The Secret Santa Wishing Well
Nikki Lynn Barrett
Published by: Nikki Lynn Barrett
Contemporary holiday romance
about 55,000 words
184 print pages.
Blurb: The magic of Christmas has been lost to Jacob Winston. At the suggestion of his ill sister, Jacob takes a job as a Secret Santa at the mall, hoping to restore his Christmas spirit. Even that doesn’t seem to work, until a special little boy ambles up to make a very special wish…
Cheyenne Jensen is struggling to raise her two kids without the help of her ex-husband who refuses to acknowledge his daughter’s existence and doesn’t provide for the son he does. This Christmas is shaping up to be as heartbreaking as the last, until her son Ben’s kind actions lead a stranger to them.
Ah, but it’s Christmas time and the magic has begun.
When Jacob and Cheyenne meet, neither can deny their immediate attraction to one another. As situations arise that require they spend more time together, their feelings grow stronger and stronger.
With Christmas fast approaching, the pair learn what matters most in life. Now, if only they could ditch the ghost of Christmases past.
Maybe this holiday will bring some wishes come true- for everyone after all.
It didn’t take long for her to come back. Jacob moved to the living room, standing and waiting. When he saw her coming, he closed the gap between them. Before he could could think twice, he touched her shoulder gently, wanting to thank her for the evening.
But instead of talking, he leaned in and kissed her. Just a light kiss. Gentle. Friendly.
Until she responded. She had her arms around him, pulling him for another kiss. Deeper. Sweeter. She tasted so sweet. Her need made him swell. He could do this all night. Jacob pressed her against the wall, their kisses deepening with urgency. He ran his fingers through her fine hair. Hers wrapped around. his neck, rubbing lightly.
Jacob pulled back abruptly. “Cheyenne,” he ground out. “We have to stop.” Before I lose it. He didn’t want to stop. He never expected her to reciprocate like this. Wow. Maybe it wasn’t one sided after all. Jacob sighed.
That halted everything. She pulled away, looking at him with wide, beautiful eyes. “I’m sorry. I pushed. You must think I’m a fool. I thought, when you kissed me…” Cheyenne attempted to move out of Jacob’s embrace. Oh, damn. She thought he didn’t want her. He did, oh, how he did.
“No, no. Honey, that’s not it at all. Kissing you was magical. Amazing. But we just met. I don’t want to take things too far. But I would love to see you again.” He pushed back loose strands of her hair that hung over her face when she’d moved. She looked so vulnerable. Was she going to cry? Oh hell, he wouldn’t be able to handle it if she did. The last thing he wanted was for her to be upset with him.
“I’d like that, too. It was a wonderful, amazing day, and I have you to thank for it.” She nearly whispered the words, choking up on the last part. “God, I’m a mess. I’m sorry. There’s been so much going on, and my signals are going crazy at the moment.”
Yours aren’t the only one, Jacob thought. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket, typing in her name in the contacts and handing it to her. “Can I have your number?”
She laughed. “Of course.” Her fingers brushed his as she took the phone from him, tapping in her number. She handed it back to him. Electric shocks of awareness zipped through him. His gaze lingered on her, knowing he needed to get the hell out of here before he lost it completely.
Welcome Nikki Lynn Barrett!
Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
I live in Arizona with my husband and young son. I long for cold and stormy days, but we don’t get many of those here…lol. I love all things creative! I have an addiction to Words With Friends and raspberry tea. I hate getting up in front of a crowd for a speech, but put a microphone in my hand and music in the background, and I can sing in front of any crowd. I often tell people that characters fight for my attention worse than siblings fighting for their parents’ attention. 🙂
Is The Secret Santa Wishing Well a single title, or part of a series? It’s a single title! Now, I have had one person ask for a secondary character’s story, but if I wrote it, The Secret Santa Wishing Well would still suit fine as a stand alone.
What were your inspirations for the story? I had an idea for awhile about a man being some kind of Secret Santa, meeting a child, and connecting to the mother that way. The first week in August when my son started preschool, I toyed with a few writing projects. Then all of a sudden, the complete idea for The Secret Santa Wishing Well hit me. I only wrote three days a week, as my son only goes to school for four of them, and one mid week day is dedicated to jewelry making with my mom. I wrote 38,000 in six weeks. After not being able to write and finish a project for years, this was astonishing for me! After rewrites, it turned into an almost 55k book! Anyway, I’m kind of straying, aren’t I? But that was the gist of it. Had an idea, rolled with it, and boom! There is the birth of The Secret Santa Wishing Well
Please share your setting for The Secret Santa Wishing Well. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most? I set it in Prescott, Arizona. I love that city. It’s up in the high country, I love the cool mountain air, and it’s a nice escape from the Phoenix heat. I’ve been there many times since my first time in 2003. I’ve always said if I ever made it rich I was getting me a summer home in Prescott. Better storms up there in monsoon season, too. LOL
When did the writing bug first bite? You know….it always has been with me. I loved reading and writing from early on. By the time I was in fifth grade, I completed a book- well, an 80 kids book, lol. I used to write in those one subject spiral notebooks. I was happy if my parents bought me a ton of them and a package of pens. Stories turned into writing poetry for awhile, then song lyrics, and while I still wrote books, they weren’t the focus of my attention for awhile until I hit college and wanted to write them again. I finished my first adult romantic suspense in 2003, and unless it goes through MAJOR rewrites, it won’t ever see the light of day, although to this day, my dad swears he loves that book…..
Who are you favorite authors, book/series? I’m fairly eclectic. I grew up reading thrillers and horror. I will always love R. L. Stine. I’m stoked that he released Red Rain this year! I’m also a fan of Luanne Rice. Her stories are so emotional and always take me on a journey through characters that have suffered a loss, but always find a way to make it through. I love Wendy Corsi Staub. Excellent suspense. Same with Erica Spindler’s books. Diane Chamberlain, another women’s fiction author that always leaves me with a smile. Stephanie Bond. I fell in love with OUR HUSBAND, and crave more of her books! You can’t go wrong with JoAnn Ross, or Susan Mallery. And recently I’ve been reading erotic romances and fell in love- Maya Banks was my first, and now I can’t get enough of her stories! Same with Jaci Burton. But while I have a favorite group of writers, I always love to find new ones. I’m open to anything that looks good.
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
Ooooh. Nora Roberts. Luanne Rice. R.L. Stine, Wendy Corsi Staub,….kind of toss a variety in there. LOL
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time? Spare…time? Huh, what? LOL. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m blogging, spending time with my husband and son. Okay…I do have a little spare time. My latest venture is jewelry making. My mom and someone else were going to go into business with it, but the other person kind of flaked out. I was taking pictures of the jewelry for them, and I wanted to do it too. Now, I can’t stop! It’s fun, addicting and soothing. So now my mom and I are partnering up. I love photography, mostly weather, but I’ve branched out. Often times I’m at a nearby pedestrian bridge and sunset with the camera and tripod, or when a storm is near. I love long walks, and swimming. I love singing. I need to get back in my lyric writing and learn more guitar. I love long car rides with music blaring. Oh, and I love sleep…except, I rarely get enough of it! haha
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen? I swear this street I lived on when I was a child was haunted or something. We were always seeing and hearing weird stuff. I know we were kids, but I still remember a lot of it. I don’t know now how true it was, but I thought the house we lived in someone was murdered in. I wonder now if I could look that up and figure it out, but I don’t remember the address. Still, there were some weird happenings on that block….
Thank you for having me here today! I’m so excited to be here.