“It stopped!” Savoy harked, dashing to the window with the burst of energy that her third cup of coffee fueled her with.
It had been four hours since she was forced to exit from the freeway due to an overturned eighteen wheeler and three hours since she was forced to pull over due to heavy snow. To say her Christmas Eve wasn’t going as she planned them would be a drastic understatement. She was supposed to be at her parent’s estate hours ago. Two and a half to be exact. But instead she was stuck at a bakery in the middle of nowhere. What made the two Texan natives buy a place in Maine was beyond her? Nor did she want to understand for fear of falling victim to the same radical thinking.
But there it was. She was in Maine; freezing her ass off.
Well, technically she wasn’t freezing since Sweet Snow was toasty and quaint. Cinnamon, and nutmeg still hung in the air although the ovens had long been shut off. The bakery had been closed for over forty minutes and she knew it didn’t take that long to wrap up. The baker was stalling and she was grateful for it. Not just because he stood six foot one, had the smile of someone from a Colgate commercial and the looks and physique of an Abercrombie & Fitch model in a sweater that would put Chris Evans to shame.
Sure, it was fifty percent. No, make that fifty-eight percent of the reason but don’t judge her for that. She had been single for far too long, based on her own standards and dating in LA hadn’t been something she had the stomach for. Or the patience. What did a woman have to do to find a guy that liked her for her and not the connections she had? Being an advertising executive for a fashion magazine didn’t make things simpler. Once she told her dates what she did for a living one of two things happened; they wanted a hookup (and not the kind she was hankering for) or they were overtaken by intimidation. Which was beyond her grasp since she was a sweetheart; a high maintenance sweetheart but a sweetheart nonetheless.
“It did.” Hudson added, joining her at the window with tongs still in his hand. He took a long look outside, lifted his eyebrows and turned to her. “But I don’t know what this means for your travels.”
“It means…” She gestured ahead. “That I can hit the road again.”
He chuckled at her words and she frowned not seeing what he found humorous.
“Unless you have Santa’s sleigh and his twenty-seven reindeers then I don’t see that happening.” His smile didn’t fade as he went back behind the counter. “That’s two feet of fresh snow and the bridge up ahead will surely be covered in ice. I’m sorry to say you’re stranded.”
“There’s multiple things incorrect about your statement.” She said following him but refraining from going behind the counter. “First, Santa has eight reindeer not twenty-seven.”
“So, you’re trying to convince me that eight reindeer hoisted a hefty jolly man and present for every child.”
“Yeah,” She nodded. “Because they’re magical.”
He chuckled and though it was deep and sexy she narrowed her eyes at him.
“Don’t tell me you believe in Santa Claus.” He put two balls of dough in a plastic container then snapped the lid on. “And his elves.”
“I don’t.” She refuted, withholding the fact that she kept hope alive until the age of nine and a half. “It’s just common knowledge…to everyone that’s not a grinch.”
“I’m not a grinch. I just don’t buy into the hype of Christmas.”
“The hype?” Her eyes went wide with shock. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year and that’s not just a myth. People are nicer around this time and you can feel joy and excitement in the air. You have to admit that’s true.”
He released a disbelieving sigh as he took off his apron and hung it on the hook. “Felicity, Maine is a small town. Everyone’s nice. So, I can’t tell the difference but you said there were multiple things wrong with my assumption about your road trip other than reindeers what else do you disagree with.”
“Umm.” She had to gather her thoughts since the recent revelation of his Christmas hating ways through her from a loop since his bakery looked like he had a pair of elves of his own that loved red, green, silver, and gold way too much.
“Oh, yeah…being stranded.” She snapped her fingers thankfully for her talent to call back details. “I’m not because that’s a BMW which means German made and there’s snow in Germany so therefore it should be able to handle this mess.” She gestured outside.
“Woah!” His hands went up in mock shock. “What happened to loving Christmas?”
“Snow has nothing to do with Christmas.” She said going to the table she’d spent the last three hours checking and deleting emails. “I’m a born and raised Texan that lives in Cali and you know what both of those places have in common.”
“True but not what I was referring to.” She said sliding her laptop back into her leather tote. “Houston and LA don’t have snow on Christmas. I don’t need it. Nor do I want it. It gets everywhere and it melts. I slipped three times at the airport and once right out there.” She pointed to the sidewalk in front of the bakery. “Snow hates me and I hate it right back.”
He shook his head. “You just had a bad experience. Snow…now that’s what’s magical.” He grabbed his coat from the rack by the door. “The way it blankets the ground beautifully, slowing the world down so one can enjoy the small moments in life.”
“You’re…weird.” She told me, sitting the strap of her bag on her shoulder.
He smirked. “So are you.”
“I guess we’re two weirdos in a bakery.” She chuckled and was happy to see his smile deepen.
She joined him at the door, took one more look at her coupe with a heap of snow around its wheels knowing he was right. She wasn’t going to be able to drive in those conditions.
“Looks like I’ll be sleeping in my car.” She opened up her text messages and tried to think of the words to compose that would let her parents know how her travels were going without making them worry.
“You’re not sleeping in your car.” He informed her, putting on gloves. “You’re coming home with me.”
She tsked with a shake of her head, “No, I’m not.”
“It’s going to be freezing tonight with more snow in the forecast. You’re going to get buried in the little car.” He began turning off the light. “And it’s Christmas Eve, you really shouldn’t be alone.”
“I thought you hated Christmas.”
“No. I said it was overhyped.” He flicked off the last light casting them in darkness. “I didn’t say I disliked it. I just think some people go too far with the carolling, ugly sweaters, and tons of presents.”
She nodded agreeing with him. “There’s not many good reasons to wear an ugly sweater.” She readjusted her cap on her head and pulled her braids to one side. “But I still hate snow.”
“I take some offense to that…” He grabbed her coat off the chair and held it up for her. “Since my last name is Snow.”
“Oh…” She sounded, reaching her arms back as he helped her get back into the thick wool peacoat. “I’m pretty sure you’re a cool human and are you sure you don’t have to ask your wife if it’s okay for you to bring home a random woman.”
“I’m not married.” His words greeted her as she turned around.
He shook his head. “No. I’m single.”
“But…” She tilted her head, riddled with confusion. “You said no one should be alone for Christmas Eve.”
“I’m not alone. I have a fur ball waiting for me.” He stuck his hand in his pocket. “Are you ready for the hike.”
“Hike? What do you mean hike?” She asked. “Don’t you have a big truck or something.”
“I live close.” He moved to the door. “So, I walk.”
She let out a heavy breath. “Fine. I’m ready.”
“Don’t you want to change shoes?” He pointed down at her leather boots.
“And throw off my outfit.” She shook her head. “Plus, it’s a block heel. I’ll be fine.”
“Okay.” He said not believing that the type of heel made a difference. “If you say so.”
“I do.” She added, waltzing out the door and pausing on the sidewalk.
A frigid wind blew by and she immediately started shivering. Her mouth made a sad curve at the sight of her rental with a mound of snow on its roof. She knew she was going to need a shovel to get back on the road in the morning. She didn’t linger on the state of the vehicle any longer. She grabbed her overnight bag out the back and turned back to him.
“Led the way.” She gestured down the street that had no visible pavement.
He held out his arm and she hooked her arm around his without hesitation; needing his body heat.
“I’m going to make you fall in love with snow, Savoy.” He said with a little too much confidence.
“You can try.” She held his arm tightly, almost slipping, “But I’m a hard sell.”
She peered ahead at the sheet of thick snow in front of them with disgust. There was nothing anyone could do to get her to love the powdery white stuff. Nothing.