Now that Halloween has passed and it’s November it’s time for all the great holiday romances to come out. If you’re like us you look forward to this all year long. Today we’re sharing a brand new holiday romance. A Holiday Christmas by Heather Lire.
Corey looked around his living room one last time, making sure everything was where it was supposed to be. Averie was coming over so they could start going over their lines. When he had taken her call earlier at the police station, he’d barely succeeded in keeping all the other officers from overhearing his side of the conversation.
Cops were extremely nosey. A hazard of the job, he suspected, but there were no secrets on the Holiday Police Department. No matter how hard a person tried to have one, and he didn’t want them to know how much he had wanted to be chosen for the play.
The pealing of the doorbell had him moving across the floor. It had started snowing as he’d pulled into his driveway, so he didn’t want to leave her standing on the porch for long. He opened the door to a gust of snow flurries and pulled Averie inside the warm house. He assumed it was her. She was bundled up so he couldn’t see anything but her eyes.
“Here, let me help you,” He told her, taking her coat from her shoulders. He opened the closet door and hung it up. He took her hat, scarf and gloves and hung them on the pegs inside the closet.
Corey turned back to her and sucked in a breath.
Damn, she did something to him. He couldn’t remember when a woman had affected him like she did, and he was looking forward to getting to know her, on more than one level. Her cheeks were red from the cold, making a stark contrast to the pearl white of her skin, and the bright green of her eyes.
It was her hair, however, that first intrigued him. He’d never seen that shade of mahogany red on a woman that hadn’t come out of a box, and he was almost certain hers was natural. She had on a Vermont University hoodie, with jeans stuffed into a pair or winter boots. It didn’t hurt she had a Marilyn Monroe body type. As far as he was concerned she was the epitome of a perfectly-shaped woman. Not the current trend of stick figure.
“If you want, you can take your boots off.”
She nodded, sat on the chair by the front door and began the process of taking of her boots.
He wondered if she was ever going to talk to him. She’d barely spoken to him the day before while they were in the mayor’s office. He knew people were intimidated when he was in uniform. Heck, he used to be intimidated by cops before he’d become one. But he wasn’t in uniform now and, hell, he didn’t even have shoes on.
“Would you like some tea, hot chocolate, or coffee?” Maybe that will get her talking.
“Hot chocolate, please.”
He had to strain to hear her whispered answer.
“Why don’t you join me in the kitchen when you’re done with your boots?”
All the way to the kitchen, he listened to the sounds of the house – the creaking and settling that happened every night. He expected to hear the opening and closing of the closet door then the front door. When it didn’t happen, he breathed a sigh of relief.
He really wanted to get to know Averie. He’d seen her around town, but most often at the Green Mountain Pub with her friends. She had always been laughing and smiling. Her smile was infectious and he’d found himself smiling in reaction to hers more than once.
His grandma would say he was smitten, and he guessed he was. He’d been trying to ask her out for months. Every time he had approached her though, she would lose her smile and look everywhere but at him. He’d almost always ended up nodding his head and walking past.
But now she was in his house. His luck was turning around.
He pulled a pan from the cupboard, then grabbed the milk from the fridge and the chocolate bars he kept just for hot chocolate.
“You make it from scratch?”
His shoulders relaxed and he smiled at her soft question.
He looked over his shoulder at her. She stood by the kitchen island, her hands gripping the counter so tightly her knuckles were white. She was chewing her bottom lip.
“I do. According to my grandma, if you’re going to make hot chocolate, you should make it right. This is her recipe.”
He turned back to the chocolate. His grandma used to tell him slow and steady wins the race. In this case, he hoped slow and steady wins the girl.
“I like your house.”
He gave himself a mental fist bump. She was actually talking to him.. She was like a shy turtle sticking her head out of her shell.
“Thanks, I moved in over the weekend.”
He grabbed two mugs from the cupboard and poured the hot chocolate. He placed her drink in front of her and pulled the plate of cookies he had discovered on his doorstep when he’d come home in front of her.
“You’re unpacked already?”
“Not what you’d expect from a single guy, right?”
Averie ducked her head and smiled.
“Nope.” She paused and raised her to head to meet his gaze. “So how come you’re all unpacked? I feel like there’s a story there.”
Corey leaned back against the kitchen counter, and crossed his legs in a relaxed manner. Now that she was talking to him, he didn’t want to come across as a cop, but as a man. His sisters claimed he gave off a cop vibe even when he was relaxed. So he made a conscious effort not to.
“There is a story there. It’s called teenage bribery and my mother.”
Averie listened to Corey tell how his house came to be unpacked in hours instead of days. With each minute, she felt another muscle relax. She had been so nervous coming to his house tonight, afraid she wouldn’t be able to say anything.
Her experience with the opposite sex was limited to two boyfriends, one in college and one in Phoenix, while she was teaching there. So to have someone as hot as Corey pay attention to her was more than a little nerve wracking. She’d expected him to overwhelm her.
Instead, he had been laid back and easygoing. He’d let her steer the conversation, not that there had been much conversation.
“Your sexy intimidates me.” Averie gasped and slapped her hands over her mouth. She wanted to sink through the floor and all the way to China. She couldn’t believe she just blurted that out. She thought she’d overcome her habit of blurting out whatever came to mind when she was nervous. Apparently not.
He quirked his eyebrows at her, “My sexy intimidates you?”
Damn and blast.
He wasn’t going to ignore what she’d just said.
She waved a hand at him.
“Look at you. You’re what, six foot two and not an ounce of fat on you. I bet underneath that shirt you have a friggin’ twelve pack. Then there’s your Black Irish hair all sexily mussed, like a woman’s been running her hands through it, combined with your blue eyes and that half smile quirk you get.”
Averie stopped talking.
Now comes the cocky “I know I’m sexy and I know it attitude,” she thought.
“I was five foot seven at seventeen.”
She gaped at him.
“When did you grow?”
“I had a late growth spurt and started spending all my free time in my favorite activity.”
She didn’t remember much about him from when they were teens. He was three years older than she was, and had gone to school somewhere else.
“What’s your favorite activity?”
That was the last thing she expected to hear.
“The freedom. The power. The thrill. Have you ever stood on the top of mountain and known the only way down was a five foot piece of material and your own body?”
She shook her head no. The most adventurous thing she’d ever done was move across the country to teach school.
“It’s freedom. Next to sex, it’s the best high you can have.”
At his mention of sex, she felt her cheeks grow warm in embarrassment. She needed to change the subject, and fast before she blurted out something really embarrassing.
Averie Baldwin wants nothing to do with men. But her family and friends are determined she won’t spend her first Christmas back in Holiday, Vermont alone. So far she’s managed to avoid all their attempts to set her up on dates. Until she’s chosen to represent the school district in the town’s annual Christmas play…with the sexiest man she’s ever seen.
Corey Evans has a job he loves, great friends and a loving, if interfering family, but something is missing. When Averie shows back up in town he knows exactly what he needs in his life. Her. Getting to know her however has proven difficult, until they are thrown together on the annual Christmas play.