If you’re like me, an avid romance reader, you no doubt enjoy a good holiday romance during the winter months. There’s just something particularly heartwarming about these tales whether the faith element is overt or not. Inevitably, though, at some point around the holidays a reader will ask, “Ok, I really loved Book X, but where are the Chanukah stories?”
The problem is that while several Chanukah romances have been published over the years, most notably Judith Arnold’s Sweet Light (Harlequin American, 1992), romances set around the Jewish Festival of Lights (or any other Jewish holiday) are few and far between. This was one of the reasons I decided to write my Chanukah novella, “Second Chance Chanukah”. I wanted a story along the lines of those I love to read, which celebrated my Jewish heritage. And while this is a Jewish story, it is accessible to non-Jewish readers as well.
“Second Chance Chanukah” follows childhood sweethearts Jess Coen and Danny Adler whose lives have taken very different paths since they broke up more than a decade earlier. Now a widower, Danny returns to his hometown along with his 10-year-old son, Seth. Jess, meanwhile, is adjusting to her first holiday as a newly divorced woman. Though they are both single again, nothing is simple as Jess and Danny have to overcome past hurts and new baggage if they are to get another chance at love. Jess and Danny aren’t alone in their journey as their relatives — including Jess’ sister and brother-in-law, Hannah and Sam, not to mention Danny’s mother and son Seth — are all working behind the scenes to give this duo another chance.
Curious to find out more? Here’s a sneak peek from “Second Chance Chanukah”:
“How’d he do today?” Danny asked. Jess noted how his voice was soft, gentle and filled with concern. She understood why. Kids had a hard enough time adjusting to a new school under the best of circumstances, and these were less than ideal.
“I think it was a little hard for him today. The kids were sort of all over the place because of vacation so they weren’t as nice as they could have been.”
Jess saw the disappointment in Danny’s face. Without thinking, she reached out and touched his arm, catching his jacket beneath her fingers. His glaze lowered to where her hand lay. Jess quickly yanked her hand away and took a step back.
“Sorry,” she muttered. What the heck was wrong with her? Yes, she just wanted to reassure Danny that things would work out for Seth. It was what she would do for any other parent. And she was thinking of Danny as a parent, not her former boyfriend. So why didn’t she keep her hands to herself? Finding her voice again, Jess said, “I think next week will be better. There’re a couple of kids who I think he would get along well with. I’ll make sure to pair them up on some classwork next week.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
Danny flicked his thumb toward the car. “I better get going.”
“Me too,” Jess said, her voice cracking just a bit. She could have gone years without seeing Danny Adler again, but now that she had a part of her didn’t want him to go despite all the pain he’d caused her. She had so many questions. “It was good seeing you.”
“You too, Jess. Take care.”
Jess started to walk away. The more distance they got the better off they’d both be. The last thing Danny needed was her complicating things for him. And after the fiasco with Mike she definitely didn’t need any more drama in her life, especially the kind that revolved around men.
She made it all of about five steps before spinning around. “Danny?”
“There’s a Chanukah party and menorah lighting tonight at the synagogue. You and Seth should go.”
Danny had his hands on the car door. “Will you be there?”
“My sister will kill me if I don’t show. So, yes, I’ll be there.”
“Well then, I guess I’ll see you then.”
Jess nodded as she headed back to the school. Danny Adler was back in Crestview and back in her life. Suddenly money woes were the least of her problems. Once Danny had been her everything. She’d understood why he had to marry Livvie, but it hadn’t been easy to move on without him. He’d torn a bit of her heart out and it had never fully healed. So how exactly was she going to deal with him for the rest of the school year?
“Second Chance Chanukah” is already available for the Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, and on Smashwords, and will be available for BN’s Nook shortly. You can learn more about this book and my other writings as my blog: Faygiestake.blogspot.com.
- Fay Alter
Do you have a favorite holiday novella? Let us know in the comments below. And for more contemporary love stories, be sure to check out our Everything Romance Page!