the biggest, most beautiful one in the forest. As he walked beside Susannah, he had a bright idea. 

“Can I take your arm?” He’d done enough staggering around, Susannah seemed to enjoy saving the day. This might appeal to her.

She turned to him and her smile was warm as she tucked her hand through his elbow. 

“If you carry that tree, the least I can do is daydream.”

*****

Later that night, through Widow Ellison’s front window, lights flickered on the branches of that leaning, spindly fir tree. While he stared, the flirtatious star on top tipped precariously.

“It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?” Susannah breathed.

He had to admit, surprisingly, it was.

Standing at her side, with nothing attacking, no broken axes flying, no stones tripping him, the peace was profound. Snowflakes drifted and danced. The church bell rang, as it did each day of Advent.

“Thank you for helping me today, Nick. Without you, Widow Ellison would never have gotten her tree for Christmas.” She rose up on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. “You’re a saint, you know that?”

It was the finest moment of his life.

Coming up next!

Part 2 – THE WINNERS

Cowboys & Mistletoe – Part 2 – THE WINNERS

What a fun week we had reading all your word suggestions for Nick and Susannah’s story, “A Christmas Courtship.”  We hope you enjoyed reading each of our “Look Inside” features and hunting for the perfect word to fill the empty blanks.

As much fun as our story was, though, posting our winners is even MORE fun!

Are you ready?

Winners of $10 Amazon Gift Cards are:

 

Day 1

Debbie Nissen

Marie

Jeanna Massman

 

Day 2

Susan P

Betsy T

Jennifer Rumberg

 

Day 3

Karijean217

Tonya Lucas

Jen K

 

Day 4

Connie Lee

Anne

Elizabeth Litton

 

The GRAND PRIZE winner of a $120 Amazon gift card is:

Dholcomb1

Our heartfelt congratulations to Denise and all of our Cowboys & Mistletoe winners!

 

 

 

 

Cowboys & Mistletoe – Day 4

Are you ready for the conclusion to our story? Here it comes!

If you missed Monday’s post with the instructions about how to enter the giveaways, you can read it here. Then catch up on the story by reading Tuesday’s post and Wednesday’s post as well.

Here’s a quick refresher about how to play:

  1. Go to the Look Inside feature for each author.
  2. Find the required noun, verb, or adjective.
  3. Note your chosen words in a comment for a chance to win gift cards.

Now, our story continues . . .

Now that the tree lay at his feet, what to do with it? He turned his gaze to sweet Susannah and his heart did a little flip. She was peaches and cream. He had to get this tree into town just for her. He recalled the small ______(noun) in his pocket, but that had to wait until the job was complete.

Nick rolled up his sleeves. “I think I can get this into town without any help at all.” He lifted the splintered trunk and threw it over his shoulder.

To find a noun to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Kari’s Charlotte: Angel Creek Christmas Brides.

*****

Nick was relieved, now that he was carrying this little tree, that he hadn’t picked out the biggest, most beautiful one in the forest. As he walked beside Susannah, he had a bright idea. 

“Can I take your arm?” He’d done enough staggering around, Susannah seemed to enjoy saving the day. This might appeal to her.

She turned to him and her smile was warm as she tucked her hand through his elbow. 

“If you carry that tree, the least I can do is ______(verb).

To find a verb to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Mary’s Love on the Range.

*****

Later that night, through Widow Ellison’s front window, lights flickered on the branches of that leaning, spindly fir tree. While he stared, the ____ (adjective) star on top tipped precariously.

“It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?” Susannah breathed.

He had to admit, surprisingly, it was.

Standing at her side, with nothing attacking, no broken axes flying, no stones tripping him, the peace was profound. Snowflakes drifted and danced. The church bell rang, as it did each day of Advent.

“Thank you for helping me today, Nick. Without you, Widow Ellison would never have gotten her tree for Christmas.” She rose up on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. “You’re a saint, you know that?”

It was the finest moment of his life.

To find an adjective to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Pam’s One Magic Eve.

Enter your noun, verb, and adjective in the comments to be entered in the drawings!

  1. Your Noun
  2. Your Verb
  3. Your Adjective

Let’s see how many silly and different words we can come up with for each segment!

Come back on Sunday to read the completed story with the blanks filled in and have a guaranteed chuckle with Nick and Susannah! Winners will be announced and gift cards awarded. You won’t want to miss it!

Cowboys & Mistletoe – Day 3

What are Nick and Susannah up to today? Time to find out!

If you missed Monday’s post with the instructions about how to enter the giveaways, you can read it here. Then catch up on the story by reading Tuesday’s post as well.

Here’s a quick refresher about how to play:

  1. Go to the Look Inside feature for each author.
  2. Find the required noun, verb, or adjective.
  3. Note your chosen words in a comment for a chance to win gift cards.

Now, our story continues . . .

Well then, he’d have to figure out something fast. As Nick stood there trying to think of a solution other than hunting down a local beaver to do the job, a _________ (noun) came charging toward them.

To find a noun to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Julie’s To Marry a Texas Cowboy.

*****

“Look out!” Nick hollered and stepped in front of Susannah, intending to protect her by putting himself in harm’s way.

Instead, he missed his chance when the toe of his cowboy boot caught on a rock buried beneath the snow, nearly causing him to lose his balance. To his surprise and, he admitted, his chagrin, Susannah grabbed hold of his elbow to steady him before _____ (verb) sideways, her hands outstretched. 

“No worries. I’ll handle this.”

To find a verb to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Cathy’s A Secret Christmas Wish.

*****

What was she thinking? A petite thing like Susannah, no matter how _____ (adjective) she was, could never stand up to such a rampaging menace. Nick scrambled up but before he could intervene, Susannah whipped out a large, brightly-colored kerchief and waved it with unladylike vigor. To Nick’s stunned surprise the confused troublemaker veered away, crashing into the tree and felling it before running off as quickly as it had appeared.

To find an adjective to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Winnie’s Her Amish Wedding Quilt.

Enter your noun, verb, and adjective in the comments to be entered in the drawings!

  1. Your Noun
  2. Your Verb
  3. Your Adjective

Let’s see how many silly and different words we can come up with for each segment!

Come back tomorrow to see what happens to Nick and Susannah and to earn more chances to win!

Cowboys & Mistletoe – Day 2

It’s Day 2 and the fun continues. If you missed yesterday’s post with the instructions about how to enter the giveaways, you can read it here. Besides, you won’t want to miss out on reading the first three segments of our Mad Lib Christmas story.

Here’s a quick refresher about how to play:

  1. Go to the Look Inside feature for each author.
  2. Find the required noun, verb, or adjective.
  3. Note your chosen words in a comment for a chance to win gift cards.

Now, our story continues . . .

Susannah shook her head, dislodging snow from her hair. Nick dropped to one knee beside her as her rosy lips turned up in a beguiling smile. “It was a good thing I landed on my ______ (noun).”

To find a noun to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Shanna’s Remembering Christmas.

*****

Nick arched an eyebrow at her, then offered her his hand. She ________ (verb) to her feet instead, cheeks pink, and gave him a shy smile. “We’d better look for your ax handle.”

To find a verb to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Kit’s The Christmas Mail-Order Bride.

*****

Nick gave a low sigh as Susannah moved a step away from him. Impressing her was not going to be as easy as he’d hoped–especially with no way to bring in the _________(adjective) tree that she had her heart set on. What could he do? Offer to bring her back tomorrow? There were other men in town waiting in line for their chance to help Miss Susannah Sweetpeach with her holiday preparations, and she might just take one of them up on it.

“Susannah,” he blurted. “Uh…will you–I mean can you wait until tomorrow afternoon to get the tree? I’ll bring my spare axe, and we can come back–”

“Oh, I can’t tomorrow, Nick. I’ve already made plans.”

To find an adjective to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Cheryl’s The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson.

Enter your silly noun, verb, and adjective in the comments to be entered in the drawings!

  1. Your Noun
  2. Your Verb
  3. Your Adjective

Let’s see how many different and silly words we can come up with for each segment!

Come back tomorrow for Day 3 of Nick and Susannah’s Christmas adventure and more chances to win!

Cowboys & Mistletoe – Day 1

Welcome to the P&P Christmas Mad Libs Romance Story!

Since we love our readers, we thought it would be fun for all of the Fillies to work together to create a short story for you to enjoy. But this isn’t an ordinary story. This one requires participation from YOU!

Here is how the game will work:

Each day for four days, we will post three segments of our story. Each segment will be missing a word. It could be a noun, a verb, or an adjective. Your job is to fill in the blank with an appropriate word found in our secret hiding place.

Where is our secret hiding place? Within each Filly’s “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. Click the link to the Filly’s book, then use the “look inside” feature to browse the prologue/first chapter. Find a word you think will make a fun addition to our story and jot that word down.

For example, in our first segment, we are looking for a noun. Peruse the beginning of Karen’s Under the Texas Mistletoe to find a noun that makes you smile. In the second segment, we are looking for a verb. Scan the first few pages of Linda’s A Cowboy Christmas Legend to find a verb you love. In today’s final segment, we are looking for an adjective. You will use Jeannie’s The Cowboy’s Christmas to find that one.

Easy, right?

Each Filly will award one $10 Amazon gift card to a reader who leaves a comment with the appropriate part of speech taken from their book for their segment . Readers who comment on any day will be entered to win the grand prize of a $120 Amazon gift card. Enter all four days for extra chances to win!

To enter, leave a comment with your chosen words numbered to match the segment they fit into.

  1. Your Noun
  2. Your Verb
  3. Your Adjective

Let’s see how many different – and silly! – words we can come up with for each segment!

On Sunday, we will post the full story with the winning words inserted for a MadLib giggle fest. Winners will be announced for each of the individual segment prizes as well as the grand prize of a $120 Amazon gift card. Let’s get started!

A Christmas Courtship

Christmas Eve

Nicholas Hunkston eyed the spindly fir in front of him. “You sure this is the one you want?”

“Oh, yes. It’s perfect!” The blue-eyed beauty at his side clapped her mittened hands in delight. “Widow Ellison has a soft spot for things others tend to overlook. She will love this tree.”

Susannah Sweetpeach smiled at him, and all thought of how silly he might look carting this lopsided tree through town to the widow’s house fled Nick’s mind. He’d thought to impress the fair Susannah with his manly skills and chop down a monster tree, but if she wanted this small one with the ugly bald spot and crooked trunk, his pride would just have to take the hit.

Nick unhooked the ax from his saddle and flexed his _____ (noun). “If this is the one you want, this is the one you’ll get.”

To find a noun to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Karen’s Under the Texas Mistletoe.

*****

Excitement filled her wide blue eyes. “Oh, Nick honey, you’re my hero.” Taking a wide stance next to the tree, he  _______ (verb)  the ax in the bark, snapping the handle.

To find a verb to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Linda’s A Cowboy Christmas Legend.

*****

The broken axe handle flew through the air toward Susannah. She jumped back, caught her heel on a fallen branch and fell into the snow. Nick dashed toward her. “Are you hurt?” he asked, a _______ (adjective) expression playing on his handsome face.

To find an adjective to fill in the blank, click here to look inside Jeannie’s The Cowboy’s Christmas.

Enter your silly noun, verb, and adjective in the comments to be entered in the drawings!

Come back tomorrow for Day 2 of Nick and Susannah’s Christmas adventure!

Cowboys & Mistletoe Starts Tomorrow!

It’s our 4th year featuring our heartwarming and bestselling

Christmas novellas and books!

 

To celebrate holiday love and happy endings, we’ve written a silly story, and

YOU get to fill in the blanks, Mad-Lib style!

 

(Don’t worry.  We’ll make it easy, and we’ll tell you how.)

 

Of course, we’re giving away LOTS of prizes. 

 

Twelve – $10 Amazon Gift Cards

Plus . . . a Grand Prize of a $120 Amazon Gift Card

 

Enter all four days for more chances to win the Grand Prize!

 

See you there!

 

All winners chosen by Random.org. US entries only.

Cowboys & Mistletoe – Only 8 More Days!

It’s our 4th year featuring our heartwarming and bestselling

Christmas novellas and books!

 

To celebrate holiday love and happy endings, we’ve written a silly story, and

YOU get to fill in the blanks, Mad-Lib style!

 

(Don’t worry.  We’ll make it easy, and we’ll tell you how.)

 

Of course, we’re giving away LOTS of prizes. 

 

Twelve – $10 Amazon Gift Cards

Plus . . . a Grand Prize of a $120 Amazon Gift Card

 

Enter all four days for more chances to win the Grand Prize!

 

See you there!

 

All winners chosen by Random.org. US entries only.

Cowboys & Mistletoe is Coming 11/29 – 12/2!

 

It’s our 4th year featuring our heartwarming and bestselling

Christmas novellas and books!

 

To celebrate holiday love and happy endings, we’ve written a silly story, and

YOU get to fill in the blanks, Mad-Lib style!

 

(Don’t worry.  We’ll make it easy, and we’ll tell you how.)

 

Of course, we’re giving away LOTS of prizes. 

 

Twelve – $10 Amazon Gift Cards

Plus . . . a Grand Prize of a $120 Amazon Gift Card

 

Enter all four days for more chances to win the Grand Prize!

 

See you there!

 

All winners chosen by Random.org. US entries only.

Cowboys & Mistletoe – WINNERS!

Yee-haw!  What a great week!

As always, it’s wonderful hearing from our loyal readers who’ve been visiting us for so long.  We’ve loved hearing from many new readers, too.  Even better, we loved that you learned more about us and our books. We hope you keep coming back to enjoy our blogs and our bestselling western romances, both historical and contemporary.

And now . . . the moment everyone has been waiting for . . . the winners of our BIGGEST contest ever!!

$10 Amazon Gift Cards

Day 1

Raquel Gonzaga

Beth Sondermeyer

Sabrina Templin

Ana Trayler

 

Day 2

Phyliss Bullock

Debbie Nissen

Lori Smanski

 

Day 3

Pam Kellogg

Jan Sikes

Zoe Marlborough

 

Day 4

Connie Saunders

Kimberly Murdock

Rebecca Falk

 

And Drum Roll . . . 

Our GRAND PRIZE Winner of a $130 Amazon gift card is:

Rosalee Alvord

Congratulations, ladies!  Pam will send you your gift cards to the email address you listed on the entry form. 

Fa-La-La-La-La!