We’re in the home stretch guys! Another spotlight of the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings novella collection is here, and we’ve got a hero that I think you’ll like!! Just wait……
About the Book
One prize. Two contestants. Three Thanksgiving Miracles.
Expanding Hank Murphy’s grocery emporium into the adjacent storefront should be easy, as he and the landlord already shook hands. Yet his clueless neighbor, Miss Jane Vinton, intends to enlarge her silly Tea Room into the not-so-vacant premises. The Tea Room plenty large, but the grocery emporium must stockpile adequate winter supplies before winter’s blizzards close off the high mountain valley.
Negotiations should be simple, but the landlord delights in pitting Hank and Jane against one another, and foolishly involves the community—and the annual Harvest Celebration—in the business decision. The festive atmosphere tempts matchmakers to unite the disparate Tea Room and Grocery Emporium, along with incompatible Hank and Jane.
Discovering a solution… Warding off misguided matchmakers…Uniting two hearts ravaged by the past…… Will take a Thanksgiving miracle!
About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author Kristin Holt writes Sweet Romances (G- and PG-rated) set in the Victorian American West appropriate for all audiences, including fans of Christian historical romance. Try a free novella: www.KristinHolt.com. Kristin is a wife and mom (without grandchildren), a reader, a skilled seamstress, a not-so-skilled housekeeper, a self-taught bread baker and knitter, Registered Nurse, and former Territory Manager of Weight Watchers. She spends so much time exploring the nineteenth century, she’s grateful to live in the twenty-first–with climate control, antibiotics, and successful medical surgeries. After all, she’s a surgical veteran, having experienced eight or nine and lived to tell about it.
Connect with Kristin:
Character profile on hero: Oscar Harris Age: 42 (born 1845)
Blond hair, too long to be stylish. His moustache is shorter than stylish (who can eat with a mustache that fully covers the lips?), and he grows a beard in cold weather. Oscar is thickly muscled, lean, and 5’10”. His eyes are dark blue (with a darker ring around the iris).
Role in Book: Druggist (pharmacist)
Oscar Harris is my very first “secondary romance” hero. Oscar plays second fiddle to the story’s hero T.A. “Hank” Murphy, his new business partner. Through the years, I’ve read many longer romance novels with two separate romances with two different couples.
In these well-loved stories, the characters were connected. I discovered Oscar’s role in Unmistakably Yours extended well beyond a business partner; his romance wouldn’t wait for his own novella, even if I promised him he’d be next. So, this story is told in four separate points of view. Hank Murphy and Jane Vancoller (primary hero and heroine) live most of the scenes, while Oscar Harris and Ina Dimond (a secondary character from an earlier novella) share only a handful of scenes together—which made me want to make sure they count!
I’m delighted to introduce you to Mr. Oscar Harris. Isn’t he handsome? Oscar attended West Point as a young man, and did well with his studies, but was far more fascinated with the growing field of chemistry than he was with war. He became a druggist (a.k.a. pharmacist), and not long afterward, when President Lincoln called for volunteers, Oscar was quick to return to the United States Army and proudly served as an officer in defense of the Union.
The war scarred Oscar inside and out. (Shhh! This is something Miss Ina doesn’t discover until late in the story…) He lost his lower leg, and though he’s worn a good prosthesis for half of his life, that left leg continues to pain him and has caused him more than one serious bit of trouble. All that trouble eventually brought him to Mountain Home, high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a goodly amount of money in his pocket.
Oscar may fight the inevitable, but he is in the perfect place to connect (1887-style) with a never-wed lady whose loneliness is more than obvious to Oscar. Until now, Oscar has been a determined bachelor, content to live alone. He’s avoided romance because no woman could possibly want a broken man like him. [Naturally, he learned this lesson back in his early twenties when the war ended.] Despite the pains he suffers, he knows the importance of addressing patrons of the T.A. Grocery Emporium (and Pharmacy) by name, extending a friendly hand, and ensuring they enjoy spending their money with him. Conversation over the counter quickly becomes more as Miss Ina Dimond asks Oliver to call on her (yes, this was the socially appropriate behavior, not the other way around). Oscar resists, for all the best reasons… until he can’t stay away.
Miss Ina Dimond is a pretty special gal (how old do you think she is?). This vintage image I used for visual inspiration as I wrote is an etching (or other word carving?) of Marie Calm (pseudonym) Marie Ruhland (1832-1887, a German author and feminist). I chose the picture because it’s era-appropriate and captures very much what I’d tried to cobble together mentally. [Be aware this is an almy.com stock photo and under copyright.] I’ll introduce Miss Ina before too many weeks pass.
Sneek Peek (For Your Eyes Only!)
Her eyes closed as she seemed to roll the bite over her tongue, allowing the confection to melt. “Delicious.”
She chuckled. “Taking credit for Whipple Bakery’s recipe, are you?”
He pointed at her with his spoon. “Who said anything about Whipple?”
“If not the bakery, then who?”
“You think I bought this from your friend, Mrs. Cresswell? She has a churn, you know.”
“Yes, I do know Maggie’s churn. I’ve turned that handle every summer for years. Everyone has a churn these days.” Her laughter came easily, a lovely companion to her ready smile.
Miss Dimond’s expression glowed with her smile.
So did her eyes. He held her gaze, enchanted by the blue so much like the September Colorado sky.
He cleared his throat. “You also don’t seem to know that I can do a great deal with a university degree in Chemistry.”
“You made this?” Her surprise and pleasure pleased him.
“I did. It’s a simple thing to read a receipt, measure ingredients correctly. Oh, and to bring about a mild chemical reaction. Salt and ice. You know.”
“Yes, I believe I do know.” She spooned another mouthful, this time with a prominent bit of tangy peach.
With cream and sugar melting on his tongue, Oscar watched Ina’s simple pleasure in savoring his concoction. He swallowed hard when she looked at him, an eyebrow raised.
She nudged him with her shoulder. “What? You clearly have something to say.”
He swallowed, hard. “I…” Truth was, he hadn’t been thinking. He’d been lost in her.
Men like him did not lose their minds in the company of lovely women. He’d had decades of practice, but this one did strange things to his equilibrium.
“Have you other amazing talents with chemistry?”
“Other than my work in the pharmacy?”
She nodded, her attention fixed on him, as if she truly wanted his answer.
“Plenty.” He leaned a bit nearer to whisper. “I can write a secret message with nothing other than juice of a lemon, and reveal it with nothing more than a candle.”
Her smile was contagious. She shook her head, chuckling with him. “Parlor games?”
“If you prefer.”
She leaned nearer, teasing him with the scent of carnation soap, clean woman, and peach ice cream. “Can you pull a rabbit from a top hat?”
“Not with chemistry as the means.”
“Ah. Now that’s a disappointment.”
He shook off the twinge of inevitability— yes, he would disappoint her— and dived back in to the teasing conversation. Right now, she enjoyed his company.
“If not a rabbit, how might you entertain me with chemistry?”
“I can make an eggshell melt away, leaving its contents undisturbed.”
She narrowed her eyes. “That does sound like magic.”
He enjoyed another bite of melting ice cream. “Pure chemistry, I assure you.”
Chemistry, he understood. Elements remained constant, reacting the same way, every single time. So unlike people.
“How, then?” She searched his eyes, as attuned to him as he was to her.
“If I give away my secrets…”
“You claim you’re a chemist, and not a magician. I trust you can reveal your secrets. The answer is probably in a chemistry book, somewhere.”
“Vinegar.” He enjoyed the sparkle in her eyes, this ease of conversation, the complete absence of others vying for his attention. Conversing with her at her home was so much more enjoyable than stealing a minute or two at the emporium.
“Vinegar?” Curiosity infused her entire being.
“Everyday household vinegar? The kind I buy at the grocery emporium?”
“Yes. Normal vinegar.”
“Now?” He chuckled, blindsided by her almost childlike enthusiasm. Such a little request, to demonstrate the simple chemical reaction. “Well, I suppose…” Her reputation was far safer here, on the bench in her front garden. “… in the emporium?” Others would enjoy the display, too. Ina might enjoy sharing the experience with neighbors.
She took the pail from his fingers and spooned up the last taste peaches and cream. He found himself pinned to her, watching with fascination.
But she didn’t bring the melted cream to her lips. She lifted it between them, and met his gaze. “You should have this.”
To accept a morsel from a woman’s utensil felt like a flirtation.
Yet her expression was far from indecent. Just sweet, gentle Ina, gracious with the last drops of the dessert he’d made for her.
Her image, spoon raised in offering, and he, hesitant to accept, etched itself deep in his memory. That told their story, didn’t it? An innocent, hopeful offer to a jaded, hesitant old man.
Before he could think too much, add too much to their growing story, he accepted the cream. A drop must’ve trickled over his lip and into his beard because she was quick with her napkin.
He would’ve eased away, assured her he’d wash his face with soap before bed— and behind his ears, too— but risked glancing into her eyes.
This woman was something special, indeed. That talk with Hank had made him see that more clearly. Combined with talk he’d heard between women as they completed their purchases, he’d learned more about Ina Dimond’s nature in this one day than he’d pieced together up to now.
Special Launch Party Information!
Thanksgiving Books & Blessings LAUNCH CELEBRATION (on Facebook at the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Group. Open to the public! Invite your friends!
THURSDAY, September 6th, 10 am until 7pm—-one author each hour—-All giveaways will be awarded the following Friday morning by 10 am. so that all may participate
Giftcard for the two guests who invite the most attending friends!
Make sure you join the group and attend the launch party! There will be more spotlights in the days to come. Stay tuned friends!!