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Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams is a Christmas and Holiday Festival pick #romance #giveaway



Title:  Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams

 

Author:  Wendy Kendall

 

Genre:  Romance

 

Book Blurb: 

 

          Liz buried her hopes three years ago when she buried her husband. She hides under a corporate desk, struggling for time with her young son and his grandmother Violet.

 

          George is chef at the assisted living facility where Violet recovers from an accident. He loves his adopted beagle, Phil. This tail wagger is George's only family. They are a therapy animal team for the patients.

 

          Juggling work, her son, and Violet is complicated for Liz. Continual collisions with meddling George irritate, and intrigue her.

 

          Violet plots a cookie bake, as matchmaker and to reunite her family. She conspires with George as chef, not realizing it puts his job at risk. Could baking together soften Liz's heart?

 

          Phil's sudden disappearance interrupts plans. George is desperate to find his dog. The search leads him into a surprising twist of fate, and accidentally pulls Liz along with him.

 

Excerpt:

 

          Liz checked her watch. Late. She scanned the room. All eyes stared back, and she began a wave. Then she realized, all the smiling faces were looking at their feet, at Phil. This dog could really make an entrance. What a treat to see the live action value of a therapy dog, and his owner. Some people greeted Phil and George, coaxing the dog to come over.

 

          Liz looked at George. “Everyone’s happy to see you.”

 

          George pointed at the dog. “Their attention is focused on Phil. He’s their dog.”

 

          Liz sighed with relief. “There’s Violet. This makes Phil a search dog too. I’ve got to get to work. Thanks very much.” She looked down at her feet. “Thanks Phil.”

 

          She hurried over to Violet who introduced Liz to her friends. Liz gave her a hug. She explained that Matt was waiting in her room, and Violet promised to go join him right away. Liz moved behind Violet’s wheelchair. “Let me help you.”

 

          Violet shook her head. “I can get someone to give me a hand. You go ahead.” Violet patted Liz’s hand over her shoulder on the wheelchair. “I’ll see you tonight, dear. Have a good afternoon.”

 

          Liz calculated she could still make it in time for the new client. She rushed past George who had moved to the entry lounge. He stood with a thin man sporting a thick beard and petting Phil. George had looked up at her as she’d rounded the corner, like he knew she was coming. Had he heard her? Self-conscious of the loud clickety clacking of her heels on these floors, she practically ran out the door, keys in hand. She approached the car and noticed the back tire. Flat. She rolled her eyes and groaned. She put her hands on her hips and paced back and forth next to it. She gently kicked the rubber, but it squished against the rim, confirming no air inside.

 

          She crouched down and pulled her wallet out, searching for her road-assistance card. Phil walked around her and licked the back of her hand. “Thanks, Phil, but that won’t help me get to work on time.”

 

          She stood up again and turned around to see George. His hands on his hips. “Flat tire? Can I help?”

 

          “Thanks, but I’ll call somebody.”

 

          “Do you have a spare?”

 

          “Yes, in the trunk.”

 

          He grinned. “Assuming your spare is in good shape, I can get this changed faster for you.” Her mouth dropped open. Someone willing to help.

 

          “Really? I couldn’t put you to the trouble.”

 

          “No worries. Lunch is over, and we came outside for a break.”

 

          “This isn’t a very nice break, but I’d really appreciate it.” She unlocked the trunk.

 

          George took off his black chef shirt, putting it on the front seat of the car. He rolled up the sleeves of his blue shirt, revealing toned forearms. Liz’s glance lingered. She called her assistant to have the VP of Sales step in to host the client. Disaster avoided. Someone else could help.

 

          She felt like celebrating. She scratched Phil’s tummy, talked nonstop to George about his cooking, baking, and recipes, while she stole admiring glances at his physique, including his broad shoulders and flat stomach.

 

          When he finished, he put the jack and flat tire into the trunk. “You’re all set to drive.”

 

          “I don’t know how I can thank you, but I’ll find a way. This was really nice of you.” Impulsively she hugged him. The warmth of his arms wrapped around, then her phone rang. They broke apart, and Phil barked. She looked into George’s brown eyes.

 

          He grabbed his shirt off the driver’s seat. “I’m happy to help.” He turned toward the building and called Phil. She glanced at her phone screen and let it go to voicemail. Had she misjudged George? She’d actually felt comfortable talking with him. She hadn’t talked about baking in years. It felt good. When she hugged him, she’d surprised herself. What a pleasant embrace.

 

          She drove across the lot to the exit, smiling to have all tires turning. She waited for a chance to turn onto the road, one problem solved. Maybe today she could dream of a little dream? In the rear-view mirror, her back window was fogged. She turned onto the road with an unfamiliar feeling of hope, although she had no idea what might be around the corner.

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

 



 


Share a holiday family tradition:

 

It's such a fun family activity to cook and bake together especially in the holiday season. As my sons were growing up we put together gingerbread houses, cut out cookies, and my specialty – homemade lasagne, warms up the whole house. When I plotted this beautiful romance novel, it was inspired initially by a vision I had of what a delicious Heart of Christmas cookie could mean. I shared my inspiration with my son Brad and he created the completely original, melt-your-soul, delectable cookie recipe. These cookies are all I'd hoped for, just like the story, and Brad Riggs' original recipe is included in the book.

 

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

 

Ribbons of love run through Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams. It's a sweet romance between Liz and George, but more than that, it includes the love of family, including Liz's young son, Matt and his grandmother, and an extended family. It addresses what a treasure extended family is, when so many miss their family.

 

One of the characters in my sweet romance is named Phil. He is a therapy dog. I enjoyed researching the beautiful lives of these darling, trained animals. Therapy dogs provide comfort and affection to people, often in visits to hospitals, schools, hospices, nursing home, disaster areas, and more. There are specific breeds that are most trained for this noble mission.

 

Phil is a beagle, an unlikely therapy animal, but in Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams Phil has his own heartwarming backstory that reveals why he is a great candidate. He completed the training and is now part of the therapy team with his owner George. It's not part of the definition of a therapy dog, but Phil is also a therapeutic influence for George. It's so intriguing to read the impact of Phil on the unlikely, growing relationship between George and Liz.

 

Phil is an inspiration from a real dog, Leela, a husky/german shepherd dog owned by one of my sons, Brad. His dog, Leela has a personality that seems compatible for therapy animal training.

 

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:

 

The result of Wendy Kendall's passion for purses, mystery and romance is the intriguing In Purse-Suit Mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press. Kat Out of the Bag introduces Katherine Watson purse designer/sleuth, also published by Harlequin at Harper Collins, available February 20, 2024.  As Katherine moves from designer bags to body bags, she's uncovering clues to a murder. The prequel, Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash delves into a chilling cold case. Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense at Killer Nashville, Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For creates a tangle of mystery and love, raising suspicions about a teacher's romantic new sweetheart. A summer romance read that will keep you on the edge of your beach towel, Cherry Shakes In The Park blends danger, divas, and frothy delights. And ribbons of love run through the holiday season romance, Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams. Wendy enjoys investigating the Pacific Northwest life, and she leaves a trail of her own clues as a blogger, YouTube podcaster, speaker, and syndicated columnist.

 

Social Media Links:

 

Twitter - @wendywrites1

Instagram – wendyekendall

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