Time for a Heart-Warming Read?

Do you have a special book or movie you like to pull out during the Christmas season? I’m delighted to introduce you to one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, fellow North Carolinian, Lisa Carter. Today she introduces her new Christmas romance. Now, here’s Lisa.

Thank you so much, Debbie, for hosting me and The Christmas Bargain today. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in fictional Truelove, North Carolina. Let the Christmas fun begin . . .

Many people like to read Christmas-themed books all year long. Others prefer to save them until the holiday season, and then treat themselves with a Christmas book reward. When I’m feeling blue or need encouragement, heart-warming, feel-good Christmas stories uplift, inspire and point me back to God’s greatest gift—His Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Christmas Bargain opens with Lila Penry awakening to a loud crash on the roof of her Arts and Craftsman bungalow. She rushes outside to discover gorgeous Sam Gibson, owner of a paint contracting company, climbing down a ladder leaning against her house. As part of settling the estate, her father has hired Sam to paint the house Lila just inherited from her recently deceased grandmother. Clad in Christmas cat jammies and with bane-of-her-existence, curly red hair in its usual early morning frizz, she’s mortified to be seen by her long ago, unrequited, secret high school crush.

How many times have I rushed out of the house without makeup or the “finishing touches” only to run into someone I know at the grocery store? Has this ever happened to you?

This initial scene when Lila and Sam meet again after so many years came as a result of having my house painted at the time I was writing The Christmas Bargain. Art imitates life! Here’s a photo of my inspiration for Lila’s newly painted house.

I loved writing the sweet chemistry between artistic, socially awkward, Lila and totally-unaware-he’s-a-heartthrob, Sam. Since high school, Lila has become a successful landscape artist. Struggling to build his company, Sam has become the guardian to his five-year-old niece, Emma Cate. But for various reasons stemming from the past, Lila and Sam wrestle with feelings of inadequacy.

I loved writing the sweet chemistry between artistic, socially awkward, Lila and totally-unaware-he’s-a-heartthrob, Sam. ~ @LisaCarter27 #book #writing Click To Tweet

Lila is in a bit of a predicament. She’s soon to be a maid of honor at her best friend’s upcoming winter resort wedding to Lila’s one-time college boyfriend. If that’s not embarrassing enough, all her friends will be there with their significant others. Lila is super desperate not to attend this wedding weekend alone.

It is this heart-in-your-throat desperation that forces Lila beyond her fear into asking the oh-so-out-of-her-league Sam (or at least that’s how Lila perceives herself) into going as her plus one. They strike a bargain, hence the title. Their relationship and the situations that result are oftentimes hilarious and yet also poignant. It’s an eye-opening weekend for both Lila and Sam because each is so much more than the other ever dreamed.

The heart of this story is about learning to believe what God says about us. And, to learn to see ourselves through His eyes of love.

Because of past hurts, Lila believed lies about herself. Instead of trusting that God’s desire was for her good, she thinks she knows better and tries to ensure the outcome she desires. But her attempts only made the situation worse.

Likewise, because of his father’s misdeeds in the past, Sam believed false things about himself, too. This wrong view of himself almost costs him the love, home and family he’s always dreamed of.

On their journey of faith, they learn to embrace the truth about themselves and the truth of how God sees them.

Do you struggle with that? I do. Sometimes, I find myself listening to the negative voices around me. All too often, I’ve believed lies about myself, instead of believing the truth of what God says about me.

God never lies. He loves me. He is faithful. And above all, God is so very, very good.

This is why I wrote this story. The lies of the Enemy seek only to steal our joy, to rob us of our hope for the future, and to destroy the truth about who we are in Christ Jesus.

I pray that you and I will no longer give place to the lies we have believed about ourselves. But that we will see ourselves as God sees us—as His beloved, precious children.

May we always live in light of the happily-ever-after for which we’ve been truly made.

May we always live in light of the happily-ever-after for which we’ve been truly made. ~ Lisa Carter #writer #Christmas Click To Tweet

The Christmas Bargain

All she needs is a date for the holidays…

She needs a date for a wedding.

But a fiancé wasn’t part of the plan…

Unwilling to attend a wedding alone, artist Lila Penry makes a deal with Sam Gibson—art lessons for his adorable niece in exchange for being her date. But their Christmas agreement becomes a nightmare when everyone thinks they’re engaged. All Lila wants is to leave town for her dream job…so what happens when Sam steals his way into her heart?

Author Bio

Multi-published, Daphne and Carol-award winning author Lisa Carter likes to describe her romantic suspense novels as “Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder.” Her latest suspense novel, The Sound of Falling Leaves, released in October.  In addition, she writes contemporary romance with Love Inspired, the popular Truelove Matchmaker series, set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Lisa enjoys traveling and researching her next fictional adventure. A native North Carolinian, she has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball. In the interests of full disclosure, she’s also the kind of person who licks off the icing before she eats the cupcake. Just so you know.

Lisa loves to hear from readers. To connect, visit—




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  1. Melissa Henderson

    I look forward to reading The Christmas Bargain. Sounds like a great story. 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      I am looking forward to it too, Melissa! We need some fun this year!

  2. Marielle

    I loved hearing some of the backstory behind why you wrote this book Lisa. It sounds like a delightful Christmas book! I put it on my list. Thanks for sharing this with us Debbie. I’m visiting today from the instaencouragments link up. Have a great week!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Marielle. I’m waiting for the copy I ordered to arrive.

  3. J.D. Wininger

    Always fun to be introduced to new writers (to me) by friends. Thank you ladies.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, J.D. Lisa is a wonderful writer and does lots of research for her books. She often tackles tough topics in her suspense.

  4. Ann J Musico

    That story sounds amazing! This will definitely go on the list to purchase. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I think we could all use an uplifting story, especially after this stressful year.

  5. mariel

    what a beautiful story this sound like…looking forward to reading more!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Mariel. Thanks for reading today.

  6. Barbara Latta

    This sounds like a really sweet Christmas story to cozy up to the fireplace with and read.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, after this stressful year, that sounds like good medicine!

  7. Jeanne Takenaka

    Deb, this sounds like such a great book! And I love the theme of learning how to see ourselves as God does. What a powerful theme. I think I’m going to have to pick this one up. Thanks for sharing about The Christmas Bargain!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Mine came today! Thanks, Jeanne.

  8. Katherine Pasour

    I always look forward to Lisa’s books. This one sounds wonderful. I love the romance and the Good News message shared in her writing. Thanks, Debbie, for sharing the good news of this release.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I enjoy her books too, Katherine. My pleasure.

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