For Fudge's Sake
For Fudge's Sake
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Can this curvy girl get over her scroogy self to find the true meaning of the season (and maybe her very own HEA?)
- Grumpy Sunshine
- Curvy Girl Heroine
- Enemies to Lovers
I hate the holidays. The only thing worse than spending them alone is being forced to leave New York City and head to Texas for my stepsister’s Christmas wedding. I’m holding out hope the trip will be worthwhile and I’ll get some face time with my dad. I’ve been trying to pitch an idea I’ve been working on for the family business that would make all of the years of working under his thumb worthwhile. So when I find out I’ve been paired with Mr. Christmas himself at the wedding, I’ll do whatever I can to stay on track and avoid being infected with his holiday cheer.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. Spirits are high and everyone’s hearts are filled with joy for the season. Everyone’s except the gorgeous curvy girl I sit next to on my way to my best friend’s wedding. When I find out she’s the maid of honor, I vow to do everything I can to show her there’s a reason for the season.
Get a Sneak Peek at Chapter 1
Get a Sneak Peek at Chapter 1
There was only one thing I hated more than Christmas and that was having to travel over the holidays, especially to a tiny town in Texas no one had ever heard of. At least I’d managed an upgrade to First Class thanks to the thousands of miles I’d logged over the past year. Spending ninety percent of my time traveling for work ought to count for something.
I slipped my earbuds into place and leaned back against the leather seat, more than happy to spend the flight from New York to Austin immersed in the non-fiction business book I’d downloaded.
Before the audiobook started, a tall guy wearing a red and green plaid flannel shirt stopped in the aisle. He had his sleeves rolled up to the elbow, exposing strong, drool-worthy forearms, and gestured to the empty window seat next to me. “Hi, I think that’s me.”
My hope of having the row to myself dissipated. I unbuckled, stepped into the aisle, and waited for him to get settled.
He buckled his seatbelt, then held out a giant hand. “Thanks. I’m Zander.”
“Holly.” I gave him my best nice-to-meet-you-now-leave-me-alone look and barely slid my hand into his. He closed his fingers around mine in a confident grip. I dragged my gaze up his strong forearm, then over his well-trimmed beard and wide smile. He looked like the perfect mash-up of Henry Cavill and Chris Hemsworth when they starred in their superhero roles. If anyone might be able to tempt me to join the mile high club, it would be a guy like him.
Too bad I wasn’t in the market or the mood to engage in anything beyond a reluctant greeting. The holidays had that kind of effect on me.
He let go of my hand and seemed undeterred in his effort to engage me in conversation. “Are you heading home for Christmas?”
“Something like that.” I wasn’t about to spend the next fifteen minutes trying to explain to a stranger how I’d been guilted into attending my stepsister’s holiday wedding. Especially a hot stranger. Not when it didn’t even make sense to me. That was my dad, though. He’d been blessed with the gift of being able to get people to do what he wanted. It came in handy when we did business deals together, but I hated his talent when I was on the receiving end.
“There’s no place like home for the holidays, is there?” Christmas cheer oozed from Zander’s perfect pores. I scooted over in my seat so it wouldn’t be able to jump the armrest and infect me.
“Mmm hmm.” I didn’t want to be rude, but was more than willing to let him know I wasn’t up for making idle conversation during the long flight. “If you don’t mind, I need to catch up on my reading for work.”
“Of course.” His lips spread into a wide smile with enough heat behind it to ignite the tiny glowing ember in my gut.
I closed my eyes and shut it down before any attraction could start to simmer. The last thing I needed was one of Santa’s self-appointed helpers trying to infuse me with holiday joy.
One mimosa, two audiobooks, and over three hours later, the plane touched down in Austin. As soon as the seatbelt sign turned off, I got up to grab my carry-on from the overhead compartment. Someone had turned my bag around to make room for theirs and I couldn’t reach the handle.
“Can I help you with that?” Zander didn’t wait for a reply before he grabbed my bag with one hand and set it down on the ground between us.
The glacier packed around my heart thawed for a moment. “Thanks. I appreciate it.”
“My pleasure. I hope you have a good visit with your family over the holiday.”
Yeah, my family and the holidays. Reminded of the reason behind my pilgrimage to Texas, my lips froze halfway into a smile. “You, too.”
His brows drew together and eyes narrowed for a split second. Then that warm, frosted sugar cookie smile spread over his mouth again. “Merry Christmas.”
The door opened and a blast of heat rushed in from the jetway. I barreled ahead, yanking my roller bag down the aisle and leaving the jolly stranger behind me.
While I waited for my luggage to appear in the claim area, I scanned the crowd of drivers holding signs. At least I wouldn’t have to battle the crowds heading for the car rental agencies. My dad had arranged for a town car service from the airport to the hotel in Broken Bend.
Spotting my name scrawled in red and green print, I headed toward the older man with a full white beard who stood behind the sign. He looked like a doppelgänger of Santa himself, right down to the wire-rimmed glasses perched on top of his nose.
“Holly Berry?” Bright blue eyes twinkled as I approached.
“Yeah, that’s me.”
His lips spread into a wide smile. “With that kind of name, I bet you’re just full of the holiday spirit.”
“Ho, ho, ho,” I muttered. It’s not like I hadn’t heard that joke or a variation of it a few thousand times over my thirty-three years.
“If you’ll point out your bag, I’ll grab it for you.”
My phone rang as I spotted my plain back, hard-sided suitcase slide down the conveyor belt. “It’s that one there. I need to take this, if you don’t mind.”
“Go right on ahead. I’ll get your bag and meet you outside by the car.” He headed toward my bag with all the vim and vigor of a man a fraction of his age while I answered the call from my dad.
“Hey, Holly. I saw your flight just landed. Did you find the driver I sent over?” My dad’s deep, rich voice rolled through the phone.
“Yeah, he’s grabbing my bag now.” I slid my sunglasses over my eyes as I stepped out into the too-bright sun.
“Great. We’re about to head over to meet the groom’s family for dinner. I trust you’ll be all right on your own until tomorrow?”
“Of course.” I might work for my dad’s company, but I hadn’t seen him in person in almost two years. Shame on me for thinking he might put his plans on hold to give me a hug when I got to town.
“Let’s meet in the morning for coffee before the wedding events get started, shall we?”
“I’ll see you then.” He disconnected before I could say goodbye. For the millionth time since I left New York, I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake in coming to Texas.
“Let me get the door for you, Miss Berry.” My driver opened the door to a black town car and gestured for me to slide in.
A blast of cool air hit my cheeks as I got settled on the cushy leather seat. The scent of peppermint drifted past, probably from the candy-cane shaped air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the window.
I could survive spending the holidays in Texas, including enduring my stepsister’s wedding, if it meant getting face time with my dad. If I wanted the chance to carve out a section of the family business for myself, I didn’t have much of a choice.