You all had to know I’d post an excerpt for one of my two new releases. Let’s see another sample of Blue Snow in the Moonlight. On the New Release announcement page, I embedded a sample where you can read the beginning HERE. I loved my setting for this book, and I’m thinking of creating another book in or around the area where I set this book. Wow, North Dakota winters are harsh.
Here’s the BLURB first so you have an idea who is who.
California girl with Midwest roots. Hot cowboy in cold North Dakota. If anyone needs Christmas magic, it’s Cullen and Elle.
Without kids, a cattle ranch, and a renter in his cottage, Cullen Hollister would hibernate during Christmas. Instead, he’s holding a detonator to brighten Sugarton in a festive display of lights. Then a stranger’s forever smile speeds up the beat of his wounded heart. An acquaintance introduces his niece with a heart seemingly as cold as Cullen’s. They’re thrown together in a cottage he loathes, but he’s drawn to her, admiring her assertiveness, down-to-earth nature, and sexy blue-snow eyes. He discovers a yearning more powerful than stubbornness. But it’s hard to trust after being burned once. If Christmas magic is real, maybe making memories with Elle will lead to a forever love after all. First, he needs to know he can trust her with his and his kid’s hearts.
Elle Palmer-Shaw uses her cousin’s wedding in North Dakota as an escape from sorrowful memories. Her aunt and uncle beg her to move back to her roots. With her work, she can live anywhere. When she meets the handsome green-eyed owner of the cottage, a simmering attraction grows, and Christmas takes on a new meaning. His memories of the cottage are painful, yet he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. It’s a simple solution until she’s called back home. She tries to convince Cullen to keep the rental cottage available—to give them a chance when she returns, even after dropping a bombshell on him about her past. But will he destroy his walls and let her in, or will he continue to exist instead of live and love?
This snippet is a bit long.
Setup: Elle visited after a rehearsal dinner the night before. Due to a blizzard, she spent the night in the family room. They both fell asleep after a disappointing conversation. It’s morning and Cullen came in from taking care of the ranch while Elle helped his sister make breakfast. Modified from the original.
Cullen cleared his throat, dipped toast into his eggs, and took a bite. They’d lain side by side on the couch on purpose last night. He became aware of her sitting to his left sipping coffee. Her lips touched the brim of the mug softly like she’d touched his in a kiss. He jerked his gaze away, but not before his sister eyed him.
After breakfast, she insisted on helping Sierra clean up the kitchen. He sat at the table with his laptop while ordering supplies.
Elle smiled. “If I didn’t have the wedding today, it’d be a perfect time to build snowmen at the cottage.”
He spoke without looking at her. “Shouldn’t you be packing? If you’re still here we’ll postpone snowmen to the day after Christmas. Are you spending tonight with your family after the wedding?”
“Upon waking, I forgot this was Christmas Eve and the wedding. The kids are calm for this close to Christmas.”
“Give them time. My daughter especially will be uncontrollable later and beg to open presents.”
“Will you let them?”
“Nope.” He closed the laptop. “I need to plow the driveway. The cottage will need it, too, so when you’re ready, I’ll take you home.” He went to the back door to dress for outside but returned to the kitchen slipping on his duster instead. “On second thought, it’s getting late. I’ll plow a strip to get out and take you home. Give me a few minutes.”
“Sure. I’ll be ready. Thanks.”
“Welcome.” It wouldn’t be right to ask her to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas day here when she should be with family. He might as well cut it off now. He clicked his key fob. His truck had been plugged in all night. It started right up.
All he and Sierra had planned for Christmas Eve was eating her pecan, pumpkin, and lemon meringue pies and pizza—a family tradition. With her going to the wedding, he’d still make his specialty pizza and bake it in the oven on the patio. The kids might still make smores. They’d eat while playing games or watching a holiday comedy.
Later, he’d go to bed like every other night, but it wasn’t like every other night. He’d wake in the morning knowing their world had crashed on Christmas. In the truck, he lowered the plow and pulled out of the garage to make a sweep, then backed up to the sidewalk to wait.
Maybe he’d break tradition tonight and let the kids open a gift. They needed a change. His heart hinted at healing, or at least the possibility lay in sight. Elle made him laugh. He liked her bringing out a side of him he’d lost. Even just meeting her, he had a new memory to wake to Christmas morning if he let himself. It’d be a welcome change. Well, until after midnight last night when she told him she was returning home. To be honest with himself, he didn’t want to cut it off with her. They had to start somewhere. She surely wouldn’t return if he continued to sulk.
He turned the radio to a weather station out of Grand Forks while waiting for her to come out. He sighed. He had an idea that increased the rate of his heart, so he sent his son a text: Stick around later today. We have a job to do at the cottage.
Lake sent a frown emoji.
Cullen rolled his eyes and replied: I guarantee you’ll like this one. Instead of a war of words in texts, he called Lake.
“I get it, Dad.”
“No, you don’t. If you’re in earshot of Elle, get away from her until we hang up.”
“You’re acting weird.”
“Probably. You know that big box of exterior lights and decorations in the pole barn?”
“The one you said you never wanted to see again.”
“Right. As I said earlier, a guy has to do what he has to do. Can you drag those boxes out of storage but leave them inside? We’ll need them later.”
Then she appeared at the door saying farewell to Sierra and the kids. Their gazes locked through the passenger side window. She looked so damn good that it hurt to breathe. “I have to go. Please, just get the boxes, and I’ll let you go to the movies with your friends.” He disconnected. Before it was too late, he shook off the stubborn and sullen wall he’d already begun rebuilding.
He got out to offer his arm so she didn’t break a limb in those heels.
End of Excerpt:
Available at Amazon and free with Kindle Unlimited.
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Enjoy your weekend!
Image credits: Pixabay
Christmas tree credit: Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
Mockups from MockUpShots