Dr. Charlotte Avery is the newest resident of Windsor Falls, North Carolina. Just back from the war-ravaged plains of Africa, Charlie only wants to settle into her new life and to reconnect with Elizabeth Fitzgerald, her best friend from residency. What she doesn’t expect, or need, is the instant attraction she feels for Elizabeth’s brother-in-law, Brendan. A single dad, Brendan Fitzgerald isn’t interested in anything that will further complicate his life. Will they be open to a second chance?
Charlie locked the door and came down the driveway. She carried a duffel bag over one shoulder. “Where do you want this?”
He pulled his head out of his ass and got out of the truck. He walked towards her, reaching for the bag. “I’m sorry. I would have gotten that. Where’s the rest of your stuff?”
She grinned at him. “For two days?” She handed the bag to him. “This is it.”
His grin answered hers. “I might be falling in love with you.”
Both stood in the driveway, less than five feet apart, staring at each other. Brendan swore he could hear her heart thudding. Or maybe his. What was wrong with him? First thoughts of her living in his home. Then this. At least the thoughts had been just that. Thoughts. He stared at his sneakers, unsure what to say, or not, next. “Uh, what I meant was…”
“Should I pick a date?”
“What?” If it was possible for him to swallow his own tongue, he would have. Then he heard her laugh. At him.
“If you could see your face!” Laughter bubbled up from her.
Brendan stood there, annoyed with himself. “When you’re through, we can go.” Great! Now he sounded like a pouting teen. “I meant to say, we have a long drive. We should go.”
She stretched up and kissed him. He felt it to his toes. “I’m sorry, Brendan, but I couldn’t resist. Of course, you don’t love me yet. You don’t even know my favorite flavor of ice cream.” Leaving him scratching his head at that one, Charlie walked around his truck and got in.
Brendan did the same. “Mine’s mint chocolate chip. In case you were wondering. And what does favorite ice cream flavor have to do with anything?”
She buckled her seat belt, grinning at him. He backed out of the driveway. “That’s what I call it when you’re getting to know someone. The ‘what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream list.’ You know, like when’s your birthday? What’s your favorite holiday or season? Dogs or cats? Things like that, superficial but fun facts about someone that you don’t know yet.”
They came to a red light. He turned to look at her. “September 15th, Thanksgiving, winter, and definitely dogs.” He grinned.
“I’m more of a December 1st, Memorial Day, summer kind of gal. You get points for dogs though. Dogs rule, as everyone knows.”
“Memorial Day? I had you pegged for more of a Christmas or Valentine’s Day kind of girl.” The light changed, and he continued on.
She stuck her tongue out at him, making him wish he wasn’t driving. “Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, my favorite season. It became very important to me when I lived in Chicago. By Memorial Day, I knew I wouldn’t be cold again for a while. I hate being cold.”
“And Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday. I want flowers because it’s Tuesday and someone thought of me. Not because it’s a national holiday and there’s a marketing campaign. Of course, I do love Christmas. Who doesn’t? From the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. I love the decorations, especially the over the top, ridiculous ones. The ones my parents looked down on. And gifts are fun of course. But more than anything, I love the way people are a little bit nicer to each other.”
Brendan couldn’t stop the grin if he tried. Charlie was unique. “It’s a shame you’re so shy about expressing your opinions,” he quipped, tongue planted in cheek.
About the Author
Kimberley O’Malley is a recent transplant to Charlotte, North Carolina from the frozen North. She is learning to say y’all but draws the line at sweet tea. Sarcasm is an art form in her world. When not writing, she is a full-time nurse and part-time soccer Mom, but not necessarily in that order. She shares her life with an amazing husband of more than twenty years, two teenagers, and one very sweet Shetland Sheepdog, Molly.