Kelsey Patrick is homesick for the snow and family Christmas tree from her childhood in Connecticut. The holidays are coming and South Florida weather is lovely, but it's not what she wants for Christmas. She's making the best of it, but she expects her Christmas to be un-snowy and lonely. When she receives a lovely and thoughtful last minute Secret Santa gift from Mrs. Claus, Kelsey's Christmas spirit is revived. When she tries to find the one who gave her the gift under the guise of Mrs. Claus, she makes an assumption that leads her down the wrong path.
Brett Taylor is firmly seated in the friend zone and knows Kelsey is making a mistake, but he's in no position to try to change her mind. Just when both Brett and Kelsey are set to spend their holidays working and alone, a chain of events just might change all that. And maybe Mrs. Claus will see her sweet work behind the scenes bring two love birds together at last.
“Oh, you are still going to be able to make it to my supper party after the gift giving, aren’t you?” Kelsey asked. “I mean, it’s nothing special, just a big tray of lasagna and some appetizers and dessert, of course. And being cramped into my tiny apartment will be an adventure. But, it’s Christmas, and you guys are my Florida family. We’re all working over the festive period, so we need to let our hair down a little, don’t you think?”
“Hey, I’m coming back with you after the gifts to help you get ready. Wouldn’t miss the Patrick festive Christmas lasagna,” Annie said giggling. “Tell me what you need me to bring and I’ll get it while I’m out now. It was the best night of the year, last year.”
“Thank you, that means a lot, Kelsey said, touched at Annie’s compliment. “I think I’m good, though.” She paused. “No, hang on a minute. They didn’t have any heavy cream when I went to the store earlier. Could you see if Nielsen’s has any, if you’re going to be next door at Caspar’s.”
“I can do that. Ooh, I do hope you’re gonna use that cream in your famous cherry trifle. I just love that stuff,” Annie said, not disguising the desire in her voice.
Kelsey couldn’t help wondering if she was actually drooling. It made her smile to think her food was so appreciated. “I might, I might not. It’ll all depend on whether you get me the cream,” she teased. “Oh, I’ll get you that cream,” Annie vowed. The two women laughed and made their good byes, assuring each other that they’d meet up at work the next day.
Hanging up, Kelsey wondered what it must be like, to be one of those people who left everything to the very last minute. To not have even thought about what you were going to buy someone, the night before that gift was to be given, that would never sit well with Kelsey. Normally her tree would have been up on the very first day of December, and her presents and cards wrapped and delivered across the country a week ago. She absolutely hated that her tree had only gone up today when it was just a week and a half from Christmas. But, because of all the shifts she’d taken at work she didn’t really have much of a choice if she wanted to sleep any. It was done now and her living room sparkled from all the fairy lights as they flashed their bright hues over the glittering tinsel and shiny metallic baubles. Feeling weary, Kelsey stretched and yawned loudly. Winston looked at her with wide eyes. “Bed time?” she asked him. He ran straight through to the bedroom and began to stake his claim at the end of the bed. He kneaded the mattress with his paws, then settled down, curling his body up into a tight ball, though he left his legs out in front of him, making him look a bit like a furry shrimp. Kelsey slipped off her shorts and tee shirt and slipped on an old night shirt. It had a very faded Mickey Mouse on it and was so misshapen from all the years of washings that it was barely holding itself together. But it was comfortable on the warm nights here in Florida, and so Kelsey would never part with it. The sheets were cool as she slipped between them, and it wasn’t long before she had fallen fast asleep. She dreamed of snow falling all around her with fat, heavy flakes landing on her hair and her eyelashes. Wrapped up in a thick coat, with woolen mittens and a hand-knitted scarf and hat she was toasty warm. She twirled around and around, as though she were a ballerina in a music box, turning her face up to the sky and opening her mouth so the snow could land on her tongue, all icy and fresh. It was like Heaven on Earth, and when the alarm sounded Kelsey didn’t want to wake up and face the bright sunshine, or the palm trees, or the sea because there would be no snow again today in Florida.
Wonderful story! The characters are engaging and I love the emphasis on family. Christmas away from home filled with memories takes the reader on a sweet Christmas adventure with friends and surprises to make for a nice evening read. The end is such a sweet surprise, I never saw it coming! Very good clean romance.
Hayley Wescott loves a sweet love story with the emphasis on the sweet. As a Christian author, she's happy and fulfilled to write stories about real life that don't include cringe-worthy moments or details a reader doesn't really want. Some of Hayley's stories are about real life. Contemporary stories about flawed people and people that have issues. But each of these stories is resolved in a positive way and the guy always gets the girl. As part of the Hero Hearts group, Hayley loves writing about heroes who will save the day in big ways and small ones. With Annie Boone, who writes historical romance, and Kate Cambridge who writes both historical and contemporary romance, these three will deliver sweet stories that will capture your heart. Handsome men with big hearts and big jobs and the women who end up falling for them.
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