Army veteran Alessandra Castillo just wants to be left alone. Life has been tough since her deployment in Afghanistan, and the holiday season makes it even more difficult. Unemployed and homeless, she’s currently living with her brother, who refuses to let her avoid all things social.
Enter Brad Kovac, youth pastor and good friend of Alessandra’s brother. He’s tall, gorgeous, and outgoing, three things guaranteed to catch Alessandra’s interest. At least they would have caught her interest before she survived an assault by a fellow soldier. Now all she wants to do is run from him and avoid anything resembling a relationship.
Will God provide a miracle in time for Christmas, or will Alessandra lose her chance for romance?
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.
For more information visit: http://eawest.mcphitty.com
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“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Alessandra Castillo glared at her older brother and tugged on her coat. “I need a job and an apartment, not a social life.”
“Actually, you need one of those too.” Tony picked up the box of craft supplies sitting on the kitchen counter and shoved it into her arms. “Besides, you like kids.”
“Kids, yes. But what do I know about teenagers?” She shifted the large cardboard box, getting a better grip on it. “I’ve never worked with them.”
“You used to be one, and not that long ago, so you know enough.” He hefted a second box and guided her toward the door that led into the garage. “Besides, it’s not like you’re going to be all alone with them. The youth pastor is going to be there.”
Alessandra sighed as she passed through the door he held open. “I have a great idea. Why don’t you help the teenagers make wreaths, and I’ll untangle the Christmas lights?”
“Sorry. You know I’m hopeless when it comes to crafts. Besides, I already told Brad you were going to help him.” Tony popped the trunk of his dark green sedan and set his box inside. “He’s looking forward to meeting you.”
“So you’ve said.” She nestled her box beside his then stepped back and crossed her arms. “But you still haven’t given me a good reason why I should want to meet him.”
“Because he’s a good man and a strong Christian. Just the kind of man you need in your life.” Tony closed the trunk and headed for the driver’s door.
Alessandra fought the urge to follow him and smack him upside the head. As if she didn’t get enough grief from every woman in their family about her singleness. She didn’t need her brother playing matchmaker as well. He should know better, anyway, considering she’d caught her last boyfriend with another woman. She hadn’t bothered to tell him about the sexual assault she had dealt with from a guy in her company after that, but the cheating boyfriend should have been enough to get through to him.
He opened his door, and then looked at her. “Let’s go.”
She blew out a breath and climbed into the front passenger seat. As he pressed the button on the remote to open the garage door, she turned toward him. “I know this Brad guy is your friend and works at your church, but please don’t try to fix me up with him. A relationship is the last thing I need right now.”
“Can I at least introduce you to people so you can make some friends?” Tony glanced at her as he started the engine.
“You’re not going to let that social life thing go, are you?”
“Nope. Everybody needs people they can count on. People they can hang out with and relax around.”
She stared out the window at a stack of boxes containing her belongings as he backed out of the garage. “I had that.”
“Yeah, but you don’t have that here.” He braked and laid a hand on her shoulder. “I know things are tough for you right now, but I’m trying to help.”
“I know.” She sighed and glanced at him. “I do appreciate everything you’re doing for me, but this time of year is hard.”
“And that’s why I’m trying to keep you busy and get you connected with other people.” Tony gave her shoulder a squeeze, and then backed down the drive. “You’ve got to get out of your head to find Christmas cheer.”
“Christmas cheer...right.” She looked at her car sitting on one side of the drive and wished she was in it instead of stuck with her brother.
Thankfully, he let the sarcastic comment slide. He lived for the Christmas season, as did most of their family, but she couldn’t do it this year. She hadn’t been able to do it last year or the year before either. Something about being deployed in Afghanistan and dealing with the constant threat of death and violence had killed holidays for her. Or maybe it was the friends she’d lost over the years. Memories of her childhood best friend drifted through her mind.