One Wish: A Christmas Romance, страница 1
A Christmas Romance
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About the Author
Also by Janae Keyes
One Wish: A Christmas Romance
Copyright © 2016, Janae Keyes
All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction. References to real people, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely fictional and not meant to be considered real.
Cover Design: Courtney Cannon
To everyone I love and care about,
I hope all your wishes come true this Christmas.
The ink wasn’t even dry on the papers, but I already felt a sense of freedom from him. I’d just filed for divorce hours ago, and once my estranged husband returned from his business trip, he’d get served.
I’d finally had it with him, and everything he put me through. He acted as if I didn’t know about the other women, his secretaries, and business partners. The women he was sleeping with behind my back, but as much as that was a reason to leave him, it wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Over a month ago, I miscarried for the third time. I was in the most intense pain of my life, physically and emotionally. Through it all he degraded me, called me every name he could think of, whore and slut, the list went on. Somehow he blamed me for being unable to carry a pregnancy to term. He called me a sorry excuse for a woman, for a wife.
I gave him my everything from day one, and still, I suffered daily. I was done with all of it. I didn’t mind giving up the riches, the glamorous parties, the flying first class wherever I went. I was willing to give everything up to be whole again, to be myself.
It was Christmas Eve, and I woke up knowing I wasn’t going to spend Christmas with my family, they would have a million questions about every aspect of my life. Those people were as nosey as they came. I wanted to get away, find a sense of renewal, and do it alone.
Raymond, my estranged husband, and I owned a gorgeous cabin in the Sierra Nevada, not far from Lake Tahoe, it was the perfect place to get away and be alone.
I doubt most people find it desirable to spend Christmas alone, but for me, it was going to be absolutely perfect. Sitting by the fire with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa was all I needed for the next few days.
The snowflakes hit my window one by one and the deeper I traveled into the mountains of California, the harder the snow began to fall. I wasn’t the most adept at driving in the fluffy white crystals that fell from the sky. The quicker I got to the cabin the better.
I carefully navigated the streets of the small mountain town. I hadn’t been to the cabin since last summer when Raymond wanted to throw a lavish Fourth of July bash on the lake. My favorite part of being up there was getting lost in nature. Being a city girl, opportunities to really be one with the Earth were rare, unless one counted getting a mud massage at the spa.
After being in the car for over four hours, I’d finally arrived on the road that led to our cabin. I knew when the divorce was finalized, I wouldn’t be getting any of this in the settlement. My prenup was iron clad. I would walk away with was nothing, but what I needed, my sanity. This Christmas was my last chance to call this place mine.
Pulling up the lane and around the bend, the house came into view. The entire house was built with a wooden structure. Stones lined the exterior walls of the bottom floor and the fireplace. The most magnificent part of the entire house was the windows. All of the major rooms sported floor to ceiling windows that nearly gave a 360-degree view of the land around the house.
In front of the garage, I turned off the engine and stepped out of my Range Rover and into the crunching snow. The chill of the air hit me instantly, prompting me to wrap my scarf snugly around my face. I hurried along to grab my suitcase from the trunk and carefully jogged through the slippery slush to the front door.
I slipped the key from my purse and into the lock. The door opened with a creek. It has been months since anyone had paid a visit. Stepping inside, the air was stale and begging for windows to be opened just for a few moments.
Closing the door behind me, I began to go room to room opening windows to bring in the fresh air. The house was exactly how we had left it after our week spent during the summer. Everything in its place and elegant as ever. Raymond only desired the finer things in life, and no expense was too much when it came to having anything and everything.
I took the time to jog back outside to my SUV where I had a few grocery bags waiting. Before leaving San Francisco, I took a chance at going into the grocery store for a few things. Grabbing the few bags I had, I closed the trunk and headed back towards the house.
The snow had already picked up more in the last few minutes since my arrival. Taking the path towards the front door, I stopped for a moment. I looked around at the gorgeous white flakes falling all around me. I thought of being a little girl and a book my mom would read to me. In the book, there was a story about a young girl that wanted to make a wish. She was told to catch a snowflake with her tongue, close her eyes, and make a wish.
“But Mama, it doesn’t snow around here,” I would tell my mom every single time she read me the story as I was so eager to make a wish.
“Not around here, but in other places. One day you will be in one of those places. Remember to catch a snowflake with your tongue, close your eyes, and make a wish. Then your wish will come true,” she’d say to remind me.
Remembering the story and my mother’s words, I stuck out my tongue. Only a moment later, a small speck of cold struck it, a snowflake. I closed my eyes and made my wish.
It was a little backward in that I’d made the decision to spend Christmas alone, but my wish was to never feel alone. I’d spent too many years in crowded rooms feeling completely isolated. Moving forward, I vowed to never feel alone again.
Upon opening my eyes, I smiled to myself before trekking into the house with my goodies for the next few days.
I rushed around the house as I’d done when I arrived and closed all the windows. I turned up the heat and changed out of my damp traveling clothes.
Everything was quiet as the snow fell outside and I strolled over the hardwood floors in my fluffy socks. A cup of tea in my hand and homemade soup on the stove, I was ready for my Christmas in, alone.
I settled into the large armchair in the sitting room, right across from the fireplace, where I’d lit a roaring fire. Taking a sip of my green tea. I shut my eyes and listened to the crackle of the fire, soothing and calming. There were no family members in my ear yapping about how I was too fat or too skinny. There were no questions to the whereabouts of my husband and no unsolicited advice on how to get pregnant. This year it was all me and my peace.
BANG! I jumped at the sound of a small explosion. My eyes shooting open to find the house in darkness except for the glow of the fire. Something had blown somewhere, and I knew nothing of electricity or what to do.
Anxiously, I searched the dimmed sitting room to where I’d left my cell phone. Upon fi
“Siri, find me an electrician near!” I yelled into the phone, my hands trembling.
I saw the stares they gave me. I tried to ignore them all and act as if I was perfectly fine. That was one big ass lie, I wasn’t fine. Truth be told, I felt as if I was falling apart at the seams, but nobody would ever know that.
I finished up my last job of the night, fixing the generator over at the local grocery store. I’d known the owners of Petersen’s Grocery since I was a little boy. Mr. Petersen signed my paperwork and gave me a nod. His wife wished me a Merry Christmas as I headed out the door. I knew what they were thinking, they all felt sorry for me.
This Christmas was to be my first without her, without my angel, my Katheryn. Who knew I’d be a widow at only 29? Katheryn was taken from me too soon, and I lived with it every day. That car crash had changed my entire world and everyone in town looked upon me with pity. They knew the story, they knew how I was the one driving, that I’d lost control of the car on a patch of ice before slamming into a tree, Katheryn dying on impact.
It was my first Christmas without her, the first of many. Tonight I wanted to get home, put my feet up, and have a beer. I’d convinced my parents that they should still take their planned trip to the Bahamas, I was going to be fine. I didn’t need them around anyway, feeling sorry for me like the rest of the town. Ten months had passed, I’d learned to take care of myself, and I was doing alright.
Toolbox in hand, I walked out to my truck. I threw my tools in the back and paused as the snow came down. Katheryn was always full of hope, I remembered how whenever it snowed she would run outside and stick her tongue out.
“What are you doing out there, baby girl?” I’d ask her.
“If you catch a snowflake with your tongue, close your eyes, and make a wish. Your wish will come true,” she’d tell me with her face filled with joy. Optimism should have been her middle name.
I shook my head and chuckled to myself before I found myself with my tongue out. Instantly, a cold flake struck my tongue. I closed my eyes and made my wish. I wished for the strength to move on from the past and to accept the cards I’d been dealt. Accepting that Katheryn was gone hadn’t been something I could do. It was time I did. There was more to life than mourning. One day, I’d love again.
I hurried to get inside my truck and turn up the heater. Since I’d completed my last job of the night, it was time to head home. I glanced in the rearview mirror, I’d aged in the months since losing Katheryn, it was possibly the lack of smiling.
I looked away from the man that had lost his way and his woman. The past, nearly a year, had made me into a different man from the one I was. I’d lost the carefree spirit that Katheryn had brought so easily. Life moved on around me, and I wanted to finally move with it. I started up the roaring engine when my cell phone rang, it was my boss.
“What’s up bossman?” I asked as I answered his call. He’d been good to me. I needed time off to heal from my wounds, bury my wife, and grieve my loss. I didn’t need to say a word, and he was on it. The other guys picked up the slack. I left with no complaints, we had a brotherhood that was strong, and I appreciated all they did for me.
“We just got an emergency call. Since you’re still out I was hoping you could catch it. The rest of the guys have gone for the night,” my boss and friend Will informed me. What was one more call? I wasn’t going home to anyone anyway.
“I’ll take it. Where is it?” I inquired as I pulled out my notepad to scribble down the address. The place was on Old Forty-Nine Road, that was where all the rich people had their holiday homes, damn rich folks.
I hoped it wasn’t something major. We were expecting a pretty good storm overnight and the way the snow was falling, it seemed as if the storm had already arrived. I wanted to be inside my house when it really hit. They were calling for ten feet of snow, and there was a good chance I wouldn’t be leaving the house for a couple days.
It took a little longer than usual to make it up to that side of town. The snow was really coming down and already piling up on the roads. I found myself pulling up to a mansion of a cabin, typical rich folks place. Everything was dark except the glow of what seemed to be a lit fire.
I hopped out my truck and pulled my hood over my head while grabbing my tools from the back. I noted a white Range Rover parked in front of the garage and rolled my eyes. Our town was small, and everyone knew everyone, but at the height of the winter and summer the population exploded thanks to tourists and rich folks with their vacation homes. I enjoyed the atmosphere of fall and spring when our little community was left alone.
When I reached the front door, I knocked on the large wooden surface with three loud thumps. I shivered as the wind whipped around me. Pulling my coat around me tight, I waited for someone to answer the door.
At once, the door flew open and standing in the doorway was a dream of a woman. Her skin was mocha like rich hot cocoa, her eyes dark and sensual. She stood shivering in a pair of tiny cotton shorts, and a v-neck sweater that gave a peek at her full chest. I swallowed away my manly desires and gave her a smile.
“Good evening, ma’am. I’m from Tahoe Fix-It about your electrical problems,” I said, introducing the reason for my visit.
“Yes, please come in. Don’t want to let the warm out,” she insisted as she quickly moved out of the way and allowed me inside.
She shut the large door behind me as I dusted off my coat and took it off. I spotted a coat rack not far from the door and hung my coat and scarf before turning back in the direction of the woman. I noted her long dark hair pulled to one side and draped over her shoulder, on the other side her neck was exposed eager for lips to kiss it. I swallowed.
“What seems to be the problem?” I asked, eager to get to work. I’d spent ten months of my life without a woman in my arms, and tonight for the first time I felt lustful. Tempted by this woman. They always say that men think with their dicks, I would not refute that claim. “I have no idea. Something blew, and all the lights went out,” she explained, the light of the fireplace illuminating her face, her plump lips covered in a crimson shade.
“Where can I find your breaker box?” I inquired as I studied the front sitting room of the large house, I’d never be able to afford a place like this no matter how many jobs I took.
“You’re going to think I’m the dumbest chick ever. I don’t know where it is?” She confessed. I worked to hold back a laugh, she was a typical rich woman. Though I would say Katheryn was clueless on plenty of these matters as well.
“Do you know if you have a generator?” I asked already thinking of a Plan B to at least get her through Christmas with some power. She shook her head at my question. “Okay ma’am, show me your basement and garage. I will figure out the rest.”
“It’s Melanie,” she said quickly, and I cocked my head to the side not understanding her response. “My name, you don’t have to call me ma’am. My name is Melanie.”
“Oh, I’m Hunter,” I informed her as I extended my hand. She took my hand in her own, it was dainty and soft to the touch. I made quick work of shaking it.
Ready to get to work I motioned for her to lead the way.
Fuck me, standing here watching her walk in front of me, her hips swaying perfectly to the padding of her sock covered feet. Long chocolate legs that I ached to have wrapped around me. I wasn’t the kind of the guy to lust after a girl so quickly and not this type of girl. She obviously had money and came from a different cloth than myself. The faster I got out of there the better for my sake and my sanity.
He certainly wasn’t what I expected. I was anticipating someone older and not jaw-dropping, smoking, hot. He couldn’t be a day over thirty. Hunter was definitely not the kind of guy I was used to. He had a rugged look about him with his scruffy facial hair and plaid shirt. His nose was wide, but did no
I’d led him to the basement and the garage. It turned out the house didn’t have a backup generator, and he would have to find out what blew and fix it. I was lucky that he was able to get to me as quick as he did. He mentioned something about a winter storm hitting tonight, and it was obvious with the wind whistling outside.
I sat by the fire with my then fairly cold mug of tea. I sipped at the cool liquid as I scrolled through my Facebook feed. All my friends were posting photos from their evening with their families and children.
With every pregnancy, I would imagine nights like this, Christmas Eve. I always had plans in mind. Getting my little one excited for Santa’s arrival, baking cookies, reading stories, and putting out goodies for Santa before I tucked him or her into bed. Each time my dreams came crashing down in despair and pain.
Wiping my tear away, I glanced at the time. Hunter had been working for over an hour. Every now and then I’d hear him curse as he tinkered away in hopes of fixing my problems.
Standing from my chair, I strode over to the door that lead down into the depths of the house. I opened the wooden door and used my cell phone to light my path on the way down. As I grew closer, I could hear the sounds of Hunter working away.
“Fuck,” he grunted as I rounded the tight corner and arrived only feet from him. His eyes shot up towards me. Even in the dim light, he used to work, his ice blue eyes were stunning and shocking. “Sorry about that,” he mumbled in my direction.
“No worries,” I mentioned as I looked down at his toolbox, it was open and filled with tiny electrical pieces. My eyes shot up towards him. “Any success?”