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A Pet for Christmas (A Veteran's Christmas Book 2) by [Rachelle Ayala]
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A Pet for Christmas (A Veteran's Christmas Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 ratings
Book 2 of 3: A Veteran's Christmas

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Editorial Reviews


2016 Readers' Favorite Award Finalist
Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite

In A Pet for Christmas by Rachelle Ayala, Kelly Kennedy falls in love with Tyler Manning, a war veteran suffering from PTSD. As Tyler travels the globe trying to find a way to exorcise the demons of war, Kelly and her five-year-old daughter, Bree, wait. Kelly is pregnant with Tyler's son, she is a working mom, and she wonders if her "fiance" will ever be able to live a normal family life. Tyler returns to Afghanistan in an attempt to help the children there while Kelly is left to wonder if he will ever come home to stay. A world apart, both of their lives present severe and dangerous situations. Tyler is in an area where terrorism runs rampant and Kelly struggles with work, a high risk pregnancy, and a five-year-old asking questions that she cannot fully answer. Kelly's concerns are more than just for Tyler's safety and she prays that it can all be sorted out in time for Christmas. Kelly's trust in God gives her something to hold onto while the rest of her life feels uncertain and like it's falling apart.

Rachelle Ayala's A Pet for Christmas is a riveting story of love and hope, terror and despair, and trusting God to do what we cannot. Rachelle Ayala's characters are compelling and real, the story is full of anxious moments as well as tender and endearing ones. Kelly and Tyler go through terrors of their own as they pray to one day be reunited. Bree is sweet and innocent, as five-year-olds are, but with an innocent maturity that raises questions that need to be answered. When things are beyond our control, we turn to God for His help and Rachelle's characters show us just how much we need Him in our lives. A well written story with believable characters and well defined situations that keep you on the edge of your seat one minute and warming your heart the next. I enjoyed this book very much.

From the Inside Flap

"Tell me about my father." My five-year-old daughter, Bree, taps the oak dining table with her fork and knife right after we've said grace. Her blue eyes are large and expectant.
Everyone gathered around my mother's Thanksgiving table gawks at her before turning to me.
"We just spoke to him on the video call." I try to avoid the question on everyone's faces. "He's helping children in Afghanistan, remember?"
The baby in my belly kicks and reminds me how exhausted I am with Tyler, my fiancé, traveling again. He assures me he'll be home for Christmas. I can only hope.
"Not Tyler." Bree pouts and her eyebrows narrow with that determined look of hers--the kind that tells me she's not about to be put off. "I want to know about my real father."
Uh oh. This is not the type of thing I want to be discussing with company. My mother knows, and so does my sister and her boyfriend, Jaden, but we also have church friends gathered around, including Mr. Wong, the widower who recently started dating my mother. The turkey is waiting, as are all the trimmings, dressing, candied yams, potato salad, butternut squash casserole and cranberry sauce.
"Tyler is your father." I pat her shoulder, gently. Last year, right before Christmas, Bree asked Santa for a father. She met Tyler Manning, a war veteran, soon afterwards sitting under the giant Christmas tree at a mall in San Francisco. We both fell in love with him, and I assumed the rest would be history.
Bree blinks and looks away from me, or at least my face since she's staring at my protruding belly. "I want my real papa. The kind who puts babies inside mamas. We didn't know Tyler when I was a baby."
Various throats clear around the table as my mother's guests pretend not to hear Bree's request.
"Pass the turkey, please."
"I'll have a helping of mashed potatoes."
"Anyone want yams?"
Beside me, Bree rattles her plate with her fork and pouts. "A real father would be here for Thanksgiving."
So should Tyler. I'm disappointed too, but now's not the time or place to go into it. I serve a scoop of mashed potatoes onto Bree's plate. "Sweetie, Tyler misses you and wishes he could be here. You know that, don't you?"
Bree crosses her arms and shakes her head, making her blond curls bounce. "He promised he would give me the biggest drumstick."
"You can still get the drumstick." I take the platter from my sister. "See, here? Just for you."
Bree grabs it, looking happy for a split second, before her lower lip protrudes again. "When my baby brother gets here. He'll take the drumstick, won't he?"
"A turkey has two drumsticks," my mother interjects and rubs Bree's head. "I'm sure you and your brother can share."
"Only Tyler's his real daddy, and he'll get everything." Bree stares at her drumstick as if it's the last good thing she'll ever get.
"He's your real daddy, too," I remind her. "You asked Santa for him, and you found him under the Christmas tree."
Bree flings the drumstick onto her plate and climbs off the chair. "You're not supposed to find a daddy under the Christmas tree. They told me at school."
She stomps down the hallway to the guest bedroom she stays at whenever I work late. Great. I wonder what else the kids at school have been talking about. She's only in kindergarten. However, these days, they know everything, although I doubt they understand artificial insemination, which is why I'll never be able to find Bree's biological father.
The baby inside me, Tyler's baby, kicks and turns as a wave of exhaustion crests over me. Some days, I don't believe I can do it all--work a full time job chasing insider traders for the government, be a mother to Bree, and hold onto my high-risk pregnancy.
"Are you okay?" My mother grips my arm. "Any contractions?"
"I'm sorry Bree ruined everything. Please continue with your dinner. I'm going to rest." I didn't want to let her know about the contractions and tightness around my womb. I'd been spotting off and on during this pregnancy, and while I haven't been ordered on bedrest yet, I have to monitor myself by counting contractions and kicks every day.
"It's okay." My mother rubs my back. "Everyone here is family or friends. We understand."
"Thanks. Maybe I should call Tyler again and let Bree speak to him. May I be excused?"
"Of course. It's hard to talk to him when all of us are around. Obviously, Bree heard something from school."
I nod and smile to everyone around the table and push myself away. I can't expect Bree to understand the stress Tyler is under. He still suffers from PTSD caused by his combat days, and even though he hides it from me, I'm only too aware why he's chosen to travel so much.
"Bree?" I stop in front of the bedroom door. "We can't call Tyler until after six our time." Afghanistan is twelve and a half hours ahead of California. "He's sleeping right now."
"I don't want Tyler. I want my real father." Bree flips through a storybook. "My real papa will buy me a dog and play with me all the time. He'll read me stories and take me to the zoo."
"Oh, sweetie." I sit on the daybed next to her. "You have so many people who love you. Me, Nana, Ella, and Tyler."
Bree continues flipping through the storybook. It's my mother's old Barney Beagle book, a story about a dog waiting at a pet shop for his very own special person.
Bree stops on a page where a girl with a fancy coat takes Poodle home with her.
"See how happy they look." She echoes Barney, the little beagle, who is left overnight in the store without a boy or girl. "Will Tyler bring me home a puppy?"
"Maybe," I say idly.
Bree used to call Tyler "Papa" when we first got together last year just after Christmas. Everything was great back then. Tyler had been a homeless veteran, but had landed a job as spokesperson for Warspring, International, an organization that raises and distributes funds for charities benefiting children who are orphans because of war.
He moved in with us, and I thought we'd get married, eventually. We were so perfect together, me, Tyler, and Bree that I got careless about birth control. Once we found out we were pregnant, Tyler redoubled his efforts on finding speaking engagements to earn money to save for a down payment on a house. I don't know why I never noticed, but little by little, he began traveling more frequently and staying away longer.
"Bree," my sister, Ella, calls from the dining room. "Nana says you can have dessert first. How about a hot fudge brownie and strawberry ice cream?"
"A brownie!" Bree drops the storybook and bounces off the bed. "I want a brown puppy just like Barney Beagle. Mommy says my real daddy will bring me one for Christmas."
~ Tyler ~
Sweat ringed Tyler's head and he rolled, tangled in the damp sheets, unable to sleep. The chill of an Afghan winter did nothing to cool the heat coursing his veins. The sports compound he was in charge of was in the northeastern part of Afghanistan near the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains separating Afghanistan from Pakistan.
Minutes and hours ticked by, and he still had a million things he needed to do. Much needed supplies had been delayed, and money was missing from the books. The center director had quit, and key staff members hadn't shown up for work. Instead of running a sports camp for boys, the walled compound had filled up with refugees from areas where the Taliban and other insurgents fought for control after the US withdrew the bulk of its forces last year.
In any case, Tyler couldn't turn needy people away, and after months of being back in Afghanistan, he had to conclude that the sports idea was unfeasible ...

Product details

  • Publisher : Lovely Hearts Press (August 15, 2015)
  • Publication date : August 15, 2015
  • Language : English
  • File size : 1086 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 174 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN : 1515326217
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 62 ratings

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