A Home for the Holidays and a Give Away!

Hi Everyone!

I’m excited to announce that I have a new sweet holiday release.

A Home for the Holidays is the story of a world-traveling engineer who has never had a place to call home, except for during the four years he spent in Holly, Idaho, living with his aunt while attending high school. Jason Regan has no time to celebrate holidays, and no reason to settle down…until a Holly, Idaho judge sentences him to 100 hours of community service at the local animal shelter for a decade-old unpaid parking ticket. Jason is, in effect, sentenced to Christmas. 

Tess Evans is a recovering lawyer who now runs Forever Home animal shelter. She is thrilled to have a new volunteer, even after discovering that it’s the guy she’d crushed on in high school; a guy who had no clue that she was alive until a blabby friend told the world. But Tess will do her best to put her embarrassment behind her to join forces with Jason to empty the shelter by Christmas.




This series introduces my new small town series Holly, Idaho, so I’m giving away a Holly Jolly Christmas mug to one lucky commentor. 

Here’s an excerpt from my story:

“Hold on!” Tess Evans hung up the phone as her dad attempted to open the door to Forever Home while balancing two cinnamon lattes and carrying his toolbox. Pete Evans had a proclivity for doing things on his own, be it raising three motherless daughters or opening a door with his hands full. He was usually successful, but in this case, he was about to lose a latte.

“Really, Dad?” Tess said as she rescued the top cup of steaming coffee just before it toppled.

“I almost made it.”

Tess took the other cup from him and set it on her desk. Pete set down the other, then jerked his head toward the door leading to the dog kennel area. “Will Lisa be done feeding before her coffee gets cold?”

“Judging from the decibel level, I think she’s almost done.” Morning feeding was always a loud and happy time as the food trolley rolled along the concrete aisle between rows of kennels. But once the dogs had their meals, barking stopped as eating commenced, and the sound level dropped accordingly.

“Why the big smile?” Pete asked as he set down his toolbox.

“I don’t need you today.” Tess was still feeling slightly dazed from the phone call she’d just received from justice court.

“You don’t need me?” Her dad sounded shocked, but Tess read the relief in his gaze. Despite having a very tight schedule on his latest project, he stopped by the shelter every Tuesday morning to spend an hour nailing things back together. The problem with retrofitting an old garage into a new animal shelter was that there were a lot of hidden issues that poked their heads up at the most inopportune times. She and Lisa had painted the place cheerful colors—yellow and aqua—and kept it sparkling clean, but they didn’t have the time or the skillset to deal with loose concrete bolts and flapping siding—the latest ills.

“I have a new warm body.” Which was nothing short of a miracle this time of year when everyone was so busy. There was just one teensy part of that good news that kept Tess from doing a full-on happy dance.

“Cat? Dog? Iguana? No, wait. You said warm body, not cold. Scratch the iguana.”

Tess smiled. “No, Dad. A human. One with building skills. Judge Nelson sentenced a guy to community service and decided that I needed the most help right now. I get him for one hundred hours.”

“One hundred hours?” Pete tipped his chin toward the ceiling as he did a quick mental calculation. “Twelve days? That seems like a healthy sentence.” His eyes narrowed. “What, exactly, did this guy do to earn that much community service?”

“Parking ticket. And it’s twelve and a half days.” Judge Nelson’s assistant had emphasized that the entire sentence was to be served, down to the last hour. No early outs due to holiday bon homie.

Her dad’s eyebrows lifted. “Did he park in the mayor’s reserved space?”

“The ticket is years old. I think Judge Nelson gave him ten hours for each year it wasn’t paid.”

Pete gave a short laugh. “That sounds like something the judge would do. Who is it?”

“Jason Regan.” The instant the name left her mouth, Tess felt her cheeks go warm, and gave herself a mental kick.

You are not the same geeky girl who crushed on the man long ago.

Law school had changed her, given her confidence, leadership abilities…migraines. But if she hadn’t gone, hadn’t buried herself in research and paperwork for eighty hours a week, she wouldn’t have known how happy she was not doing that, or that her true calling was managing the animal shelter her late grandmother had started five years ago to take the pressure off the regional shelter that Holly shared with the nearby town of Everly.

Her dad’s forehead creased. “Must be an out-of-towner.”

“No,” she said in a casual voice. Too casual? “He was a senior during my sophomore year. He left right after high school. Mae Regan is his aunt.” It seemed best to leave out the part about him being her unrequited crush and utterly oblivious to her existence, except for one small incident in the school cafeteria. Oblivious, that is, until gossipy Melissa Braddock had read the signs, guessed the truth, and ratted Tess out to the general school population.

“Just doing you a favor,” Melissa had said when Tess had confronted her in horror after word had gotten back to her. “How else will you get his attention?” The amazing thing was that Melissa really believed she had done Tess a favor.

But Tess would give Jason this—he never treated her differently. Meaning, of course, that he hadn’t given her so much as a side-eye. Her hope was that the news had never reached him, or if it had, he’d brushed it off as so much gossip.

“Jason Regan…” Her dad’s eyebrows drew together. “Oh, yeah. He was the kid with the mean three-pointer.”

“That’s the one.” Tess shooed away her embarrassed teenage self as she confronted her new reality. “He’s mine for one hundred hours, and I intend to get every bit of work out of him that I possibly can.”

Mr. Regan was going to be a terribly busy man, and she was close to betting money that he wasn’t as amazing as she remembered him. Backyards got smaller and all that stuff. She’d probably take one look at him and wonder what the big deal had been.

To enter to win the holiday mug, tell me the place where you most enjoy spending the holidays. Please note that I’ll be on the road tomorrow, but will answer comments when I get back home. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, October 30.



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Jeannie Watt raises cattle in Montana and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

62 thoughts on “A Home for the Holidays and a Give Away!”

  1. I love having the holidays at my home with all of my children and their spouses and all my grandchildren. Happy, Noisy and simply wonderful.

  2. I like to be at my North Carolina home over Christmas. My husband is a pastor, and we’ve lived in various places, but it truly is good to be “home for the holidays.”

  3. One of the most magical Christmas was the time spent in the woods of Missouri at my mother in law’s home.

    • Bless you for that! We’ve almost always had to pack up the kids (and presents and dogs) to travel. Staying home sounds fantastic.

  4. My home where I was raised was in High Bridge KY and we still go there at Christmas, not sure what will happen this year. Also just spending time with the family is the most important.

  5. If I am not home in the States with my mom or sister then I am in Trinidad. It is always nice to spend Christmas in Trindad because of the celebratory atmosphere.

  6. Home sweet home. For a number of years when our granddaughter was younger we took our RV to Disneyland and combined all the comforts of home with the happiest place on earth. Great memories. But now we decorate so that we can feel the spirit from any window. Before this year we were lucky enough to have family, especially the great-grandcooties, come to stay. This year it will be just the 3 of us again (except for virtual of course!)..
    The story sounds so sweet. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. At Home with my 5 Adult children and all my grandchildren and great grandbabies ! Thank you for this amazing giveaway and have a Wonderful Day!

  8. The book sounds great and I love the mug! I like in FL, and we’re always home for Christmas, though we usually spend part of the day with family at one of my sister’s houses. I’d love to have a white Christmas sometime!

      • There have been years when it’s hot and the kids go in the pool or take a walk to the beach. Other times, it’s cooler and they go in the pool then head to the outdoor shower and turn the hot water on so they stop shivering before wrapping up in a towel to come in the house! Even when it’s cold, some of them will head to the beach!!

  9. Oooh, I love, love Holly, Idaho! What a great name for a great series for a great holiday! Congrats on the new release and another fabulous cover from Tule!! (Loved the excerpt!)

  10. I love being home for Christmas! We don’t have families nearby and it’s really hard to pack up all the gifts and travel with them while trying to keep Santa surprises safe from peeking eyes. (Plus, there’s trying to fit it all in the car for the trip home.)

    By the way, I can’t wait to read this story! I’m married to an engineer and my favorite job ever was working for the local animal shelter. This one hits close to home.

  11. Thanksgiving is at one of our daughters’ houses but Christmas is here. Most years there is enough snow for sledding or tobaggoning on our pasture hills.

  12. Your book sounds like a great read and I love the book cover, it is Beautiful! I love to spend Christmas right here in my home. Our daughter and her little family live in the same town we do and our son and his little family live 6 hours away, so we have been spending Christmas here at our home together and we Always have a very good time together. We have 3 grandchildren. I Love, Love Christmas. The Christmas Mug is Beautiful, Thank you so much for the chance. Have a Great rest of the week. God Bless you and your family.

  13. I love being home in central Minnesota for the holidays. Our kids, the grandkids, and their pet dogs come too. It gets crazy but we have lots of fun in the snow, sledding, and going to church together. Such a joyous time of togetherness. Your book sounds like a fun read. Thank you!

  14. Where do I enjoy spending Christmas? Anywhere I can be with our family.
    My husband was in the military. We found you can enjoy the holidays wherever you are with whomever you can be with. We also learned to spread the holidays out, celebrating with many people in many places over a period of time. This year it will just be my husband and I. I have an autoimmune disease and he is starting radiation treatment for cancer that was just discovered three weeks ago. There will be no family gathering at our house nor will we be visiting our children’s homes. I look forward to when it will be safe for us to be out and can give our children and grandchildren big hugs.
    Stay safe and healthy.

  15. Call me old-fashioned but I’m satisfied anywhere as long as my family are with me. This year, I think my daughter and six year-old granddaughter will be able to be with us but I don’t know if we will be able to spend time with my brother and his family or my in-laws. This is one reason that I think Christmas stories and Christmas movies will be so popular and so important. They will help us remember what Christmas can be!
    This story sounds lovely. Thanks for this giveaway.

  16. My favorite place to spend Christmas is right at home with my family. Wherever my family is will always be the best place to spend the holidays.

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