Nikki Lynn Barrett
Blurb: The magic of Christmas has been lost to Jacob Winston. At the suggestion of his ill sister, Jacob takes a job as a Secret Santa at the mall, hoping to restore his Christmas spirit. Even that doesn't seem to work, until a special little boy ambles up to make a very special wish...
Cheyenne Jensen is struggling to raise her two kids without the help of her ex-husband who refuses to acknowledge his daughter's existence and doesn't provide for the son he does. This Christmas is shaping up to be as heartbreaking as the last, until her son Ben's kind actions lead a stranger to them.
Ah, but it's Christmas time and the magic has begun.
When Jacob and Cheyenne meet, neither can deny their immediate attraction to one another. As situations arise that require they spend more time together, their feelings grow stronger and stronger.
With Christmas fast approaching, the pair learn what matters most in life. Now, if only they could ditch the ghost of Christmases past.
Maybe this holiday will bring some wishes come true- for everyone after all.
Excerpt: A pull on his Santa suit drew his attention. He looked down, right into the round face of a child with wide blue eyes.
“Hello there. Where’s your mommy, bud?" Jacob asked, speaking softly to the boy, who looked a little confused and frightened. But his eyes were also full of wonder as he stared up at Jacob.
“Are you the real Santa?” he finally asked.
Jacob let out a hearty laugh. “No, I am just a helper. But I do know Santa. I bet, if you tell me your name, then make a wish in Santa’s secret wishing well, Santa will do everything in his power to make it come true.” The boy’s eyes widened even more, and it brought a smile to Jacob’s face.
“Really? I can make a wish?” Dimples sprouted in the boy’s cheeks, his smile grew.
Jacob longed for the excitement the boy felt.
“I think we can arrange that.” Jacob reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny penny. He pegged the kid for one who liked cars or trucks. Maybe a bike.
The boy reached for the penny, hesitant. He didn’t look much older than five. Where the hell were his parents? Who in their right mind would allow a child this age to roam around the mall freely, especially when there were so many people out and about. If someone didn’t show up soon, he could have to take him to security and have them find his parents.
“What’s your name?” Jacob asked, after the boy took the penny and clutched it in his hand. “We want to make sure Santa knows exactly who you are. That way he can get your wish.”
“My name is Ben,” the young boy said.
“Are you ready to make that wish?”
He nodded eagerly, closed his eyes and thought for a moment before tossing the penny in. It made a tiny splash before settling at the bottom next to some quarters. He turned to Jacob, a tear running down his cheek.
What was this? Jacob knelt down to be eye level with him. “Why the tear, bud?”
Ben sniffled. “I just hope my wish comes true. My mommy needs it.” He swiped the tear away, then stuffed his hand in his pants pocket. A puppy dog expression crossed his face.
“You made a wish for your mommy?” Okay, that’s not what he expected. No expensive toy, not even a computer or Playstation game that was popular this year? Jacob closed his eyes for a second. My mommy needs it.
Damn. His heart went out to Ben as a picture of Ada’s kids filled his mind. He didn’t have to wonder what their Christmas wish would be. Despite himself, Jacob had to ask. “What does your mommy need?”
The little guy shook his head. “If I tell it won’t come true. Will it?” Tears filled his eyes. “Mister Helper, if I come back and wish again, would that help?”
Jacob didn’t know what to say. He stared at the child, wanting to give him a hug. “Well, I don’t see how another wish could hurt. So, yeah, it might help. Sometimes the hope from wishing is all we have.” Hell, he scratched under his fake beard. He didn’t know if he was trying to console the kid or himself.
The boy’s brows furrowed. His head bobbed up and down. “That’s what I thought. Mommy’s always so tired and my daddy doesn’t love -”
“Benjamin William Jensen! I thought I told you not to run off! I was so worried!”
Barnes & Noble: http://www.
barnesandnoble.com/w/the- secret-santa-wishing-well- nichole-barrett/1113827418? ean=2940015753523
Thank you to Nikki Lynn Barrett for answering to our request for Christmas stories. She provided us with two great stories. It just so happens that this is the first of the two that will be reviewed. Rightfully so since the second book is connected to this story too.
Right from the beginning, I was drawn to the characters. Jacob took a job as one of the bell ringers as his sister requested. We learn that Ava, Jacob's sister is sick and really loves Christmas so Jacob is trying to honor her by doing this. While Jacob is on one of his shifts, he meets Ben. Ben makes a wish and even though Jacob doesn't know that wish, he is inspired by Ben. We meet Cheyenne after her shift at work and after Ben makes his wish. Ben asks to go back the next day so that he can wish again. After Ben's can drive, they go to the mall and Ben gets to make a wish again. Jacob and Cheyenne meet but they don't know who the other is, yet.
Watching Jacob and Cheyenne begin their journey was such a uplifting read for me. Sadly, the kids father is not a positive influence in this story. Also during this story, Jacob goes through personal tragedy and has to learn how to cope in order to be with Cheyenne and her kids. Their journey is one that heartbreaking as well as romantic.