🥂🎁📚 Holiday Happy Ever After with Marin Thomas


When the kids were little, I considered myself a holiday traditionalist. We always bought a real evergreen tree for Christmas. When the kids were in kindergarten and first grade we thought it would be a great family experience to cut down our own tree. What a disaster! It took forever to cut the tree down. The kids grew bored. They complained they were cold. Then on the way home our son asked why we didn’t just drive to Dad’s store (Home Depot) and buy a tree. Next year we drove to Dad’s store and bought a real tree there.

Years later when my daughter was twelve, she came home from school upset because one of her friends said we were hurting the environment when we bought a real tree. After Christmas that year we waited for the sales and purchased our first artificial tree. The tree lasted several years and served us well. Then we moved households and the tree got crushed in the moving van. After that we had a tabletop tree for two years in a row because we left to visit family for the holidays. After my mother passed away I received her artificial tree, which I enjoyed putting up for several years.

The kids are grown now and have their own apartments. My daughter has an artificial pink tree and sparkly girlie-girl ornaments. My son strings lights on a potted plant and throws a Santa hat on top of it and calls it a day. After my husband and I moved back to Phoenix for the third time in our marriage, I began the hunt for and found a Saguaro Christmas Cactus! The kids think it’s ridiculous, but I don’t care. I decorate my seven-foot rusted steel saguaro with lights, western ornaments and chili peppers. It fits perfectly in the corner of our living room and since my kids always ask for money instead of gifts, there’s no problem fitting their presents beneath the tree.

When it comes to decorating for the holidays what are you? Traditionalist? Free Spirit or a wackadoodle like me?

After being banned from celebrating the holidays with his stepfamily, San Diego businessman Lucas Kendrick arrives in Marietta, Montana, in time to attend the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Graff Hotel. The rodeo-theme party isn’t his style but he’s drawn to the pretty cowgirl running the dice table. When the clock strikes midnight and they ring in the New Year with a kiss, Lucas almost forgets he’s in Marietta on business and not pleasure. He believes he’s found the perfect property for his prized client. There’s just one problem—the pretty cowgirl has her sights set on the same piece of real estate.

Now that single mom Ava Moore has earned a business degree, she wants to help other struggling women get back on their feet by opening a co-op on Main Street. The last thing she expects is competition from the handsome city slicker whose New Year’s kiss she hasn’t been able to forget. Lucas isn’t only stealing Ava’s heart he’s bonding with her daughter. Can Ava convince Lucas that the best business deals are made with the heart and not money?

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Phoenix, Arizona

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