Monday Mentions – Running from Christmas by E.A. West

Monday Mentions graphic

In today’s spotlight is Running from Christmas, my newly re-released Christmas romance.

Book Description

Running from Christmas cover artShe’s frozen by fear.

He wants to warm her heart.

Can he succeed before Christmas?

Army veteran Alessandra Castillo just wants to be left alone. Life has been tough since her deployment in Afghanistan, and the holiday season makes it even more difficult. Unemployed and homeless, she’s currently living with her brother, who refuses to let her avoid all things social.

Enter Brad Kovac, youth pastor and good friend of Alessandra’s brother. He’s tall, gorgeous, and outgoing, three things guaranteed to catch Alessandra’s interest — or they would have before she survived an assault by a fellow soldier. Now all she wants to do is run from Brad and avoid anything resembling a relationship.

Will God provide a miracle in time for Christmas, or will Alessandra lose her chance for romance?

Excerpt

Boxes in their arms, they headed for the entrance to the small church. She had been there only a handful of times since her brother moved to Prairie Heights a few years ago, but each time she came a sense of peace permeated her soul. Perhaps if she stayed in town long enough, that peace would stick with her when she left…assuming she could ever get a job to replace the one she’d lost at the beginning of November when the factory downsized two months after they hired her.

Shrugging off the thought, she stepped through the glass-and-wood door her brother held open. She had plenty of time to worry about finding a new job later. She’d only moved in with Tony three days ago—barely enough time to unpack and get settled into his guest room. Since he had been encouraging her to come stay with him since she left the army last spring, she figured she had until at least February or March before he started hinting that she might want to find her own place. She planned to be out of his house long before then, but finding a job hadn’t proven as easy as she’d hoped.

Her pondering crashed to a halt when a man in his late twenties or early thirties stepped into the hall. Several inches taller than her, broad shoulders, trim waist… As much as she had protested her brother’s attempts to introduce her to people, this was one man she wouldn’t mind meeting. Her heart thumped in anticipation as she took in his light brown hair and friendly green eyes.

Slow down, girl. You don’t want a relationship, remember?

Alessandra inhaled deeply, hoping oxygen would encourage her to think clearly. So what if this guy was gorgeous? She didn’t need a boyfriend for Christmas—or at all. Not when she had enough other stuff to keep her occupied. Although she had to admit a boyfriend would probably be much more pleasant than her annual visit to her best friend’s grave. But a boyfriend meant obligatory time alone with a guy…

“Hey, man! It’s about time you got here.” A warm male voice broke into the memories threatening to drag her down, and she looked up to see the gorgeous guy greeting her brother with a slap on the back. “The natives are getting restless.”

Tony laughed. “We’re early, so any restless natives aren’t our problem yet.”

“And there’s the operative word—yet.” He turned to Alessandra and reached for the box of craft supplies. “Let me take that for you.”

“It’s all yours,” she said, relinquishing the box.

Tony set his burden on the floor and put his arm around her shoulders. “Alessandra, meet Brad Kovac, youth pastor and your cohort in crime tonight.”

Brad’s eyes lit up and sent a little shiver down Alessandra’s spine as he gave her a once-over. “Ah, so you’re Tony’s sister. I’m glad to finally meet you.”

She studied him, suspicion taking the place of some of her interest. “Finally?”

“Yes, your brother’s been telling me about you for quite some time.” Brad winked and leaned closer. “Is it true that you went to Afghanistan to play in the snow?”

~~

Running from Christmas is available from Amazon. Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited!

~~

About the Author

Photo of author E.A. WestE.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

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Book Spotlight – A Williamsburg Christmas by Anne Greene

book spotlight owl graphic

Today in the spotlight we have Anne Greene’s holiday romance, A Williamsburg Christmas.

Book Description

A Williamsbrg Christmas cover artChristmas 1955 – Trent jilted Holly. Should she give him a second chance? Has too much time elapsed and is too much fire quenched for this romance to rekindle?

Holly falls in love with the sights, sounds, and scents of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg during her first months living there. She’s a widowed mother raising 8-year-old twin boys by working as a waitress in a famous Colonial Williamsburg Inn.

Trent disappeared from Holly’s life ten years ago. Now he’s back and wants to marry her. Santa’s matchmakers complicate Holly’s decisions by bringing new men into her life. Will the competition prove too much for Trent?

Excerpt

1955, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Holly and Shirley trudged down Duke of Gloucester Street toward the buildings where each of them rented an apartment.

“What’s buzzin, cuzzin? Saw a ghost? You looked like something the cat dragged in this evening at work.”

Holly nodded. She needed to talk to help clarify this new situation in her mind. “It’s a long story. And not very pretty.”

“Those are the best kinds. Hit me with it.”

Holly drew a belly-up breath. Tonight, even the Christmas lights failed to cheer her. “You noticed the quartet that played this evening?”

“Sure. Their name’s Radioactive. Bunch of cool-looking cats with their pegged jeans, their black-striped shirts, and their ducktails. Played good too.” Shirley gave a thumbs-up, then winked. “Did you see that dreamy one who played that big brass horn? I could go for him in a big way.”

“Feel free. His name’s Trent Conway. We went steady during our senior year of high school.”

“Cool beans!” Shirley gazed at Holly’s face. “But no way I’d go out with one of your old flames.” She tugged at Holly’s red wool coat sleeve. “You saw a ghost from the past. I’m all ears.”

Holly walked a short distance. Why not? They had time before they reached their apartments. “Okay, you asked for it.” She forced a smile. “Start with two years after high school. My broken heart had almost healed when I met Vince. Haven’t thought about these high school memories in years.”

“That horn player broke your heart?”

“He did. I’d been expecting a proposal and a ring the summer I got a job and before Trent left our small town to attend Ohio State. He promised to write.” Holly tried to sound light-hearted. “But he didn’t. At all. I tried to contact him, but he’d left no address. After a year of mourning and moping, I left my job in West Liberty and found work in Columbus. I rented a room at the YWCA near Ohio State.” Holly gave a rueful grin. “Since we lived in the same city now, I started each day expecting to run into or hear from Trent.” She shook her head. “Neither happened. Like he’d fallen off the face of the earth.”

“Why would Trent do that?” Shirley’s blue eyes sparkled tears.

“I don’t know.” Holly smiled. “Then Vince exploded into my life like a superhero with a whirlwind romance and marriage. I almost forgot Trent.”

“Way to go!”

“I thought I’d forgotten Trent, right? Does a girl ever forget her first love?”

“You never saw Trent again—until now?”

“Right. The last time I saw him was the day he climbed into his 1941 Ford and left for college. He kissed me and said, ‘I’ll always love you, Christmas Girl.’”

Shirley’s blue eyes opened so wide she resembled an astonished child. “He called you that? How romantic!” She took several steps then stopped. “I wish a boy would call me something sweet.”

“Trent had several nicknames for me, but that’s the one he used the last time we saw each other.”

“Oh, Holly, you’re so lucky a boyfriend cared so much for you.”

The pain certainly hadn’t felt lucky. Or the years of wondering. Or the shock of running into him again with him looking even more attractive than he had in high school. “Nowheresville! I never want to see Trent again. Not now. Not ever.”

“Well, you’re lucky. Dream Boat Trent is not the one I set you up with.”

“Yuck!” Holly stopped dead and grabbed Shirley’s arm. “No!”

Shirley’s face sported a huge grin. “Yep. Mr. Clarinet Player…and all the guys…are used to girls asking them for dates after their gigs. Groupies they call us. Anyway,” Shirley’s bright smile dimmed for a second, “he turned me down at first…until I pointed you out. Then he asked, ‘When and where?’”

“You didn’t, please say you didn’t.”

“Honey, you need to get out of that apartment and see some nightlife. Santa’s bringing Mr. Clarinet Player to pick you up at seven. I’m babysitting.” Shirley flashed a genuine this-will-be-so-good-for-you smile. “His name’s Bob Robinson.”

~~

A Williamsburg Christmas is available from Amazon. Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited!

~~

About the Author

photo of author Anne GreeneAnne lives in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, a few miles north of Dallas. Her husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. Her little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares her writing space, curled at her feet.

Besides her first love, writing, she enjoys family, friends, travel, reading, and way too many other things to mention. Life is good. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.”

Anne’s an award-winning author of twenty-three books. She loves writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. She hopes her stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart.

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Monday Mentions – Mistletoe Kiss by Andrea Boyd

Monday Mentions graphic

Please welcome Andrea Boyd to The West Corner! She’s here today with her Christmas romance, Mistletoe Kiss.

Book Description

Mistletoe Kiss cover art

Calling All Couples!
Sign up now. Help us set a record!
On December 10 at 5:00 pm,
we need your help setting a
Guinness World Record
for the most couples
kissing under the mistletoe!

Chase Spencer had been firmly planted in the friend-zone ever since he first met Rachel Anthony back when they were in grade school and it looks like that’s where he’s destined to remain. And her latest scheme is bound to be torture. She wants them to help break the Guinness World Record for the most couples kissing under the mistletoe at one time. How should he handle this? Should the kiss be a chaste, friendly kiss like she envisions? Or should he do it in a way that leaves Rachel without a doubt that he wants to be more than friends?

It had always been Rachel’s dream to break a world record, and who better to do it with than her best friend Chase? And it wasn’t as if they hadn’t kissed before—sixth grade, spin-the-bottle at Iona Puckett’s party—a peck of the lips and it’d be over. Except she missed the part where they had to hold the kiss for ten seconds. And no one warned her of how she would feel afterwards—confused and longing for more. How can she convince Chase to change her status from friend to girlfriend?

Excerpt

“Chase, you have got to see this!”

The way Rachel Anthony practically danced into his office reminded Chase of the day they met—the first day of first grade. She had skipped right up to him on the playground and asked if they could be friends. If he’d known he would be permanently relegated to the friend-zone, he would’ve said no.

She leaned against his arm as she stretched over his desk. As her fingers tapped across his keyboard, her familiar floral scent surrounded him. He leaned closer and inhaled deeply.

“Chase Spencer, did you just sniff me?”

“Hey, I paid a lot for that overpriced, scented water.” Worth every penny. It had been over a year ago, but he still remembered the way she had jumped into his arms with an exuberant squeal when she opened the coveted birthday gift.

“Yeah, and I’m about out. You know, Christmas is right around the corner.” Rae tapped him on the knee. “Scoot back.”

“I was trying to work here.”

She plopped right down into his lap. The woman drove him crazy, and she didn’t even have a clue.

“This is more important than work. I figured out how we can get into the Guinness Book of World Records, and…” She tucked her light brown hair behind her ear as she glanced back to add emphasis to her point. “And, we can strike another amusement park from our list.” She lifted two slender fingers in the air and then let one drop. “Two birds, one stone.”

The summer they each turned ten years old, Rae’s parents had taken the two of them on a Disney vacation. After that, they made a pact to visit every amusement park in America. They had managed fifteen by the time they entered college. He hadn’t given it a thought since then.

And the Guinness World Records thing—that had always been her dream. They had poured over the book after coming across it in the library one year. It hadn’t taken long for him to realize they would never be record-breakers, but Rae would never let go of the idea.

“I heard about it on the radio just now. It’s all happening at Six Flags, and as you know, the one in Georgia is not that far away. We could so do this. Don’t you think?”

Rae leaned to the left so he could look at the website she had pulled up on his monitor. Chase couldn’t get past the title at the top of the screen. He sat frozen in place until she elbowed him in the gut.

“Can you see the screen? What do you think?”

Calling All Couples!
Sign up now. Help us set a record!
On December 10 at 5:00 pm,
we need your help setting a
Guinness World Record
for the most couples
kissing under the mistletoe!

“So, you think we could do this?” His voice came out in a higher pitched tone. Chase swallowed hard and tried again. “I mean, do you think we can both get off work at the same time?”

They began working at Windsor Designs right after college ended, just under seven months ago. No one at the advertising agency was actually scheduled to work on Saturdays, but if you planned on going anywhere in this business, you had better be there. And the last couple of months had been brutal. None of it mattered. As always, he’d do whatever it took to be able to do this with her.

Rae bounced against his knees. “According to Sandy, all this work we’ve been doing will drop off dramatically come the first of December. We should be free by then. It’ll be my treat. The park opens at 3:30. We can leave early on Saturday and get there in plenty of time. I’ll find us a place to crash that night, and we’ll be back in time for Sunday night church services. What do you think?”

Chase rubbed his chin and stared at the screen as if he had to take a moment to think it over, but in reality he was already picturing that kiss. Had she really thought this through? His gaze shifted from the computer screen to her face.

Her brows rose in question. “Well?”

He allowed the corners of his lips to turn upward. “Let’s do it.”

~~
Mistletoe Kiss is available from Amazon.
~~

About the Author

author photoEach of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God.

Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible.

Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC.

Connect with Andrea Boyd online

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Book Spotlight – Plum Pudding Bride by Anne Garboczi Evans

Please welcome author Anne Garboczi Evans to The West Corner! She’s here today with her holiday romance, Plum Pudding Bride. Leave a comment for Anne for a chance to win an e-copy of Plum Pudding Bride! This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (EDT) Thursday, April 21, 2016.

Plum Pudding Bride cover artBook Description

Patience Callahan is twenty-five and fast becoming an old maid. But she’s spent most of her life dreaming over romantic European literature and wants a dashing d’Artagnan, not a bookish Bob Cratchit. Alas, the Colorado town of Gilman’s chock-full of Cratchit’s without a d’Artagnan in sight.

Peter Foote, the general store owner, has been in love with Patience for seven years. But every time he’s on the verge of proposing, she cuts him off; he can only imagine on purpose. This time though, dadburn it, he’s going to go through with it.

Ring in hand, he’s moments from touching knee to floor, when Patience pulls out a list of mail-order bride advertisements and declares her intention of marrying a backwoods stranger on Christmas Day.

He’s got two weeks to change her mind.

Excerpt

There she was, the girl he’d loved for seven years. And she was sorting preserve cases at his store, as she’d done for the last four years. She stood not six paces from him, and yet so far away.

Peter’s fingers squeezed the ring box in his jacket. This time he was going to go through with it, no matter if she pointedly changed the subject, or hastily found excuses to be elsewhere, or pushed other eligible young women at him. Dadburn it, today he’d have his answer, a “yay” or a “nay” instead of living in this wretched bog of uncertainty.

The store had already closed. He just needed to grate the key in the locks while Patience tidied the shelves. The falling winter sun made long shadows on the floor between them. Now she had put down the strawberry preserves and taken an inventory list. She moved towards the mercantile section.

His heavy boots clomped on the hardwood floor, but his heart clomped louder. His fingers tightened around the red velvet box. It was a white gold ring and a miner’s cut diamond. Size six, as he’d discovered four years ago when he’d stolen her glove.

Patience’s brown hair twisted back around her ears. She always complained it lay too flat, and said her younger sister teased her about having a mottled complexion. But he’d never seen hair shine like hers, and her soft skin set off brown eyes that possessed a luster no girl in Gilman could match. And her smile. Oh, her smile. She could turn Antarctica into the tropics by just curving her lips.

A head-high shelf of baking perishables hemmed them in on one side while bolts of fabric made up the other side of the narrow aisle.

“Patience Callahan, will you,” Peter slid the box out of his pocket, and started to lower one knee to the ground.

Her gaze flicked to the ring box. “Why, Peter,” she stepped into him, blocking all attempts at kneeling. “I’ve been meaning to tell you my news.”

Her long fingers were slender. Yet, they could move lickety-split when sorting spools or organizing canned goods.

“I just received this.” Patience tugged a newspaper clipping out of her pocket along with a small daguerreotype. “This is Arnie Dehaven. He’s a Montana rancher. I’ve answered his mail-order bride advertisement and I’m marrying him.”

~~

Plum Pudding Bride is available from Amazon.

~~

About the Author

photo of author Anne EvansAnne Garboczi Evans is a mental health counselor, military spouse, author, and mama to an opinionated little preschooler named “Joe-Joe.”

Connect with Anne Online

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Long December…

In case you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I occasionally get songs stuck in my head. While thinking about the fact that today is December 1 and the month ahead promises to be busy with writing, holiday preparations, and various other busyness, the Counting Crows song “A Long December” popped into my head and hasn’t left yet. If you’re unfamiliar with the song, or you just enjoy it, here’s the music video for it.

Boy, that song brings back some memories. Feel free to share your memories in the comments, if you’re so inclined. If not… Well, read on for some fun book recommendations (aka Shameless Self-Promotion *wink*).

I’ve been remiss in keeping you all up to date on my book news. Please don’t hate me! *ducks rotten tomatoes* In all fairness and honesty, I spend much more time on Facebook and share all my book news, updates, and general randomness on my author page. If you haven’t already liked it, hop on over and check it out! Actually, considering Facebook only allows my posts to reach a small percentage of followers, you might want to hop over and check out what’s been happening lately even if you liked the page a while ago. Remember, the more you interact with Facebook pages (liking posts, sharing, commenting), the more likely you are to see posts from those pages in your news feed.

Now, for the book news that prompted the previous paragraph. Running from Christmas, my newest inspirational romance, released from Astraea Press in time for the holiday season. I hope you’ll give it a read and leave an honest review on your favorite retail site, Goodreads, your blog, or wherever. Hearing what readers think of my writing is a great encouragement to keep writing and improve my craft! Plus, glowing reviews are always a great source for the warm fuzzy feeling that can brighten even the coldest, dreariest winter day.

**Shameless Self-promotion Alert**

You know what else brightens a cold, dreary winter day? A heart-warming holiday romance. I happen to have three such books in my writing credits (hint, hint). Just to keep things orderly, here they are in chronological order, starting with the most recent release. The first chapters of these books and many more are available on my website.

Running from Christmas

Running from Christmas cover artArmy veteran Alessandra Castillo just wants to be left alone. Life has been tough since her deployment in Afghanistan, and the holiday season makes it even more difficult. Unemployed and homeless, she’s currently living with her brother, who refuses to let her avoid all things social.

Enter Brad Kovac, youth pastor and good friend of Alessandra’s brother. He’s tall, gorgeous, and outgoing, three things guaranteed to catch Alessandra’s interest. At least they would have caught her interest before she survived an assault by a fellow soldier. Now all she wants to do is run from him and avoid anything resembling a relationship.

Will God provide a miracle in time for Christmas, or will Alessandra lose her chance for romance?

~~

Running from Christmas is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.

~~

Trust of the Heart (Veteran Hearts, Book 2)

Trust of the Heart cover artJosh Teague has dark memories from his time in Iraq. While he longs to share the burden of those memories with someone, he is afraid they will scare his girlfriend. Unwilling to risk losing her, he keeps the memories to himself and tries to keep a cheerful attitude despite the holiday season threatening to bring his mood down.

Leann Robak has her own set of memories causing trouble. Abandoned by her father when she was ten, she is devastated when her mother announces she’s taking a month-long trip to Europe over Christmas. Although Josh’s invitation to spend Christmas with him at his parents’ house holds exciting prospects, Leann can tell he’s hiding something from her. That knowledge leaves her wondering how well she truly knows him and whether he even wants to be in a relationship with her.

Can Josh and Leann learn to trust each other fully, or will their insecurities drive them apart?

~~

Trust of the Heart is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.

~~

Breath of Christmas

Breath of Christmas cover artWhen Esther Beauchamp agrees to drive a snowmobile during the Santa Snow Challenge, she expects a weekend of transporting snowboarders with no complications. What she gets, however, is the task of transporting a single snowboarder and babysitting his service dog while he’s on the slope.

Robbie Kendrick is instantly attracted to the pretty staffer volunteered to help him out during the competition. While she’s clueless about asthma, he appreciates her efforts to understand how it affects him and his snowboarding. Best of all, she treats him like a man who isn’t disabled and gets along great with his medical alert dog.

Then Robbie’s ability to compete is called into question due to his health. Is it in God’s plan for him to give up the career he loves, or will his competitive spirit cause him to lose his chance at a future with Esther?

~~

Breath of Christmas is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.

~~

Happy reading!

New Release – A Christmas Bonus by Patty Froese

Please welcome Patty Froese to The West Corner! She’s here to celebrate the release of her new Christmas romance, A Christmas Bonus.

A Christmas Bonus cover art

Book Blurb

When Millie’s boss asks her to work over Christmas, she’s hesitant to give him any more overtime. She has plans for her life that include quitting this job and starting her own photography business, and she promises herself to quit by New Years.

Andrew Holmes has no desire to go back to his tiny hometown for the holidays, but his manipulative grandfather gives him an ultimatum that he just can’t refuse. So in order to get the last project of the year finished in time, he asks his assistant, Millie, to make the trip with him.

With a disgruntled brother, a sister-in-law struggling with infertility and a little boy who shows up claiming that one of the Holmes men is his father, Christmas is about to get complicated…

Excerpt

“So, Millie says she’d like to stay,” Andrew announced.

“Good.” Louise shot her a smile. “Do you like fruitcake, Millie?”

“I think so.” Mille sank into a seat next to her boss.

“Me, too…” Louise disappeared into the fridge, her voice meandering out from the chilly depths. “Except I always hate the fruit in it. So I just make the cake. But the cake is rather dry.”

“It’s more like a Christmas cracker,” Andrew murmured, and Millie repressed a laugh.

The dense, dry confection that landed with a heavy thud on the tabletop looked nothing like the fruitcake she’d seen in the past.

“Guests first.” Louise announced cheerfully, and when Millie shot Andrew a “help me” look, he pointed under the table.

“Give it to the dog,” he mouthed.

The dog? So far, Millie hadn’t seen a dog in the house, and when she slowly raised the plastic tablecloth to peer under the table, she was met with the biggest canine face she’d ever seen in her life. Stifling a yelp of shock, she turned her ashen face towards Andrew.

“That’s Edgar,” Andrew said.

“Edgar?”

He nodded. “Get used to him.” When she turned her attention to the plate deposited in front of her, Andrew leaned in and murmured in her ear. “Thanks for coming, by the way.”

~~

A Christmas Bonus is available from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Author Bio

photo of author Patty FroesePatty Froese writes from Alberta, Canada, where the winters are long and cold. This suits her just fine, since it gives her plenty of time to write and she can enjoy the snow from the right side of the window. She has her degree in English Literature and has written in other genres, but she particularly enjoys writing romance.

Patty also writes for Harlequin Love Inspired under the name Patricia Johns.

http://pattyfroese.com

New Release – A Blessed Blue Christmas by LoRee Peery

My fellow Pelican Book Group author LoRee Peery is here today celebrating the release of her brand new Christmas novella, A Blessed Blue Christmas. I think it sounds like an awesome read. Take a look and let me know what you think!

A Blessed Blue Christmas cover artBlurb:

Dahlia Delisi has poured her life into her store, The Blue Dahlia. Once her faith was strong, and her life was on a different course. But when Sloan Letheby left town, Dahlia drifted away from God.

Sloan Letheby has been transformed. His brush with death brought new meaning to his faith in God, and he needs to right old wrongs. However, there’s a murder plot in the way of his reunion with Dahlia. Can he find a killer before it’s too late? And can Dahlia accept him…and God, back into her life?

Excerpt:

The recent activity wiped out Dahlia, and time slowed. Surprisingly, she dozed most of the way back to Lincoln. On the street that housed her duplex, she roused from her lethargy.

Sloan cupped her shoulder, and she sat straight. “I’ll let you know tomorrow if we’ve had any kind of break. Hopefully, this will all be over. Remember to thank the Lord that Ken is going to be fine.”

“Are you sure you don’t think I’m a wimp, the way you’re telling me to take it easy? My little snooze is probably the only rest I’ll get until Christmas. Counting down the days, and Christmas Eve is always the busiest day other than Black Friday. For some reason guys put off that special gift purchase to the last minute. Not that I’m complaining.” She’d forgotten to leave Ken’s bracelet gift for Carrie. It remained in her purse. She unlatched her belt and reached for the door handle.

“Wait. I’ll come around.” He did more than open her pickup door. He pulled her to his side, tucked her against him, and walked her up the drive. She sighed, relished the familiarity.

Being so near to Sloan erased the years. Dahlia gave no thought to resting her head on his shoulder, falling into an old pattern.

Ever so gently, he shifted his stance so they faced one another. The icicle Christmas lights dripping from the eaves added a golden reflection to his eyes. “I won’t apologize. I can’t resist.”

“What for?”

“Shhh,” he said, sliding a finger across her lips.

He bent forward and replaced his finger with his lips, grazing her cheek with his face. His nose felt cold, but his lips shot fire through her. Dare she give in? She was too tired to allow her mind influence over the temptation of responding to his touch. This was Sloan after all whose touch and feel at one time were almost an extension of her own body. She got into the kiss. Within a nanosecond, hands were in motion. His and hers, roaming over arms, shoulders, backs, waists, as though their limbs held memory in the muscles. She skimmed her right hand over the ridge of ribs, firmness of body beneath layers, until her fingers reached his nape. She cupped the base of his skull, where the indented seven-shaped scar registered through her fingertips. Her traveling fingers rose higher and rolled his warm stocking cap into a heap.

He moaned, and pulled them out of the upsurge of heat. “We’ve both wanted this since we laid eyes on each other again.”

She swerved to the side, her world atilt, and bent to retrieve his cap. He took it from her grasp and balled it into his own fist. Then he picked up her hand with his free one, and lifted her wrist for his caress. She closed her eyes, marveled that such a minute touch at her pulse held enough force to set her senses on fire.

But she didn’t have time for all that in her life.

She pulled out of his arms. “Thanks for taking me to see Ken today. I need to get inside, and ready for tomorrow.”

His arms dropped to his sides, and he swayed a bit. So he felt shaken as well. “Dream of me tonight, Dahlia. And trust. Ken will be safe. The Lord will work out all the details.”

“There you go again. I’m used to working out my own details.”

~~

Purchase your copy of A Blessed Blue Christmas today! http://tinyurl.com/mf2392f

About the Author:

LoRee Peery author photoLoRee Peery is a lifelong Nebraskan who thanks her mother for teaching her to read when she was four. LoRee has devoured books ever since. She and her husband have tackled some interesting projects over the course of their married life. For one, they built the home they live in with their own hands. They used to want more acres further away from city life, but one day LoRee realized they had their “greener on the other side of the fence” already. All it took was removing the hedge made of trees and bushes. She feels grounded in her sense of place and considers it a blessing to have lived most of her life in the country. She is also blessed to have five children and eleven grandchildren.

www.loreepeery.com

https://www.facebook.com/LoReePeery