It's beginning to look a lot like love . . .
As her thirtieth birthday approaches, Deputy Jill Flaherty decides it's time to live a little. When she walks into Sawyer Anderson's bar in her sexiest dress, she's not thinking that he's her brother's best friend or about the many women he dated during his years as a pro hockey player. All she's thinking is that it's finally time to confess to her longtime crush how she truly feels.
Sawyer is done being a player on and off the ice. Yet no one in the small town of Christmas seems to believe he's ready to settle down, not Jill, and certainly not Jack, who is determined to keep Sawyer from breaking his little sister's heart. But as Sawyer and Jill's relationship heats up, can he prove that he's her happy ever after?
Tiffany swiveled on the bar stool and batted her fake eyelashes at Sawyer. "You were amazing out there today. I just loved watching the way you handled the ball."
He scratched his cheek. "Uh, it's a puck."
She giggled. "Oh right, I knew that," she said and went on to reveal how depressingly little she knew about the game.
Her voice droned on as he mixed drinks. He handed her one, hoping she'd stay quiet for at least a few minutes while she drank it. Instead, she took the cherry out of the glass and grinned. "I bet you've never met anyone who can do this," she said, working the stem in her mouth.
Only a couple every weekend. He rubbed his jaw, suddenly tired of the meaningless conversations and hookups. He looked across the bar and caught Jill's eye. She held up the ice pack and mouthed thanks. He smiled. Now there's a woman he could have a meaningful conversation with. As soon as the thought entered his mind, he shot a panicked look at his best friend. Afraid Jack had suddenly become a mind reader.
But Jack only had eyes for his wife who was lighting the candles on a sugar plum cake. She'd made one for Jack's birthday two years earlier. It was her signature cake and had turned the Sugar Plum Bakery's fortunes around. A chocolate sugar plum was hidden in each cake. Sometimes it held a wish or an engagement ring. Two years earlier, it held Jack's wedding ring and a goodbye note from Grace to her husband. Jill had been the one who'd gotten the sugar plum that night.
He put the memory of her face--the look of hurt and betrayal--out of his mind and turned off the lights as they once again sang "Happy Birthday" to Jack, only this time he was here. When they finished singing, Sawyer turned the lights back on and lifted a drink. "To our hero," he said, and meant it.
"You're my hero," Tiffany said. At least that's what he thought she said. It was a little tough to make out since she was still trying to tie the stem in a knot.
"Thanks," he said, looking up at the sound of laughter. Jill had gotten the sugar plum again.
She opened it and took out a thin strip of paper, then glanced at him. She chewed on her bottom lip. A nervous habit she'd had since she was a little girl. And there was something about the way she was looking at him that made Sawyer nervous. Could she be thinking back to that night, too?
Tiffany pulled his attention from Jill. "I did it," she said, triumphantly holding up the knotted stem. She gave him a suggestive smile. "Any chance you'll be off soon? I’ll show you what else I can do with my tongue."
Aw hell, he thought when Jill started to walk toward him with her brother looking on. "Why don't you show me now?" he said, and leaned across the bar to kiss Tiffany.
About the Author
Debbie Mason is USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, an adorable grandbaby, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.