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Her Christmas Chance: A Christmas Creek Romance, #2

Her Christmas Chance: A Christmas Creek Romance, #2

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Her Christmas Chance: A Christmas Creek Romance, #2

ratings:
5/5 (1 rating)
Length:
264 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 15, 2017
ISBN:
9781540140258
Format:
Book

Description

Will her cat ruin her Christmas chance for love?

Bella Tallahan has always hidden behind her twin sister, Tally. She was born with cerebral palsy and even though she has finished college, she lives vicariously through her sister's adventures.

It worked, until her sister married writer Lucky Lenigan, and Bella developed a crush on Lucky's brother—a bad boy with a shady past.

Chance Martin made one mistake growing up—one that landed him in prison. After his release, he spends his days restoring antique furniture and his nights alone.

When Mr. Klutz, Bella's fat tabby cat, wreaks havoc in the furniture workshop, Chance confronts Bella and finds himself with a dilemma. He's not the right kind of guy for a woman with disabilities, but at the same time, he can't get her out of his mind.

Will the trail of destruction left by one naughty cat bring Bella her Christmas chance for love? Can Chance rise above his past and convince Bella that she is truly worth loving? Or will the secret he is keeping horrify Bella enough to send her back into hiding?

---

Christmas Creek romances are a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. They are sassy, standalone romances centered around a town which celebrates Christmas all year round. Each story has a happy ending and can be read in any order, but of course, they are more fun if read together.

Deck the Hearts, #1 Can Holly's jolly Christmas spirit help Grinchy Gordon Gills save the town of Christmas Creek?

Her Christmas Chance, #2 A woman with cerebral palsy and her tomcat disagree about the attractive ex-con living next door. Will a dose of Christmas magic reach through his dark secrets?

A Christmas Creek Carol, #3 A reclusive writer, Ebony Cruse, is given a one-star review on her life by characters in her past, present, and future.

Kitty, It's Cold Outside, #4 When mailman Mick Jolly delivers a kitten to an abandoned millhouse, he is ensnared by a beautiful Victorian woman caught in a Christmas curse.

A Christmas Creek Caper, #5 Someone's stealing packages off the Christmas Creek porches. Sheriff Brad Wing is on the case—until he's caught with his hands up and his pants down.

Toy Soldier Christmas, #6 Breast cancer survivor, Nutmeg Brown, finds a broken toy soldier under her Christmas tree. It's love at first sight with a wooden toy or is it?

Red's Christmas Woodsman, #7 When Ruby Red Rumsey visits her grandmother's Christmas Creek cottage, she finds a hunky woodsman asleep in her grandmother's bed.

Dashing Through Christmas, #8 Misty Jolly and Dash Weston play guessing games while rushing through a Christmas project with no help from Westie, a "talking" dog.

Dottie's Christmas Wish, #9 All Merry Jolly wants is to make Dr. Colton Dale smile. All his daughter, Dottie, wants is a dog. Will Christmas wishes come true for three lonely hearts?

Publisher:
Released:
May 15, 2017
ISBN:
9781540140258
Format:
Book

About the author

Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic romantic suspense and humor-laden, sexy contemporary romances. Her heroines are feisty, her heroes hot. Needless to say, she's very happy with her job.Rachelle is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.Visit her at: http://www.rachelleayala.net and download free books at http://rachelleayala.net/free-books


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Watch for more at Rachelle Ayala’s site.

Her Christmas Chance

A Christmas Creek Romance #2

Rachelle Ayala

http://rachelleayala.net

Copyright © 2016 by Rachelle Ayala

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real events or real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

All trademarks belong to their respective holders and are used without permission under trademark fair use.


Contact Rachelle at:

http://smarturl.it/ContactRachelle

Contents

Description

Praise for Her Christmas Chance

Christmas Creek Romance Series

Welcome

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Epilogue

Excerpt from A Christmas Creek Carol

Excerpt from Kitty, It’s Cold Outside

Reading List with Heat Levels

Rachelle Ayala Books in Other Languages

Meet Rachelle

Many Thanks

Description

Bella Tallahan has always hidden behind her twin sister, Tally. She was born with cerebral palsy and even though she has finished college, she lives vicariously through her sister’s adventures.

It worked, until her sister married writer Lucky Lenigan, and Bella developed a crush on Lucky’s brother—a bad boy with a shady past.

Chance Martin made one mistake growing up—one that landed him in prison. After his release, he spends his days restoring antique furniture and his nights alone.

When Mr. Klutz, Bella’s fat tabby cat, wreaks havoc in the furniture workshop, Chance confronts Bella and finds himself with a dilemma. He’s not the right kind of guy for a woman with disabilities, but at the same time, he can’t get her out of his mind.

Will the trail of destruction left by one naughty cat bring Bella her Christmas chance for love? Can Chance rise above his past and convince Bella that she is truly worth loving? Or will the secret he is keeping horrify Bella enough to send her back into hiding?


Author’s Note: Although part of the Christmas Creek Romance Series, Her Christmas Chance is a complete and standalone story. Bella Tallahan appears in a previous story, Lucky in Laguna, where her sister Tally Tallahan meets and falls in love with Lucky Lenigan.

Christmas Creek romances are a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. They are sassy, standalone romances centered around a town which celebrates Christmas all year round.

Each story has a happy ending and can be read in any order, but of course, they are more fun if read together.

Deck the Hearts, #1 Can Holly’s jolly Christmas spirit help Grinchy Gordon Gills save the town of Christmas Creek? Audiobook link.

Her Christmas Chance, #2 A woman with cerebral palsy and her tomcat disagree about the attractive ex-con living next door. Will a dose of Christmas magic reach through his dark secrets? Audiobook link

A Christmas Creek Carol, #3 A reclusive writer, Ebony Cruse, is given a one-star review on her life by characters in her past, present, and future. Audiobook link.

Kitty, It’s Cold Outside, #4 When mailman Mick Jolly delivers a kitten to an abandoned millhouse, he is ensnared by a beautiful Victorian woman caught in a Christmas curse.

A Christmas Creek Caper, #5 Someone’s stealing packages off the Christmas Creek porches. Sheriff Brad Wing is on the case—until he’s caught with his hands up and his pants down.

Toy Soldier Christmas, #6 Breast cancer survivor, Nutmeg Brown, finds a broken toy soldier under her Christmas tree. It’s love at first sight with a wooden toy or is it?

Red’s Christmas Woodsman, #7 When Ruby Red Rumsey visits her grandmother’s Christmas Creek cabin, she finds a hunky woodsman asleep in her grandmother’s bed.

Dashing Through Christmas #8, Misty Jolly and Dash Weston play guessing games while rushing through a Christmas project with no help from Westie, a talking dog.

Dottie’s Christmas Wish #9, All Merry Jolly wants is to make Dr. Colton Dale smile. All his daughter, Dottie, wants is a dog. Will Christmas wishes come true for three lonely hearts?

Praise for Her Christmas Chance

This beautiful story is a living and breathing reminder that we are all purposefully unique, loved beyond all measure, and created for a very special purpose. – Amber McCallister


A nontraditional Christmas story but with so much love and a big ginger cat. – Angelica Berglund


A heartwarming tale of love and forgiveness. – Cathy Zaramba


A beautiful story about overcoming the past and learning to forgive while opening your heart to love. – Chantel Rhondeau


The greatest gift of love is captured magnificently in this amazing Christmas story. – Evelyn Nathalia


Ms. Ayala tells a wonderfully romantic tale about taking a chance to love someone despite adversity. – Gina Smith


Asking forgiveness is not easy but once your heart speaks, it is a beautiful thing. – Jessica Cassidy


A wonderful story of a magically, imperfect Christmas love. – Marie Devine Morales


Another great book in the Christmas Creek Series. Rachelle knows how to make stories interesting and exciting. – Patricia Conley-Shepard


A story on forgiveness and looking beyond the labels that are placed upon us. – Rebecca Austin


Everybody deserves their fairy tale ending no matter the mistakes made in the past or the events that make you who you are. – Yomari Suarez-Rivera

Christmas Creek Romance Series

Deck the Hearts, #1 (Holly & Gordon)

Her Christmas Chance, #2 (Bella & Chance)

A Christmas Creek Carol, #3 (Ebony & Blaze)

Kitty, It’s Cold Outside, #4 (Katherine & Mick)

A Christmas Creek Caper, #5 (Ivy & Brad)

Toy Soldier Christmas, #6 (Nutmeg & Craig)

Red’s Christmas Woodsman, #7 (Ruby Red & Nate)

Dashing Through Christmas, #8 (Misty & Dash)

Dottie’s Christmas Wish, #9 (Merry & Colton)

Welcome

I invite you to explore my world of over seventy romances, from dangerous suspense to sweet family drama, featuring hot, steamy flirts, brainy, strong heroines, and hunky men with big, gigantic hearts and melty, warm hugs.

For book descriptions, go to the Reading List with Heat Levels section or check out my Reader’s Guide at:

http://rachelleayala.net/books/

Don’t forget to download my Free Books from your favorite bookstore:

Deck the Hearts (sweet)

Christmas Lovebirds (sweet)

A Father for Christmas (sweet)

Going Haywire: Sapphire Falls (steamy)

Bad Boys for Hire - Ryker (steamy)

Playing Without Rules (steamy)

Broken Build (romantic suspense)

Intercepted by Love: Part 1 (steamy)

Hidden Under Her Heart (sweet)

For updates and two more free books, sign up for my newsletter at:

http://smarturl.it/RachAyala

To chat and read new works in progress, join my Reader’s Club at:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/ClubRachelleAyala/

Thanks for coming into my story world and letting me take you on an unforgettable excursion. Turn the page to begin.

Bon voyage!

To Deborah O’Connor for her sweet spirit and courage.


>>><<<


Beauty is the light in the heart - Kahlil Gibran

Chapter 1

Owww! Chance Martin put his hammer down and sucked on his finger. The month before Christmas was the busiest time of year at Lenigan’s Restorations, his stepfather’s furniture business. This year was even worse, thanks to his brother Lucky’s recent wedding interrupting the carefully dovetailed schedule.

Taking aim, he whacked the last nail in place on a cedar chest lid, then moved on to the cracked veneered panels on a nineteenth century sideboard. The highly figured walnut fragments had to be fitted together like a puzzle to follow the natural grain of the wood.

After everything was aligned with precise care, he stirred the pot of hide glue and prepared to painstakingly piece each fragment back onto the board.

Yeow! A large orange cat leaped onto the sideboard, and with a swish of his tail, displaced all the cracked pieces onto the workshop floor.

Chance dropped the glue pot, spilling the hot steamy mess over his workbench and lunged at the horrid critter. Out, out. Who left the door open?

It was probably his forgetful brother, who was still hanging on cloud nine after his beach wedding and honeymoon. He was a writer and dabbled at woodworking—making toys instead of the serious stuff Chance worked on.

The cat, aptly named Mr. Klutz, jumped across the workbench and landed in the sink where Chance was soaking the strands of cane he needed to re-cane a Chippendale chair.

Drat you, cat. Chance chased the clumsy animal who splashed his way over to the varnish stand. Oh no! Oh, no, you don’t!

Oh, yes, he did. The wretched creature belly-flopped all over a set of freshly varnished cabinet doors before scratching his way from the sticky mess, leaving wisps of fur and long claw marks over the Georgian-style china cabinet.

Chance threw a shop towel at the tomcat who leaped onto a shelf full of custom colored varnishes stored in glass jars.

Crash! The monster cat of the Garfield-weight-category sent every jar flying to the shop floor. The various shades of browns, oranges, and reds bled together amongst shards of broken glass.

Chance rushed to open the shop windows to let the volatile fumes out, when the giant cat pounced onto his shoulders and launched himself with a squall out the window.

Too bad his shop was on the first floor. The despicable pest landed on the soft bedding of redwood needles, which stuck to his sticky, matted fur. He turned and glared at Chance, his green eyes flaring before walking off with his tail held high, as if to say, I can eff with you anytime I want, and there’s not a thing you can do about it.

We’ll see about that. Chance shook his fist at the foul looking hole at the base of the cat’s tail. Next time I catch you, I’ll feed you to the crocodiles.

Not that there were any crocodiles in Christmas Creek, a Northern California hamlet of redwoods and tiny streams which had at one time been a logging center until the timber industry collapsed in the late twentieth century.

No crocodiles, but as Chance surveyed the mess in his shop, he had no choice but to confront Mr. Klutz’s owner. It didn’t matter that she was the sister of his brother’s new wife. Nor did it matter that she seemed to be afraid of him, hiding every time he happened to visit his brother and sister-in-law. Nope, it didn’t even matter that his stomach felt funny and his heart flopped like a fish out of water whenever he chanced to catch a glimpse of her with her golden brown hair and pretty, all-American looks. Most of all, it didn’t matter that she was disabled with cerebral palsy.

She had no excuse not to watch over her trespassing cat. If she couldn’t handle him, she should send him to the shelter, and he’d be happy to take him there. It was time he gave her a piece of his mind, and he wasn’t going to be nice about it. Nope, not Chance Martin, former inmate at Folsom Prison outside of Sacramento. No one would ever mistake him for Mr. Nice Guy. Ever.

Bella Tallahan swung her forearm crutch to open the front door of the small, one-story in-law cottage standing in the backyard of her sister and brother-in-law’s new home in Christmas Creek. In all her twenty-four years, she’d lived with her parents because she was afraid to venture away from them. But now that her twin sister, Tally, had her own home, Bella wanted to stretch her wings and have her own place, too. Living close to Tally and Lucky meant she had family around, but she also had her own roof over her head and privacy from her well-meaning parents.

Her cerebral palsy was moderate and had made it hard for her to speak and walk, but other than that, she could take care of herself—do laundry, make her bed, and dress herself. She could even use a computer with the aid of a touch pad and eye-tracking module, and she had a college degree she earned online, which she parlayed into an online business.

She also had two pets to take care of, a six-pound, fluffy Shih-Tzu poodle mix named Miss Kookie, and a twenty-two pound red tabby Maine Coon cat named Mr. Klutz, who was always out and about, prowling his neck of the woods.

Kookie, Klutzie, you two little hooligans. It’s time for dinner, Bella shouted in her wobbly voice. A stranger might not have understood her uniquely pronounced speech, but her darlings knew exactly what she meant.

Kookie came prancing through the door, shaking and wagging her entire rump as she pawed at Bella’s leg and jumped for petting and head rubs. Her silky silver fur was covered with twigs, burrs, and foxtails.

Where’s old Mr. Klutz? Bella asked her frantic canine, who lived for affection. They had a fenced yard, but fences meant nothing to a cat, even one as overweight as Mr. Klutz.

Yeeeowww! The orange-colored cat hopped from the gardening shed and trotted through the doorway. His once sleek fur stood up every which way, looking like a spikey gelled hairstyle and he, too, had twigs, fir needles, dirt, and burrs all over him.

You two little rascals. Mommy’s going to have to give you a bath. Bella was about to slam the door when a voice shouted from the side of the yard.

You there. Don’t hide from me. I know you’re in there. It was Chance Martin, Lucky’s half-brother—the best man at Tally and Lucky’s wedding, and horses of courses, Bella’s biggest and only crush.

She slammed the door, then locked and bolted it for good measure. Chance Martin was all kinds of wrong for her. An ex-con, for goodness sake. Mean, gruff, and rude. The very opposite of domestic. Neither she nor Tally knew exactly what he’d done to serve the time he did, and no amount of internet snooping was able to provide the answers. Asking Lucky was out of the question. He and his father were close-lipped about Chance and not even Tally could get the details.

Loud, splintering booms pounded on Bella’s door, jolting her back as she leaned against it. Instead of growling and barking, Miss Kookie cowered beside her with her tail tucked between her shaking legs. Mr. Klutz, however, was singularly disinterested. He sauntered off to his litter tray and yawned while doing his business.

Will you open up in there? Chance’s deep voice set everything from her heartstrings to her crutches to vibrate mode. Your awful cat is a nuisance to this neighborhood, and if you don’t keep him locked inside your house, I’m going to catch him and take him to the pound.

Why that no good, rotten jailbird. How dare he threaten Mr. Klutz? Bella took a deep breath, unbolted, unlocked, and opened the door.

Dark brown hair raking over his eyes, square jaw set in a clench, broad shoulders and a fine ass, not to mention his surly heartbreaker lips were wasted on a man who hated cats.

She pointed her crutch at the intruder, keeping him at crutch length. Get off my property.

Somehow, her warbled speech didn’t have the effect she wanted. Instead of shouting in her face, the horrid man scratched his head and furrowed his brow.

You’re inviting me to a party?

Bella couldn’t shake her head fast enough, but all that did was make her dizzy. Was he making fun of her?

No party. My property, she clarified.

Fine. He crossed his arms in a way that made his biceps bulge. You keep your cat away from me, and I won’t darken your door. He ruined seven days of work at my workshop. If you can’t take care of your cat, you shouldn’t have one.

Tears filled Bella’s eyes, but she was determined not to look weak in front of this monster who’d escorted her when she was maid of honor in her sister’s bridal party. Despite his good looks, he always looked suspicious, glancing over his shoulder and stalking around the neighborhood like he was up to no good.

She poked his abdominals with her crutch. I’m taking care of them good and well, but I’m not locking up my pets. You should lock your workshop instead. If you can’t secure your workshop, you shouldn’t have one.

Chance grabbed the end of the crutch and glared at her, his nostrils flaring. What was he going to do to her? Was he going to beat her up? Push her to the ground?

Do me a favor, he said, eyeing her cat door.

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