Christmas at Solace Lake
It’s Christmas time at Solace Lake Lodge, but a series of thefts threatens everyone’s holiday spirit.
An emergency brings Drew Barnes to Solace Lake Lodge, an inn deep in the Minnesota woods owned by his aunt and uncle. He’s sure desperation is the only reason they’d allow him to fill in as their bookkeeper. No one in his family has believed in him since his mistake got him fired from his previous job. Soon after he arrives, Drew is disheartened to discover a series of thefts and financial irregularities. The last thing he wants is to be put in the middle of another crime.
Sous chef Celeste Bishop has made a good life for herself and her nine-year-old daughter in the three years she’s worked, and lived, at Solace Lake Lodge. After being unfairly fired, this was the only job she could get, and she’s grateful her gamble on the lodge paid off. The only sticking point is the isolation since she never learned to drive. How can she show her daughter independence when she’s always relying on others?
Drew sees Celeste’s frustration and offers to teach her to drive. A powerful attraction ignites between them, and soon deeper, stronger emotions blossom. Drew is all in, but Celeste resists her feelings. She’s nine years older than Drew. An interracial relationship didn’t work for her parents. And loving Drew feels like a betrayal of her deceased husband.
As Christmas approaches, the thefts escalate. Can Drew stop the thief and redeem himself in his family’s eyes—and his own? And can he convince Celeste they deserve the gift of a happily ever after this Christmas?
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He put his hand on her arm. “Celeste, whatever happened, it’s going to be all right. I promise you.”
She looked at him then, her eyes filling with tears. “I finished the exam before anyone else. I could see all the answers in my head like I was reading them from a screen. The person who gave the exam told me I got all the answers right, one hundred percent.” Tears streamed down her face as she pulled a crumpled piece of paper from her pocket. “I got my permit.”
The wonder in her eyes, the relief and joy, made him smile. Though he’d promised himself not to touch her today, he simply couldn’t resist. He pulled off his glove and, leaning across the console, laid his hand on her soft cheek. Drew stared into her beautiful dark eyes. The intoxicating combination of her warm, welcoming scent and the silky feel of her skin made his heart soar and his body catch fire. The need to kiss her nearly overpowered him, but he held back, knowing it wasn’t what she wanted.
She signaled her withdrawal with a soft sigh as she turned her head and leaned back against her seat, out of his reach. Drew let his hand drop and sat back in his seat as well. He stifled his own sigh as he pulled his glove back on.
Would she always be out of his reach?