Title: Hope for the Holidays
Author: Rachelle Paige Campbell
Genre: Sweet Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
To save New Hope, Jill Howell sold her family's legacy. As newly installed mayor, she's determined to strike her own path. If she wins a national magazine contest for America's favorite small town, she'll prove herself a worthy leader. Business owner Rob Carroll faces eviction from the building housing his family business since the nineteenth century. With tightly held secrets under threat of public exposure, he finds himself on the opposite side of Jill in the fight for New Hope's future. Can they find common ground, or will civic advancement end their chance at happily ever after?
“I’m so sorry. I had no clue.”
“What happened?” He pinched the bridge of his nose, scrambling for any clue about the situation. No stranger had stopped in and asked him any questions about the building. A steady stream of tourists entered the store but no single moment stood out. Over the past year, he had several normal encounters with members of the city council at various functions. Last Thanksgiving, he stood on a ladder and strung lights on the memorial in front of City Hall, smiling and exchanging pleasantries with the council members.
No one stopped to warn him. Had the property already been sold at that point? How could he not have known? He dropped his hand and sighed. “When did the town council decide to sell my property?” He rolled the papers into a cylinder.
“I don’t know.” Jill held up her hands. She set her mouth in a solid line.
He smoothed his free hand over his scalp. With his world spinning off its axis, he clutched onto her honesty. “I should have talked to the city months ago. I got busy with the new business and distracted. I have the money.”
“I don’t know any specifics. I rushed over as soon as I heard.” Her back rounded, and she hunched.
Extending both hands toward her, he tightened his grip on the rolled paper, crinkling the sheets. He snapped to attention, dropping his arms to his sides. While his instincts urged him to close the gap and comfort her, he held a more pressing concern.
She raised her chin. “I’ll find out. I can talk with the town council before the meeting tomorrow night.”
He recoiled from her clear blue-eyed stare, drawing back his chin. Gripping the papers with both hands, he twisted the cylinder like a towel. Exposing his troubles to the community at large was the absolute last option he’d choose. “I don’t want everyone talking about my situation. Only a handful of people know I sold. Won’t questions jumpstart speculation about my family?”
In a few steps, she closed the distance and reached out a hand.
Shutting his eyes, he leaned into her touch. Her smooth palm warmed his cheek. While he appreciated honesty, he wasn’t an open book and protected a secret for most of his life. His father battled inner demons with self-medication instead of professional help. In doing so, he destroyed the family’s finances and emotional well-being. Rob pieced together his life by sanding one sharp edge at a time and nailing the section into place. After his father’s death, he worked harder than ever to protect the truth about the man from the town’s judgment. Perhaps others would judge his choice as evidence of pride. He viewed the act as self-preservation. Did his reasons matter in the face of public scrutiny?
“With the sale, the truth will come out,” she murmured. “Shouldn’t we rally everyone behind you? Isn’t it better if you explain the circumstances, rather than leaving open the topic to conjecture?”
He broke away from her touch. Stepping back, he leaned against the counter and dropped the papers. He never intended for anyone to learn the truth.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZMLKHXG
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08ZMLKHXG
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08ZMLKHXG
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.
Social Media Links
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-Paige-Campbell/e/B00T0T533Q