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A Highland Christmas - Book 5 The Shadows Series (Audiobook)

A Highland Christmas - Book 5 The Shadows Series (Audiobook)

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Brianna didn't expect to find love in the Highlands…

Brianna O’Connor had been looking forward to spending Christmas in Spain with her friend, Susan. Instead, she found herself in her sister’s car heading for the Scottish Highlands to spend it with family she barely knew.

Andrew McKinnon had come to the Highlands to share Christmas, and a secret that was about to change his life forever, with his parents.

Surrounded by family thrust together by Brianna’s well-meaning brother, Daniel, Brianna and Andrew are attracted to each other, something Brianna had never expected would happen. Bruised and damaged as a teenager, can she now trust God to overcome her distrust of men and open her heart to this softly spoken handsome Scotsman?

A heart-warming Christmas story that can be listened to or read all year round, "A Highland Christmas" can be read as a stand-alone novel, or as the final book of the highly acclaimed “The Shadows Series”.

Main Tropes

  • Christian Romance
  • Heartwarming
  • Inspiring

Synopsis

Tessa Scott is a committed Christian. Ben Williams is a dedicated father. Will a chance meeting repair their fragile hearts?
When her long-term relationship ends, Tessa has a crisis of faith.
What is God’s plan?
The stray puppy outside her vet clinic needs a home. Tessa is happy to take it in, but the little ball of energy must have some training. This adorable creature is off to obedience school.
When she gets there, one other puppy parent catches her eye.
Is this a sign?
Ben is crushed when his wife leaves. He chooses to bottle up the emotions and focus on work. Raising a son without his wife is a challenge he had never imagined. His therapist’s suggestion is to get a puppy.
When he sees Tessa on the first day of puppy school, his heart lurches.
He hadn’t felt this way in a long time, but he isn’t ready for love.
Could a budding friendship turn into something more?
You’ll adore this collection of Christian Romance novels, because they’ll give even the most hardened pessimist hope.
“The True Love and Precious Love Boxset” includes all 7 books from both series.
If you like charming characters, faith-filled families, and friendships that become something more, then you’ll love USA Today Bestseller Juliette Duncan’s inspirational second-chance romance set in sunny Queensland, Australia.

Intro into Chapter One

Brisbane, Australia

Early morning sunshine streamed through
the white lace curtains of Tessa Scott's pocket-sized bedroom, but inside her
heart, it rained. Nearly three months had passed since she had formally ended
her relationship with Michael Urbane, and although she firmly believed it had
been the right thing to do, pain still squeezed her heart whenever she thought
of him.

Some days were easier than others, but
the past two days had been especially hard. Yesterday had been Michael's
birthday. How tempted she’d been to call him and at least wish him ‘happy
birthday’. Last year she’d surprised him with a day trip snorkelling on Moreton
Island. They’d had so much fun—they always did, and the very memory of that
wonderfully happy, sun-filled day only made it worse. She shouldn’t let her
mind go there, but she couldn’t help it, and images of their day snorkelling
amongst the coral and the myriads of brightly coloured fish played over and
over in her mind.

Burying her head in her pillow, Tessa
sobbed silent tears. It hurt so badly. If only the accident at his work hadn’t
happened. Or he hadn’t lied about the drugs. She inhaled
deeply as a sob escaped, sending another wave of sadness through her body. Why
couldn’t she let go?
Maybe she should give him another chance? But it
would never be the same
. She knew that. Their adventure had died, and she needed
to accept it.

A soft knock on the door interrupted
her thoughts. The gentle but firm voice of her housemate, Stephanie, sounded on
the other side. “Tess, you need to get up.”

Tessa buried her head deeper in the
pillows.

The door creaked open and Stephanie
tip-toed in, placing a cup of spiced chai tea on Tessa’s nightstand. The
aromatic mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and other herbs filled the room,
tickling her nose. Steph knew the trick to getting her up.

She gave in and raised her head. “What
time is it?”

“Time to get up, that's what.” Dressed
in a smart business suit, Stephanie placed her hands on her hips and studied
Tessa with an air of disapproval. “Don't tell me you've been crying over
Michael again?”

Tessa sat up and took a sip of tea
before meeting her friend’s gaze. “Just thinking about him, that’s all.”

Stephanie shook her head and let out a
frustrated sigh. “I know you’re grieving, but it's been months since you broke
up. Come on. Get out of bed and get ready for work. Your boss called and said
she’d place you on unpaid leave if you call in sick one more time. I was
tempted to tell her you weren't even sick.”

“But I have been sick.” Tessa leaned
back against her bedhead and bit her lip, forcing herself not to cry in front
of Stephanie.

“I know.” Sitting on the edge of the
bed, Stephanie took hold of Tessa’s free hand. “It’s hard to let go, especially
having been together for so long. But breaking up was the only option. You know
that.”

“But maybe I was too hard on him.”
Tessa grabbed a tissue and wiped her eyes. “Those drugs changed him, Steph. He
wasn’t himself.”

“I know. But you did try to help him.
For months. I watched you slowly being torn apart. The truth is, you can't help
someone who doesn't want to be helped.” Stephanie squeezed her hand. “You can't
help someone who lies to you about their addiction, even if it is to
prescription drugs. And he stole from you. You need honesty in your
relationship, and Michael wasn't willing to give that to you. You did the right
thing. You’re better off without him.”

“It's just hard not knowing where he is
or how he's doing.” Tessa glanced at the photo of him still sitting on her
dresser. “It's hard being single again. I feel …” She paused and searched for
the right word, as the ache in her chest grew. “Lonely.”

“You poor thing.” Stephanie leaned
forward and hugged her tightly. “I’m here for you, Tess. And so’s God, you know
that. I understand you feel bad about this whole situation, but God’s with you,
and He’ll help you through it. And you never know what, or who, He might have
in store for you!” She gently brushed the stray hair from Tessa’s face and gave
her another hug.

Tessa nodded reluctantly. Steph was
right. She’d made the right decision and knew that God would be with her and
would help her through it, but translating that knowledge to her heart was
another matter altogether.

“Come on kiddo, breakfast’s ready.
Let’s get you up, dressed, and off to work.”

 

Tessa slid out of bed as Stephanie
retreated to the kitchen. As she swallowed down the rest of her tea, Michael's
photo caught her attention once again. Grey eyes with a hint of blue in a
tanned, chiselled face stared out at her, tugging at her heartstrings. She
picked up the photo and flopped back onto her bed, gazing at the face that was
so familiar. This torture had to end. She traced the outline of his face with
her finger before hugging the photo to her chest. Closing her eyes, she
squeezed back hot tears. This was it. The end.

“God, please help me get through
this day.”
Her body shuddered as she gulped down unbidden sobs. “I’m sorry
it’s taken so long, but I’m ready to let go. Please help me.”
Tears streamed
down her face as she hugged the photo tightly one last time before she opened
the bottom drawer of her dresser and stuffed the photo under the pile of chunky
knit sweaters she rarely wore.

Time to move on, and with God’s help,
she would.

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