One of the best parts about being a Tule Publishing author is their emphasis on holiday books! It’s been such an exciting time this fall with all the fun romances coming out. Nola Cross’s touching story, A Family for Christmas, released October 8 and has gotten fabulous reviews!
Nola began writing before she even started school and won her first writing contest at the age of nine. It’s always been her dream to be an author, and in recent years she’s been blessed to be living that dream. Her stories focus on emotion, spirit, and true love, stories she hopes her readers will relate to and want to read more than once. Small town America is her favorite fictional setting.
Nola lives with her husband and youngest son in a comfortable old fixer-upper in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, in southwest Washington state. She loves to connect on social media with readers, authors and other friendly folks.
For the past eight years, Bill Smith has been unable to set down roots. But he never forgot the magical night he spent with an auburn-haired beauty in Last Stand, Texas. When she finally tracked him down, he was more than happy to donate a kidney to AJ, the son he never knew he had. But now that AJ is better, Bill wants more time with him and his mother. He wants a family.
Annie Burleson can’t help but be grateful to this almost-stranger for saving AJ’s life. Still, she’s a little wary. AJ has already been through so much—what if Bill leaves again? And with Christmas in full swing, it’s difficult to discern which emotions are festive and which are forever.
As Annie and Bill’s lives collide, their mutual love for AJ makes this more than a marriage of convenience. But is it enough to give them the family Christmas they all deserve?
“If you were really committed to being his father like you say you are, you’d be here for all of it. You’d be up early in the morning getting him ready for school and making sure he took his shower and brushed his teeth at night. You’d check that he took every last one of his anti-rejection medications. You’d help with arithmetic homework even when he turns on the waterworks to get out of doing it. You’d bandage his skinned knees, and you’d comfort him when one of his beloved barn cats disappears. You’d take him target shooting up on the ridge, and you’d never miss a John Wayne film festival at the theater. And that’s just for now, when he’s seven. What about when he needs to learn to drive, when he tries his first whiskey or, God forbid, dabbles in drugs like so many kids do? Who’s going to be here for all that, Bill? Because those are the things a father does. Day in and day out, that’s who a real father is.”
Out of breath, she paused.
His steady gaze had never wavered. After a second, he grinned and gave her a slow shrug. “Sounds good to me.”
Sudden heat prickled under her arms and breasts. God, he’s infuriating! She rose from her chair and took a step toward him, her hands fisted at her waist. “You think so, huh? Well, to make joint custody work, you’d need to start by improving your communication skills. Do you care to explain why we got all of two emails from you and then nothing for the last four months? I don’t know how many times AJ asked me if there was an email from Dr. Smith.”
He grimaced. “You’re right, Annie, and I apologize. There was a lot of time when I didn’t have regular internet access, but I should have made more of an effort.”
“And have you found a place to live out here and dependable means to contribute financially?”
“I’ve got some feelers out for a job in Johnson City.”
“Johnson City? That’s forty-five minutes away. That’s a mighty long commute for a family man, don’t you think? And almost an hour to AJ’s school.”
“I believe it’s manageable. I plan to get an apartment there.” His tone was more clipped now. She could sense his temper beginning to rise. Maybe some women would have backed off about now, but Annie was determined to make her point. The most important thing was protecting AJ from any further hurt.
She took another step toward him, bringing herself within arm’s reach. “You know what? I’ll give you credit for meaning well, but I don’t think you have any idea what it will take to actually follow through with this. If the last five months are any indication, I bet you’d be dust in the wind at the first hint of trouble. And then what does AJ do when his newfound dad decides to abandon him? That would break his little heart. I can’t let that happen.” She poked him in the chest with her finger. “I’m sorry, Bill, but I just don’t think you have it in you.”
They were standing eye to eye, and in a split second, he had captured the offending finger, imprisoning her hand against his body. She could feel his heart absolutely thundering through the soft fabric of his shirt. “You’re mistaken, Annie,” he growled softly. “I’m ready to make a long-term commitment to this, to you and to AJ.”
“Oh, are you? Are you really?” She jerked her hand free. Cocking her head, she narrowed her gaze at him. “Then prove it. ‘In for a penny, in for a pound,’ as they say. Let’s make this commitment of yours official.” Once again crossing her arms, she gave him her most self-assured smile and called his bluff. “Marry me, Bill.”
I am all in, Nola, and thanks for sharing A Family for Christmas with us today!