NEW RELEASE ~ A Chance This Christmas by Joanne Rock
Posted by Book Loving Pixies
A Chance This Christmas
by Joanne Rock
October 5, 2017
Growing up in the Christmas-crazed theme town of Yuletide was fun for fashion designer Rachel Chambers until a family scandal made her unwelcome. Eight years later, she’s home for a friend’s wedding and trying to go incognito… until her old flame spots her.
Snowboarder Gavin Blake wants to make things right with Rachel, and smoothing her way back in Yuletide seems like the best way to do just that. Making Rachel his date for a week of pre-wedding parties is sure to bring them closer. Except he underestimated how long a small town can carry a grudge–or how much the memory of a long-ago kiss could tempt him all over again.
As the wedding approaches, Rachel remembers all she loved about her close-knit, Christmas-loving neighbors. But even if she can win over the town again, will she be able to convince her footloose, mogul-shredding wedding date that they can find happiness beyond the holidays?
Scene: 1st Date
“Hello Gavin,” Rachel’s mother greeted him at the door, her elf costume jingling as she ushered him in. “You can go upstairs. Rachel’s ready.” She leaned closer to him for a moment and lowered her voice. “Although how you got her to say yes to this party, I’ll never know. I’m grateful to you, though.”
“You’re not going?” He thought all the town would be there. Especially since Rachel’s mom and Mrs. Garrett were close.
“We can’t let all the elves off at the same time.” She shrugged, perfectly serious, and he wondered if she had some of the same Chambers’ guilt-by-association that plagued Rachel.
Is that why Mrs. Chambers worked all the time and volunteered even more to keep the town running? The idea didn’t sit well with him and made him all the more determined to refocus the Yuletide council back on their original mission statement. Making Yuletide a fun place to visit and live. They seemed to have lost sight of that second part.
Along with a whole lot of Christmas spirit.
“We’ll bring you back some cake, Mrs. C,” he assured her before heading up the stairs to find his date. “Rachel?” he called to warn her he was there.
“I’m ready,” came the reply from the far end of the house. “That is, unless I can convince you to bail.” She appeared in the hallway then, wearing a red sweater dress nipped at the waist with a wide, patent leather belt and silver buckle.
“Mrs. Claus.” He couldn’t hold back a grin. She looked incredibly cute. And sexy, too.
With black leather boots and her dark hair brushed to gleaming, she could have been on a billboard for the visitor’s bureau. Not that he would mention it. She waved him into the living room where the outdoor lights glowed green and red through the windows even with the blinds drawn.
Christmas decorations covered every inch of the place, even in this private space reserved for the family.
“Surprise, surprise, my mother just happened to have it lying around.” She rolled her eyes and stuffed a few mints inside a black clutch along with her inhaler. “I wasn’t sure how serious you were about costumes for a karaoke party, but knowing Kiersten’s family, I thought chances were good it will be over the top. And I don’t want to draw undue attention toward myself by not dressing the part.”
“You look great.” He couldn’t quite take his eyes off her yet, but knew he needed to keep things light. Not make her any more nervous than she was already bound to be. “I’m only sorry you won’t have a need for my present.”
He held up his shopping bag.
“A present?” The curiosity in her voice pleased him.
She couldn’t have dreaded this date quite as much as she’d pretended.
“I wanted to be sure you were covered in case you didn’t have a costume.” He thrust the bag into her hands. “Take a look.”
Sifting through some tissue paper, she seized hold of the white cashmere and pulled. And pulled. “Is it a scarf?” she started to ask. “It’s a vest.”
Reindeer cavorted all around the sweater vest that was long and loose, made to go over an outfit.
“An Ugly Sweater Vest,” he clarified, hoping she realized he was well aware of the garment’s questionable attractiveness. “It matches my Ugly Christmas Sweater.” He unzipped his ski jacket so she could see he wore the same prancing reindeer pattern on a black background. “That’s about as costume-y as I get.”
Laughing, she slid her arms into the drapey fabric of the vest. “And now, I’m over the top too. It’s perfect.” She admired the swish of the fabric in a tall mirror over the mantel. “Thank you.”
“I know I didn’t do your outfit any favors. But you look ready for a karaoke party now.” He held out his arm. “Are we ready to go?”
He spotted a moment’s hesitation in her eyes. Because of him? Or the drama sure to come?
“I’m ready.” Her voice rasped on a breathless note, but her spine straightened as she snaked a hand around his arm. “Let’s do this.”
About the Author:
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
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