This Christmas, celebrate the joys of the season with a trio of exquisitely crafted, richly romantic tales by three of the brightest stars in contemporary fiction-bestselling authors Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen, and Fayrene Preston. Filled with passion, drama, and a touch of magic, this festive gathering of classic stories-available for the first time in ten years-tells about the lives and loves of one unforgettable family and the enchanted heirloom that links one generation to the next.Christmas Past by Iris JohansenKillara, Arizona, 1893. Kevin Delaney had heard his share of tall tales, but none could match the one told by the Gypsy beauty he found rummaging in the attic of Killara, his family's estate. The waif claimed to have traipsed halfway around the world simply to recover an old, long-forgotten mirror. But Zara St. Cloud knows it is no ordinary mirror-and she can see that the striking Delaney is no ordinary man.
Hooper, Iris Johansen, and Fayrene Preston send holiday greetings from the (somewhat paranormal) Delaney family. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 24, 2004
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Excerpt from The Delaney Christmas Carol by Iris Johansen
December 15, 1893
"Blast it," Zara muttered. Her foot was bleeding again!
Holding on to the corral post for balance, she scowled at the lacerated flesh on the bottom of her left foot. The rags she had tied around her shoe hadn't protected her wound, and the rocks on the trail coming down from the foothills had done their worst. Even though it was bleeding again, she couldn't be bothered with it now. She was too close to reaching her goal. She quickly shifted the rags to cover the cut, then paused a moment to catch her breath and look at the large adobe ranch house a hundred feet away. It rose out of drifts of snow and only glimpses of its red-tiled roof could be seen through the heavy white mantle atop it.
Killara. The house was more imposing and intimidating than she had imagined. For a moment she felt a thrill of fear at what she was about to do. These wild inhabitants of Arizona had no more liking for housebreakers than the people in her native Ireland and were reputed to be much more violent in dispatching them.
Nonsense, there was no reason to fear. From a high lookout she had watched people depart and was sure the house was deserted now. It was well after midnight; the servants and ranch hands slept in the village over the hill and would not venture out on so frigid a night. She had ascertained before she left Hell's Bluff that afternoon that the savage was planning on indulging his lustful appetites at Garnet's bordello and would pose no threat. She had all night in which to search for and find the treasure--and get away with it, of course.
The icy wind quickened, chilling her to the bone yet bringing with it the faint musical jingle of wind chimes from the front porch. Comfort flowed through her as she realized they reminded her of the chimes during the Mass at Father Timothy's cathedral. Surely this was a sign that what she was doing was not unforgivable and all would be well.
She darted toward the front door, her heart pounding, her breath visible in the clear cold air.
Green eyes glared malevolently at her in the darkness! She stopped short in shock and then drew a relieved breath. It was only a huge black cat curled up on the doorstep.
"Have you no sense " she whispered. "You're no guard dog. You'll freeze out here. Go to the stable, where it's warm."
She stepped forward and the doorknob turned easily under her hand. She had learned the doors of Killara were always left unlocked. Who would dare to steal from the all-powerful Delaneys