Traditions – Guest Post from Chandra Ryan

I am thrilled to have Chandra Ryan for her first visit to our little home on the internet. Let’s give her a warm ENALR welcome. 

I know a lot of people become cynical this time of year. Crowds pushing and shoving to save a couple of bucks on electronics or to snag the last of the illusive ‘must have toy’, but I’ve found myself to be rather nostalgic as the temperature cools and the kids start their countdown to Christmas.

Granted, I don’t do Black Friday so I’m never in the middle of the crowds. And my kiddos are getting too old to care about ticklish dolls and cuddly stuffed animals with specialized tags. To be honest, they’d probably be happy with cash and gift cards to the nearest video game store. But I think it’s more than that. I think it’s also that along with the Holiday Season we’ve officially started the tradition season.

For us, it starts with the Macy’s parade Thanksgiving Day and ends with the ceremonial opening of the first present (always an ornament that’s opened Christmas Eve and then hung on the tree) and is filled with a million irreplaceable moments in between. There are the school pageants and concerts, parties, work events, and social obligations. And we can’t forget the TV specials and the music we listen to non-stop…but only for one month out of the year.

Of all the traditions that define this season for me, though, one will always be my favorite. And it’s the last one of the season. Yep, it’s the Christmas Eve ornament opening. You see, my husband and I had kind of a whirlwind courtship. We started dating and married only nine months later. So by our first Christmas together we were already married. And as we stared at our tree, we discovered that neither one of us brought any ornaments from our childhood with us. So we bought a whole bunch of, what my husband affectionately calls, ‘filler ornaments’ to decorate the tree with. But I bought my husband one special ornament and I made him open it and hang it on the tree Christmas Eve. And the next year he bought me one and I bought him one. And that continued until we had children. Then we included them in the tradition.

Now, fifteen years and two kids later, our tree if full of wonderful memories. Each year we pull out the ornaments and hang them on the tree. The kids even know which ones are theirs. As they hang them, they talk about the years they got them and retell funny stories about them. And on Christmas Eve they know they’re going to get a new one to hang that year. I think the best part of this tradition is that they get to take these memories with them when they get married and have a tree of their own. They’re never going to have a ‘filler’ tree.

So what about you? Do you have a special holiday tradition that always warms your heart and lifts your spirits? Share in the comment section and I’ll pick one commenter to win a download of my newest release, Bond Betrayed. Remember to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Here’s an excerpt from the BOND BETRAYED. It’s the moment my hero, Isaac, and heroine, Nikki, meet:

“Why don’t I know you?” The deep timbre of his voice made heat pool at her core.

Studying his face, she thought there was something vaguely familiar about him, but she let it go. She’d been forced out of the Community too long ago for her to remember him even if she had known him back then. And if he knew who she was, he’d be running in the other direction. Her last name had a tendency to evoke that response.

Arching an eyebrow inquisitively, she gave him her most seductive smile. “My best guess? It’s because we’ve never met.”

“That’s unfortunate. I would’ve enjoyed meeting you.”

Her breath caught at the raw sensuality surrounding the man. She shouldn’t be standing so close to him—not if she wanted to keep the tenuous grasp of control she still had. But she couldn’t bear the idea of moving away. “I’m sure you would’ve.”

“Maybe we should meet.”

She wasn’t ignorant to their ways—this wasn’t an invitation to tea. This was exactly what she’d been hoping for as she’d made her way over to him. But, no matter how strongly he affected her, she couldn’t afford to be reckless. “Maybe, but…”

“But what?”

But she wasn’t suicidal. Not exactly something one could articulate without raising suspicion, though. She took a small step toward him and immediately regretted it. Standing so close, the pull was stronger, so intense she found it was a struggle to remember why she’d taken the step in the first place. “I’d need to know who owns you first.”

He stared at her as if confused for a moment.

“Your family and alliances,” she clarified. “Will you let me see them?” It was a daringly bold question but, if she was going to do this—and she really wanted to do this—she needed to make sure it wasn’t some sort of trick.

“Are there any you’re looking for—specifically that is?” As he slowly unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt, she saw the beginning of the elaborate series of tattoos and mentally kicked herself. Only she would stumble upon someone so well-connected his entire torso would be inked.

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Want to know more? You can find the blurb and another except on the Ellora’s Cave site and on my author website.

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Thanks so much for coming by and a huge thank you to the wonderful people at Everybody Needs A Little Romance for hosting me today!

Remember! Leave a message for a chance to win a copy of Bond Betrayed!