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Christmas at Solace Lake by Jana Richards is a Christmas and Holiday Festival pick #romance #holidayromance #giveaway



Title: Christmas at Solace Lake

 

Author: Jana Richards

 

Genre: Contemporary smalltown romance

 

Book Blurb:

 

It’s Christmas time at Solace Lake Lodge, but a series of thefts threatens everyone’s holiday spirit.

 

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?

 

Excerpt:

 

Using a piping bag with an open star tip, Celeste Bishop swirled the first pink buttercream rosette onto the chocolate layer cake she’d baked. She worked her way around the bottom of the cake, creating rosette after rosette. After years of experience, her hands were quick and sure, knowing the exact pressure and turn of the wrist necessary to craft the perfect rosette.

 

Once the bottom three rows were completed, she stepped back and rotated the turntable to examine her handiwork. Though she liked the pink, the cake needed some pizzazz. For the next three rows, she’d use an apricot-colored buttercream, and then finish the top in white. Satisfied with her choices, she put a stick of butter into the stand mixer and began beating it.

 

Celeste hummed as she worked. Baking and decorating cakes was one of her favorite things to do and working in the kitchen of the Solace Lake Lodge gave her ample opportunity to indulge her passion.

 

The kitchen door suddenly flew open. Carrie ran toward her, crying. Her tears shocked Celeste. She was usually such a happy, even-tempered girl. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

 

Carrie gulped a shuddering breath. “Drew’s here. He—"

 

Drew Barnes burst into the kitchen. Celeste hadn’t seen Carrie’s brother since Christmas three years ago, her first at the lodge, when he’d come here with his family. He looked different than he had back then. More polished, more mature.

 

And more handsome. But it was definitely him.

 

“Carrie, talk to me,” he pleaded. “If you like this guy, it shouldn’t make you so unhappy.”

 

Carrie shook her head. “You won’t understand.”

 

“I have no idea if I’ll understand. You won’t tell me anything!”

 

Drew’s raised voice only made Carrie turn away and hide her face against Celeste’s shoulder.

 

“I think you should go,” Celeste said, putting her arm around the younger woman. “Maybe later, when both of you have calmed down some, you can talk. But for now, please leave my kitchen.”

 

He turned the full force of his intense scrutiny on her. Celeste lifted her chin and returned his stare, refusing to be intimidated. He was tall, probably over six feet, with broad shoulders, narrow hips and a lean build. With his dark brown hair and eyes, he resembled his uncles, yet there was something about him that was completely unique. Carrie had told her that her brother was six years older than she was, so that made him twenty-four. She did a quick calculation in her head. Nine years younger than her thirty-three.

 

Why the hell do I care how old Drew Barnes is?

 

His eyes softened and he tipped his chin in agreement. “Celeste’s right. When you’re ready, we’ll talk. Whatever you need to tell me, I promise not to judge.”

 

Carrie turned in Celeste’s arms to look at him. She wiped tears from her cheek with her fingers. “Okay.”

 

Drew attempted a smile. “Okay.”

 

For a second, Drew’s gaze connected with Celeste’s, and she read the genuine worry in his eyes. He was a brother concerned for his younger sister. She tried to reassure him with a smile. “It’s all right. I’ll look after Carrie.”

 

He nodded and, with one last troubled look at his sister, he left the kitchen.

 

Carrie stepped away and pulled a tissue from the box on the desk in the corner. “I’m sorry, Celeste. I didn’t mean to put you in the middle of my squabble with Drew.”

 

“I don’t mind. Your brother doesn’t scare me.”

 

Carrie grinned through her tears. “He doesn’t scare me, either. Not really.”

 

“Good for you.”

 

Since Carrie’s arrival at the lodge in the summer, Celeste had taken her under her wing. Carrie soaked up information about food preparation and running a kitchen like a thirsty sponge. She was a hard worker and a willing one, too, which was all the more remarkable since her family owned the lodge. She could have coasted or lorded it over the rest of the staff. Instead, whenever they were short of wait staff in the restaurant, she stepped in to help. She’d even volunteered with the housekeeping staff a couple of times when someone called in sick. Celeste liked the girl and felt more like her big sister than a co-worker.

 

Carrie wiped her eyes and blew her nose. “Drew’s not going to like the age difference between me and Ryan. Mom and Dad won’t be happy about it either.”

 

Celeste worried the age difference wasn’t the only thing her family would be concerned about. But that wasn’t what Carrie needed to hear right now. “Once they get to know Ryan and see what a remarkable person he is, they’ll come around.”

 

Carrie gave her a grateful smile. Celeste hoped she was telling her the truth.

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

 


 

 

 

 

 


Share a holiday family tradition:

 

For the last few years, we’ve gone to the movies on Christmas Day. Instead of succumbing to a turkey induced coma, we brave the Canadian winter to see the newest movie on offer. But we’ve learned to buy tickets in advance because a lot of people have exactly the same idea!

 

Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood?

 

Because it’s got all the feels! It’s got a rustic inn nestled in the woods of Minnesota getting ready for a big Christmas party. It’s got family coming together for Christmas, and family desperately trying not to fall apart. It’s even got a mystery to solve! But most importantly, CHRISTMAS AT SOLACE LAKE has Christmas love. Love between parents and children, love between siblings, and new romantic love. At first glance, a love between Drew and Celeste shouldn’t work. After all, they have too many differences between them. But differences don’t mean a thing when it comes to love. Especially a love that blooms at Christmas.  

 

Giveaway –

 

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

 

 

Open internationally.

 

Runs December 1 – 31

 

Drawing will be held on January 2, 2024.

 


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 than 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 http://www.janarichards.com

 

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