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Winter Wishes

Winter Wishes

Seasons of Love Series Book 2

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Keeping their secrets could keep them apart.

Main Tropes

  • Friends to More
  • Unrequited Love
  • Overcoming Fears
  • Small-town Feel
  • Christmas Magic

About the Book

Todd Flynn has always been the lovable jock, known in Minden for being a simple yet reliable carpenter. Discouraged from academic pursuits by his abusive father, even years later Todd hides his dreams from everyone, including the friend he’s harbored feelings for since high school.

Christine Mathes has worked at her parents’ cafe since returning home after a year in college. When her parents retire and leave the cafe entirely in her hands, she quickly becomes overwhelmed with the new responsibility. A dark secret of her own threatens to derail her grand plans for the restaurant, and she has to face her fear of the city for her business dreams to come true.

Despite their long friendship and the romantic tension when they are alone together at the holidays, will Chrissy and Todd let their secrets and their insecurities hold them back from happiness?

Download Winter Wishes today, and dive into this faith-centered happily ever after highlighting the power of community, honesty, and forgiveness.


Bookgirl135.0 out of 5 stars God's renewal and Grace

Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2023

I loved these imperfectly perfect characters. The storyline developed wonderfully, the settings were gorgeous, and the supporting characters (and their respective developments) naturally flowed together.God and His restorative Love are prominent in this delightful Christmas romance.

Look Inside - Chapter One

Christine Mathes stared
blankly at her mother, not fully understanding what was being said. Did she just say Florida? She sat across from her parents in the small eat-in kitchen of her childhood home.
The surroundings; the oak table, the worn placemats, and thin off-white Corian
plates; were comfortingly familiar. In stark contrast to the familiar setting was the discussion she was having with her parents.

"You're going to Florida?" She wasn't sure if that was the second or third time
she had asked the question.

"Not just going, sweetie. We are moving to Florida. Our friends, Russell and
Susan—you remember them, don't you? They have a condo there and they say it is
just wonderful. We are so tired of Indiana winters, all that snow and ice. You understand,

Chrissy struggled to catch up. "You're moving. To Florida. In a month?"

Her parents shared a glance and her mother spoke again. "Well, we'd like to
move down there before Christmas, before the weather gets worse. We've been
talking with a realtor down there and he thinks we should have no problem
finding something that we can move into right away."

"It just seems so sudden." Chrissy tried to catch up, to slow down the
conversation. Wasn't this something her parents should have talked to her about

It was then that her father interjected. "You are going to do a great job,
Chrissy. We just know it."

Great job? Chrissy started to think of all the
implications of this sudden move. "A great job doing what?" She was
afraid she knew the answer to this question. She'd occasionally wondered what
would happen if her parents ever decided to retire. Until now, though, she
pretty much thought they never would. They'd never so much as hinted at leaving
Minden. The café was their life. They'd purchased the place nearly thirty-five
years ago and had both worked cooking and managing it all these years since.
What was Bud and Janine’s cafe without Bud and Janine?

"Why, running the café, of course. You are a great waitress and everyone loves you. Besides, the café has to stay in the family! We couldn't bear the thought of
selling it. We've been saving our nickels outside of the business for years,
and we can afford to move to Florida while you take over as owner of Bud and
Janine's. Isn't that great?" Her mother clapped as she delivered the last
line with an expectant smile on her face, as though there was no other possible
reaction for Chrissy to have than to be over the moon at her good fortune.

Chrissy stirred the mashed potatoes around on her plate, no longer able to take another
bite. She thought she might need another glass of wine, though. She attempted a
smile, "Yeah, that's amazing, Mom. Both of you, I'm really happy for you." Chrissy was happy for her parents. She was glad they were doing
something they'd always wanted to do. Apparently. But the café? She didn't know
a thing about running a café. Chrissy was a waitress, sometimes a fill-in cook.
She wasn’t a manager.

Her dad spoke up again, always more in tune with Chrissy's moods than her mother had ever been. "Don't worry, sweetie. We've got a couple of weeks and we
will show you the ropes, hand over everything nice and official. We probably
should have gotten you more involved a long time ago."

Chrissy thought so too, but she bit back the sarcastic reply, and simply put on her
best daughter smile. "It's okay, Dad. We'll make it work. We always

Her mom was off and running again. "I just know you are going to do amazing
things when you're in charge. You can finally make all those changes you've
been nagging us about."

"What changes?" Chrissy didn't remember suggesting any changes. Sure, she'd
thought about lots of things they could do to improve sales and get some extra
traffic. But she didn't remember ever expressing them to her mom and dad. The
restaurant was theirs. She was just waitressing until she found a husband and
had a baby. Or at least, that's what she always felt her mom was saying.

Janine waved a hand. "Oh, you know, you wanted us to put up some fancy

"A Facebook page?" Chrissy laughed. She had suggested jumping on social media
several years ago. Actually, she still thought it was a good idea.

"Sure, a Face page. Whatever. My point is you've got lots of great ideas, sugar. And
now the café will be yours! You've got tons of time to devote to the cafe,
since you don't have any kids. Or even a boyfriend or anything."

Ignoring the barb at the end, Chrissy considered for a moment. It didn't sound too bad. Maybe this wasn't such a terrible thing after all. She took another bite of
mashed potatoes, no longer feeling like she was going to throw up. She poured
herself more wine, though. It was still a lot to take in.

Her parents lived about two blocks from Main Street and the cafe and Chrissy walked
home that night in the rapidly cooling autumn air. Thanksgiving was in a few
days and then it would be full-blown Christmas season. As she walked, her
thoughts slowly drifted toward the café and what it would be like to know it
was entirely hers.

Part of her always resented her ties to the café. Once, she’d been a dreamer. It
hadn’t been difficult to manage straight A’s and advanced placement classes in
high school. Chrissy went off to college with hopes of traveling the world as
an international studies major. Instead, she returned home after the events of
a dark night on the streets of Chicago. In some ways, Chrissy liked being a
waitress. For one, and perhaps most importantly, it was safe. She enjoyed
seeing everyone in town, teasing them about their affinity for pie or
threatening to withhold their coffee refill. But deep inside her, the desire to
do more, be more, and see more was still buried. This opportunity her parents
were giving her? Maybe this was the answer. She could be Christine Mathes,
business owner. Much better than Chrissy M, Waitress, the title currently
displayed on her café nametag.

As long as she could remember, Chrissy had been a waitress. Even before she went
to college, she was helping her parents at the cafe. The idea of being
responsible for the entire restaurant had her pushing on her temples to ward
off a headache. It was too much. She wasn’t ready for this, and her parents’
confidence was misplaced at best. What had ever possessed them to make this
decision so quickly? Where was the fire? Overwhelming feelings of self-doubt
and fear of failure took over her thoughts.

Until yesterday, Chrissy’s life was a predictable routine of waitress, church, small
group bible study and dreaming up vacations she wasn’t confident she would ever take. The small savings account accumulating over the past five years would be
more than enough to book her a flight almost anywhere in the world and explore
for a week. As close as she’d been—every detail planned and hotels and flights
sitting in her online shopping cart—Chrissy remained unable to pull the trigger
on one of her dream vacations. Her dreams of exploring the corners of the world
had died in an alley in Chicago one November evening eight years ago.

Since then, no place felt safe. Only Minden.

Instead, she ordered travel guides and watched countless hours of The Travel Channel,
planning theoretical vacations to India and Paris and Hong Kong. Every month
when a portion of her budget went to her optimistically-named “Travel fund”,
Chrissy wished for her fears to be removed. But every month, she clicked the
‘X’ on the browser window without booking a trip.

As a business owner—the very thought still too foreign to dwell on—travel would
pose an entirely different challenge. But it was still an intriguing thought.
Business owner. Restaurateur. Chrissy could decide what to do. If she wanted,
she could change the menu or paint the dreary beige walls. The café had been
desperate for a new coat of paint for years but her parents didn't want to
bother, content with how it was. Chrissy hadn't figured it was her place to
bother, but now it was! Thinking of paint colors led her to the realization
that the place needed new floors, too. Plus, new upholstery where the old was
worn and ripped. She reached the door that would lead to her loft above the
café, next to the glass window with a white sign announcing "Bud and Janine's Café" to the world, or at least to Main Street Minden. Instead of
continuing upstairs, Chrissy pulled out her key to the café and went inside.

It was different like this. Chrissy didn't often come in before anyone else or
stay long after the last customer was gone. The only light was coming through
the big front windows from the streetlight outside. The smell of bacon and
spicy chili lingered in the quiet air. Nearly every day of Chrissy’s life had
been spent in this café in one way or another. It had been her parents joy to
spend their time there, cooking for and feeding their friends and to be the
gathering place of their little town. Now, she studied the space with fresh
eyes. Touches of her mom and dad filled the restaurant. Slowly, she imagined
replacing them with touches of herself. The tired light fixtures replaced with
cozy wood and cast-iron fixtures; the coffee-stained counter top with a modern
granite. Chrissy loved relaxing with a cup of coffee and a friend here. She
mentally replaced the tables in the front windows with couches and chairs meant
for conversations or a book. Walking through the space, she trailed her fingers
along surfaces and dreamed.  The five thousand dollars she had saved for someday
could be used today instead.

Chrissy finished her lap around the café and took one last look at the familiar room.
As she pushed open the door, the bells interrupted the calm and quiet of the cool night. Chrissy hated those bells. Maybe that will be my first change as owner, she thought with a smile.

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