Northern Hearts (Heroes of the Tundra Book 2) is my Christmas novella set in the real-life town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. It’s called the Polar Bear Capitol of the World. I set my entire series there, and my husband and I flew up in 2019 so that I could do proper research on the town and its polar bear research facilities.
I set this story during the Christmas in between Northern Deception (Book 1) and Northern Protector (Book 3). The inspiration for the story came to me out of the blue—I love it when my brain and creativity strikes like that—because I was thinking about family situations and secrets.
I had the vision of a rich young woman with every advantage she could have in her life, but still yearning for more. And her family held a long, dark secret in the past. She’s about to find out about a family member she had never known existed before, and how that person had been following her life from afar.
The hero is the opposite. He’s grown up without a proper family in the foster care system and the unknown family member of the heroine has been a stand-in mother figure for him. When the hero and heroine meet and are forced to work together for thirty days to meet the legal requirements of the family member’s will, they have to examine what their relationships mean to them and learn to work together.
Being a romance, they will fall in love, but I include some real-life festivities that take place in Churchill, and some traditions that I wish I’d done myself over the years. I believe that family traditions keep memories alive and serve the purpose of keeping families intact, especially when children are young and growing up. Once they’re grown up, some traditions need to change to facilitate the changes in the family make-up, for example, adult children marrying and the “family” enlarging.
Like the Sabbath being made for man, not man for the Sabbath, as Jesus taught us, I think that family traditions like every person being present at Christmas dinner when that may not be feasible, need to be looked at in the light of love and common sense. Christmas dinners may need to be done rotationally. Traditions may need to grow and change as the years go by.
That doesn’t mean that our Christmas excitement and celebrations of our one true King shouldn’t take place or be enjoyed. They just may look different from year to year, and that’s all right. The true meaning of Christmas is that Jesus is the Light of the World and our Saviour. I wish you all a blessed Christmas!
Here is a quick excerpt from Chapter 1 of NORTHERN HEARTS:
Wild and dangerous and the town has nothing of significance…
With that ringing in her ears, she grabbed her soft-sided hot pink suitcase and hauled it upright beside her. The clock read 9:45 a.m., so she was right on time. Her ride should be here any minute. Gazing around the tiny, one-room airport, she noticed a twelve-foot-high polar bear skin hung spread out in a wooden display case. The sheer height and width of it gave her pause.
“It’s nothing but snow, ice, and polar bears,” her dad had said. She rolled her luggage over to the huge case and checked out the five-inch claws on the paws of the polar bear skin. Its teeth were three inches, at least, bared permanently in a snarl. The entire fur from side to side had to be four feet wide.
She drew in a breath to calm her nerves and turned to read the huge blue and white sign on the wall.
“Welcome to Churchill, Manitoba–Polar Bear Country,” it read.
Go beyond a polar bear alert warning sign
Approach or feed a bear for any reason
Walk at night after 10 p.m.
“Always be alert and aware of your surroundings,” said a deep voice from behind her left shoulder.
Adrenaline rippled through her veins. Kali gasped and jumped. “Excuse me?”
“Sorry.” The man who’d spoken loomed over her. His fur-lined green parka hood, which he shoved back out of the way, framed his brown hair and beard scruff. His brown, almost black, eyes didn’t look the least bit sorry. His thick, longish hair poked up in an unruly fashion and curled around his ears. He grinned, showing white, even teeth she couldn’t help but stare at for a second. Handsome. Unbelievably handsome.
“Sorry, that’s the next line on the sign—you are reading the sign, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I mean, I was… I just…” Kali stopped. Get a hold of yourself! You’re babbling.
“The most important thing to remember is that bears can be in town at any time of day or night,” he quoted from the sign. “I’m assuming you’re Miss Kali McIntyre?”
She drew herself up to her entire 5’ 1” height. “You can drop the Miss. And yes, I’m Kali McIntyre.” If this guy was her ride, she’d just hit the lottery.
He drew off his enormous fur-trimmed gauntlet and thrust his right-hand forwards to shake her hand. “Excellent. I’m Jake Miller, from The Great Northern Lodge.”
©Laurie Wood 2019
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You can buy Northern Hearts here: https://amzn.to/33CFJeE
Northern Redemption (Heroes of the Tundra Book 4) will come out in 2023.