Anastasia has always loved to bake cookies. She has become an expert and now runs an exclusive cookie shop which holds real treasures. However, the one treasure she has always longed for which eludes her is a family of her own. When she loses a lazy employee, she finds herself faced with a princess and a fairytale king which seem to answer her prayers. Her happiness seems complete when Stasia finally has a daughter and a husband.
However, the marriage is arranged and although her husband loves his daughter Cara, Anastasia herself seems to leave him altogether cold. But then he returns home one day with a few bruises and tempers heat up by several degrees. In the end, Anastasia is willing to give up the reality of her entire life in order to save her fake family from utter destruction.
A move seems imminent, but her husband Duke is not so easily convinced.
The Book's Creation
This romantic story found its way into existence in the summer. I think it was on Facebook where I first saw the link to this amazing young woman who made an art – and a living – out of decorating cookies. It was amazing to see her practice her craft. She was so skilled at doing this and the results were breathtaking.
This led me to think of my daughter Tarjani who had a phase in which she loved to bake cakes and cookies. And cookies reminded me of Christmas, Tarjani’s face in front of my inner eye reminded me of an angel, and this in turn of younger children. And thus, suddenly, the story took form in my mind. The lady who loved to bake and was a true artisan at her craft, the little girl who looked like a princess and the strong warrior who somehow found his way into the cookie shop with his little angel daughter.
The question of why they would not only enter the shop but stay there long enough for the adults to fall in love and the cookie lady and little girl to bond, I answered with nearly dropping my phone and somehow music went on because I must have touched the player button. Lenny Kravitz roared “Always on the run!” and thus, it was decided! The father and child were on the run and Miss Cookie Lady would take them in and protect them.
And when I looked at my mum who walked in at that moment, I had a reason why the two were on the run as well – and I have to admit that my mother never found out that she was the inspiration for the villains of the story – which were horrid grandparents who were trying to take the child away from her father and were not nice to the little girl at all. But as they were rich and influential, they had some leverage. And thus, the story unfolded in my head, while I was typing furiously to keep up with the inner cinematography that is my creative process.
So if you ever wonder, how Christmas can enter the mind of an author during a summer holiday, you now have the answer. This is what happened and why it was published on 21st July 2016.
A New Family for Christmas is one of the more romantic and less erotic ones, but it is heart-touching and has its own unique charm, as all my books have. I don’t like to write by one formula and use this repeatedly until it becomes generic. I like to try out new things, visit new places and incorporate new ideas. I develop as an author, as much as I develop as a person. Each of my books are unique and each one holds a special place in my heart, each has a unique story behind the story. This is the one for A NEW FAMILY FOR CHRISTMAS.
“You don’t know what quality means if it hit you in the face,” a woman shouted after her.
She was now stepping out of the shop. Her hair was tied in a clean, tidy bun at the nape of her neck and she wore Christmas decorations in it, which made her look like an elf or some other creature associated with Christmas. On her head sprouted reindeer antlers made from felt. She was older than Karen, maybe in her mid-thirties. Her blue eyes shot darts of rage at the younger woman’s back walking down the road.
“You’re still wearing my apron!” she shouted now.
Karen stopped in her tracks, tore the apron off and tossed it to the ground. Then she walked on again, in a gait that was proof of her barely contained anger.
The little girl’s father walked after her and picked up the apron. He dusted it off carefully and returned, handing it back to the shop’s proprietor. He expected a look of disgust from this very clean woman. No one liked grubby, smelly homeless people and this woman was working with food. Cleanliness would be a major priority for her.
“Thank you, Sir,” she answered when she took the offered apron from his hands.
There was nothing but kindness and gratitude in her eyes now. Not even pity. When had been the last time anyone had called him “Sir”? He couldn’t remember, but it felt good. Way too good for a scruffy man like him. Did he still deserve to be called thus, he wondered?
He nodded at her and smiled politely, holding her eyes. Not good. She would remember him now. He shouldn’t look into people’s eyes. They were more likely to recall his face when he did. He quickly lowered his gaze again and smiled at his daughter instead, who stood behind the woman.
“Come on, princess, we have to hurry,” he said quietly, trying hard not to look at the woman again.
By God, it was difficult not to. Even in his days of service, a woman like her would have been a special shot and he’d had women throwing themselves at his feet to spend a night with him. He hadn’t looked at them, however. He’d been married and he’d always taken his vows seriously.
“Yes, daddy,” the little girl said, knowing this wasn’t the time to argue.
Not in front of a stranger. Her father had drummed into her that they couldn’t draw attention to themselves. People would remember and someone might report them.
“Wait. Is this your daughter?” the woman asked, looking at the child now.
Shit! His daughter was beautiful. She looked like an angel even in her worn old clothes and with a dirty face. She was just too beautiful to be overlooked. Pride and concern filled his chest in equal parts.
“Excuse me now, we have to get to the shelter,” he addressed the woman without meeting her eyes.
“We have nowhere else to go, ma’am. Please.”
He didn’t see how her face set in determination, the look of horror and surprise disappearing at the same time.
“You do now. Please, come in,” she offered in a gentle tone. “That’s no place for a little princess.”
Reviews for A New Family for Christmas
A lovely little tale of second chances, trust and love.
Anastasia is an expert cookie baker and her little bakery is her pride and joy. Baking cookies makes Anastasia happy. As happy as she can be with no family of her own. That is the one thing that she can't seem to get.
Until a cold day before Christmas, when Anastasia finds herself faced with a 'princess' and a 'fairy-tale king'. More like a homeless father and his beautiful young daughter, who seem to be in dire need of a hot cup of chocolate and a cookie. But the little girl is so sweet that Anastasia calls her a princess and the game extends to her father too. And Anastasia can't help but notice how Cara and Duke, despite their grubby and rugged appearance, seem to be ... much more.
Duke reluctantly accepts the kind woman's invitation, one that leads to more than the ex-seal turned homeless runaway could have ever wished for. A second chance, if he dares to take it.
Anastasia had always longed for a family of her own and with little Cara being so sweet and gentle, she can't help but grasp at the chance with both hands. She offers father and daughter a home. For the benefit of the little girl as well as her own happiness. An arranged marriage would seal the deal and both man and woman pledge themselves to do their best for the other. Platonically of course, because it is an arranged marriage after all.
But hearts can't help and fall in love, especially when kindness, gentleness and respect are what a relationship is based on. And Anastasia starts to dream of a little more than just a platonic relationship with her new husband. Whether he has feelings for her though, is a completely different matter.
Short, sweet and endearing, this is a little tale of kindness, trust, second chances and love. It will set a smile on your lips and warmth in your heart.
So go ahead and give it a try.
Hugs and light everyone
and be kind.
The Magic Book Corner, International Book Blogger
I've read the author's Christmas books over the Christmas holidays but forgive me, I didn't get round to posting the reviews sooner. Life happens. Anyway, catching up now. And I loved this. I never had a family of my own, wife and children, I mean, but I've had many friends who did. They received Dear John letters, divorce papers, missed their children's graduation and some never returned home at all.
That this father is so concerned about his daughter that he takes off with her in this story is understandable for me. And I'd like to think that every veteran who is facing big challenges and adversities in life has the support of a kind soul like Anastasia in this book. And I won't even start on children. There is a whole other big topic that needs to be addressed not only in our country but worldwide. Children are our future and they should grow up safe, sound and protected. I may not have any myself but that doesn't blind me to the issues we face globally. To see how a single person can make such a difference in two people's lives who are at the end of their tether is deeply moving.
I very much hope that whoever reads this will be spurned on to commit more acts of kindness. Even little ones. It would make the world a better place if everyone just did one act each day. It doesn't have to be big. You never know how even a smile can change a person's life. And for homeless people, it is often the most uplifting thing to be seen and not ignored. They have human dignity as well. We shouldn't be so quick to judge strangers through their outward appearance. You never know what they've been through.
This book was a lovely little read for the Christmas season and possibly the sweetest of all the author's books. Didn't make it boring in the least, either, even without the steam level I have become accustomed to from this author. Definitely a great read.
Tuari Eagleswing, Reader
A New Family For Christmas is an absolutely fabulous little Christmas Tale by Tirza Schaefer!
This heartfelt and endearing love story centres around former Seal Duke, his sweet daughter Cara, and cookie-baker extraordinaire Anastasia. Finding themselves without a roof over their heads, Duke and his daughter accidentally happen upon Anastasia's bakery shop, and she invites them in for the night.
And herein lies an instant connect, but not the one between man and woman, but the one between woman and child. And it is so sweet! She cares for Cara as her own, and soon she comes up with a plan to change Duke and Cara's lives forever, even if the solution to their problems may not be based on love between her and Duke.
But you know... sometimes love comes softly.
I found myself smiling many a time, and the budding relationship between Duke and Anastasia is so sincere and respectful. I highly recommend this little Christmas romance!
Catrin Russell, Author
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Melts your heart and your bones!
I've just received this in the post three days ago and read it in one session. This story is so cute and it also is so tender and loving. The author's dedication is addressed to those who are unable to conceive a child of their own. She encourages others by sharing her own history of being adopted and having children she gave birth to herself, so she is familiar with both ways of building a family and says both are equally valid and strong. Schaefer doesn't merely write a love story, she shines her light, giving hope and spreading joy in the process. And still, the intimate scenes are really hot. And it all works! All of it! I love it! A great read, not only at Christmas time.
A feelgood Christmas Tale.
A short pleasant read for the holiday season. What is not to love about a lonely Samaritan coming to the rescue of a homeless man and his daughter. 'Tis the season of goodwill after all. Well worth checking out.
Rose English, Reader
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A New Family For Christmas and its great characters deserve a much larger novel!
I had never been one for romance novels, but A New Family For Christmas caught my attention from the start and kept it throughout. It was very relatable as it dealt with not just romance, but family also. A New Family For Christmas and its great characters deserve a much larger novel, for the journey was fun but left me wanting more.
Hershel Layne, Reader
Still wish it was Christmas?
I wish, I wish, there was a way of bottling Tirza Schaefer’s feel-good, lusciously romantic, spiritual and sexy stories into a a magic tonic. We could take it every time we felt bad, and the world would be a much better place, I swear.
You cannot be a cynic if you love Tirza’s books. They are for the light of heart, the believer of true romance, of love conquering all, sprinkled with sugar dust and meant to be eaten like fairy cakes. Honestly. Don’t read this if you like your books dirty and sour-tasting at the end. DO read this if you want the book equivalent of a hug and a box of chocolates.
This Holiday-themed book tells us the story of Anastasia, who takes pity on the homeless Duke and his cute-as-a-button daughter, Cara. After inviting them into her house, she and Duke gradually fall in love, but they have more to find out about each other, even after their whirlwind marriage. Duke has firm ideas about their future, but they don’t line up with Anastasia’s, so they have to find a way through, or risk losing their happiness.
This is a relatively short book at sixty-four pages, but as I’ve come to expect, she packs a lot into a standalone story. Is it a deep-dive look into the issues of homelessness, men surviving after leaving the military, and a woman trying to thrive in business on her own? No, but if you want a magical romance with plenty of heart, little angst and just a bit of heat, this book is definitely worth a look.
Jayne Lockwood, Author
Heartwarming like a hot chocolate with whipped cream in front of an open fire on a snowy winter's day.
As I'm not much of a Halloween fan, I went straight from summer romance to Christmas this year and picked the first of the author's Christmas series (all standalones, but I like going in chronological order anyway).
A New Family for Christmas is a really sweet spicy romance novella, perfect for the season and heartwarming like a hot chocolate with whipped cream in front of an open fire on a snowy winter's day. It warms you in all the right places, leaving you with a feelgood glow, long after you've turned the last page.
Stasia is single. A business woman who loves baking cookies, she invites a homeless man and his little daughter into her shop for a hot chocolate and a cookie or two. She also offers them a place to sleep as she doesn't like the idea of the little girl sleeping in a shelter. Besides, there is something about the dad that just captivates her.
It turns out, the two are on the run from evil grandparents and Stasia offers a marriage of convenience to help protect the child. But then she falls for the father who doesn't show any interest in her in a romantic way.
The little girl Cara is just adorable and her dad Duke... let's say, I bounced between rooting for him and Stasia to get to together and wanting to wring his neck. Lol. A great, sweet and entertaining slowburn!
Zoe McAllistair, Reader
Festive and cozy atmosphere!
This Christmas story was a welcome break from my usual reading. It was a nice and relaxing read that still managed to entertain me through the story of Anastasia.
I enjoyed the festive and cozy atmosphere, the characters and the story itself. It was a perfect book to get into the Christmas spirit. If you're looking for a lighthearted and heartwarming holiday read, I recommend this one.
Adina Grey, Author