Talia Gregory relies on her Nan for everything, especially helping her calm the anxiety that controls her life. But Nan gets sick, and it couldn’t be worse timing. Talia’s panic attacks are getting worse, her boyfriend is a jerk, her best friend is distant, her parents are more absent than usual and she’s stuck planning the Cozy Christmas Charity Drive for her knitting group in place of Nan. If that’s not panic inducing enough, enter Lachlan.
Lachlan McCreedy doesn’t rely on anyone. Not after what he’s been through. It’s him and Gram, nothing else matters but keeping his past buried, and his secrets hidden. So when Gram forces him to help with her Christmas sale, Talia is the last thing he expected, and trusting her with his secrets comes as a shock to both of them. But when he unexpectedly falls for her, the question becomes can he trust her with his heart?
I still haven’t recovered from cutting Nan’s hair yesterday, and I almost skip knitting club again, but my mom is driving me crazy with her total loss of emotional control. It wouldn’t be so bad if Dad would just stay home once in a while. She’s calmer when he’s there. “Talia!” Marybeth’s voice slices through my thoughts. “What?” The way I glare when I say it makes her jump back. Her eyes sparkle at the potential for drama, but we’re cut off by Georgina. She squeezes my knee. She knows. Lachlan must have told her. “You’re still taking my place at the shelter on Wednesday, right?” Georgina asks sweetly. “I know I said I would, but my old bones are extra creaky lately.” She smiles that conniving smile. Volunteering with Lachlan again. She needs to stop throwing us together in hopes we stick. I roll my eyes. Marybeth scoffs. “She’s been hanging out with that grandson of yours too long, Georgie. She’s adopted his attitude.” Georgina’s face sets into a neutral stare. She doesn’t look at anyone, but stands slowly, using the couch arm to brace herself. She puts away her knitting and leaves the shop. She doesn’t move fast, which makes it a lot more awkward to watch her, knowing she’s offended. The jingle of the door makes me shoot out of Nan’s chair and I sprint to the door, flinging it open. I practically run Georgina over just outside, forgetting she doesn’t make good distance at her age. I slow to her pace and reach for her hand. She’s shaking, but I can’t tell if it’s nerves or she’s upset. Her face betrays nothing. I am thinking of what to say, when her eyes suddenly glaze with tears. “He’s a good boy, Talia. He’s such a good boy.” She shakes her head lightly, and I squeeze her hand. “He is, Georgina. He’s a great guy.” I’m not sure I believe it after what happened between us, but he’s this woman’s family. “It’s really not his fault my stupid child fell for that rotten man,” she continues. I keep walking with her and nod. I’m not about to stop her from talking about the things Lachlan keeps locked away. “From what I hear, rotten is a nice way to describe him.” Georgina wipes a tear from her cheek and puts her arm around my waist, squeezing me. It’s a very grandmotherly thing to do. If I didn’t have Nan, I would definitely take Georgina as my grandma. “No child should ever see what he saw. No child should feel what he felt. I’m surprised he isn’t worse.” Her eyes lose focus, and she shakes her head. “Do you ever worry his dad will come back?” I think it’s a legitimate question, but the way Georgina’s looking at me, I know I’m missing something. “He didn’t tell you?” Georgina shakes her head. I shiver in the cold October air as a shadow passes across me. “Tell me what?” I ask. Lachlan doesn’t really tell me anything. Someone clears his throat behind us and we both jump. I spin to face Lachlan, utter betrayal saturating his features.
I grew up on a farm in the Canadian prairies but got the call of the wild and migrated to the snowy mountains of the North where I spend my non-writing time outside doing outside-things.
I write books about young people.
Young people who love hard and screw up big time. Young people who question the world and push against what’s expected of them.
Even if it’s layered with sweet romance or a cute premise, I don’t always write clean books and don’t shy away from touchy subjects, but I’ll always try and let you know what you’re in for.
I am but an outlet for those who live inside my head.
Other Novels by Allie Brennan
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