To celebrate the release day for "Christmas in Destiny" by Toni Blake, I have an excerpt from the book, courtesy of the publisher! Enjoy! And keep your eyes peeled for my review coming soon!
By Toni Blake
Publisher: Avon Books
Oct 25, 2016
Source: Sent by publisher
Summary: (from Goodreads)
“Go to Destiny. There’s something waiting there for you.”
Shane Dalton’s new life is waiting in Miami, complete with fast cars and faster women. But first, he’s heeding his father’s dying words and stopping off in Destiny, Ohio. The detour wasn’t supposed to include a busted pickup and a blizzard. But Candice Sheridan, the cute redhead who reluctantly offers shelter, could prove a pleasant diversion. Trouble is, she thinks Shane’s bad news. And he’s pretty sure she’s right . . .
Candice had her trust broken once before. Yet something about Shane won’t let her stay away. By Christmas, he’ll be gone. Until then, she’s itching to stop playing nice and safe . . . and try being a little naughty for once.
As their holiday romance heats up, Shane uncovers a shattering secret and Candice is preparing to face heartache once again. But there’s no better place than Destiny—especially at Christmastime—for two lost souls to find the gift of sweet, surprising love . . .
From CHRISTMAS IN DESTINY by Toni Blake. Copyright © 2016 by Toni Blake. Reprinted by permission of Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
Candice’s eyes sprang open as the jarring noise jolted her awake.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
What on earth? She briskly sat up, trying to get her bearings in the dark.
The sound came again. Louder this time. And as she sat there in bed, the room lit only by the deluge of white outside, she realized someone was beating on her door in the middle of the night. Which seemed almost impossible given that the weather outside was more than a little frightful.
Her heart beat rapidly as the relentless banging continued. Even while she dragged herself out of bed and headed toward the stairs, her sleep-addled brain whirled. As a woman who lived alone in an isolated area, she didn’t particularly want to answer. But what if it was Jenny or Mick—what if something was wrong with their little boy?
Flipping on the dim porch light, she made out a shadowy male figure and concluded it was Mick. The fact that he was out in this weather, at this hour, filled her with worry. So she flung open the door.
Then gasped. It wasn’t Mick.
It wasn’t Mick at all.
She didn’t know who this was – but he looked horribly out of place, and a little bit scary. “Wh-wh- …” Words failed her in her fright.
The tall, dark stranger regarded her through piercing blue eyes. “Look, I know it’s late, but my pickup spun out and I hit a snow bank around that last bend.” His voice was deep and his tone unapologetic as he pointed over his shoulder in the general direction of the road. “Can’t get a signal on my cell, so need to use your phone.”
Strangers didn’t just show up on porches in the middle of the night in Destiny, and she simply stared at him as if he were a ghost standing at her door in the blowing snow. The scary kind, with a lock of dark hair dipping over his forehead, a thick shadowy stubble on his chin, and even a little scar near his right eye. Though she wasn’t sure if ghosts bothered to knock.
“Who are you going to call?” she managed to ask. Then blinked repeatedly. It was an unfortunate habit of hers – blinking when she was nervous.
He arched a critical brow as a cold wind blew around them, his expression implying that maybe he thought she was still half-asleep. “A tow truck,” he said, enunciating, as if the answer was obvious.
But he was clearly uninformed about something she thought obvious. “Have you seen the roads? A tow truck won’t come out here when it’s like this. I don’t know how you got any truck out here tonight. And we don’t have a tow truck in Destiny anyway.”
His eyebrows both shot up then, though his voice came out sounding almost matter-of-fact as he said, “Tell me you’re kidding.”
A heavy sigh left him as he muttered, “Jesus Christ.”
Since she was pretty sure he wasn’t making a Christmas reference, she ignored that and went on. “Someone will have to come from Crestview,” she explained. Then blinked and added, “But I’ll try to call anyway. Just in case. Wait here.”
After which she shut the door on him. And locked it. In a near blizzard. Which didn’t exactly feel kind or charitable, but a woman had to protect herself. And as for calling – despite what she’d told him, she’d decided it was worth making sure, worth a try, to get the scary stranger off her porch as efficiently as possible.
She rushed to the phone and dialed briskly. And promptly heard a recording on the other end, saying what she already knew: Meffler’s Towing was closed due to inclement weather and anyone in need of a tow should call back after the storm. And they were sorry for the inconvenience. “Me too,” she whispered to no one, hanging up.
Then she steeled herself and walked back to the front door. Unfortunately, when she opened it, he was still standing there. Looking cold and a little snow-covered since the snow now even blew up under the roof that covered her porch.
She just shook her head. “They’re not answering their phones until the snow stops.” Only then it occurred to her to ask, “What on earth are you doing out here in a blizzard anyway?”
“Got lost,” he said.
And as he shifted his weight from one snow-covered work boot to the other, she noticed for the first time that his coat was too thin for the weather, and she thought of him trudging from around the bend in a foot of wet snow and for some crazy reason wondered if his feet had stayed dry. She also wondered what kind of person was out in the country this late at night in this kind of weather. Escaped convicts and serial killers came to mind.
“Made a wrong turn looking to find a room for the night,” he said, “but I’m guessing a motel’s gonna be pretty hard to come by here, too.”
She nodded, sorry for both of them to have to deliver the bad news. “The Half Moon Inn is miles away.”
As another heavy sigh left him, she began to realize – almost against her will – that underneath all the scary, that he was also maybe … kind of hot. His voice was deep and a little raspy, and the thin coat he wore didn’t hide broad shoulders. There was something visceral about him – she could somehow feel his very maleness. And that was when he narrowed his blue gaze on her and said, “Looks like you’re stuck with me then.”
CHRISTMAS IN DESTINY – https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062392602/christmas-in-destiny#
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review