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Isn't it enough Cleora Butterfield has agreed to be her enormously pregnant BFF's back-up birth coach? Does she really have to repeat last year's disastrous New Year's Eve blind date with Ross Hollister—one of said friend's favorite people—even if the man is smokin' hot? She has enough on her Christmas platter with planning and delivering the annual holiday pageant for her 5th and 6th graders.
Ross returns to the charming small town of Green Earth, Minnesota to get away from the rat race in New York City, where he babysits his celebrity clients. He longs for the peace and quiet the Christmas season can deliver here. So being Cleora Butterfield's plus one isn't in his plans—even if the woman is exquisitely tempting.
If Melah, a celestial messenger, doesn't step in, Ross's long-held secrets and Cleo's badly broken heart might get in the way of any hope for a Christmas romance.
Page Count: 214
Word Count: 53270
“Hello, Cleo,” he said in an even tone. “I see you survived your ordeal. Run into any more snowbanks lately? I haven’t gotten any 911s from you.”
She looked like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights.
“Ross! I didn’t see you there.”
She pushed her cart toward him, hips sashaying, eyebrows lifting, relishing the battle—not demure, not biddable, not simple.
“Having fun with Jillie and Tris?” She cocked a hip and set one hand on it. “Is Sadie still crazy about her ‘Unca Ross’ this year?” She grabbed the bottle of wine out of his hands and glanced at the label.
He grinned around his clenched teeth. “She seems to be. Of course, I’m crazy about her, too.”
“What’s not to like? The kid’s great. Tristán won the lottery with that one.”
Ross shuffled his feet. “No argument. Gee, Cleo, something we agree on. Go figure.”
She handed the bottle back to him. “Nice nose, bold, full-bodied, with a velvety finish—good choice.”
“Are we talking about the wine?” he questioned, raising one brow.
Then she smiled, and her face changed from alluring to softly beautiful. The effect was stunning—the flawless complexion plumped pink by the cold, her lips soft and inviting, her eyes as dark as obsidian and surrounded by the longest lashes he’d ever seen. A one-of-a-kind face. A classically beautiful face. Why hadn’t he ever noticed the softness before?
Because she had never smiled at him.
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