- N. N. Light
Holiday Heart Wishes by @LucindaRace is a Christmas in July Fete pick #holidayromance #giveaway
Title: Holiday Heart Wishes
Author: Lucinda Race
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Heartfelt wishes and holiday kisses…
When social media director Vera Davis loses her job in the city, she takes her adorable, goofy rescue pup and heads home for the holidays, to her sweet hometown of Dickens. She’s hoping to move in with her mom and start a new business. But her drive is interrupted when she rescues a handsome, snowbound stranger stranded by side of the road.
Newspaper reporter Tony Barbee may be a stranger to Vera, but Dickens is his hometown, too. He’s come to spend Christmas with the uncle who raised him. But Vera and Tony are in for a surprise when they find her mother and his uncle living together. Aren’t they moving too fast?
Tony and Vera share something besides relatives in a blossoming romance: a tradition that when they see the Christmas tree in the gazebo on the village green—a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting—they should make a Christmas wish. Though they resist their own growing attraction to one another, Christmas is a time of surprises and gifts, and the unexpected answer to a heartfelt holiday wish may bring Vera and Tony the greatest gift of all…
Visibility was down to zero. What made Vera think driving home tonight was the best idea? She hunched closer to the steering wheel, trying to peer through the blanket of snow. A better plan would have been to wait until morning, when at least she could see. But when the going gets tough, the only place she wanted to go was home. With her bags packed in the trunk and her sweet rescue pup, Mollie, riding shotgun, she should be home in less than a half hour.
Up ahead, there was a dark mound on the shoulder of the road. Oh shoot. It was a truck and the hood was up. She slowed, not that she was going fast; it was more like a gentle glide to a stop. She pressed the passenger window button and it slid down. Snow fell inside and Mollie blinked at her.
“Hey, are you okay?”
A dark-haired hunk appeared from under the hood. He held up his hand in greeting.
His smile was slow and easy, which gave her heart an unexpected flutter.
“Thanks for stopping. I figured I’d be out here all night and turn into a popsicle.”
Mollie’s tail began to thump against the seat. She was never this excited with strangers. This guy was definitely someone she would like to have met back in the city.
He leaned into the window. “I’m Tony Barbee.”
She gave a little wave. “Nice to meet you. I’m Vera.”
“Any chance you can give me a lift into Dickens? I think my alternator is dead. I’ve got no power.”
She looked into the blinding snow ahead of her. She couldn’t just agree to pluck a stranger from the side of the road on a dark and wintry night.
“Hey, I get it. Strange guy. Not the best of ideas.” He took a step back. “Any chance you could call a tow truck? My cell died too.”
“Sounds like you’re having a tough day.” She gave him a tentative smile; she knew how that felt. “I’ll do one better. What if I park behind you and wait while the truck comes? This way, you won’t get hit from behind. Take it from me, your truck is virtually invisible until you’re right on top of it.”
He gave her a snow-melting smile. “That sounds great. Thanks.” He pointed to his truck. “I’m gonna wait in there. No sense getting even more covered with snow.”
She called the Dickens Police Department and the dispatcher said someone would be out soon. After backing her car up, Vera waited in its warmth, flashers on. Mollie, her goofy retriever mix, looked at her from her comfy plush bed in the passenger seat as if to say they were warm but what about the other guy?
“I’m not going out there. You watch the news with me. It’s full of crazy people.” She shook her head. Here she was having a conversation with her dog about a man who might be freezing in his truck. “We’ll give it ten minutes and if no one shows up to help, like the tow truck, I’ll invite him to get into the backseat.” She glanced at Mollie. “Acceptable?”
The pup lay her head down on her paws and closed her eyes.
“Easy for you to snooze. It’s a good thing Mom doesn’t know I’m coming tonight. Otherwise she’d be waiting up and fretting about me driving in this weather.”
Vera adjusted the fan on the heater. It was cold out but inside her car, she was toasty warm. She did feel guilty about poor Tony sitting in a cold vehicle. She played a game on her phone and took note of the clock. It had been six minutes. Another couple and she’d offer to let Tony sit in her car. He looked like a trustworthy kind of guy.
She played a word game this time. It took longer than solitaire. Just as she typed in the last few letters, blue lights strobed through the white flakes. They looked almost like blue flake ornaments on a Christmas tree.
She eased down the window and was happy to see a familiar face, her mom’s neighbor.
“Hello, Tom. Good to see you’re still keeping the roads of Dickens safe.”
“Vera.” His eyes grew bright. “Your mother didn’t tell me you were coming in tonight.”
“It’s a surprise.”
“Any chance you’ll stay a little longer this trip? It’s been a long time since you’ve been home for more than a couple of days during the holiday.” He adjusted his blue knit cap under his cop hat.
“I’m not sure.” She pointed to Tony, who stomped through the deepening snow.
Tom stuck out his hand. “Well, if it isn’t old home week. Tony Barbee, good to see you again. Coming in to spend some time with your uncle?”
“I am. But as you can see, I’m having a little engine trouble and my cell died, so this nice lady took pity on me and called you.”
Tom leaned against her car. “Good thing she stopped. Not much traffic out here this time of night, especially in a snowstorm. Bad news: We probably won’t get the tow truck out here for a few hours.” He glanced at Tony. “I could drop you off, but I have to check out a few more roads before I head in.”
“A ride-along sounds exciting.” A smile quirked his lips.
“Sorry, for an official ride-along we’d have to fill out a bunch of paperwork ahead of time, but maybe Vera could drop you off in town at your uncle’s place.”
Stammering, she said, “Tom, I don’t know about that.”
“Tony’s harmless.” With a chuckle, he said, “As long as he’s not banging on his keys. He’s a ruthless newspaper reporter with a keen eye on the truth.” He tapped the door. “Besides, I’ll check for your car in your mom’s driveway and if it’s not there, I’ll come looking for you.”
Inwardly she groaned. Tom was right. Tony seemed harmless and they knew each other. She looked at Mollie snoozing on the passenger seat.
“Come on girl, hop in the back. We’ve got a passenger.”
Tony’s face lit up. “Thanks, Vera.” He jogged back to his truck and opened the door and withdrew a large duffel bag. Then he dropped the hood of his truck and positioned two flares in the snow that Tom had given him.
Tom said, “I’ll have the truck towed to the garage. You can check on it tomorrow.”
Tony stuck out his hand and shook Tom’s. “Good to see you again.”
“I expect we’ll be bumping into each other.” He gave Vera a smile. “Drive safe.”
She popped her trunk so Tony could stow his bag. He slammed it shut. Vera tossed the dog bed in back and he got into the passenger seat. Rubbing his hands together, he grinned. “That heat feels good.”
“Sorry if you think I was rude not asking you to wait in the car but,” using air quotes, she said, “stranger danger.”
“No worries. My mom did the same thing to me. Tom vouched for me, so we’re all good.”
She clicked off her hazard lights and eased back onto where the road should be if she could have seen it. “It’s going to be slow going. I have snow tires, but the way it’s coming down, we’re just going to take our time.”
He pointed over his shoulder. “What’s your pup’s name?”
“That’s my protector, Mollie.” She laughed as the dog’s gentle snoring filled the car. “She must not view you as a threat since she’s sleeping right through this part of our adventure. In her defense, she’s getting up there in years and I swear she’s got a little cat mixed into her DNA. She can sleep most of the day away. Unless of course there are cookies involved.”
The snoring stopped and her head popped up. She sneezed.
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What I love most about the holiday season:
I love getting together with my friends and family and share good food and funny stories.
Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?
HHW is a quick fun read about becoming smitten at first sight and starting over and embracing love.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs July 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on August 1.
Award-winning and best-selling author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of romantic fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading romance novels and getting lost in the hope they represent. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a romance novelist.
As life twisted and turned, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion. After developing the storyline for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living her dream. Her fingers practically fly over computer keys she weaves stories about strong women and the men who love them.
Lucinda lives with her two little dogs, a miniature long hair dachshund and a shitzu mix rescue, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she's not at her day job, she’s immersed in her fictional worlds. And if she’s not writing romance novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on.
Social Media Links:
Goodreads – Lucinda Race- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10174985.Lucinda_Race
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Universal Link https://books2read.com/ap/xyYO2g/Lucinda-Race
Bookbub Lucinda Race https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lucinda-race
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-Race/e/B00Q0MMNUM
Lucinda’s Heart Racers Reader Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/118597305361578