Back to December (The Ward Sisters #1)
Straight-laced, 28-yr old Emily Ward thought she had it all: a steady, live-in boyfriend; a job she liked with great future potential; a decent apartment in east coast haven Portland, Maine; and a great family. Her 5-year plan was perfectly on track until the day her sister got engaged and things blew up in her face. Suddenly, she finds herself on a plane to Minnesota at Christmas, trying to escape her life and keep her career on track at the same time. When she literally runs into movie star Deac Roberts shortly after arriving in Minneapolis, she can't begin to imagine how much her organized life will get turned upside down.
Soon, she's swept into something she can't explain to herself, let alone to anyone else. Her family is baffled at her behavior and she's convinced that she had been on the wrong track for years. When the new path she's on takes a sharp left, she runs home with her tail between her legs. But while she helps plan her sister's wedding, she finds herself wondering which was the mistake - changing her path or running away from the new life. By the time little sister Charlotte walks down the aisle, she'll have her answers and they won't be at all what she expected. Can she live with it? Or will she keep wishing she went back to that day in December and did everything differently?
And now, a sneak peek. Every good romance story has a meet-cute. This one is no different. I hope you enjoy it and plan to come along for the ride!
Emily stepped out the door, putting on her gloves as she walked back down the path to the sidewalk. All of a sudden, as she approached the end of the path, near where she had parked the rental, she felt a huge mass slam into her and she was flying into the snowbank. She was disoriented for a moment when a man reached down to help her up saying, “Oh! I'm so sorry! Are you okay? I didn't hurt you, did I?”She looked at the guy, too annoyed to even register his appearance. “Did you just crash into me?”He gave her a sheepish smile. “Yeah. Sorry about that. I wasn't watching where I was going. Um, it looks like the handle of your bag broke.”She looked down at the little bag with the toys in it and, sure enough, one of the handles had broken. When she checked the bag, there was only one of the action figures inside. “Oh no! Where did the other one go?”“Other what? Did you lose something?”“Yes! I just bought these two action figures and one of them is missing from the bag!”“Maybe you forgot it at the register?”“No! He put them both in the bag. I saw him. Maybe it fell out when you knocked me down.”“Let me help you look,” he offered. Given that it was dark and the street light wasn't that bright, she could hardly say no. They looked around near where she had landed and didn't see anything. Then a guy rode by on his bicycle, all decked out in winter biking gear, and she heard the crunch of plastic packaging. The stranger grimaced. He knew as well as she did that the cyclist had just found the toy. He picked it up and his expression grew solemn. “Oh, I'm so sorry. It looks like it got broken.” He handed it to her.“NO! Seriously? This is all your fault, you know. If you hadn't knocked me into the snowbank, I'd have made it to the car just fine!”“I really am sorry. Look, I'll buy you a new one.”“You can't buy me a new one. This was one of the last two in the area. It's why I'm here in the first place. And he just closed the store. I hope you weren't planning to shop. This sucks. Now I don't even have time to get anything else.” Emily pushed the heel of her hand to her forehead.“Can you shop tomorrow?”“No! I was shopping now because I'll be too busy with work the next couple days and I won't have time!”“Why don't you come into the store with me and we'll see if he's got another one.”“Did you hear me? He's closed! And he told me that was it, he won't have any more of these before Christmas, anyway, so it would be pointless.”“Look, the lights are still on because he was waiting for me to show up here at closing time. Just come inside with me. Let's see if he'll help us out, okay? What have you got to lose?”She sighed. “Fine. I guess it can't hurt. Maybe he can order me a replacement and have it sent to my friend.”“This is for your friend?” he asked as they walked back toward the store.“Well, for her sons. I guess they really wanted these action figures and she couldn't find any for a price in her budget. I don't even know if I paid too much for them, but she's helping me out in a bind and I figured it was worth it if the kids got what they really wanted.”“Let's see what we can do.” He knocked on the door and the owner unlocked it, letting them inside.“Robbie! Great to see you. Oh! Hello, miss. Is there something wrong?”“Mac, I just ran into her outside. Literally.” He reached for the broken toy and Emily handed it to him. “Do you think we can replace this one?”“For you, Robbie, anything.” He winked. “I didn't wrap them, yet. Knew you'd want to look them over, first.” The guy went out to a back room and when he returned, he had a box filled with several of the Wolverine toys. Emily didn't count them, but there had to be nearly a dozen. “Here you go. You can decide which one to give her and I'll go out back and get the other two boxes. Everything else is wrapped.”The stranger – she gathered his name was Robbie – looked at her then. Her mouth must have dropped open at the sight of the toys. He laughed. “Mac had already saved them out for me. I knew I could replace it for you if you'd just come inside here with me.” He put the broken toy in the box and took out a pristine one, whose packaging was even immaculate. “Here you go. I really am sorry about that. I wasn't paying attention.”“No. It's okay. I mean, it's not okay that you weren't paying attention, but I won't hold it against you for the rest of your life. Thank you, for giving this to me. You're going to make a little boy very, very happy this Christmas. Not to mention his mom.”“It's the least I could do. What was your name?”Suave. She hadn't given it. She smiled anyway. “Emily.”He stuck out his hand and smiled in return. “Hi, Emily. I'm Rob.”She shook his hand without taking off her glove. “It's nice to meet you, Rob. Sorry I was so grumpy. It took me ages to get here through traffic, and I really don't have a single moment to shop after this. I've got a lot on my plate at work this week and this was my one shot. You saved me. Thanks.”“Anytime.”“Yeah, let's hope that doesn't ever happen again. To you or me. I better get back into town before I turn into a pumpkin.”He laughed again. “Touche. Have a safe drive. And Merry Christmas.” He smiled.“Merry Christmas to you, too.” She smiled back, then turned and walked out the door.This time, she watched carefully as she headed to the car. When she was safely inside, she breathed a sigh of relief. At least she had something to give the boys. One less thing on her to do list. Now it was time to eat some dinner and make it an early night so she could hit the ground running tomorrow.