Burning Bright

Burning Bright

This December, take a break from dreidel spinning, gelt winning, and latke eating to experience the joy of Chanukah. When you fall in love during the Festival of Lights, the world burns a whole lot brighter

It’s definitely not love at first sight for Amanda and her cute but mysterious new neighbor, Ben. Can a Chanukah miracle show them that getting off on the wrong foot doesn’t mean they can’t walk the same road?

Lawyers in love, Shari Cohen and Evan Sonntag are happy together. But in a moment of doubt, he pushes her away—then soon realizes he made a huge mistake. To win her back, it might take something like a Chanukah miracle.

When impulsive interior designer Molly Baker-Stein barges into Jon Adelman’s apartment and his life intent on planning the best Chanukah party their building has ever seen, neither expects that together they just might discover a Home for Chanukah.

All Tamar expected from her Israel vacation was time to hang out with one of her besties and to act like a tourist, cheesy t-shirt and all, in her two favorite cities. She definitely was not expecting to fall for Avi, a handsome soldier who’s more than she ever dreamed.

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The new neighbor on the ground floor had told Amanda his name was Ben, and the package that had been delivered to her apartment by accident was addressed to B. Schneider. It had to be his. There weren’t any other new tenants in the Valencia, and she already knew everyone else. Ben hadn’t been home when she tried to drop off the package, so she’d left a sticky note on his door inviting him to come up and get it.

When the soft knock came at her door, Amanda almost didn’t hear it. She’d been watching one of the old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials on TV, the one with the Heat Miser. Her guilty pleasure. She loved that guy and his catchy tune. She was still singing when another, louder rap came at the door, and she opened it to reveal the tall, lean man dressed in a pair of black jeans and a matching black hoodie over a gray T-shirt.

“Hi, Ben, c’mon in.”

He nodded and held up the sticky note. “Amanda, right?”

“Yep.” She stepped aside to let him pass, noticing his hesitation and the way he looked at the mezuzah on her doorjamb before he came through the doorway. “I have it here somewhere, hold on. Let me find it.”

Her living room was a chaos of wrapping paper and boxes. She’d been putting together gifts for her family and friends, as well as about a dozen presents she’d bought for the angels she’d plucked off the Christmas tree outside the department store. She kicked aside a plastic bag of bubble wrap, thinking maybe his package was there on the floor, but nope.

“Must’ve put it on the table,” she said over her shoulder. “You know how it is, you put something somewhere to keep it safe, but then you forget where you put it.”

He hesitated again before following her around the mess in the living room and through the arched doorway into the dining room. “Thanks for keeping it safe for me.”

“Most of the time this place is pretty secure, but this time of year it’s not good to leave packages out in the lobby.” She lifted a shifting pile of shiny gift bags that slipped from her grasp and scattered.

Ben bent to help her gather them. “Yeah. Christmas. Lots of deliveries, I guess.”

Amanda gave him a glance as she found the medium-sized box and handed it to him in exchange for the bags he’d picked up. “Yep. Here you go.”

He weighed the box in his hands, turning it to look at the return address with a frown. He tapped the label. Then he tucked it under his arm and looked around her apartment.

“No tree,” he said.

“I’m Jewish,” Amanda said with a shrug.

“But you’re wrapping Christmas presents.”

She laughed. “Well … just because I’m Jewish doesn’t mean I can’t send Christmas presents to friends or family who celebrate. A bunch of them are toys or pajamas and stuff for needy kids that I picked from the angel tree. I try to do that every year.”

Ben’s brow furrowed. “That’s generous.”

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” Amanda said, keeping herself from singing the words, but only barely. At the look on his face, she shook her head. “No? All the lights, the goodwill, the cheer? Doesn’t do it for you, huh?”

Ben looked surprised. “I didn’t say that.”

“It can be a hard time of year for people, too,” she said, wondering if he were one of them. When he didn’t offer up any information, she added, “But welcome to the Valencia.”