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Sophie’s Christmas Dad

Bearpaw Ridge Firefighters Book 11.5


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This could be the worst Christmas ever in Bearpaw Ridge…or the best.

After a devastating fire nearly destroys bear shifter Elle Swanson’s home, she’s facing the prospect that the big family Christmas dinner isn’t going to happen this year. As the Swanson clan matriarch, she’s always taken care of everyone. Now, she’s struggling to accept her mate Justin’s and her family’s offers to help resolve the crisis. Can she unbend enough to allow Justin and the rest of her family to take care of her when she needs it most?

Meanwhile, Sophie Markidis, an ordinary human girl living on the Swanson family ranch, is looking forward to the best Christmas ever. She’s found the perfect dress for her high school’s Winter Wonderland dance, and she thinks she might have found the perfect date, too—her best friend and secret crush, Matt Swanson. Things only get better when her long-lost biological father gets in contact with her, just in time for the holidays.

But will her dreams be dashed when her wonderful Christmas dad lets her down right when she needs him most?

Return to Bearpaw Ridge for this heartwarming novella about a very special small-town holiday season!

Let us entice you with a short preview of Sophie’s Christmas Dad!

"So, does that mean you finally got around to asking Matt to go to the dance with you?" Now there was definitely a twinkle in Mom's warm brown eyes.

Sophie's face instantly went hot. "Um." She looked away. "I'm just waiting for the right moment. I didn't want to, um, put Matt on the spot with an audience."

"Uh-huh.' Mom sounded skeptical. "Well, don't wait too much longer, kiddo. Or you might be disappointed."

"Mom, it's Matt," Sophie reminded her. "It's not like he's going anywhere until winter quarter starts in January."

"If you say so." Mom didn't sound convinced. Then she brightened. "Oh, I almost forgot. Something arrived for you from AncestorTree. I put it on the island."

Sophie immediately forgot about the dress and her shyness about asking her oldest friend to go to the dance with her.

"Do you think it might be my DNA test results?" She made a beeline for the big, quartz-topped kitchen island. "I mean, it's only been five weeks, and they said it would take six or eight weeks."

She picked up the large manila envelope, which was heavy with what felt like a whole packet of documents, and stared down at it. Her heart was pounding, and she wasn't sure if she was scared or excited.

Probably both.

Mom grinned at her. "Only one way to find out, Ms. Kiddo."

Sophie tore open the manila envelope and pulled out its contents.

She skimmed the first page, which was a cover letter filled with disclaimers about the test results, plus advice about how to interpret results, and suggestions for next steps, such as making your information available for people searching for possible relatives.

The second page of the packet was what she'd been waiting for: a brightly colored pie chart showing the likely ethnicities of her genetic heritage.

She frowned down at it. Huh. That's not what I expected.

She flipped to the next page, which was a list of people who shared her DNA and how closely related she was to them. The page after that was a map showing where most of her DNA-relatives came from.

There was even a note reporting how much Neanderthal DNA she had. She blinked at that one.

"Well, kiddo? You gonna keep me in suspense?" Mom asked in a teasing tone.

"It's kind of weird," Sophie said slowly. "I'm 45% Greek, with 5% Anatolian, which is kind of what I was expecting, because you told me that Yaya and Pappouli were both first-generation Greek-Americans."

Sophie had never met her maternal grandparents, because they had died when Mom was still a kid.

She had always been grateful that Elle Swanson had stepped into the grandparent role, despite the fact that Sophie wasn't actually related to her by blood.

Mom nodded. "What about your bio-dad's half?"

"He's not Italian. At all," Sophie said.

"No kidding?" Mom sounded surprised. "Not Italian? He told me and everyone else in our group home that he was Italian."

"The report says that he's Spanish and indigenous Todos Santean, with a bit of North African thrown in." Sophie looked back down the chart. "And apparently I'm also 1.5% Neanderthal."

"Should I start calling you 'my little cavewoman?'" Mom teased.

"No, don't. Please." Sophie frowned at her mother. "So my bio-dad lied to you about his ethnicity? Why would he do that?"

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