Nan Reinhardt’s The Fireman’s Christmas Wish is out today!
I’m so excited to share Nan Reinhardt’s new Christmas story with you! It gets ***** 5 stars from me! It’s about a grumpy fireman and a determined teacher who tries to get him into the Christmas spirit. In between a kitten that shows up on his doorstep, cutting down Christmas trees with Harley, kissing her, making peace with his past, Beck, the fireman, finally finds love. Set in River’s Edge the story has all the feel-good moments of Christmas romance. And have I mentioned the kissing? Below is a lovely excerpt – one of those kissing scenes, what else?
Bio, Social Links, and Interview with Author Nan Reinhardt
Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 48 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake.
Talk to Nan at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Her heart is wide open, but he’s afraid to love again.
Nursery school teacher Harley Cole has always looked at life through rose-colored glasses. With a career she loves, friends she enjoys, and a home that is her haven, only one thing is missing. As the holidays approach, she makes grumpy firefighter Becker Lange her Christmas project, determined to help him rediscover holiday joy.
Fire Chief Becker Lange is back in River’s Edge after a divorce that has left him emotionally devastated and closed up. An old friend, who just might become a new love, may be exactly the person to help him overcome the holiday blues and truly find the spirit of Christmas.
Will Christmas and a sweet stray kitten bring these two lonely souls together?
Excerpt from The Fireman’s Christmas Wish by Nan Reinhardt:
First Kiss scene
Beck touched Harley’s lips in a barely there kiss that he intended to be a simple thank-you—a mere gesture—but she kept the contact going, and when she opened her lips and ran her tongue across the seam of his mouth, instinct kicked in. He was rarely ever guided by impulse, but impulse was all that directed his next move. With their lips still fused, he rose and she followed him, deepening the kiss as she stood up and nested her body into his. Tunneling his fingers into her hair, he held her head still, ravaging her mouth, while with the other hand, he pulled her hips into his, wanting her to feel what she was doing to him.
He kissed her with a hunger he hadn’t felt in over two years, every nerve on point as she met him kiss for kiss, rendering him powerless to resist in spite of a small voice in the back of his head whispering this is Harley. It’s Harley! But when she slid her arms around his waist and pressed closer, only one clear thought existed. More.
The embrace became frantic as she found the hem of his jacket. Her hands slid under the slick material and groped, tugging his flannel shirt out of the unbelted waistband of his jeans. Her warm hand caressed the muscles at his waist, slipping up his back, massaging his spine. He pressed her closer, relishing the little murmuring moans she made as their tongues dueled and parried. She brought her hands around between them and hooked them over the snap of his jeans, resting there while he took her lips again and again.
His fingers were exploring, too, fumbling under her sweatshirt, sliding up to discover the fact that she was braless, cupping rounded flesh through her ribbed undershirt. At his touch, her hands suddenly stilled and she leaned away, her brown eyes huge.
“Oh, holy sh—” He dropped his hands and stepped back. “Harley, I—I…” His gut twisted and he couldn’t find words. “I didn’t mean…”
Her face crumpled and she backed up, bumping the wooden bar stool and sending it crashing to the floor. With a choked sound, she turned and bent over to pick it up.
As he stared at her shapely backside, his body was still reacting to her lips and her hands, and he wondered inanely why he’d never noticed how sexy she was before. That thought sent heat up his neck, and he tried to think of something else, anything else except what had just happened right here in his good friend’s kitchen. Pangs and zings of heat continued to ripple through him even as he cursed himself for being so reckless and then for not being gentleman enough to help her pick up the stool.
At last, she got the stool upright and placed it between them—a defensive gesture Beck recognized because he used it all the time. Start building a wall—it will protect you. Her expression had become impassive, and the light he’d seen in her whiskey-brown eyes not three seconds ago was gone. She cleared her throat, glancing around as if she’d lost something. “Um…more coffee?”
“Seriously?” Beck walked to the other side of the small kitchen table—his barrier.
She moved to the opposite side of the island to open the coffeemaker, pull out the used pod, and toss it in the trash drawer under the cabinet.
He came around the table, back to the stools.
She immediately moved to the sink.
They were circling each other like a pair of wounded wolverines. She seemed as unsure of where to go as he was, as though they were unable to trust each other enough to even speak. Her face remained closed as a fist. Beck had to try again. He wasn’t going to lose this friendship—not over a kiss. Okay, more than a kiss, but still, he couldn’t leave without making this right.
He thought about trying to make a joke. Unfortunately, he didn’t do humor well enough to make it work, especially in this awkward situation. Besides, she was clearly in no mood to be cajoled. He dragged a hand down his face and sighed. “I’m so sorry, Harles.”
She jutted her chin at him, and her voice came out raspy yet fierce. “Don’t you dare apologize to me—not for this.” She crossed her arms over her breasts and the memory of that firm flesh against his palm made his heart thud. “Don’t wish it hadn’t happened, Beck. Please. Even if we never touch each other again, I can stand it if I know you enjoyed the moment, but I wouldn’t be able to bear your regretting it.”
Bewildered by her words, he was even more baffled when she stalked around the island and planted herself in front of him. She was tall enough that if he tipped his head, her face was mere inches from his. Her breath was warm on his Adam’s apple and he fought the urge to take her into his arms.
“I enjoyed it.” His voice was husky with unspent passion, so he cleared his throat and peered into her eyes intently. “Good God, did I enjoy it. But if we go there, we can never come back, Harles. And I can’t be anything other than what I am.”
Framing his face with her hands, she kissed him, a warm, comforting kiss that asked nothing in return. “It’s okay. Just be you, Beck. It’s okay.”
He drew away, his expression shuttered, and the moment, whatever it had been, whatever it had meant, was gone. Harley agreed. They couldn’t go there. Not now. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But heat had flared between them, just as she’d fantasized, and now he knew it, too.
She was too confused to take it all apart, too angry with herself for not seeing until now what her true motivation had been when she’d begun the “Becker Lange Holiday Project.” The altruism she’d so nobly claimed in her own mind trying to bring him into the holiday spirit was just crap. This wasn’t about Christmas cheer or bringing some joy to a friend who seemed glum. This was about her being attracted to him. And maybe this was also about the loneliness of holidays without her dad or her mom and trying to make a connection with someone who seemed to be in the same boat.
Good luck with this beautiful book, Nan – I hope she flies!