On tour with Prism Book Tours.
We’ll be highlighting 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors that will be available from Harlequin during November. All Heartwarming titles are 30% OFF during November from Harlequin as well! Use code HEART1115.
TODAY’S FREE SHORT STORY:
Thankful for You by Karen Rock
A HAPPY REUNION?
Way back when, Hunter Boone thought he and Josie Stephens had something that would last forever. Then she got her ticket out of town and took off—alone. The hurt nearly tore him apart. By the time Josie realized she’d made a mistake, Hunter had already married.
Now Josie’s back in Stonewall Crossing, and while instant fire flares between them, she can’t come between the now single dad and his son. As the whole town gets ready for Christmas, Josie finds it hard to avoid Hunter. No matter how much he tempts her with the promise of a future together, she has to tell herself—for her own survival—that relationships just aren’t her thing…
Maggie James has worked hard to get over her commitment phobic ex, Lt. Eric Langley. Yet old feelings resurface when they’re reunited to put on a Thanksgiving dinner for foster children displaced by their group home’s fire. She still loves Eric, but she’d grown up vowing to have the traditional, nuclear family her loving parents provided and won’t accept anything less. This time around, does she dare give them a second chance?
After watching his vibrant mother retreat from life following his firefighter father’s tragic death, Lt. Eric Langley vowed never to inflict that pain on anyone, especially Maggie. When she’d begun talking kids, marriage, it’d nearly killed him to break things off. But how could he take the risks his job required, if he worried about a family counting on his safety? Although he’d shut away his pain when he and Maggie had broken up, his old feelings rush back after one glimpse of her beautiful face. He should want to avoid her, but feels thankful for this time together instead. Is it possible some surprising wisdom from the children he saved, could rescue him, too?
Read it HERE!
Thankful for You: Excerpt
Eric Langley shoved through the dense smoke of a disintegrating foster home, his breath harsh inside his helmet. Two children still missing.
Where were they?
A flaming section of ceiling crashed to his left and he ducked, his pulse throbbing in his neck. He ignored his screeching headset and the blistering, acrid air.
Dean, a newbie in Eric’s fire company, jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Back out!”
“No. We’ll find them!” Eric hollered.
“Chief’s pulling the hook!” Dean nodded at the retreating pipemen who hauled the line.
“I’m making the grab.”
Eric ignored Dean’s shout and sprinted upstairs. The metal banister twisted beneath his gloved hand. Taking the steps two at a time, his air tank thudded against his back, solid and reassuring. How much did he have left?
As if on cue, his SCBA shrieked. Eric swore. 20% oxygen and his world engulfed in smoke and flames. He silenced the pinging alarm and leapt off the crumbling staircase onto the second floor.
No going back now.
Grey ash swirled and visibility lurked near zero. A door bulged to his right. Electricity jittered through him. Just as he dove past, it exploded into the hall, an incinerating fireball.
He shoved to his feet, running. “Taylor! Hannah!” he hollered above the fire’s roar, using the names a hysterical staff member had shared. He squinted down the hallway. Marked doorways swam into focus. What had they missed?
Then Eric spotted it.
A half door above the baseboard, nearly obscured by the large sideboard rising above it.
A crawl space? Could a kid fit in there?
A desperate one?
Adrenalin surged. Scraping his ax against the wall to keep his bearings, he stumbled to a halt beside the set of drawers. His brain listed inside his skull, spots appeared on the edge of his vision. Grabbing the spindle legs, he squatted and peered at the small door.
“Hannah! Taylor!” he shouted.
“Here,” was followed by a faint gasp.
“I’m Lt. Langley. I’m going to save you.”
Crying erupted and he swallowed hard, his throat burning.
Wrenching open the door, he groped through the dark and touched a small hand. A pair of green eyes blinked up at him. A girl. Ten or so. “Don’t be scared, Hannah.”
“I’m not scared,” she said, nodding over her shoulder. “Taylor’s the one who’s crying.”
Eric bowed his head. Relieved. “You’re together. Good. Now listen. When I pull you out, cover your nose with your shirt and stay close until I grab Taylor, too.”
“I won’t leave him,” came her furious voice. “Why do you think I’m still here?”
Fair enough. Brave girl.
Beams whined overhead and plunged. One careened into the opposite wall in a shower of sparks. Eric doggedly kept his focus. They would make it out. Alive.
When he reached for Hannah’s hands, she jerked back. “NO! Get Taylor first.”
A small boy appeared, his eyes wide with fright.
At his name, the boy nodded and his mouth trembled. Tears streaked his grimy cheeks.
“Give me your hands, bud.”
Eric gently freed the pre-school aged child. Hannah joined them, coughing.
Eric considered his options. Any of the rooms had windows, but what condition were they in? They might enter and never come out.
As for the staircase, there wasn’t a chance it still stood.
Come on, think.
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time author. Most recently, her Harlequin Heartwarming novels have won the 2015 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award and the 2015 Booksellers Best Award. When she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales, cooking and hiking. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter and Cavalier King Charles spaniels.
Other Heartwarming Titles by this Author
Don’t miss any of these FREE novellas or the extra tour content! Stop by each of the tour stops each day:
13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books
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Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)
$40 VISA card (US only)
13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy’s, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
9-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, When The Right One Comes Along, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th