New Release | The Fireman’s Christmas Wish by @NanReinhardt #romance #holidayromance #bookboost
Title: The Fireman’s Christmas Wish
Author: Nan Reinhardt
Genre: Small-town Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Her heart is wide open, but he’s nailed his shut.
Preschool teacher Harley Cole has always viewed life through rose-colored glasses. With a career she loves, friends she enjoys, and a home that is her haven, there’s only one thing missing—finding her soul mate. As the holidays approach, Harley is inspired to help her former high school crush rediscover his holiday joy. It’s just a good deed…until the feelings she thought were gone come rushing back.
Fire Chief Becker Lange returns home to River’s Edge with a heavy heart. His divorce has emotionally ravaged him, leaving him more confused than ever about what women want. So to protect himself from another failure, he closes his heart. And then Harley Cole makes him a flirty dare that she can help him overcome the holiday blues. Beck’s not sure he wants to, but Harley’s a hard woman to tell no.
Can the magic of Christmas and a sweet stray kitten bring these two lonely souls together?
The annual tree-lighting in the town square on the Friday night after Thanksgiving was one of Harley’s very favorite events. It set her up for Christmas and she was hoping it might set Beck up as well, even though she had surprised him when she’d detoured past his house on her way to the center of town and invited him to join her.
He came, not grudgingly, although he did stand back from the large crowd and she couldn’t help notice his expression—narrowed eyes and his lips a tight line—as the littlest ones sang and danced on the small stage in front of the towering Norway spruce. It surprised her that he didn’t search the mass of folks for his brothers or his mom, even though she was certain they were there somewhere. When she mentioned trying to find them and maybe grab a hot chocolate from one of several vendors in the park, he’d begged off, saying he needed to get home and finish some paperwork.
As he walked briskly toward the next block, she stopped short, yanking him back because he still had her hand clutched in his.
He peered at her in the light from the sconces on either side of the Tea Leaf Café’s front door. The café was dark except for the gleaming Christmas tree Holly had put up in the front window. “What?”
“I think I’ll wander back and get some hot chocolate.” She pulled her hand gently from his.
“Hardly. There’s a whole townful of people back there.” She jerked her thumb in the direction from which they’d just come.
“But…” He hesitated, then sighed…deeply. “Okay, fine, let’s go get you some hot chocolate.”
Scowling, she managed to keep her tone even. “Don’t do me any favors, Beck. I’ll get my own.” She turned on her heel and stalked away, stopping only long enough to turn around and call, “And by the way, Chief, your people skills suck.”
Harley fumed all the way back to the square where she got into a queue in front of Paula Meadows’s booth in the park and texted one of her besties, Jo Weaver, “Where R U?”
Jo’s response came almost immediately. “At Warner with Gia and Jenny. U?”
“Pouting in the park,” she responded with more honesty than was necessary.
The next text was pure Jo Weaver. “Cut that crap out and get down here.”
“In line for hot chocolate. Be there shortly.”
“Paula’s. What do you want?”
“Grab some frosted sugar cookies.” No surprise Jo had the munchies—she had a voracious appetite for everything in life, particularly sweets.
It wasn’t hard to find her friends; they were exactly where they landed after every town event since high school—perched on the stone wall behind the Warner mansion museum overlooking the River Walk and the mighty Ohio River. The River Walk was crowded with tourists and townsfolk alike all stretching the joy of the tree-lighting on into the pleasantly chill evening…
“I dragged Becker Lange with me tonight and I shouldn’t have. I mean…he came along nicely enough, but what else was he going to do? I knocked on his door and told him I’d be all alone if he didn’t come with me.” She sighed and took another bite of cookie. “It was a cheap attempt at getting him into the Christmas spirit after I’d promised him just two nights ago that I wouldn’t push him into any town holiday events.”
Jenny shrugged. “He didn’t have to come with you.”
Harley shook her head. “He’s too polite a guy to turn me down flat when I was standing on his front stoop with my sad face on. I was a jerk.” She finished the cookie in one more bite. “That’s not the worst part.”
Jo wrinkled her nose. “I can’t believe you think this is so terrible. What could possibly be worse?” She gave the question a sardonic read.
Jo’s wry reaction eased Harley’s guilt slightly. Maybe she was being silly. “I yelled at him because he wouldn’t stay with me and get hot chocolate.” Harley was glad the cover of darkness hid the flush she could feel creeping into her cheeks. “I told him his people skills sucked and I stomped off and left him in front of the Tea Leaf.”
Jo fluttered her hand in front of her chest in a fake heart palpitation and exchanged a glance with Jenny that told Harley both sisters clearly thought she was way overreacting. “Oh no! How could you be so cruel? How will he ever survive?”
Jenny confirmed it. “Sounds like you’ve taken our gorgeous yet brooding fire chief on as a holiday project. You love Christmas, Harles. Why would you spoil your own enjoyment with him? He’s a grown-up, plus he has a great family to get him through the holidays if it’s a hard time for him.”
Gia opened her purse and pulled out a flask. “Before we get too deep into this, does anyone want some Baileys in their hot chocolate? This story sounds like Harley needs bolstering.” All three women held out their cups and Gia poured. “Okay, I’m new in town; catch me up. What’s wrong with the hot fire chief because frankly, he looks real fine to me.” She waggled her brows. “I mean that guy is…yummy!”
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Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet, small-town romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 49 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake.
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