When single mom Carrie Matheson inherits a Wyoming ranch and moves out of NYC, her six year old son is not happy. Trying to help Tim settle into life out west isn’t easy, especially when his pleas to Santa receive replies from a mysterious correspondent. Is it the crotchety ranch foreman upon whom she relies so much? Somehow she doesn’t think so…. Tate Schrugge is amused by his new neighbor when she jogs over with some mis-delivered mail. But Tate has just finished with a long-term relationship, and the lithe blonde in front of him has just called him Scrooge. If these two can get together, it might be the Dickens of a romance.
Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.
Could it ever be Scrooge that saves Christmas and has the Dickens of a romance?
What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?
I love the scenes between Tim, the six-year-old boy, and Grayson, the ranch foreman. Here’s this crotchety old guy who’s never married faced with baby-sitting a six-year-old who’s unhappy on the ranch.
Does your heroine prefer a real or artificial tree for Christmas?
Real, of course! They’re in Wyoming.
What’s the one present your hero least wants to open Christmas morning?
lycra running gear
Would your hero hang mistletoe?
Sure thing. He wants that kiss!
What scene did you adore writing in this book?
I had great fun throughout, but especially when Carrie runs over with the misdirected mail to Tate’s ranch and they meet for the first time. What woman would want a handsome man to see her all sweaty and in mismatched, old running gear.
What is your heroine’s favorite Christmas tradition?
Having her son be excited and open his presents.
Does your hero love or hate snow?
He deals with it–he’s a rancher.
For Christmas, will you be having turkey, goose, ham, prime rib, or something else?
We’re turkey people–a very traditional meal.
What’s the strangest Christmas tradition your family does to celebrate?
When my daughter was a child (she’s grown-up now) I used to write a lengthy poem with clues to her presents, put individual stanzas on sheets of paper and hide them so it was a wild goose chase to find the presents and the next clue.
Excerpt from A Christmas Carole
Carrie continued her jogging. “Uh. Mrs. Scrooge…I mean, Schrugge?”
The woman’s face abruptly changed. “You call anyone around here Scrooge and you’ll be the one wishing for Christmas past. What can I do for you?”
“Sorry. Sorry, only these letters were mistakenly left over at the Lazy M so I—”
“Hetty? Do you need me?” A deep, rich voice came from further inside the house, followed by the soft tread of socked feet approaching.
Carrie tried to continue to jog in place but nearly tripped over her own feet when the owner of the voice appeared. She found herself peering up at about six foot three of brown-haired, blue-eyed, chiseled cowboy. Somewhat embarrassed, she noted his gaze run over her from her baseball cap to her sneakers and back up again, a suppressed smile on his face before he spoke. She swiped a line of sweat trickling its way down from under her cap.
“Uh.” He seemed at a loss for words. “Can I help?”
Hetty’s knuckled fist sat on her expansive waist. She shook her head. “She’s brought letters from the Lazy M.”
He looked confused. “An invitation?”
Was there the merest glimmer of hope in his voice? “No, um…letters meant for you were mistakenly put in my box.” Carrie handed over the pile. “I mean, I’m sure if I were inviting…or having a party—oh hell, I mean, I’m sure—”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Get hold of yourself, will you, and stop jiggling about like that for a second.” Hetty shook her head in dismay, then looked up to the rancher. “I’ll leave Miss Smelly Neon Bright with you to sort out, I’ve got work to do.” With that, she waddled away.
Carrie took in a deep breath and started again. “Sorry. The letters were left in our mailbox so I brought them over. That’s all.”
“Got it the first time. Or maybe it was the second.” His gaze examined her once more and his brow wrinkled. “You said ‘our box’. Are you…?”
“Sorry, I should have introduced myself. Carrie Matheson.” She extended her damp hand and the cowboy grasped it.
She noticed he didn’t give his last name, but then again, he didn’t have to since she had his letters.
“I was sorry to hear about Tom’s passing. You must’ve been very close.”
“Well. No, actually, he was my father’s older brother and we rarely saw him.”
“But he left me the ranch I guess as his only relative, aside from my father of course, so I’m here now.”
“I can see that.”
Carrie stood in stupefied embarrassment for a moment before she tried to jog once more. “Well. I better be off. I’m running.”
“Yeah. I can see that, too. I was sort of hoping that wasn’t your normal attire.”
Carrie caught her breath and had to stop herself from smacking him. The nerve! He probably never wore anything other than jeans and a checked shirt. Even if those jeans did fit remarkably well, and the blue checked shirt brought out his eyes. She glared at him one long instant before stepping off the porch to leave. Then she twisted back to him.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Scrooge.”
A native New Yorker, Andrea Downing divides her time between the canyons of city streets and the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. Her background in publishing and English Language teaching has transferred into fiction writing, and her love of horses, ranches, rodeo, and anything else western, is reflected in her award-winning western romances. She has twice been a finalist for the RONE Awards, winner of the Favorite Hero along with several Honorable Mentions in the Maple Leaf Awards, and winner of the Golden Quill for best novella for Dearest Darling. She currently resides on the East End of Long Island.