Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Christmas Switch by Zoey Marie Jackson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Christmas Switch Author: Zoey Marie Jackson Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Release Date: October 25, 2022 Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Keeping this secret gets complicatedwith the family she wished for right next door. Swapping places with her identical twin over the holidays sounds easy enough to Chanel Houston. But playing the role is trickier than expected when it comes to maintaining frosty relations with her sister’s neighbor and nemesis—especially since he has an adorable little girl and a rowdy puppy. Ryder Frost’s supposed to be grumpy and rude…so why does Chanel find the single dad so irresistible?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zoey Marie Jackson loves writing sweet romances. She is almost never without a book and reads across genres. Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, she has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University and has been an educator for over 20 years. Zoey loves interacting with her readers.
Connect with Zoey by visiting zoeymariejackson.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
Her smile was electrifying. It evened out the sharp planes of her face and softened her look,
making her countenance shine. Ryder Frost clamped his jaw shut and cuddled Wolf closer to his
chest. He hadn’t known Cara Shelton was capable of smiling, but he knew better than to say so.
Cara always had a frown or smirk on her face when dealing with him. He took in her widened
lips and white teeth, then dared to explore further.
Since he had moved to Hawk’s Landing, he had never engaged in a good conversation with
his neighbor. The fact that, as a white man, he had purchased a plot of land once belonging to
slave-owners had been a sore point for Cara and others in town—but for Ryder, it was about the
And forget about his dog. Her lips curled every time she saw Wolf. The dog preferred her
place to his: her porch, her yard, her vegetables.
Ryder had been in his kitchen, putting the finishing touches on his dinner—baked chicken
breast with roasted brussels sprouts—when he realized Wolf wasn’t in the house. Shoving the
pans into the oven and setting a timer on his watch, Ryder had rushed across the lawn to Cara’s
yard, mentally preparing himself for another battle.
Yet here she was smiling, her beautiful white teeth on display.
His brows rose. Answered prayer? He had asked God on many occasions to give him patience
when it came to Cara Shelton.
She flicked the switch to turn on both the inside and outside lights. Wolf jumped out of
Ryder’s arms, rubbing his body against the screen door, and Gabby moved to pet him. “Good
dog. Good dog.” Then she wagged her finger. “You need to listen to me and Daddy.”
Since Cara was only a few inches shorter than he was, and in his line of sight, Ryder took in
her beautiful brown skin, the light freckles dusting her nose and cheeks, her high cheekbones and
honey-colored eyes surrounded by thick, long lashes. He acknowledged his neighbor’s physical
attractiveness. Every time he had seen her, she had her hair in a bun or ponytail. Today, she had
it loose and flowing. Ryder liked it. However, for him it was all about a woman’s substance and
inner beauty. He cleared his throat. Not that he was interested in dating. He had his research and
Gabby to fill his days. Ryder backed up. It was time for him to go home.
He opened his mouth to say his farewell when he saw Chanel watching Gabby with a tender
expression. She placed a hand over her abdomen. In that unguarded moment, a sadness and
yearning filled her eyes before she shuttered it with her lashes.
Without taking her gaze off Gabby and Wolf, she asked, “How old is she?”
“She’s five,” he said.
“Where’s her mom?” she asked, then put a hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to
Ryder shook his head. “It’s all right,” he said, dabbing at his brow and ignoring the rumble of
his stomach. He needed to eat, but his stomach could wait while he discovered what it was like to
exchange pleasantries with his neighbor.
“Naw. I need to learn to mind my business,” she said, flailing a hand. “Forget I asked. My
mother always told me that my mouth was not my own.”
The screen door creaked, and she returned outside to slink into one of the wooden rocking
chairs. Gabby and Wolf ran down the steps to frolic in the high grass. It needed to be cut. It had
been raining a lot over the past several days, causing more growth. Ryder had passed over his
lawn with the riding mower early that morning and was tempted to do the same for Cara. But
he’d refrained, not sure if his good deed would be welcomed or appreciated.
Gabby began doing backflips while Wolf ran beside her. Ryder walked over to the other
rocking chair and sat. He and Cara sat watching Gabby’s and Wolf’s antics for a few minutes
before he decided to answer Cara’s question. He felt comfortable sharing because, as his
neighbor, she would have noted he was alone when he’d first moved next door in May.
“Four months ago, my doorbell rang, and I opened the door to see the sister of an old
colleague, a fellow researcher.” He jutted his chin toward Gabby. “Her mother. With her.” Then
he coughed, feeling a tickle in his throat.
“Do you want something to drink?” Cara asked, jumping to her feet.
His eyes went wide. “Yeah, uh, sure.” He coughed again, placing his hand over his mouth.
“Hang on,” she said. “I’ll be back.”
Ryder twisted his body to watch her bounce through the door, and he scrunched his nose. It
felt like he was talking to a completely different person, because Cara was being so—well,
neighborly. He laughed at his paranoia and shook his head.
A couple minutes later, Cara returned, carrying a tray. “I could use a little help here,” she said
in singsong voice.
Ryder held the screen door open, battling a feeling of surrealness. Cara had placed two tall
glasses and a smaller glass of lemonade and an old bowl filled with water on the tray. He was
taken aback at her thoughtfulness in including Wolf. He thanked her for the drink and watched as
she served his daughter and dog.
“Say thank you to Ms. Cara,” Ryder prompted.
“Thank you,” Gabby said, sitting on the top step with Wolf lapping away next to her.
After taking a few sips, Gabby returned to play, taking advantage of the little sunlight that was
left. Fanning herself, Cara returned to the rocking chair. It creaked with her movements.
“So, I take it her mother left her with you?” she asked, laying her head back.
“Yes, Brittany—that’s her mother’s name—had an opportunity to go to Egypt to study the
pyramids and decided it was time I met my daughter. She told me it would be for a few weeks,
but as you see, it has turned into months. Not that I mind.” He spoke those words with wry
humor, although he had had a different reaction that day. He’d been sucker punched. Speechless.
Cara leaned forward, her mouth dropping open. “This is better than any novel I’ve ever read.
You had a secret love child?”
He patted his brow. “I don’t know if I would call what we had…love. Before I accepted God
in my life, Brittany and I had a brief…encounter. She had accompanied my coworker to a
convention we were both attending. We spent hours talking about my research and her studies in
Egyptology. After that one weekend, we parted ways.”
She chuckled, then said in a dry tone, “The encounter might have been brief, but the
repercussions are lasting.”
“Yes. Well.” Ryder gave a dismissive wave to cover his embarrassment. “In the four months
Gabby has been here, I can honestly say I have no regrets. But I didn’t know anything about
children. I was an only child of parents who were also only children. YouTube is a divine gift. It
has saved me on many occasions. It’s my go-to for everything from combing her hair to
coordinating her clothes. Being a parent is more challenging than my first dissertation.”
“But I’m sure it’s rewarding.” She gazed at Gabby, her eyes bright. “From what I see, she
seems happy, so you must be doing something right.” This time, there was no mistaking the
yearning in her tone. She smirked. “Although I reserve the right to be wrong. Just giving my
first—um, my overall impression.”
“I’m glad I didn’t mess up,” he said, not quite sure what to do about the fact that his neighbor
was giving him a compliment instead of her usual criticism.
“Some of us would have loved the chance…to mess up,” Cara said before lowering her lashes
and sipping her lemonade.
Ryder scooted forward, searching for the courage to ask if she had children. He hadn’t seen
any, but the papers said she had been a cop for close to 14 years. Cara was probably in early
forties and could have grown children in college. Just as he opened his mouth, his timer went off.
(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight October 25, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 1, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
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