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Second Chance at Christmas Inn, Paperback

Second Chance at Christmas Inn, Paperback

book 1 of the Christmas Inn Duet

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Second Chance at Christmas Inn

My lawyer just informed me that in order to sell my grandmother's Christmas inn, I need to spend one last holiday season there. Problem is, I swore I would never return after I broke the heart of the boy that I loved and ran away 10 years ago.

But I'm desperate need of money and I'm fairly certain that he's moved on, so I book a plane ticket and inform the manager of the inn that I'm coming. Just as I pass through airport security, I find a dark haired man standing next to the baggage claim with my name written on a sign.

I pause and my heart sinks when I realize that I'm staring into the dark green eyes of the boy I left all of those years ago.

Continue Reading if you like: 

  • Christmas Romances
  • Second Chances
  • A small Town
  • A Christmas Inn
  • He's the Sunshine and she's the Grump
  • A Funny Little Boy

Discover why readers are saying: 

"I'm at work, supposed to be working!! I NEED BLOSSOM'S STORY!!!! I see it's next in the series. To keep from getting fired, I'll try to refrain from starting it right now!" ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader

"This is a sweet, wholesome, hopeful story and gave me the Christmas feels and inspired me to make some tender Christmas memories with my own munchkins. I will definitely be turning to her books at the end of a long day to lift me for the next long day." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader


  • Second Chance
  • Inn
  • Returning Home
  • Christmas
  • Jilted in Love
  • Meddling Grandmother


Holly Graham is not interested in celebrating Christmas. In fact, she’s renounced the holiday and all the cheer that comes with it. So returning her grandmother’s Christmas Inn was not something she wanted to do.

Until she found out that in order to sell the inn, she needed to spend one last Christmas there.

Stephen Jones has two goals this holiday season: run Christmas Inn for one last holiday season and take care of his sister and nephew. Helping the girl he once loved sell the only place he’s ever called home was not in his job description.

Especially when she’s acting like she’s forgotten everything she once loved about the inn and maybe...him.

Holly is persistent to sell even when Stephen refuses to respect her wishes. Or his adorable nephew pulls at her heart strings. Add the mysterious notes from her grandmother, and Holly’s frozen heart begins to melt.

Does the magic of Christmas Inn hold enough power to bring these two wandering souls together?

Chapter One Look Inside


Rex Potter sat across from Holly, tapping his fingers on his desk. She watched him as his eyes roved over the stack of papers he had in front of him. 

He let out a few harrumphs before he again grew silent. 

Holly bounced her leg, silently begging him to move forward with the reading of the will. 

This was not where she wanted to be. She’d just buried her grandmother—the woman she swore she would never talk to again—and she was more than ready to forget her past and every painful memory that lay there.

Rex’s instance to read over the will once more was killing her. 

She had half a mind to fire her lawyer—but he was the best New York had to offer. And her boyfriend’s father. And then there was the fact that he’d agreed to look over the will for free. 

“I really don’t see a way out of this, Holly. I mean, it’s the only way for you to move on from Christmas Inn. If you want to sell it—”

“I do,” Holly blurted out as heat crept up her cheeks. Having this inn hanging over her head was slowly crushing her. Selling it meant that she could once and for all shed her past and move forward.

Rex glanced over his readers at her, his greying mustache twitching as he studied her. Then he glanced at the papers as he set them down on the desk and sighed. “Then you have to spend this Christmas at the inn. There’s no way around it.”

Holly’s stomach twisted at Rex’s resolute words. She parted her lips to speak, but from the no-nonsense look in his eyes, she knew that resistance was futile. If there was a way to get out of it, Rex would have found it. 

There was nothing she could do. 

She was going to have to return to Ivy Springs. Return to the Christmas Inn she’d fled ten years ago. The moment she’d been able to get out of that god-forsaken town and away from her grandmother, she had. And she hadn’t looked back. 

Holly took a deep, cleansing breath as she nodded. “Thanks, Rex.” She leaned down and grabbed her purse, which she had set beside her chair. “I’ll think about it.”

Rex nodded as he moved to stand. “I really think it’s best. And honestly, the land is appraising for three million dollars. Quite a nice nest egg if you ask me.”

Holly almost swallowed her tongue. Three million was quite a lot. Enough, in fact, for her to dig herself out of her mounting debt and create her own line of women’s fashion—something that she’d been dreaming of since she was little. 

She could make something of herself. Prove that she wasn’t just some Podunk kid from the middle of Massachusetts. She was born to be something more. 

Extending her hand, Holly nodded. “Thanks.” 

Rex met her handshake and narrowed his eyes. “Talk it over with Tyler. See what he thinks. And who knows, maybe some time in the country might be good for you two.”

Not wanting to discuss her and Tyler’s relationship, Holly just smiled and slipped on her coat. “I will. I’m meeting him tonight for drinks. We can discuss it then.”

Rex nodded and then motioned toward the door. “Let me know as soon as you decide. A week at Christmas Inn during the holiday season is all you need to do to fulfill the stipulation. Once that’s over, you can sell and move on.”

Holly moved to his office door and pulled it open. Just before she stepped out into his waiting area, Rex called out to her once more. 

“There was one more thing. The will said something about a Stephen Jones? Does that name ring any bells with you?”

Holly stopped at the mention of Stephen’s name. Her hand felt frozen as it rested on the doorknob. She should have known her grandmother would include Stephen. After all, she’d basically raised him alongside Holly. 

He was part of the past she was trying to forget. A love she’d shoved way down in her memory since the day he broke her heart. She’d sworn she would never think of Stephen or the Christmas Inn again, yet here she was, doing both. 

“What about him?” she asked, turning slowly. Rex stood behind his desk with his mustache twitching as he studied a piece of paper. 

“It says that Stephen Jones is entitled to 10 percent of the inn or the proceeds from its sale.” He glanced up at Holly. “You know him?”

Muscling down the heartache that was trying to suffocate her, Holly swallowed hard and nodded. “When I sell the inn, I’ll reach out to Stephen. Easy peasy.”

Rex nodded, and Holly turned back around, ready to get out of this room and away from the bad memories the will had dredged up. She was ready to move on with her life. 

Talia, her assistant, was sitting on one of the overstuffed armchairs that lined the far wall of the waiting room. She was busy talking on her phone, oblivious to the fact that Holly was ready to leave. 

Talia was ditzy and goofy, but Holly couldn’t help but keep Talia as her assistant. She’d grown to love her frizzy blonde hair and bight, blue eyes. She was spontaneous and cheerful, which were qualities that Holly’s life sorely lacked. 

“Come on, we’re done here,” Holly said as she tapped Talia’s black heels with her own red ones. 

Talia’s face flushed as she glanced up. She pulled the phone from her cheek and hit the end call button. “I’m so sorry,” she said as she shoved the phone into her purse. “I just…” She winced. “Holiday family planning in the works.” 

Holly chuckled despite the familiar ache that rose up inside of her at the mention of the holiday season. She’d walked away from all that merriment years ago. When she’d found out her grandmother had lied to her. When she found out the real reason her mother had left her, never to be seen again. Add in her breakup with Stephen, and if she never saw a Christmas tree or smelled mulled apple cider again, it would be too soon. 

She’d renounced Christmas and everything that had to do with this time of year. 

“It’s okay,” she said as she pulled out her gloves and slipped them on. December in New York City had a way of chilling you to the bone. After tightening her scarf around her neck, she waited for Talia before she pushed the outer door and stepped out onto the bustling sidewalk. 

Just as the door shut behind them, she heard Rex’s desperate voice. 

“Wait!” he shouted as he burst out after them. 

Confused, Holly turned around to see a white envelope that he clutched in his hand. Rex’s face was red from exertion as he hunched over, taking in deep breaths. 

“Did I forget something?” Holly asked. 

Rex straightened and held out the envelope. “A letter. It came with the will. It’s addressed to you.” 

He waved it under Holly’s nose. She studied it for a moment, a war being waged inside of her. Did she take it? Did she wanted to know what it said?

There was only one person who could have included a letter with the will. 

Her grandmother. 

But reading the dying words of Hope Graham wasn’t something she wanted to do. The apology that she was pretty sure was written in that letter wasn’t one she wanted to hear. 

Things happened. And there was nothing anyone could do to change the past. Lives had been irrevocably changed because her grandmother had felt she knew best. 

Well, Holly wasn’t going to let her grandmother meddle in her life anymore. 

When she looked up to reject the letter, Rex look so earnest that she couldn’t find the words to say no. 

Instead, Talia stepped in. “I’ll take it,” she said as she pinched the top of the envelope and pulled it out of Rex’s grasp. 

Rex opened his mouth to speak, but Holly was ready to get out of the cold, so she turned and headed down the sidewalk, Talia following close behind. She cast a quick smile at Rex as he watched them leave. He nodded and slipped back through the door of his office building. 

Thankfully, they had their pick of taxis waiting at the corner. They quickly climbed into the backseat, basking in the warmth that blasted from the vents. Holly told the driver where to go, and he clicked on his blinker to merge into traffic. 

Holly settled back on her seat as she allowed her thoughts to still. Talia was not the quiet type and was busy chatting about her family and their plans for the holiday. 

Holly found herself relaxing as she listened. It was nice, not having to think. Not having to worry about what she was going to do with Christmas Inn. 

Right now, she wasn’t going to think about her childhood home or what she’d left behind when she ran away at eighteen. 

It was her past, and, after the week-long mandatory stay, it was going to stay in her past. Once and for all. 

* * *

Holly sighed as she felt Tyler’s hand on her lower back, guiding her into Le Bouche. Tyler was talking about work, and Holly was happily listening as she plotted ways to tell him that they weren’t going to take their annual trip to Honolulu. 

Instead they were going to be holed up inside some run-down inn filled with entirely too many bad memories. 

It really wasn’t the kind of surprise she wanted to lay on him. Tyler wasn’t into hotels that didn’t have five stars next to their names or luxury spas. The only hope she was holding on to was that once he heard the amount she could get from the sale, he would be more apt to go along. 

Pierre, the maître d’, was standing at the podium when they approached. He grinned at Tyler and then over at Holly. 

“Good evening, Ms. Graham. Mr. Potter,” he said in his thick French accent. 

Holly smiled at him. “Good evening.”

“We are excited you are joining us tonight,” he said as he waved for them to follow. 

As they moved to follow, they were stopped by the sound of Tyler’s phone ringing. 

He plopped a kiss on the top of Holly’s head as he pulled out his phone. “I’ve got to grab this. It’s the head of the cardiac surgery department.” He shot her a sympathetic look. “Order me a scotch?” he asked as he moved toward the far wall.

Holly nodded, then she turned and smiled at Pierre. “I guess we move on.”

Pierre motioned toward a nearby table and helped her get situated. Once her chair was pushed forward, he reached over and grabbed her napkin, shook it out, and laid it on her lap. 

After ordering a glass of champagne for herself and a scotch for Tyler, Holly settled back in her seat and thought about their upcoming conversation. Tyler wasn’t going to be pleased. He reveled in their traveling together. 

Where Holly was poor, Tyler was rich. As New York’s up-and-coming cardiac surgeon, he had money to spare. 

She always felt guilty about her financial situation, so she’d managed to keep it a secret from him. There was this hope, deep down, that she would get herself out of the hole she was in so that if he ever decided to marry her, she wouldn’t have this ugly secret hanging over her head. 

That was why fulfilling her grandmother’s stipulation for the inn was so important. Tyler deserved a great girl ready to leap into a new life with him. Not someone bogged down with regret and pain like she was. 

Spending a week at Christmas Inn could change all that.

A hand on her shoulder startled her, and she glanced up to see Tyler’s wide smile as he peered down at her. “Hi,” he said, leaning down and pressing his lips to hers. 

Pushing all other thoughts from her mind, Holly returned the kiss. When Tyler pulled away, he settled into the seat across from her. 

“Sorry about that.”

Holly shrugged. She was used to it. Tyler was constantly sprinting off to attend to a complicated surgery. 

“That was Dr. Jones,” Tyler said as he pulled his chair up to the table. Pierre appeared to place the napkin over Tyler’s lap and take his order. 

Once Tyler was situated, he leaned over and threaded his fingers together, resting his elbows on the table. “You won’t believe what he offered me.”

Holly’s lips twitched with a smile. “What?” 

“He’s offered me a position on his Doctors Without Borders excursion.”

Holly raised her eyebrows. “Wow. Really? That’s so exciting.” She sipped at her champagne. “When would you go?”

When Tyler didn’t answer right away, she glanced up to see that his lips were pinched and he had a pained expression on his face. 

“Tyler?” she asked, fearing what he was going to say. 

“I’m sorry, babe. We leave on the fifteenth.”

Holly furrowed her brow. 

“I know. It changes our holiday plans. But I really want to go. This is my opportunity to work on some complicated issues, get more surgeries under my belt.” He leaned forward and smiled. “Which means more money in my pocket.”

Holly smiled as she nodded. She knew he thought she was going to be upset by that, but she wasn’t. If anything, she was glad. This way, she wasn’t the one breaking off their plans. 

“Actually, that works well for me. I just found out I have to stay at my grandmother’s old inn over the holidays. It’s in her will,” she said as she nodded to the waiter who set her filet mignon in front of her. 

Tyler thanked the waiter, and then they were left alone to eat. 

After a few bites, Tyler looked over at her. “Inn? Where?”

Holly swallowed as she finished her bite. “Ivy Springs, Massachusetts.” 

Tyler winced—just solidifying what she’d thought all along. There was no way Tyler would want to go along with her. 

“Yeah, this works out great,” he said, raising his glass to clink. 

Holly obliged and then brought her glass to her lips. 

It felt strange, celebrating that they weren’t going to be spending the holiday season together. When she was kid, she’d dreamed of snuggling under the blankets in front of a warm fire with the man she loved. 

The fact that he didn’t even seem upset that they wouldn’t be together…bothered her. 

Stupid, childish fantasies. 

“We’ll get what we need to do done and then be back here, together,” Tyler said as he cut through his steak, bringing the bite up to his lips. 

“Right,” she said, taking another bite. 

For the rest of their meal, Tyler looked entirely too much at ease about the whole situation. He didn’t look disappointed or upset. If anything, he was giddy with anticipation. 

Holly, on the other hand, wasn’t sure how she felt. There was something about how he was acting that made her sad. There was a part of her—albeit small—that wanted Tyler to feel sad that they weren’t going to be together for the holidays. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, spending Christmas without Tyler felt depressing. 

The Christmas holiday already held so many bad memories, she didn’t want this to be one of them. 

But, from the sinking feeling in her stomach, that was going to be the case. Whether she wanted it or not. 

What a holly, jolly Christmas.

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