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Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest author is Shannon Taylor Vannatter. Shannon will be talking about her Inspirational Contemporary Romance novella Coastal Christmas Charade, which is part of the Christmas anthology Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams. She’ll be sharing a bit of background on the book, an excerpt, and a chance to win a copy of Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams to a lucky commenter who follows her blog tour. Information on the tour and the giveaway are at the bottom of the post. So, keep reading to learn more about this beach read Christmas extravaganza. Welcome, Shannon!

Thanks, Catherine.

This year, I wrote my first novella, which is also my first beach read. The novella collection, Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams, includes 5 different authors with stories set on 5 different beaches at Christmas. I chose Surfside Beach, Texas as my setting, since it has the best shelling in the Lonestar state. My characters knew each other as kids. But the heroine was a rich girl whose grandparents owned the fancy inn where all the snobby kids spent their summers. The hero was a local, the handyman’s son, who never felt like he measured up. In this excerpt, she’s back to spruce up her grandparent’s inn and sell it. She hires the hero to hang Christmas lights and a massive chandelier crashes down, like Phantom of the Opera. Of course, right after that, the bride/heroine’s high school nemesis arrives.

Do you like pretend romances? Leave me a comment and tell me, why or why not?

Coastal Christmas Charade by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Lark Pendleton is banking on a high-society wedding to make her grandparent’s inn at Surfside Beach, Texas the venue to attract buyers. Tasked with sprucing up the inn, she hires Jace Wilder, whose heart she once broke. When the bride and groom turn out to be Lark’s high school nemesis and ex-boyfriend, she and Jace embark on a pretend romance to save the wedding. But when real feelings emerge, can they overcome past hurts?

(Included in Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams – Five novellas, five authors, five beaches)


Ever so, gently, he dabbed his thumb over her cheek.

The front door opened, and a brunette stepped inside behind Lark. Hillarie Chambers. Her mouth dropped open, then closed, and opened again.

Lark spun around. “Hillarie, what are you doing here?” She went to work trying to brush herself off. “I didn’t expect you until Friday.”

“What happened?” Hillarie’s high-pitched whine echoed through the massive space. “What about my wedding?”

“Don’t worry. We had a little chandelier mishap, but it’s a good thing we discovered the problem now. This could have happened in the middle of the wedding. Death by chandelier.”

Lark laughed.

But Hillarie didn’t. “Look at this mess. And there aren’t even any Christmas lights up outside.” She wailed in full meltdown mode. “You always did try to sabotage me, and now you’re after my wedding.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Hillarie. I hired Jace to have the lights done by Friday. He’s fixing this too. By Friday, right, Jace?” 

“Jace?” Hillarie focused on him, then squinted. “Tool Face Jace?”

“At your service.” Hillarie recognized him. But Lark hadn’t.

“Why are you here two days early?” Lark leaned on the staircase.

Hillarie tore her gaze away from the destruction. “Your grandmother said we could come early. I said no. But I’ve been stressed, so my fiancé talked me into it.”

“Technically, we’re closed.” Lark smiled. “To prepare for the wedding.”

The brunette splayed her hands. “I left a message on the machine late last night.”

“Is he with you?”

“Oh.” Hillarie’s eyes went wide. “I didn’t know you’d be here.” She grimaced. “Why are you here?”

Lark’s eyes narrowed. “Gran and Gramps had their name on a waiting list for a condo in Dallas. One became available. If they hadn’t jumped on it, they’d have had to wait at least six

months, so I offered to handle the wedding.”

“Great.” Hillarie’s fake smile looked more like a cringe. “Do you know who I’m marrying?”

The door opened again and a blond man with a suitcase in each hand entered. Familiar. One of the summer rich kids.

Lark’s ex-boyfriend. Thanks to Hillarie.

“Warren?” Lark frowned. “What are you doing here?” Her voice went up an octave. “Oh, you must be in the wedding party.”

“Right.” He shot her a million-watt smile, but it faded as he scanned the room. “What happened?”

“Just a little sprucing up before Hillarie’s big day.” Lark’s smile looked as fake as her nemesis’s. “Jace promised we’d be in ship shape by Friday.”

“Look, darling.” Hillarie sidled up against Warren. “It’s Tool Face Jace.”

“Nobody calls him that anymore.” Lark frowned. “They never should have.”

Lark defending him?

Her gaze narrowed, pinged back and forth between Hillarie and Warren. “Darling?”

“Um.” Hillarie’s baby blues bounced to the floor. “That’s what I wanted to tell you. Warren is my fiancé.”

Want to read more? You can find Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams – Amazon

About the Author:

Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.

She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. Shannon is Scrivenings Press Acquisitions/Content Editor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.

Social Media:

Shannon’s Website           Shannon’s Facebook           Shannon’s Bookbub

Sign up for Shannon’s Newsletter to get a free e-book, recipes, behind-the-scenes info, & enter exclusive giveaways!

Giveaway details:

Follow my blog tour to enter the drawing for a copy of Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams:

Sept 28th – https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/shannon-taylor-vannatter-story-behind-the-story-part-1-of-1/

Oct 1st – https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/inkslinger-blog/

Oct 2nd – https://www.inspyromance.com/

Oct 5th – https://jenniferheeren.com/blog/

Oct 5th – https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/inkslinger-blog/

Oct 6th – https://pattishene.com/theover50writer

Oct 6th – https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/

Oct 8th – https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/inkslinger-blog/

Oct 12th – https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/inkslinger-blog/

I’ll pick a winner from blog tour comments and announce the winner on my blog on Oct 19th.