It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who’s anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season. It’s the kind of Texas night where anything can happen—even love . . .
ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
To escape her stepmother’s plot to marry her off, Texas heiress Jacqueline Hartman spends Christmas Eve sharing a hideout with an accused bank robber. After a night in Nathaniel Ward’s arms, Jacqueline is certain she has met her match after all. But will his heartfelt promise of love lead to his demise at the hands of the law?
BIRDIE’S FLIGHT * Celia Bonaduce
Seamstress Birdie Flanagan gets the surprise of her life when she receives a beautiful gown—and a sudden invitation—for the ball of the season! Birdie creates a stir from the moment she arrives, capturing the eye of the dashing Captain Douglas Newcastle. But will a secret from her past keep her from her long-awaited happily-ever-after?
SPIRIT OF TEXAS * Rachael Miles
When lovely spinster Eugenie Charpentier makes a trip across the Texas frontier with former Texas Ranger Asher Graham, she dreams of an adventure, and the rough-and-tumble cowboy is happy to oblige. But both Eugenie and the rugged lawman are keeping secrets. Can they find each other—and love—on the dance floor at the Christmas ball?
These three novellas, connected by the 1859 Christmas Eve ball at Dallas's St. Nicholas Hotel, are uneven tales of frontier romance. Thomas opens the anthology with "One Night at the St. Nicholas," a jam-packed story of instant love between unlikely partners. Jacqueline, an heiress, falls not for any of the eligible gentlemen wooing her but for a Northern actor on the run from the law. Cody, a war hero, mistakes Jacqueline for a servant with a traumatic past, and his heart softens. Though the many plot twists might better suit a longer form, this is the most gripping of the stories. Bonaduce's "Birdie's Flight" introduces Birdie, a seamstress altering a ball gown for spoiled but spirited Charlotte, who flirts with the sheriff despite her father's wish for her to marry handsome Captain Newcastle, Birdie's crush. Through a series of coincidences, Birdie gets to go to the ball and find her happily ever after, but not before her past catches up with her. Miles's "Spirit of Texas" best evokes time and place as a ranger with a way with words escorts bookish Eugenie across the Texas wilderness. Though the trip bonds them, their connection is tested when they arrive in Dallas and must face society. The moments of connection between the stories will keep readers invested, but the history of the woman behind the real-life St. Nicholas Hotel, as related in the endnotes, is more interesting than any of the novellas.