Rebecca is a hot-shot writer who’s up for a huge promotion, but only if she can ruin her hometown’s treasured secret. Her editor wants her to traipse back to Pine River and find out the identity of the do-gooder behind the town’s beloved tradition, the Angel Tree.
For decades, some kind soul has granted Christmas wishes for townsfolk. And she’s been doing it all anonymously. Of course, Rebecca jumps at the chance for personal gain and heads back to her tiny village for the first time in twenty years, hellbent on getting this new job despite the pain and heartache she will bring to the people she used to consider friends.
Turns out Rebecca has an axe to grind with the Angel Tree. When she was a child, she had to move away from this little slice of heaven because her father got a new job on the other side of the country. She put a wish on the Angel Tree for her family to stay, but Angel ignored it. Resentment has festered inside Rebecca for two decades, churning away at her soul like undiagnosed chronic gastritis, leaving a raging inferno in her gut and a huge hole in her stomach lining.
Matthew runs the local diner and brews up coffee blends out back. He’s also been carrying a torch for Rebecca since she left, surreptitiously following her career and rejoicing when he read about her husband’s untimely demise.
Having her back reminds him of those repressed feelings, but he chooses honor over desire and refuses to give up the secret. She keeps digging and is stonewalled by all the townspeople, completely oblivious to the fact that they don’t want their secret to become tabloid fodder.
Unhindered by any sense of human decency, Rebecca plows ahead and blogs about her investigation. People from surrounding towns and villages know a good thing when they read about one and head over to place their own wishes on the tree, hoping to scoop up some free goodies from Angel because, well, getting free stuff is what the season’s all about.
All this unwanted publicity strains Angel’s finances. Word gets out she won’t be able to meet demand. Townsfolk pick up the slack, taking it upon themselves to fill the wishes for those greedy jerks from out of town.
Rebecca’s heartless boss demands she spill the beans about Angel, but she decides no job is worth selling out her town for. Matthew kisses her, and she decides to make her little visit permanent.
Relationship update: Sick of listening to Rebecca whining about the lack of writing opportunities in her little town, Matthew sells one of his coffee blends for a million bucks and bolts for the big city.