Faced with spending Christmas alone or with her crazy family, Michelle decides to board a plane for home. Armed with a bottle of wine, she’s determined to make it through an evening of dinner and presents with the relatives she hasn’t seen in ages, including the cousin she once considered a best friend, Maxine.
And then she sees him. Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome is exactly what Michelle wants Santa to leave in her stocking. Will her Christmas wish come true?
She finished setting the table, downed the last of her wine, and was about to disappear into the bathroom again to drown in her own misery when she caught his eye. She’d never seen the mystery man before but certainly if she had, she wouldn’t have forgotten those eyes.
Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome was leaning casually against the side of the couch not the least bit engaged in the game or the conversation going on around him. His full attention was on Michelle. Michelle looked over her shoulder. No, he couldn’t be looking at her. Behind her she could hear her mother arguing with Grandma and her aunts over the exact procedure for getting dinner from the oven to the table. Everyone else was either absorbed in conversation or the football game. She was the only one standing in the dining room with an empty wine glass in her hand. She smiled shyly. His face lit up in a mischievous grin. His eyes sparkled with lust and danger. Oh boy, she thought, who was this amazing creature? She was acutely aware of the mistletoe that dangled innocently over the dining room entryway. A couple of steps and she would be standing under it.
Catherine and the aunts interrupted Michelle’s drooling and chaos ensued as the aunts and her mother quickly covered the table in food and bodies rushed to sit for dinner. Michelle took her seat next to Maxine as she poured herself another large glass of wine. Everyone chattered and laughed as they gathered together at the table. Michelle had to hand it to her mother and her aunts. They may argue a lot but they knew how to get dinner on the table fast. Piping hot turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and various other side dishes lined the middle of the table making Michelle’s stomach grumble. It had been a while since she’d had a decent meal. Somehow the lack of money meant that most of her meals consisted of pasta or frozen meals. This was a nice change of pace.
Maxine handed her the bowl of mashed potatoes.
“So, Michelle, long time, no see. How are things in Chicago?”
“Good, thanks.” She took the potatoes and served a generous portion onto her plate before passing it off to the next person.
“That’s not what I hear.”
Michelle sighed, taking the bowl of corn which was next in line and adding generous spoonfuls next to her potatoes.
“I suppose you heard about Steve,” she said.
“Well, we can’t all be so lucky, I suppose,” Maxine said, “Michelle, I’d like you to meet Evan.”
Michelle looked up from the cranberry sauce reluctantly. How much longer until the turkey and stuffing made its way to her, she wondered. Her thoughts short fired when she looked into those dark, mysterious eyes again. Damn, how could Tall-Dark-and-Handsome belong to Maxi of all people in the world? Say it wasn’t so.
Evan put out a strong masculine hand reaching across Maxi’s plate to do so. Maxi didn’t seem to mind. She smiled smugly noting the jaw drop on Michelle’s face. Michelle gasped slightly at the spark he ignited when he took her hand. Evan was male model handsome with chiseled features and lusty eyes. Maybe it was the large quantity of wine she’d consumed, but she felt as though the whole room swayed when their eyes met.
“Hi,” Michelle said barely able to form the word. He held on to her hand for a moment longer than polite but Michelle didn’t mind. She didn’t want to let go.
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