The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March
This isn't my first time in Eternity Springs, but this one had me crying the hardest. I think it hit the fears the "mom" in me would experience in Jenna's shoes. The Christmas Wishing Tree is a strong, addicting contemporary romance, but it does have aspects of romantic suspense, too.
Devin Murphy's family is all in Eternity Springs. He adores them and visits as often as possible. It's not easy when he's half a world away in Australia. During a Christmas visit, his phone gets a call from a young boy who wants to talk to Santa. Devin connects with the boy and continues to take his calls. All the boy wants is a dad for Christmas.
Jenna Stockton does everything she can to keep her adopted son safe. She's gained the unwanted attention of a stalker and it needs to end, but she's powerless to stop it. The attacks are stepping up. From slashed tires to dozens of pizzas showing up at her house, she's having a hard time. When her house is raided and her son is knocked over and his arm is broken, Jenna packs him up and moves him. Police can't find her stalker, and she feels helpless.
When she learns her son has been making calls to "Santa," she wants to end it. The Santa on the other end of the phone convinces her to let her son continue to call until he has to return to his home in Australia from Eternity Springs. The calls come to an end when she's forced to move after her son's arm is broken.
In a new state, the same thing happens. She's been the victim of swatting twice now. She hopes a trip to Eternity Springs, the place that "Santa" made sound so peaceful, may help her son get past the fear of simply living.
When Devin learns the attractive single mom he meets is the stranger he'd talked to on the phone, he befriends her and her son. With the help of his friends, he's determined to help Jenna catch her stalker for once and for all. When he's done, he'll return to Australia for good. He never expects to fall in love.
Jenna knows Devin has a business to run in Australia. While she's equally smitten, she can't give her heart to a man who plans to leave.
The swatting sequences in The Christmas Wishing Tree broke my heart. Reilly's fear is so real. I couldn't read the book with dry eyes for that reason. I also had to read the book in one sitting. I'm so glad I did. It was enchanting and the best book I've read this month.