Her Hometown Dream by @rpaigebooks is a Book Series Starter pick #christianromance #giveaway
Title: Her Hometown Dream (Home to Harmony Book 1)
Author: Rachelle Paige Campbell
Genre: Christian contemporary romance
Amy Parker returns to her hometown for a two-week visit before moving on to take a job she really doesn’t want. But when the historic mansion that sparked her passion for history hits the market, she thinks she’s finally found a way to stay for good. With the help and support of family and friends, Amy sets out to make her lifelong dreams come true.
The tenth anniversary of the tragic death of Jake Grant’s best friend is fast approaching, and all he wants to do is create a charity to honor him. Too bad Jake has no idea what he’s doing. To make matters worse, the woman he holds responsible for his friend’s death is back in town, and she doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
Jake and Amy need each other’s help, so they forge a professional relationship to get what they both want—Amy has the skills necessary to complete the charity paperwork, and Jake can approach the mansion’s owner on her behalf. Professionalism quickly morphs into something more, though, and old feelings resurface. As they grow closer, a shocking revelation forces Jake and Amy to make sense of the past if they have any hope of a future together.
Jake raised a fist to his mouth and bit down hard on his knuckles. He’d do anything to stop from laughing. During the drive to the alley, Amy had spoken of her poor bowling skills. He had assumed her sense of modesty urged the speech. He’d reassured her she couldn’t possibly be as bad as she implied.
She was worse.
During the first ten frames, she hit every part of the lane except for the pins. At one point, her ball stuck in the gutter, and he’d used his next turn to force her ball down the alley. He asked if she wanted bumpers. Shaking her head, she refused. He insisted he’d asked on his behalf. Of course, she didn’t believe him.
While he wasn’t up to professional standards by any stretch, he was much better than her and snagged four strikes and two spares. The next round, she was, perhaps, even worse. He wasn’t sure he’d considered any sport as subjective. He didn’t know how else to rate her performance.
Her score remained in the low double digits. But if he analyzed her play from a broader perspective than numbers, he’d attest that her form declined. At one point, she hit four pins in the lane next to theirs. Luckily, they were the only people bowling at the time.
Finally, she lifted the ball on the tenth frame of their second, and final, round. She held the ball to her nose and moved forward, gliding over the wooden floor with the tricolor, too-large, bowling shoes. Extending her arm behind her, she bent at the waist. When her feet met the line, she had almost perfect form.
This is it. She gets it. He dropped his hand to his side and half rose on tiptoe, studying her in profile. Maybe she had needed practice to loosen her muscles and remember the actions. He’d pay for another round so she could have a decent score and brush off her first two rounds of failure.
In slow motion, she swung the ball behind her, and she lost her grip.
The ball landed with a heavy crash, rolled backward, and lodged between the wall and the stationary row of molded, plastic seats.
Turning, she widened her eyes, and her gaping mouth formed a perfect circle.
He choked on a chuckle and doubled over, holding his shaking ribs and hiding his face. He couldn’t hurt her with the barely suppressed laughter. She’d told him the extent of her skills, but he couldn’t have mentally prepared for her accidental slapstick routine. Straightening, he coughed and cleared his throat.
She stood next to the ball return, crossing her arms and frowning.
“Sorry, must be allergies,” he said and joined her.
For the better part of ten minutes, the custodian and manager struggled to free the ball. With several brooms and a can of industrial lubricant, the two men laid on the ground poking and prodding. Besides their grunts and groans, no one made a sound.
“This is so embarrassing,” she muttered.
Not for him. Jake couldn’t remember the last time he’d truly enjoyed himself. Dropping the ball behind her was only the latest flop in twenty frames of hilarity. He drew in a deep breath and leaned close. “I’m sure it happens all the time.”
Sean, the manager, leaned back on his heels. “I don’t think it’s getting out of there, ma’am.”
“Oh, please don't call me ma’am. You were only two years behind me in high school, Sean. That makes this whole situation so much more painful.” She covered her cheeks with her hands.
“Sorry, Amy.” Sean nodded and turned to Jake. “Do you two think you’re done playing?”
Amy held up her hands in surrender.
“For tonight, yes,” Jake said. He had too much fun not to try again. She needed lessons, and the outing proved how much good a little time away from the office did him. He vowed to return and teach her what he could. He’d enjoy himself no matter the outcome.
Sean stood and dusted his palms on his pants. “Rudy, we’ll try again after we polish the floors.”
On the floor, the custodian, a slim man with thinning, gray hair, flashed a thumbs up. He got to his feet and carried the brooms to the storage closet on the opposite wall.
“I’m so, so, so sorry.” Amy hung her head.
“It happens.” Sean shrugged. “Actually, didn’t you do the same move the last time you were here?”
If possible, she turned even redder. Jake wanted to hear that story but couldn't subject Amy to more public humiliation. “Sean, is the slush machine working? Could we get two large cherry ices to go?”
Sean nodded and backed away.
She stiffened and sucked in a sharp breath. “Senior prom after-party. I totally forgot.”
Jake waved to the chairs. “Come on, let’s change into real shoes and shake it off. I’m sure you’re not the worst he’s ever seen.”
“Oh, I know I am.” She sank into one of the chairs and slipped off the bowling shoes. “I’ve teased you and let you operate under a misunderstanding the whole time I’ve been back.”
He sat and lifted a foot chair, unlacing his bowling shoe. “And what’s that?”
“That I know anything about bowling so my opinion matters.” She bent forward and laced her sneakers.
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Her Hometown Dream is a story of second chances. Amy and Jake have the chance to be honest with each other about their feelings. The truth isn’t always easy but together they find an unexpected path forward.
Enter to win a $40 Amazon gift card:
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Runs January 10 – January 18, 2023.
Winner will be drawn on January 19, 2023.
Rachelle Paige Campbell writes contemporary romance novels filled with heart and hope. She believes love and laughter can change lives, and every story needs a happily ever after.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-Paige-Campbell/e/B00T0T533Q