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Phrey Press

Surviving Christmas

Surviving Christmas

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This novella is a holiday sweet treat that's sure to please.

Jack Hastings is not looking forward to spending Christmas with his messed-up family. His goal is survival.

But plans change when he wrecks his car, sprains his ankle, and ends up stranded on a Texas ranch. Sofie, who rescued him off the side of the road, is beautiful and engaging, but her teen sister and imposing dad make it hard to spend time alone with her.

And he wants to.

It’s Sofie’s job to make Christmas merry.

Every year, Sofie De Los Santos drives back to the Rocking Double Heart ranch where she grew up and spends the holidays making memories with her dad and sister.

 But when she almost hits a stranded stranger with her car, he becomes part of her very-merry project.

Her dad might not be too keen on her bringing home a random guy. But Jack is quite charming and good-looking. It’s funny to see such a city guy on the ranch, but he meshes well with her family. Even her dad seems to like him, which is a first.

Maybe it’s the magic of the season, the undeniable attraction, or the stolen kisses in the barn, but by the end of the week, she’s head over heels for Jack.

And when they go home, he promises to call, but he doesn’t.

It was silly to think that their spark would survive…

MAIN TROPES

  • Stranded Together
  • Found Family
  • Instant Attraction

Surviving Christmas Synopsis

Jack Hastings is not looking forward to spending Christmas with his messed-up family. His goal is survival.
But plans change when he wrecks his car, sprains his ankle, and ends up stranded on a Texas ranch. Sofie, who rescued him off the side of the road, is beautiful and engaging, but her teen sister and imposing dad make it hard to spend time alone with her.
And he wants to.
It’s Sofie’s job to make Christmas merry.
Every year, Sofie De Los Santos drives back to the Rocking Double Heart ranch where she grew up and spends the holidays making memories with her dad and sister.
But when she almost hits a stranded stranger with her car, he becomes part of her very-merry project.
Her dad might not be too keen on her bringing home a random guy. But Jack is quite charming and good-looking. It’s funny to see such a city guy on the ranch, but he meshes well with her family. Even her dad seems to like him, which is a first.
Maybe it’s the magic of the season, the undeniable attraction, or the stolen kisses in the barn, but by the end of the week, she’s head over heels for Jack.
And when they go home, he promises to call, but he doesn’t.
It was silly to think that their spark would survive…

Chapter One Look Inside

I love Christmas, but it takes a whole lot of emotional energy to make it merry. I’m not sure it’s supposed to be that way.
Every year, I save up my vacation days so that I can be home from Christmas Eve to News Year’s Day so that my little sister gets to enjoy the holiday traditions I grew up with. Decorating the house. Making cookies. Singing carols on Christmas Eve. And this year, I’m reviving a family tradition—making tamales. Hopefully, they’re edible.
Bree was only five when our mom died. Nine years later, and holidays are still hard for Dad. He participates in what we do and is generous with gifts for me and my sister, but he’s not festive.
I consider it my job to make sure my family has a merry Christmas.
Squinting, I turn the wipers up another click. This rain is awful. And as cold as it is, I’m worried about ice. That doesn’t really happen here, but apparently Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.
My phone rings, and I press a button on my steering wheel to answer. “Hey, Bree. I’m only about twenty minutes away. I think. It would be like five minutes if it weren’t for this awful weather.”
“Dad’s pacing. He’s worried about you.” She closes a door. “Did you get the stuff?”
“Yep. We’ll cook the pork roasts overnight tonight. Then make everything tomorrow.”
“Awesome. This is a great idea. You have the recipe Mom used?”
“It’s in her cookbook. She learned to make them from Dad’s mom, who learned to make them from her mom. And so on. I’m excited. Does Dad know?”
“Nope. I didn’t tell him. Think he’ll be upset?”
I hope not, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Mom worked so hard learning to make them. I want to carry on the tradition. “No. It will stir up memories, but I think he’ll be happy that we’re making them.”
“Good. I got all the stuff out of the storage room so that we can decorate tonight.” She sighs. “Be safe, okay?”
“I will be. The rain is letting up.” I decide not to tell her that the rain has been replaced with frozen precipitation. Tiny snowballs splatter on the windshield. It’s taking forever to get home, but getting there later is better than not getting there at all.
There’s a car just off the road with its lights flashing, and as I pass it, I catch motion and instinctively tap my brakes. That proves to be a mistake.
My car slides sideways. Shoving my brake pedal all the way to the floor does nothing. I’m moving, but thankfully slowly.
My biggest concern is hitting the stopped car. I turn to watch and breathe a sigh of relief when my rear bumper misses the other car. I assume it does because there is no crash or scraping sound.
Then I remember seeing something move and snap my focus to the grass near the road.
That’s when I see him. With the soggy ground, the poor guy is struggling to get away from my car, which is still sliding.
I wave my arms. “Hurry! Run!” When it’s clear my screaming won’t save the man, I close my eyes. I can’t watch a man die.
Motion stops, and I throw open my door.
“What happened?” Bree sounds panicked. Probably because I was giving the same energy.
“I hit someone. Don’t tell Dad. I need to check on him.”
“Take something to protect yourself! Just in case.”
“Good thought.” I fish in the bags behind my seat, wishing I’d packed a baseball bat for this trip. “He just stood up, so he’s not dead. Either that, or I just kicked off a holiday zombie apocalypse.”
“Are you seriously joking about Christmas zombies?”
“The guy is headed this way, but he’s limping. Oh my, I can’t believe this is happening.”

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