Romancing the Holidays: A First Coast Romance Writers Holiday Anthology
Publication date: September 22nd 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A dozen ways to fall in love at the holidays…

Come celebrate the holidays with these dozen unique romances, ranging from sweet to steamy and all ending with a happily-ever-after. This anthology of short stories, written by multi-award-winning authors, including New York Times best-selling author, Alyssa Day, will transport you from Labor Day and Halloween antics to Christmas and Valentine romantics. Its stories will whisk you away into contemporary, historical, and paranormal worlds where love prevails. So, savor the authors featured in this enchanting book and bet your heart on some romantic cheer while you enjoy these twelve ways to fall in love.

Proceeds from this novel benefit First Coast Romance Writers, a non-profit chapter of Romance Writers of America that helps writers hone their craft and expand their knowledge of the publishing industry. A portion of the proceeds are also donated to

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“Faking it for the Holidays” by Lia Davis:

Julius probably shouldn’t be as happy as he was about his parents going on a cruise the week of Christmas. But he was. For the first time since he met his best friend and future wife—although she didn’t know that yet—he would be able to spend a normal, quiet, holiday season with Tara.

Just the two of them.

Was it wrong that he wanted to spend Christmas with his best friend, alone?

They didn’t have to listen to his parents, especially his mom, go on and on about how they should get married and give her beautiful grandbabies. It was embarrassing and made things awkward between them for the whole trip to Oregon to spend Christmas with his parents.

Tara had always been fantastic about his crazy family, which made her even more perfect for him. She never complained. She fit right in with them and humored his mom when she started in about the future of their lives and how they weren’t getting any younger.

The whole thing made him hesitate to ask Tara to marry him. He didn’t want her to think he was pressured into proposing, which he wasn’t. He loved her from the moment they met as kids.

He wanted to show her how much he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, without the pressure of his family lurking and watching them. Yessir, this year was going to be different.

He had Tara to himself.

His cell rang and he snatched it up from the kitchen counter where he was prepping movie-night snacks for him and Tara. It was their usual Saturday night “date” to make fun of bad movies. Not looking at the screen and thinking it was Tara, he said, “You better not be backing out on tonight.”

There was a long few moments of silence. Jules’ heart dropped to his feet. She wasn’t coming over. He’d spent all week gathering the courage to finally tell her how he felt. That he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her and not as just her best friend. He wanted more. “Tara?”

“Oh, no silly. It’s your mother. Don’t you check the caller ID?”

Damn. “Mom. How are you? Are you on the ship?”

She let out a disappointing sigh. “Sadly, no. The cruise was canceled last minute. That means we’re staying home for Christmas. You’re coming, right?”

“An Elf’s Challenge” by Vickey Wollan

“Why are you being so nice to me?” She stared straight at him and lifted her chin. Angelina was determined not to be the first one to blink. Then, she noticed he hadn’t blinked either.

“I can do this all day. Remember, sawdust in my eyes regularly – no biggie.” Zack raised his lids and brought his nose inches from hers. “You had me at operational efficiency. I’m hoping you’ll return the favor, let me into the Paint Drying Zone.” He winked.

Angelina’s mouth went dry. No amount of soda could fix it. “Of course!” Oh, dear. What did I just do? What will my father think of me bringing a dust-covered woodworker into the paint shop?

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“A Pug Thanksgiving” by Leah Miles


Janny moved the heavy purple carrier to her other shoulder and powered thru the exit at a brisk pace. “You have to behave. Absolutely no barking, understood?”

The pup ignored her. Her shiny black eyes were swiveling joyfully in all directions as she wiggled against the constraints of the too-small bag. From half a block away, Janny could see Echo squinting in their direction and laughter bubbled up her throat.

“There he is Roxy.” She waived in his direction and picked up her pace.

She’d met the handsome Echo after joining San Diego fitness and promptly signed up for his morning training sessions. It was a stretch on her budget, but she needed the exercise and the motivation of tall dark and handsome helped to get her out of bed. Her heart soared at the thought that he might return her interest.

“Hi! Sorry I’m late.”

“Haven’t been here long.” Echo straightened away from the wall and quirked an eyebrow. “Whatcha got in the bag?”

“Oh, this is Roxy. Roxy meet Echo.”And I just introduced my dog like an actual person.

Echo watched as the pug rolled enormous eyes, head and shoulders straining at the opening of the bag as she rocked it with what he had to assume were full body wags.

Eyes crinkling at the corners, Echo rubbed his chin with a serious expression. “I’m not sure dogs are allowed inside, unless they’re service dogs. Is she by any chance a service dog?”

Janny grinned and tapped her lip with one finger as if considering the question. “She isn’t an actual a service dog, but I did purchase a certificate online designating her as an anxiety companion; so technically, she could be a service dog or maybe a dog with a fake ID.”

Questions and Answers:

Question 1: Why did you choose the holiday you wrote about in your short story?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a chance to connect and share new recipes while creating memories with friends and family alike.  Also, decorating is not required!

Question 2: What inspired you to write this short story?

As a fledgling author, FCRW has been a springboard of information for me. The anthology is a fundraiser for this group that is dear to my heart.

Question 3: How did you go about creating your two main characters?

I went to the gym with my very physically fit husband and it felt like I was working out with a Navy Seal.  It gave me the idea of a soldier training a group of housewives and this is just a glimpse of two of the characters.

Question 4: Was there a secondary character that helped this story come to life?

The Pug was the catalyst that propelled the two of them closer.  Dogs are the best!

Question 5: Do you consider yourself a plotter or pantser?  How does that help you create?

I make extensive outlines and then virtually ignore them when I’m writing.  Music is essential to getting me in the headspace for different stories. I generally have two or three things going at once and I like to create a playlist of songs for each one.