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New Release | Christmas at Solace Lake by Jana Richards #romance #smalltownromance #holidayromance

Title Christmas at Solace Lake

Author Jana Richards

Genre Contemporary small town romance, Holiday Romance

Book Blurb

An emergency brings Drew Barnes to Solace Lake Lodge, an inn deep in the Minnesota woods owned by his aunt and uncle. He’s sure desperation is the only reason they’d allow him to fill in as their bookkeeper. No one in his family has believed in him since his mistake got him fired from his previous job. Soon after he arrives, Drew is disheartened to discover thefts and financial irregularities. The last thing he wants is to be put in the middle of another crime.

Sous chef Celeste Bishop has made a good life for herself and her nine-year-old daughter in the three years she’s worked, and lived, at Solace Lake Lodge. After being unfairly fired, this was the only job she could get, and she’s grateful her gamble on the lodge paid off. The only sticking point is the isolation since she never learned to drive. How can she show her daughter independence when she’s always relying on others?

Drew sees Celeste’s frustration and offers to teach her to drive. A powerful attraction ignites between them, and soon deeper, stronger emotions blossom. Drew is all in, but Celeste resists her feelings. She’s nine years older than Drew. An interracial relationship didn’t work for her parents. And loving Drew feels like a betrayal of her deceased husband.

As Christmas approaches, the thefts escalate. Can Drew stop the thief and redeem himself in his family’s eyes—and his own? And can he convince Celeste they deserve the gift of a happily ever after this Christmas?


“Try to relax. You’ve got the steering wheel in a death grip.”

“Relax? Are you kidding me? I’m driving a freaking car for the first time in my life and you want me to relax?”

“My mistake.”

She heard the chuckle in his voice and dared a quick glance at him. “Are you laughing at me?”

This time he couldn’t hide his guffaw. “Of course not.”

He was laughing at her. “You won’t be laughing if I drive your expensive car into the ditch.”

“You’re not going in the ditch.” Drew’s voice was calm, as if he had no worries about putting his car in the hands of a rookie driver. “You’re exactly between the lines. A snail could outrun you, but you’re driving. I’m really proud of you.”

Celeste laughed, suddenly amused at the idea of being behind the wheel of a car, a place she’d never thought she’d be. “I’m really proud of me, too.”

“Good. Someday soon, when you actually learn to drive the speed limit, you’ll be able to drive your own car. You got a lot accomplished today.”

“Yeah, I did, didn’t I?”

After crawling along the highway a bit longer, the sign for the lodge came into view.

“Get ready to make a right-hand turn,” Drew said. “Don’t forget to signal.”

She turned the signal light on. “One good thing about driving this speed is that I don’t have to slow down to make the turn.”

Drew laughed. “Very true.”

She managed a slow-motion right-hand turn, then made her way into the lodge’s parking lot which was mostly full.

“Let’s park over in the far corner where there’s no cars,” Drew said.

“Good idea. I’m not quite ready for a parking lesson.”

Slowly, she crept into a parking spot farthest away from the lodge. Celeste braked and put the car into park.

She turned to Drew. “What do I do now?”

“Now you put your right foot back on the brake, turn the engine off and pull out the keys.”

Again, she followed his directions and handed him the keys. The enormity of what she’d just done hit her. “Oh, my God! I did it!”

He accepted the keys with one hand and squeezed her shoulder with the other. “You sure did. You drove!”

“I drove!”

Celeste opened the door and jumped out. She squealed and launched into a happy dance beside the car. Euphoria overtook her. Learning to drive was going to change her life. And Hope’s. They’d both be independent women.

Drew came around to her side of the car. “I’m really proud of you, Celeste.”

On impulse, Celeste threw her arms around his neck. “Thank you, thank you! I couldn’t have done any of this without you.”

His arms tightened around her, pulling her close. It felt so good to be held in a man’s arms. In Drew’s arms.

She leaned back to look up at him. The amusement left his face, replaced by intensity in his dark eyes as he stared at her. Celeste cupped his cheek with her bare hand, needing to touch him, skin to skin. She couldn’t think, or reason, or back away. She could only feel.

They came together in mutual need, their lips touching, questing, hands reaching, stroking. She met his lips with eagerness, opening her mouth to him. At her unspoken invitation, he plunged inside, sweeping her mouth with his tongue over and over until her knees weakened.

He trailed kisses across her throat. His breath was warm on her skin as he nuzzled behind her ear.

“Celeste.” His voice was husky and low. “I need you.”

She snapped to attention. What was she doing? She’d let herself get carried away. It was only the excitement of driving for the first time, nothing more.

Wasn’t it?

“Drew, I can’t.”

Celeste pushed gently against his chest, and he immediately dropped his arms. She caught a fleeting look of hurt before he wiped his face of expression.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I promised I wouldn’t do that again, and I blew it.”

She couldn’t let him take the blame. “No, I shouldn’t have…I can’t…I…I have to go.”

He stepped back. Celeste wanted to go to him, to tell him she’d wanted to kiss him as much as he wanted to kiss her. That she loved kissing him, that she wanted to do it again and again.

Instead, she turned and ran all the way to the lodge, too frightened by her own thoughts to tell the truth.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)

Free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

SECRETS AND SOLACE, book 2 in the Love at Solace Lake series, and TRUTH AND SOLACE, book 3, are on sale for .99 cents at Amazon from October 18 to 21, 2023:

The print edition of CHRISTMAS AT SOLACE LAKE is now available at Amazon!

Special Giveaways:

Giving away 2 ecopy sets of the first three books in the Love at Solace Lake series (Lies and Solace, Secrets and Solace, Truth and Solace) in winner’s choice of format.

Giving away 5 ecopies of Home to Solace Lake, a prequel to the Love at Solace Lake series.

To be eligible to win the prizes, tell me in the comments about one of your favorite Christmas treats. Winner will be chosen at random from all the comments. Good luck!

Author Biography

Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length contemporary romance, paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm or dealing with dust bunnies, Jana can be found pursuing hobbies such as golf (which she plays very badly) or reading (which she does much better).

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren and two senior cats named Layla and Leelou. You can reach her through her website at

Social Media Links

1 commentaire

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N. N. Light
18 oct. 2023

Thank you, Jana, for sharing your new release with us! I can't wait to read it!

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