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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas in Delaney Mountain - Mary Alford

Blurb: Kara Edwards has been looking over her shoulder for years. After being kidnapped and held hostage by a man who claimed to be her late husband's friend, she's no longer in the trusting business. She moves to Delaney Mountain with one expectation: to outrun her stalker. Never does she expect to meet a man like David Delaney—one who not only makes her want to trust again, but to love again, too. David Delaney is drawn to Kara from the first moment he meets her. There's an attractive strength behind her no-nonsense caution and independence. He knows Kara is running from something, but nothing prepares him for what she has to say. When Eli Redford escapes from prison, Kara and David find themselves on one side of a Christmas Eve showdown that brings everything to a deadly head.
Two months. She’d spent the last two months looking over her shoulder and yet the expected nightmare hadn’t returned. There’d been no word from him. No sightings. Only silence.
So why couldn’t she relax? Begin to enjoy life once more? 
Because this routine was a familiar one. The last time had been four months. The time before six. The only variable in the equation was that there was no variable. The routine‒his routine‒never faltered. 
He always found her. 
So, no matter how tired, or frustrated, or fed up she became, she couldn’t let her guard down because it had only been two months; and she was convinced, even after moving to a remote village in Colorado, he would find her again. At times, Kara felt like a ghost without a past. Transparent. She barely remembered the woman she’d once been…before him. 
Kara glanced out the window at the gathering darkness. It came quickly at this time of the year in the shadow of the mountains. The news had been broadcasting a huge winter storm on the way. It was almost six. Amy would start to worry if Kara didn’t pick up her four-year-old daughter, Maya, soon. 
But Kara couldn’t afford to upset her boss. She needed this job. She was barely hanging on financially. Kara picked up the phone to call Amy. Before Amy had a chance to answer, Kara’s boss stepped out of his office and into her personal space. Immediately, she dropped the receiver back into its cradle to the sound of Amy’s ‚hello.‛
A familiar nervousness slithered down into the pit of her stomach. It reared its unwelcomed head every single time David Delaney came within twenty feet of her. 
It didn’t help that he was handsome and had bad- boy-troubled-past written all over him. 
His straight, dark blond hair had been hastily pushed back. He hadn’t shaved in several days. David’s stubble darkened his strong jawline, drawing attention to his face. She suspected he’d pulled quite a few all-nighters lately. 
When David had hired her, he’d explained that he and his brother were expanding their ranching business and had bought up several hundred acres of land across Delaney Mountain from the original ranch. David was charged with getting the new ranch up and running, which was huge undertaking, especially now that his brother had taken a leave of absence to be with his wife who was on strict bed rest during the final stages of her pregnancy. 
While David seemed to enjoy the challenge, the running of the entire ranch fell squarely on his shoulders, resulting in many long days….and nights. He’d told her that the ranch foreman, Noah Henderson, was a tremendous help, but still, the pressures had to be enormous.
Kara glanced up, regretting the color that crept up her face. 
His amazing smoky-blue eyes were on her. His aftershave reminded her of how long it’d been since she was close to a man. And as always, her thoughts drifted to Bryce. She still missed him terribly. It had been almost five years since she’d buried her high school sweetheart, and the love of her life. Lately, it seemed life was reminding her of the things she’d lost with Bryce. Yet she just couldn’t picture going there with anyone else. Especially now. 
After she’d survived him.
Buy link:

Mary Alford was inspired to become a writer after reading romantic suspense greats Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Soon creating characters and throwing them into dangerous situations that test their faith came naturally for Mary. In 2012 Mary entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and later received “the call”. In addition to writing for Love Inspired Suspense, Mary also writes Christian romance and sweet romance. Being a published author has been a dream come true for Mary.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Poles Apart - Marion Ueckermann


Writer’s block and a looming Christmas novel deadline have romance novelist, Sarah Jones, heading for the other side of the world on a whim.

Niklas Toivonen offers cosy Lapland accommodation, but when his aging father falls ill, Niklas is called upon to step into his father's work clothes to make children happy. Red is quite his color.

Fresh off the airplane, a visit to Santa sets Sarah’s muse into overdrive. The man in red is not only entertaining, he’s young—with gorgeous blue eyes. Much like her new landlord’s, she discovers. Santa and Niklas quickly become objects of research—for her novel, and her curiosity.

Though she’s written countless happily-ever-afters, Sarah doubts she’ll ever enjoy her own. Niklas must find a way to show her how to leave the pain of her past behind, so she can find love and faith once more.


It was a cold and frosty night.
The seven words on the screen contained no magic. No hook. Sarah Jones stared at her laptop. Nothing enticed the reader to continue. From her chair in the kitchen, she gazed at the Christmas tree sparkling in the lounge. Tiny white lights flickered on and off, their reflections dancing in the colored balls that hung on the surrounding green branches.
Didn’t help.
“Ugh, this is impossible.” Sarah closed the laptop lid and slumped back in her chair. Maybe if she ate something, her muse would come out to play. She glanced at the cereals and toast her sister had set out on the table, the knot in her stomach refusing to budge. No. Not going to help either.
She turned to look out the window at Cape Town’s Table Mountain and the blanket of mist clinging to the top like a white cloth. The day was young—the mist would soon lift from this beautiful South African landmark, her muse for so many stories.
Not this one.
Shutting her eyes on the welling moisture, Sarah raked her fingers through her hair. For a few moments she sat in blindness, obliterating the world around her. If only she could obliterate the looming deadline or give sight to the nothingness in her mind.
The tap on her leg brought a smile to her lips. She took a deep breath then exhaled as she opened her eyes to the dark gaze from below.
“Hey, Jonathan. What are you up to?”
“Nuffing.” The pajama-clad five-year-old smiled as his chubby hand tapped Sarah’s leg again. “An’ you, Auntie Sarah?”
Another heavy sigh escaped her lips. “Nothing, too.” She wrapped her fingers over Jonathan’s. For a brief moment his hand disappeared beneath hers before he pulled away and scrambled onto her lap. The wooden kitchen table scraped against the tiles as it made way for his small body. He placed his palms on Sarah’s cheeks, focusing her gaze on him.
How she loved those chocolaty orbs.
“Whatssa matter, Auntie Sarah? Are you sad?”
“No, Jonathan. I’m not sad.”
“You sure?” He smoothed his hands down the sides of her head before twirling some strands around his fingers, following the long winding path until he ran out of hair.
Sarah nodded. “I’m sure. I’m struggling to start this story, that’s all.”
“What’s it about?” Matthew, Jonathan’s older sibling by three years, thumped across the kitchen, pulled out a chair and plopped onto it. He poured a glass of milk before stretching to grab a piece of toast from the basket in the center of the table. After spreading the toast with butter, he twisted the lid off the peanut butter jar. His knife disappeared inside. Soon a thick layer of brown covered the slice of white, which he topped with a generous drizzling of maple syrup. Mouth wide open, Matthew sank his teeth into the gooey meal and closed his eyes. “Mmm, good.” He licked a stray sticky strand from the corner of his mouth.
“Yes, Auntie Sarah, what’s your story about?” Jonathan echoed.
Sarah gave a weak smile. “Nothing at the moment, boys, I’m afraid.”
“You got building blocks again?” Jonathan’s dark eyes held a seriousness Sarah adored.
Matthew giggled. “It’s writer’s block, silly.”
Twisting around, Jonathan screamed. “I’m not silly, silly.” As he turned back to face Sarah, his bottom lip rounded into a pout.
“No, you’re not.” Sarah planted a kiss on her younger nephew’s forehead, shooting a frown at Matthew.
Matthew eyed Sarah and his brother over the syrupy horizon before sinking his teeth again into the gooey layers. “So, what’s the story meant to be about?”
“Matthew Grant Olson, how many times have I told you not to talk with food in your mouth?” Hannah strode across the kitchen and dumped the basket of ironing on the counter.
Matthew chewed fast, swallowed, and then grinned. “Sorry, Mom.”
Jonathan wiggled around on Sarah’s lap and wagged his head at Matthew, seemingly happy that his mother’s admonition was just retribution for his brother calling him silly.
A laugh slipped from Sarah’s mouth. She should write a book about kids instead of a romance. She’d gathered enough fodder staying with her sister the past fortnight. Building on her new townhouse dragged on far longer than anticipated. Summer rains and availability of stock already delayed construction by two months, rendering her homeless after she’d given notice at her rented apartment. And now, in a few days’ time, the building industry would close for the Christmas holidays. Nothing would happen for five weeks. Why did she have such specific and unusual taste in finishings? Couldn’t settle for an alternative? And why did she decide to build when she did, knowing the challenges she’d face this time of the year?
“Auntie Sarah has writer’s building blocks, Mommy.”
“Writer’s block, silly.” Matthew rolled his eyes.
Jonathan shot his brother another look, his voice rising with each emphasized word. “I’m not silly.”
“Whatever.” Matthew took another bite of his toast, and then a swig of milk.
Hannah removed the ironing board and iron from the tall cupboard beside her and set them up. “You’re struggling with the story, sis?”
“A little.”
“How much have you done? Are the boys a distraction to your writing?” She filled a jug with water and topped up the steam iron’s water tank.
Sarah shook her head. “The boys are fine. If only my publisher wanted a Christmas story involving children and sunshine, not one with Santa, kisses, and snow.”
Glancing up, Hannah smiled. “You wanted to be a romance writer.”
“I know. And I love it. But it’s so weird—I have no inspiration for this story. I feel like an artist up against a blank canvas.” Tears stung her eyes as she whispered. “I’m afraid the canvas is winning.”
“I have inspiration for you, Auntie Sarah.” Matthew took a deep breath and then belted out the familiar Christmas song, I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. With a titter, he puckered his lips.
“Not mommy,” Jonathan squealed as he wiggled off Sarah’s lap. “Mommy’s married. We must sing ‘I saw Auntie Sarah kissing Santa Claus’.” He wrinkled his nose and grinned at Sarah as his giggles joined Matthew’s laughter.
“Oh you boys. I don’t think you’re helping your aunt at all.” Hannah folded the ironed pillow slip and set it to one side of the counter before pulling a pair of creased jeans from the basket. She straightened them on the board. “How much have you managed to write?” Steam hissed as the iron met the thick blue fabric.
“Seven words. And they stink.” Sarah lifted the laptop lid. Extending her index finger, she pressed the power button. The sleeping screen woke.
“What? Only seven? You’re kidding.” Hannah’s eyes widened before a frown formed on her forehead.
“I wish I was.”
“But you’ve been tapping away on that keyboard for days.”
“And I keep erasing everything. Like now.” Sarah hit the backspace key several times, clearing her latest attempt. “I can’t get started on this novel.”
“When’s your deadline?”
“End March.”
“Word count?” The iron hissed again and steam billowed into the air above the ironing board once more.
“Seventy to eighty thousand.”
“Ouch. That’s a lot of words. Will you get done in time?”
“I would if I could get my mind around a solid story. I really need some inspiration. What do I know of snow? Or Santa Claus for that matter? It’s been years since I’ve had anything to do with either.”
“You do know that Christmas is about far more than snow and an old man in a red suit that lives in the North Pole.”
“Lapland, Mom. Santa lives in Lapland, not the North Pole. I saw it on a TV program last week.”
“Of course, Matthew.” Hannah slipped the pressed jeans onto a hanger which she hooked onto the clothes stand—last year’s Christmas gift from Grant.
So unromantic. She’d certainly give Hannah’s husband a few pointers this year.
Pulling the next pair of jeans from the mound of clean laundry, Hannah leaned against the kitchen counter. “Lapland aside, you know what Christmas is really about, Sarah.”
Jonathan shot his hands in the air. “Jesus. Christmas is about Jesus. It’s his birthday.” Singing at the top of his voice, he danced around in circles. “Happy birthday, Jesus. Happy birthday, Jesus.
“Another aspect of Christmas you’ve had little to do with in years.” Hannah raised one eyebrow in her typical big sister way.
Sarah drew in a breath and silently counted to ten.
“You should so go to Lapland, Auntie Sarah.” Matthew grinned as if he’d found the solution to all her writing problems.
Ceasing his dance, Jonathan came and stood beside Sarah, taking her hand in his. “No, you should go to Bethmel… Bethelme…” He looked across the room at his mother.
“Bethlehem, silly,” Matthew prompted before Hannah could.
“I’m not silleeeee.” Jonathan dragged out the word for as long as he had breath. He’d turn blue and pass out if he didn’t breathe soon.
My word, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to do this mothering thing. It’s just as well that—
“Matthew, stop frustrating your brother, or you’ll go to your room.”
“I don’t have a room. Auntie Sarah’s in it. Remember?”
“Then you’ll go to your brother’s room.” Hannah shook out the jeans and began to give them the same hot treatment as their predecessor. “You should go to church.” She kept her eyes on the jeans.
Not this again.
Sarah drew in a sharp breath. “Hannah, please, don’t preach.”
“Not all men are like Andrew Palmer, you know.”
“No, they’re not. Maybe only preachers’ sons?”
With a huff, Hannah stood the iron upright. It sputtered, trying to expel steam in its vertical position. Hands on hips, her eyes bore into Sarah’s. “You can’t keep running, trying to find love only in the words you write.”
“At least that love is pure. And safe.” Sarah’s eyes stung again. She swallowed hard. She’d shed enough tears over the pastor’s son.
Pinching her eyelids with her fingers, she blotted out the light, trapping the tears.
“Boys, run along and get dressed.”
“Aw, Mom...” Jonathan’s little hands wrapped around Sarah’s waist a moment later, offering her a tiny hug, before his feet hurried across the kitchen floor with Matthew’s.
“Lapland, Auntie Sarah,” Matthew shouted before his feet pounded down the passage, too.
Jonathan’s voice grew softer as he followed his brother’s path. “Bethme— Bethlehem.”
Hannah strolled over to Sarah, her hands coming to rest on Sarah’s shoulders. “You need to forgive Andrew so you can move on, love again. It’s been nearly four years. That’s a long time.”
“I know exactly how long it’s been, down to the very minute.” Sarah squirmed out of her chair. Hannah’s hands fell away as she did.
Snatching up her laptop, Sarah hurried across the kitchen, stopping in the doorway. The memory of it all made her nauseous. Her world swirled, and she grabbed the doorjamb. “Forgive? How long should it take to forgive, Hannah, especially when there’s a congregation of faces on that ‘To Do’ list?”
“Not everyone believed Andrew’s story. You know that.”
“No, not everyone. But most did.” Heat rushed through her. “What was it they whispered behind my back? Oh yes, ‘Probably doing research for those books of hers. Such a shame, tempting sweet, innocent Andrew that way.’” Sarah swiped a disobedient tear from her cheek. “Sound about right, sis? If they’d bothered to read any of my work they would’ve known there was no way I’d need that kind of research.”
“Sarah, people are just…people. Fallen. Fallible. Desperately in need of forgiveness.” Hannah took a step toward Sarah then stopped. “And Andrew did try to do right by you.”
“Oh yes.” Sarah brushed her hand across her stomach, immediately wishing she hadn’t. “Until he no longer had to.”
“I’m sorry you’ve suffered so much, but don’t block God out because of man’s mistakes. He loves you. And He’d go to the ends of the earth to prove it to you.”
Hannah spoke the truth, but Sarah didn’t want to hear it. Not now. Maybe never.
“Heaven to earth’s a pretty long way—a whole lot of love, Sarah. That’s what Christmas is really all about. Not Santa. Not snow. And certainly not Lapland. Focus your Christmas romance on the Bethlehem babe rather.”
There was no way Sarah could stop the sneer twisting her lips. “What? And risk my publisher rejecting my manuscript after all the hard work I’ll put into it? Besides, God and I don’t speak the same language. Haven’t since—”
What was the use? Hannah knew all this. It wasn’t the first time she’d raised the subject. Wouldn’t be the last, either.
Shaking her head, Sarah turned away. She needed to be alone.
“Maybe you should find another publisher? A Christian one,” Hannah called after her. “Or relearn God’s language.”
“Why don’t you tell me to stop writing, Hannah? Find another career?”
Sarah ran to Matthew’s bedroom, slamming the door behind her. She fell onto the colorful airplane-covered duvet and buried her face in the comforting arms of the feather pillow, thoughts of flying away to the other side of the world consuming her mind. And the more she thought about Lapland, the more appealing all that snow for Christmas appeared.

Buy links:  Amazon US   Amazon UK

Friday, 8 December 2017

No Home for the Holidays - Lillian Duncan


Unlike the Prodigal Son, Chloe Sullivan knows she can’t go home for the Christmas holidays or ever—not if she wants to stay alive.
She’s resigned to the fact she must stay in hiding to keep herself and her family safe. Lonely and desperate for God’s presence, she’s drawn to a nearby church.
Ex-FBI agent turned preacher, Colton Douglas, mistakenly identifies Chloe as the person breaking into local churches. A midnight chase ensues that ends with him snapping her photo. When the photo goes public he learns more about the mystery woman than he bargained for. . .
And that changes everything! 


Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!
Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Game On. Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com


Do you know what a parable is? One definition (my favorite) is an earthly story with a heavenly message. Wow! That’s a very close description of what I write. My stories are action-filled stories but with a heavenly message. So does that mean I write parables? I like to think so. How cool is that?

Jesus used parables to teach.

He knew that stories can illustrate a truth better than any lecture or sermon. Scientists say that stories and movies activate the brain as if the events are actually happening to the reader or movie goer. So that means we can learn from them without having to face the consequences of the bad choices in our real life.

And that’s why I write what I write!

My stories are first and foremost meant to entertain the reader, but they also have a spiritual message or a life lesson. No Home For The Holidays is a Christmas-themed story readers will find entertaining but with several heavenly messages.

Chloe Sullivan needs a miracle but has given up on getting it. As sad as it is, she’s resigned to the fact that she has to stay in hiding if she wants to remain alive and keep her family safe.

Ex-FBI turned preacher, Colton Douglas believes in helping others. When Chloe enters his life, he’s sure God has put her in his path for a reason—to help her. And that’s just what he plans to do, whether she likes it or not.

Both Colton and Chloe learn something about themselves and about life as they face death. Some of the things Colton and Cloe learn are some of the things we all need to learn as we journey through this life.

And that’s why I write what I write!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Once Upon A Christmas - Clare Revell

Once upon a Christmas...

 As settlement for her father’s debts, Caitlyn Hosier is forced into a marriage with the village recluse—a man no one has seen all the years he's lived in the manor house. A man surrounded by rumours. A man with a vicious temper. A man said to be a monster. A man who hates Christmas.

Hayden Shade hides his scars behind a mask, but the past never ceases to haunt him. A new life and a new start seem too much to hope for. Does he even deserve one? Surely not with a woman so wholly beautiful as Caitlyn. He longs to build a life-long relationship, but he daren’t allow her to see the real him until he knows for sure she loves him.

Desperate to find happiness with the man she's fated to marry, Caitlyn determines to uncover the real Hayden Shade. There must be something good behind the mask. But what if there's nothing more to him than the monster she could never love?

Carols played in the background. Caitlyn Hosier grinned at best friend Meredith Mantle. “Who’d have thought this time last year we were preparing for the Paradise Christmas Ball, and here you are married.” She paused. “And here I am, not. And neither of us are going to the ball, either.”
“It’s a shame things didn’t work out with Ty.” Meredith hung another ornament on the tree. “We’d have been related.”
Caitlyn shook her head. “Ty’s a nice enough bloke, but we have nothing in common. And I’m beginning to lose hope in David as well. He still hasn’t called since that one date he took me on. I know he’s far older than me, but age is simply a number, right?”
The door opened and her father and step-mother came in. Father cleared his throat, his face serious and pale. “Caitlyn, I need to speak with you. It’s urgent.”
Meredith stood. “I should be getting back. I promised Grannie I’d call in on my way home. She’s coping OK on her own, but she’s finding it hard with the anniversary coming up.”
Caitlyn walked Meredith to the door. “I’ll call later this evening. Bye.” She closed the door and headed back into the lounge. “So what’s wrong?”
Her father took a deep breath. “I got called in to see my boss. He made me an offer for your hand in marriage.”
Caitlyn’s stomach knotted and threated to eject her lunch over her feet. She pushed her hands through her hair. She must have heard wrong. “He wants to what?” she managed, reaching out a hand to turn off the music, the carols incongruous now.
Her father’s agonized gaze hit the floor, as if couldn’t quite bear to look at her. He seemed as if he’d aged fifty years since he’d left home a few hours ago. “He wants to marry you.”
“He doesn’t know the first thing about me. Why would he want to do that?”
“Because I messed up. I did something I shouldn’t have and this is the only way he won’t press charges.”
Caitlyn swallowed hard. “Press charges?”
“I broke the law. I’d go to prison for a long time, possibly the rest of my life.”
Shock turned to horror. “So you traded me for your freedom?”
Her father shook his head. “No. I’d never do that to you. This is your choice and yours alone. He granted me that much.”
Caitlyn turned to her step-mother. She didn’t really remember her birth mother, only a faint recollection of perfume. Naomi had never wanted to replace Mum, opting instead for the term Auntie. “Auntie Naomi…”
“I’ve spoken to Naomi,” Father interrupted. “She’s in agreement with me.”
She turned away, her eyes burning. Marriage was something she’d always dreamed of, but not to her father’s mysterious boss, who had a reputation for being a hard liner. Caitlyn’s dreams lay with David, a local man from the same church. He’d told her he worked in an animal shelter, which she’d found adorable. They’d been on one date and got on pretty well. But this? This would end all that. Now her dreams lay shattered at the foot of the half-decorated Christmas tree. Scattered like the box of baubles she’d dropped, sparking in the light, yet out of reach.
“How…how long have I got to think about it?” she whispered.
“I have to let him know by three.”
She gasped as she glanced at her watch. “That’s only an hour away.”
Her father hurried over to her and gripped her hands. “I’m so sorry. If there was a way around this, some other way I could make amends, I’d do it, but there isn’t.” His gaze held hers. “If you can’t do this, if you don’t want to, then don’t worry. I’ll face up to what I’ve done and accept the consequences.”
Caitlyn pulled her hands away. “I need time to think. I’ll be in my room.” She dashed from the room, before she really did cry. She shut the bedroom door and leaned against it. “Oh, Lord, what do I do?” she whispered. “I can’t let Father go to prison, but to marry someone I don’t know? Someone no one has ever seen or really knows? Someone with a reputation like Mr. Shade has? Even the name makes him seem dark.” She shivered, wrapping her arms around herself as she paced to the window. “I wanted a future with David. He’s tall, charming, handsome, and he likes me. He took me to the most expensive restaurant in town, and then kissed me on the doorstep when he dropped me home. OK, bells and whistles didn’t go off and the stars didn’t explode, but for a first kiss I wasn’t expecting that.”
Caitlyn sighed, studying the view of her garden. “I have to do this. Please promise me I’m not doing this alone. I have no idea if this Mr. Shade is a Christian or not. So I may well end up unevenly yoked. If I can ask one favour, Lord, please let it be a church wedding. Work this horrid situation for good.”
Her gaze fell on the verse-of-the-day calendar on her desk. The one for today was Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“Thank you, Lord. OK, let’s do this.” She rubbed her hands over her eyes and sucked in a deep breath. Should she take everything? Would she be allowed home to get things she forgot? What did she do now?
Her hand rested on the locket her birth mother had left for her, along with a note saying ‘sorry’. The note had long since been discarded, but the necklace she’d kept. Not that it was ever worn—it didn’t really go with the jeans and baggy sweaters she preferred—but she’d take it with her. Decision made, there was no time to waste on questions she couldn’t answer.
Father paced the living room floor. He stopped mid-stride as Caitlyn entered the room. “What did you decide?”
“I’ll do it. I’ll marry Mr. Shade.”

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Christmas Trinkets - LoRee Peery

Christmas Trinkets blurb:
She was looking for coffee and conversation. He was looking for a quiet place to write. What they found was a connection that would make this Christmas unforgettable.

Hayley Wolfe shares a kinship with the lost and lonely. Growing up without a father taught her that you can’t always count on people. Her strong faith in God taught her that her Heavenly Father is unshakable. When she meets Kameron Kohl at her antiques and coffee shop, she’s immediately drawn to his warmth and charm.

After being abandoned on the steps of a church as a baby, Kameron Kohl has spent his life rejecting God and meaningful relationships. After all, his own mother didn’t care for him, so why should anyone else. But Kameron never expected to meet Hayley Wolfe. Her faith in Christ, her inner beauty and selfless openness towards strangers, has Kameron falling for her hard.

When Hayley notices a connection between Kameron's keychain and the locket passed down to her from her mother, she wants to investigate further. Kameron refuses. As friendship turns to love, Hayley will have to rely on God to soften Kameron’s heart.

Will the connection between their Christmas Trinkets lead them to love or unanswerable questions?

Hayley took a step back. “My necklace?”
He fingered a matching chain attached to his keys, and pulled it from his pocket.
“Oh, my goodness. Look at that! It’s the exact same design. I’ve seen a lot of interesting pieces through the years, but none like this. Looks like a short watch fob. May I hold it?”
 He slid it off the keyring and offered it to her. Their fingers touched. An arrow shot straight to his chest. He’d always chalked that kind of spark to romance authors. Imagine that. To experience such a thing for the very first time. No way. Ignore it. He pulled back and stuck his hand in his pocket.
“One of the features of gold is that it absorbs body heat. Do you know what the bar is for?” She ran her thumb and index finger over the T-shape at the end of the chain.
What would it be like to have those long white fingers touch him in exploration? Craziness.
Was it wrong to crave a woman’s touch? He’d missed out on the nurturing cuddles of a natural mother. Same old refrain.
“This chain looks like a watch fob, where the tee fits into a buttonhole, but it’s different somehow, not as long as the norm. Where did you get it, Kameron?”
“Pastor Gregg gave it to me. The shop is your inheritance. This chain is the only inheritance I have.” However, not from a blood relative. No way would he tell her that. Someone as secure as Hayley, safe at home in this tiny town, couldn’t identify with a guy who’d been left on the church steps.
Abandoned like an old shoe tossed in the street.
“Did Pastor say where it came from? Someone in his family, maybe?” She laid his chain on top of an antique curio cabinet, flipped her hair to the front, and unhooked her necklace. Laid side by side, there was no mistaking the pieces were made to match. “I have goose bumps. They had to have been created by the same artisan. And you know what? Since I found my necklace amongst my mother’s belongings, I didn’t think about taking a magnifying glass to it.”
“Why should you?”
“For identity purposes. Mom never got into old jewelry deep enough to use a loupe, so I never have either. I’m guessing the pieces were designed to go together. The necklace made for a woman and the chain for a man. Did you grow up around here?”
 He took the knuckle he’d been gnawing out of his mouth. “The first home I remember was in a drafty old parsonage near the Kansas border. Pastor Gregg moved from town to town about every five or six years. At least I was in the same school from ninth to twelfth grade.”
“I know Pastor is single. How long has he been a widower? Oh, I apologize. That means you’ve been without a mother that long.”
He frowned in an attempt to follow. Gregg was right. He’d have horrid forehead wrinkles if he didn’t stop scowling. “Pastor’s never been married. His sister Teresa lived with him and took care of cooking and cleaning. She adopted me, raised me. I don’t talk about my past.”
“I apologize if I’ve stepped on your toes. I’m too curious for my own good. I get it because I don’t like to talk about what’s in my past either.” She smiled and held out the chain. “Pastor Gregg’s dogs are no doubt waiting for their romp.”
“For a few minutes there, I forgot about the dogs.” He stuffed the laptop in his bag, shrugged into his coat but didn’t close it. “You seem to enjoy this old stuff. Don’t know how the jewelry is connected, but if there’s a way to find out, I’m sure you’ll be able to. Now I need to make tracks so I don’t get back to a mess in the house.”
He jogged the two short blocks to the parsonage without noticing a thing around him, thanks to the lovely woman he’d just met. Why did she get to him?
She ran an old-lady kind of business in an aged brick bank building. Did she live above the shop?
He hadn’t put his mind on the abandonment word for a long, long time. Instead, he poured out the hate, anger, his own sense of worthlessness, into his characters. Boys forever lost without knowing home.
None of that helped. He’d still been tossed aside.
Summer’s barks resounded with his first step on the porch. He opened the door. “OK, OK. I’ll let you out back to do your thing.”
Winter did the growl sound that Gregg liked to put words to.
He swiped his feet on the mat, just a little snow, then jogged through the lower level to let out the dogs.
In the spare room, his bag knocked over a tiny bust of Jesus that he’d molded and painted in sixth grade. It had gone unnoticed since his arrival the day before. Authors were supposed to notice details. Maybe he was as much a fake writer as he was a fake son. He straightened the statuette on the small table, and bit his knuckle. Ungrateful fool. Pastor Gregg thought enough of Kameron to keep the silly thing all these years.
Winter’s teeth on the doorknob and Summer’s yaps pulled his dark thoughts to the present task.

Keys in hand, he fingered the fob chain. Dare he snoop in Gregg’s cedar-scented room?

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Character Interview:
  1. Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
Hi. I’m Kameron Kohl, a serious sort of guy. Your average Joe, except I’m bookish rather than athletic. That means I’d rather be by myself than in a crowd. I admit to having a hard head and a chip on my shoulder.
  1. Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
I don’t know that my apartment in a four-plex was really my choice at the time. It’s in Lincoln’s Near South neighborhood, and the first place I found to live as a young adult. Been here since college and see no reason to move.
  1. What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?
Aren’t all authors quirky? Don’t think much about my own personality. Let’s see, I’m standoffish, don’t invite people to be friendly, but I’d really like a friend other than the ones I make up in my stories.
  1. Name two things you’d hate people to know about you?
I’m nothing to brag about. Don’t like talking about myself. I admit, spending time with Pastor Gregg’s dogs has been enjoyable. Plus, I always thought of myself as a city dweller, but I’m digging the village of Edgewood. Especially writing in Hayley’s shop.
  1. Tell us about your special lady. What makes her special? 
Ah. Hayley Wolfe is special. She’s colorful, likes orange, smiles most of the time. She’s almost too nice. She runs Auntie’s Antiquities, and is interested in old stuff. She gets that from her mother who left her the place. Everything about her is special, but there’s one thing that bugs me. She talks about God too much.
  1. The first time you saw her, what did you think? Did you like her immediately, or did she have to grow on you?
She was too friendly. But so pretty with her light brown hair and eyes the color of honey. I handed her my keyring, that matches her necklace, and our fingers touched. I swear, an arrow shot straight to my chest. I’d always chalked up that kind of spark to romance authors.
  1. What would she hate people to know about her?
A couple things come to mind. She always felt like she missed out, not growing up with a dad around. The other thing is she’s stuck in a rut in a tiny town in Nebraska and never got the chance to travel. I’d like to take her on a trip.
  1. What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
Never really thought about it. Food’s just something to keep me alive. Lately, I’d say Hayley’s coffee and fudge. Then again, maybe that’s because I like to spend time with her.
  1. If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
Odd question. What if I was a woman? I guess I fight through the lost boys I write about in their dystopian worlds. They grab anything within reach, so I suppose I’d clobber an intruder with a heavy book.

Christian romance author LoRee Peery writes to feel alive, as a way of contributing, and to pass forward the hope of rescue from sin. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. LoRee clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. She has authored the Frivolities Series and other e-books. Her desire for readers, the same as for her characters, is to discover where they fit in this life journey to best work out the Lord’s life plan. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author. She’s been a reader since before kindergarten. Connect with LoRee through these links: www.loreepeery.com
Pelican http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk