Friday First Kiss #103 :: Christmas in Trace Hollow by CJ Samuels (Historical Western Romance)

Friday First Kiss

The moment I crack open a new book, I always rush through the beginning, the budding relationship between the hero and heroine, and anticipate that spontaneous moment when one of them makes their move. The First Kiss. The first turning point in every story.

Every week here on the blog, I’ll be sharing First Kisses from my books and those of other authors.


This week’s Friday First Kiss comes from,

Christmas in Trace Hollow by CJ Samuels

Brandon thought his heart stopped. Adam wasn’t Gabby’s. That explained why she was unprepared to travel with him. All his talk about orphanages had probably stopped her from telling him the truth. He had assumed Gabby was a widow and he hadn’t given her a chance to explain.

Pastor Don continued, “Is there a family willing to take little Adam in and raise him as their own?”

Not once voice was heard. Brandon looked around the church. Not one family was discussing it among themselves. He could understand why Logan and Elli wouldn’t be interested. She was with child, and some of the women thought she might be expecting two babies. Ethan and Sophia sat near them, a couple who wanted children, but they weren’t even talking to each other about it.

Brandon was confused. What’s going on? Can’t they see how perfect the boy is?

It continued with every couple he looked at. Nobody was discussing it.

Emma James spoke up. “What about marriage, Pastor? If she married, she could keep him. She said she wants the boy to have a father as well as a mother.”

The Pastor looked around the room. “Is there anyone willing to step up and marry Miss Wells, and take Adam as his own son?”

Again, nobody moved a muscle or spoke up. Axel wouldn’t even look in Brandon’s direction. He sat there cleaning his fingernails, not paying attention to the entire proceeding.

“What in the world is wrong with everyone?” Brandon yelled and stood up. “Can’t you see they’re already a family? She’s beautiful and a wonderful mother. She can cook and sew. I’ve seen some of the things she’s sewn for the baby. He’s the most perfect little boy I’ve seen. Who wouldn’t want both of them?”

The entire church turned to him at his outburst. Brandon crowded his way out of his pew. He practically ran to where Gabby stood.

On one knee, Brandon said, “Marry me, Gabby. I’ll give Adam the home he deserves.”

Tears filled Gabby’s eyes. She hesitated and shook her head slowly, no.

Brandon was in shock. She wouldn’t marry him. Not even to give Adam a home. He loved her, and she said no.

Losing her isn’t an option! He quickly and stood to face the congregation.

“Pa, get your shotgun. We spent four days alone in a cabin during the blizzard. That’s right, four days and nights, just the three of us. They took the cot and I slept on the floor. The details don’t matter. Pa, get moving. Get the gun and make her marry me.” Brandon’s Pa wasn’t moving and it looked like his Ma was trying not to smile.

“Sheriff, did you hear me? Four days alone in the same room? Eunice, Faye, Pastor Don, anyone? Someone is in here is armed and I know it. I demand someone get their gun out and uphold her reputation! I love this woman, and to protect her honor, she needs to marry me!”

The only one that moved was Gabby.

“You…you love me?” she asked.

“Of course I do, woman. I’ve loved you since I saw you holding the shotgun on me in the cabin, but I was too stubborn to admit it.” Brandon turned to Pastor Don, “Pastor, can you please get someone to force her to marry me? I can’t live my life without her at my side.”

“Yes,” said Gabby quietly.

“Yes, what?” Brandon asked her, still looking for anyone to help him.

“Yes, I’ll marry you.” Gabby said, with tears in her eyes.

“Yeth, yeth, yeth,” Adam repeated.

The women of the church relaxed. They were all looking at each other and smiling. This wasn’t their first plan that worked and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Brandon took them both in his arms. “I love you, Gabby. You and Adam are the best Christmas presents I could ever receive.”

“I love you, too, Brandon. Adam and I are blessed that it was you that found us in that cabin.”

“Well, if we’re all in agreement, I think we can go ahead and perform a wedding this Christmas Eve.” Pastor Don announced.

Brandon and Gabby nodded. His parents and Aunt Eunice gathered around them as the pastor said the needed words to make them a family. Marion Taylor held her new grandson proudly during the vows.

With a gentle kiss, Brandon and Gabby were now husband and wife.


christmasintracehollowChristmas in Trace Hollow by C.J. Samuels
Gabby Wells has spent her entire eighteen years living atop a mountain with her father. After she buries him, she knows her only option is to travel down the mountain to live with her Aunt Eunice. She finds a baby on her way down, whose parents had obviously died tragically. With the child, she finds shelter from a blizzard in a cabin on the side of the mountain.

Brandon Taylor is on a mission for the sheriff in Trace Hollow, checking on the homesteaders around the area. When a sudden storm comes up, he has to take shelter in his family’s hunting cabin, on the side of the mountain. When he finds a beautiful young lady, a stranger to him, in the cabin along with her son, he tells himself repeatedly he can’t marry her. When they reach her aunt’s house, and the other men come sniffing around her, his feelings become more apparent to him. Can he find the courage to marry the beautiful Gabby? Or will he let her be married off to one of the other young men in town?
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About C.J. Samuels

CJ Samuels
CJ Samuels was born and raised in rural Ohio. After more than twenty years working in service at an auto dealership, she picked up the proverbial pen and began writing, thanks to a lot of encouragement from her family and friends.

CJ always has a pot of coffee on, and a welcoming chair, for anyone who needs to talk. CJ was the daughter of the local preacher and had three kids of her own. From attorney, to finished construction builder, to a Marine – CJ’s kids are her pride and joy. CJ has many “adopted” extra family members, including eleven grandchildren that she claims as her own.

CJ is a born and bred Buckeye fan. She has three rescue dogs, an English bulldog named Sammie, a chi-weenie named Lucy, and a beagle mix named Lucky.
In each of her books, you will find stories from her family history. In her eyes, family is most important.

Find CJ at the following link.



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About Lily Graison

Lily Graison is a USA TODAY bestselling author of historical western romances. Her Willow Creek Series introduced readers to a small Montana town where the west is wild and the cowboys are wilder. Lily also dabbles in sci-fi, contemporary and paranormal romance when the mood strikes and all of her stories lean heavily to the spicy side with strong female leads and heroes who tend to always get what they want. She writes full time and lives in Hickory, NC with her husband and a house full of Yorkies.

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