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Small Gifts by the Jewels of the Quill

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SIX JEWELS OF THE QUILL AUTHORS offer exciting holiday stories--each featuring a gift, possibly small, but straight from the heart!

"When Rudolph was Kidnapped" (A Mischief in Moonstone Story, Book 1) {romantic mystery} by Christine DeSmet (Dame Moonstone): When her pet reindeer, Rudolph, is stolen from the live animal holiday display in her small town on the shores of Lake Superior, first-grade teacher Crystal Hagan has a big problem on her hands. Her students fear that Christmas will be canceled. Ironically, the prime suspect is the old man Henri LeBarron who played Santa long ago before he became a recluse. Crystal marches to his mansion known as the "North Pole" and is shocked to meet Henri's mysterious son, Peter, who acts even more curmudgeonly and secretive than his father. To her even greater shock, he admits to kidnapping Rudolph and he won't give him back. Peter LeBarron finds his lonely existence charmed by the first-grade teacher who comes to his door with homemade chocolate pudding cake as a bribe for getting her reindeer back peaceably. This isn't the type of woman he's used to in his jet-set world. But is she the type of woman he can trust with the secrets of the "North Pole" and his own past?

"Special Delivery" {ghost story} by Carrie S. Masek (Dame Topaz): An elderly woman's empty life takes an unexpected turn after she accepts a ride from a stranger on Christmas Eve.

"A Kiss Under the Mistletoe" {romantic suspense} by Julie Skerven (Dame Peridot): Five days before Christmas, Joanna Barnes finds herself breaking into Nick Maxwell's lakeside cabin to look for clues to her brother's disappearance. The last thing she expects to find is not at all what she bargained for when she meets the man of her dreams.

Winter Enchantment" {regency romance} by Jane Toombs (Dame Turquoise): The Earl of Malden, cynical and embittered, is not planning to celebrate Christmas at the Hall. He's vowed he has no use for friends, much less love. But when a cat falls into his bedroom through the chimney, a baby is left on his doorstep and a damsel in distress needs rescuing from a blizzard, his vow begins to come unraveled.

“Deck the Halls" {paranormal suspense} by Special Guest Jewel Cassie Walder: While she isn't at all in a Christmas mood, Laura Hall can't say that she's sorry to see this miserable year come to a close. In one short July evening, Laura lost her husband, her father-in-law, mother-in-law, as well as her brother-in-law and his wife. If Laura hadn't been several states away, she would have been murdered as well. The police are clueless as to the identity of the murderer. As such, their deaths go unpunished. Running the family business gave Laura a reason to live when all she had wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and die from the pain of losing her family. But of all the things she's lost this year, Laura misses her mind the most. Even though she buried her family in the East Cemetery in the family plot, she keeps seeing them. The departed members of the clan are haunting the factory. And they aren't particularly happy. Enter Jack Decker, old friend, psychologist and parapsychologist, college professor, and ghost hunter. The sparks between them are immediate--both angry and romantic. Jack is looking for solid, verifiable proof of ghosts. Laura's his best chance of ever getting that. But Laura values her reputation as a level-headed businesswoman too much to be able to admit to the existence of ghosts. What neither of them expects is that her ghosts would have plans of their own.

"A Home for Christmas" {inspirational romance} by Karen Wiesner (Dame Amethyst): Craig Stevens is determined to tell Christie of his feelings for her once and for all. But how does a painfully shy man reveal his heart without voicing the words that could lead to rejection? Christie Renata Zondervon grew up being passed from one foster family to another. All she's ever wanted is a family, especially at Christmastime. When she met Craig's brother, she thought she'd found the man to build that family with, and she was devastated when it didn't work out. Craig has been there for Christie since the day they met. He's dried her tears, held her hand, listened to her talk about her hopes and fears at any time of day or night. He believes in her even when she doesn't believe in herself. She's never looked at him romantically before.until he invites her to go to Olympia, Washington to spend Christmas with him and his family. For the first time, Craig begins to show her his heart, and she begins to see him in a whole new light. Craig has given himself just a few days to convince Christie he can be the man of her dreams. Now it's a countdown to a Christmas wedding or bust!

Reviews for SMALL GIFTS:

5 flags! "SMALL GIFTS is a wonderfully touching and heartwarming anthology from the excellent authors of Jewels of the Quill. Again, this collection offers something for everyone and all of it with a warm foundation of romance. From contemporary to suspense to paranormal, all readers can find much to appreciate in this treasured collection. Wonderful characters and enticing, imaginative plots combine to make SMALL GIFTS a true winner, and not just at Christmastide!" ~EuroReviews http://euroreviews.eu.funpic.de/bookdetails.php?book_id=908

5 stars! "SMALL GIFTS is a read you truly don't want to miss. As you unwrap each story, you are filled with the spirit of Christmas and the miracle of true love. Each of these six authors has put their own creative stamp on a group of stories that will quickly become a holiday favorite. Each story is unique and truly a gift to the reader. I highly recommend making SMALL GIFTS part of your holiday reading." ~Reviewed by Susan for Ecataromance http://www.ecataromance.com/reviews?type=&id=418

4 hearts! "The story collection works well together because the strengths and surprises of the main characters are very parallel. I liked the writing because the stories flow and you move through them quickly. I gave this anthology a 4 rating because of the quality of the writing and also because the characters are like people I know. I gave this anthology a sweet sensuality rating because the stories are written in a manner that leaves out explicit details of the relationships so your imagination can fill in the details of where the relationships are going. Each of the stories has a pair of main characters that also have an enjoyment of life factor that really enhances the story." ~The Romance Studio http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/smallgifts.htm

4 angels! "Christmas is a truly wondrous time of year, a time when love, hope, and faith abound. Find Christmas early with these short holiday treats brought to life by the Jewels of the Quill. Christine DeSmet opens the anthology with her lively, Christmas tale, "When Rudolph Was Kidnapped. " Ms. DeSmet knows how to warm readers' hearts and bring a smile to faces. The characters in this tale are personable and fun. The antics of the animals and kids will cause many readers to reminiscence on the joys of a holiday filled with children. Add to this the heat that simmers between Crystal and Peter, and this is a holiday story that starts the season off right. Julie Skerven, Dame Peridot, continues the Christmas theme in "A Kiss Under the Mistletoe." This was a fun, contemporary tale. The characters are instantly likable. Ms. Skerven displays an aptitude for creating characters that portray real situations and feelings. Nick's actions will endear him to readers. This is a quick read that matches two wonderful characters together. Cassie Walder takes a step away from traditional Christmas tales with her paranormal suspense, "Deck the Halls. " Ms. Walder shifts the focus of this tale from the holidays to the relationship between Laura and Jack. The author provides details of the shared experiences that contribute to the long friendship between Laura and Jack. Readers can understand the hesitancy of the characters to cross the line from friendship to something more. As the danger intensifies, the author's use of the paranormal brings about a more than fitting conclusion. "Winter Enchantment" by Jane Toombs takes readers back in time and reminds us of the most cherished gifts in life. Ms. Toombs offers readers a winsome and festive story. This is a true Christmas tale. The parables recounted in this tale serve as a reminder to Robert that wealth, position, and pride are a cold bedfellow. The compassion and innocence of Julia's character plays well against Robert's cynicism. There is warmth that grows throughout the story that envelops the characters and readers in this heartwarming tale. Carrie S. Masek continues the warm feelings and illustrates another poignant side of the holidays in her story "Special Delivery." "Special Delivery" was very touching. Readers can feel the love that Margaret longs to share with others. As she grieves for the loss of her family, readers will share her pain. When she becomes her own "Special Delivery", readers will be moved by the decision she makes. "A Home for Christmas" by Karen Wiesner winds this holiday treasure of stories to an end. Karen Wiesner offers an inspirational romance that will have you smiling by the last page. Craig is a devoted man, committed to the Lord, family and friends. His kindness towards Christie is wonderful to see. The faith they display and the friendship they share is a strong basis for a future together, and readers can't help but hope that Craig gets his heart's desire. In a season beset with hectic malls, endless parties, and the need to complete everything before the bell tolls on the 24th, SMALL GIFTS takes a moment and brings readers back to what is important. These versatile stories offer friendship and love for the holiday season. Readers will enjoy this precursor to Christmas, and it is sure to get readers in the mood long before the temperatures start to chill." ~Fallen Angel Reviews http://www.fallenangelsreviews.com

4 roses! "SMALL GIFTS is another remarkable collection of stories, now with a winter holiday theme, like its predecessor, TALES FROM THE TREASURE TROVE, Volume I. "When Rudolph Was Kidnapped" by Christine DeSmet: This story tugs at the heart of many Christmas celebrations, the children. Through a class of bright-eyed children, older generations find new meaning in community celebrations and traditions. "A Kiss Under the Mistletoe" by Julie Skerven: This is another suspenseful story that moves quickly. Miscommunication and misunderstood intentions, mixed with a little danger and old traditions, can still make for a lovely holiday away from home. "Deck the Halls" by Cassie Walder: This unexpected treat is a tale suited to those who understand or practice the traditions of devout Jews. It is an outstanding suspense tale that will raise goose bumps. There is enough information in the story to understand the religious terms and their significance, for people of other faiths. An enchanting and wild peek into another world. "Winter Enchantment" by Jane Toombs: The characters are endearing as they discover each other in spite of themselves. Regency enthusiasts will enjoy the details of an ‘Orphans’ style Christmas tale. "Special Delivery" by Carrie S. Masek: This is a very fast-paced story, rewarding the reader with a delightful coming home tale. "A Home for Christmas" by Karen Wiesner: A Christian religious theme resounds throughout this story of a young man attempting to travel home for Christmas to allow his family to meet the woman he loves...the attraction between the characters is strong." ~Di for Love Romances http://www.loveromances.com/jewelsofthequillsmallgifts_di2.html "Teacher Crystal Hagan is beside herself when she discovers that Rudolph is missing from her Christmas display, but she's soon on the case and discovering it isn't too late for love in DeSmet's "When Rudolph was Kidnapped." In Masek's very short "Special Delivery," elderly Margaret Parkhurst meets St. Nicholas and discovers the joy that comes from helping children. Nick Maxwell is holed up in his Wisconsin cabin working on a top-secret computer program when Joanna Barens interrupts him, thinking he is behind her brother's disappearance. But before long, she's stealing "A Kiss Under the Mistletoe" in a cute snowbound tale by Skerven. A "Winter Enchantment" is exactly what the Earl of Malden needs in a delightful Regency from Toombs, which features a pregnant cat, an abandoned baby and a lovely traveler. Walder contributes "Deck the Halls," a paranormal suspense starring a Jewish widow who can't seem to get rid of the ghosts of her departed loved ones. Stranded in a blizzard, Craig Stevens must convince Christine Zondervan that he's the man for her in the inspirational "A Home for Christmas" by Wiesner. ...this is a collection with something for every reader. Don't expect sunshine, though, as most of the tales are set in the snowbound north--a perfect setting to read about on fall days." ~Karen Sweeny-Justice for Romantic Times BOOKclub

Very highly recommended! "'Tis the season to be jolly and what better way then with SMALL GIFTS, A Jewels of the Quill Christmas Anthology. Six leading romance authors have united together to bring you a wealth of unforgettable stories. Each one is a rare jewel that is assured to put a sparkle in your eye and warmth into your heart. These six memorable tales each reveal the true potential of each one of these talented authors. The endless variety each one presents is sure to appease the most selective romance reader. Each one offers a generous proportion of the Christmas cheer that will put any reader into the holiday spirit. It is a true testament that good things do come in small packages. Treat yourself to a delightful holiday retreat. Build a warm crackling fire and wrap up in a cuddly robe with a steaming hot mug of cider. Then grab SMALL GIFTS and sit back for a relaxing unforgettable journey. The experience will be a poetic Hallmark card set into motion." ~Reviewed by Suzie Housley for http://www.myshelf.com/romance/05/smallgifts.htm

"SMALL GIFTS is a Christmas tree of stories dazzling as Yule Tide decorations. SMALL GIFTS is a wonderful Christmas Anthology of stories to melt the hearts of romance readers." ~Rolling Seas Reviews http://www.rollingseas.com.au

3 beacons! "4 lighthouses for "When Rudolph was Kidnapped" by Christine DeSmet: Well written, enjoyable story, which kept me guessing almost to the end as to who the real kidnapper was. 4 lighthouses for "Deck the Halls" by Cassie Walder: Have always liked paranormal stories and this was a well written enjoyable tale. 4 lighthouses for "Winter Enchantment" by Jane Toombs: One of the old type romances. It is nice to read these without having sex written into every second page. Don't get me wrong I like some spice in my stories as well, but sometimes it nice to go back to the old fashioned, everything above the clothes routine. This way you can see a good story, written, without the sex to blind the eye. 4 lighthouses for "Special Delivery" by Carrie S. Masek: Another feel good story, that reminds you what Christmas is really meant to be about." ~Reviewed by Lighthouse Literary Reviews http://www.lighthouseliteraryreviews.com/December2005Reviews.html

"["A Home for Christmas"] (4.5 stars!) was my favorite story in the SMALL GIFTS anthology. Ms. Wiesner writes an excellent novella. While the book is connected to WAYWARD ANGELS [Book 4 of Karen Wiesner's Wounded Warriors Series], it will fully stand alone. I say this because it took me the first couple of chapters to remember I had read the first book. The characters were familiar, but I didn’t put it all together at first. Ms. Wiesner writes a sensitive novella that looks at the fears some of us have. She delves into the fear of failure, fear of flying and other fears. For some of us, these fears can overwhelm and paralyze us and it keeps us from living life to the fullest. It was so tastefully and sensitively written how Craig and Christie work to overcome fears together. I was rooting for them the whole way through the book. I think you’ll get a chuckle out of the misspoken phrases Craig sometimes says. You’ll get an insightful look into Christie’s fear of flying. Craig and Christie’s story is an inspiring look at the way love really can overcome all. As for the other books in the anthology, I enjoyed each one of them. "Deck the Halls" by Cassie Walder...was my second favorite story in the book. It was one awesome suspense story." ~Robyn Roberts for Once Upon a Romance Review http://onceuponaromance.net/AHomeForChristmasReview.html

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