Title: LOVE & FAMILY – HOLIDAYS IN HALLBROOK (book 2)
Author: ELSIE DAVIS
Genre: Sweet, Contemporary Romance
Dr. Jake Duncan is a busy man—what with being the local doctor, a member of the rescue squad, a volunteer with the GiddyUp Kids program, and most importantly, raising his young hearing-impaired son, there’s not much time for anything else. Especially not an event planner who comes to town looking to stir up trouble for one of the few men he considers a close friend, retired pro bull rider, Chad Andrews. Hard-charging Gemma Watson is shocked to discover the identity of her biological father on accident. She’s determined to pay Chad Andrews a visit but it’s not a social call, more of a piece-of-her-mind call. But when Brody, her excitable golden retriever, gets into a bit of trouble and it's 911 to the rescue, her plans change. To get closer to Chad, and smooth ruffled feathers of the handsome Dr. Jake, Gemma offers to organize a fundraiser event for the rescue squad, and he can’t say no. In fact, when it comes to Gemma, Jake is finding it impossible to stop her from getting her way. And he might just love her all the more for it...
Chad headed back her way. “I’m assuming your Jeep has four-wheel drive, if not, we can take my truck. We should drive around the quarry to look for him, it would help us cover more territory quicker.” She shook her head in disbelief. Why would she team up with him for anything, much less finding Brody, the dog he lost? Gemma took a deep breath. Brody was more important than her issues with her dad, and if she had a better chance of finding him by teaming up with the man, then she’d set aside her differences.
“It does,” she snapped. She would do it, but it didn’t mean she had to enjoy it. She glanced around one last time. “Brody!” No sign of her baby anywhere. She hopped in the Jeep, expecting her dad to do the same. “He’ll be fine, Gemma. Don’t worry. We’ll find him. He’s probably already found the quarry and is down there playing in the water.
Follow the driveway up around the house. It leads to the trail that goes all the way around the property. It’s our best shot.” “I hope so. I can’t believe you couldn’t even keep him safe for an hour.” She didn’t try to hide the disgust in her voice. He stared at her as he considered her words.
“Yeah, well, I guess it proves what I’ve always known. I wouldn’t have been any good as a father. I’m clearly not even good enough to be a dog sitter either.” The resignation in Chad’s voice was unsettling, but it was his fault. Both times.
“Clearly.” Gemma opened the windows before putting the Jeep in drive and maneuvering up the gravel road that eventually became a wide dirt trail path in the woods. Calling Brody’s name over and over, she drove at a turtle’s pace, hoping to catch sight of him. They stopped halfway around the property, where the trail led straight to the pond.
She’d never seen an old quarry, and it came as a complete surprise to find a place of beauty such as this tucked within the wooded forest. The sheer rockface of granite rising from the water had to be well over a hundred and fifty feet. Various shades of orange, brown, gray, and white all mingled together, created a spectacular view. She would have liked to stop and admire the scenery, but there was no time.
Not with Brody missing and no sign of him playing in the water as Chad had hoped. By the time they made it to the house, Gemma’s stomach was wrapped up in knots. “It doesn’t make any sense,” Chad said. “Let’s check the house and make sure he’s not sitting on the porch waiting for us. If not, we can start searching for him on foot. Do you have anything better to wear for shoes? This isn’t exactly high-heeled territory.” “I didn’t exactly know where you lived, and I didn’t exactly expect to be traipsing through the woods. What I did expect was to come here, give you a piece of my mind, and leave. So, no, I didn’t bring multiple changes of shoes as if I were going on a vacation.”
She parked back at the house, and they made their way to the top of the stairs. There was still no sign of Brody. “In that case, you need to stay close to the house, in case he returns. It’s dangerous by the cliff, and I wouldn’t want you to slip and fall. Or twist your ankle.” He chose to ignore the rest of her comment, but the square set of his jaw meant it hit home. Good. All she cared about was finding Brody and going home.
“There’s no way I’m staying at the house when I need to be out looking for my dog. He’s like a child to me, something you wouldn’t understand.” She regretted the harsh words the minute they slipped out.
“You may be right about me, but this is my property, and I know how dangerous it can be. This is not up for discussion. I’ll search around closer to the cliff area. If you’re not content sitting still, then drive around the trail again.” Her dad seemed to take her comments in stride and didn’t miss a beat in taking charge of the situation.
Gemma followed him into the house, ignoring his instructions. She was old enough to make her own decisions, and Brody was her responsibility. He turned and look at her, shaking his head. “Headstrong woman, just like your mother.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“She always knew what she wanted, and she wouldn’t let anything get in her way. For the record, I did offer your mother the chance to travel on the PBR tour with me. But she was right, as usual. The tour was no place to raise a child, something I learned pretty quick out in the real world.” The bomb he dropped exploded in her head, forming pinpricks of pain as she fought to comprehend the little tidbit of information her mother failed to mention. A change of subject was in order.
“Whatever. Guess we’ll never know. We need to find Brody.” There’d be time to think about what he said later, and maybe even call her mom, but right now, she needed to find her dog. The house was stunning with its rustic appeal, and under normal circumstances, she would’ve been hard-pressed not to stop and admire the place. But nothing about the situation was normal.
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
Love & Family is the story of a single father doing what’s right and best for his son but it’s also about healing old wounds for multiple relationships. Add to this the fact the story was inspired by a real rescue, it’s a story that will warm your heart and keep you cheering for happily-ever-afters.
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Winner will be drawn on June 28, 2020.
Elsie Davis discovered the world of Happily-Ever-After romance at the age of twelve and has been hooked ever since. She's a Hallmark Channel movie fan, enjoys reading sweet romance, and loves creating her own fun stories, keeping them appropriate for all ages who love romance...pre-teen to grandparents. A #1 Amazon Best Selling category author, Elsie writes from her heart, hoping to share a little love in a big world. Colossians 3:14 ~And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.~ Sweet and Wholesome Romance by Elsie Davis - amazon.com/author/elsiedavis
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