- N. N. Light
Gavel and Garland by @AuthorKathrynH is a Christmas Holiday Festival pick #holidayromance #giveaway
Title: Gavel and Garland – A Dickens Holiday Romance
Author: Kathryn Hills
Genre: Holiday Romance, Contemporary Romance
Can a humbug and a holiday lover come together when wedding and Christmas bells ring?
Elizabeth McKenzie doesn’t hate Christmas. As the new mayor of Dickens, the quaint New England town famous for its holiday cheer, she has no time to enjoy it. And while she understands small-town politics, what she doesn’t get is people sugar coating problems during the hectic season. There’s much to be done, and she intends to prove she’s up to the task. However, she never imagined being blindsided by someone special. The Army officer in town for the wedding she’s officiating is annoyingly upbeat and handsome. Will he derail her agenda? Or can she slow down enough to smell the gingerbread and maybe meet him under the mistletoe?
Trekking around the globe to help animals and people is all Army veterinarian Daniel Murray knows. He’s not a fan of settling down, but there’s something wonderful about a place that embraces his favorite holiday. What’s even more appealing is Dickens’ feisty young mayor. Seems she has a knack for finding trouble. Dare he get involved with the beautiful humbug? Or should he avoid her like a stocking full of coal? It’s decision time for the self-proclaimed bachelor for life. Stay in the military, or open a vet practice right there in Christmas town?
The man rose from a crouched position alongside the horse. His back was to her until he turned around, and their gazes locked.
Beth’s mouth fell open.
“Big Red?” he asked, looking utterly perplexed.
The group of onlookers parted. Confused stares flipped back and forth between them.
She continued to gawk in disbelief. “Wha…what did you just call me?”
“You two know each other?” Heather piled on, sounding equally surprised.
Dan brushed off his hands and approached her.
“I…we…” Beth fumbled for words as she took a step back. “I saw him at the airport when he—” She snapped her lips shut before something stupid could slip out.
An impossibly handsome smile formed on the man’s face when he came closer. “I saw you board the plane, but I had no idea you were traveling to Dickens. Quite a coincidence, don’t you think?”
“I…I…” She stammered some more before composing herself. “I am the mayor of this fine town. And I’m officiating this wedding.” She stood tall and arched one brow in annoyance.
The groom cleared his throat, stepping between them as if sensing her tension. “Elizabeth McKenzie—Beth to all that know her—this is Major Daniel Murray, our best man. Dan is one of my oldest friends from my Army days.”
Amusement twinkled in the man in question’s eyes.
Dear Lord, they’re a striking color. Grey. Like the sky before a snowstorm.
He sported some scruff on his face now, whereas before, at the airport, he’d had no more than a five o’clock shadow on that rugged jaw. Salt and pepper. Same as his short, cropped hair.
Beth took another step back when his hand shot out to her.
Ooo… Not very smooth.
She quickly recovered and accepted it. Warmth instantly spread over her skin from his solid, manly grip.
“Nice to meet you, Mayor McKenzie. I’m loving your little town so far.”
She gave him a brusque nod, not trusting herself to form real words in his unsettling presence.
“We’d best be gettin’ up to the fields if we’re gonna practice marchin’ before sundown,” old Tom Gridley cautioned. “Daylight is scarce these days.”
The happy wedding party began working their way outside to the barnyard and their waiting transport.
“Who is that?” Jenna whispered, adding a suggestive look as they walked away together. “Oh my God…you were like…speechless. Awkward. Major chemistry between you two though.”
“I was surprised, that’s all.” Beth scoffed. “There’s no chemistry. What chemistry? I, for one, do not believe in chemistry.”
“Okay, no chemistry,” her niece griped. Yet she glanced over her shoulder. “Then why is he still grinning at you like a creeper? He is literally watching you walk away. I bet he’s checking out your butt.”
Beth gasped and slammed to a halt. Despite her best effort to remain professional, she spun to face him. Jenna skittered off, leaving them alone in the barn’s wide doorway. “Why did you call me Big Red?” she demanded.
Dan’s admiring stare settled on her face like a warm caress, causing a flurry of unexpected butterflies to take flight in her stomach.
“Sorry. Bad habit. I give everyone nicknames. Sometimes one. Sometimes many. Depends on the person and how much I like them.” He chuckled, and tiny lines crinkled the corners of those remarkable eyes. His face was lightly suntanned, as if he spent time outdoors wherever he lived.
“And mine is ‘Big Red’ for some reason? Why, because of my hair?” She squared her jaw, challenging him. “You don’t even know me, Dr. Dan.”
The smile fell from his face, and Beth suddenly wondered if he was better looking when he was serious or when he was teasing her.
“Want the truth?” he asked in a solemn tone. “You’re a hard woman to miss. When I saw you in line at the airport, you stood out. Let’s just say no man with a pulse would miss a woman as striking as you.”
Heat rushed to her cheeks despite the cold air.
“Tall, beautiful, with that great hair color.” His smile returned, and his gaze dropped to her lips. “Big Red.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/49nOek
Share a holiday family tradition:
My daughter often picks a theme for our family Christmas tree. This year is my favorite. Woodland-themed ornaments with a hefty dose of Christmas Tree Farm thrown in. Think red trucks with trees, rustic lanterns, forest animals, sleds, dogs (of course) and all things holidays in New England. So beautiful!
Other years, she’s created peppermint trees and Whooville/Grinch trees. You get the picture. But this one is special because of my Dickens books. A real heartfelt treat for me.
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood?
The small New England town of Dickens is the PERFECT place to visit for the holidays! Picturesque, snowy, romantic… In this latest book – Gavel and Garland – you’ll meet the town’s new, young mayor. Plus, the handsome Army officer visiting for his best friend’s wedding. Stay at the charming Dickens Inn. I promise the innkeeper won’t disappoint you. Attend a wedding at Gridley Meadows Farm, the generational Christmas tree farm you may remember from Operation Snowball. Get ready to snuggle in with some hot cocoa, tea, or a glass of your favorite wine!
Enter to win a $75 Amazon (US or Canada) Gift Card.
You must have an active Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to be eligible. Open internationally.
Runs December 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on January 3, 2022.
Hauntingly romantic unless she’s writing sweet!
The rich history and many mysteries of New England are the perfect backdrop for many of KATHRYN’s books. Winding roads lined by old stone walls, forgotten cemeteries, grand homes with shadowy pasts...all sparks for her imagination. Whether it’s a quaint seaside town or the vibrant city of Boston, it’s easy for this “hauntingly romantic” author to envision the past mingling with the present. No surprise, some of Kathryn’s favorite stories include ghosts! Sprinkle in some magic, and you’re off on a great adventure.
When not writing, this best-selling author is reading, researching, gardening, or cooking up something special in her chaotic kitchen. She shares her colonial home in the north woods with those she loves most – her wonderful husband, daughter, and three crazy dogs.
Find Kathryn Hills Online
* Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon Author Page * BookBub