Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Seaside Christmas by Sherryl Woods

We are back in Chesapeake Shores and the O'Briens with this story. Jenny Collins has been living in Nashville.  She has a career as a song writer. Jenny was dating a famous country singer until he cheated on her and broke her heart.  She stuck it out for a year after that but she wanted to come home.  Bree O'Brien Collins convinced her to come home and write songs for her Christmas play.  But guess who shows up in Chesapeake Shores to win Jenny back? Caleb, the heartbreaker!

Summary from Woods' site:
As the only child of a single mom, Jenny Collins wanted nothing more than to be part of a large, rambunctious family like the O’Briens. Ironically, though, when her mother married into that family, Jenny found herself feeling more like an outsider than ever.
Now, after years in Nashville as an established songwriter, Jenny’s drawn back to Chesapeake Shores to collaborate on a Christmas production...and to make peace with the past. As if that’s not challenging enough, Caleb Green, the singer who broke her heart, has followed her to town, determined to win hr back.
With the help of a little O’Brien holiday magic, will Jenny and Caleb find a way to make sweet music forever?

Chesapeake Shores had been frozen in time, Jenny Collins thought as she turned onto Main Street toward the Chesapeake Bay. Not yet decked out for the holidays, the quaint and welcoming storefronts were the same familiar ones she'd known practically since childhood—Flowers on Main, owned by her uncle Jake's wife, Bree O'Brien, and then Shauna's bookstore, which had another family connection through the O'Briens, then Sally's cafe, Seaside Gifts and, finally, Ethel's Emporium, which sold everything from penny candy to gaudy beachwear.

Bree's shop and the bookstore were the newest additions. The others had been around since the town's founding. Ethel herself was something of an institution, a woman who knew everything and kept very little of it to herself.

It was Bree—as much friend as aunt—who'd lured Jenny back to town after she'd spent several years offering pitiful explanations that no one in her family had believed. First college and then her blossoming career as a songwriter in Nashville had given her more legitimate excuses, but Jenny knew they'd worn thin, too.

The truth was that she'd stayed away because her mom's marriage to the much older Thomas O'Brien and the birth of Jenny's half brother had freaked her out. The safe, secure world in which she'd grown up had suddenly changed in a dramatic way. She'd no longer known how to fit in.

At least she recognized that it didn't say anything good about her that she'd been wildly jealous about not having her mom all to herself anymore. For so long after her dad had left they'd been a dynamic duo, with only her uncle Jake as backup. She'd liked it that way, even when her mom had gotten on her last nerve being overly protective.

Rolling down the car window now, she breathed in the sharp, familiar tang of salt air and sighed. No matter how uncomfortable this visit might turn out to be, it felt amazingly good to be home. She felt settled, as if a part of herself had been restored.

Gazing out at the water, sparkling in the pale sun, she thought of the countless times her mom had talked about how lucky they were to call this town home, how the Chesapeake Bay—Thomas's passion and life's work—was such an amazing estuary and such a national treasure. She hadn't appreciated that then, but on a day like today she did. She could even admit she admired Thomas's dedication to preserving the bay.

Glancing at the car's clock, she saw that she was running later than she'd planned. She drove on to Bree's theater, the real love of her friend's professional life. She'd promised Bree she'd write a few songs for this year's Christmas play, a play Bree herself had scripted. The prospect of such a collaboration, of possibly reaching a whole new audience with her songs, had been impossible to resist.

And it had given her the perfect excuse to flee Nashville during the holidays. She'd stuck it out there the year before after her breakup with megastar Caleb Green, mostly to prove to everyone that she was doing just fine, but a second year of loneliness during this special season? She simply couldn't face it.

Inside the cozy theater, Jenny shrugged out of her coat and headed for the rehearsal hall, which echoed with childish squeals and laughter and the occasional snatches of applause. She walked into the room just as silence fell. A sea of rapt young faces stared at Bree, her dark red hair pulled back into a loose ponytail, curls lit with sparkling highlights escaping around her pale-as-porcelain face. Though she was in her thirties, she looked younger.

"And once again the whole town felt the magic of the season," Bree concluded with a dramatic flourish.The children, many of whom Jenny recognized as the newest generation of O'Briens, applauded enthusiastically. A smile split Bree's face at their exuberance, then widened when she spotted Jenny at the back of the room. She jumped up, leaving two young women in charge of the energetic children, and ran to embrace Jenny. When the women waved, Jenny realized with a sense of shock that they were Bree's sister Ab-by's twin daughters.

"Welcome home!" Bree said, enveloping her in a hug.

To read more, click here.

Pages: 280
Published: 2013

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