Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak - Blog Tour and Giveaway



Brenda will be awarding a $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour as well as a tour specific contest you can enter by following the link at the end of the post.

The Heart of Christmas

by Brenda Novak



BLURB:

Just call her Christmas Eve…

Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn’t have. Almost all her friends are married now, and that’s what Eve wants, too. Love. A husband and kids of her own. But the B-and-B she manages and even Whiskey Creek, the small Gold Country town where she was born and raised, suddenly seem…confining.

As Eve turns thirty-five, she’s worried that her future will simply be a reflection of her past. She’s dated all the eligible men in the area. There’s no one she could even imagine as a husband—until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve’s definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve’s happily ever after—just when it finally seems within reach. Just when she’s counting on the best Christmas of her life!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:

The Heart of Christmas takes another single member of the Friday Coffee group and gives them their own happy ending. Eve has been a featured character in each of the previous Whiskey Creek books.  Once it looked like she might finally find her own HEA but it was not to be.  Now she is 35 and feeling like she will never find that special person.  I have always liked Eve.  She is very caring and very strong.  Seeing her down as she is in The Heart of Christmas was very sad.  I just knew someone would show up to be her very special person.  What I did not expect was a man with a very mysterious and dangerous past.

Brenda Novak does a great job with that mysterious man.  Why no name?  (small spoiler) Because his name has been changed several times for his own protection.  He does not want anything to happen to Eve so it looks like no HEA for Eve again.  Then the Friday Coffee group decides to help and comes up with a winning solution.

I have to admit both the mysterious man and how he and Eve came to have their own HEA surprised me.  The Heart of Christmas has a much darker tone than previous Whiskey Creek books.  I think the slight change of pace strengthens the series and helps keep it from being predictable.


Excerpt:

She stopped trying to act as if discovering him in her bed was no big deal. “This whole situation embarrasses me,” she admitted. “I’ve never taken anyone home from a bar before and, unlike you, I won’t be leaving this town any time soon. That means I’ll have to face all the people who witnessed my licentious behavior.”

He raised one eyebrow. “Licentious?”

“Promiscuous, debauched. Whatever you want to call it. Waking up with a total stranger isn’t something that’s normal for me.”

He studied her, his gaze…thoughtful. “Last night you told me it was your birthday.”

“And?”

“Quit being so hard on yourself. From what I could gather, it was a rough one. And with the holidays coming up, and knowing you’re going to spend another year alone, you said it wasn’t likely to get any easier.”

Damn. She’d shared that? Hadn’t she revealed enough when she took off her clothes? “My birthday was fine. Spending another Christmas as a single woman is fine. Everything’s fine.” How could she complain when she’d always had it so good?

She could hear the scrape of his beard growth as he ran a hand over his chin. “What’s that saying about protesting too much?”

“I’m not protesting.”

“If you say so.”

Holding the sheet in place, she slid a few more inches away from him, but she couldn’t go far. She was about to fall out of bed. He wasn’t bulky, but he had wide shoulders and he didn’t seem to be concerned about giving her space. “If you know it was my birthday, you remember more than getting dropped off here,” she said.

“It’s coming back to me.”

Bits and pieces were coming back to her, too. How she’d noticed him watching her from where he sat alone at the bar. How she’d danced for him in such a seductive manner, reveling in the appreciation she kindled in his eyes. How he’d eventually gotten up and walked over to join her. How he’d danced with her, so cautiously and respectfully even though the sparks between them felt like they were about to burn the place down.

How she’d slipped through the crush of bodies on the dance floor to catch her breath outside and he’d followed….

There were still things she couldn’t recall, however, and his name was one of them. Had he ever told her what it was?

“Who are you?” she asked.

Without even a stretch or a concluding peck on the cheek, he climbed out of bed and started to dress.

At least she wouldn’t have to ask him to leave, she told herself. It looked as if he planned on walking into the sunset—or sunrise since it was early—as soon as possible. But this wasn’t New York or Los Angeles. He couldn’t just hail a taxi. She lived in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California in one of the many mining towns along Highway 49 that had sprung up when gold was discovered a century and a half ago. It was a community that hadn’t changed as much as one might expect in such a modern, technologically advanced world. And if the lack of urban conveniences in Whiskey Creek wasn’t enough of an obstacle, she lived several miles outside town. There was very little traffic out here and no buses or other public transit.

He’d have a long hike if he intended to make his way back to Whiskey Creek without catching a ride from her.

Or maybe he planned to call someone. He had a cell phone and, for the most part, there was service.

“You won’t answer?” she asked.

“What difference does my name make?” he finally responded.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised over $2 million. For more about Brenda, please visitwww.brendanovak.com.

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