Welcome back to Teaser Tuesday! This excerpt is from "Christmas in Shelter Bay," Kelli and Cole's long awaited prequel story, which so many of you have asked for since their wedding in The Homecoming, the first in the Shelter Bay books. It'll be published in Christmas on Main Street on November 5th. ( For those who missed the first chapter excerpt in the back of Castaway Cove, it's now up on the Christmas on Main Street book page on my website. Enjoy:
Over the past year Kelli had tried to convince herself that she'd gotten over Cole Douchett. It wasn't as if they'd ever actually had a romantic relationship. He'd always treated her like a little sister, even when she knew, in her heart of hearts, that if he'd only wait for her to grow up, they could be so much more.
Kelli couldn't remember when she'd fallen in love with Cole. It seemed as if he'd always been hers. Living across the street, it was only natural that her older brothers would hang out with the three Douchett boys.
There were times when it was almost as if she had six big brothers.
But Cole had been different. He'd been the one who took her out for ice cream when Hershey, their chocolate lab, had gotten run over and she couldn't stop crying. When she was seven years old, during a halcyon weekend when her family stayed with his at the Douchett cabin on Rainbow Lake, Cole had taught her to bait a hook.
Although she'd have rather eaten dirt than touch a wiggly worm, years later, Kelli could remember his large hands covering hers as he'd helped her pull in that gleaming Rainbow trout. That night, while sparks flew upward into an uncharacteristically clear night sky, he'd taught her how to cook the fish — which he'd cleaned for her — over a campfire.
Although she'd tasted fancier preparations of trout in the intervening years, that simple fish remained the best she'd ever eaten.
"Bernard and I are just rattling around in our big old house," Adèle said. "I believe I'll throw a holiday fais do do." Which, although it translated to "make sleep," Kelli knew was Cajun for party. Nobody in Shelter Bay threw parties like the Douchetts. "It'll be fun to do for Boxing Day. You will come, won't you?"
"If I'm in town, of course." And if she didn't come down with a case of the flu, which she could almost feel coming on.
Adèle started to open her mouth. Then closed it with a nearly audible snap. "Well, Cole's got another twelve days before he has to return to Camp Pendleton. There's plenty of time for us all to get together."
Too much time to keep coming up with excuses to avoid the man, Kelli thought with a sinking heart.
Hawaii was looking better and better.
That's it for this week! I hope you'll return for this week's Friday photo and meanwhile, happy reading!