Is the love they never anticipated strong enough to pass the ultimate test? #12booksforChristmas @AuthorBJackson @Kimani_Books

We've picked some of our favourite romantic reads to keep you warm this festive season in our #12booksforChristmas

Title: A Madaris Bride for Christmas
Author: Brenda Jackson
Genre: Contemporary Romance

❤❤❤❤❤  "Fans of the Madaris family will love this. But even if you're not, you should still read this fabulous story filled with suspense and sensuality." ~ Maya 😘

One by one, Madaris men have surrendered to the matchmaking schemes of Felicia Laverne Madaris, matriarch of the family. But Lee Madaris isn’t letting anyone else control his destiny.
He’ll bring a bride of his own choosing to the family’s holiday gathering—if his hotel’s gorgeous new chef will agree to a marriage of convenience. It’s not just the chance to work at the Strip’s hottest hotel that brought Carly Briggs to Vegas. Witnessing a crime in Miami may have made her a mob target. Though she’s reluctant to complicate their working relationship, Lee’s tempting offer is so hard to resist. And soon, desire is clouding their no-strings arrangement. The danger that made Carly flee Miami is about to land at their door. So Carly and Lee must decide who to trust, when to let go—and whether a love they never anticipated is strong enough to pass the ultimate test.

"Are you sure you saw what you think you saw, Carly?”
Instead of answering her best friend, Carly Briggs took a sip of her drink. The liquid nearly scorched her throat going down. Vodka?
“Where did you get this?”she asked, drawing in a cooling breath. As far as she knew, the only alcohol she and Heather Kramer kept in their apartment was wine.
Heather shrugged. “Lori gave it to me. She cleaned house and said it was left over from the New Year’s Eve party she gave three years ago.”
Carly remembered that party. She and Heather had just moved to Miami and into their apartment near South Beach. Lori Cummins, a neighbor who lived in the apartment across the hall, had thrown a party that weekend and invited them.
“Now, let’s not get sidetracked,” Heather said, reclaiming Carly’s attention. “Are you sure you saw—”
“I didn’t see anything,” Carly said, her agitation not yet helped by the alcohol. “It’s what I heard—coming through a vent in the wine room. Several men were arguing in the alley outside the restaurant. They accused this guy of being a traitor. Then I heard a gunshot that seemed to be muffled with a silencer.”
The conversation was something Carly would never forget. The deep, raspy, intimidating voice of one man and the terrifying sound of another man pleading for his life. It was a wonder she hadn’t screamed and given her location away.
Instead, she’d frozen and then her surroundings went black. The next thing she remembered was being awakened by Chef Renaldo, who didn’t want to hear anything she had to say about men and gunshots. Instead, she had been scolded about going over her break time by ten minutes and not pulling her load on a busy night.
Fearing someone was possibly bleeding to death in the alley, she’d talked one of the staff waiters into going outside with her to look around. She’d made up some excuse about hearing a kitten crying. They had checked all over the place and found nothing.
“Maybe you only thought you heard it,” Heather said, looking at her with concern in her eyes. “You even admit that Chef Renaldo woke you up. Maybe you dreamed you heard it.”
Instead of taking another sip of her drink, Carly placed the glass on the table. “Why would I dream such a thing?”
Heather stood and waved off her question. “How would I know? You’ve been working a lot of crazy hours and Chef Renaldo has been getting on your last nerve. Maybe all the stress is catching up with you.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Carly said, although she knew Heather wasn’t right.
She knew what she’d heard, which was why she’d arrived home tonight needing a strong drink, why she had called the police tip line. The tip-line operators promised to scramble callers’ phone numbers so the call couldn’t be traced. She was glad it was anonymous. The last thing she wanted was for anyone to think she was a loony tune.
Carly stood. “I’m going to take a bath and go to bed. The restaurant is opening early tomorrow for a baby shower and I’ll be one of the chefs on duty to help prepare the desserts.”
“But tomorrow is your off day,” Heather reminded her.
“I know, but I can use the money.”
“Now you’re making me feel bad about moving out.”
Carly reached out and grabbed Heather’s hand. “Please don’t feel bad. It’s not every day a woman meets the man of her dreams. I love you, girl, but had it been me, I would have married Joel months ago. He’s the best.”
And she really meant it. The guy Heather had met and fallen in love with last year, Joel Garcia, was CEO of a marketing firm in Spain, where they would make their home. The wedding was planned for next month. A June wedding. And Carly was the maid of honor.
“Don’t forget that you have that job interview with the hotel in Vegas next week,” Heather reminded her, standing too.
Carly nodded. She had gotten a call from one of her instructors from the Parisian culinary school she had attended. He’d advised her that a newly opened hotel in Las Vegas was looking for a pastry chef and he had thought of her. He had wanted her to apply for the job and promised that he would highly recommend her for the position.
That Chef LaPierre would go out of his way to call her and offer her a recommendation was all the encouragement she’d needed. A few weeks later she’d received a letter inviting her to Vegas to be interviewed.
“After last night, I’m going to need the trip.”
“And the job would be nice too,” Heather said, laughing.
“Of course.”
Carly had made the right decision, moving to Miami with Heather three years ago. Heather’s job as program coordinator with a major cruise line had transferred her here, and Carly had just broken up with Nathaniel Knox, the minister she’d met while volunteering to feed the needy, after a serious relationship. At the time, leaving Porter, Connecticut, had been the best thing.
Although Carly liked Miami, there was really nothing to keep her here once Heather married and moved to Spain.
“Yes, the job in Vegas would be nice, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll be fine here. Rumor has it that Chef Renaldo has his eye on that position opening up at a restaurant in South Beach.”
“And you hope he gets it, right?”
Carly smiled. “It would definitely make my life easier. The man can be simply horrid.”
“Well, I’m hoping something works out with that interview. Moving to Vegas would be good for you.”
Carly chuckled. “Yeah, me and Sin City. If I do get the job, the next time I go home, Aunt Ruthie is sure to pray all over me.”Ruth Briggs was the grand-aunt who’d raised her since she was a baby.
Heather threw her head back and laughed. “Yes, I can see your aunt doing that.”
Carly bade Heather good-night and made her way to her bedroom. Without Heather to distract her, her thoughts shifted back to what she’d heard through the vent earlier that evening.
She had checked the alley for victims. She’d given the police a tip. There was really nothing more she could do. First thing in the morning she would check the newspapers to see if anything was mentioned. If not, she would no longer lose sleep wondering what did or did not happen in the alley.

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