Their Festive Island Escape

By: Nina Singh

Can Christmas in the Caribbean...

...bring her comfort and joy this year?

Jilted at the altar exactly three years ago, Celeste wants sun, sea and exotic cocktails, so escaping to Jamaica is perfect. But her peace is disturbed when the hot Santa from the beach turns out to be Reid Evanson—the luxury resort’s CEO and best man at her nonwedding! Could their unexpected chemistry mean he’s the one to restore her love of the festive season?

“You’re the nasty Santa?”

Her words came out harsher and louder than she’d intended.

To his credit, Reid Evanson looked as shocked as she was at the unexpected turn.

“What are you doing here?” she demanded.

“You’re the one who asked for me.”

“I didn’t. I asked to see Santa Claus.”

Without another word, he stepped around the long, highly polished counter and gently took her by the elbow. “Let’s discuss all this in my office.”

His office? “You run the resort,” she commented as he shut the door behind him.

“I own it. Along with my partner, Alex.”

The pieces started to fall into place. She remembered now that Reid came from a wealthy family of hoteliers.

Suddenly, it was all too much. Far from fleeing her unpleasant associations with the holiday as it related to her failed relationship, she’d somehow ended up face-to-face with someone who’d played a major role in the whole fiasco.

Reid had been her ex-fiancé’s best man. And she knew he’d never thought her good enough for his buddy.

 Dear Reader,

The holiday season is always a joyous time for me. But no one can argue that December can often be stressful and chaotic. That’s certainly the case for Celeste Frajedi.

Celeste feels the need to get away every December to avoid the holidays altogether. What should be a joyous time of year only reminds her of the disastrous Christmas wedding she was supposed to have, where she was instead left at the altar.

This year she finds herself on the beautiful island of Jamaica. She also finds herself face-to-face with a man she’d hoped never to see again.

Reid Evanson was the best man at her nonwedding all those years ago. And they’ve never forgiven each other for the past. The only thing to do is avoid each other at all costs.

Somehow, shockingly, they find themselves falling in love instead. Sometimes, all it takes is a little holiday magic to make the season joyful again.



HER SISTER JUST didn’t get it. But then again, Celeste had never really been able to get through to her when it came to the holidays. Or through to her mother, for that matter. Her family would never understand. Not that she really understood them in return.

“I can’t believe you haven’t moved on yet,” Tara declared, throwing her hands up in the air. “Your wedding was three years ago. Get over it already.”

Tara wasn’t often accused of being overly sensitive. For the wedding her sister had so callously just referred to had never actually happened. Celeste bit down on a frustrated groan. She really was in no mood to talk about this. She didn’t even want to think about the day she’d been so humiliatingly left at the altar, waiting for a groom who had never bothered to show up.

The humiliation still haunted her nightmares—dozens of pitying eyes staring at her as the minutes ticked by.

She was supposed to have been a Christmas bride. Instead she’d been a jilted one.

How did Tara not understand that she wanted nothing to do with the holiday now? How did she not see that the best thing to do for her mental health was just to get away from the city until the whole season was over?

Her sister’s next question only proved that she didn’t understand Celeste at all.

“How can you leave your family and just take off to the islands every year? Christmas just isn’t the same without you here.”

Celeste couldn’t help the pang of guilt that landed in her gut. Perhaps one day she’d be able to put all of it behind her. Maybe she’d even enjoy the holidays again at some future point in time. She just wasn’t there yet. Nowhere near, in fact. Every street decoration, every holiday jingle, every sidewalk corner Santa only reminded her of Jack and the days leading up to her abject humiliation.

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