Waiting For A Miracle by @JWilck is a Christmas in July Fete pick #jewishromance #hanukkah #giveaway
Title: Waiting For A Miracle
Author: Jennifer Wilck
Genre: Contemporary Jewish Romance
Benjamin Cohen, widowed father of six-year-old Jessie, is doing his best to hold it together through order and routine. The last thing he needs is his matchmaker mother to set him up with her next door neighbor, no matter how attractive she is.
Rachel Schaecter's dream of becoming a foster mother is right within her grasp, until her meddlesome neighbor tries to set her up with her handsome son. What's worse? He's the father of her favorite kindergarten student! She can't afford to let anything come between her and her dream, no matter how gorgeous he may be.
Can these two determined people trust in the miracle of Hanukkah to let love and light into their lives?
Six-year-old bodies were good at many things—bouncing, hugging, and racing. Rachel was thankful they were also good at hiding her surprise. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine her favorite student, and her student’s father, would be at her neighbor’s house the same night she was invited to celebrate Hanukkah.
She met the hard gaze of Jessie’s father across the room. Eyes narrowed as if he suspected her reasons for being here. His broad shoulders were stiff. His jean-clad muscular legs were spread apart in a solid stance. Square hands fisted at his sides, and one of them held a menorah. Did he plan to throw it or club someone with it?
Giving Jessie a last pat, she rose. With an arm around Jessie, she extended her other hand to her father. “Happy Hanukkah.”
“Oh, please,” Harriet said, “Such formality between you two. Rachel, this is my son Benny. I mean Benjamin.”
Benny. Rachel filed the information away for later, along with his flushed skin at the nickname. Interesting.
“And Benjamin, this is my neighbor, Rachel. We’re not at a school event. You can call each other by your first names.” Harriet pointed at Jessie, who gripped Rachel’s hand so hard, Rachel’s fingers lost their circulation. “Except for you,” Harriet added. “You have to call her Ms. Schaecter.”
Jessie giggled. “Yes, Grandma.”
“Now, sit in the living room and help yourselves to latkes,” Harriet added. “There’s applesauce and sour cream to go along with them.”
Jessie led Rachel to the sofa. Benjamin remained where he was. When they took a seat, he sat on a side chair, back ramrod straight.
The table was set with Happy Hanukkah paper plates and napkins bedecked with spinning dreidels in blue, white, and silver. Rachel helped herself to a latke, adding a dollop of applesauce. Benjamin gripped the arms of his chair and Jessie wrinkled her nose. “Those don’t look like the ones we ate in class,” she said.
“Jessie, don’t be rude,” her father said.
Rachel smiled at the little girl. “No, these look much better. The ones in class were from a mix. Your grandma made these from scratch, right Harriet?”
“That’s right,” Harriet said. “No box mixes in this house! I peeled and grated every potato myself. Try one, Jessie. You liked it last year.”
Jessie looked at her dad for reassurance. He gave a single nod, and she took one on her plate. Taking a small bite, she chewed and her eyes widened. “Yummy! It tastes like French fries!”
Harriet shook her head. “I don’t know if the comparison is a compliment, but I’ll take it.”
“They’re delicious, Harriet,” Rachel said. Crunchy, like home fries, they were one of the oily foods used to commemorate the miracle of the oil. Rachel loved them.
Harriet beamed and turned to her son. “And what do you think, Benny?”
Benjamin’s jaw bulged as he clenched his teeth. “They’re excellent, Mom. The entire building smells of them.”
“Oy. I’ll have to give some to the neighbors so they don’t get mad at me.”
“Since when do you worry about others being mad at you, Mom?”
Harriet straightened as much as her five-foot frame allowed. She glared at her son before directing a smile at Jessie. “Sweetheart, why don’t you come help me in the kitchen and leave your daddy and your teacher to get to know each other better.”
“But...” Jessie glanced between her grandmother, her father, and Rachel. Swallowing, she nodded and followed her grandmother into the kitchen. “Can I help you cook?”
Rachel turned to Benjamin. “Your daughter’s adorable, as I’m sure you know.”
He finished his latke and wiped his mouth, his movements spare and deliberate. Across the coffee table from him, she focused on the cleft in his chin and his square jaw. She was a sucker for square jaws.
“I do,” he said. “But it’s nice to hear. She loves your class.”
Rachel insides warmed. “I’m glad.” She looked around the living room. The display of family photos on the wall caught her attention for the first time. “I can’t believe I didn’t know you were Harriet’s son. I’m surprised I’ve never run into you here before.”
He shrugged. The movement accentuated the fit of his sweater across his chest. The wool looked soft and matched the deep ocean blue of his eyes.
I should not notice the eyes of my student’s parent.
“I’m sure we’re on different schedules,” he said. Rising, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and walked to the window overlooking 24th Street. He slid his hand along the white window shears, wandered to the bookcases and stared at the multi-colored book bindings. At least, she thought that’s what he stared at. All she knew was he didn’t speak. The oppressive silence was worsened by him moving around, as if he were afraid to stay in one place for too long. She followed him with her gaze and searched for something to fill the silence.
“Have you lived in the city for long?” she asked. Boring, but they had to start somewhere.
He swung around, as if he’d forgotten she was there. “Uh, ten years. We always planned to relocate to the suburbs when Jessie was old enough to need a yard to run around in, but Lauren got sick.” He dug the toe of his loafer into the plush beige carpet, his shoulders slumping for the first time since she’d met him.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
She wanted to change the subject. “So, what do you do?”
He looked up. “I’m an IT consultant.”
She didn’t know much about computers, and she needed to lighten the mood. “That’s right. Jessie mentioned you ‘play’ with computers.” She grinned, but he didn’t react. “She is such a pleasure to have in class, as I’ve told you before. I have a real soft spot for her. And her pictures are cute. I try to give her a little extra attention in class,” she said. “Nothing overt the others would notice, but enough so she knows I care about her.”
It was as if her voice gave him his armor. He straightened, his face all harsh planes and angles. “Extra attention isn’t necessary. You’re just her teacher, despite what she draws. Nothing more.”
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What I love most about the holiday season:
I love the warmth of family, the crisp cold air, and the traditions we pass down to our children.
Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?
It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read. It’s got a quirky grandma, and adorable child, and a hero and heroine with amazing chemistry.
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.
Jennifer Wilck is an award-winning contemporary romance author for readers who are passionate about love, laughter, and happily ever after. Known for writing both Jewish and non-Jewish romances, her books feature damaged heroes, sassy and independent heroines, witty banter and hot chemistry. Jennifer’s ability to transport the reader into the scene, create characters the reader will fall in love with, and evoke a roller coaster of emotions, will hook you from the first page. You can find her books at all major online retailers in a variety of formats.
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