today’s 2nd book: Rekindling Hope
We are continuing this year’s blog series spotlighting (over 70 this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads! This is the 7th year for the Christmas Reads Giveaway series, and I think I get more excited about it every year 🙂 Christmas is only FOUR DAYS away! So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage (wassail anyone?) and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! And no doubt you know the drill by now – there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
REKINDLING HOPE by Alicia Gilliam
SERIES: Related to the Seth Browne Novels
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)
RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2023
A birthday pushing forty? He couldn’t care less.
Dating for the first time at his age? Yeah, he’s taking notes.
Agent Quincy Adams, aka “Q,” is on a mission to educate himself about romantic relationships—and more specifically, the pretty art therapist who’s captured his heart. For now, her signature smile has outlasted his bumbling ineptitude.
Easy-going Hope Montgomery has been sweetly silencing her biological clock, but Christmas separations trigger alarm bells. Is she a patient saint or a hopeless coward?
In a humorous turn of events, struggling newlyweds disrupt Q’s assumptions about the world and inadvertently nudge him toward a second chance for a holiday romance. If you enjoy near kiss misses and light-hearted inspiration, you’re a click away from a two-for-one love story!
NOTE: Rekindling Hope can be read as a standalone, but it is a follow-up to the Seth Browne Novels. Think of it as a Christmas special episode. Some readers can jump right in mid-season; others will better appreciate the story’s socially awkward hero by reading the preceding trilogy first.
the unexpected guest
by Alicia Gilliam, author of Rekindling Hope
The following is a true story and an inspiration for a scene in my winter novella, Rekindling Hope.
Once upon a time, my husband sent a Christmas dinner invitation via text to a friend we’ll call Tyler (names have been changed to protect the embarrassed). Tyler responded with appreciation and an affirmative, “I’ll be there.”
Meanwhile, a relative of ours who would also be in attendance for that holiday event, had initiated the same invitation and offered to bring Tyler along on Christmas Day. Which he did.
At the end of that long day, the men were hanging out in the living area while my mother, my daughter, and I were busy in our tiny kitchen preparing the food. We had just concluded our typical scheming about the best way to squeeze all 8 of us around our table for 6. We’d done it before, but we wanted the seating arrangement to be comfortable for Tyler, our guest, who’d just endured hours of a tense gingerbread building competition.
I perused our menu and asked the questions which I agonize over every blessed year: Is this enough food for all of us? Should we start cooking earlier to make another batch of Dun Buttered Biscuits? What’s the best way to re-warm the $70 Honey Baked Ham without drying it out? Can we count on the toaster oven to provide extra cooking space this—or will it die like it did that one year in the middle of holiday preparations?
In the middle of this, the the doorbell rang.
We all looked at each other, confused. The entire family plus Tyler were in attendance. No parishioners had asked to stop by with holiday treats. It was a strange time for an unannounced visit.
My husband answered the door, and we listened as he invited in a man who he’d met recently to do some handy-work for us. My husband introduced him to everyone by name, and we greeted him warmly.
He sat with the men in the living room, and rattled, I returned to the kitchen, still eavesdropping to make sense of this unexpected drop-in. None of us in the kitchen had made the proper connections to explain this surprise guest, and a bit panic-stricken, all I cared to know in that moment was: Is this stranger staying for Christmas dinner? My eyes darted eyes from the living room to the food, to the seating arrangements, back to the food.
Finally, my husband, peeked his head into the kitchen and whispered. “I texted the wrong Tyler.”
“Oooohhh.” It finally clicked. Two invitations to two different Tylers.
We threw a bag of an extra bag frozen corn in the microwave, created new place settings at a nearby table, and wondered in amusement why this virtual stranger had accepted our invitation when he admitted to having eaten the exact same meal at lunch-time with his family.
That was a Christmas dinner our family will never forget.
In case you’re wondering:
Surprise Tyler was not a rom-com-match for my daughter.
Surprise Tyler was not an angel in disguise.
And no, surprise Tyler never knew he was an unexpected Christmas guest.
Alicia Gilliam creates character-driven stories, dipped in romance and mystery, always aimed at deepening readers’ faith in God. After teaching writing and literature for twenty years, she reversed roles and became a student of indie publishing. Her other job, managing a resource center for foster parents, pays for her education and a weekly ration of chocolate chip cookies. Connect with Alicia at her website.
Alicia Gilliam is offering an ebook copy of Rekindling Hope to one of my readers! (Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Rekindling Hope by Alicia Gilliam? Have you ever had an unexpected guest at Christmas?