Title: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Lori Wilde
Twilight, Texas Book Seven
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 416 pages
Nothing says Christmas like New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde and Twilight, TX, and now Lori returns to Twilight for a brand new heartwarming holiday tale. The matchmaking members of the Cookie Club are up to their old tricks again!
Christmas in Twilight, Texas, is all merriment and mistletoe. The Cookie Club is whipping up their most festive sweets, the townspeople are scrambling to get their holiday shopping done, and Joe-a hometown guy with a restless heart-is dreaming about the woman he wants to kiss most…
…And who happens to be staying at his sister’s place over the holidays, while Joe’s sister is away. But Joe isn’t quite sure he wants to be a living Christmas present to runaway law student Gabi Preston.
Joe thinks the sassy sweetheart he nicknames “Trouble” won’t inconvenience anything but his healthy sex drive. But when he discovers the reasons Gabi escaped from her life, he aches to give her everything she’s never had. As the magic of the season draws them together, the gift of love is the only one worth giving…
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A big, handsome man in his early forties, wearing work boots, a green paint- stained John Deere cap, and a worn gray pea coat, stood beside her car. She glanced in the rearview mirror and spied a battered old green pickup truck pulled up behind her Camry. A pickup truck with a gun rack in the back window.
She hiccupped. “What do you need?”
He made a motion like turning a crank, asking her to put the window down.
Mmm, right. She wasn’t about to trust this guy. Without glancing away from his face, she stuck her hand inside her purse, felt around for her stun gun. “What is it?”
“You look lost,” he said in such a kind way that it made her feel guilty for assuming he was up to no good.
Gabi sized him up with a lingering glance. It was the most profound thing anyone had said to her in a long time and it stilled her hand inside her purse. “I don’t need any help, but thank you for stopping.”
Still, he didn’t leave. “Are you gonna make me keep yelling through closed glass?”
Reluctantly, she lowered the window an inch.
“I’ve scared you,” he said, backing up and holding his palms up at shoulder level. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I promise I’m not a serial killer.”
Isn’t that exactly what a serial killer would say?” She tightened her fingers around the stun gun, debated whether pulling it out for him to see would put her at an advantage or a disadvantage.
He chuckled. “My name’s Nate Deavers and I’m a former Navy SEAL. Does that make you feel any better?”
“Oh well, if you say you’re a Navy SEAL, then it’s got to be gospel.”
A wide smile hooked his mouth. “You’re from a big city.”
She notched up her chin and allowed herself to smile back. “That obvious?”
“Yep. I hope you weren’t trying to keep it a secret.”
“I have no secrets,” she said.
“Isn’t that exactly what someone with secrets would say?” he teased.
She liked his sense of humor. “My name is Gabi Preston. I’m a law student.” Former law student, but he didn’t need to know that. “Feel more in-formed now?”
He laughed again, a hearty, comforting laugh. “What is it you’re looking for?”
Another profound question. What was she looking for? Freedom. Self- reliance. Mistress of her own fate. Intangible, immeasurable goals.
“Katie Cheek’s house,” she said, settling on her immediate objective.
“You’re right on top of it,” he said, and pointed down the dirt road to her right, directly adjacent to the Christmas tree farm.
She turned in her seat and saw a round white structure that looked to be some kind of tent. Ka-tie’s house must be just beyond that.
“Thank you,” she said. “I apologize for my paranoia.”
Always better safe than sorry.” Nate saluted and ambled back to his pickup.
She sat in the car, waiting for him to drive away, then took a deep breath and sank back against the seat. “Chill out. This isn’t LA,” she mumbled, and turned down the dirt road, drove pass the tent thingy.
Her GPS announced, “You have reached your destination.”
Ignoring it, she motored over the hill and came to the edge of the lake. Puzzled, she turned around, and cruised slowly past the tent.
“You have reached your destination,” the robo voice said again.
Seriously? The tent was it? This was Katie’s place? No cute ivy twined cottage. No adorable lake house bungalow. Never in a million years would she have guessed that Katie lived in a tent. Why did Katie live in a tent?
Gabi stared, dejected, as it fully sank in that she’d be bunking in a tent. Hello chasm.
What had she’d gotten herself into?
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lori Wilde has sold seventy-eight works of fiction to four major New York Publishing houses. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a certificate in forensic nursing from Kaplan University. She is a member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses.
Her first NYT bestseller, the third book in her Twilight, Texas series, The First Love Cookie Club has been optioned for a television movie. The town of Granbury, Texas, upon which her fictional town of Twilight, Texas is loosely based, honors Lori with an annual Twilight, Texas weekend each Christmas. www.twilighttexas.com
A popular writing instructor, Lori is a two time RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Golden Quill, the Lories, and The More than Magic. Her books have been translated into 27 languages and excerpted in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband, Bill, and her two New American Shepherds.