Love doesn’t come easy for everyone. Sometimes it never shows, and for others it’s stolen from their lives.
Michelle Harper quit trying to find love after a string of failed dates. Sure, her life hadn’t turned out quite like she expected, but she was done trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. She was perfectly happy filling her life with her love of cooking.
Weeks before Christmas, a chance encounter brings Jake Smith into her life. The spell of the season weaves around her, and she’s quickly caught under some mistletoe with the handsome stranger. When Michelle can’t keep Jake off her mind, she realizes she’s gone too far.
With her heart on the line, she can only wait and see if the magic of the holiday season will bring her the best gift of all… love.
“Where were you off to when you fell over?”
“I fell over?”
Jake rubbed his rough cheek. “Well, you took one look at me and toppled over.”
“Wow, aren’t we just full of ourselves?” Michelle chuckled.
He brushed nonexistent lint off his chest. “I can’t help it if women just fall at my feet.”
Michelle watched as Jake’s head jerked toward her with the impact of Annie’s hand.
“Ow! What was that for?” Jake asked Annie as she dropped the bags and walked away.
He never got a response. The woman shook her head and shot him an annoyed look as she took her place behind the counter once again.
“Do you make friends with women everywhere you go?” Michelle teased.
“I must be losing my touch.” He glanced down to look at the text preview that lit up his phone. “Big baby,” he mumbled at the screen before his eyes met hers. “May I walk you to your car? Or were you going home on foot?”
Michelle pointed at his phone. “Sounds like you’re being beckoned.”
“He can wait however long it will take me to walk you somewhere.”
Her stomach flipped and flopped at those words. So simple, and yet the sweetness of it all caused her to feel special. Something a man hadn’t made her feel in way too long. “My car is a couple blocks in the direction we just came from.”
Jake put cash on the table to cover the food and offered her his hand. She placed hers in it, and he helped her from the booth. He refused to let her carry her own food and led her past the curious eyes in the diner.
The snow came down once again, and the icy flakes fell on her warm skin. After releasing his hand, she adjusted her scarf and he flipped up the collar to his coat. With a shy smile, she slipped her bare hand back into his. She knew it was too cold to go without gloves, but she wanted to feel his warm skin against hers.
“You probably won’t agree with me, and it’s a crappy thing to say, but—”
“But?” Michelle asked.
His smile lit up his face as he looked over at her. “I’m really glad I ran you over.”
She leaned her head on his arm and laughed. “Yeah, you’re right. That is crappy, and trust me, my wrist doesn’t agree with you at all, but—”
“But?” he teased.
Michelle sighed and playfully rolled her eyes at him. “I’m glad you tackled me to the ground too.”
Jake chuckled. “That was not a tackle.”
She raised her eyebrow in disbelief. “You’re so full of it.”