Growing up is never easy. Everyone has horror stories from high school. Many of us can remember things we did to fit in that, in hindsight, we’re not proud of. Many of us host painful memories of being treated badly or of behaving badly. I’m certainly no exception.
Most of us don’t let our pasts define us. We grow up. We move on. Sometimes, though, our pasts reel us back in and we find ourselves having to cope with issues we’d thought long dealt with.
This is what happens to Mandy, the heroine of Cole in My Stocking. Six years ago, she fled her hometown the second she graduated from high school in order to escape her bad reputation. She builds a new life for herself in a distant city and hasn’t been back since. But everything changes when she gets a letter informing her her father is dead. Mandy must return home to deal with her father’s death and a past that she has tried everything to forget, but which has not forgotten her.
With Mandy and Cole in My Stocking, I get much more personal than I ever have before with a character or a story. Mandy’s hometown is a fictionalized version of my hometown. The cluttered mobile home she grew up in is the exact one I grew up in. Her gruff gunsmith father who died too young after living too hard–he’s my father.
I gave him a different name, but he’s the man I grew up loving and fearing, longing to please yet never quite feeling like I’d done a good enough job. My father passed away from lung cancer in 2006. He was a Vietman Veteran, a gunsmith, a Harley-riding, tatooed bad-boy who put his heart and soul into his business.
His health declined so quickly after his diagnosis that I only got one chance to see him before he died. I still remember getting the phone call from my mother. I remember not being able to process that my dad was gone.
I poured that grief into Cole in My Stocking, and I’m so glad I did. I don’t think I completely made peace with my father’s death until I finished this novel. It’s more a part of me than any other book I’ve written.
Early reviews are showing that I hit the emotional notes I was shooting for. I hope you’ll buy it, read it, love it, and pass it on to someone else. There’s a lot of my own learning in these pages, a lot of my heart. I hope it touches your heart and entertains you.
Being a sweeter romance with just a little bit of steam, this one would make an excellent Christmas gift for all the romance-loving women in your life. It’s available in ebook and Print:
Mandy never planned to return to Newburgh, New Hampshire, the hometown that unfairly branded her a slut, but she has no choice. Her father has died, and she’ll be spending Christmas settling his affairs. She hopes to get in and out of town without attracting the looks of disgust that drove her away, but when a certain Oakley-wearing, Harley-riding cop starts hanging around, an old crush is revived and the rumor mill restarts with a vengeance.
Cole has always been attracted to Mandy, but he has never acted on it. Besides being sixteen years older than her, he was friends with her father. The rumors people in town spread about her were bad enough without an inappropriate relationship adding fuel to the fire. But when Mandy returns to Newburgh fully adult and looking more gorgeous than ever, he can’t keep his distance, especially when an old secret of her father’s surfaces and puts her in danger. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, but convincing her to stay in Newburgh, with him, will take a Christmas miracle.
Reader Advisory: Contains references to a past sexual assault
BONUS BLOG POST
Two Giveaways Because It’s My Birthday!
*blows horn, throws confetti*
Win a $25 gift card, a set of holiday charms, and one of three e-copies of Cole in My Stocking with my Rafflecopter giveaway
Win one of three print copies of Cole in My Stocking with my Goodreads giveaway