Brenna Keating is on her way to spend Christmas with her grandmother when treacherous roads and a skittish deer put her car in a ditch. Riding to the rescue—literally—is Dillon Craig, a reclusive doctor who insists she weather the storm in his cabin.
Since returning from Afghanistan where he treated wounded soldiers on the front lines, Dillon’s made it a point to avoid any emotional involvement. But his unexpected guest has him dangerously close to breaking his own rules.
Brenna has a plan for her life – until she’s stranded for three days with Dillon. Soon, the chemistry sizzling between them forces her to re-examine her priorities. The man is gorgeous, if taciturn, and a true hero in every sense of the word. No woman in her right mind could resist him, and so Brenna doesn’t – even though she can’t stay…
He came with a Stetson, a gruff voice and an even gruffer manner, but he was their only chance for survival in the snowbound car. He led them to a temporary refuge, then offered her permanent security. It was everything she needed, but would it leave her wanting more?
That is part of the back cover copy for Barbara Delinksy’s MONTANA MAN, one of my favorite Harlequin Temptations ever. In fact, Barbara Delinksy is one of the reasons I wanted to write for Temptation. Her books had the most amazing sexual tension, leaving me breathless as I rushed to the end. But there was something about MONTANA MAN that stuck with me. I couldn’t shake off the wonderfulness of having two strangers stranded together.
THIS TIME NEXT YEAR is my homage to that book. MONTANA MAN convinced me how sexy a story could be when the characters found themselves with no place to run, no place to hide. With that forced intimacy, the characters have to talk, and talking means digging up a lot of things buried and facing them, and I love love LOVE that slow discovery. (Kinda like the ABC show ONCE UPON A TIME where the viewer learns just enough in each episode, no info dump, no overload of backstory.)
Since these novellas for Carina Press were to have a winter or holiday theme, being stranded at Christmas made for the best sort of tension and conflict – especially since my heroine was desperate to get to her grandmother’s and my hero was not going to let her out in the storm. A doctor back from the front lines of Afghanistan, he’d lost too many people he’d been responsible for, and he was not going to let this woman out of his sight.
I loved exploring the dynamic between these two characters who have chosen to devote their lives to serving others. Dillon’s a doctor. Brenna’s a nurse. So both have an innate understanding of what drives the other as well as an empathy another partner might not have. In other words, they were meant for each other, and just needed a push from Mother Nature (and a bit from Brenna’s gran) to figure it out!
I’ll give away a Kindle copy of THIS TIME NEXT YEAR to a random commenter! Hope everyone enjoys the story!