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Midnight Sparks is a standalone novel in the Carter Hills Band universe. It's book two in the Upon a Star series.
*Due to mature subject, this book is only suitable for people over 18 years of age.
I threw in my black heels and zipped up my suitcase. I was so done. Nothing could keep me here, not even the Holidays, especially these end-of-the-year ones. I hated everything about Christmas. The cheer. The smiles from strangers. The camaraderie. And don’t get me started on those cookies and carols. Gawd, those were the worst. Whoever invented the holiday traditions must have done it as a sick joke. And now the entire freaking world was obsessed with it. Well done, champs.
A glance around my bedroom and I made sure I had everything I needed for this trip. Two weeks on an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, with an open bar and palm trees. I knew I had packed the right outfits. Little black dress that made my legs look longer. Check. Sparkling red dress that gave my boobs all the attention they deserved. Check. Sunblock, shades, and hat. Check. Check. And check. Oh yes, the tiny white string bikini I could flaunt my curves in. Check that too.
My phone pinged. Great. My manager. I rolled my eyes, knowing what his message would be.
Riley: Did you change your mind about that Holiday special in Times Square?
A loud laugh bubbled out of me. As if Riley didn’t know better. I didn’t do Christmas shows. Never. He knew it. But that didn’t stop him from trying to convince me.
Me: Forget it. And Carter or whoever else you want me to sing a duet with. No special appearance. Me + island = perfect vacation. Talk to you next year, Ry.
Riley: If you change your mind, kiddo, you know where to find me.
Me: Sorry. Not happening.
Riley: Fine. Didn’t hurt to try. Maybe someday you’ll actually say yes to me. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Me: In your dreams. But I love you for looking out for me. Have a blast with Santa and his bunch of stupid elves.
In the entryway, I slid my phone into the back pocket of my jeans, and adjusting my lacy black top, I perused my image in the mirror, debating whether to let my hair loose or not. This morning, I woke up early to straighten my black curls. It took me an hour to get them to behave. Hair down it was. With one sweep, I colored my lips in ruby red—Passion, they called it—suiting my dark complexion perfectly, and applied a thick coat of mascara to the lashes framing my dark kohl-lined eyes. From a hook behind the door, I grabbed my jacket, the one matching my lipstick, and got the hell out of my house before someone else tried to change my mind.
Last year, I went to Fiji for the holidays. The year before, I traveled to the wildest parts of Australia. Anywhere to make myself invisible for two weeks. This year, I chose Playa De La Isla Azul, a small island in the Caribbean Sea, with a population of less than two thousand and a handful of resorts. It was so small that planes only landed there once or twice a week. Someone on my last tour recommended it, and I decided to give it a try. It sounded perfect.
The cab driver climbed out of the car to grab my suitcase and stuffed it in the trunk. With careful steps, I tried not to get too much snow into my shoes. Sure, golden heels weren’t the most convenient to walk in Tennessee at this time of the year, but they made me feel powerful. And sexy. So be damned the frost bites. My toes could suffer until we reached the airport.
I watched my house through the back window of my cab as it disappeared, a light blanket of snow covering the roof and grassy front yard, and I emptied my lungs in a long sigh. My shoulders relaxed with each mile away as I sank into the seat, the tension in my upper back dissolving and excitement unfurling in the pit of my stomach. Let the good times roll.
The driver turned the radio on, and a Christmas song I knew too well filled the space.
With a roll of my eyes and doing my best to avoid grimacing, I pleaded, “I’ll give you an extra tip—fifty bucks—if you turn that damn thing off right now.”
Our gazes met in the rearview mirror.
“Dead serious.” I flashed him a grin, just for good measure.
“Fine. The lady wins,” he agreed with a wink. I sighed. I couldn’t wait to be out of here. He droned on, “You’re not a fan of the Holidays as I can see. I thought singers like you, the ones singing love songs for a living, fancied all things romantic. Forget Valentine’s Day, Christmas is the real deal. The most romantic time of the year.”
“Well, people like me don’t all enjoy this shit. It’s overrated. Commercial. Full of clichés. No, thanks. I’ll choose palm trees over candy canes any day.”
“You’d be surprised how the Holidays can win you over.”
I snorted. “Don’t think so.”
With earbuds in, I slumped in my seat, watching the Nashville skyline through the window as it disappeared, the more we neared the airport.
“How did he touch my soul in the deepest way with only a look, a heartfelt smile, or a caress of his lips?”
Stars and Country is book 5 in the Carter Hills Band series by Emmanuelle Snow. Stars and Country is a whirlwind holiday vacation romance. When the pressures of fame and a dislike of Christmas force Aisha Jones to get away, what could be better than a Caribbean vacation?! Aisha thinks she can run from her past and Christmas with a beachy island vacation, but fate has other plans. Gavin Moore is a sweet, lovable child therapist who has lost his Christmas cheer. Aisha is the country star grinch and Gavin is the cinnamon roll who has lost his spark. I love their instant back & forth complete with snarky banter and Christmasy pranks. The meddling octogenarians will steal your heart. This book made me smile and swoon! Get ready for a full dose of holiday cheer that will whisk your heatwave blues away (despite the island setting). Stars & Country is a low-angst, whirlwind, dreamy romance full of holiday shenanigans and heaps of charm.
Short and sweet and cute story in the Carter Hills Bad Series - Carter and a few past characters make brief appearances.
Emmanuelle’s beautiful writing that we are used to, but this is a quick novella and not quite as emotional as her books usually are… Aisha does have a backstory for why she dislikes and tries to escape Christmas, and it’s great she meets Gavin and he helps her through the season and to get beyond it and to start loving life again (and Christmas).
Definitely recommend this one, but pick it up in KU (I had the ALC, which is AI/artificial intelligence/computer voice generated from Google Play, and a computer doesn’t understand nuances and doesn’t understand word differences with the same spelling. No performance like a human narrator. As an audio listener since at least 15 years back, it’s a big issue for me).
I received an ALC from Emmanuelle directly and also picked it up from KU. This is my honest audio feedback and I love the story but please get the ebook. Support human narrators.
This is a book in The Carter Hills Band Series and it is Aisha and Gavin's story and omg it is definitely a must read. Aisha hates all the holiday hype and cheer so she decides to go to a tropical island that doesn't celebrate it and get some quiet time which doesn't happen very often being a famous country singer and always in the limelight. Gavin's sister Cam has sent him to a island where he can get full holiday cheer which for some reason he had lost and Cam wanted him to recapture it back. Aisha some up to find herself surrounded by water as the fire sprinklers had gone off and she had to go to a different hotel only to have her worst nightmare come true and be surrounded by everything to do with Christmas. When Aisha and Gavin meet there is an instant attraction and strong chemistry between them and the more time that they spend together the stronger there feelings for each other grows but with them only being on vacation for a short amount of time but what will happen when they have to go back to there own lives and careers. Omg this book was so emotional with what Aisha had been through and I found myself hoping that they would eventually get over there differences to be able to get there happy ending that they both deserve as they are so perfect for each other. I couldn't put this book down and I had to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next and the characters and storyline pulled you in right from the start and kept your attention right throughout the whole book and it was so addictive. Emmanuelle Snow is an amazing author and writer and she certainly knows how to keep her reader's attention and I can't wait to read more of her books in the future as they are definitely worth reading.
I Voluntarily Reviewed a copy of this book
After country music star Aisha has an awful experience at Christmas a few years ago she can’t deal with it anymore! Not the Christmas tree, Christmas carols or other peoples joy. Which is why she takes a holiday every year to hide away from it all. When she arrives at her tropical paradise hotel she couldn’t be happier, unfortunately things don’t quite go to plan.
Aisha has to transfer hotels and the only one with room is where it’s Christmas all year round! Staff in Santa hats, Christmas tree decorating competition, peppermint cream for your coffee and candy cane curtains. It’s her worst nightmare come to life…….. or is it?
In walks Gavin! After receiving a stay at this Christmas paradise from his sister “to bring out his Christmas joy”he bumps into Aisha at breakfast and they hit it off straight away.
They start spending time together and they get on so well, the witty banter between these two was just brilliant, the chemistry is off the charts so Aisha asks Gavin to have a holiday fling with her. Gavin does hesitate at first because he realises how good they would be together but he soon finds he just can’t say no! This is where the steam really ramps up, alcohol, chocolate sauce, ice cubes. I’ll say no more 😉
Their relationship seems effortless, like they’ve known each other for years but have the spark of the honeymoon phase.
Things rarely run smooth in paradise and that’s the case for Gavin & Aisha. Aisha just can’t seem to get over her past and hurts Gavin by running away! Thankfully this does have a HEA!
This is a sweet, romantic, Christmas read with a bit of angst and a whole lot steam thrown in. It’s slow/medium burn with insta love vibes and some laugh out loud moments.
Would definitely recommend
Stars and Country by Emmanuelle Snow
This is a sweet Christmas romance. Ok I know we are a bit early but in my opinion no you can never be you early for a Christmas romance. This is Aisha and Gavin’s story and it’s one you won’t want to miss. It is the fifth book in the series which is a great series and if you have not read them I don’t know what you have been doing because they are good. Ok. A mi to this particular book. Aisha is supposed be on her perfect vacation which I need right about now anyway she is on her perfect vacation when an unexpected flooding happens in her luxurious room. Like what the heck right so unfortunately she has no other choice but to relocate to a Christmas resort. A freaking Christmas resort which is Aisha’s worst nightmare. I mean come on she is trying to get away from all the holiday craziness. This is where we meet Gavin. Gavin is sent by his sister Cam who thinks he should go to a place that screams Christmas and all it’s magic which is something that Gavin seems to be lacking. This is where all the fun begins. The chemistry between these two is instantaneous and it jumps off the pages off the book. This was such a great read and I can’t recommended enough. It has an amazing storyline and amazing characters. Highly recommend.