Behind door number 23 of the advent calendar, we find Welcome Home, Soldier by Deanna Wadsworth. This book was in last year’s Dreamspinner Press advent calendar with Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings, and bought it back then but didn’t read it until now.
I love second chances and I love books with older MCs. I love books where the characters talk things through, and I adore emotional stories that makes me reach for the Kleenex and go hug my husband when I finish reading. This book ticked all those boxes.
Also: I’m not a dog person (mostly because I’m allergic), but how cute is that dog on the cover? 😍
Clay and Daniel fell in love as enlisted men during Desert Shield, but Don’t Ask Don’t Tell meant they had to keep it secret. After Clay’s convoy was ambushed, PTSD changed him, and their relationship ended in a horrible fight on Christmas Eve.
Twenty-five years later, they’ve reconnected on Facebook, and Clay finds out Daniel will be alone on Christmas Eve. Impulsively, he sets out for Daniel’s hometown of Gilead, Ohio—where Daniel is now the mayor—to surprise him with a visit. But a blizzard strikes and Clay wrecks his car. All hope of seeing Daniel is lost—until a mysterious old man named Nick offers Clay a ride.
The weight of past wounds and the scars of war might make their reunion awkward, but Clay is willing to take the risk to win back his lost love. Despite a lifetime of disappointing holidays, Clay hopes that this soldier is finally coming home for Christmas.
Buy link: Amazon | Dreamspinner Press
Today’s quote from the book:
“So you do feel it?” Clay whispered. He took Daniel’s hand from his chest and pressed to Daniel’s heart. “In here?”
Today’s song to go with the story
Merry Christmas, Darling by The Carpenters, because ever since Clay and Danny parted all those years ago on Christmas Eve, they’ve both had the same wish. One that’s finally, finally fulfilled: I’ve just one wish on this Christmas eve, I wish I were with you