Romance With a Dose of Sweet Sugar and a Dash of Steamy Spice!

Romance With a Dose of Sweet Sugar and a Dash of Steamy Spice!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Happy Holidays! My Christmas Romance Collection

Happy holidays, friends! As many of you know by now, Christmas is my favorite holiday. The decorations went up right after Thanksgiving, gifts have been wrapped for weeks, and I've watched more X-Mas movies than I can count. Each year, I am so inspired to write holiday stories, and 2021 was no exception. I actually wrote two! Keep reading to find out more about those novels as well as my books of Christmas past! 💓

CHRISTMAS IN FULL BLOOM is my sweet holiday romance that was released in October via Tule Publishing. It is my following up to LOVE AT THE ICICLE CAFE, which was published by Tule last year. Here's the scoop:

This Christmas, can they slow down long enough to smell the roses and fall in love?

When savvy, up-and-coming floral designer Lauren Beal returns home to Maple Valley, Michigan, for her sister’s holiday wedding, she’s determined to be the perfect maid of honor. She didn’t expect the best man to be the college crush she’d reluctantly left behind to pursue her Chicago-based dreams.

Family practice doctor Mel Jennings always knew he’d remain rooted in Maple Valley to work for his father’s clinic. He happily juggles his demanding practice with philanthropic endeavors that connect him to his tight-knit community. Sparks fly when he reunites with Lauren, the one who ran away. As they enjoy Maple Valley’s Christmas festivities, Mel remembers how close they once were. But can they ever have a future?

Lauren finds herself falling for Mel and suspects the feelings are mutual. Yet they’re both pulled in different directions by work and family. Will the pair find a moment alone during the hectic holiday season to figure things out, or will they miss their chance at love once again?

A few fun facts:

💗 Lauren's dream of becoming a floral designer was inspired by my mother, who used to create the most beautiful flower arrangements for family and friends back when I was a teenager.

💗 The book takes place in Chicago and Maple Valley, Michigan. I was born and raised in Chicago, and Maple Valley is a fictitious town. The details surrounding this warm, cozy community were inspired by Leavenworth, Washington. Leavenworth is known for being a magical place around Christmastime, with its elaborate holiday decor, snowy atmosphere and holiday festivals. Needless to say, it served as an excellent muse during my world-building process.

💗 My novel's hero was inspired by actor Morris Chestnut after seeing him play a pediatrician in the film The Brothers. But unlike Morris' character, Mel is no commitment-phobe. These two handsome heroes were both simply good, intelligent, fun-loving men.


My second holiday novel of 2021 is a romantic thriller titled, BAYOU CHRISTMAS DISAPPEARANCE. The book was released via Harlequin Intrigue in early December. Here's the scoop:

She’ll help him find a kidnapped victim. He’ll keep her alive in the process...

Mona Avery is a hardworking investigative journalist known for her uncanny ability to assist law enforcement in solving criminal investigations. As her long, grueling year of covering cases draws to a close, she looks forward to leaving southern California behind and spending Christmas with her family in Evergreen, Colorado. But Mona’s holiday plans are put on hold when she learns that her old college roommate Olivia Whitman has gone missing. She hops on the first flight out to Lake Landry, Louisiana to cover the case.

Detective Dillon Reed is new to Lake Landry’s police department. He’d worked for the Baton Rouge PD for over ten years before growing tired of the city’s high-crime rate. As he settles into peaceful Lake Landry, the last thing Dillon expects is for a high-profile missing persons case to land on his desk. He’s shocked when Chief of Police Richard Boyer assigns him to head up the Olivia Whitman investigation.

Dillon is under an immense amount of pressure to solve the case considering the prominent nature of Olivia’s family, known for their vast real estate fortune. He hopes to keep the investigation out of the media as much as possible so not to jeopardize its integrity. Just as Dillon begins examining the circumstances surrounding Olivia’s disappearance, in walks the beautiful hotshot investigative journalist, Mona Avery.

The pair immediately clash. Cracking Dillon’s hardened demeanor proves difficult for Mona. While she can’t help but feel drawn to his rugged sexiness, his aloof behavior is off-putting to say the least. As for Dillon, the last thing he needs is for Olivia’s investigation to turn into a media circus. He’s convinced Mona’s involvement will do just that. Despite being uncontrollably mesmerized by her, he refuses to participate in any of her on-air broadcasts and is standoffish when she attempts to delve further into the case with him.

But when Mona begins receiving deadly threats, it becomes clear that a killer wants her story silenced. And only Dillon can keep her safe…

A few fun facts:

💗 The book was inspired by the film Gone Girl. But once you read it, you'll see that Bayou Christmas Disappearance has a much different twist.

💗 I'd originally titled the book CAPTURED AT CHRISTMAS. But come to find out, that title had already been chosen by another Harlequin author. So I switched it to TAKEN AT CHRISTMAS. Then when I submitted book cover ideas to the art department, I described a scene where my main characters arrive at a rundown shack located in a swampy marsh, near a haunting sugar cane field. The marketing team was so inspired by the scene that they suggested we change the book's title to represent it. And that's how the name BAYOU CHRISTMAS DISAPPEARANCE came about.

💗 I wrote this book at the top of 2021, during the middle of the pandemic, just as I was selling my condo and planning a move. My anxiety was at an all-time high, and I was struggling to meet my deadline. I have to admit, once the book was done and it was time to edit, I had no idea what I'd be facing. Thankfully, I hadn't written a disaster (lol) and I was quite pleased with the end result. This book is actually one of my favorites. CLICK HERE for more on it!

2020 was a rough year for us all. But there were a few bright spots. The release of LOVE AT THE ICICLE CAFE was definitely one of mine.

I was overjoyed with the feedback this book received from both critics and readers. Publishers Weekly said, "As Mina and Scott rekindle their romance, mouthwatering descriptions of desserts, cozy small-town closeness, and lively secondary characters add excitement. This affecting love story is a delight." The Library Journal wrote, "Wheatley creates a cozy European village setting, combined with mouth-watering descriptions of pastries and a feel-good romance, making this heaven for lovers of made-for-TV holiday movies." Here's more on the book:

Can an icicle-themed festival thaw the most unlikely hearts?

California lawyer Mina Richards spent her childhood helping her mom bake at their winter-themed cafe in the snowy village of Gosberg, Germany. When her retired parents want to sell The Icicle Café, Mina returns to facilitate the sale. She needs this to go right—she’ll fly in, finalize the deal and fly out to rescue her once high-powered career. But faced with Scott, her childhood friend and crush who doesn’t want to sell, Mina’s plan quickly falls apart.

Rising chef Scott Dawson has turned The Icicle Café into a destination restaurant. His parents and their partners want to sell the café to a hotel chain, and Scott can't meet their price. When Mina arrives—more beautiful and determined than ever—he sees the possibility of a new future for the business and the town he loves. He just needs to change her mind…about more than selling the café.

When Scott asks Mina to help with the café’s annual Icicle Fest, their icy relationship warms. Can these former friends find a future together in the snowy village of their past?

A few fun facts:

💗 My father served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in a small German town. Gosberg, the fictional town in LOVE AT THE ICICLE CAFE, was inspired by the stories he'd share with me.

💗 Like Lauren's love of floral design in CHRISTMAS IN FULL BLOOM, Mina's love of baking was also inspired by my mother. Growing up, my mom baked the most delicious lemon sugar cookies and vanilla cakes topped with homemade icing. I miss those days!

💗 Mina and Scott's relationship was inspired by actors Regina Hall and Stephen Bishop, who played enemies-to-lovers in the film With This Ring. I love creating tension between characters, especially when there's an underlying attraction they're struggling to fight.


I'm going to start this one off with a fun fact. I used to do a ton of ghostwriting through Upwork, and the majority of my assignments were erotica. At one point, I thought to myself, self, why don't you start writing your own erotica, under your own name? And that's when I stopped ghostwriting and penned A NAUGHTY JOLLY CHRISTMAS for eXtasy Books. Here's the scoop on the story:

Someone is about to have the best holiday ever...

Sasha Williams is an African-American public relations powerhouse who’s come a long way from Chicago to Los Angeles. While she loves her LA life, she hasn’t forgotten her roots and always goes back home to celebrate Christmas with her tight-knit family. This year, however, Sasha’s holiday plans are nixed when she’s forced to accompany her sexy, notoriously naughty new client Drake Lancaster on a press tour for his upcoming Christmas movie.

Sasha is furious yet finds herself overcome with lust when Drake strolls into her office. She’s surprised considering she has never dated outside of her race. Drake’s attraction toward her is just as intense, and the pair end up partaking in far more than just business.

Despite Sasha’s promise to keep things professional during the press tour, their sensual trysts heat up even further while out on the road. In the end, Sasha must decide whether their cultural differences, along with her secret painful past and Drake’s playboy reputation, are worth her risking her heart and career—especially without knowing whether this is the real thing or a racy fling.

A few fun facts:

💗 I absolutely adore the city of Los Angeles. This book's setting was inspired by the days I've spent in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Century City, soaking in the beauty, business and glamorous atmosphere.

💗 I've met some really wonderful, talented authors who write for eXtasy Books. V.J. Allison, Maggie Blackbird, Dawn Dehel, and Seelie Kay were all so welcoming when I first signed with eXtasy. I learned a lot from them, and I will never forget how generous and supportive they were!

💗 Despite the spicy nature of A NAUGHTY JOLLY CHRISTMAS, I was inspired by several Hallmark holiday movies while writing the story. I had Candace Cameron Bure's film Christmas Under Wraps playing on repeat, which is actually one of my holiday faves. The mix of sweet and spicy ended up being quite motivating.


Thank you so much for stopping by and celebrating the season with me. For more on my collection of books, CLICK HERE. And to follow my writing journey, CLICK HERE!

I hope you enjoy the holidays, and I'll see you next year! XOXO