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Crinkles All the Way by Ann M. Trader--Spotlight

I adored this little novella, Crinkles All the Way, by Ann M. Trader was fun, quick, and romantic while also giving me closure on what happened between the two main characters in her last Christmas novella. Check out my review below.

Review: Benny has never been in love, and even though Claudia was married, she was never technically in love. But when a thrift store, scrapbooked love story sparks a sense of what love really means in Claudia, she might take a chance on Benny, her office crush. Benny isn't sure he's ready to let Claudia all the way in, but his heart has other ideas and may not give him a choice.

But who are these two lovebirds in this mysterious scrapbook? The answer could be closer than we think.

I loved this follow-up to Ann's, The Gingerbread Cookie Code, as we got to see where Clay and Shelby landed with their love story. The shift into Claudia and Benny's story was seamless and well worth the wait. I have no choice but to give this sweet, steamy little novella 5 stars!

If that wasn't enough to entice a purchase, maybe a blurb and excerpt from Ann will put you in the reading mood!

Blurb: Benny O’Brien owns his reputation—carefree bachelor and successful computer design engineer with one of Atlanta’s premier firms. In keeping with the Christmas spirit, he agrees to teach a middle school coding club as a favor to a coworker. He expects to debug computer statements...not his heart.

As the new public relations coordinator at the firm, Claudia Banks spends her days strategizing market segments and her evenings relaxing with her close-knit group of girlfriends…or curling up with a favorite book. When her office crush signs on to her school outreach program, she braces for a lesson in irresistible attraction.

The stakes rise when the two come together over the school’s Christmas dance and a mysterious scrapbook. As secrets tug at their hearts, will they choose honesty and go all in for love?

Excerpt: Benny gazed at the delicate curve of her lips on the rim of her glass and leaned forward. “Are you kidding? I can’t wait for dance lesson number two. How does tomorrow afternoon sound?”

“Whatever you say. After all, you are the one in charge of fun.” Claudia put her glass down and folded her arms on the tabletop.

“Consider me your personal fun coach.”

She smiled, flashing her dimples. “I’ll be sure to add that one to the list.”

Oh, hell. This ought to be good. He quirked an eyebrow.

“You know, the list.” Claudia raised her hand in the shape of a ball. “One, you swim like a fish, good enough to get a scholarship at Georgia Tech. Two, you glide across the dance floor like one of those ballroom dancers on TV.”

Benny shifted his feet beneath the table, his gaze never leaving hers.

“Three, you’ve published at least a half dozen articles in leading technology journals.”

“To be fair, I co-authored them. With Clay.”

She smiled, raising the next finger, undeterred. “Four, the Sweet Georgia Magnolia blog named you a top twenty bachelor. And five, you’re clearly the master of fun.” She fanned her open palm in the air and tossed her hair behind her shoulders. The sparkle in her eyes left him light-headed, mesmerized. “Dare I ask, is there anything Benny O’Brien can’t do?”

Ann was also kind enough to answer some questions I had been dying to ask!

1. What are your favorite characteristics of Claudia and Benny?

Benny is successful and charming, but he has a kind, sensitive side, too. He’s open to love, just not sure it’s ever going to happen for him. Claudia is a romantic and wants to believe her HEA is out there somewhere. She discovers the inner strength to love and trust again.

2. You showed what happened to Clay and Shelby—will you follow up with another story to show us what happens to Claudia and Benny down the road?

Yes, I just might do that! I would enjoy developing that story and sharing it with readers.

3. Were any of your characters based on real people?

No, Benny and Claudia were just a part of my creative thinking, and of course, Benny was introduced in my first Christmas Cookies book, The Gingerbread Cookie Code.

Their story came together rather quickly around the idea of a Christmas Crinkles cookie recipe inside a forgotten scrapbook. I pictured a dynamic male main character, but one with a secret struggle (dyslexia). Similarly, I felt the female main character should be a strong woman searching for a second chance at love.

4. Are you a hopeless romantic like Claudia or cynical like Benny?

Oh, my heart is like Claudia’s. It’s pure romantic!

5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I’m a plotter in the broad sense, but I like to let the pantser side of me have some fun. The freedom to let the characters develop in an organic way is one of the things I love most about writing.

Author Bio: I enjoy spending time with my family, trying out new recipes, and relaxing on my back porch to read and write. These days I take walks around my neighborhood, but when I was sixteen, I hiked the Grand Canyon with a group of friends. I love watching television dramas (in no special order: House of the Dragon, Stranger Things, The Gilded Age, The Last Kingdom, 1883, Outlander, Emily in Paris, Succession, Andor, Yellowstone, Outer Banks, and Peaky Blinders) and reading a great romance book.

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