#Guest Post- Gayle Irwin on Holiday Traditions

Hey, romance addicts. I hope everyone is having a great week. I have nice book teaser for you guys from Gayle M. Irwin. She is sharing an excerpt from her sweet romance, Rhiann’s Rescue and her take on holiday traditions.

Guest Post

Gayle M. Irwin

Rhiann's Rescue: A Pet Rescue Romance Prequel by [GAYLE M IRWIN]

Recently, a few friends and I talked about our holiday traditions: baking, driving around town looking at Christmas lights; going into the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree; attending church on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. We often bring traditions from our childhoods into our marriages and parenting, passing down stories, activities, and rituals to other generations.

I grew up in rural Iowa, so obtaining a tree from the woods came easily. Seeing “neighborhood” Christmas lights not so much, although we did take drives to see which other farming families decorated their fences, barns, and other outdoor facilities (my dad decorated the fence that surrounded our house and yard). Baking cookies and breads with my mother and grandmother is a sweet, vivid memory.

What are some holiday memories and traditions you enjoy?

In my new book release, Rhiann’s Rescue, a tradition shared between my primary female character and her grandmother became traveling south for the winter. Rhiann and Grams live in Washington State during the spring, summer, and fall, and during the winter months, they stay in Arizona. Amid the lights at the senior living complex and the decorated saguaro cacti, Rhiann, who is a freelance writer, assists dog rescue organizations in the southwest. During this trip, she meets an art gallery owner who just might sway her decision to not date.

Below is an excerpt from Rhiann’s Rescue. She has recently helped the art gallery’s mother adopt a dog, and she and her grandmother are at the woman’s cottage in the senior living complex:

The next afternoon, Rhiann and Grams sat at a table on Helen’s patio. The woman’s newly adopted dog, Holly, explored the area. Rhiann watched the dog a moment and smiled. She then turned her attention to the sun setting in the west. She relished the colorful sky, appearing like a painting in Elias’ gallery. The flicker of Christmas lights still adorning the nearby saguaro and other cacti created a deeper sense of calm and beauty.

Helen stepped from the kitchen, a shrimp cocktail appetizer on a turquoise and orange platter in her hand. She set the dish near Grams and then took a chair between Rhiann and her grandmother.

“This looks wonderful,” Grams said to Helen.

Their hostess smiled. “Thank you. Elias is on his way – he was delayed at the Tucson gallery, but he should be here in about fifteen minutes,” Helen said. “Oh, I can’t wait for him to meet Holly!”

“She seems to be settling in well,” Rhiann said. “She’s enjoying exploring the yard.”

Helen laid a hand on top of one of Rhiann’s. “Thank you so much for helping me adopt her and for taking me shopping yesterday to buy what she needs. I’m indebted to you, Rhiann.”

The younger woman shook her head. “No, you’re not. It’s a joy for me to help animals find new homes, and I know you and Holly are going to be happy together.”

Helen patted Rhiann’s hand and then looked at Grams. “Martha, you have such a lovely granddaughter.”

Grams smiled. “She’s a special girl all right.”

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“Oh, stop it, both of you!” Rhiann said with a smile. 

The three ladies sipped tea from the glasses on the table and again observed Holly. The dog sniffed along the black-railed fence, seeming to absorb each scent she found. 

“Remind me her story again,” Grams commented.

“She was a breeding dog,” Rhiann said. “For nearly seven years, she produced pups and now that’s she’s nearly nine, the breeder decided she was getting too old. I think Jennifer said only three of six in her last litter survived. Thankfully, the owner reached out to Jennifer’s rescue and adoption center, and I believe the woman got an earful and some education from Jennifer about proper dog care and irresponsible breeding. That can be a problem and sometimes leads to cruelty, which, in Holly’s case, was close to being so with the little vet care she received the past few years.”

“Well, she has no worries about that anymore,” Helen said in a firm tone.

A knock sounded on the front door, and as the women turned, a key turned in the lock and Elias stepped into the living room. Helen rose and walked to greet him.

“I’m glad you’re here, son. Come meet my new dog!”

Rhiann glanced at her grandmother smiled.

“I think Helen is smitten with Holly,” she whispered.

Grams patted Rhiann’s hand.

“Oh, no doubt. And I’d add, I think her son is smitten with you.”

Rhiann glanced across the table and into the kitchen. Seeing the smile Elias gave her, she felt a blush crawl up her neck.

Grams whispered, “Might I say I think the feeling is mutual?”

“Shh! You know it can’t be.”

“Yes, it could. Stop hiding, sweetheart. Let the holiday spirit take you on a grand adventure with love.”

Rhiann bit her lower lip. She turned her head to watch Holly continue investigating her new home.

“Be like Holly,” Grams said in a low tone. “Like any of those dogs you rescue – they need courage and they need to learn to trust.”

Rhiann looked at her grandmother, and then looked up as Elias stepped closer to the table. He smiled at her and then glanced at the dog. 

“So, you played matchmaker,” he said.

Startled, Rhiann asked, “What?”

He looked at her. “My mother and the dog – you brought them together.”

Rhiann heard her grandmother chuckle and felt a blush crawl up her neck.

Thank you, Gayle.

Okay, romance addicts. If you want a copy of Rhiann’s Rescue, all you have to do is click below.

Rhiann's Rescue: A Pet Rescue Romance Prequel by [GAYLE M IRWIN]

About Gayle

Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for both children and adults. Her clean, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, released November 2019, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, released in May 2020, and Rhiann’s Rescue, a prequel holiday novella, released last month. She also has a free short story, Gram’s Legacy, that’s also considered a prequel. She subtly weaves important life lessons within the lines and pages of her stories, including the importance of pet rescue and adoption. An animal advocate, Gayle volunteers for various dog rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups. Gayle resides in Wyoming with her husband and their adopted animals. Learn more about the author, her writing endeavors, and her pets, and receive free stories and resources by visiting her website: www.gaylemirwinauthor.com.

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