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THE SUMMER GETAWAY

MARCH 15, 2022

Posted September 29, 2020

Dear Reader,

So many of you have been clamoring for Wynn’s story that I know you’ll be excited to hear this: Happily this Christmas is available today! You’ll finally find out why Wynn refused to commit to Jasper—or any man—as all the mysteries of her past are revealed. I think you’re going to love her more than ever when you see how she steps up to help her handsome new neighbor, Garrick, when his daughter makes a surprise visit to Happily Inc.

There’s no place like Happily Inc for the holidays…

Wynn Beauchene has a thriving business, a great kid, and a mildly embarrassing crush on the guy next door—local cop Garrick McCabe. She’s a strong, independent woman who can’t help dreaming what-if about a man she barely knows. Until he needs her help…

Garrick’s pregnant daughter will be home for Christmas, and his house needs a woman’s touch. Garrick and his little girl were tight once and he’s hoping a small-town Christmas will bring her back to him. But thawing his daughter’s frosty attitude will take more than a few twinkle lights. Maybe sharing the holiday with Wynn and her son will remind her of the joy of family.

As the season works its magic on these wounded souls, Wynn realizes it’s time to stop punishing herself for a painful secret, while Garrick remains haunted by the ghosts of past mistakes. Will he allow Wynn to open the only gift she truly wants: his heart?

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SCAVENGER HUNT

Last year, right before I started writing Happily this Christmas, I invited readers in the Susan Mallery All Access group on Facebook to suggest random objects for me to “hide” in the story, so I could create another Christmas scavenger hunt for you. The Happily this Christmas scavenger hunt is available at www.susanmallery.com/members-freebies.php. Download it and see if you can find all of the hidden objects as you read!

SNEAK PEEK

Happily this Christmas, Chapter One

Annoying other people was one thing. Wynn Beauchene could completely get behind that idea, mostly because more often than not, people deserved to be annoyed. But annoying herself? What was up with that? Not only was it a total waste of time, it made no sense. The only solution was to stop acting like a sixteen-year-old girl with a crush on the quarterback. She was a mature adult, a single mother with a successful business and a life she really liked. If she was attracted to her handsome neighbor, then she needed to stop hanging out by the front window of her house, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. She should march over to his place, knock on his front door and say… And say…

“I’m an idiot,” she muttered out loud, not for the first time. No matter how she envisioned the “march over there” scenario, she couldn’t figure out what she was supposed to say when he opened the door.

Hi, Garrick. I was wondering if maybe we could, um, well, you know, go out sometime.

Really? That was how she was going to start the conversation? Shouldn’t she lead into it? Maybe mention she’d enjoyed having him as her neighbor for the past year and tell him how nice it was that he was a police officer and the whole street liked the fact that he parked his patrol car in the driveway. Not that crime was a problem in Happily Inc, because it wasn’t, but still, having a cop as a neighbor was great. Although her interest was more personal, what with how he’d looked over the summer, mowing his lawn…shirtless. Not that she hadn’t noticed him before—she had. Until the lawn mowing season, she’d managed to ignore him, but now she couldn’t and it was already November and she’d done absolutely nothing to take their nonrelationship past the waving and hi-ing stage, and here she was, hanging out by her front window and she was ready to slap herself upside the head.

It was the dating thing. She wasn’t good at it because she didn’t do it very often. There were a lot of reasons, very few of them interesting, but in the past five or six months, she’d been thinking that maybe it was time to let the no-dating rule go and have a personal life. But while she’d spent a lot of time thinking, she hadn’t done much on the doing front.

“I’m better than this,” she muttered, ignoring the little voice in her head whispering that she obviously wasn’t.

It was just that in every other area of her life, she was capable. Hunter, her fourteen-year-old, acting out in school? She could deal with that five ways to Sunday. A printing order gone awry at work? Easy-peasy. A friend with an emotional crisis? She was all about the hugging and straight talk. But when it came to dating, or wanting to date, or thinking Garrick was sexy and supersweet with her son and lately she’d been wanting them to get to know each other better, she was a mess. Worse than a mess—she was pathetic.

As proof, she was standing in her living room, looking out the picture window, staring at his house, waiting for him to get home. It was Saturday afternoon. She had a lot of things she should be doing, and none of them included staring at some guy’s empty driveway.

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