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Finding You Under the Mistletoe - Book 8 in The Water's Edge Christian Romance Series

Finding You Under the Mistletoe - Book 8 in The Water's Edge Christian Romance Series

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Finding You Under the Mistletoe is Book 8 in the Water’s Edge Christian Romance Series, a contemporary Christian Romance series set in the coastal fictional town of Water's Edge, south of Sydney.
Samuel and Charlotte are lifelong best friends. Little do they know, everyone around them sees the potential for a perfect romance between the local doctor and the owner of the charming diner. Could this holiday season be the perfect time for them to finally realize their true feelings?

A beloved small-town doctor and a charming diner owner…

In Water's Edge, everyone suspects friends Samuel and Charlotte share a deeper bond. As Christmas nears, hopes rise for them to acknowledge their love. Samuel, the compassionate town doctor, and Charlotte, the cheerful diner owner, seem a perfect match yet have never explored romance. This Christmas, Samuel's invitation to Charlotte sparks speculation about a possible love confession. Will they overcome fear to admit their feelings, or will they miss their chance at love? Their story is a heart-warming tale of faith, friendship turning into love, and the magic of Christmas.

Chapter One - Look Inside

When Pastor Daniel and Bronte took to the floor to share their first dance as husband and wife, emotion swept over Charlotte. Drawing a tissue from her purse, she dabbed her eyes.
Weddings always made her nostalgic. Her marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Bob, had ended all too soon when he succumbed to cancer at thirty-six. It had been a happy union, and she still missed him dearly. But, after all these years of widowhood, she sometimes felt like she’d been alone forever.
She’d built a fulfilling life in Water’s Edge, running the diner, participating in the local church, and surrounding herself with a close-knit circle of friends. Loneliness never plagued her.
Or did it?
Over the years, her home had become a haven for the lost, and many a soul had been saved around her kitchen table. But they always moved on. It was only right. They had lives of their own to live.
But when they left, her house felt empty until God brought the next person along.
Funny. He hadn’t brought anyone to her home in over a year.
Did He think she was too old to be hospitable? That didn’t make sense. But if so, what did He want her to do? At a crossroads, she’d even wondered if she should give up the diner.
But if she did, what would she do?
She let out a sigh as other couples joined Daniel and Bronte on the dance floor.
At least she had Declan, Willow, and the twins. She’d be spending Christmas with her nephew and his family, as was their tradition, along with Willow’s parents and her brother, Lucas, his wife, Amelia, and their children. It promised to be a time of joy, laughter, and everything good and wholesome.
She dried her eyes and lifted her chin.
Life was good. She had no reason to be lonely. God had blessed her abundantly.
The familiar voice of Samuel Turner, Water’s Edge’s elderly doctor, cut through her musings. “Charlotte, would you care to dance?”
Turning, she beamed at her dear friend. “I’d love to. Thank you.”
He led her to the dance floor and slipped his arm around her waist. Having both lost their spouses many years before, they gravitated to each other on occasions such as these, and at any time, really. Friends for decades, they were comfortable in each other’s company.
“You look happy,” he whispered in her ear as he whisked her around the floor, dodging the other, much younger couples.
Francesca, Bronte’s matron of honour, danced with her husband, Anthony, who’d be taking over Samuel’s medical practice when he retired in a few years. Bronte’s autistic son solemnly danced in his pageboy suit with Kylie’s daughter, while Kylie and her husband, Ryan, bopped away nearby.
Charlotte gazed into Samuel’s clear blue eyes. “It’s been a wonderful day. I do love a good wedding.”
“I know you do.” Leaning closer, he raised a wispy grey brow. “You’d make a beautiful bride.”
Her head jerked back. “Samuel Turner! Have you had too much champagne?”
He grinned as he spun her around before pulling her into a waltz hold. “I did have a second glass.”
She tutted. “Just as well it’s not alcoholic!”
They laughed together, but her heart fluttered at her sudden awareness of him as a man, not just her best friend.
He led her back to her seat when the music ended, her heart beating double time as he squeezed her hand and winked before walking away.
What had just happened?
Then several women from the Church Ladies Committee engaged her in conversation. Although she did her best to focus on them, her gaze kept shifting to him.
He was a handsome man, not overly tall, but with a kind face and a kind heart. Everyone in Water’s Edge loved him. He always dressed up as Santa at the church’s kindergarten Christmas party. The role suited him.
A short while later, after Daniel and Bronte cut the cake Charlotte had baked and decorated for the occasion, three tiers of decadence adorned with icing and sugar flowers, Daniel invited her to have the first slice.
All eyes were on her as she stood and crossed the floor to the table. She leaned into him, teasing. “Not too large a piece. I’ve already let my skirts out once this year.”
Everyone laughed.
She took the offered plate and continued chatting with the wedding guests while enjoying the tangy sweetness of the lemon cream filling and immersing herself in the festive atmosphere.
But Samuel’s words lingered.
Could she be a bride again?
She’d always figured that, if God wanted her to remarry, He’d send her perfect match to her door, just like He’d sent Anthony and his boys, Ryan’s mother, and a host of others.
But what if that match had been in her life for years?
She shook her head. It was folly.
She and Samuel were good friends. That was all.
Yet, as she observed the couples on the dance floor, envy niggled her. Even Bronte, who’d believed she’d never love again after her first husband’s tragic death, had found happiness with Daniel, who also doubted he’d ever love again after losing his first wife to cancer.
No. Entertaining those thoughts was foolishness. She was too old for romantic daydreams. The afternoon progressed, the music softened, and the mistiness clouding her eyes thickened. She danced with Samuel again, and then with Declan, her gaze wandering to Shane’s mother who danced with Mac, the elderly owner of the surf shop Shane now managed. Could love be blossoming between them? There seemed to be a spark.
Everyone in Water’s Edge was coupled up.
Except her and Samuel.
The general atmosphere of love must be going to her head. Rarely was she so sentimental, especially when it came to her feelings.
The reception wound down, and after the newlyweds left for their honeymoon, Charlotte sought Samuel out as he’d promised to walk her home.
Although she now wondered if that was a good idea.
She found him chatting with Amelia and Lucas. As she approached the trio, he gave her a warm smile that made her heart flutter afresh.
She swallowed hard. This had to stop.
“I was just about to look for you.” He pushed back his chair. “I’m ready to go, but if you want to stay longer, I don’t mind.”
She returned his smile, willing her heart not to betray her. “No, I’m ready. I need to put the final touches on the nativity scene so it’s ready for the kiddos tomorrow.” That wasn’t quite true. However, she’d need to do something to keep her mind busy, and the scene did need some final touches.
With the children and parents from the homeschooling club, she’d transformed an entire corner of her diner into a scene from two thousand years ago, and decorated a huge Christmas tree.
Amelia’s face lit, her brown eyes warming. “Ivy and Jonathon have been begging me to bring them next week now school’s finished for the holidays. They can’t stop talking about it.”
“Well, I hope they enjoy it.” Her chest warming, Charlotte twiddled with her pearl earring. “I might have gone a bit overboard with the decorations.”
Samuel guffawed. “What an understatement. Anthony claimed Francesca came home yesterday covered in glitter and tinsel.”
Charlotte clapped, unable to resist bouncing on her toes. “And that was just the tree.”
She bid farewell to her friends and left the church hall with Samuel. With the evening balmy, she carried her jacket over her arm as they strolled along The Esplanade, Samuel humming the tune they’d waltzed to earlier.
Her gaze wandered to him. Was he having similar thoughts to her? If so, would he say anything?
Apparently not. They chatted about the wedding and how blessed they were to live in Water’s Edge, but nothing personal.
But when they paused to cross the road, he faced her and cleared his throat. “Charlotte, I wanted to ask you something.”
“Oh?” Her pulse quickened at the softness in his voice.
His gentle gaze enveloped her. “My brother, Adrian, has a country manor up in the Southern Highlands, and he’s invited me to spend Christmas there with him and his family. He suggested I bring someone along, and I wondered if you’d like to join me. There are plenty of bedrooms.”
She blinked. Samuel was inviting her to spend Christmas with him and his family? She’d met Adrian and his daughter once when Julia was a tiny tot, but Charlotte didn’t know the rest of the clan. But that didn’t matter.
What mattered was why Samuel was asking her. Simply as a friend, or was there another reason?
And what would everyone think?
Could she spend Christmas with him in a country manor?
When she didn’t respond, he rubbed the back of his neck, his shoulders hunching up. “Of course, I won’t be offended if you say no. I’m sure you’re looking forward to spending Christmas with Willow and Declan, but I thought the Highlands would be a lovely change. You mentioned you hadn’t been away for quite some time.”
As she studied his kind face, warmth spread through her. His reason for asking didn’t matter. They were friends. Best friends. And it’d be wonderful to spend Christmas with him.
She reached for his hand and squeezed it. “I’d love to come. Thanks for inviting me.”
“Really?” His wispy eyebrows arched.
“Yes. I’ve heard the Highlands are beautiful this time of year, and Willow and Declan won’t mind.”
“Wonderful. I’ll let Adrian know.”
They continued strolling, the waves crashing against the shore in the background, and the fresh sea air invigorating. Samuel told her about the area and all the things they could do. “I’m sure you’ll enjoy the markets and festivities. Each town hosts something special, and it’s a wonderful atmosphere. And you never know, we could even get snow.”
“Now you’re having me on.” After shaking a finger at him, she slipped her arm through his.
When they reached her cottage, the sky had darkened, and a sliver of moon shone. He walked her to the porch, and they stood there, bidding each other goodnight.
“I’ll pick you up a week from tomorrow.”
Savouring the moment, already looking forward to their excursion, she breathed in deeply. “I’ll be ready and waiting. Thanks again for the invitation.”
“I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend the holidays with.” He squeezed her hand and then whistled as he strolled back down the path, closing the gate behind him.
She couldn’t help but grin at the unexpected and delightful plan. And besides, who knew what might happen?

Main Tropes

  • Christian Romance
  • Heartwarming
  • Inspiring
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What Readers Say....

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "This writer NEVER disappoints!' The fragility of life, the depth of hurt and trauma that most people go through, is described in a way that you experience it with the character.The newness and joy, also the questions on the faith journey are all handled with so much insight, that it even answers or explains it with much clarity!" MT

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "One thing I have always loved about these books are that the author is not afraid to take on real life problems. The characters lives are not perfect. I can empathize with them and find myself thinking I’d like to be their friend." CRT reader

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "This is another great series from this author. She likes to write about "real" life. She is not one to shy away from hard subjects. And, one thing I really like about this author, is the faith that runs throughout the story. I highly recommend these books." Mary S