Highlander for the Holidays

BOOK: Highlander for the Holidays
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Table of Contents
 
 
PRAISE FOR THE ENTHRALLING ROMANCES OF
Janet Chapman
“[
Mystical Warrior
is] a romantic, funny, quietly intense story of wounded survivors reluctantly finding love . . .”

Publishers Weekly
“Head and shoulders above any shape-shifting or paranormal romance I have ever read . . .
Dragon Warrior
is a spectacular and brilliant novel for those who love the juxtaposition of the paranormal and the real world . . . A Perfect 10.”

Romance Reviews Today
“[A] delightful romantic series . . . Chapman brings plenty of warmth and fun to the story by enlivening it with a rich cast of characters. You can’t go wrong with a Chapman story!”

Romantic Times Book Reviews
(four stars)
“If anyone can make me fall in love with a ninth-century
warrior who also spent several centuries as a dragon, it’s
Janet Chapman. I always love her secondary characters . . .
I love the humor that she injects [in
Dragon Warrior
].”

Fallen Angel Reviews
(Recommended Read)
“Steamy fun.”

Fresh Fiction
“From exceptionally moving scenes to delightfully amusing moments, the originality of
Dragon Warrior
keeps your total attention . . . Creatively innovative, with inventive plots and particularly appealing characters.”

Single Titles
“Readers will be enchanted with Chapman’s love of Maine in her latest romance, a story filled with wit and tenderness.”

Booklist
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
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(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have control over and does not have any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
HIGHLANDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS
 
A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Jove mass-market edition / November 2011
 
Copyright © 2011 by Janet Chapman.
Excerpt from
Spellbound Falls
copyright © by Janet Chapman.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
 
ISBN : 978-1-101-54522-5
 
JOVE
®
Jove Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
JOVE
®
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “J” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

To Alex and Abby and Max, Merry Christmas, babies!
Chapter One
“OHMIGOD, JESS,” MERISSA WHISPERED, PULLING JESSIE to a halt inside the door of Pete’s Bar and Grill. “Not only are we not in Kansas anymore, we were blown clear into another
century
. I haven’t seen this much wool and flannel since you took me on your shoot for that hunting lodge commercial.”
“Hey, lady,” the giant behind the bar growled, “no dogs allowed.”
Jessie lifted her hand, which held Toby’s leash. “He’s a service dog.”
The man instantly softened. “Oh, sorry,” he said gruffly. He motioned to the waitress at the end of the bar, who had stopped filling bowls with popcorn to stare at them. “Paula, go kick Ray and Lucy out of their booth and give it to these ladies.”
Jessie stepped closer to be heard over the music. “That really isn’t necessary. We can wait until a table opens up.”
“That one just did,” the bartender said, his grin making his beard bristle. “I was one second away from telling them to go get a room anyway.” He gestured at the waitress skirting the crowded dance floor. “That booth is the farthest from the jukebox, so it’ll be easier on your dog’s ears. You want me to send over a big fat bone with your drinks? It’ll be on the house.”
Jessie gave him a grateful smile and shook her head. “Thank you, but Toby’s not allowed to eat on duty.”
“Can he drink?
Water
,” the bartender rushed on at her surprise. He chuckled, pointing down at Toby. “He looks to be over twenty-one in dog years, but if he can’t eat, then I don’t suppose he can knock back a beer.”
“Thank you again, but he’s fine.” She nudged Merissa into the throng of people, following with Toby as they headed toward the booth the waitress was unapologetically making available for them, even as Jessie wondered what in the name of God she was doing coming to this lively little bar her first night in town.
Oh yeah, that’s right; she was taking her life back.
Several people on the dance floor stopped in surprise, then scrambled out of the way to let them pass. So much for not calling attention to themselves, Jessie thought with a sigh. But then, the hundred-pound rottweiler at the end of her leash didn’t exactly make her and Merissa invisible, did he? She gave a smile of thanks to the dancers who’d stopped, but then had to pull Toby to a halt when another man gyrated backward into their path.
Toby immediately stepped between Jessie and the perceived threat. The man’s partner tried dragging the guy out of the way but ended up stumbling into him instead when another dancer bumped into her trying to see what was going on. Jessie pulled on Toby’s leash, her command to heel getting lost in the song belting from the jukebox.
She might have succeeded in redirecting Toby if the man’s windmilling arm hadn’t smacked her in the shoulder hard enough to make her stumble. Apparently deciding her attacker hadn’t heeded his first warning, Toby gave an ominous growl and this time used his body to shove the man away.
The panicked guy shot into the crowd, pushing his dance partner behind his back as he spun around. “Your dog just tried to bite me!” he shouted, incredulous.
“Oh no, sir, I assure you he didn’t,” Jessie said, the last of her words sounding overloud when the song ended. She patted Toby’s head as he sat quietly beside her. “Service dogs are strictly forbidden to bite anyone.”
The man pointed at Toby, completely ignoring the woman tugging on his arm. “He sure as hell growled at me.”
“No, I believe he was coughing up a hairball,” Jessie said sweetly. She turned and walked to the vacant table, unbuttoning her coat as she slid into the booth. “What’s your house special?” she asked the wide-eyed waitress.
“Anything on tap,” the woman said, pulling a pad from her apron and a pencil off her ear. She gave them a quick once-over, then shrugged. “We carry a couple of decent wines, if you don’t mind waiting for Pete to hunt down a corkscrew.”
“I’ll have a Tropical Breeze,” Merissa said.
The waitress sighed, resting the tip of her pencil on her pad. “Would you happen to know what’s
in
a Tropical Breeze?”
“She’ll have a Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale,” Jessie interjected. “And I’ll have their Prelude Special.”
“What in hell am I drinking?” Merissa asked as soon as the waitress left. “You know beer makes me crazy.” She waved at the air. “It’s all those bubbles; they go straight up my nose to my brain and turn me into a bar slut.”
“Not if you
sip
it. I Googled Maine breweries before we left Georgia and found the Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland. Their Pumpkinhead Ale appears to be popular this time of year.” Jessie turned in her seat and motioned for Merissa to do the same. “Make room for Toby so he can lie down under the table, out of the way.”
BOOK: Highlander for the Holidays
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