Her Unlikely Homecoming by @rpaigebooks is a Christmas in July Fete pick #christianromance #giveaway
Title: Her Unlikely Homecoming
Author: Rachelle Paige Campbell
Genre: Christian contemporary romance
Following a tragic accident over a decade ago, Zoey Wright vowed to never move home to Harmony, Illinois. When her career stalls, however, she’s back in town and working with her high school sweetheart, Noah Kidwell, on his company's special collaboration. Dealing with her ex is the last thing she wants to do, but she has to take the opportunity to snag a much-needed promotion. Besides, she’s a professional—she can handle Noah for a few days, right?
Determined to prove he’s not the same irresponsible guy she left behind, Noah works one on one with Zoey to launch his new clothing line. Learning her true motives, he realizes she’s not the same person anymore, either, and when he confronts her, she resorts to doing what she does best—she runs. This time, though, he’s not letting her get away. Will they be able to forgive the past and forge a new future? Or is it time to move on for good?
Hot air blew past Noah Kidwell.
A horn honked.
Stepping away from the wall, he monitored the train’s approach. When the company assured him a member of the team would be on site to help him with the test-run they insisted on for his line, he’d been pleased. He hadn’t questioned why the person chose train travel versus a car. How did they expect to get from town to the store some thirty miles outside city limits? He shook his head. Having never lived in a big city, he didn’t understand urban expectations any more than the person on the train would know small-town niceties.
The train slowed to a full stop, and the doors opened.
A handful of people exited the train and headed toward the station.
He stepped out of their path and frowned. None of the figures carried anything bigger than a briefcase. Fulham’s promised him an on-site liaison for the full thirty days. Noah agreed to a partnership launch with an in-store pop-up at the holidays for two full months. Fulham’s wanted a dry-run. All of their previous special collaborations succeeded on a limited time, few weeks only, basis. Noah wanted more opportunity for his increased product line. Reaching a compromise, Fulham’s suggested a test-run with a Christmas in July themed one-store novelty. He insisted on the store outside Harmony town limits. With everything he did, he focused on giving back to the community and increasing opportunities for success. As a kid, he’d taken a lot for granted. After tragedy struck, he’d appreciated how much richer life was thanks to community and decided to give back everything he could, and then a little more.
The crowd cleared.
Squinting, he raised a hand to block the sun. Farther down the platform, he spotted a train worker unloading suitcases and several passengers waiting. He slipped a finger under his suddenly tight collar. Why hadn’t he thought what he’d say to a group of strangers? How would he know the liaison he was supposed to be meeting? Shouldn’t he hold a sign? Better get on with it.
A sudden bump pushed him from behind. He stepped to the side and glanced over his shoulder, but the offender was already gone. Turning in a circle, he scanned the crowd and froze.
With a huge purse on her shoulder and wheeling a suitcase behind her, Zoey “Always” Wright, strode in his direction.
He gaped, and his throat went dry. Shutting his mouth required some presence of mind; he could hardly process what he saw. She’d been so careful to avoid him since his brother’s funeral, that awful day forever burned in his memory with hot, sticky pain. The one who got away and swore to never see him again. The one he continued to try to impress even though he knew she’d never notice. The one now strolling toward him?
Pressing a cell phone to her ear, she turned her head.
Her auburn hair caught the sunlight. For a second, she glowed like the flashing red lights on an emergency vehicle. He should move away or at least to the side so she could pass him easily. In a decade, he never got so close to her physically. Mentally, she was as distant as always.
She met his gaze and nodded.
He gulped. At his side, he curled his fingers into fists and slowly straightened them, doing so several times as his body thrummed with memories. They’d been everything to each other until they were nothing. And it all went wrong in a flash.
“Yeah, I’m here now. Okay, great. Thanks.” She slipped her phone into her purse and stopped a few feet away.
He stared, only just stopping his instincts from turning to glance over his shoulder and see who she meant to address.
“Hi, Noah. It’s been a while.”
Shutting his mouth, he cleared his throat. “Yeah. It has.” A million other, better retorts danced on his tongue. Some cheeky, some sarcastic, but all of them with a lot more than three syllables.
“Right.” She readjusted the giant purse on her shoulder, gripping it with both hands. “Let me get to the point. I’m the liaison from Fulham’s. I’ll be working with you on your project.”
“You?” He stumbled backward. Righting himself, he locked his knees to hold his position. She almost knocked him over. This outcome was beyond the best-case scenario he imagined while signing the contract.
She nodded. “We both have a lot to lose and gain from how well this partnership proceeds. I trust you can’t build your career without professionalism. I’m here solely to focus on the task at hand. We don’t need to be involved in anything other than business, correct?”
Did he imagine the icy tone? He studied her steely expression. The woman who represented all of his regrets stood before him. She gave no hint of warmth or emotion. “Sure.” He scrubbed a hand over his face, wiping his eyes.
She extended a hand.
Frowning, he stared at the outstretched arm. Shake her hand. He reached for her and shook; her soft skin delivered a tight, firm grip and then an instantaneous release. Warmth spread through him.
“I’ll see you tomorrow morning at the store. Nine a.m.” With another nod, she gripped the suitcase behind her and continued on her way.
Dumbfounded, he turned and watched.
Head held high, she strode into the train station.
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I love spending time with my family! From baking cookies to watching movies, every moment together is so special and I cherish each one.
Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?
The story centers around a Christmas in July event at a local store. It’s the best of both worlds! The characters pose with Santa and enjoy a sprinkler obstacle course on a hot day. I love Christmas in July because it includes all of the fun of the festivities with none of the baggage of expectations.
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Runs July 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on August 1.
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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