BREATH OF CHRISTMAS
Can love overcome his competitive spirit, or will the desire to win leave him breathless?
Back Cover Blurb:
When Esther Beauchamp agrees to drive a snowmobile during the Santa Snow Challenge, she expects a problem-free weekend of transporting snowboarders. What she gets is the task of transporting a single snowboarder and babysitting his service dog while he’s on the slope.
Robbie Kendrick is instantly attracted to the pretty staffer who volunteered to help him during the competition. While she’s clueless about asthma, he appreciates her efforts to understand how it affects him and his snowboarding. Best of all, she treats him like a man who isn’t disabled and gets along great with his medical alert dog.
But when Robbie’s ability to compete is called into question, is it in God’s plan for him to give up the career he loves, or will his competitive spirit cause him to lose his chance at a future with Esther?
Early morning sunlight sparkled off the fresh snow making Esther Beauchamp thankful she’d remembered her sunglasses.
The brisk air invigorated her as she watched the crowd arriving at Cedar Valley Resort for the Santa Snow Challenge and added to the festive atmosphere created by Christmas decorations on every building, a few trees, and the resort’s lone ski lift.
Esther’s heart thumped with anticipation. This was her first big event since moving to the small Colorado resort town. Never mind the fact that she’d never skied a day in her life; she knew how to drive a snowmobile, which was enough to qualify her for the position of competitor transportation at the slopestyle course.
She adjusted the safety orange jacket she’d been given and wondered how many people it would blind when the sun hit her. Black letters on the left front labeled her as “Staff,” as did the large black letters across the back. So far, she’d only been asked for directions by a few parents herding exuberant preteens, but she should soon meet the competitors.
Her boss and neighbor, Leonard Morris, approached from the left. The clipboard in his hand had seen better days, and it looked as if he’d tried to cram every paper from his overcrowded desk onto the thing. However, his cheerful personality more than made up for his lack of organizational skills.
“Hey, Leonard,” Esther said as he joined her. “What’s up?”
“You get light duty for the competition.” He cocked his head to the side, one bushy gray eyebrow lifted in question. “By the way, do you like dogs?”
“Yeah, they’re great. Why?”
“Because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with one this weekend.” He shuffled through his papers and unearthed a photo. “This is Molly.”
Esther accepted the picture and studied the large black Lab seated beside a handsome blond man in his mid-twenties with hazel eyes and an athletic build. Try as she might, she couldn’t figure out what a dog had to do with shuttling competitors to the top of the course. She handed the photo back and studied her boss. “Cute dog, but why are you telling me about her?”
“The man in the picture is Robbie Kendrick.” Leonard tucked the photo into the pile on his clipboard. “He’s one of the snowboarders, and you’ll need to keep an eye on his dog while he’s doing his runs.”
What was so special about this guy that his dog warranted a babysitter? “What about the other competitors? I thought I was going to be busy running people up to the top of the slope.”
“That was the original plan, but it changed.” Leonard led her away from the growing crowd. “Look, Esther, Molly is Robbie’s service dog. When he’s not on the course, he’ll need her by his side. That’s where you come in. You’ll take them both up to the top, and then you’ll come back down here with Molly and meet Robbie when he finishes his run. I’ve been assured his coach will be at the top to help him out if necessary between the time you drop him off and the time he joins you at the bottom.”
“Wait, one of the snowboarders needs a service dog?”
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017QL63EC
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breath-of-christmas-ea-west/1113879516?ean=9781611162479
Honesty may be the best policy, but will it ruin Christmas?
After a long semester, college student Tawny Beschen is more than ready for a relaxing winter break. Hanging out at rehearsals for her dad’s metal band is just what she needs. Familiar people, familiar music, and a familiar routine... It’s an overwhelmed autistic’s dream. Then the new guitarist walks in, and her safe, predictable world implodes.
Malachi Vandermeer is grateful for the opportunity to play guitar for Death Pardon. After a rough few years, the family-like relationship of the band is what he needs. Then he meets Tawny. Her sweet innocence creates an instant attraction, but his past makes him afraid to let it grow.
Can Tawny and Malachi overcome their challenges and have a merry Christmas together?
“Hey, Tawny,” Alan said, “you mind if I take the mic now?”
She lifted her fingers from the smooth metal of the stand and stepped back. “Oh, sorry.”
“No worries. Long semester?”
“I think I’m brain dead,” she said, shoving her hands in the front pocket of her hooded sweatshirt.
Alan chuckled and adjusted the microphone. “You must be glad you’re on winter break, then.”
“Yeah.” She wandered away as the men prepared to start their rehearsal. Minutes after she stretched out on the floor and stared up at the ceiling with its recessed lights, someone else entered the room.
A stranger around her age. He was cute with his dark brown hair and a day’s growth of beard shadowing his jaw.
The sudden change in routine broke through her relaxed state. A rush of anxiety immobilized her. She curled into a ball on the carpet and pressed her sleeve-covered fist to her mouth to muffle the crying.
“Hey, Tawny, are you all right?” Her father’s quiet voice meant she hadn’t done a great job of hiding her tears. “You want to tell me about it?”
She squeezed her eyes shut. After a few breaths, she rolled halfway over and looked directly into her father’s face. “That’s not Jimmy.”
Dad’s features filled with sympathy, and he smoothed her hair back. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. I thought you knew.”
Dread washed over her. “He’s not dead, is he?”
“No! He’s still going strong.” Dad rubbed her shoulder. “He decided it was time to move on to other things, so we found ourselves a new guitarist a few months ago.”
“I...I think you told me about that when I was working on that paper that drove me nuts. Some guy with a Bible name or something.”
“That’s right. His name is Malachi Vandermeer. Would you like to meet him?”
Dale was talking to the new guy on the far side of the room.
Insecurity slammed into her. Would he want to meet her?
Her dad held his hand out. “It’s a little hard to introduce you if you don’t come with me.”
“He probably thinks I’m an idiot or a psycho.”
“No, he doesn’t.” Dad gave her a brief yet soothing hug. “When I came to see about you, Dale said he’d explain to Malachi.”
“I feel like an idiot.” Humiliation threatened to make her cry again.
“There’s no need for it. A lot of college students get stressed out with their classes, and they don’t have the added struggles you do. You rock, girl, for overcoming that and making the dean’s list anyway. Now, let’s go introduce you to the newbie so you can quit worrying.”
She dropped her gaze to the floor, more comfortable looking at the ugly utilitarian carpet than risking seeing what was in anyone’s eyes. Dale’s familiar skater shoes and an unfamiliar pair of sneakers came into view. They looked as if they’d walked across the country and back. Tawny stole a glance at their owner.
Malachi offered a smile.
Tawny looked back down.
“Malachi, this is my daughter, Tawny. Tawny, meet Malachi Vandermeer, our new guitarist.”
“Hi.” She managed to make eye contact just long enough to discover he had the most gorgeous brown eyes she’d ever seen.
“Hey, Tawny, it’s nice to meet you.” Malachi’s smooth, rich voice sent tingles racing through her. “Your dad’s been bragging on you since I joined the band. How’d your grades turn out?”
“All A’s.” She glanced at her father as curiosity formed. How many others that she’d never met had heard about her college career?
“Awesome!” Malachi’s exclamation broke into her ponderings. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks.” Tawny’s nerves jumped. “I’m gonna go back to the floor now. Have a good rehearsal.”
Malachi’s voice followed her. “Hey, Tawny, I have a cousin who’s an Aspie, and his daughter is autistic. Just thought you might like to know that I get it.”
She gave a single nod and stretched out on the floor again. Maybe she didn’t have to worry about him thinking she was crazy or stupid after all.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B016TX3VR0
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-harmony-ea-west/1122822732?ean=9781611165371
Pelican Book Group: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=68_41&products_id=709
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.
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Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/EAWestAuthor