Love & Peace – Holidays in Hallbrook by @elsiedavishea is a Christmas and Holiday Book Festival Pick
Title: Love & Peace – Holidays in Hallbrook
Author: Elsie Davis
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Sam Wyatt goes to a cabin in Hallbrook each year at Christmas looking for solitude with the memories of his wife and daughter, who he lost in a car accident a few years ago. Except not long after he arrives, Megan Langley and her daughter take up residence and refuse to leave. A quick call to the rental agent and Sam finds out the cabin has been double booked and he's kicked out to the snowy cold. But when an avalanche closes Tinsel Pass, he’s forced to return to the cabin.
Megan was supposed to spend this Christmas celebrating and honoring her mother at her favorite place this year. When one night of housing Sam turns into more, Megan and Becca are resolved to get their Christmas spirit back. They keep Sam busy, giving him zero chance of finding the solitude he craves, especially when a stray dog comes around and Becca’s determined to help the mutt.
When the pass reopens, Sam is torn emotionally between the past and present. Can a little Christmas magic save him from making the wrong decision?
Becca slipped off her jacket and dropped it on top of her duffle bag.
They stood side by side, holding out their hands to the fire, trying to draw the heat toward their bodies as the flames danced and licked at the barely burned logs. Megan let out a deep breath. “Aunt Rachael must be out back getting more firewood. It was a great idea to warm up, and the fire is just getting toasty.” Megan laughed, turning her backside to the flames.
“It’s pretty here. And I love the flagpole out front. It’s so Christmassy. But there are no decorations inside, so I’m glad we brought all of Grandma’s stuff.”
“Yes. It will be wonderful. I’ll get the boxes of decorations out of the backseat of the car tomorrow when I can see better.” And when it wasn’t so cold outside.
“We have a flagpole at school. Charlie dared me to stick my tongue on it, but Jessie told me not to do it, that my tongue would stay stuck to the pole. She said Charlie was trying to trick me. He even double-dared me. I was afraid to try, but I don’t like being called chicken. I try not to be afraid of anything.”
Megan couldn’t help but laugh, remembering another little girl who didn’t believe it was true. Must be part of some ritual passed from generation to generation. Dare. Double-dare. Double-dog-dare. She knew the routine all too well.
“It’s absolutely true. Unfortunately, when I was your age, I didn’t believe it, and I did it anyway, even though I was warned. Worst thing ever. My tongue stayed stuck for almost ten minutes before the other kids stopped laughing long enough to get help. They had to use hot water and a washcloth to get my tongue off the pole. It hurt for days, and it was hard to eat. I can laugh about it now, but trust me, I wasn’t laughing then.”
Becca giggled. “I’m glad I didn’t do it.”
“You were smart. Always remember that even if you’re dared to do something, you always have the right to say no. Being dared is never a reason to do anything, especially not something you’re unsure of or don’t want to do. Sometimes it’s better to ask a grown-up first, just to be on the safe side. You should ask yourself if it’s such a terrific idea, why do you have to be dared in the first place?”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Becca was deep in thought as Megan wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. Her daughter was a smart girl, and Megan was proud of her for making the right choice all on her own.
A loud crashing noise startled them, sending a rush of adrenaline coursing through Megan. Her daughter screamed, the sound sending chills down Megan’s spine. Instinctively, Megan pushed Becca behind her, going into defense mode to shield her daughter from danger.
Megan turned to discover the source of the sound and was stunned to see a man; his gaze shooting daggers at her. The logs at his feet explained the crashing sound, but not the man himself.
“I don’t know who you think you are, or why you’re here, but you don’t belong and need to leave.” The man’s steely voice grated on her nerves. If looks were anything to go by, the man wasn’t an ogre, nor did he set off any alarm bells in her internal radar, something she’d learned to trust over the years. But the haunted expression on his face, as well as his words, had managed to catch her off guard.
Her sister hadn’t mentioned anything about bringing a friend, which left the question, just who was this guy? “There must be some mistake. I’m Megan Langley. My sister and I rented this place for the week. I assume you’re the property manager.” He looked the part, dressed in jeans and a leather bomber jacket, clean-cut, and delivering wood.
“Impossible.” He ran a hand through his sandy blond hair, his brow furrowed.
“Not impossible.” His attitude and presence strained her good mood, keeping her on the defensive. “Look, mister, I’m not sure what you’re doing here, but if you’re not the property manager, then you’re the one who needs to leave.”
Megan took a few steps toward the couch and retrieved her jacket to fish the confirmation letter out of the pocket where she’d stuffed it after unlocking the door. “Becca, stay put.” She shot her daughter a warning glance, letting her know she expected her to listen.
Unfolding the letter, Megan walked directly up to the man, who still hadn’t moved an inch from the doorway of what she presumed led to the kitchen. She held up the document in her hand for his inspection. “I have a confirmation letter.”
If anything, the strained look on his face intensified. “Impossible.”
“You keep saying that, but this is proof.” Megan wasn’t backing down.
The man walked over to the front door where a coat tree stood, one she hadn’t noticed on her way into the house. He retrieved a paper from the pocket of the suit coat hanging there. Without a word, he unfolded it and walked back toward her.
Megan had a bad feeling. The man seemed so assured of himself.
He handed her the letter. “My letter. Notice the date.”
“Impossible.” The word slipped out, echoing the man’s own sentiment. “There must be some mix-up, some explanation. This much I do know, we are not leaving.”
Share a holiday family tradition:
Any children at our house get to open one gift on Christmas Eve after we read the Christmas Story and T’was the Night Before Christmas. We put out hot chocolate and a sweet treat for Santa. In the morning, Santa’s gifts aren’t wrapped and our enjoyed first, and after that, gifts are handed out one at a time, for all to enjoy and appreciate everything that has gone into the moment. We like to savor Christmas morning, while we enjoy a Breakfast Casserole prepared the night before and baked while gifts are being opened. I’m all for easy!
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood:
A cozy cabin in the woods, snow, a warm fire…what’s not to love for the holidays? Throw in a perfectly amazing snowman, an igloo, sledding, and of course, a snowball fight, and it’s the perfect recipe for Christmas spirit!
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Runs December 1 – 31.
Drawing will be held on January 3, 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.~
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