The Forever Christmas Tree by Sandra Hill
Series Bell Sound Series
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date September 25, 2018
The Christmas bells are chiming across the Outer Banks town of Bell Cove, North Carolina, but there’s one local ‘grinch’ who’s not listening . . .
He’s got bad-boy looks and a Bah Humbug attitude, so when the local paper asks the villagers to vote on the “Biggest Local Grinch” as a fund-raising project, Ethan Rutledge isn’t surprised to hear he’s made the ballot. He might own the local Christmas Tree Farm, but the holiday hasn’t been welcome in his home since Wendy Patterson left him heart-broken twelve years ago.
But now Wendy’s back, fresh from a tour of duty as a female Navy SEAL. She’s bold, beautiful, and has five Navy buddies trailing after her—as if she needs a bodyguard! And what’s all this about them wanting to start a treasure hunting company right here in Bell Cove’s failing bell factory? Then Wendy learns about how Ethan’s been nurturing the one thing he has to remember her by: a gorgeous Norway Spruce tree.
Can the magic of Christmas and the spirit of the town help rekindle the romance between two people who thought they’d left love behind years ago?
1 Chapter 1
She’ll be home for Christmas . . . unfortunately . . .
The Wet and Wild was hopping tonight with an overflow crowd of military men and women from Coronado, both the North Island Naval Station and the special warfare command center. Sure, it was TGIF, time for blowing off steam, and there was a live band. But, more than that, with only two weeks remaining till Christmas, the air reeked with joy. The Christmas spirit. Not so much, though, at the long table at the back of the tavern, where Lt. Wendy Patterson, U.S. Navy WEALS, sat with two of her teammates, and a half dozen Navy SEALs. Started about ten years ago, WEALS (Women on Earth, Land, and Sea) was the female version of SEALs (Sea, Air, and Land). They often bragged that they were as “hard-assed and ever battle ready” as their male counterparts “and looked hot- damn-better doing it.” Wendy had been with them for eight years. The band, with its female singer, was just finish-could tell under the burka she’d worn, but just in case she tripped over a rock and flipped her hem up to her butt, she supposed, or was captured. No, the reason these teams clung together was because of their shared experiences. They’d seen and done things no one else had. And, frankly, they were a little, or a lot, burned out by the constant missions to curb global terrorism. The images would give the average person nightmares. Like the recent pink mist involving one of their own. Like the reason for them being together tonight. The group of them here at the table had just returned from a memorial service for one of their fallen team members, Master Chief Travis Gordon. Flash had taken a hit from a suicide bomber in Baghdad ten days ago, leaving behind a wife and two kids.“Can you believe the music playing when they rolled Flash’s casket into the church?” Wendy re- marked, attempting to break the silence. “Should’ve Been a Cowboy’ is hardly the traditional hymn for a funeral.” Everyone grinned at her words, mostly somber grins if there was such a thing. She hadn’t realized she’d spoken so loud, but the band had just taken a break. It was one of those odd moments of quiet within a crowd.
Sitting on her right side was Lt. Commander Ja- cob Alvarez Mendozo, best known by his SEAL nickname JAM. She must have looked confused at the grins because he explained, “Unusual, maybe, honed her skills on grizzlies and other wild game. No wonder her nickname was Grizz. Silence followed Diane’s words for a moment as they contemplated the brother-and-sister bond that existed among them, even when they disagreed with each other, even if they didn’t like a particular person. When you worked in such close proximity, whether in a foxhole, or the jungle, or a Kabul stakeout, you came to know the other person very well. In fact, you came to recognize each other’s smell, the sound of their walk, even the way they breathed. “Well, I’m going on record here. The song I want played at my funeral is ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ The pallbearers should be Dallas Cowboy cheer- leaders. You can tap a keg at the reception. On my tombstone you can chisel, ‘He laid one thousand chicks.’” Only Sr. Master Chief Petty Officer Frank Uxley would come up with this notion. FU was the most obnoxious, politically incorrect, horny SEAL in the world, and that was saying a lot, but he was an explosives expert with unmatched skills. You’d want him at your back in a Close Quarters situation or any live op. But make a move on me one more time, FU, and I am going to karate chop your favorite body part. Not that she was special in that regard. FU hit on anything with breasts.“What makes you think we would plan a funeral for you, asshole?” remarked Commander Luke Avenil, the highest-ranking and the oldest of their group at close to forty.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS TREE by Sandra Hill, we’re giving away two paperback copies of Frankly My Dear by Sandra Hill!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of Frankly, My Dear by Sandra Hill. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 10/14/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Sandra Hill
SANDRA HILL is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than ten years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories.