Just Home for the Holidays

Just Home for the Holidays, a Christmas romance novella and #7 in the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke

Chloe has plans…

Running the finances at Flatiron Five Fitness West is steadily making her goal of financial independence come true. Returning to New York for Christmas should be routine, but her mom starts matchmaking—and Chloe needs a plus-one fast. When Hunter volunteers, Chloe decides he’s the perfect choice—she’ll never get emotionally involved with a guy who doesn’t worry about tomorrow. It doesn’t hurt that he’s hot, or that he kisses like he invented it—but when Chloe discovers that Hunter hates Christmas, she needs to know why. How much will she surrender to unlock his secrets? And how will she keep herself from falling in love once she does?



Hunter lives in the moment…

He’s learned the hard way that tomorrow might never come and is determined to make every day count. The problem is Christmas—he needs a major distraction to keep his memories at bay. A fake date to a fancy charity event with his gorgeous co-worker, Chloe, is definitely out of the ordinary for him, but Hunter loves a challenge. What could be a better one than breaking every one of Chloe’s rules? It’s all fun until Chloe decides to help Hunter put the past behind him—when she demands more than a fling, can Hunter learn to believe in the future again?


Five stars!
This is the most absolutely perfect story. I loved everything about this story, I couldn’t put it down. It was like a movie was playing in my head. It wasn’t rushed, it wasn’t too Hallmark-y, it was just…..perfect.

Amazon reviewer Debbie Fuller

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Five Stars!
Flatiron Fitness is always fun to return to and this time around we have a guy who lives in the moment, has deep scars, and doesn’t want any sort of commitment, oh, and hates Christmas. We also have Chloe who likes and lives by her plans, doesn’t like surprises, and needs a fake date ASAP while in town for the Holidays so her mom doesn’t try to set her up with her ex. Enter Hunter who, until now, has never noticed her because she hid behind her conservative clothes and glasses, but she has gone through a change and he likes that change. I enjoyed their story and how he got more than he expected or wanted because Chloe decides that he is worth more than a one-night stand. I enjoyed how it evolved and the ending was sweet and romantic. Loved it.

Rendezvous with a Romance

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A Country Christmas Wedding, the bonus epilogue to Just Home for the Holidays, book seven of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke

Come to a Christmas wedding at Hunter and Chloe’s farm, one year after the end of Just Home for the Holidays. When Hunter and Chloe exchange their vows, each has a surprise for the other to make their wedding day complete.

A Country Christmas Wedding is the free bonus epilogue for Just Home for the Holidays. You can download it just for subscribing to my monthly newsletter, Heroes & Happy Endings.

Look for the link at the end of the ebook – or below:

Use this link to sign up for Heroes & Happy Endings and get A Country Christmas Wedding if you’re not already a subscriber.

If you’re already a subscriber to Heroes & Happy Endings, get your bonus read here.

Find it on Goodreads.


Just Home for the Holidays is also available in mass market paperback.


An excerpt from Just Home for the Holidays:

“Babies everywhere,” Chloe said to Theo in an undertone. “Good thing there’s daycare at the club.”

“That’s thanks to Hunter and his yummy mummy marketing initiative,” Sonia said. “Wow, is that ever working. Who knew there were so many women with babies and infants in our neighborhood?”

“I did,” Hunter himself said, ducking into the room with his usual cocky grin. He bowed with a flourish and Chloe’s heart took a little skip. She’d forgotten how just his presence affected her equilibrium. Not that it mattered. Hunter didn’t even know she was alive. She couldn’t keep herself from stealing a look. He looked just as reckless, unpredictable, and hot as she remembered—maybe a little more buff.

He took a seat and spun it with a flourish. “Never let it be said that I don’t do my homework.” He sounded and acted even more like Kyle, the cocky jock and idea guy who led the F5F West team. Chloe didn’t doubt that he was like Kyle in other ways—although Kyle had ended his string of one-nighters once he and Lauren had connected.

“Maybe you just got lucky,” Sonia teased.

“I can’t get lucky often enough.” Hunter grinned as the others groaned. “Seriously, they’re out there, pushing strollers through the park, lining up for lattes. You just have to keep your eyes open.”

“And what’s the next trend, Mr. Eyes Open?” Theo asked with a smile.

“The fab fifties,” Hunter replied without missing a beat. “Haven’t you noticed how many are signing up for yoga? We need to look at the schedule and make sure we offer enough classes in time slots that work for them. Most of them have day jobs. We maybe should ramp up our offerings on evenings and weekends.”

Cassie made a note. “That’s a good point.”

“Hey, it’s what I do,” Hunter said easily. “Come on, Meesha, put me on your shipping board as a reward for services rendered.”

“You’ve been on there this year already,” she complained. “We don’t want people to get bored.”

“But I like to see their suggestions. Taylor Swift made the list last time.” Hunter was as confident of his place at the center of the universe as ever. He scanned the room, then spotted Chloe.

His jaw literally dropped. His eyes widened as he did a double-take. For the first time in Chloe’s experience, Hunter Tate was dumbstruck.

The sight pleased Chloe more than she knew it should. She straightened her glasses for a better look. She felt like she’d been struck by lightning but knew better than to make much of any sign of interest from a guy like Hunter.

He was totally not her type.

She wasn’t his, either.

But it was only natural to feel triumphant that she wasn’t invisible any more.

Meesha was looking between them, consideration in her dark eyes.

But Chloe knew better that to be seduced. She gave Hunter a brisk wave. “Good to see you, Hunter,” she said in her most professional boss-lady voice. “As usual, you’re last. Shut the door please, Meesha. Everyone take a seat, and let’s get started.” She enjoyed Hunter’s astonishment, even as Theo got Kyle on the big screen and she pulled up the agenda.

“Hey, Kyle,” Damon said when that partner called a greeting from San Francisco.

“Hey, everybody. How’s the weather in Manhattan? Not to make you jealous or anything—” There was a collective groan, because that was exactly what Kyle wanted to do and they all knew it “—but we’re going down to the beach for a barbeque tonight.”

There was a groan, because everyone knew that snow was forecast for the east coast—and Kyle knew it. Behind him on the big screen was a sweep of blue sky. Chloe knew exactly where he was sitting at the club.

“There will be bikinis,” Kyle added with a wise nod. “And surfers.”

“Beam me over there,” Hunter said as everyone laughed again.

Chloe cleared her throat and the group fell silent. “Our agenda tonight includes the November financials, the holiday promotion plan, a suite of new classes for January, some ideas for Valentine’s Day marketing to couples, plus a report on our web content…”

Before Chloe had gone west, Hunter hadn’t even noticed her. He’d been barely aware of her existence, unless he wanted his pay check early and Jax wouldn’t give it to him. And now, he was watching her with a hunger that Chloe liked just fine. There was power in being at her best and that fed her confidence in a new way.

She had a plan for her life and it didn’t include guys like Hunter, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be glad he thought she looked hot.


Who would have guessed?

Quiet, conservative Chloe Richardson had been replaced by a sexy, svelte boss lady with legs up to her neck. Damn. Hunter could have looked at her all night. She was polished, with poise to spare, and exuded confidence in a way that made him want to drop to his knees and worship at her altar. She could have been a movie star, her movements graceful and elegant, her legs smoothly muscled and her lips so lush that Hunter wanted to run his fingertips across them.

No, he wanted to kiss them. He wanted to back Chloe into the wall, take off her glasses and unpin her hair. He wanted to unwrap that sexy librarian look and loose the tigress trapped inside. He wanted to kiss her until she moaned. He wanted her to make him a list of just what she wanted, in very precise terms, then he would deliver on every single item. He wanted to peel her out of that black suit and make love to her until she begged for mercy. She could keep those heels on. They worked for him in a big way.

He didn’t disguise his interest, but instead of being on the same proverbial page, Chloe had spared him only one glance of amusement—or maybe pity. Hunter prayed that it wasn’t pity. Then she ignored him as if he didn’t even exist.

Women did not ignore Hunter Tate.

Not the ones who counted anyway.

Could this be his holiday challenge? Hunter knew Chloe well enough to understand that her life was a spreadsheet, all planned from one day to the next, with no room for surprises. She was probably in tight with some business dude, like Tyler, all expensive suits and fancy cars, big money and private jets, and they probably had a twenty-year plan all worked out and carved in stone. There wouldn’t be any living in the moment with Chloe: no impulse, no whims, no sudden detours.

What if he took it as a challenge to teach her how to have fun?

It would be doing her a favor.

He was pretty sure Chloe wouldn’t see it that way.

Could he change her mind? Hunter was tempted to try. He spent the meeting considering numerous possibilities and discarding them as implausible. She’d have an answer to every suggestion, inevitable refusals, most based on her existing schedule.
How did people live like that?

Hunter made his presentation about the roll-out of more fitness classes for new mothers in the new year but wasn’t really paying attention to much beyond Chloe’s note-taking.

They were packing up and he had no plan, then Chloe’s phone chimed.

Chloe shook her head when she looked at the text message. “Oh, Mom,” she said with resignation, then looked around the room with what might have been desperation. “I don’t suppose any of you know a hunk with a tux who’s available Friday night?”

It was the opening Hunter needed.

Sonia grinned. “If I did, he’d be busy,” she said and Meesha laughed.

“I do,” Hunter said and waited for her to look at him. “I am,” he added with a smile.

“You?” she said.

“Me.”

“What about the dance club?” Damon asked.

“Jax made me take a Friday off. This one.” He smiled at Chloe. “My dance card is open.”

“And you have a tux,” Meesha said, folding her arms across her chest to eye him.
“Color me skeptical. No rental is going to cut it for any party Chloe’s going to.” She turned to Chloe. “Isn’t this your mom’s annual charity ball with all that Upper East Side money?”

“That’s the one,” Chloe said, meeting Hunter’s gaze. “All the fancy people will be there. I don’t think you’d like it.”

“You don’t know, though,” he countered. “And I’d like to find out. Come on, let’s do it, Chloe.” He lowered his voice, letting her worry about the double-entendre. “Are you afraid to take a chance on something that isn’t already on your calendar?”

She bristled predictably. People who loved their routines hated having that trait pointed out to them in Hunter’s experience. “Of course not.” She raised a hand. “It’s just…you.”

“Not good enough for you?”

“I don’t think we have a lot in common.”

“Opposites attract.”

“My mom would never believe we’re a couple.”

“Does that really matter?”

She opened her mouth and closed it again.

Hunter closed the distance between them with a single step, liking how her eyes widened a little. “I dare you to take a chance. Just one little one.”

“And take you to my mom’s charity ball.”

“I don’t see a line of other candidates, and it’s already Wednesday night.” Chloe’s eyes narrowed and he knew she was thinking of another objection, so he spoke quickly. “What time should I pick you up, and where?”


An excerpt from Just Home for the Holidays
Copyright © 2020 Deborah A. Cooke


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