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Hold Me at Twilight

Hold Me at Twilight

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 195+ 5-Star Ratings!

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  • 63 Pages
  • 1-2 Hours
  • 19K Words
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He's stranded without his passport. She's surrounded my meddling relatives. Love might have a chance… if her family stays out of it.

When Knox Campbell goes to Portugal for a short business trip, he never planned on losing his documents. Now he’s stranded in Porto, his passport lost, and his credit cards canceled. Unable to return to the US and without a place to stay, Knox turns to the travel agent who suggested the local day attractions for assistance.

Jacinta Romano loves helping her clients set up their dream trips, although she doesn’t usually meet the ones visiting from abroad. But all that changes when a client shows up at the agency while her meddling family are still there. They latch on to him immediately, insisting Jacinta bring him home while he’s stranded. Thankfully, he’s only staying until his new passport arrives and after two weeks of playing hostess, she’ll be glad to send him on his way. Or will she?

If you like sweet romance stories with a large meddling family and a hero stranded on a foreign country, you'll love this fresh take on a sweet trope! Unforgettable stories of family, love, and learning where you belong. Discover Northern Portugal with the Romano cousins as they fall in love when they least expect it! Perfect for fans of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Virgin River, and Chesapeake Shores!

 

Main Tropes

  • stranded
  • unexpected vacation
  • meddling family

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Synopsis

He's stranded without his passport. She's surrounded my meddling relatives. Love might have a chance… if her family stays out of it.

When Knox Campbell goes to Portugal for a short business trip, he never planned on losing his documents. Now he’s stranded in Porto, his passport lost, and his credit cards canceled. Unable to return to the US and without a place to stay, Knox turns to the travel agent who suggested the local day attractions for assistance.

Jacinta Romano loves helping her clients set up their dream trips, although she doesn’t usually meet the ones visiting from abroad. But all that changes when a client shows up at the agency while her meddling family are still there. They latch on to him immediately, insisting Jacinta bring him home while he’s stranded. Thankfully, he’s only staying until his new passport arrives and after two weeks of playing hostess, she’ll be glad to send him on his way. Or will she?

If you like sweet romance stories with a large meddling family and a hero stranded on a foreign country, you'll love this fresh take on a sweet trope! Unforgettable stories of family, love, and learning where you belong. Discover Northern Portugal with the Romano cousins as they fall in love when they least expect it! Perfect for fans of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Virgin River, and Chesapeake Shores!

Intro into Chapter One

Knox shifted his backpack and straightened. This had to be the place. Only one person occupied the store front across the street, a young woman with brown hair. He checked his information, confirming the address and the name of the business. Even if the regular agent wasn’t in today, he still had to take care of the issue. After the day he’d had, he was ready for a good meal and a long night’s rest. But even that was out of his reach until he filed a police report.
The travel agency nestled in a small space decorated with brightly colored posters of local popular attractions, and the window was dressed with gold letters and a garland of clear mini lights along the casing. His one-week business trip to Porto, Portugal, had kept him busy during the first few days, leaving no time for sightseeing. But the training had gone well, and he’d found himself with free afternoons and evenings on the last three days, and out of ideas of what to do and how to use his time wisely.
After asking around, one of the Portuguese guys he’d worked with had recommended a local travel agency. Knox sent an email requesting ideas and the helpful agent had given him suggestions for events, trips, and points of interest. She’d also helped him figure out the train and bus schedules inside the city.
On impulse, at the end of the first sight-seeing day, he’d emailed her back to thank her, remarking on what he’d done that day. She’d replied the next morning with tips and more places to visit. They repeated the exchange for the next few days and he’d thanked her for making his time more enjoyable during his stay in Porto.
Several times she’d offered to help with anything else he might need, and he was just about to put that offer to the test.
When the light turned green, he joined the other pedestrians and crossed the street. Two older women chatted in front of the store window and when he paused by the door, they stopped and eyed him for a moment. Knox went in.
The young woman stood from her desk and said something in Portuguese.
Not again. Knox raised his shoulders. “I’m sorry, but I only speak English.”
“That won’t be a problem. What can I help you with?”
A temporary rush of relief came over him. Her friendly voice and ability to communicate filled him with gratitude. He felt the absurd desire to hug her but wisely resisted.
She glanced at the wall behind him.
Knox turned to find an ornamental clock with folk paintings of Portuguese icons. “You probably have an appointment and here I am barging in. I’ll try to be brief.”
She came around the desk. “No, I don’t have any more appointments today, but we’ll be closing soon.”
The two older women who’d been on the sidewalk entered the agency and the woman’s smile faltered. She said something to them in a very fast cadence, and they waved her off and sat on the two chairs along the wall. What was that about? Did she know them?
Knox turned back to the agent. “I had a J. Romano help me earlier in the week.” He paused. This was turning more awkward than he’d anticipated. “Something came up and I could use some help today.”
“I’m J. Romano. Are you a client of ours?”
It was her then. The woman before him with striking brown eyes and gorgeous dark hair also went out of her way to help others. His heart felt lighter. She’d made his trip so much more enjoyable. Well, up until last night, but that was completely unrelated.
He stepped forward. “Yes, I’m Knox Campbell. We exchanged emails this week.”
Her eyes widened. “You’re Mr. Campbell?”
“In the flesh.” He grinned at her.
“I wasn’t expecting someone so—” She studied him briefly, but recovered quickly. “I’m sorry. I’m being extremely rude. What can I do for you, Mr. Campbell?” Her expression softened in a gentle smile.
Knox hesitated. Someone so what? What had she been about to say?
“Did you extend your trip?” She asked, before he got a chance to reply. “I seem to remember that you were leaving today.”
He’d be home by now if he’d left as planned. Maybe not that far, but at least closer to landing in New Jersey. “Well, about that.” He blew out a breath. “Someone stole my wallet last night.”
She gasped. The women on the chairs asked her something and she replied to them quickly. When they started talking in excited tones, she shushed them.
She turned back to him. “I’m sorry. You were saying your wallet got stolen? How awful.” Her face was very expressive, her eyes full of sympathy for his situation.
Knox’s ears heated. If it had been only his wallet. “My wallet with all my credit cards, my ID, and my passport.” He confessed.
“Oh, no.” Her eyes widened. “That must be so inconvenient for you.”
Inconvenient was not a strong enough word to describe it.
One of the women stood and Miss Romano stopped her with a raised hand. The woman sat back down.
“Are these clients waiting to talk to you?” Knox looked at the women and they smiled at him.
“They’re not clients.” She glanced at them sternly and the women quieted down. “Have you been to the police yet? What did they say?”
Knox dragged his attention back from the exchange between the travel agent and the women. “Yes and no.” He rubbed the side of his neck. “I went to the police station, but that didn’t work out too well. I was hoping you could come with me and help me file the report with the officer on duty.”
She stared at him.
“Just to facilitate the translation.”
“Oh, yes. They don’t always have someone there who can speak English.”
He’d found that out the hard way. It seemed that every other Portuguese spoke English until he’d needed one. Then, of course, he couldn’t find anyone who knew enough of the language to help translate his report.
The older women rose from their seats and approached Knox and Miss Romano. Knox stepped back.
Miss Romano sighed. “Excuse me, please.”
In hushed tones, she conversed with the women who gestured in his direction several times. Miss Romano shook her head more than once, but in the end she relented to whatever they’d asked and spoke to them for a few moments longer. Whoever they were, they acted like they knew the travel agent personally and not just through business.
Were they trying to talk her out of helping him? What was he going to do if she changed her mind about coming with him to the police?

***

Of all the days to have Mãe and Tia Mariana show up to go home with her, this was not a good one. They came by a few times a week so they could walk home together with Jacinta. Depending on the day, she either appreciated it or wished they’d give her some room. Today would have been better if they’d skipped the visit.
“He’s such a nice looking young man, Jacinta,” Mom said again.
“And his eyes are so beautiful.” Tia Mariana was partial to blue-eyed young men.
“He’s a client and you two have to be quiet, or I’ll ask you to wait outside until I’m done helping him.” Jacinta talked under breath while trying to keep her smile.
She sent them a look loaded with warning, hoping it would work for a few more minutes, then turned back to the client. Mr. Campbell was a surprise. She hadn’t expected him to be this young. From his emails, she’d assumed he was an older man who’d need some guidance in a foreign city.
But he was young and good looking and had the bluest eyes she’d ever seen, and it was quite embarrassing that her mom and aunt wouldn’t stop staring at him.
“So you just need me to come and interpret for you, Mr. Campbell?”
He shifted his attention from her mom and aunt who still stared at him very impolitely. “Please, call me Knox. And yes, that’s all I need.” Hesitation filled his eyes for a brief moment. “I realize this is out of the realm of your regular work as a travel agent, and I’ll happily pay for your time. I’m hoping it won’t take too long.”
It most likely would take some time, considering the slow, laborious Portuguese bureaucracy. But she didn’t want to dash his hopes and tell him otherwise unless she had to.
“I can certainly help you with that.” As inconvenient as it would be to accompany him, she couldn’t leave him to go to the police by himself when he’d come to ask her.
“Thank you so much,” he said. When his expression bloomed in open relief, that was all the confirmation she needed to know she should help him.
She went around her desk. After saving several documents, she turned off the computer.
Mãe stood and approached her, with Tia Mariana on her heels. “What did you say that made him so happy?”
Jacinta flipped off the back lights. “He needs to file a police report and I’m going with him to help translate.”
“Jacinta, that is so nice of you,” Tia Mariana said with a huge smile in Mr. Campbell’s direction.
Mãe nodded, her expression matching that of her sister-in-law.
Jacinta suppressed a sigh. These two were more than she could take at times. “Come on, I need to lock up,” she said to them.
She addressed Mr. Campbell in English. “Mr. Campbell, let me introduce you to my mother, Celestina, and my aunt, Mariana. They’re on their way home and just stopped by to say hello.”
He shook their hands and smiled. “Olá.”
Mãe and Tia Mariana started talking with him and he chuckled. “I’m afraid that’s all I know.”
Mr. Campbell excused himself, then stepped out and waited for her on the sidewalk.
“Are you going with him right now then?” Mãe asked her.
“Yes, I’m going now so he can get it done and move on. I’m sure he’s anxious to get his wallet back, if at all possible.”
Jacinta turned on the alarm and gently prodded her relatives out the door so she could lock up.
Tia Mariana stared at Mr. Campbell. “How soon will he go back to America?”
“I have no idea, Tia.” Jacinta turned the key in the lock and slipped it into her purse. She pulled out her phone and googled the directions. “Mr. Campbell, the closest police station is about thirty minutes away on foot. Do you mind if we walk there?”
“I don’t mind at all,” he said lightly.
Tia Mariana turned to Mr. Campbell. “Why don’t you come for dinner when you’re done?” she said slowly and loudly.
His forehead wrinkled and he shrugged at Tia Mariana. “What did she say?”
“She invited you for dinner when you’re done at the police station.” Jacinta explained. She should have known Mãe and Tia Mariana wouldn’t let Mr. Campbell leave without an invitation.
“What does the normal protocol say in a situation like this?” Mr. Campbell asked her.
“What protocol?”
“I read in a travel book about Portugal that it’s impolite to turn down invitations. Is that true?”
Jacinta hid a chuckle behind her hand. “That’s entirely up to you, Mr. Campbell. They’ll survive if you turn them down.”
He hesitated for a moment. “Would you tell her I’ll have to wait and see how long it takes?”
Jacinta related back to Tia Mariana and Mãe, saying she’d keep them updated but making no promises. She couldn’t gauge Mr. Campbell’s reaction. Was he trying to politely get out of the invitation or did he want to go but was unsure of what Jacinta thought?
She said goodbye to her mom and aunt, then walked away in the opposite direction with Mr. Campbell beside her.
Did she want to bring him by for dinner? Tomorrow was a holiday and a lot of the extended family would be at the house tonight.
How would he react to the crazy chaos of the Romano family?

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