Nothing says Merry Christmas like a great-priced eBook–and we have just the thing, with IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS, a holiday novella by New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart, now available as a $0.99 eBook for the first time ever, exclusively from Pocket Star! So snuggle up and enjoy the read about a lively family reunion on a Montana ranch that brings on a flurry of memories for a beautiful young writer—and a winter storm that rekindles an old flame. This story has all the holiday cheer, heart, and warmth sure to cozy you up this season; and at an unbeatable price, it’s a sure bet. You’re welcome.
Sneak peek excerpt below!
With her Land Rover happily eating up the miles in the afternoon sun, Quinn Hollister headed north on Route 191 about sixty miles outside of Billings, Montana, determined to be home before dinner. Praying that no unannounced storm would ambush her to slow down her progress, she depressed the accelerator and prepared to make tracks. Fumbling in her big blue nylon zippered bag, she rejected first one, then another CD of Christmas music until she found just the right songs to sing along with as she drove toward the small town of Larkspur, and, just beyond the town limits, the High Meadow Ranch, where her family would gather to celebrate the holidays.
Quinn had left Missoula literally at the crack of dawn, her car already packed and ready to go. She would have two weeks at home before returning to Montana State, where she had spent the first semester filling in for a professor who had been injured in an automobile accident and was unable to teach his scheduled creative writing course. In four more weeks the class would end and the tenured professor would return for the second semester, but Quinn hadn’t quite made up her mind whether to stay in Missoula or to come back to the ranch. As a writer and illustrator of children’s books, she could work just about anywhere. Presently between contracts, she hadn’t quite settled on which of her possible projects to pursue next. For the next two weeks, however, she planned to put work aside and simply enjoy being with her family.
No matter where their lives had taken them, all of Catherine and Hap Hollister’s offspring came home to spend Christmas with the family. Not that any of them had ever wanted to be anyplace else for the holiday. The High Meadow Ranch was home, and home was always filled with chatter and memories and wonderful things to eat. The old log and stucco house would smell like Christmas, like fresh-cut pine, cinnamon and vanilla and ginger, and would look like a magazine photo, with greens draping every window and doorway. Claret red poinsettias, for which a special trip to Billings would have been made, would stand massed under the big dining room windows overlooking the valley. Catherine’s Christmas village would grow from the flat plain of the piano in the great room, and the lights from the tiny porcelain houses would twinkle like tiny stars. On Christmas Eve, they would all gather in front of the fireplace, and whosever turn it was that year would read The Night Before Christmas to the rest of the family. The beloved faces would glow in the firelight, and for a while, even the sibling bickering and baiting inevitable in a large family would cease. Just thinking about it kinked the corners of Quinn’s mouth into a smile, and she unconsciously pressed a little more firmly on the gas pedal.
In her rearview mirror, the Crazy Mountains, where the Crow Indians once summoned the spirits, rose from the flat broad prairie, and up ahead, to her right, the isolated Snowy Mountains lifted toward the clouds. At Harlowtown she crossed the Musselshell River and passed the sign for Martinsdale, where, in recent weeks, many a Montanan would have sought the Hutterite colony to purchase their Christmas grain-fed goose. The German-speaking communal farmers had fled religious persecution in Russia and Austria in the late 1800s, and were as much a part of the Montana landscape as were the Amish in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and as well-known for the quality of their produce and livestock. Quinn knew that family tradition dictated that the Hollister Christmas buffet would boast at least one fine Hutterite goose, and more likely than not, some specialty relishes as well. One fat goose . . . a roast of beef with Yorkshire pudding . . . a dining room table that truly would be a groaning board of holiday specialties to share with family and friends. The Dunham cousins from the other side of the mountain would be there, perhaps a few neighbors, and whomever else any one of the Hollisters might have added to the list this year. It was all part of Christmas at the High Meadow.
Tapping her fingers on the steering wheel to the Little Drummer Boy’s “pa rum pa pa pum,” she glanced at the clock. She had made excellent time. One never knew at this time of the year what the weather might do. The sun was just beginning its slow drop toward the hills as she took a right off the highway onto the last leg of two-lane paved road that would lead into Larkspur. Passing the district high school on the outskirts of town, she slowed to reminisce, as she always did. On the playing fields behind the school, her brothers had won all-state honors in baseball and football. Around the perimeter of the football field ran the track, where Quinn had competed in long-distance events and her sister Susannah— Sunny for short—had been a sprinter, and farther back beyond the boys’ playing fields were the diamonds where the girls played softball. The youngest Hollister, Elizabeth—Liza— had made the girls’ all-state teams three years running. It all seemed so long ago.
It was long ago, she mused.