Letters From Home
Author: Beth Rhodes
Genre: Contemporary Romance — Military
Release Date: November 2, 2013
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
An Army doctor, Lena Rodriguez has always been too busy with school or the Army for romance. But the letters she received during deployment have captured her heart. Back home for the holidays, she awaits Christmas morning to meet the man who has turned her life upside down.
When Zack Benson watched his best friend’s sister Lena leave for Afghanistan, he knew he had to tell her he loved her. So he sent her anonymous love letters. Now that she’s home, he realizes he’s made a tactical error. Lena has fallen for the man in those letters but still thinks of him as a brother. He has to convince her otherwise because if he succeeds, he’ll get the best Christmas present ever. But if he fails, he could lose her for good.
I love a series! Some great series writers…
Elizabeth Lowell—Donovan Series
Nora Roberts—Too.Many.To.Count Series
Kaylea Cross—HRT Series, Bagram Special Ops
Outside The Lines is Book 2, the almost start to a series about the Rodriguez family. Seven kids. When I wrote Letters From Home, I couldn’t help imagine Fools Rush In—the movie. I love that move. The big Hispanic family. The colors. The life! I’ve already got Book 3 roiling around in my brain. Time to get to work because Lena and Maria are soon to be followed by Juan, Jaime, Cat, Lucas, and Mike.
But first, I thought I’d share a bit from Book 1. Maria plays a small part, and we get a feeling that all isn’t right in her world, which… it isn’t. <3 And that makes the best romance novel, doesn’t it?
Two months, three days, and six hours until you come home. (No, I’m not counting)
Yesterday, I walked past the school and was reminded of the first time I saw you. You might not remember because you were scolding some bully for picking on a little kid. I always wondered what set you off. You were bigger than life, dark hair flying, mouth running—in Spanish! I had no idea what you were saying, but it didn’t matter. I think that’s when I first fell in love with you…
Elena Rodriguez dropped the well-worn letter into her lap and stared out the tinted window, her stomach twisted into knots. No matter how many times she read it, nerves crept up on her. She didn’t even know who wrote the letter—letters. Thirteen of them, one for every month of her deployment and another for her birthday. What kind of crazy person expected her to meet him, on Christmas morning no less. If he knew her at all, he’d know she was going to church with her family first thing.
“Ay,” she growled under her breath. The passenger next to her shifted, looking at her with a questioning frown. Lena cleared her throat and smiled. “Sorry. Just thinking.”
When she found out who had made her fall in love with him without even telling her his name, she was going to kick his butt…and maybe love him back. She could hope, and maybe she’d find something like her parents had. Strong and enduring.
Cold air washed over her as she stepped off the bus into Northern California’s December mist. The driver pulled her army-green duffle from the cargo bay and set it on the ground at her feet. Her name was stenciled on the side with the last four digits of her social. “Thank you for your service.”
She smiled and shook the hand he offered. “Merry Christmas, sir.”
“Welcome home,” he added, then waved before driving off.
“Lena!” An oh-so-familiar voice rang across Raley’s parking lot, strong and clear—or just plain loud. Heels clattered over the cold cement, and jangling sounds of bracelets filled the air like bells in a Christmas song.
Lena relaxed in her sister’s arms, the worry of the unknown falling away. “Maria, girl,” she scolded, giving her younger sister a little shake and holding her out to do an initial assessment, “You need a jacket.”
“Never mind that. How was your flight home? Did you have to stay long on base before they set you free?” Maria looked her over from head to toe. “You lost weight, too much weight. Oh, but, it’s so good to see you.”
“I’m just glad to be home. Where is everyone else? No balloons? No band? Not even a roll of ticker tape for my return?”
“Very funny. We know you too well. You would be tempted to use your M16. Come on. Mom says to stop at the church and light a candle. Then we’ll go home.” Maria hooked her arm through Lena’s with a pregnant pause before she continued, “Have you gotten any more letters?”
“He wants to meet.” Lena still didn’t know what to think of it. A secret admirer? It was weird…yet romantic, too—for a soul as deprived as hers. She hadn’t had a date in eighteen months, and that last one…eh, not so good. “Christmas morning.”
The answering sigh was expected and familiar—sentimental and romantic Maria. “Have you figured out who it is?”
She threw her bag in the back of the car with a shrug and climbed in on the passenger side. “No. I’ve thought about it, but in the end, something stops me from really trying. Is it wrong to just enjoy the conversation? He’s kind, smart, funny. He likes kids and wants a large family. Of course, I’ll have to convince him otherwise about that.”
“Ha ha, hermana. You love us.” Maria tapped a finger on the steering wheel. “Just one guess, though. You have to have at least one guess.”
“You want to gossip,” Lena accused with a laugh. Of course she’d thought about it. For twelve months, she’d played a guessing game in her head. “I don’t know. If I knew, I might not be so taken.”
“So you are attracted.”
Lena sat back against the seat and enjoyed the passing neighborhoods. The houses decked in lights and ribbons and wreaths. Christmas had taken over her little town as it did every year. “Remember Manuel from the class above me? He sells insurance now. Perhaps it’s him.”
“Oh.” Maria scowled and gave a thumbs down. “I hope not. I see him at the diner every Thursday night. Too fat!”
Maybe all the good, nice guys who wanted to settle down were happy with themselves just as they were. Love handles wouldn’t matter as long as he had a brain and a heart.
“All I know is, you won’t go alone, Elena.”
Lena shook her head in response. “Good Lord, I don’t need an audience to watch me make a fool of myself.”
Meet the Rodriguez family first, in Letters From Home! Follow it with Outside the Lines, when our California girl finds herself in Vermont—worlds away from her home.
And Letters From Home is free! For a limited time so get it now.
Beth Rhodes is a wife, mother, friend, and lover. She lives with her Army husband and their six children at the base of the mountains in Colorado. She loves the cold, coffee, camping, and sunshine.
Her stories are full of life, family, and love. You can find her reading just about any genre of romance, but her favorites are fast-paced suspense, where life is on the line and love is the only saving grace. She wants a book that makes her heart pound and her pulse race.
Beth is a member of Romance Writers of America, Pikes Peak Writers, Colorado Romance Writers, and International Thriller Writers. She is signed with Entangled Publishing and Boroughs Publishing Group.