The weather outside is frightful, but kisses by the fire are so delightful …
Sue Ann Simpkins is working hard to rebuild her life and find some holiday spirit. A weekend away from Destiny in a cabin on nearby Bear Lake seems like the perfect Christmas gift to herself—until her ex's best friend, Adam Becker, shows up at the door, claiming the cabin is his! And if that's not trouble enough, how had she never noticed how gorgeous he was?
Alone for the holidays and forced to play a reindeer at the local department store, Adam's been feeling rather Scrooge-ish himself. But finding the smart, sexy woman he's admired since elementary school waiting in the house he rented is helping to brighten his humbug mood. And when a sudden snowstorm strands them together in very close quarters, leading to one very hot night together, Adam soon realizes that what he really wants for Christmas is a second chance at love. Now all he has to do is convince Sue Ann…
A Note from Toni
I knew when I decided to give Sue Ann her own story in the Destiny series that many readers would be surprised – and maybe even upset – given that in previous books I portrayed her as having the perfect marriage to the perfect man. But I gave Sue Ann a book for two reasons, one practical and one artistic. The practical reason is that when I created Sue Ann as a secondary character in One Reckless Summer, I had no idea that book would be the start of an ongoing series. And as the series developed, Sue Ann became such an integral part of the group of girlfriends the series is centered around – and so popular with readers – that it just made sense to give her a story. The artistic reason is that I knew it would be a tough novel to write and as a writer, I like to take on difficult topics and keep challenging myself. And given how many marriages end in divorce these days, it felt important to show that someone can go from the depths of despair during an unhappy divorce to finding true, lasting love and happiness again.
To focus on a more fun and light-hearted aspect of the book, I totally loved writing a Christmas-themed romance. In the romance genre, Christmas books are almost iconic in a way, and I've always wanted to write one. From falling snow to sleigh rides to Christmas cookies, I completely enjoyed creating an idyllic Christmas setting within the pages of this book. And let's just say that the concept of reindeer took on a life of its own before all was said and done – you'll see what I mean when you read it.
My greatest hope for this book overall is that readers will find lots of Christmas magic on Holly Lane!
Trivia & Extras
Watch Toni's Interview (above) with Romantic Times Book Reviews
Listen to songs from the book soundtrack below...
Reviews for Holly Lane
"Blake balances cinematic imagery (a live reindeer in the backyard) with silliness (Adam in a reindeer suit inviting Sue Ann to play "reindeer games") while tugging on readers' heartstrings like a virtuoso harpist." ~Publishers Weekly
"Blake does it again with a Christmas tale that will make your spirit joyful. It's a compelling read with a little depth. The realistic characters make the story a treat and the small-town feel creates an intimate reading experience. You'll be glad you took another trip to Destiny." ~Romantic Times, 4 STARS
"Toni Blake's Destiny series has been a joy, and the latest tale adds to the string of successes. Adam and Sue Ann are well-drawn, realistic characters. Sue Ann's dance of distrust, in particular, is absolutely understandable and believable. The love scenes are thrillingly hot, and the Christmas season frames the tale perfectly." ~Heather Nordahl Files, Affaire de Coeur Magazine, 4 ½ STARS
"The characters are a joy to get to know, and all the residents of Destiny are back to lend their voices to this contemporary romance that will leave you all warm and fuzzy inside!" ~Sharon Galligar Chance,Fresh Fiction
"A truly wonderful tale! A fun, sexy, and uplifting book!" ~Patti Fischer, Romance Reviews Today
"(The first) sex scene is easily one of the most poignant I've read in years, and it's hot too. This book worked because Sue Ann and Adam seem like real people having a real romance. Toni Blake captures the nervousness, sexiness, and poignancy … in a way that's completely pitch perfect." ~Blythe Barnhill,All About Romance
"A delicious read, HOLLY LANE, the fourth novel in gifted author Toni Blake's DESTINY series, is a passionate and touching contemporary romance. Fresh, exciting, (and) unforgettable." ~Romance Junkies, 5 BLUE RIBBONS
"Fresh and fun. A good book and a good series that I highly recommend." ~Canterbury Bell, LASR Reviews, 4 BOOKS
"Holly Lane is the kind of wonderful, complex romance we've come to expect from Ms. Blake. The characters are human, their flaws - open and raw - are mended by love. A perfect read for any time of year, may it find its way into your heart this holiday season." ~Donna Pinto, Bookishly Attentive
"Holly Lane is one of my top books of 2011, as well as all time. It is full of emotions, healing, adorable Holiday stuff and a Christmas morning scene that made me bawl like a baby." ~Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews, 5 STARS
Toni has always used music to set the tone of her books. Enjoy this playlist of holiday songs featured in Holly Lane:
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – Dr. Elmo
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry
Let It Snow – Chris Isaak
Winter Wonderland – Jason Mraz
Baby It's Cold Outside – LeeAnn Womack and Harry Connick, Jr.
(It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus – Harry Connick, Jr.
Jingle Bell Rock – Hall & Oates
Blue Christmas – Elvis
Stay a Little Longer, Santa – Shemekia Copeland
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town – Bruce Springsteen
Run Rudolph Run – Bryan Adams
The cookies Sue Ann makes are based on a recipe from Toni's Appalachian grandmother, and making these cookies at Christmas has been a long-time tradition for Toni's family. They are affectionately called "Grandpa Cookies" because they were her Grandpa's favorite. Here are some photos of Toni making the cookies for her 2016 celebrations. You can get the recipe on the Destiny Recipes page or view a Facebook Live video of Toni making the cookies on her Facebook page.