A Bride for Sam (A Red Maple Falls Christmas Wedding Novella), страница 1
Table of Contents
A Bride for Sam
Dreaming of Daisy Excerpt
Other Books by Theresa
About the Author
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission of the author except where permitted by law.
Published by TMP Books
Copyright December 2017
Edited by CookieLynn Publishing Services
Cover Design by Amanda Walker PA and Design Services
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious.
Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Dedicated to all the crazy Christmas lovers out there.
It’s never too early to start spreading the cheer.
Chapter 1: All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
Chapter 2: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
Chapter 3: Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
Chapter 4: Silver Bells – Anne Murray
Chapter 5: Rockin Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Chapter 6: Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! – Dean Martin
Chapter 7: Step Into Christmas – Elton John
Chapter 8: The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
Chapter 9: Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson
Chapter 10: Santa Baby - Madonna
Chapter 11: That’s What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder
Chapter 12: Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles
Chapter 13: I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Michael Bublé
Chapter 14: Merry Christmas, Darling – The Carpenters
Chapter 15: White Christmas – Bing Cosby
Epilogue: Same Auld Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg
The snow fell lightly outside the window as Sam gazed down at his beautiful fiancée. He trailed his finger up and down Hadley’s arm while she slept soundly against his chest. Her blonde hair that now sat just beneath her shoulders was sprawled out around her like a glowing crown fit for an angel.
He couldn’t believe in a few short weeks Hadley, the girl he had known most of his life, would be his wife.
If someone would have told him a year ago that he was planning on settling down he would have laughed in their face. But then Hadley confessed that she had been in love with him for years, opening his eyes to what had been in front of him all along.
Hadley wasn’t just any girl—she was his soulmate, the woman who understood him like no one else and whose kisses he would never get bored of. Asking her to marry him was the best decision he’d ever made and when she said yes? Well hell, that was the best damn day of his life.
The corner of his lips tugged as he thought of Hadley walking toward him draped in white with a gorgeous smile on her face.
Her hand slid down his side, and she turned her head, pressing a kiss to his chest. “Morning,” she said, looking up at him with beautiful blue eyes, heavy with sleep.
“Gorgeous?” she snorted, running a hand over her hair. “Nobody is gorgeous first thing in the morning.” Just then, Lady, Hadley’s beloved dog, poked her head up from the edge of the bed where she’d been sleeping.
Hadley sat up and leaned across to the senior golden cocker spaniel, scratching behind her ears. “Except for you, girl. You’re always gorgeous.” She rained loud kisses on the top of Lady’s snout as Sam pushed up against the headboard.
“I see how it is.”
“Jealous?” Hadley asked, a wicked grin playing at the edge of her mouth.
Sam wrapped his arm around her waist and yanked her back to him. A loud laugh burst from her pretty lips as he hugged her closely and pressed a kiss to her neck. Sam felt the weight of Lady leave the bed and heard her nails against the hardwood floors as she made her way down the hallway.
“You scared her away,” Hadley joked, but then Sam found the hard peek of Hadley’s nipple straining against her thin tank top and rolled it between his thumb and pointer finger. “Oh,” Hadley moaned as she rested into his touch. He loved how responsive she was and how he knew exactly how to work her body.
“I can call her back,” Sam said against Hadley’s ear. Unable to resist, he dipped his head, nipping at the sensitive skin.
“She’s a big girl. She can let herself out.”
Sam had installed a doggie door over the summer for this very reason. He loved the old timer pooch, but he really hated Hadley leaving his arms before he was ready to let her go. The door was his genius idea to fix that problem, but he didn’t expect Lady to take so long to get on board with it. It was almost as if she refused to spite him, but after many days and nights of pep talks and even attempting to climb through the door himself, the stubborn old girl finally caved.
Though, it took Hadley even longer to go along with it. Lady was her baby and there wasn’t much she would do without Lady at her side, which was why the former foster dog turned forever pup was going to be a bridesmaid in their upcoming wedding. Sam didn’t even blink an eye when Hadley suggested it.
Sam flipped Hadley beneath him and kissed his way down her neck. Her body moved against his, pressing in all the right places, begging for his touch.
“I really should get up. I have to meet Shay to discuss the cake.”
“Just tell her to make what she wants.”
“The cake is an important part of the wedding.”
Wedding planning was outside of his wheelhouse, and he had let Hadley take the reins. He didn’t care about the cake or the flowers, the suits or her dress. She could show up in a burlap sack and he’d still feel like the luckiest damn guy alive. The only thing he cared about was making Hadley his wife; everything else didn’t matter to him, but it mattered to her and because of that and that alone he agreed to have a ceremony with their family and friends instead of following in her sister Kate’s footsteps and eloping.
Sam kissed his way back up to Hadley’s mouth, capturing her bottom lip between his teeth. He nipped gently then swiped his tongue across the seam before pulling back. Hadley whimpered, and he smiled down at her. “It’s just a cake.”
“Don’t tell Shay that.”
“Never. I like my balls.”
He knew better than to downplay the importance of cake to his best friend’s wife. As the owner of Sweet Dreams Bakery, Shay took baked goods very seriously.
Hadley slipped out from under him, but just before she slid off the bed, he grabbed her and drew her back into his arms.
“Sam!” Hadley laughed. “I have to go.”
“Just five more minutes.”
“We both know it is never five minutes.”
She shrugged with indifference. “I guess.”
“You guess?” he exclaimed, grabbing her by the sides and running his fingers along her most ticklish spots.
A string of giggles fell from her lips as she wiggled against him. Her back pressed into his chest, the curve of her ass pushing into his growing erection. A moan rumbled up his throat as her tank top lifted and his hand brushed against her soft skin.
“I give! I give!” Hadley cried out, and at her surrender his fingers slowed to a sensual stroke as he hooked his pointer into the hem of her tank top and inched it up over her head.
“Five minutes,” she said with a smile as she turned in his arms. “Ten tops.”
Ten minutes wouldn’t be enough to do all the things he wanted to do to her, but if ten minutes was all he was going to get then he was going to damn well make every second count.
There was nothing prettier than Red Maple Falls at Christmas time. Snow covered the rooftops and blanketed the tree tops. Lighted garland wrapped around the streetlights stopping at luscious wreaths with big red bows.
All the storefronts were decked out in their own Christmas theme in hopes they would win the annual display contest. Last year Shay snagged the coveted title with her Winter Wonderland theme, complete with homemade snowflakes made out of PVC piping and an oversized snowman that sprayed fake snow from a magic bucket.
Hadley pulled up in front of the bakery. On either side of the door were life-size gingerbread people—a boy with candy buttons and a girl with a pink bow. Multi-colored gum drops lined the storefront along with big lollipops.
She smiled at the detail from the sign that pointed toward the door that said Gingerbread Lane, to the tree in the window decorated with gingerbread men, muffin tins, and spatulas. It looked like something out of a magazine, and while Hadley hadn’t had a chance to check out the competition, she had a feeling Shay was in the running to take home first place again this year.
The bell above the door rang as she entered, and all the glorious smells of Christmas time—a delicious mix of cinnamon and gingerbread, cranberry and peppermint—greeted her. Frank Sinatra’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas played softly overhead.
A rush of nostalgia hit Hadley as she thought about Christmas morning with her siblings as they tore into presents while their parents watched on with their big mugs of coffee. When they got older it wasn’t the same. That first year when Matt was deployed was rough; it was like something was missing. Then Cooper took off on his world travels followed by Daisy to New York. It had been a long time since they were all seated around their parents’ Christmas tree, but this year everyone would be home, and Hadley couldn’t be happier.
“I’ll be right there,” Shay’s voice floated from the back kitchen.
Hadley glanced at the clock and internally moaned as she realized she was twenty minutes late.
“It’s just me. I’m late I know. Take your time.” Hadley unraveled her scarf, unzipped her coat, and hung them as she took in the elaborate gingerbread houses that Shay probably spent hours upon hours on, from the intricate piping that looked like beautiful lace to the orange and yellow pulled sugar windows.
“You like?” Shay asked as she walked out of the back, wiping her hands on a white and pink hand towel.
“It’s amazing. Seriously unbelievable.” Hadley turned to Shay’s wide hazel eyes.
“Wow. Now I know why you were late.”
Hadley’s eyebrow rose, and Shay grabbed her shoulders and steered her toward a mirror. Heat exploded in Hadley’s cheeks, and she quickly started running her fingers through her hair, trying to tame the wild beast.
“I’m going to kill him,” she mumbled under her breath. How did he let her walk out of the house looking like that?
“You can kill him later. Right now, we need to talk cake!”
“Easy for you to say! Your hair looks great.”
Shay ran a hand over her loose side braid. “It usually has Goldfish cracker crumbs in it so I have no sympathy for you.”
“How is my adorable nephew?”
“Just as adorable and as stubborn as his father,” Shay said as she went behind the counter and grabbed her notebook. “I have a lot of ideas I think you’ll love.” She sat at one of the small round tables. Hadley took the seat across from her as Shay opened the notebook to a page with a million pictures paper clipped to it and red and green scribbles across the white sheets. “Before we discuss cake, I want to run some other ideas by you that would be in addition to cake.”
“My ears are open.”
“I’m obsessed with this hot chocolate bar.” She slid a photo over to Hadley of an old rustic white table stocked with all the fixings for hot chocolate, including peppermint sticks, marshmallows, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.
“This is really cute.”
“I was thinking that we could also add cupcakes or pies.”
“That seems like a lot of work.”
Shay waved her hand at Hadley. “Leave all that to me.”
“Are you sure? I know Christmas is a busy time, and you have your hands full at home with Matthew.”
“Let me worry about all that. Besides, you only get married once…hopefully.”
“I’m kidding! Sam will never leave you. The man looks at you like he hasn’t eaten in days and you’re a big turkey leg.”
“I thought it was a compliment until the turkey leg comparison.”
“Fine. Maybe it’s not the best comparison, but you know what I mean. Sam worships the ground you walk on.”
“Like my brother doesn’t worship the ground you walk on.”
“Which is why I’ll never have to worry about another wedding,” she joked. “He’s stuck with me.”
“He wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“I wouldn’t either even if he does drive me crazy.”
“You love it.”
“Just don’t ever tell him that.” Shay looked down at her notebook then back at Hadley. “Okay what are your thoughts on a naked cake?”
Shay laughed. “A naked cake. Look.” She slid a picture across the table and Hadley took it in her hands. “It’s a cake that does without the layer of butter cream so the texture of the cake and the colors inside can really shine. It’s simple, elegant, and perfect for a rustic barn wedding.”
Hadley never thought something so simple could be so beautiful, but the picture she was looking at with a variety of berries coated in sugar and placed artfully on top and around the layers of cake was absolutely stunning. Tears pricked the back of her eyes, and she couldn’t control the smile on her face if she tried.
Shay clapped to herself and shimmied in her seat. “I knew you’d like it. It’s perfect, right?” She pointed at the picture. “It would be about a four-tier cake, and I was thinking, to add a little Christmas charm, I could add a few sprigs of pine.”
Hadley imagined the cake, she and Sam standing behind it ready to make the first cut. The sprigs of pine would be the perfect accent to bring it all together. She looked up, catching Shay’s eyes. “I love it.”
“Yes. I didn’t want anything too flashy and this is…it’s us.”
“Now for my favorite part.” Shay jumped from her seat and disappeared into the kitchen. She came back a few seconds later with her assistant Louise right behind her, each holding plates with mini slices of cake.
“Ready to taste test?” Louise asked as she placed the plates on the table. Her black hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail, accentuating her perfect cheekbones.
“Oh my god, these look amazing.”
“Wait till you taste them,” Shay said, sitting back in her chair and handing Hadley a fork.
Louise rested her
Shay laughed. “That’s because she made that one.”
“What can I say? I’m a baking genius.”
“Just remember who taught you everything you know.”
Louise smirked. “So, I know where you’re at with the cake, but how’s all the other planning going?”
“Good. Everything has been smooth sailing.”
“That’s great. I have read some absolute horror stories online about wedding disasters. Like there was this one where—”
“Louise,” Shay said and shook her head.
“Right, you don’t need to hear about any of that.”
“I’ve been lucky,” Hadley said. “This is the last thing on my list, and then we just have to get married.”
“Saving the best for last.”
“Exactly. Why don’t you join us?” Hadley suggested. She was always fond of Louise, even back when Louise was a bubbly teenager and friends with Daisy. She was a sweet girl who was always good for a laugh.
“Yeah, pull up a chair,” Shay said.
“Can’t. I need to get back in the kitchen. We have a cupcake order for the nursing homes annual Christmas party I need to finish.”
“Are you sure your head’s going to fit through the door?” Shay asked. “Or should I make a call for someone to come and widen the doorframe?”
“I think I’ll be able to manage.” Louise laughed as she walked away then called over her shoulder. “See you later, Hadley.”
Hadley stifled a laugh and gave Louise a wave as she disappeared into the back.
Shay pushed a festive Christmas plate with gold trim toward Hadley. “Try this one first.”
Hadley picked up her fork and took a generous piece. As soon as the cake hit her tongue an explosion of flavors detonated. “Oh my god, this should be illegal.” She took another piece, much smaller this time, and savored every morsel. “What is this?”
A huge smile spread across Shay’s face. “It’s an apple spice cake with a caramel buttercream. It’s not traditional but it’s—”
“Like Christmas in your mouth,” Hadley interrupted.