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Sleigh Bells Ring

Sleigh Bells Ring Summary

Sleigh Bells Ring: A Christmas Romance Novel about Celebrate the season with this sparkling and heartwarming holiday romance that proves sometimes all you need is a little Christmas magic…

Angel’s View Ranch has always been special to Annelise McCade. Once upon a time, it was her family’s land, until her grandfather sold it to billionaire Wallace Sheridan. Now employed as the live-in caretaker, Annie is just trying to make it through the holidays with both her sanity and her niece's and nephew’s faith in the magic of Christmas intact.

The six-year-old twins recently lost their mother, so Annie tells herself it wouldn’t be a problem to bring them to Angel’s View. Why should it be? The Sheridans haven’t visited in years, not since Wallace died. They would never know the twins were there…until Tate Sheridan shows up out of the blue two weeks before Christmas.

Crushed to learn that Tate is there to sell his grandfather’s property—and mortified that her secret guests have been discovered—Annie offers her resignation. But Tate asks them to stay and help him get the house ready for one last family Christmas before it’s put on the market.

Annie and Tate have three days to work their magic before the Sheridan clan arrives—and to work through the growing attraction between them. But Annie simply can’t fall for the man who will put her out of a job and a home. Still, the sparkle of the season is impossible to deny…and this Christmas has surprises in store for everyone.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family.

Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews.

Sleigh Bells Ring Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

THIS WAS WAR. A relentless, merciless battle for survival.

Backed into a corner and taking fire from multiple fronts, Annelise McCade launched missiles as fast as she could manage against her enemies. She was outnumbered. They had teamed up to attack her with agile cunning and skill.

At least it was a nice day for battle. The snow the night before hadn’t been particularly substantial but it had still left everything white and sparkly and the massive ranch house behind her was solid and comforting in the December afternoon sunlight.

A projectile hit her square in the face, an icy splat against her skin that had her gasping.

At her instinctive reaction, giggles rang out across the snowy expanse.

She barely took time to wipe the cold muck off her cheek. “No fair, aiming for the face,” she called back. “That’s against the rules.”

“It was an accident,” her six-year-old nephew, Henry, admitted. “I didn’t mean to hit your face.”

“You’ll pay for that one.”

She scooped up several more balls as fast as she could manage and hurled them across the battlefield at Henry and his twin sister, Alice.

“Do you give up?” she called.

“Never!”

Henry followed up his defiance by throwing a snowball back at her. His aim wasn’t exactly accurate—hence her still-dripping face—but it still hit her shoulder and made her wince.

“Never!” his twin sister, Alice, cried out. She had some difficulty pronouncing her Rs, so her declaration sounded like “Nevoh.”

Alice threw with such force the effort almost made her spin around like a discus thrower in the Olympics.

It was so good to hear them laughing. In the week since they had come to live with her temporarily, Annie had witnessed very little of this childish glee.

Not for the first time, she cursed her brother and the temper he had inherited from their father and grandfather. If not for that temper, compounded by the heavy drinking that had taken over his life since his wife’s death a year ago, Wes would be here with the twins right now, throwing snowballs in the cold sunshine.

Grief for all that these children had lost was like a tiny shard of ice permanently lodged against her heart. But at least they could put their pain aside for a few moments to have fun outside on a snowy December day.

She might not be the perfect temporary guardian but it had been a good idea to make them come outside after homework for a little exercise and fresh air.

She was doing her best, though she was wholly aware that she was only treading water.

For now, this moment, she decided she would focus on gratitude. The children were healthy, they all had a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs and their father should be back home with them in less than a month.

Things could be much, much worse.

“Time out,” Henry gasped out during a lull in the pitched battle. “We gotta make more snowballs.”

“Deal. Five-minute break, starting now.”

Annie pulled her glove off long enough to set the timer on her smartwatch, then ducked behind the large landscape boulder she was using as cover and scooped up several snowballs to add to her stash.

The sun would be going down in another hour and already the temperature had cooled several degrees. The air smelled like impending snow, though she knew only a dusting was forecast, at least until the following weekend.

She didn’t worry. Holly Creek, Wyoming, about an hour south of Jackson Hole in the beautiful Star Valley, almost always had a white Christmas.

Annie’s phone timer went off just as she finished a perfectly formed snowball. “Okay. Time’s up,” she called. Without standing up, she launched a snowball to where she knew the twins would be.

An instant later, she heard a deep grunt that definitely did not sound like Henry or Alice.

Annie winced. Levi Moran, the ranch manager, or his grizzled old ranch hand, Bill Shaw, must have wandered across the battlefield in the middle of a ceasefire without knowing he was about to get blasted.

“Sorry,” she called, rising to her feet. “I didn’t mean to do that.”

She saw a male figure approach, wearing sunglasses. The sun reflecting off the new snow was hitting his face and she couldn’t instantly identify him.

“No doubt,” he said, wiping snow off his face with his sleeve.

She frowned. This was definitely not Levi or Bill.

He stepped closer and Annie felt as if an entire avalanche of snow had just crumbled away from the mountain and buried her.

She knew this man, though it had been nearly two decades since Annie had seen him in person.

It couldn’t be anyone else.

Dark hair, lean, gorgeous features. Beneath those sunglasses, she knew she would find blue eyes the color of Bear Lake in the summertime.

The unsuspecting man she had just pummeled with a completely unprovoked snowball attack had to be Tate Sheridan.

Her de facto boss.

The twins had fallen uncharacteristically silent, wary of a tall, unsmiling stranger. Henry, she saw, had moved closer to his twin sister and slipped his hand in hers.

Annie’s mind whirled trying to make sense of what she was seeing.

Tate Sheridan. Here. After all this time.

She shouldn’t be completely shocked, she supposed. It was his family’s house, after all. For many years when her father was the ranch manager, the Sheridans had trekked here annually from the Bay Area several times a year for the Christmas season, as well as most summers.

His younger sister had been her very best friend in the world until tragedy and pain and life circumstances had separated them.

She had wondered when she agreed to take the job if she would see Tate again. She hadn’t truly expected to. She had worked here for nearly a year and he hadn’t once come to his grandfather’s Wyoming vacation ranch.

How humiliating, that he would show up when she was in the middle of a snowball fight with her niece and nephew—who had no business being there in the first place!

“What are you doing here?” she burst out, then winced. She wanted to drag the words back. It was his family’s property. He had every right to be there.

“I might ask the same of you. Along with a few more obvious questions, I suppose. Who are you and why are you having a snowball fight in the middle of my property?”

“You don’t know who I am?”

Of course, he wouldn’t, she realized. And while she thought of him often, especially over the past year while living at Angel’s View once more, he probably had not given her a moment’s thought.

“Should I?”

It was stupid to feel a little hurt.

“Annelise McCade. My dad was Scott McCade.”

He lifted his sunglasses, giving her an intense look. A moment later, she saw recognition flood his features.

“Little Annie McCade. Wow. You’re still here, after all this time?”

She frowned. He didn’t have to make it sound like she was a lump of mold growing in the back of the refrigerator. She had lived a full life in the nearly two decades since she had seen Tate in person.

She had moved away to California with her mother, struggling through the painful transition of being a new girl in a new school.

She had graduated from college and found success in her chosen field. She had even been planning marriage a year ago, to a man she hardly even thought about anymore.

“Not really still here as much as here again. I’ve been away for a long time but returned a year ago. Wallace…your grandfather hired me to be the caretaker of Angel’s View.”

She saw pain darken his expression momentarily, a pain she certainly shared. Even after two months, she still expected her phone to ring and Wallace Sheridan to be on the other end of the line, calling for an update on the ranch he loved.

The rest of the world had lost a compelling business figure with a brilliant mind and a keen insight into human nature.

Annie had lost a friend.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” she said softly.

“Thank you.” His voice was gruff and he looked away, his gaze landing on the twins, who were watching their interaction with unusual solemnity.

“Are these yours?” He gestured to the children and Annie was aware of a complex mix of emotions, both protectiveness and guilt.

The children shouldn’t be here. She had never asked permission from anyone in the Sheridan family to have the twins move into the caretaker’s apartment with her.

She deeply regretted the omission now. While it was a feeble defense, she hadn’t really known whom to ask. No one in the Sheridan organization seemed to be paying the slightest attention to any of the goings-on at a horse ranch in western Wyoming that represented only a small portion of the vast family empire.

Annie knew she was in the wrong here. No matter what uproar might have been happening during Wallace’s illness and subsequent death, she should have applied to someone for permission to bring the twins to live with her here.

Instead, she had simply assumed it shouldn’t be a problem since it was only a temporary situation and the children would be back with their father after the first of the year with no one in the family knowing they had been here at all.

“Not mine. They are my niece and nephew. Wes’s children.”

Tate and Wes were similar in age, she remembered and had been friends once upon a time, just as Annelise had been close to Tate’s younger sister Brianna. The McCades lived on the ranch year-round while the Sheridan children only visited a few times a year, but somehow they had all managed to have a warm, close bond and could always pick up where they left off when the Sheridans came back to the ranch.

She could only hope Tate would remember that bond and forgive her for overstepping and bringing the children here.

“Henry and Alice are staying with me for a few weeks because of a…family situation.”

“Our mommy died last year and our daddy is in the slammer,” Henry announced.

Annie winced, not quite sure where he had picked up that particular term. Not from her, certainly. She wouldn’t have used those words so bluntly but couldn’t deny they were accurate.

Tate looked nonplussed at the information. “Is that right?”

“It’s only temporary,” she told him quickly. “Wes had a little run-in with the law and was sentenced to serve thirty days in the county jail. The children are staying with me in the caretaker’s apartment through the holidays. I hope that’s okay.”

Tate didn’t seem to know how to respond. She had the impression it was very much not okay with him.

“We can talk about it later.”

Annie frowned, anxiety and nerves sending icy fingers down her spine. She didn’t like the sound of that.

What would she do if he told her she had to find somewhere else for the children to spend Christmas? She would have to quit. She didn’t want to do that as she enjoyed working here. But what other choice would she have?

“Why don’t we, um, go inside,” she suggested. “We can talk more there.”

“We won, right?” Alice pressed. “We hit you like six times and you only hit us twice each.”

Her priority right now wasn’t really deciding who won a snowball fight. But then, she was not six years old. “You absolutely won.”

“Yay! That means we each get two cookies instead of only one!”

Annie had always planned to give them two cookies each, anyway. She was a sucker for these two. The twins knew this and took full advantage.

“Kids, why don’t you go change out of your snow stuff and hang out in your room for a few moments,” she said when they were inside the mudroom. “I’ll be there soon to get your cookies.”

The twins looked reluctant but they went straight to her apartment through her own private entrance, leaving her alone with Tate.

Drat the man for somehow managing to seem more gorgeous in person than he looked on-screen.

A few years earlier, Tate had appeared in a public television documentary. Annie must have watched that clip of him at least a dozen times, seeing him help villagers dig a well in Africa.

He had looked rugged and appealing on-screen, even tired and sweaty. Seeing him now, dressed in jeans and a luxurious-looking leather coat, made her feel slightly breathless, a feeling she wasn’t happy about.

“You obviously weren’t expecting me.”

The understatement of the month.

“No. I’m sorry. Maybe I missed an email or something.”

Earlier in the year, Wallace would text her about once a month to tell her and the housekeeper/cook, Deb Garza, that he would be flying in for a few days, when he was arriving, what time to pick him up, and how long he would stay.

That had been his pattern early on, anyway. Then he caught pneumonia in late spring and never seemed to bounce back. He seemed to be a little stronger the last time she spoke on the phone with him in October and he had been planning to come during the holidays but a heart attack had claimed him out of the blue only a few weeks later.

“We must have had a miscommunication,” Tate said with a frown. “I thought my grandmother was sending word we were coming and she must have thought I would inform you.”

“We?” Was someone else here that she hadn’t seen yet?

“The rest of my family. I’m the advance guard, so to speak, but they’re all showing up by the end of the week.”

Annie gaped at him. “The rest of your family?”

“The whole lot of us. My grandmother Irene, her sister Lillian, my mother, Pamela, and her husband, Stanford. And my two sisters.”

“Both of them? Even Brianna?”

“Yes. That’s the plan. You were always good friends with Brie, weren’t you?”

“That was a long time ago. Another lifetime. I think the summer we were eleven was probably the last time I saw her.”

The instant she said the words, she regretted them. Both of them knew what had happened that terrible summer.

Brianna and Tate’s father, Cole Sheridan, Wallace’s son, had fallen down a steep mountainside to his death while horseback riding with his children.

The tragedy had lasting ramifications that rippled to this day.

“Yes. Everyone is flying on Friday. I offered to come out early to make sure the house was ready for company. Things have been so hectic I guess I just assumed my grandmother would have informed the staff like my grandfather used to do.”

“What staff?” Annie could hear the slight edge of hysteria in her voice. “There is no staff except me, Levi Moran, the ranch manager, and a ranch hand, Bill Shaw.”

Tate frowned. “What about the housekeeper and cook?”

“Deb Garza used to fill both of those roles, but after Wallace got sick and stopped coming to Angel’s View, she decided to retire. She moved down to Kemmerer to live with her sister.

Your grandfather told me to hold off hiring anyone to replace her for now. We have a cleaning crew that comes a couple of times a month to keep the dust bunnies under control but that’s it. I take care of the rest.”

Tate sighed. “That’s going to be a problem, then. I have four days to get the house ready for Christmas and no idea how the hell I’m supposed to pull that off.”

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Sleigh Bells Ring

Sleigh Bells Ring PDF Book

Product details:

EditionKindle Edition
ASINB08SKF1F17
Posted onOctober 26, 2021
Formatpdf
Page Count334 pages
Author RaeAnne Thayne

Sleigh Bells Ring PDF Free Download - HUB PDF

Sleigh Bells Ring: A Christmas Romance Novel about Celebrate the season with this sparkling and heartwarming holiday romance that proves sometimes all you need is a little Christmas magic…

URL: https://amzn.to/3F4pe8N

Author: RaeAnne Thayne

Editor's Rating:
4.7
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