Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Book Spotlight: Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

Coming Home for Christmas
Haven Point #10

RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin Books

Release Date:
Sept. 24, 2019

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Book Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today best-seller RaeAnne Thayne is taking readers back to the beloved town of Haven Point in her latest holiday novel, COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (HQN Books; on sale September 24th, 2019). Building on a mystery teased in The Cottages on Silver Beach, this latest installment in the wildly popular Haven Point series follows Luke Hamilton as he attempts to reconnect with his wife, Elizabeth, who has finally resurfaced after having been missing for several years. 

More than seven years after Elizabeth’s mysterious disappearance, Luke, their two children Cassie and Bridger, and the tight-knit community of Haven Point are still reeling and looking for answers. Many in town suspect Luke had something to do with his wife’s disappearance—including the new district attorney, who is preparing to press charges against him. But based on a tip from his best friend, FBI agent Elliot Bailey, Luke has known Elizabeth’s true whereabouts for months. Now, with the prospect of criminal charges bearing down on him, Luke resolves to finally reestablish contact with the woman who broke his heart and vanished without explanation so many years ago. 

He discovers Elizabeth on the Oregon coast, living under a new name and with a new appearance. But although her face may have changed, Luke still sees in her eyes the same Elizabeth he fell in love with more than a decade ago. Elizabeth, for her part, is trying to find her way back to herself after the series of tragedies that led her to run away in the first place—including the death of her parents in a terrible boating accident and her own battles with postpartum depression. But despite the new life she has built for herself, Elizabeth is desperate to reunite with Cassie and Bridger, so when Luke asks her to return to Haven Point to spend Christmas together as a family, she jumps at the opportunity. 

As the holiday season casts a magical glow over the cozy town of Haven Point, Elizabeth reconnects with her children, trimming trees, baking cookies, and basking in the bliss of this second chance at motherhood. At the same time, she and Luke start to rediscover the undeniable spark that still exists between them. As Luke and Elizabeth draw closer and closer together, can the lights and joy of the holiday season in Haven Point help them rediscover hope, healing, and love—all in time for Christmas? 

In the tradition of RaeAnne Thayne’s beloved holiday novels like Sugar Pine Trail and Season of Wonder, COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is a story about the enduring power of love and the gift of new beginnings—a perfect book to curl up with next to the fire this holiday season. 

Praise for RaeAnne Thayne:

“Romance, vivid characters and a wonderful story; really who could ask for more?”
—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“RaeAnne Thayne gets better with every book. The Cliff House is an absorbing, romantic, and deeply moving story about taking chances and being brave in both life and love—I didn’t want it to end!” 
 —Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“Thayne is in peak form in this delightful, multiple-perspective tale…. A warmly compelling and satisfying work of women’s fiction.” 
Booklist on The Cliff House (starred review)

“Another deftly crafted gem of a novel by a master of narrative storytelling…. Season of Wonder is compelling and unfailingly riveting read from first page to last.”
Midwest Book Review on Season of Wonder

 “Heartwarming and endearing.”
 —Omnivoracious on Season of Wonder 

 “An ice-cold case adds a dash of mystery and drives the plot of this family-rich reunion story that looks at some serious emotions and brings our protagonists together…A thoroughly charming seasonal read.” 
Library Journal on The Cottages on Silver Beach

 “Thayne's trademark charm shows up in both the setting and the characters, making this a delightful read no matter the time of year.” 
RT Book Reviews on The Cottages on Silver Beach

 “Deliciously flirty and totally engrossing.” 
Library Journal on Sugar Pine Trail 

 “Endearing small-town residents and bratty cats add humor to this heartwarming, steady-paced holiday romance.”
Publishers Weekly on Sugar Pine Trail 

“As Thayne spins a charming installment in her sweet Haven Point series, she does a fabulous job of keeping all the threads that could lead to a happily-ever-after ending tangled up in suspense.”
Booklist on Serenity Harbor

 “Riveting to the very end.”
—BookPage on Serenity Harbor

Book Excerpt:

Luke was here. 

After all these years, he was here, standing on the porch of Brambleberry House. 

She couldn’t quite believe this was really happening. Her day had started out so normally. She took her dozen different medications, meditated, went through the routine of exercises she used to keep her battered body from seizing up. She had gone to the greenhouse for a few hours. Her hands still smelled like the pine branches she had woven together for evergreen wreaths. 

All in all, it had been a routine day. She never expected that before the day was out, she would be here talking to her husband, the man she had loved since she was eighteen years old. 

She had imagined this day so many times, had dreamed of the chance to see him again, to explain the choices she had made and the terrible consequences that had resulted from those choices. 

Now that he was here, she felt tongue-tied, constrained by all the years and miles and choices between them. 

What could she say? No words would ever make up for what she had done. 

Of course she couldn’t go with him. She had a job here. She worked at the garden center and was busy this time of year selling Christmas trees and wreaths, working on floral arrangements, planning ahead for the growing season. 

She was also responsible for the gardens here at Brambleberry House—though admittedly, that wasn’t a very good excuse this time of year. She had already supervised the Christmas decorating in the garden and wouldn’t have anything to do until spring began its slow return to this part of the Oregon Coast. 

Returning to Haven Point didn’t terrify her. As he pointed out, she had been back a dozen times over the last several years. 

It was the idea of returning to Haven Point with Lucas Hamilton that made her blood run cold. 

Her stomach twisted into knots. He wanted her to drive there with him. It was eight hours from here. Eight hours in a car with a man who had every reason to despise her. She couldn’t possibly do it. 

But what choice did she have? If she could believe him— and she had no reason to think he was lying, as he had always been honest with her—she had to return to Haven Point or he would be arrested. She couldn’t let that happen. She had already put him and their children through so very much. 

She owed him. This was the least she could do. 

Accused of her murder! How was that even possible? Luke had never raised a hand to her, and she hated that there were apparently people in Lake Haven County who didn’t know him well enough to understand that. 

 “Hurry up.” Her husband’s voice was resolute. “You can take your return flight once we’re done with the legalities or you can rent a car in Boise and drive back.” 

She wished that were possible, but the simple act of driving a vehicle was one of the abilities she had lost. 

Wild tendrils of panic made her palms sweat and her stomach roll. She wanted to go back to her second-floor apartment and curl up in her bed with the covers over her head. 

“I...I need time to make arrangements.” She tried one more time. “I can’t just leave town without a word.” 

His raised eyebrow made her all too aware of the irony of what she just said. That was exactly what she had done seven years ago when she had walked away from him and their children and the life she had destroyed. 

“One hour. You have one hour and then I’m coming to get you, wherever you are. You’re going back to Haven Point, even if I have to tie you up and toss you into the bed of my pickup. Don’t think I won’t.” 

He was so cold, hard as tungsten. This version of Lucas Hamilton was very different from the one who had been all sweet tenderness during their dating years and the first glorious months of their marriage. 

She had created this version. She had forced the joy out of him, not only because she left but during those troubled years in between. 

It was time to make things right. She had to do her best to fix what she had destroyed. 

“All right,” she finally said, trying hard to keep the trembling out of her voice. “I can be ready in one hour. What will you do in that time? Do you...? Do you want to come in?” 

She did not want him in her home, her sanctuary. Brambleberry House had become her refuge over the past few years. She wouldn’t say she had completely healed here, but this was at least where she had started the process. 

“No. I’m fine.” 

“There are several nice...restaurants in town, if you need to grab a...bite to eat.” 

Did he notice the way she stammered now, the awkward pauses she hated? Of all the things she had lost, tangible and intangible, fluent speech was one of the gifts she missed the most. She hated scrambling around for words, having them right there on the tip of her tongue but not being able to find them. 

“I have a sandwich in the truck. I’ll eat there. To be honest, Elizabeth, I don’t want to leave this spot. If I go anywhere, who knows if you would still be here when I come back?” 

She nodded, hating his contempt but knowing that she deserved every bit of it. “I’ll...try to be quick.” 

Her hands were shaking. Everything was shaking. She felt nauseous, and her head hurt. Oh, sweet heaven. She did not want to have a seizure today. They were mostly controlled these days but tended to sneak up on her when her reserves were low. 

She slipped back into the house. As she had expected, Rosa was waiting inside the entryway, along with Melissa Fielding, the tenant of the first-floor apartment.

“What is going on?” the nurse asked, eyes filled with worry. “Rosa tells me that man says he is your husband and that your name is not Sonia Davis but Elizabeth something-or-other.” 

She sighed. “Rosa is right. Both of those things are...true. I’m...I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. It is a very long and painful story. A past I...thought I had put behind me.” 

It was a lie. She hadn’t put the past behind her. She lived with it every single day, haunting her every waking moment. Luke. Cassie. Bridger. They were etched on her heart. 

The only bright spot about Luke bursting back into her life was the possibility that she might see her children beyond random glimpses from a distance. She might be able to talk to them. Hug them. Perhaps try to explain, if she could find the words. 

“What does he want?” Melissa trailed after her up the stairs, Rosa behind her. 

“He wants to...take me back to the place where I lived with...with him. Haven Point, Idaho.”

“I hope you told him no way in hell,” Melissa said. “You don’t need to go anywhere with him. He might be your husband, but that doesn’t make him your lord and master. He can’t just show up out of the blue and drag you off like some caveman.” 

“Luke is not like that,” she protested. “He is a good man. That is...that is why I have to go with him.” 

She paused outside her apartment door, desperate to be alone—to breathe, to think, to recover—but also well aware she needed to convince her friends not to call local law enforcement on her behalf. They were so concerned about her, she wouldn’t put it past either of them. 

“Look, I know you’re...worried about me. I am grateful for that. More grateful than I can say.” 

She reached for their hands, these two women who had taken her into their generous hearts and befriended her. She had lied to them. She had deceived them about her identity, about her past, about everything. 

It was yet one more thing to feel guilty about, though small compared to all she had done to her family. 

“I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to explain everything. I can tell you only that I made a...a terrible mistake once, many years ago. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time but...nothing turned out the way I planned. Now my... my husband needs me to go with him so that I can begin to try to make amends. I have to, for his sake and for our...for our children.” 

Rosa and Melissa gazed at her, wearing identical expressions of concern. “Are you certain this man, he means you no harm?” Rosa asked, her Spanish accent more pronounced than usual. 

She was not certain of anything right now, except that. Despite his fury, Luke wouldn’t hurt her. She knew that without one fiber of doubt. 

“I will be fine. Thank you both for worrying about me. I should only be gone a...a few days. When I return, I can tell you...everything. All the things I should have said a long time ago. But now I really do have to go and pack a bag.” 

She could see the worry in their frowns. Rosa looked as if she wanted to argue more. She might be small, but she was fierce. Elizabeth had long sensed that Rosa herself had walked a dark and difficult road, though her friend never talked about it. Elizabeth had never pried. How could she, when she had so many secrets she couldn’t share? 

Melissa reached out and hugged her first. “If you’re sure— and you seem as if you are—I don’t know what else we can do but wish you luck.” 

“Thank you.” Her throat was tight with a complex mix of emotions as she returned the hug. 

Rosa hugged her next. “Be careful, my dear.”

“Of course.”

“You have our numbers,” Rosa said. “If you are at all worried about anything, you call us. Right away. No matter what, one of us will come to get you.” 

Those emotions threatened to spill over. “I will. Thank you. Thank you both.” 

“Now. What can we do to help you pack?” Rosa asked. 

Everyone deserved friends like these, people to count on during life’s inevitable storms. She had once had similar friends back in Haven Point and had turned her back on everyone who tried to help her. 

She would not make that mistake again. 

“I have a suitcase in my room, already...half filled. Can you find that while I...grab my medicine?” 

“You got it.” 

She deliberately focused her attention on the tasks required to pack, not on the panic that made her feel light-headed. 

After all this time, she was going back to Haven Point. As herself, this time, not as the woman she had become seven years ago when she walked away.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page, and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story. 

Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor. 

Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 60 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews. 

RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.


  1. Replies
    1. Nothing like a great holiday read to get you in the spirit :)

  2. i love christmas books and the storys

  3. I love Christmas books and I want to know why she left.

  4. While I do love Halloween, Christmas is totally my favorite holiday because it’s always been so big in my family. I feel close to them at that time of year, and I love snuggling up with a Christmas story.

  5. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays.

    1. Me too, and there's nothing like a good holiday story to get you in the spirit :)

  6. I have enjoyed reading the Haven Point series, so I am looking forward to this book. I especially love Christmas stories.

  7. I've really enjoyed RaeAnneThayne's books in the past, so I had my eye on this one, but I had too many review copies already. I may request the audio soon. Thanks for the reminder, Lindy! :)

  8. WOW talk about the ultimate in second chance romances!! I will admit when you add kids and Christmas into the equation this is looking more and more rosy and bright! I hope you enjoy this Lindy. It sounds totally magical. ❤️


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