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Small Town, Big Dreams: A Smitten Novella

Small Town, Big Dreams: A Smitten Novella

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Small Town, Big Dreams: A Smitten Novella

5/5 (1 clasificación)
159 página
1 hora
Jun 5, 2012


When a group of friends devise a plan to turn Smitten, Vermont, into the country’s premier romantic getaway, Julia finds her own true love along the way.

With the local lumber mill closing, residents wonder if their town can stay afloat. Then four friends and local business owners—Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese—decide the town is worth saving. How will they do it? They’ll turn Smitten into a honeymoon destination!

In "Small Town, Big Dreams" by Kristin Billerbeck, Julia Bourne has big city dreams for her hometown of Smitten. Will grill owner, Jake Grant, send her plans up in smoke?

Excerpted from Smitten, a novel in four parts written by Christian Fiction’s most popular romance novelists—and real life BFFs!

Jun 5, 2012

Sobre el autor

Kristin Billerbeck is a Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year.

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Small Town, Big Dreams - Kristin Billerbeck

© 2011 by Kristin Billerbeck

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., books may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson.com.

Scripture quotations are taken from THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved; and HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Kristin Billerbeck is represented by the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920, www.alivecommunications.com.

Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Smitten / Colleen Coble.

     p. cm.

  ISBN 978-1-4016-8494-5 (trade paper)

1. Love stories, American. 2. Christian fiction, American. I. Coble, Colleen.

   PS648.L6S54 2011



Printed in the United States of America

11 12 13 14 15 QG 5 4 3 2 1


Have you ever noticed that life’s biggest blessings are often unexpected? That’s how it was with both our budding friendship and the origination of Smitten.

In the mid-1990s, God began linking us together, first Colleen and Kristin, and a year or so later, Denise. Bonded by our fledgling writing careers, we attended writing conferences, connected daily via e-mail, and eventually wrote a few romantic novella collections together. Our relationship deepened and became the kind of friendship we knew could only be a God thing.

Years later, our careers budding just as our friendship had, God brought us Diann. The lonely business of writing was lonely no more—it was a party for four! Diann frequently teased us about being left out of our previous novella collections, as if she were our group’s third wheel, but nothing could have been further from the truth. The fact was, we fit together like pieces of a heavenly puzzle.

Although our genres took us down slightly different paths, we were constantly connected by love and support—the kind that got us through bouts with cancer, family crises, and all the other storms that came our way.

When the opportunity arose to collaborate on a collection, we were ecstatic. Do what we loved with the people we loved? How could we turn that down? Besides, it was Diann’s dream, and we (including Thomas Nelson) couldn’t have been more eager to grant it.

Hours of brainstorming and hundreds of e-mails later, Smitten )

In many ways, this collection is a celebration of our friendship, a celebration of enduring love, and a celebration of God’s unexpected blessings, all wrapped in one simple book. It’s our greatest hope that you, our readers, will feel a part of it all as you join us on our journey to Smitten.


Colleen, Kristin,

Diann, and Denise


Never has a book been more of a labor of love than Smitten! The four of us have had the best time writing this book together.

But we couldn’t have done it without lots of help. We are so blessed to have been able to do this project with Thomas Nelson. They caught the vision right from the start and entered into a partnership with us with great enthusiasm. A big hug and thanks to publisher Allen Arnold who was quick to tell us he wanted this project. And a big thank-you to our editor, Ami McConnell, who knows each one of us intimately and was able to make suggestions to bring our characters to life. Our team has worked hard on the project all along so we will be showing our gratitude with hugs and DeBrand truffles to Marketing Director Eric Mullett, Publicity Manager Katie Bond, cover designer Kristen Vasgaard, Marketing Specialist Ashley Schneider, Publicist Ruthie Harper, and editors Becky Monds, Jodi Hughes, Natalie Hanemann, and Amanda Bostic. Our terrific sales team is already hard at work too and we couldn’t do much without them! Love you all! And our agents, Karen Solem and Lee Hough, have been a huge help as we put together this very different story. Thanks, friends!

A special thanks to Rick Acker for spending precious conference time sitting and brainstorming with us last year. He helped us flesh out our plot with some great suggestions. And our editor, L.B. Norton, was phenomenal on this project. She caught the inconsistencies that no one else could. And our families are always our backbones as we juggle life and career.

Our biggest thank-you goes to God who brought the four of us together in a bond of unbreakable friendship. We are all so different, and yet one, in our love for Christ and for one another.


















Julia Bourne paced in front of the metal hangar at S mitten’s r egional a irport. There’s nothing to be nervous about, she told herself, but her body wouldn’t comply. No amount of positive thinking would allow her to relax. Her dress, a simple cotton sheath from Tahari’s previous season, clung to her in the sticky June heat. She wished she could stay cool under pressure like one of her New York socialite clients, but Julia wore her nerves like a conspicuous piece of jewelry.

It was bad enough she’d had to endure the stares of the town as she walked about in stilettos, but to convince Devlin Stovich that Smitten was ready for an upscale spa seemed utterly ridiculous at the moment. One local coffee shop and a few dessert places didn’t exactly scream Fifth Avenue. She felt like a child wobbling about in her mother’s high heels, and her hometown felt like preschool next to the sophistication of New York City. At that moment she wanted to abandon the whole scheme and beg Devlin to let her have her job back.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. Julia’s mom still needed her. Smitten’s mill was closed now, and all that remained of the once bustling logging town were the Sugarcreek Mountain Ski Resort ten minutes outside of town and one square block of struggling but infinitely quaint shops and a few modest inns. Julia and her friends were convinced that the town’s only hope of success was to redefine itself as a romantic destination, worthy of hometown hero and country singing sensation Sawyer Smitten’s Hollywood-style wedding. Any romantic destination needed what Smitten had to offer: gorgeous scenery, outdoor activities for both summer and winter, and, naturally, a high-end spa. She tried to summon her friend Natalie’s enthusiasm for the future as she waited.

Julia held her breath as the Learjet glided elegantly onto the runway, the same way a flock of geese landed on a summer lake. She tugged at the collar of her fitted dress and wished she’d worn something more appropriate for life in Smitten. Devlin would know it was last season’s dress, and there was no sense putting on airs when asking for money and his support. Reality required a certain humility. She needed to stay in Smitten for her parents’ sake, and Smitten needed to find a new industry for its future. Tourism seemed the logical choice.

The private jet unfolded from its side like a metal yawn and thrust down a set of stairs. Julia’s heart pounded at the sight of Devlin’s tall, intimidating frame. He’d come without an entourage, and for that she felt grateful.

Even her best friends didn’t understand the honor of socialite Devlin visiting their town, but the full weight of it pressed on Julia. She paced some more and practiced the breathing techniques Devlin had taught her for dealing with a particularly difficult client. Breathe in, hold for three seconds, exhale deeply, forcing out the air. To Smitten, Devlin was just another prospective businessman. To anyone in the spa business, he was a rock star. She watched him leave the plane.

Devlin Stovich’s awkward looks worked for him. His dirty blond locks curled around his strong jawline. There was almost a comical air to him, as if he were playing a 1950s Julius Caesar role, but his charm gave him that it factor that invited awe and commanded respect. He always wore silky black slacks with a black turtleneck, like a theater arts major. In the summer he switched out his turtleneck with a short-sleeved knit—also in black. Whenever he left the spa, he threw a gray linen sport coat over his uniform, and what seemed a lack of creativity became fashion-forward. For as trendy as he appeared in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, he looked equally ridiculous in Smitten.

She’d lost sight of him, when suddenly large hands surrounded her waist and lifted her up from the floor, twirled her around full circle, and placed her back down in her original spot.

Devlin laughed heartily. I will never get tired of that, lifting that lithe, tiny figure. Julia, you are the picture of health. He kissed her on both cheeks, as was his custom. I think country life agrees with you. Look at your skin. He brushed her cheek with his thumb. It’s like pure springwater. I wish I could take credit for it, but in Manhattan we can only work with what we have, and we’ll never have this clear air.

"You can take credit for my skin. I’m using all your products, and it doesn’t hurt that I learned from the best."

Always my best cheerleader. It’s so dreary in the spa without your perky personality. He gripped both of her hands. Come back to me.

Is that a marriage proposal? she answered flirtatiously.

Devlin grinned. I’m not the marrying kind, Julia, or I might say yes. I see far too many beautiful women in a day to stay true to one. But if I were going to stay true, you’d be my girl.

Such an offer. Too bad I’m not a gambling woman.

I wouldn’t say that. I saw the size of this town from the air. An upscale spa here? He shook his head and stared across the expansive but empty parking lot. One of my estheticians will quit eventually. You can come back to New York then.

She frowned. "I’ve made a commitment, Dev. Smitten needs me. Manhattan needs you. We have to face that what we have is

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  • (5/5)
    I absolutely loved the town of Smitten, and the characters.
    Julia, as the main character is so lovable, she's a bit stubborn and at times you just want to wack her over the head, but that adds to her charm.
    I love the family feel of the story and the Christian elements, leaving everything to God and faith in Him is always the best.
    It was a great plot and a sweet novella. I could read it again and again!
    Thank you Kristin for proving that romance doesn't have to be raunchy to be readable.