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Peaches and the Preacher (MF)

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: SWEET
Word Count: 58,104
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[Bookstrand Contemporary Romance]

Peaches Delancy is having the worst days of her life. She’s late for work and her car won’t start on the hottest day of the year so far. When she finally gets to work, she’s robbed and locked in the store’s refrigerator room. She’s rescued from hypothermia by Pastor Max Allen right before being fired.

Max knew the moment he wrapped his arms around her that Peaches was the woman for him. When his brother and sister-in-law are injured in a car accident, Max turns to Peaches and begs her help with his four nephews. He knows they are meant to be, but she fights the attraction, feeling unworthy of a minister’s love. Brought together by circumstance and good coffee, can Peaches and Max survive four mischievous little boys, a matchmaking church secretary and a cat who thinks she’s the boss?

A BookStrand Mainstream Romance

Excerpt

Peaches was so cold, she could not feel herself anymore. She had lost track of how long she had been in the cooler, but at least she was no longer shivering. She’d tried everything she could think of but couldn’t get out. She’d danced around, but the air just felt colder as it swirled around her. So she curled into a ball on the floor, trying to hold her warmth in. Wondering if she would survive, she had listed her mistakes and all the things she wanted to do with her life. Now all she could do was pray. “Lord, please send me an angel to open the door and release me from this cold prison.”

 She was about to give up when warm air wafted over her icy skin and a deep voice answered her. “I’m hardly an angel, but will I do?”

She knew that voice. “Pastor Max?”

“Yes, it’s Max Adams. Frank Richards and I are here. Can you stand up and walk?”

Peaches lifted her head and looked up at her rescuer. He stood between her and the door, a large dark shadow blocking the light. She could not see his face, but his cologne was distinctive. That fruity, spicy scent tickled her senses with a warmth that grew from the inside out. What had he asked? Oh yeah, could she stand up and walk. “I’m not sure. I was so very cold a few minutes ago, but now I’m not sure my legs are still attached to the rest of me.”

 

* * * *

 

Max didn’t bother trying to help her stand up. Her slurred words told him hypothermia was setting in. She needed to get out of this ice-cold room right now. He stepped close and planted his feet, shifting his weight to steady himself. Bending down to her, he wrapped his arms around her curled up figure and lifted her from the floor. In three steps they were out of the cooler.

As they crossed the store, a feeling like he had never felt before descended upon him. It was as if suddenly everything was right with his world. Glancing down at the cold woman in his arms, he wondered if she was the reason. Whatever had happened, the restlessness of his soul seemed to settle.

She was a pretty woman with deep blue eyes that smiled no matter how tired she was. Her fair skin and smattering of freckles across her upturned nose and cheeks gave her a wholesome beauty. Her full lips belied her otherwise innocent appearance. Those lips, always turned up in a friendly smile, reminded Max of a lipstick commercial though she never wore make up.

Something his father and grandfather had told him when he had started dating as a teenager flashed through his mind. “You’ll feel drawn to her. As soon as you hold her in your arms you’ll know. She will give your soul a peace you will have never felt before and won’t want to give up.”

While Sergeant Richards went to the trunk of his car for a blanket, Max settled Peaches on a painted wooden bench just outside the café next door to Mickey’s. Letting her go was the hardest thing he’d ever done. He could not explain it, except to tell himself that the family prophecy was true. Though he had been in contact with hundreds of women in his life, this was the woman God had chosen just for him.

Before he could stop himself, Max looked from Peaches to the police officer, then back again. “You are the woman I’m going to marry.”

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