Happy Release Day! Today I’m celebrating the release of my ninth book. Seaside Christmas is a contemporary Christian romance novella in my Sydney Sweethearts series. The story is set in Sydney, Australia.
Chelsea Somers is the girl he never called back.
Six years later, former bad boy Gus Donovan is intrigued by Chelsea, but his past mistakes continue to haunt him. Gus is determined to prove he’s a changed man—prove it to his friends, his family, his father. And prove it to Chelsea.
Chelsea has embraced the faith she once mocked, and she’s focused on furthering her career in health promotion and staying away from politics. She’s drawn to Gus, although his busy role as an advisor for an Australian senator doesn’t impress her. When she’s forced to confront her fears and deal with a past family tragedy, can Gus convince her to trust him and take a chance on him?
A heartwarming Christmas romance novella set in Sydney, Australia. Seaside Christmas is a standalone novella and Book 3.5 in the Sydney Sweethearts series. It’s available in Kindle Unlimited and for 99 cents from Amazon Kindle.
Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter One:
Chelsea Somers walked down the steps leading to the exclusive yacht club, her overflowing pink canvas tote bag swinging from her shoulders. The early afternoon spring sunshine created a mass of sparkles on Sydney Harbour, the iridescent glow bringing a smile to her lips. Her destination, a quaint wooden wharf surrounded by yachts of various sizes bobbing in the waters of the tranquil bay, teemed with people.
A gust of wind blew blonde strands of hair across her face. She tucked them behind her ears, her gaze searching the crowd for her church friends. Zach and Billie had offered their yacht for the charity race event. Chelsea had tagged along to support the organization where she volunteered to raise funds for youth mental health programs.
Billie waved from the wharf, her long dark hair secured in a ponytail under her baseball cap. She wore a t-shirt and denim shorts, and Chelsea envied her tanned complexion that wouldn’t fry in the sun like her own pale skin. She’d brought along a baseball cap and wore a long-sleeve cotton shirt and ankle-length pants, prepared for the unseasonal hot October weather.
Chelsea wove her way along the dock, entranced by the buzz of activity taking place on the surrounding yachts. She lacked any practical knowledge or skills related to sailing. Her plan was to sit on the deck while the experts guided them to the finish line.
Billie’s smile broadened. “Hey, Chelsea. You’re right on time.”
“I’m glad. The traffic was heavy.” The short journey from her parents’ waterfront home in Seaforth to the yacht club had been slower than she’d anticipated. She’d been held up at the Spit Bridge, a small section of the roadway lifting high in the air to allow yachts to pass through Middle Harbour.
“Gus is waiting for us in the rowboat. You know Gus, right?”
Chelsea nodded, her grip tightening on her bag. What was he doing here?
“He’s filling in for Ryan. Cassie isn’t well, and Ryan flew home to be with her. Let’s go.”
Gus Donovan. Chelsea’s chest squeezed around her heart, which seemed to thump louder and louder. She followed Billie to the end of the wharf and stepped down onto the worn wooden planks, only a few feet above the water line. She drew in a calming breath.
Gus sat in the center of a wooden bench seat of the boat, sunglasses on top of his wavy dark brown hair. His golden-brown eyes captured her gaze, his mouth tilting into a welcoming smile, and his muscular body swayed in rhythm with the rising swell in the harbor. He was different to the man she remembered. More laid back and at peace, as if he’d found his place in the world.
“Chelsea, can I take your bag?”
“Thanks.” She passed over her tote, a fluffy beach towel stuffed into the top.
He raised an eyebrow. “You’re planning to swim today?”
“Not if I can help it.”
Billie laughed. “We’ll have to tell Chelsea how to stay on board during the race.”
She gulped, her confidence waning under his intense scrutiny. “I’ll try to stay dry.”
His eyes twinkled. “Have you been racing before?”
“Nope. This is my first time.”
He grinned, his gaze warm. “We’ll look after you, won’t we Billie?”
“Of course. You’ll soon learn the ropes.” Billie lowered herself into the small boat, settling on a bench seat facing Gus.
Chelsea chewed her bottom lip. Billie made it look easy. Could she step into the boat and keep her balance?
Gus held out his hand. “Let me help you.”
“Thanks.” She tucked her hand into his, his soft fingers enveloping hers in a firm grip. A wave of awareness shot through her and she ducked her head, her attention focused on not falling overboard. Not falling on him. Not falling for him.
Read more in the sample at Amazon.com.