Only You for the Holidays by @LauraMBaird is a Christmas in July Fete pick #romance #giveaway
Title: Only You for the Holidays
Author: Laura M. Baird
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
She made excuses to stay away.
He'll give her a reason to remain.
Piper Deacon had a spotless flying record while serving in the Army until a careless mishap from her flight partner had her questioning her own skills and responsibility. Foolish pride kept her away from home for too long; the one place she should've known she could always return to no matter what. When circumstances force her back to Idaho, she'll have to face life-altering decisions which include whether or not to succumb to the match-making devices of her mother and co-conspirator friend. With the appealing lawman, Logan Shaw, in her path, will she realize the easy choice right in front of her is all she'll ever need?
Logan Shaw didn't always walk the straight line, but service in the Marines gave him a better direction. After twenty-one years away, he's settling back home, working with the Sheriff's Department, and wondering if he has a future that'll include a woman to love. Thanks to the machinations of his mom and her friend, he's already halfway there with a woman he has yet to meet. And when he does, can he convince Piper you really can come home again?
Stormi’s bark snaps me out of my musings and back to the present as an unfamiliar vehicle wends its way up my drive. Being the only resident in this area for several miles, and the lane easily passed by, whoever the driver is must have knowledge of my place and is coming with a purpose. Only a few knew I'd returned; in truth, there weren't many who really needed to know. And those who did knew I wanted seclusion.
And time. Time to come to terms with life-changing disasters and the guilt for not having made it home nearly as much as I should have.
When the vehicle stops and the engine shuts off, Stormi is prancing and singing with excitement, even though she has no idea who the visitor may be. She’s probably just elated to have company other than her human mom.
“Stormi, come,” I order softly, maintaining my position on the porch. She’s well-trained and behaves as I instruct, circling back to the porch while constantly turning her head to keep an eye on the vehicle. It’s an older first-generation Bronco, I’d guess to be from the late 60s, in seemingly excellent condition. Usually not a vehicle you’d see on these back roads, and certainly not in wintry, often treacherous conditions.
As the door opens and the person begins to emerge, Stormi gets antsy, pacing near the bottom step of the porch while whining. I murmur for her to settle as I keep my eyes on the obvious male figure unfolding himself from the confines of the vehicle. Standing at least six feet tall, probably more, his eyes are shielded with dark sunglasses as the breeze tousles his blond hair. His broad upper body is covered with at least a few layers as the collar of a flannel shirt peeks out from looks like a well-worn, blue suede sherpa-lined jacket. Dark blue jeans cover thick legs like a second skin and hikers peek out from the hems.
After shutting the door, he waves a hand while striding toward me. Stormi lets out a soft bark just as the man calls out, “Morning.”
“I’ll ask you to stop right there to tell me who you are and why you’re on my property.”
Although he halts in his tracks, a grin transforms his mouth. At my tone, Stormi goes on alert, emitting a low growl.
“Stay,” is my only command, knowing to guard yet remain ready.
The man reaches for his glasses with both hands, removing them to reveal stunningly bright blue eyes. Even from the distance of at least twenty feet I can see the fine creases at the corners of those eyes as well as a dimple in his left cheek. And, damn, if that combination doesn’t stir something unbidden and completely unwanted in my chest. Not to mention my dormant lady parts.
What the hell, Piper? Knock it off!
“Piper Deacon, I'm sure your momma taught you better hospitality than that.” His grin becomes a full-on smile, showcasing ridiculously perfect teeth that usually result from orthodontia and bleaching. Or porcelain crowns. Or blessed genes.
Something familiar tugs at my memory, but before it can coalesce, I offer him a snarky comeback.
“She certainly did, but my dad also taught me caution around strangers.”
“Well now, good thing we aren’t exactly strangers then, isn’t it?” He tucks his glasses into a pocket.
At this point, Stormi’s impatience is palpable as her hairs rise and she woofs several times.
“And this must be the infamous Stormi-girl,” the man says while squatting down and offering his hand.
Glee overrides obedience as she springs forward, bypassing the hand to lunge playfully. Taking him by surprise, he topples to the ground, allowing Stormi to shower him with doggy kisses. Which actually means furious licks with a very big, very slobbery tongue. Before I can admonish her, he’s laughing while the affection continues.
“Okay, okay, I surrender,” he says. Managing a sitting position, the man rubs both hands vigorously along Stormi’s neck and sides, easily keeping her under control. He smiles up at me, pinning me with those intense eyes that are vaguely familiar. “Still not placing me, eh?”
“Uh, no,” I stutter, taken off guard by his natural ease and my unnatural reaction to him.
“Logan Shaw, former town bad boy turned lawman.” His statement is matter of fact with a hint of pride.
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What I love most about the holiday season:
I simply love family time; doesn't need to be a big production. Although I love decorating most years, I like when I put out just a few special items, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the family is together. If snow makes an appearance for a day or two, then that's sweet also. But in our part of the PNW, it's usually not likely until after the new year.
Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?
It's a heartwarming romance about realizing what's important in life: family. It's also about realizing the best in yourself and grabbing on to what happiness you can.
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.
Laura's always had a love for reading since grade school, and when the writing bug took hold in the fourth grade, it hasn't slowed down. Besides being a bestselling, award winning author, she's a wife, mother, grandmother, veteran, and semi-retired dental hygienist. She loves giving readers an escape with passionate and often suspenseful romances filled with laughs and emotions. Laura dreams of travel with her hubby while enjoying life in the Pacific Northwest. Engaging with authors and readers is fun and essential, so don't be shy about looking her up on social media.
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