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Sasha's Secret Santa by @peggy_jaeger is a Black Friday Deal pick #blackfriday #99c #cybermonday
Title: SASHA’S SECRET SANTA (A Dickens Holiday Romance: Dorrit’s Diner)
Author: PEGGY JAEGER
Genre: Dickens Holiday Romance, Holiday romance, small town later in life, coming home again, surviving trauma, medical romance
After a terrifying incident derails Sasha Charles’ career and confidence, she moves back to her hometown of Dickens to heal, reorganize, and start over.
The only problem? The paralyzing panic attacks that plague her whenever she thinks about going back to nursing. Sasha is mentally, and emotionally stuck, and has no idea how to move forward.
Steve Caldwell is the new Director of Services at Dickens Memorial Hospital. After witnessing her save the life of a local resident in Dorrit’s Diner, he knows Sasha would be perfect for the new trauma center he’s planning. When she refuses his job offer outright, he sets out to change her mind.
But Sasha has thick, protective walls erected around her so Steve must first break through them. With patience and kindness, he does. As the two grow closer, each begins to have second thoughts on what their futures should look like, until idle, small town gossip threatens to derail their budding relationship.
With the imminent arrival of Christmas, will Steve be able to convince Sasha he has her best interests at heart?
Driving four hours in the dead of night while the world slept, wasn’t something Sasha Charles considered fun.
Not that she’d been having anything anyone could remotely term fun lately.
After working a tortuous evening shift in the Emergency Department on Christmas Eve, she’d signed out at close to one in the morning, hopped in her car, and pointed it toward her hometown of Dickens. She’d promised her mom she’d be home on Christmas morning and once you made a promise to Amy Charles, the only thing that excused you following through on said promise was a limb dangling from your body, arterial blood spraying everywhere, or death. Hence, the wee-hours drive in sub-zero conditions through winding back roads so she could be present at Christmas breakfast with the family.
Seated behind the wheel and staring at nothing but whiteness dotting the night sky in front of her, Sasha yawned so violently, tears formed, blurring her vision. Even though the temperature had dipped below zero, she opened the driver’s side window so the shock of arctic air to her face would help keep her from falling asleep. She decided against blasting the radio since the perpetual repeat loop of Christmas music did more to lull her brain to rest than stimulate it to stay awake and aware.
Another jaw cracking yawn had her questioning for the umpteenth time why she hadn’t requested the evening before the holiday off. If she had, she could have avoided this entire drive-in-the-dead-of-night rigmarole and would have already been at her parent’s home, snuggled in bed, probably having a late night gabfest with her older sister, while gorging on Amy’s Christmas cookies.
Since working in the Emergency Department ever since she’d graduated from her baccalaureate nursing program, Sasha had staff seniority, and was one of only three nurses who’d survived the almost continual revolving door of staff and department transfers.
The ED wasn’t for everyone, her old med/surg nursing instructor had cautioned once upon a time. And she’d been proven correct time after time. But Sasha was drawn to the fast pace and adrenaline-pumping speed from the start of her career. Every single piece of information she’d ever learned in nursing school, she put to practice in the ED as, daily, she performed life-saving procedures. And Sasha thrived on making quick-fire, life and death decisions. Simply put, she loved where she worked.
Lately, though, a sense of ennui and restlessness had been worming its way inside her. Too many deaths from preventable overdoses and the endless barrage of gang shootings; too many families to console, torn apart by death and trauma; paperwork on top of paperwork, all contributed to a feeling she was banging her head against an invisible wall.
When had the ED turned into the same old-same old for her?
And let’s not forget the never-ending turnstile of interns, residents, and fellows, who walked in with superior chips on their shoulders and attitudes rivaling the most condescending of celebrity divas.
Sasha realized a few months ago she had no life outside of the hospital, a fact that sent shivers of sadness through her. She woke early each day, went for a run in her small Brooklyn neighborhood to keep her muscles strong and recharge her brain, then showered, ate, and dressed for work.
She repeated the cycle the next day. And then the next. Even on her days off she couldn’t escape the tedium.
The last movie she’d seen – not on a streaming service while in her pajamas, but in an actual movie theater -- had been two years ago, which coincided with the last actual date she’d gone on. Both had been…disappointing.
Her only friends were work friends, and most of them were married with kids now, so Friday and Saturday nights spent out socializing were uncommon. She hated the bar scene, couldn’t picture herself on a dating/match app, and refused to date any of the on-the-make interns or residents, knowing they were only interested in was scratching a sexual itch in an on-call room while working their thirty-six hour shifts.
Sasha, basically, lived to work.
She’d begun to think her time in the ED was coming to an end and she’d started sneaking peeks at the hospital’s online job directory and vacancy links. So far nothing available appealed to her.
She wanted something…more. Something…different. Something to help her remember the reasons she’d gone into the nursing profession to begin with.
Another yawn prompted a severe headshake to ward off the sleep invading her brain. She should have taken herself off the work rotation and told her supervisor no when she would inevitably have been asked to work the pre-holiday shift.
But she hadn’t.
She’d opted to do what she always did and work so the nurses and techs with family and kids could enjoy the evening off. As the only unmarried nurse on evenings, more times than not, she was asked to cover a shift or trade one for another.
Most of the time it didn’t make a difference her if she worked. Sasha had no children and her family was a four-hour drive away. Amy didn’t care when Sasha would arrive, as long as it was sometime before she put Christmas dinner on the table. Of course, she would have liked to have all her chicks home to roost for the Eve and then the day, since Christmas was Amy Charles’ favorite day of the year. But simply knowing Sasha, Abra, and their brother Michael would all be home at the same time was enough for the woman.
Amy didn’t ask for much. In truth, she asked for nothing from her adopted children and yet gave them everything. If Sasha could, she’d move heaven and hell to make the woman who’d taken her in, loved her unconditionally, and was always her champion, happy. If it meant driving all night on no sleep after imbibing buckets of caffeine, then so be it.
Sasha’s eyes started to grow tired, her lids feeling as if ten-pound kettlebells were weighing them down, just when she spotted the sign indicating she’d reached the outskirts of Dickens.
Only two more miles and she’d be home.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
If you like small town, holiday romances that deal with topics such as adoption, parental loss, and PTSD – and handle them all with humor and kindness, this is a book for your TBR list.
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Peggy Jaeger writes contemporary romances and rom coms about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
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Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0