Pride and Presents (Christmas Town) – October 9, 2018

prideandpresents 200x300 (2) (1)Are you in the mood for a little Darcy?

Beth Long is navigating the week before a friend’s Christmas wedding with a strained smile and an unexpected houseguest. Instead of dreading the arrival of her ex-husband and his gold medal-winning fiancée, she’s defending Christmas Town’s over-the-top everything to disapproving Steven Dorsey, old friend of the groom. Steven has never been more aware of his social deficiencies. Beth is too warm. Witty. Vibrant. Their elderly audience is too nosy. When his sister is added to the mix, he understands that Beth and this snow globe village come to life might be home.

 

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Excerpt:

“Okay, Dara let us down. We wanted something practical, a useful ranking of the important question of which Chris reigns as king.” Odette shot Dara a mean side-eye. “Ren, you’ve traveled the world. London gentlemen have something extra on Americans, right? The accent is an instant winner. In all the Chrises in the world, the top of the list would have an accent. Agree with me.”

Ren met her stare in the mirror. “Well, let me consider the question.” Knitting recommenced, but every eye in the shop was locked on Ren. “The accent is nice. Beautiful blue eyes will stop traffic, no doubt. A sense of humor and the social conscience to use your platform for good, exactly like a superhero would, those come straight from a good heart.” Ren tipped her head to the side. “Haven’t I seen several of them with dogs, too? Who doesn’t love a guy who commands the affection of man’s best friend? That’s even better than flying or throwing a big hammer.”

“She’s going to go with a good heart, too,” Prudence muttered with disgust. “What is with the youth these days? We’re not marrying them, just rating them from best to worst.”

“I’m not sure you should be rating them at all, ladies. How would you feel if this was the hottest…knitter in the world? What if there’s a similar conversation going on over at Kringle Kuts, all centered on which actress is the better because of her beauty?” Surely that would change the conversation. Beth shook her head as she fluffed Ren’s bob. “While you’re thinking, what are we doing today?”

“Very mature of you, Beth. Liberated. Equalitarian.” Ren waved her hand. “Just a trim. Dara wanted a kicky color for Christmas. I need these bangs out of my face.” Then she glanced over her shoulder at the ladies grouped in front of the window. “I’ve given it some thought. All things considered, in a group of handsome men with good hearts and smarts…” She smiled slowly. “It’s all about the forearms. My husband, also named Chris…” She nodded. “All those, minus the accent, but when I watch him hard at work, those forearms flashing, I have to stop. Appreciate.”

If Dara’s answer had dismayed them, this sent the Knotty Elves into revolt. “Arms? What did she say? Chris, the guy who runs the pet store, is at the top of the Chris pyramid? What?”

Odette studied Ren over her reading glasses. “Well, that can’t be anything but love talking, ladies. And good for her.”

Saving the Single Dad – June 1, 2018

Saving the Single Dad

SingleDadHis son and daughter—
They are her family, too
Christina Braswell would do anything for her divorced best friend’s kids, including help their father. Park ranger and sudden single dad Brett Hendrix inspires trust and has everyone’s back. But Christina’s torn between loyalty and a deepening attachment to the handsome Sweetwater, Tennessee, lawman. Brett’s not making it any easier—Christina’s finally feeling as if she belongs somewhere.

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Excerpt:

Armed with her coffeepot in one hand and her pencil in the other, Christina squared off. “You go ahead and leave, mister. I’ve got your ticket covered.”

She would much rather lose the ten dollars than the job. And if the guy did come back, she’d gladly shut him down and kiss the diner goodbye. In the meantime, she was no one’s victim. Not anymore.

Before the guy could make up his mind whether to throw his weight around some more or skip out on his bill and count himself lucky, the door to the restaurant opened and Brett Hendrix, stepped in.

The relief that swept over her was immediate, yet enraging. He had the same golden glow he’d had as he sauntered the halls of Sweetwater High, everyone’s friend and role model. Why couldn’t he have gained forty pounds and lost all but forty strands of hair? Probably wouldn’t matter. He inspired trust and that would always be attractive.

They must have appeared as if frozen the instant before chairs started flying, punches were thrown and someone howled in pain because Brett braced both hands on his belt, his gun holstered but within easy reach, and said, “Oh good. I made it in time for the brawl. I hate to miss the first minute because then I can never follow the rest of the story.”