The Gift of Love, On Tour with Prism Book Tours
First or even second impressions aren’t always right.
Leah didn’t plan to still be searching for love so late in her twenties. Her looks almost guarantee her success with the opposite sex, but quantity doesn’t mean quality. Good thing she’s got a great career to fall back on. The only dark cloud on that particular horizon is the enigmatic Dr. Levy, the man she’s come to think of as a permanent thorn in her side. Brilliant and handsome he most certainly is, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s also stern, impatient, and bad-tempered. Oddly enough, it isn’t their mostly negative encounters that linger in her mind. Instead it’s the sadness she glimpses from time to time in his face. There’s no explanation for why she’s so bothered by this, nor can she imagine a situation where she’ll be in a position to discover the cause of his silent misery. All of which means she’s wasting her time. If anyone can take care of himself, it’s Dr. Levy.
Stratton had only been at Hutchison Clinic a short time before he heard about the beautiful nurse on the second floor. In his usual skeptical fashion he discounted the gossip until he saw Leah for himself. He had no problem admitting that the reports of her beauty hadn’t been exaggerated, but appreciation was as far as he was prepared to go. Love, romance and the so-called happily-ever-after only exist in the movies. Putting your happiness in someone else’s hands is just begging to be hurt. He has a monthly alimony payment to prove it. Getting his family and friends to understand his preference for bachelorhood isn’t so easy. While he appreciates their concern, he doesn’t need the complication of something with such overwhelming odds of failure. One ex-wife is enough for any man.
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The salad course had just been served when Leah became aware of movement behind her. She turned her head to see what was going on and nearly dropped the dinner roll she’d been in the act of buttering. Under her astonished gaze, Dr. Levy sat down in the empty seat beside her.
After thanking the waitress for a menu and asking for coffee, he turned to Leah and smiled. “Hello, again. If I wasn’t so sure you don’t like me, I’d begin to think you’re following me.”
This provocative greeting broke the spell she’d fallen under. “I was here first, so the person doing the following is you.”
“Don’t confuse the issue with facts.” He opened the menu and ran his eyes down the offerings. “This place has a little of everything, doesn’t it? What did you get?”
“Grilled shrimp with a baked sweet potato and Caesar salad.”
“Sounds good. I think I’ll get that, too.”
As if on cue, the waitress arrived with his coffee and took his order. Leah used the time to finish buttering her roll and quiet her jangled nerves. In the three weeks since Dr. Levy had given her a ride home, she’d avoided going anywhere near his area of the clinic. This kind of behavior was unusual for her, but no one likes being caught in an embarrassing situation by someone who already thinks badly of them. And now, here they were again, thrown together by forces outside her control and which no one could have foreseen. Escape was impossible. Her only choice was to make the best of it.
“How do you know Evangeline and Cecil, Dr. Levy?”
He smiled as he stirred cream into his coffee. “The name is Stratton. Save Dr. Levy for work. I don’t know Evangeline at all. I’m one of Cecil’s numerous cousins. What about you?”
She didn’t hear much of what he said after the word Stratton. It was an unusual name, but it suited him somehow. As for calling him by it, that was something else entirely. “Evangeline and I met in middle school. Her family moved to South Carolina during our senior year. She was thrilled when I took the job in Myrtle Beach.”
“If we’d known ahead of time that we were both coming this way, we could have ridden together.”
Leah was saved having to come up with a response to this startling remark by the arrival of the main course. In truth, she was having trouble reconciling this sociable man with the somewhat reserved and often-times stern physician she knew from the clinic. Which one was the real Stratton?
She almost jumped out of her skin when she heard his voice close to her ear.
“What are you doing after the rehearsal dinner is over?”
“I’m going back to Evangeline’s house. All the bridesmaids are staying there.”
“It’s still early. Would you be interested in taking a drive?”
Taking a drive? With him? Now things were just starting to get weird.
When she didn’t say anything, a gleam appeared in his eyes. “It’s okay to refuse, Leah. You won’t hurt my feelings.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to go; I’m just…” She stopped, trying to think of a nicer word than flabbergasted or amazed. “I’m surprised. Our acquaintance has had some…rocky moments.”
He speared one of his shrimp and doused it in melted butter. “Then it’s about time we did something to change that.”
“Of course. First or even second impressions aren’t always the right ones. Don’t you think we owe it to ourselves and each other to find out how wrong or right we were?”
Other Books in the Series
I’m a Georgia girl at heart if not by birth. I love to read, watch college football, and spend time with my husband. I’m a hopeless romantic so there will always be a happily ever after in my stories. I also like to write about second chances because love doesn’t always work out the first time.
My books are sweet romances set in both contemporary and regency settings featuring stories about the journey to love, from that first meeting to the point where two people know their hearts are no longer their own. My characters aren’t perfect. They make mistakes and have faults like the rest of us. They learn the sometimes painful truth that the path to love isn’t always smooth, but it’s a road worth traveling.
(Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.)
December 11th: Launch
December 12th: Julie Coulter Bellon – Truth or Dare
December 13th: Delaney Cameron – The Gift of Love
December 14th: Raneé S. Clark – Her Country Christmas Date
December 15th: Stephanie Fowers – Robin and Marian
December 16th: Aspen Hadley – Blind Dates, Bridesmaids & Other Disasters
December 17th: Maria Hoagland – Santa Cam
December 18th: Rachel John – The Christmas Bachelor Auction
December 19th: Sally Johnson – Dear Mr. Darcy
December 20th: D.E. Malone – Love Like Forever
December 21st: Melissa McClone – Mountain Rescue Romance Series
December 22nd: Brooke St. James – The Suite Life
December 23rd: Grand Finale
1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally (as long as winner is eligible to receive prize)
Ends December 28, 2019
What about you? What interests you most about The Gift of Love?