Monday, October 23, 2023

Read an #Excerpt from A Christmas to Remember by Beverly Jenkins

The holidays will be here before we know it and what better way to get in the spirit than with Beverly Jenkins’ new edition to her beloved Blessings Series, A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER! The USA Today bestselling author is back and bring the holiday cheer once more to the rural town of Henry Adams, Kansas.

About the Book

A Christmas to Remember
Blessings #11
Beverly Jenkins
Format 304 pages, Paperback
Published October 24, 2023 by Avon
ISBN 9780063018211 
Ever since Bernadine Brown bought the town of Henry Adams, her relationship with diner owner Malachi “Mal” July has had its share of ups and downs. But now they’re finally ready to say “I do.”
Or are they? As wedding preparations go into full swing, and families both local and extended begin to gather for the festivities, that long awaited walk down the aisle hits a speed bump that may derail everything.

But Mal and Bernadine’s relationship isn’t the only one being tested.

Preston Mays aka Brain, loves his girlfriend as much as he does physics but when she decides being a couple is no longer a good thing, his heart is broken. Will connecting with his bio dad’s family ease his pain?

Reverend Paula Grant has been patiently waiting for God to send her someone to share her life. When the town’s charming new chef arrives in town, she wonders if he could be the one.

And then there’s former mayor Riley Curry who throws a parade with his hog Cletus! There’s always a lot going on in Henry Adams, and this will be a Christmas to remember.


C h a p t e r  1

Great dinner, little brother.”
Chef and restaurant owner Thornton Webb responded to his sister, June, with a smile. “It’ll be our last meal together for a while so thought I’d make it special.”
“And you did. The gumbo was superb, but I still can’t believe you’re selling your restaurant.”
“Time to try something new.”
“By relocating to Nowhereville, Kansas?”
His amusement showed. “Yes. Nowhereville, Kansas. The  real name of the town is Henry Adams, Kansas, by the way.”
She shook her head as if his decision was a difficult one to understand. “How about I help you clean up, we make some coffee, and you can fill me in on the details.”
A short time later, Thorn’s stainless state-of-the-art kitchen was sparkling again, and with coffee cups in hand the siblings took seats outdoors on his balcony. The sun was setting over 
the San Francisco Bay.
“Million-dollar view,” June said, raising her cup in toast.
“One of the things I’m going to miss when I move.” His large sprawling house positioned high above the bay was on the market, too.
“Have you found a buyer for this place yet?”
“The Realtor has had a few nibbles.” Thorn would’ve put the house up for sale even if he weren’t moving. He’d owned it for almost twenty years, and now at age forty-eight, he’d matured enough to no longer measure his worth by the prestige owning it once represented.
“So why Kansas?” June asked.
“I feel as though I’ve been in a rut, and this could be the life reboot I need. Launching a new restaurant from the ground up will be a challenge. The owners are naming it the Three Spinsters after three women who helped found the town. I’ve never been to a place where Black folks have lived and flourished for over a century. I could almost taste the history in 
the air.”
“Never known you to be a history buff.”
“Me either, until I went for the interview a few months ago.” He found it hard to explain why Henry Adams, Kansas, touched him so deeply because he couldn’t explain it to himself. “I felt as though I belonged there, if that makes any sense.”
“I suppose,” she replied softly. “How historic is it? Never mind. Google is my friend. I’ll look it up when I get home. Is all the paperwork done for the restaurant sale?”
“Almost. Lawyers are still doing their thing. My financial people keep asking me to reconsider accepting Sean’s bid and take the counteroffer from a private equity firm, instead. But my gut says a group like that will only be interested in the bottom line, not the quality of what comes out of the kitchen. 
I won’t have to worry about that with Sean as the owner. He’s been the manager since we opened and has earned the right to keep it going.”
“What’s the witch have to say?”
Thorn smiled. “When are you going to stop calling her that? I did love her at one point.” The witch was his ex-wife, supermodel Helena Winston.
June countered, “I didn’t love her at all, ever. So I can call 
her what I damn well please.”
Helena, born Harriet Williams, was as narcistic as she was beautiful. In her mind, the sun rose daily for her alone. She and Thorn had married eight years ago. It only took him three to realize it wouldn’t work. June had never liked her, and the feeling had been mutual. Even though photo shoots and fashion runways necessitated Helena traveling all over the world, she’d been angry at playing second fiddle to his restaurant and demanded he make a choice—her or his work. He chose lawyers, then moved out. She’d been so confident he’d come crawling back to kiss the soles of her Louboutins she’d stalled for over a year before finally signing the papers. His freedom had been as sweet as his grandmother’s pecan pie. 
“She has no say in the sale. I bought her out after we divorced.”
Junie was a year and a half older and always took great pride in pointing that out. Their parents were retired, still madly in love, and living out their golden years in Savannah. Thorn, who’d always wanted a brother too, once asked his mom why she hadn’t had more kids. She explained, “On the measly money your daddy and I were making, we were too busy trying to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.” She added, “At one point, things got so bad we tried to sell you and Junie to the circus, but they kept bringing you back.” He smiled at the memory.
“What are you smiling about?”
“Mama and her selling us to the circus story.”
“I think she’s finally going to let go of that old tall tale.”
At his puzzled look, June explained. “When we visited them this summer, she told it again, and Saria, thinking she was serious, burst into tears, ran from the room, and hid.”
“Why?” Six-year-old Saria was June’s youngest child.
“She said she didn’t want Gramma to sell her to the circus. Mama felt really bad. Daddy started fussing about having told her to stop telling that story. Mama clapped back that she should’ve sold him to the circus. Then Saria yelled, ‘STOP SELLING PEOPLE TO THE CIRCUS, GRAMMA!’ It was a 
Thorn laughed. June and her husband, David, a former NFL defensive lineman and Thorn’s teammate when they both played for the Oakland Raiders had five kids: two sets of twin boys, ages eleven and eight, and Saria the only girl. “Poor Saria.”
“Poor Mama. She was so shocked at being checked by a six-year-old—you should’ve seen her jaw drop. The twins, Daddy, David, and I were on the floor.”
Thorn wiped at the tears of mirth in his eyes. He loved his nephews, but Saria, Junie’s mini-me, held a special place in his heart. The family lived in nearby Oakland. One of the downsides of moving away was that he’d not see the kids as often as he’d become accustomed to. He was already missing them. He’d miss Junie and David, too. “I’ll have to remember to ask Mama if she’s sold anybody to the circus lately when I talk to her tomorrow.”
“She’s going to reach through the phone and smack you.” 
Junie’s voice and demeanor grew serious. “Who am I going to pester if you move, Thorn? How will I hook you up with someone who’ll love you as much as I love David if you’re living so far away?”
“I don’t need somebody like that. I can’t afford five kids.”
She leaned over and punched him in the arm. “Stop it.” 
She settled in again and said wistfully, “The moment I saw that big ol’ man I said I wanted to give him babies.”
“I know. I was the one you said it to.” She’d met David at Thorn’s restaurant. The retired NFL lineman took one look at the statuesque, former NCAA champion shot put queen and it was love at first sight. They’d married six weeks later.“I hate that witch for stealing your joy and wasting your love, Thornton.”
He gave her a look.
“Okay. Shutting up.”
“Thank you.”
They sipped their coffee in silence. He knew June cared about him. She always had. Yes, Helena broke his heart, but he was over that and her. Cooking became his life at the age of nine when his mother showed him how to make spaghetti and meatballs. Any woman interested in him would have to be okay with knowing his love for food would always come first. He’d yet to meet such a unicorn and had no expectations he ever would.
When their visit was done, he walked his sister out to the driveway. She gave him a strong hug. “Going to miss you.”
“Ditto, but I’m only moving to Kansas, not Kazakhstan. 
There are phones these days, you know.”
“Yeah, smart-ass, I know, but you’ll be so far away.”
“I’ll stay in touch. Promise.”
“You better.”
She opened the door of her silver SUV and got in. “You are coming to Savannah for Christmas, correct?”
“Correct.” It was now early November.
Seemingly pleased by that, she started the engine. “How soon are you leaving for Nowhereville?”
“Probably right after Thanksgiving. The restaurant owners want my input on the blueprints and some other things so I’d like to get there and get settled in as soon as I can.”
She nodded. “We’ll be spending Turkey Day with David’s folks this year. Travel safe and call me when you get to Kansas.”
“I will. Love you, Junie.”
“Love you back.”
He stepped aside and she backed her vehicle down the driveway. With a parting wave she drove away, and Thorn walked back inside.

About the Author

Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of the 2018 Michigan Author Award by the Michigan Library Association, the 2017 Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance. She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured in both the documentary Love Between the Covers and on CBS Sunday Morning. Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for inclusive romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR. To read more about Beverly, visit her at

Blessings Series

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