On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
The Christmas they never had.
James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of his younger brother’s death. With Jesse’s ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them. James couldn’t save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more—if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he’s betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.
“Are you my grandma?” Javi’s left-sided dimple appeared in a quick smile.
Joy gasped. “Yes.”
“You don’t look so old.”
Despite the tense moment, Sofia held in a short laugh. Joy’s warm eyes met hers. “Well. I appreciate that. And how old are you?”
He held up four fingers, and Sofia shook her head. Red stained Javi’s cheeks as he peeled up one more digit.
“And do you go to school?”
He nodded. “Yesterday my teacher had a party for me. She brought in cupcakes, and they were free.”
“Javi goes to—went—to preschool in Albuquerque,” Sofia interjected.
“Education is important.”
Javi scrunched his face.
“Yes,” Sofia agreed, feeling like a hypocrite. How she wished she’d gotten her diploma. Without it, the label High School Dropout followed her wherever she went, like an invisible, capital F sewn to her clothes. At least she would not fail at being a good mother, the one and only thing she was proud of.
“I have to go to a new school and make new friends.” Javi nibbled on his thumb nail, then dropped it at Sofia’s head shake.
“Are you excited about that?”
“What if they call me Free Lunch like back home?”
Joy blinked. “Excuse me?”
“Oh. It’s just something kids say,” Sofia said quickly, hating how a few children had picked on Javi for his secondhand clothes and the card he used instead of money in the cafeteria. Someday she’d give him everything that other kids had so no one would ever make fun of him again. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
“Yes, it does,” Javi insisted through hands covering his face.
“It means we’re poor trash. Least that’s what Timmy Rice says.”
“That’s a mean thing to say,” Joy insisted, indignant. “It’s better to have no money than no heart.”
Javi peeked up through his fingers. “Is that true?”
“A lady at a desk called me a waste of space. Is that true?”
“Absolutely not,” declared Joy, her voice firm.
Javi threw his arms around her. “I like you.”
Joy smiled, blinking fast. Her trembling hand passed over his hair. “I like you, too, honey. A lot.”
He angled his head to peer up at her. “How come?”
“Because you’re a Cade, and Cades always stick together.”
About the Author
In a quest to provide her ELA students with quality reading material, educator Karen Rock read everything out there and couldn’t wait to add her voice to the genre. In addition to her work as a Young Adult romance novelist, she’s now an author for Harlequin’s Heartwarming line and thrilled to pen stories that moms can share with their teenage daughters. She’s loved Harlequin books since she spent summers going through her grandmother’s Presents books that she passed along in paper grocery bags each year. As half of the writing duo J.K. Rock, Karen also pens young adult romance. When she’s not busy writing, Karen enjoys scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother’s family recipes, reinventing her gardens to suit her moods and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels, who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love. For more information about Karen’s upcoming books, check out her website.
Other Heartwarming Books by the Author
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
It’s All About the Romance
underneath the covers
23 Review Street
Slice of Life
Jorie Loves A Story
Janice’s Book Reviews
Ever After Book Reviews
Thoughts of a Blonde
Granny Loves to Read
Getting Your Read On
Rietpetite’s Book Reviews
Zerina Blossom’s Books
Becky on Books
Hearts & Scribbles
Reading Is My SuperPower
November 11th: Grand Finale
– 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card along with print copies of HIS KIND OF COWGIRL, UNDER AN ADIRONDACK SKY AND A COWBOY TO KEEP by Karen Rock, TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH by Elizabeth Lowell, THOSE TEXAS NIGHTS by Delores Fossen and FAMILY TREE by Susan Wiggs.
– US Only.
– Ends November 15th