Monday, December 5, 2011

Margaret Daley's His Holiday Family

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of seventy-six books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love.

When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household.

To find out more about Margaret visit her website at You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook as Margaret Daley.

His Holiday Family

When Hurricane Naomi tears through a small Mississippi town, a daring rescue unites two heroes. Nurse Kathleen Hart is a single mom racked by guilt over her husband's death. Firefighter Gideon O'Brien—orphaned as a young boy—has lost too many people he cared for. To rise above the storm's devastation, Gideon helps Kathleen and her sons rebuild their home. As Christmas approaches, they discover that even the strongest of storms can't destroy a romance built on the foundation of faith.

Here's an excerpt of His Holiday Family:

Gideon O'Brien hopped down from Engine Two and assessed the chaos in front of him. Strapping on his air pack, he started toward his captain. A hand gripped his arm and stopped his forward progress. He turned toward the blonde woman who held him, her large blue eyes glistening with tears. She looked familiar, but he couldn't place where he knew her from. His neighbor's daughter, perhaps?

"My two sons and my cousin—their babysitter—must still be inside. I don't see them outside with the other tenants." Her voice quivered. She tightened her hand on his arm and scanned the crowd. "I'm Kathleen Hart. My sons are Jared and Kip. I tried Sally's cell but she didn't answer. Please get them out." A tear slipped down her cheek.

"Where are they?" Gideon moved toward his captain, his palm at the small of her back, guiding her in the direction he wanted her to go. Yes, he realized, she was his neighbor Ruth Coleman's daughter.

"Sally's second-floor apartment is on the east side, the fourth one down on your right. Number 212. Hurry." Her round eyes fastened on the fire consuming the three-story apartment building on Magnolia Street.

Gideon paused in front of Captain Fox. "Mrs. Hart says her sons and babysitter are still inside. Pete and I can go in and get them." He looked toward the west end of the large structure where the men of Engine One were fighting the flames eating their way through the top level. "There's still time."

"Okay." His captain surveyed the east end. "But hurry. It won't be long before this whole building goes up."

The scent of smoke hung heavy in the air. The hissing sound of water hitting Magnolia Street Apartments vied with the roar of the blaze.

Gideon turned toward the mother of the two boys. "We'll find them." He gave her a smile then searched the firefighters for Pete.

When Gideon found him a few feet away, he covered the distance quickly. "Let's go. There are three people trapped on the second floor. East end."

At the main entrance into the building Gideon fixed his mask in place, glancing back at the blonde woman standing near his captain. He had seen that same look of fear and worry many times over his career as a firefighter. He wouldn't let anything happen to her sons and Sally.

Gideon switched on his voice amplifier and headed into the furnace with Pete following close behind him. Through the thick cloud suspended from the ceiling in the foyer, the stairs to the second floor loomed. Crouching, he scrambled up the steps. The higher he went, the hotter it became.

On the landing, he peered to the right, a wall of steely smoke obscuring his view. To the left, the way he needed to go, the gunmetal gray fog hovered in the hallway, denser at the top.

Gideon dropped to his hands and knees and crawled toward Sally's apartment. Sweat coated his body from the adrenaline pumping through him and the soaring temperature. The building groaned. Visibility only three feet in front of him, he hugged the wall, his heart pounding. He sucked air into his lungs, conscious of the limited amount of oxygen in his tank.

Calm down. Not much time. In and out.

Mindful of every inhalation, he counted the doors they passed in the corridor. One. Two. Three. The next apartment was Sally's. His breathing evened out as he neared his goal.

At number 212's door, Gideon tried the handle. Locked. He rose and swung his ax into the wooden obstruction, the sound of it striking its target reverberating in the smoke-filled air.

When a big enough hole appeared, Pete reached inside and opened the door. A pearly haze, not as heavy as in the corridor, engulfed the room. His partner rushed into the apartment, Gideon right behind him. In the small foyer, he noticed a large television on in the living room but didn't see anyone in there.

"I'll take the left. You the right," Gideon said, making his way down the short hallway to the first bedroom. "Fire department, is anyone here?" His gaze riveted to a double bed. He quickly searched everywhere two young boys might hide. Nothing.

For a few seconds a memory intruded into his mind, taking his focus off what needed to be done. He shoved it away, went back in the hall and crossed to the other bedroom. After checking it, he came back out into the corridor and opened the last door to a bathroom. Empty.

He pictured his neighbor's daughter next to his captain, waiting for them to bring her sons out safely. The thought that he might not be able to quickened his breathing for a moment.

When he met up with Pete in the small entryway, his partner said, "All clear in the kitchen as well as the living and dining rooms."

"The same in the bedrooms."

"Gideon, Pete, get out. Mrs. Hart sees her children and their babysitter. They just arrived and are safe," his captain's deep gravelly voice came over the radio.

"We're on our way." Relieved the two boys and Sally were all right, Gideon and Pete made their way back into the main hallway.

The smoke had grown thicker, darker. The crackling and popping sounds of the fire overrode the rumbling noise from the water continually bombarding the structure. A warning went off, signaling Pete only had five minutes of air left in his tank.

Our time is running out.

As those words flashed into Gideon's thoughts, his breathing sped up for a few seconds before he reined it in. He'd been in similar situations. They would make it.

Gideon gestured to his friend to go first. Every second counted. Pete came out of the apartment and got down on all fours, hurriedly heading for the stairs. Gideon crept along a body length behind his partner. As he crawled past the second apartment, his low-pressure air alarm alerted him to the need to move even faster.

But the nearer he came to the stairs, the soupier his surroundings were. He barely made out the back of Pete only a foot in front of him.

Gideon's shoulder brushed against the door frame of the apartment nearest to the steps. Almost there. His inhalations slowed even more to conserve as much oxygen as possible. But heat warmed the inside of his protective suit, and sweat rolled down his face. Its salty drops stung his eyes. He blinked, his vision blurring for a few seconds.

Then suddenly from above, wood and debris came tumbling down. Gideon lost sight of Pete in the dense smoke and dust. The crashing sound of a beam boomed through the air.

Lord, help.

Rolling onto his back, Gideon reached for his radio when another metallic moan cut through the noise of the fire. A piece of timber landed across his chest, knocking his radio from his hand. A sharp pain lanced a path through his upper torso. Then a second slab of lumber fell on top of the first. Gideon stared up as the rest of the ceiling plummeted. Air rushed out of his lungs, and blackness swirled before his eyes.

You can purchase His Holiday Family from Amazon.

Margaret is giving away a copy of His Holiday Family. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


marybelle said...

I am a firm believer in romance and love as well. I know I will enjoy reading HIS HOLIDAY FAMILY.


cjajsmommy said...

Excellent start to this book! I'm looking forward to reading this book.
djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

wfnren said...

You have to look up to firefighters, now I have to find out what happens. Sounds like a great read.

wfnren at aol dot com

Rebecca said...

Oh this looks like a wonderful book. I would love to win this. Thanks for the chance.


Marianne said...

i love to read novels that include everyday heroes like fireman/woman. i am looking forward to this one. Thanks for the post and giveaway, Esther and Margaret


Charity said...

Would love to be entered in this giveaway! Sounds like a great read:) Thanks!


lgm52 said...

I love holiday novels...and what a beautiful cover on this one!

ann said...

I enjoy reading the holiday books full of love and joy. What a pretty cover on the book.
amhengst at verizon dot net

apple blossom said...

I love Christmas stories. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Jackie S. said...

I love Margaret's books and this one sounds great. Love the cover!
Please enter me. Thanks.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jo said...

I love Christmas stories and this sounds like such a good book.


Teela said...

Love Christmas and would love to win this book (plus the jacket is to darling!) teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Susan H said...

I love reading holiday books and this sounds like a good one. Look forward to reading it.


Merry said...

I'd love to be included in the drawing for His Holiday Family. Loved the excerpt, I can't wait for more!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Laura J said...

I'd love to read this book!

laurelprincess12 at gmail dot com

Lane Hill House said...

Margaret, I loved From This Day Forward! Thank you. I would love to read His Holiday Family. Hope to be a winner of this book!
Merry Christmas.

Joy Hannabass said...

I love Christmas books and I know this will be an awesome read.

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