Can a Valentine Scrooge resist Cupid's Charm?
Olivia Parker is out of options. She’s broke, homeless, and way too old to move in with her parents. Desperate, she takes the first job she’s offered, and lands in the middle of her worst nightmare. There’s nothing she despises more than the romantic hype of Valentine’s Day and her new hometown is romance central.
Max Reed’s got a wonderful family, and a great job as head of the local RCMP detachment. There’s only one thing missing; the woman of his dreams. When a new tenant moves into his building, he discovers that Olivia Parker might just fit the bill nicely. Too bad she’s the Scrooge of romance.
With small town life and Valentine’s events relentlessly pushing them together, it’s going to take everything Olivia has to protect herself from Max’s determined efforts to win her heart.
pb loves to read on Amazon wrote:
I stayed up late last night to finish this gem of a book. It was so wonderful...like to caramel in a box of chocolates. I highly recommend you buy it right now. Do not delay...it will fill your heart with all things Valentine’s and show you the possibility of love. Excellent work Katie. I appreciate how you incorporate all things Canadian into your books. Now bring on the season of love ❤️❤️❤️.
Melissa Bartlett on Amazon wrote:
What a delightful read! This is the perfect story for Valentines Day. The story line is delightful; the characters quirky and cute; totally adorable plot situations; and a simply marvelous HEA! You definitely want to add this one to your TBR list today.
Patricia Baxes on GoodReads wrote:
I seriously read this book in a matter of HOURS. It really should be a movie.
What a delightful read! This is the perfect story for Valentines Day. The storyline is delightful; the characters quirky and cute; totally adorable plot situations; and a simply marvelous HEA! You definitely want to add this one to your TBR list today. (I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book and absolutely loved it!) ❤️❤️
Liv glanced at her dashboard clock. It was pushing five in the afternoon. Unless her timing and mapping skills were off, she should be nearly at her destination. A broad grin stretched across her face. She could hardly wait to arrive!
A new town, a new start.
Life was on the upswing again and she was excited to meet it head on. This was going to be the best year of her life.
There it was. The highway sign. Rapture, 1 km. One kilometer to her destination. She rounded a gentle sloping curve and skidded her car to a halt on the highway approach. Belatedly, she glanced up at her rearview mirror. Thank heavens nobody was behind her; she could have caused an accident.
She stared at the “Welcome to Rapture” sign in disbelief. Fashioned from wrought iron, it towered twenty feet high, dwarfing the highway, her car, and everything in its vicinity. Even the massive spruce trees. That wasn’t the worst of it. It was decorated in, ugh, of all things, red hearts and white swirls. It looked like Cupid had vomited up a sign. Gross. She should have expected this, after all she was moving to Rapture. Who named a town Rapture? Crazy people, that’s who.
She hadn’t even hit town yet, and she was already regretting accepting her new position of veterinary assistant without visiting town first. Still, what choice did she have? It wasn’t like she had the money to travel around searching out every prospective town or village where she was offered a job. Not that there were many. After six months of unemployment, she’d had exactly one, yes, that’s right, one, interview and she’d snatched up the position almost before the kindly grey-haired veterinarian offered it to her on a video call.
She hadn’t even taken the time to research Rapture on the internet. If she had, the job would have been a no-go, even if it meant living on the street.
She snorted at her own hyperbole. Right, as if she’d have to live on the street. She’d move back home with her parents and all eleven of her siblings. At twenty-five, she was the oldest. Six girls, six boys. It was enough to make your head hurt. She’d left home at eighteen and returned only for seasonal visits and birthdays. Outside of holidays, she’d never spent a night there after gaining her freedom. She sure as heck wasn’t going to move back into the hotel like house she’d once called home. She could have sold her car, but it was the first big-ticket item she’d ever purchased herself. Luckily, she’d scrimped and saved, and didn’t have a loan for it. She’d managed to survive on her severance pay and dwindling savings, until now. She’d even gotten through Christmas, though the gifts she’d given were small, hand crafted items, created from supplies in her craft material stash, because money was running short.
A horn tooted behind her, jarring her from her reminiscences. She waved and lifted her foot from the brake and rolled forward into a pretty picnic area beyond the sign. The car passed by and when its tail lights faded from view, she turned her attention to the picnic area. Towering pines and spruce shaded the red shale pathways. In the distance, mountains towered over the trees. Snow capped, red and white picnic tables were circled with matching benches. Small fire-pits rested a safe distance from the tables and clear of the trees. Down a well-shoveled path, she noticed a small, tightly shuttered confectionary which was probably only open during the summer. The path wandered past the building to an unknown destination. This would be a great place for a family picnic. Of course, her family would fill the entire place. The air was fresh and brisk, it smelled of pine and fresh snow with just a hint of campfire. Gosh, she loved those scents, maybe this place wouldn’t be all bad.
Slipping her eight month old Ford Explorer SUV into park, she hopped out and stretched her back. The icy wind cut through her thin sweater, stealing every degree of warmth her car had generated. Darn, in the car’s heat, she’d almost forgotten it was the end of January. Well, except for the snow-covered ditches and icy patches on the highways.
Overall, the two-day trip hadn’t been overly onerous. Rapture, Alberta was a good thirteen hours from Regina, Saskatchewan, and winter roads had tripled the time required to travel the distance. She was done. Baked. Exhausted. Plus, she was starved. The first order of business would be food and then locating her new apartment.
The deep masculine voice came out of nowhere and Liv whirled round to face the speaker.
“Um. Hi.” She squinted into the fading sunset at the tall man ambling her way.
“Everything all right?” he asked kindly.
“Yes. I’m fine.” She yanked open her car door and stepped behind it, ready to leap inside and shut him out. “Just leaving. Thanks.” Why had she added thanks? What she did was no business of his. His ready smile and attractive grin made her nervous.
He took three steps forward and stopped, mittened hands raised slightly, something rope-like hanging from his left hand. “Sorry if I frightened you. We don’t get many people stopping here this time of year, especially on New Year’s Day. I was passing by and thought I’d make sure you were okay.” He shifted left, bringing his face into the dimming daylight. His smile was soft and easy. An orange and red striped toque fashioned to hang low, down to his shoulder, ended with an enormous pompom and concealed his hair. The hat matched his mittens and scarf. He looked almost fashionable. He wore a bulky black jacket with a logo she couldn’t quite make out on the sleeve.
“Thanks. I’m fine.” She glanced around. There were no other vehicles in sight. Why was he here wandering around at the edge of town by the highway?
“I’m out for a walk,” he offered, as if reading her mind. “My dog ran away.” He waggled the leash he aloft and slowly lowered his hands.
“Oh.” True or not, the words didn’t offer much reassurance. It was time to get out of here. “Thanks for stopping. I’ll be going now. Dinner calls.” Great. Why had she gone and told him her plans? She must be more tired than she realized.
“Check out Penny’s on Seventh Avenue. She makes the best chicken stew and chili on the planet. You won’t be disappointed. And, if you see Rex, he’s a scrawny, underfed, Rottweiler, please leave a message for me with Penny. Enjoy your dinner.”
“Have a nice day. If I see your dog, I’ll let you know.” Shut up Liv. Just because the man was good looking with dark, enticing eyes, it didn’t mean you had to have a conversation with him. Hunger and exhaustion were dragging her down, stealing her common sense. She needed to eat, find her apartment and get some much-needed sleep or she’d be useless on her first day of work. She slid back into her SUV, slammed the door, and backed out of the picnic area. She would have preferred to start later, but the position started tomorrow and she’d agreed to be there, despite having to travel on New Year’s Eve and end her journey on New Year’s Day.
She’d always believed that you started a new year the way you wanted to continue it. What better way than preparing to make a great impression at a new job? New year, new town, new life. She was ready for this.