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It Started One Christmas

(Malcolm, Callie & Keira #1.5)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,378 ratings  ·  144 reviews
One crisp December night, Keira Carlesso takes in yet another stray—this time, a man. Dalton is a brilliant scientist with no home for the holidays. As Christmas works its magic, two strangers become friends, then best friends, then something much, much more…

Susan Mallery’s heartwarming charmer proves that true love is the greatest Christmas gift of all!

Kindle Edition, 88 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by HQN Books
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,378 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, 2019-read
I had no idea that this novella is connected to When We Found Home!! What a great surprise!!

This is a friends-to-lovers holiday story featuring a (now) college-age Keira. She was just a young teenager in When We Found Home and I love catching up to her and her siblings Malcolm and Callie; seeing that everyone is doing well. As the story begins, Keira is minutes away from finishing up with her college classes for the semester. She finds out that another student is sick and without a place to go
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
This one didn't really work for me. The characters are very likable, but the story is thin. Also, Keira is kind of a pita at times. Just wasn't feeling this one.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful surprise to be able to catch up with Keira, and the rest of the Carlesso family, in this holiday novella. I won’t go into the story however I will say that it touched my heart. Having the chance to read how Keira has grown up into a fabulous young woman, with a bit of self-doubt still left over from her childhood, was such fun and heartwarming to the max. She brings home a very sick Dalton, for the holidays, and starts a friendship that is touching and lasts for years. How these ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short and sweet holiday friends to lovers story. Keira is a freshman in college, well known in her family for taking in strays. When this story opens, she is rushing to finish her last class before the holiday break. The TA supervising the lab is visibly ill, which touches Keira's kind heart. When she discovers that he has nowhere to go over the holidays, she insists on taking him home with her.

I loved Keira in these opening scenes. She is a force to be reckoned with and Dalton, in his weakened
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: stand-alones
The plot was super thin, but I hadn't expected differently considering it's only 8o ish pages, still an enjoyable little christmas story
It was nice to see Keira all grown up and settled into her life. It didn't surprise me that she picked up a stray in Dalton, nor the friendship they forged. The choice they made at Disney a couple of years later did surprise me, as did the choice they made after. The aftermath was about was I expected. I was happy when both realized things and admitted it to each other, it made for a very happy ending.
Monique Pearson
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you SO MUCH for this Novella. I love seeing some of life after "happily ever after." Bonus to see Kira as a young adult and having put a lot of her therapy insights to use. This story felt like a gift to lovers of Where We Found Home.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It Started One Christmas!!

I’m so happy Kiera got her book!! I wish Dalton spoke up earlier but it was definitely something they had to work through. Very good book.
The Carlesso Family is known for helping people. When Keira, a college student, brings home a young man who is ill and has no where to go for the holidays no one in the family bats an eye. Dalton, is a brilliant scientist who only dates beautiful women so Keira accepts the fact that he will never be more than friends with her. It is not so hard because she has already decided she does not want to have any relationships, she is going to focus on school and her career int he family business. And, ...more
Valerie Martinez
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I'm so happy to finally hear what became of Kiera. She melted my heart from the beginning, and I couldn't love this story any more.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a nice short story way to catch up w/these characters. I liked them in the first book, so it was cool to see the HEA in this one.
And good to see Keira’s story.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! This is Kiera Carlesso's story. (She was the younger sister in Mallery's wonderful book When We Found Home, which came out last July.) At the time of that book, Kiera was 13. This book begins at the end of Kiera's first sememster of college. Kiera rescues a very ill young man who had been proctoring her last lab of the semester, bringing him home to care for him while he recovers from the flu. When it turns out he has nowhere to go, he spends the holidays with Kiera and her ...more
Linda Joplin
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great novella. Loved Keira's story!
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute friends to lovers - Same Time Next Year type of story!
Tina Christopher
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Utterly wonderful follow-up on Keira, perfect if you loved When We Found Home. Everything takes place over three Christmases and is a wonderful addition to the original story.
Robert Zimmermann
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s coming up on that time of year when I slip in some holiday novellas into my reading. Having finally gotten my hands on a copy of this Susan Mallery novella, it seemed appropriate to start the “season” with it.

I first read of the main character Keira Carlesso in Mallery’s novel When We Found Home earlier this year. This novella continues her story a few years later in her freshman year of college. She was a bit too young in the novel to have her happily ever after like her siblings did. This
Kate Vale
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemp-romance
Christmas is a time for family, but when Keira realized that the guy overseeing her lab work at the university was unwell and had no family to spend the holidays with, she insists on bringing him home to her sister's house. Over the course of that first holiday, they take care of him and thereafter, he spends every Christmas with them. That is, until the one where his French girlfriend also shows up--at least for a short time.

When Keira is a senior, her heartbreak following discovering her
Judy Christiana
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: susan-mallery
This was a novella to continue the story from Susan Mallery's "When We Found Home" book. The main character of this book is Kiera, who readers first met in her teen years. Kiera was such a favorite to Susan's fans that she wrote this novella to bring her to her adulthood and find love.

This was an amazing story. From the beginning of the book, I wanted Kiera to find love with Dalton, a nerdy, sweet man. He was feeling ill at the beginning of the book, which showed how kind Kiera is, and how much
Linda Pennington
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the little sister from When we found home. Keira's story is about how she learned to trust love. This is a shot novella but it tells her story. Keira had a rough childhood where she was abandoned by her druggie Mom and left with someone until child services took her to a foster home. There she saw too much for a young girl.
Malcolm came and rescued her from the foster and took her to her Grandfather. There she lived a life of privilege and finished growing up amid family. She was safe
Leanna Hiner
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We first met Keira this summer in When we Found Home where she came to live with her half sister, half brother and grandfather. She has spent much of her life bringing home stray animals, but the Christmas of her freshman year in college she brings home a teaching assistant that is sick and has no family to spend the holiday with. Keira and Dalton become best friends and they always spend the holidays with her family. One year both of them have just had romantic relationships end and Keira ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved finding out more about the Carlesso family that I met in “When We Found Home.” Keira is the focus of this story, and amazingly, she is all grown up, in every way. She is searching for love in all the wrong places, but not having much luck so far. I loved finding out about her big heart and her continued love for her family! This is a must-read for those who read the previous book and for lovers of all things Susan Mallory.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased a copy of
Dec 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
I’m pretty sure I’m at a disadvantage because I didn’t read the prior books in the series so I had no context for Malcolm, Callie, and Keira. I also didn’t realize when I downloaded the book that it is a super short novella.

The basic premise is a good one. One Christmas Keira brings home a stray—her lab TA from college. The story quickly spans Christmas over a number of years where the two continue to meet up (sometimes with significant others in tow). Then all of a sudden they declare their
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This short novella, 59 pages, is the continuation of When We Found Home with Keira being the main character and having reached adulthood. It details the struggle of her finding her Happily Ever After all while we see how Malcolm and Callie are doing. It wraps up all the character's lives and answered any remaining questions. Though I found myself wanting to sigh at Keira a time or two, overall it was an excellant conclusion. I just wish their were a tad bit more details surrounding Keira and ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great short story. I loved When We Found Home. It introduced us to the Carlesso family and three wonderful characters. When it ended, both Malcolm and Callie's lives were heading toward a great future. But Kiera was still young and adjusting to her new life and family. I was glad that Susan Mallery thought about completing Keira's story. It is several years later and she is in college with a bright future ahead of her in the family business. Who would have thought that her generosity ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved this story of Keira and Dalton. Keira befriends Dalton, who was going to spend the holidays in his car. They soon become close friends and make a pact to celebrate the holidays together every year, even if they are dating other people. Through the years they find they are both hiding something from each other.

This is novella but a packed full story, that I could not put down. I was so excited to see Keira all grown up. Once again Susan Mallery has worked her magic in this wonderful
Amanda Gibson
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Keira from When We Found Home is in college, and takes a fellow student, Dalton, home with her so he doesn’t have to spend Christmas break in his car with a fever. Their Christmas together becomes a tradition, but is threatened by Keira’s realization that she’s in love with Dalton. Will her feelings ruin their friendship. I always enjoy revisiting characters, so it’s fun to see what Keira’s family is up to while Keira figures out her love life. Susan Mallery never disappoints, another great ...more
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Totally enjoyed this story

This was a quick read by one of my favorite authors. Keira and Dalton meet one holiday season and become the best of friends. They vow to spend the holidays together each year from that point on, whether they’re in relationships with others or not. However, both are holding back a secret because both fear losing their special friendship if the other one knew the truth.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cindy Adair
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a sweet heartwarming “Hallmark” Christmas story. However, I was disappointed that it was just a really short novella instead of the 300+ page book as advertised in the details. In a novella there isn’t time to really develop the characters or flesh out the plot. This was basically the general outline with some extra details. Not what I wanted to spend money on. But at least there was a happy ending, so there’s that.
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. She's best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. ...more

Other books in the series

Malcolm, Callie & Keira (2 books)
  • When We Found Home