Title: Kiwi Summer Christmas
Author: Kris Pearson
Genre: Contemporary Rural Romance
Christmas is close, and the first date for high-country shepherd Brigitte Foster and rugged farmer Steve Sorenson should go well. Unfortunately, Brigitte needs a dress for the date and she isn't a dress sort of girl. Borrowing one from an empty room in Steve’s farmhouse seems like a harmless thing to do, but her choice sets off a chain of events which blows Steve’s family apart and digs up buried pain for all involved.
Now, they need a sparkly Christmas miracle to save them. She has the three wise dogs. He has the repainted stable. But will this be enough?
Steve scratched his jaw. She was probably ugly as sin. Boring as all get-out. Needy. Clingy. There’d be something wrong, for sure. He summoned up every reason why this was a bad idea, but not looking forward to yet another microwaved meal on his own, he asked, “Can you get as far as Hunterville? I’m south of Halcombe. We could meet at the pub, grab some food, discuss the dogs.”
He squeezed his eyes closed and grimaced, embarrassed to be practically begging a total stranger for a date. But yeah, unrewarding social events, no suitable partner in sight – not a million miles from his own situation. With his parents in Europe for a long-anticipated holiday he was stuck here, rattling around in the big old farmhouse, keeping the whole place going. He’d had enough of his own company. And she had a pretty voice. A little bit of a catch in it. It would be no hardship listening to her for an hour or so.
“This evening? I could be there by seven-thirty? I have more photos of the dogs on my phone.”
Huh! He sat up straight. “O-kayyyy… The Argyle on the corner? That’s a bit further for you to travel than me. Or there’s Ohingaiti?”
“Hunterville’s fine. I wasn’t planning on doing anything too important tonight.”
Suddenly energised, Steve set his feet on the floor. “Right. I’m six two. Wearing a grey jersey with a black stripe around the chest.”
“Long brown ponytail,” the unknown Brigitte replied. “Um… red hoodie. See ya.”
She sucked on her bottom lip. Why on earth had she agreed? At least she couldn’t come to any harm in a pub. If he was an old perv she’d simply leave and curse the waste of time and petrol. But six-two – he couldn’t fake that. And he’d sounded efficient and as though he knew about working dogs. Maybe not so old, either. His voice was deep, Kiwi, and not rough. Had he been sent to boarding school? Entirely possible if he’d grown up way out in the countryside.
She glanced at her watch. No time for a shower or messing with makeup, but some fresh lip-gloss at least, and she’d brush out her hair because wearing a woollen hat over the bundled-up mass did it no good at all. She shook her head at her fanciful thoughts. They’d only be talking about dogs, for heaven’s sake.
Steve drove up to Hunterville with his music on full blast to keep him awake. His parents were away for weeks yet, farm-hand Hemi was unwilling to go too far from base with his wife expecting their first child any day now, and he’d given Gav the sack after finding yet more concealed marijuana plots on Sorenson land. Which left him way short of manpower and stressed to the max.
He coasted up the wide main street of the country town and braked to a halt outside the pub. The evening chill hit him as he stepped out of the pick-up truck. Yep – no fun working in the high country for too long. You couldn’t blame the girl for wanting to get away from it.
Inside, beer fumes and the rich smell of grilling steaks and frying chips settled around him and made his gut gurgle. A long silky ponytail shook and jiggled over a fleecy red hoodie as its owner engaged in conversation with the barman. Her? He stepped closer. “Brigitte?”
She glanced over her shoulder. Bright blue eyes inspected him from under raised brows. “Steven?”
“Or just Steve. You’re here. Great.”
She turned to face him more fully. “Wasn’t sure quite how long the drive would take. Can I buy you a beer?”
“As long as I pay for dinner.”
She began to object, and he dived in with, “To make up the petrol difference. You drove further.”
“Pffft!” she said. “I bet you drive a real gas-guzzler if you’re thinking like that.”
Why is your featured book a must-read?
It’s romantic, heartbreaking, and very realistic. You’ll be living on a big country farm the whole time you’re reading it.
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I love words, and I use them to make the world a happier place by creating people who are perfect for each other – although maybe they can’t see that to start with!
I began writing at my local radio station in New Zealand. After living in Italy and London I returned home and worked in TV, radio again, several advertising agencies, and then spent happy years as a retail ad manager. Totally hooked on fabrics, I followed this by surprising everyone and going into business with my husband as a curtain installer and working for some of the capital city’s top designers. Good for my body, and it freed up my brain to write fiction. In twenty years I haven’t fallen off my ladder once through drifting into romantic dreams, but I’ve certainly seen many beautiful homes and met wonderful people, and I may just have stolen glimpses of them for the books. (I didn’t say that, did I?)
If you love contemporary romance in exotic settings, that’s what I write. They're mostly sexy stories about couples who fall in love and into bed along the way, just like real people do. I’m the author of eighteen novels, three of which were finalists in New Zealand’s Clendon Award. Each can be read as a stand-alone, but some make up linked series. I hope you enjoy them all.
These include the billionaire beach stories about the wealthy Wynn family in Scarlet Bay - Summer Sparks, Summer Secrets, and Summer Spice. And now I’m having fun with cozy mysteries! I’m onto the third of these. My lady sleuth Merry Summerfield leads a fun-filled life in Drizzle Bay with a cast of eccentric characters and some not-too-gory murders.
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