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Fall is so different in NorCal than it is in New England. It starts later, for one. And it just doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t smell the same, either. No wood burning fires, no damp, crushed leaves underfoot–at least not for a long while. But the autumn winds are starting to blow and our neighbor has wind chimes. A little taste of home.
But we really need to get down to business because release day for Christmas in Tahoe is coming up fast! Last week I shared the back cover copy, and this week, I have an excerpt for you. But first, a little set up:
Our heroine, Ann Smith, is an actuary. Yes, an actuary. And our hero, Chase Deckert, is a snowboarding instructor. Her job is to calculate risk, and you can probably guess that as far as living goes, she’s quite risk-averse. He risks his life every time he carves up the avalanche-prone backcountry slopes. A match made in heaven, right?
Well, kinda, yeah. Because she’s not as risk-averse as she seems, and he’s not as risky as he appears, and together, they just work. Trust me on this.
So back to that excerpt. As you know, when I’ve done first excerpts in the past, I like to start at the beginning. And without further ado, here we go!
Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett
“Mandy, please don’t do this to me,” Ann Smith muttered to herself as she scanned One World Insurance’s well-maintained parking lot for her ride. “Not right before Christmas.”
But Mandy Aligheri’s little blue Prius was nowhere to be seen. Just the usual panoply of sedans, minivans and SUVs.
And a handsome guy sporting a beard, leaning on a huge truck.
Definitely not her ride.
Her gaze slid over him and toward the entrance to the parking lot. Still no Mandy. It was just like her friend to be late, a pattern since college. They used to joke that if they combined Ann, who was always early, and Mandy, who was always late, they’d make one person who was always perfectly on time.
Oh no. One of her colleagues—a guy named Nick who frequently worked on her team—was approaching, and Ann held her breath. With her monstrous pocketbook and her skis in one arm and a giant roller bag on the other, there wasn’t a lot of room to maneuver on the path leading up to her office building.
Of course, Nick came right up to her. “You okay?”
“Yes.” Short and sweet, the way she always answered.
“Going to Tahoe?”
“Good.” Nick sidestepped her and her bags, gave her a nod, and said, “Glad you’re getting away for the holiday. Have a great trip, and Merry Christmas.”
Releasing her breath, she nodded back. “Thanks. Same to you.” Nick disappeared into the building. And thanks for not dragging me into a ten-minute-long discussion about how I’m doing.
Just as she was pulling her phone out of her voluminous bag to see if she’d missed any messages, Huge Truck Guy peeled himself off his truck and started walking directly towards her.
“You Ann?” he said. Even from twenty feet away his voice carried, a deep masculine rumble.
She nodded stiffly.
“I’m Chase,” he said, holding out a hand. “Mandy asked me to come pick you up.”
Reluctantly, she shifted her skis to her left side and took his hand. Rough fingers slid over hers and gripped her palm. Strong. And warm.
And it wasn’t just his fingers that were rough. It was the whole package. He had on worn jeans and a crewneck sweater, and he was wearing a pair of hiking boots. His hair was a thick, midnight black and so was his beard—somewhere between a five-o’clock shadow and full-on lumberjack, but short enough to display his strong jaw and lean cheekbones to perfection. His eyes were almost as dark as his hair, and they were filled with intelligence.
A crazy pattern of heat played a samba on her skin. When she closed her eyes to get her bearings, kaleidoscope colors flashed behind her lids. Was she having a stroke? The likelihood of that happening given her age, sex, and overall health was less than one percent, as were the odds that she was having a heart attack. Tumor was another possibility, but that was ever rarer, clocking in at zero-point-fifty-five percent probability.
Dawning awareness crept over her and, shocked, she blinked once. Then twice. For this was something that couldn’t be predicted with any probability whatsoever. Something so creaky and rusted from disuse she couldn’t even recognize it for what it was.
Excerpt from Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett (c) 2013
What do you think?
There’s a lot more coming. Next Monday, the cover will be revealed on Heroes & Heartbreakers, and if you sign up for my newsletter, there’s going to be an exclusive excerpt. Maybe even the whole first chapter!
And of course, there must be a giveaway! Because I am SO excited about this book, I will send one lucky commenter an official, digital copy on November 11th (release day)! Just let me know what risk have you taken, and why (and whether it turned out well, if you want to share that much) and you’ll be entered to win. Contest ends Thursday, October 31st at midnight Pacific time (boo!), and the winner will be announced on Friday. No geographical restrictions since the winner will be receiving a digital copy of the book.
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