A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Holiday Forever Afters by Karen Rose Smith- Feature and Review



Three holiday-themed romances by Karen Rose Smith: 
Contemporary romance/marriage of convenience/Christmas
Five-year-old Jakie is hanging mid air on a harness, practicing for the Christmas pageant and Faith Hewitt, his foster mom, can't reach him. Seconds later Nick Clark appears as if he was sent by the angel Jakie is trying to be. Nick lowers Jakie to safety and Faith is hit by her attraction to Nick that she thought evaporated years ago.

Faith had a crush on Nick in high school. But they ran in different crowds and he married a beautiful cheer leader and prom queen. But the gossip mill in Winding Creek worked well and Faith heard that marriage didn't last long before they both left town.

Now Nick was back at least overnight and stranded by a snow storm. He owns a toy store now but isn't in tune with the joy of the Christmas season. She offers her spare room and he accepts. When Nick learns Faith wants to adopt Jakie but that adoption is threatened, he steps up and offers a marriage of convenience.

But is it convenient? Or does the past interfere too much?

Christmas is a time of love and forgiveness. Maybe Faith and Nick can find the spirit of Christmas together.

Contemporary romance/Christmas
Joshua Flannigan owns successful toy stores and is protective of the aunt who raised him. When he returns from a backpacking trip to find his aunt's new "friend" Alexandra Kittredge helping her make major life changes, he's suspicious of Lexa's motives. After all, she looks more like a model than a job counselor!

Soon Josh realizes Lexa's sincerity and compassion for others runs her life. Protective of her younger sister who is pregnant, Lexa intends to adopt Dani's baby. But is that really the right move for both of them? Is her compassion blinding her to her sister's actual needs? And what is the secret Lexa is keeping that will affect her life as well as Josh's?

On Christmas Eve, Lexa and Josh find a lifetime of happiness can be just a jingle bell away!

Contemporary romance/Christmas

Laura Applegate Sanders' world is turned upside down when Mitch Riley appears on her doorstep with the news her estranged father is about to undergo heart bypass surgery. For the past few years, Mitch has been her father's partner in the jewelry business Laura once dreamed of sharing--until her father disowned her when she married Doug Sanders, an artist with no money and few prospects.

Mitch loves and respects Laura's father as he never could his own. His dad was a drunkard and a gambler who died leaving his wife and two sons destitute when Mitch was fourteen. Knowing how much it would mean to Ray Applegate to see his daughter again, Mitch takes it upon himself to travel to Ohio to ask Laura to come home. To his surprise, he learns she is a widow with a four-year-old daughter, Mandy.

Mitch is prepared to dislike Ray's rebellious daughter because of the pain she caused Ray. But when he meets her, her self-confidence and the love she feels for her daughter throw him for a loop. In self-defense he clings to the image of Laura that Ray has fostered, that of an irrepressible, spoiled rich girl.



  Holiday Forever-Afters Boxed Set: Three Christmas RomancesHoliday Forever-Afters Boxed Set: Three Christmas Romances by Karen Rose Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holiday Forever-Afters Boxed Set: Three Christmas Romances by Karen Rose Smith is a 2016 publication.

This box set features three emotional and heartfelt novellas all centered around the holiday season.


This story features big hearted Faith Hewitt, foster mom to Jakie and Nick Clark, who saunters into their lives after Jakie has a near miss.

Nick and Faith went to high school together, but he was a star football player who married the homecoming queen, so their lives took entirely different paths. However, Nick’s marriage imploded rapidly. When he and Faith reconnect, he discovers her intention to adopt Jakie is in peril and offers to marry Faith.

But, the marriage is one of convenience… or is it?

This story is all about trust, true love, and family. Nick rediscovers the holiday spirit as struggles with his desire to make his marriage real and become Jakie’s father in earnest.

Faith is warm and shy, suffering from a little tiny lack of self-confidence when it comes to Nick especially since his real motives in marrying her are unclear, and he compartmentalizes certain areas of his life.

The road is a little rocky to begin with, but ultimately this couple is able to put their misconceptions and misunderstandings behind them when passion ignites between them.

This story is a little angsty and emotional due to the conflicts between the couple, but it is also a sweet, heartwarming holiday story that brings two lonely people together and gives the adorable Jakie the loving parents he deserves.


When Joshua discovers his aunt is making a huge move, he is immediately suspicious and blames the beautiful social worker, Lexa, for putting ideas in his aunt’s head. But, once he starts getting to know Lexa, he discovers her life is complicated and she harbors a deeply painful secret, one that could change things between them once the truth comes out.

This story was heartbreaking, and I admit to feeling very frustrated by Lexa and for Lexa. Sometimes Joshua could seem a little bossy, and his unsolicited advice was often harsh, but he is also trying to protect Lexa from having her heart broken. However, despite their initial misgivings, the couple soon begins falling in love, but they face very difficult obstacles on their way happily ever after land.

Of the three stories in this anthology, this one got to me because of the deep family issues and the huge disappointments that Lexa endured. But, the adversity was what made the ending so wonderful!!!


Laura is blindsided by the arrival of her father’s business partner, Mitch, on her doorstep bearing the shocking news that father was in the hospital after having a heart attack and was set to have surgery.

If that weren’t bad enough, Mitch lectures Laura and does not hide his disdain toward her due to her father’s having disowned her. Mitch is firmly in her father’s corner, but he doesn’t know the whole story.

But, Laura is not the only one with severed or damaged family relationships. Mitch has a brother with a gambling problem who has come to Mitch asking for money.

Family is often messy and complicated, and sometimes we only hear one side of a story and draw conclusions without having all the facts. Mitch and Laura are attracted to each other, but they will have to work out their family issues and learn to trust each other before they could ever build a life together.

This story was the perfect story to draw the trilogy to a close. The story hits on all the emotions we struggle the hardest with. Trust and forgiveness being the chief among them. It is also important to admit to mistakes, to apologize, and to listen to each other, something every character in this story had to learn.

I enjoyed all three of these short stories. Each story featured hot romance, family elements, and heartwarming holiday sentiments.

Every story was solid and all of them will appeal to contemporary romance lovers of all stripes.




Award-winning author Karen Rose Smith was born in Pennsylvania. Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an extended family. Family is a strong theme in her books and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason. 

In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating business. 

She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her life led her to writing relationship novels. Now she writes romances as well as mysteries full time. Her first book was published in 1992; her 80th novel will be published in 2013. A winner of New Jersey's Golden Leaf Award in Short Contemporary Romance, Colorado Romance Writers Award Of Excellence for short contemporary, as well as the Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter's Golden Quill for Traditional Romance, she has also been honored with Cataromance.com's award for Best Special Edition and Washington Romance Writers Career Achievement Award. Her romances have made both the USA TODAY list and the Amazon Romance and Contemporary Romance Bestseller lists. 

She has written for Meteor/Kismet, Kensington, Silhouette and Harlequin. Readers can contact Karen through her website, on Facebook (Karen Rose Smith Author) and on Twitter @ Karenrosesmith. They can also follow her monthly e-zine IN TOUCH with KAREN ROSE SMITH which has the latest news about her books, recipes and contests.

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