The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jennifer Snow
Coming in November 2013
Available at Amazon
You can’t say no to a mistletoe kiss, no matter who’s under it!
Since leaving Brookhollow and her fiancé, Luke Dawson, twelve years earlier, Victoria Mason hasn’t looked back. She’s traded the small-town dream of marriage, kids and family Christmas dinners for late nights working at a high-powered acquisitions firm, lunches at trendy New York restaurants and jet-set vacations on the slopes.
So her latest work assignment, to acquire Brookhollow’s sporting-goods store, poses a challenge for Victoria, in more ways than one. Because it’s almost Christmas, and she’s got other holiday plans. And the owner is reluctant to sell. And the owner is Luke. She needs to wrap up the deal before she gets caught up in her old life and her old love…or becomes trapped under the mistletoe. Again.
Victoria’s gaze fell to his left hand. No wedding band. Her relief both irritated and confused her.
“Well, we’re not actually interested in owning this store,” she explained. “My company’s client ran into complications obtaining a permit to build one of their own, with Legend’s still doing business nearby.”
“Well, I guess they’re out of luck. I just bought the place and I plan on keeping it.” Luke collected the discarded packing paper from the new stock boxes. He crumpled the sheets and tossed them into a wastebasket near the counter.
She narrowed her eyes. “I’m surprised you’re interested in owning a run-down sporting goods store.” The Luke she used to know would rather remodel the old-fashioned buildings in the downtown core, not own a retail store in one of them. He’d always had a talent for designing and building things. When they were kids, his derby cars were always the best in the race and she remembered the lemonade stand he’d made for her from the wood left over from building his sister’s treehouse.
“We haven’t spoken in a long time. Maybe I’m not the same guy you remember.” Pulling a Swiss Army knife out of his jeans, he tore into the remaining cardboard boxes, breaking them down.
Victoria had noticed the changes in him, despite her best efforts. Time had been good to him. He was bigger now, muscular and slightly wider around the waist. No longer the physique of a struggling, young, architectural student. His face showed signs of maturity, but the fine lines around his mouth and eyes only enhanced his looks.
Luke straightened and his gaze met hers. “Besides, this store has a history in the community. That means something to most of us.”
Of course. Luke had worked in the store every summer when they were teenagers. His interest in preserving it made sense. “Okay, well I guess we should get to work.” She faked a smile, forcing her professionalism. She didn’t need or want any more time to get to know this man over again. What she wanted was for him to sign her contract so she could get out of Brookhollow. “I’ll have an offer by Wednesday, but we should go over the preliminary paperwork as soon as possible.” She scanned the store for a place to lay out her documents. “The major chain store interested in purchasing Legend’s…”
Luke turned off the lights and unplugged the strand of multicolored Christmas lights draped across the window. Only the glow from the pole lamp outside illuminated them.
“Do you prefer we do this in the dark?” she asked sarcastically.
He slipped his coat on and wrapped his scarf around his neck. “I have dinner plans.” He stood next to the door.
The familiar scent of his musky cologne made her pulse race. She suddenly remembered the nights she’d fallen asleep in his T-shirt, when he’d been away at college. “Tomorrow, then.” She stepped out into the frigid air. “I’ll come by in the morning,” she said through the icy burst of wind and snow. Reaching into her purse, she pulled out a silver monogrammed cardholder. She popped it open with her freshly manicured fingernails and slid one of her cards free. Her hand shook as she handed it to Luke.
“Your card?” he asked.
“It has my cell number on it.” Victoria’s teeth chattered.
“Victoria, this is Brookhollow.” He laughed. “I could stand in the center and call to you, and wherever you are, you’d hear me.”
The rich, deep sound of his laughter caught her off guard. Not at all the boyish laugh she remembered.
“What?” He asked, giving her a puzzled look.
Her cheeks heated and she looked away. “Anyway, let’s not test that theory. Use the cell number.”
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