One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is pulling down the boxes and bins to dig out all my favorite decorations. I have an eclectic collection: hand-me-downs from my mother, a few treasured ornaments that I loved to hang growing up, ornaments from every place I’ve visited, things friends have given me, and a few impulse buys. Needless to say, I don’t have a designer tree, but decorating is a long walk down memory lane. When I imagined how the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel would be decorated for Christmas, I wanted to include everything I wish I had room for. So there are many themed trees. The staff of Viva Las Vega, the hotel restaurant, has the spirit. The pool area is a blinking, flashing wonderland, and there’s a surprise guest riding up and down in the elevator. It’s a place I’d love to visit in real life. Charlie McMinn, on the other hand, just wants some peace and quiet. The new chapel is the best place for that. At least, until he meets abandoned bride Grace. Then peace and quiet loses some of its attraction. Santa, Bring My Baby Back is about second chances, love in unexpected places, weddings, and a bloodhound named Misty.
A bride abandoned at the altar . . . just in time for Christmas? 'Tis the season for second chances at Cheryl Harper's Elvis-themed Rock'n'Rolla Hotel.
After trying and failing at acting, modeling, dog grooming, and a dozen other jobs, Grace Andersen thought for sure she'd nail marrying a rich man. But dumped in a hotel chapel and strapped for cash, Grace needs a miracle—and a job.
If it were up to Charlie McMinn, Grace would be a married lady by now. Officiating weddings in gold lamé and a rock star pompadour may not have been his idea of getting into the holiday spirit, but with a gorgeous bride asking for his help, Charlie doesn't mind sticking around his mother's hotel a few more days. Especially if it means getting Grace settled …
Grace isn't sure what to think of sexy, rugged Charlie, except that she can't deny the attraction between them, or how good it feels to finally fit in somewhere. Is she ready to give a certain place—and a certain someone—a real chance? Or will she abandon a true Christmas miracle?
Charlie McMinn pushed back his gold lamé sleeve to check the time and cursed under his breath. The bride and groom were twenty minutes late.
Five more minutes. That’s it.
He thumped his head against the high back of the leather chair and frowned as he stared up at the ceiling. This was not how he’d spend his Saturdays given a choice. Marrying happy couples at the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel was bad enough. He’d been guilted, cajoled, and generally coerced into agreeing to doing so for the first three December weekends by a woman with a sweet smile and iron will, the single person on the whole planet that could make him do something he didn’t want to do: his mother, Willodean Jackson. But wasting time instead of actually performing the weddings was just too much.
Insult to injury. She gets me here, and then the bride and groom don’t show.
He’d negotiated hard to make her agree to find a permanent solution by January. He kept reminding himself this was just temporary.
At least the stock exchanges were closed on Saturday, and he’d wrapped up his latest investment deal before he’d packed up the truck to head for Memphis. Otherwise, he’d be wasting money too. And that was where Charlie McMinn drew the line.
He shoved himself up out of the comfortable chair, yanked down the gold jacket that somehow fit like a second skin although he’d never been measured for it, and paced from one side of the small stage to the other. Red, pink, and white poinsettias lined the raised platform, the only shot of color in the hotel’s new chapel except for the dancing dots of light through the stained glass crosses over the door. Dark gray carpet, light walls, elegantly simple wooden pews, and tall, clear windows along one side of the room created a nice, airy place where Charlie could catch his breath. It was nothing like the rest of the hotel. There was nothing outrageous here except the price tag, which was excessive, a little like Willodean.
Had she just run out of time, or had she intended to create a restful place?
After all, no one but his mother had been sure the chapel would be finished in time. He thought he could still smell fresh paint; she’d probably had crews in all night finishing up. And it wouldn’t surprise him a bit. That was the way Willodean worked. She decided she wanted something, and then, come hell, high water—or outrageously expensive overtime bills—she made it happen. Getting this building up and running for the weddings she’d booked in advance had taken about four months and twice as much money as he would have spent.
As Willodean’s financial advisor, he knew to the penny how much this latest project had cost. And it was a very good thing she had a lot of pennies because his mother had taken the phrase “money is no object” and embraced it as lifestyle. Just keeping up with her inspired ideas could be exhausting.
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Whether she's writing, reading, or just checking the items off of her daily to-do list, Cheryl Harper loves her romance mixed with a little laughter. When she's not working, you will find her ignoring housework, cursing yard work, and spending way too much time with a television remote in her hand.
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