Some things can’t be left behind…
Army veteran Alessandra Castillo just wants to be left alone. Life has been tough since her deployment in Afghanistan, and the holiday season makes it even more difficult. Unemployed and homeless, she’s currently living with her brother, who refuses to let her avoid all things social. Enter Brad Kovac, youth pastor and good friend of Alessandra’s brother. He’s tall, gorgeous, and outgoing, three things guaranteed to catch Alessandra’s interest. At least they would have caught her interest before she survived an assault by a fellow soldier. Now all she wants to do is run from him and avoid anything resembling a relationship. Will God provide a miracle in time for Christmas, or will Alessandra lose her chance for romance?
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.
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For your enjoyment – an excerpt of Running From Christmas:
Her pondering crashed to a halt when a man in his late twenties or early thirties stepped into the hall. Several inches taller than her, broad shoulders, trim waist…as much as she had protested her brother’s attempts to introduce her to people, this was one man she wouldn’t mind meeting. Her heart thumped in anticipation as she took in his light brown hair and friendly green eyes.
Slow down, girl. You don’t want a relationship, remember?
Alessandra inhaled deeply, hoping oxygen would encourage her to think clearly. So what if this guy was gorgeous? She didn’t need a boyfriend for Christmas — or at all. Not when she had enough other stuff to keep her occupied. Although she had to admit a boyfriend would probably be much more pleasant than her annual visit to her best friend’s grave. But a boyfriend meant obligatory time alone with a guy…
“Hey, man! It’s about time you got here.” A warm male voice broke into the memories threatening to drag her down, and she looked up to see the gorgeous guy greeting her brother with a slap on the back. “The natives are getting restless.”
Tony laughed. “We’re early, so any restless natives aren’t our problem yet.”
“And there’s the operative word — yet.” He turned to Alessandra and reached for the box of craft supplies. “Let me take that for you.”
“It’s all yours,” she said, relinquishing the box.
Tony set his burden on the floor and put his arm around her shoulders. “Alessandra, meet Brad Kovac, youth pastor and your cohort in crime tonight.”
Brad’s eyes lit up and sent a little shiver down Alessandra’s spine as he gave her a once-over. “Ah, so you’re Tony’s sister. I’m glad to finally meet you.”
She studied him, suspicion taking the place of some of her interest. “Finally?”
“Yes, your brother’s been telling me about you for quite some time.” Brad winked and leaned closer. “Is it true that you went to Afghanistan to play in the snow?”
Alessandra looked at her brother, and Tony shrugged as he withdrew his arm from her shoulders. “Hey, you’re the one who sent me the picture of a snowball fight.”
She blew out a breath, wondering just how much the big mouth had told Brad and who knew how many others. “Okay, yes. I went to Afghanistan, but it wasn’t to play in the snow.”
“But you played in it while you were there?” Brad lifted an eyebrow, amusement dancing in his eyes.
“Yes, I played in the snow with some other people.” She looked away, trying not to think about the stressful day that had precipitated the snowball fight. “We all needed to blow off some steam.”
“A snowball fight is a fun way to do it.” Brad hefted the box in his arms. “Come on. I’ll show you where we’re setting up the wreath factory, and you can tell me all of Tony’s dirty secrets.”