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Coral Holiday (Coral Cottage #3)

Coral Holiday (Coral Cottage #3)

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A heartwarming holiday beach special.

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Book Description

Book 3, Coral Cottage Series

Marina Moore’s new Coral Cafe is a Summer Beach favorite of locals and visitors alike. When her sister Kai throws her energy into helping create a Summer Beach performing arts theater, the entire family gets involved. Soon they are in a race to open by the holiday season.

As former investigative journalist, Jack Ventana struggles to adapt to his new role as a single father in a small beach town, his relationship with Marina suffers. Will this winter bring them together or force them apart? Join Marina and Kai as they involve the entire Summer Beach community in fundraising and casting a new holiday show to celebrate the joy of Christmas and winter holidays.

From USA Today bestselling author Jan Moran, Coral Holiday is the third novel in the Summer Beach: Coral Cottage series.

Read A Sample

“The new theater production sounds fabulous,” Marina said to her sister as she swept carrot scraps into her compost can in the kitchen of the Coral Cafe. Her grandmother’s garden would thrive with the rich compost.


“You can read the script if you want.” Kai leaned across the counter. With her glittery T-shirt of a surfing Santa Claus, Kai was already in the spirit of the coming holiday season. “What are you making?”


“Carrot cake. Brooke brought a fresh harvest from her garden this morning. I’m adding new autumn and winter dishes to the seasonal menu.” Marina nodded toward a rack in the kitchen.

“There are warm cranberry-orange muffins if you want one.” 


“Yum,” Kai said, plucking one from a pan. “I have you down for the role of the mother in the play. A young mother,” she added with a wink.


“Thanks for the distinction,” Marina said, smiling. “But I’d rather not be on stage.”


“You’re kidding, right?” Kai turned on Christmas music and sat cross-legged on a bench at the chef’s table, nibbling her muffin. “You were on the air every day for years, so I know it can’t be stage fright.”


“Reading the news before camera operators is hardly the same as performing before a live audience,” Marina said.


Kai and Axe, a local construction contractor, were launching their inaugural theater production at the new Summer Beach Performing Arts Center, which they’d nicknamed the Seashell because of its curved, half-dome shape. Axe had been dreaming of developing the hillside land for an amphitheater for years.


“You performed your role as a news anchor,” Kai said, sweeping her wavy strawberry blond hair into a topknot and poking a pencil from the table through it. “What’s the difference?”


“I wasn’t angling for laughs. You’re the entertainer, not me.” Her sister had been touring with a musical theater group for years before her ex-fiancé had tendered her resignation and she lost her position with the troupe. “Besides, I’m through with that on-air life.”


“It’s just our friends and neighbors.” Kai leaned forward, her elbows resting on her jeans.


“That’s even worse.”


“Don’t tell me you’re afraid of them.”


“Petrified.” Marina made a face and pushed up the sleeves on her floral-print chef jacket. Even though the beach had taken on an autumnal chill, it was still warm in the kitchen. 


Marina had been baking—and tasting—since early this morning. Cinnamon-dusted churros and blueberry tarts were already going fast with patrons. She might never have her sister’s lean frame again, but Marina was petite, and every morsel lingered on her waistline. Still, she was so happy to be running the cafe she’d dreamed of for so long.


Kai grinned. “It’s Jack, isn’t it?”


Marina shot her sister a glare to quell her questions. “Who would make the picnic boxes?” This past summer, she’d made take-out boxes for customers to buy during the afternoon shows. Those shows had been to test attendance. People brought blankets to sit on and performers practiced material meant for larger venues. Marina had sold enough boxed sandwiches and sides to make it worthwhile. 


“Brooke can serve the food boxes.” Kai poked out her lower lip in a pout. “Come on. I haven’t found anyone else to cast in your part.”


“I’m sure you will. Or write her out of the musical.” Marina slipped off her jacket and fanned her face. 


Even though the high summer season had ended, visitors still filled the beach on sunny days. That would diminish during the coming holidays and winter, so Marina couldn’t lose her focus over a holiday production. 


She looked up from her work. Kai had gone uncharacteristically quiet. “And stop pouting. That hasn’t worked on me since high school.”


“Ha, that’s what you think.” Kai laughed. “Audition sign-ups start today, and you might lose the part I wrote for you. Besides, it won’t be the same without you.”


“Give it up, Kai. I’m far too busy.” Marina turned away to wipe down the counter.


Just then, a customer with shocking pink hair and a tiny dog in a matching puppy pack waved at them from the patio. Marina nodded back. “Gilda at table number three needs her check.”


“What do I charge for her Chihuahua’s plate?”


“You’re kidding, right? It was only three bites. Besides, Pixie always eats for free here.” Grinning, Marina wound her damp rag and popped it in her sister’s direction. “Get back to work.”


Kai slid off the bench. “You’ll be sorry,” she called over her shoulder as she flounced from the kitchen. 


Marina chuckled, but she was determined to stay out of the production, even though her sister had adapted the story from a beloved classic with Axe. She suspected that feelings were developing between them.


As she disinfected and wiped down the countertop, she watched Kai. Her sister hadn’t seemed this happy since she’d won a part in her first touring production. And now, she was writing and planning to direct. To pique everyone’s interest and entice them to attend auditions, Kai had been keeping the actual story a secret. 


Tonight was the big unveiling and invitation to sign up for parts. Kai had planned on holding the event at their grandmother’s Coral Cottage. When interest outgrew the venue, she shifted it to the Seabreeze Inn that their friends Ivy and Shelly ran.


Usually, Marina would do anything for Kai. But not this time. 


Her reasons were none of Kai’s business—although she did want to see Kai and Axe succeed.


Last spring, when Axe had built the dining patio and renovated the guest cottage on her grandmother Ginger’s beach house, he’d heard Kai singing through an open window.


Kai had worked with Axe all summer on staging and promoting the new outdoor amphitheater. His construction team built a temporary stage that was little more than a platform, and audiences gathered on blankets and folding chairs to listen to local musicians and watch school drama club skits. They had productions during daylight hours because electrical was still being installed. By the end of the summer, the heavy construction began, and Axe and his team built a larger stage with professional lighting.


The first real production would be the holiday special.

Book Reviews

“A wonderful story… Will make you feel like the sea breeze is streaming through your hair.” – Laura Bradbury, Bestselling Author

“A novel that gives fans of romantic sagas a compelling voice to follow.” – Booklist 

“An entertaining beach read with multi-generational context and humor.” – InD’Tale Magazine
 
“Wonderful characters and a sweet story.” – Kellie Coates Gilbert, Bestselling Author
 
“A fun read that grabs you at the start.” – Tina Sloan, Author and Award-Winning Actress
 
“Jan Moran is the queen of the epic romance.” —Rebecca Forster, USA Today Bestselling Author

“The women are intelligent and strong. At the core is a strong, close-knit family.” — Betty’s Reviews

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