Emma Kelly needs a Christmas miracle.
Nick Shepherd loves his life in Salt Spring Island, where he sculpts in a studio with the grizzled and talented artist Mike Nagorski. Mike's estranged daughter, Emma Kelly, arrives in their quiet haven, and though Nick is immediately drawn to her, he tries to resist his feelings. There may be Christmas magic in the air, but Nick knows it can't last forever...
“Mike’s on a backcountry camping trip,” Nick explained, crossing his arms over his chest. Salt Spring Island was mild compared to some of the places he’d lived, but it was still December and he was wearing only an undershirt. “He’ll be gone for a few more days.”
“What on earth is a backcountry camping trip?” Her words dripped with suspicion, as though she was certain that he was making up an excuse. “There’s snow on the ground.”
“There is,” he agreed, entertained by the surprise on her face. “Lots of people around here like to do the whole communing with nature thing. They head off into the woods and hang out for a while. Even in the snow.”
“Why?” Her tone was horrified, and Nick couldn’t hold back a laugh. While she’d inherited her father’s looks, it was clear to him that the similarities stopped there.
He shrugged and, because he could, reached out to tug at a ribbon of her blond ponytail. She reached up to bat him away, but then their stares met and she stopped moving.
Click. A connection, one he couldn’t explain, snapped into place so firmly that Nick could almost hear it. Yeah, there was something here—that inexplicable something that drew certain people together.
He wanted to kiss her. The realization was strange. He liked to spend time with women; he certainly enjoyed having them in his bed, but he wasn’t all that big on kissing—it was usually all about a means to an end for him.
But this woman? He wanted, really wanted, the taste of her lips on his own. It was just his luck that she was his best friend’s daughter.
The sound of tires crunching over gravel grated in the still air, dissolving the moment. Turning away, he raked a hand through his hair as the cab he’d called pulled up in front of the studio.
“You’re insane, Nick!” The driver was Meg, a twenty-something single mom who had her toddler daughter Lily strapped in the backseat. “Don’t you know it’s winter? Put some clothes on! We know you’re sexy, already!”
He barked out a laugh, not entirely disappointed by the slight stiffening of Emma’s spine. She felt it, too, that thread between them—he knew she did.