Do you like Winter? I do. Hot cocoa with marshmallows. Chili. Snuggled under blankets with a good book. Sometimes snow.
I’ve decided today’s snippet is going to come from Arrested Holiday. That’s appropriate, too, given that it takes place at Christmas, in the northeast, in the snow and ice, and they have hot cocoa with amazing homemade marshmallows.
“Have you ever played in the snow?”
“Not really, not this kind of snow.”
“Well, put these on, and let’s go. You’ve been cooped up inside for days, and some time outside will do you good.”
Holli took the boots from him and sat down to put them on. “It’s cold out.”
“Taking me outside to play in the snow isn’t going to violate my house arrest agreement?” she asked as he was walking into the bedroom and she was tugging the sweatshirt on over her head. Layering clothes had never been her favorite thing about winter, but at least it kept her warm. She reached up inside the arms and pulled the sleeves of the long-sleeved T-shirts down and smoothed everything into place as best she could. Everything she wore was black. She had to look like a charred marshmallow.
“No more than what was going on before in the bed and no more than the attraction between us.”
He was pulling on a sweater over a long-sleeved T-shirt as he walked back into the living room. The sweater being pulled over his head ruffled his hair, and the casual intimacy of the moment struck something deep inside her. Spending time with him alone, playing, laughing, talking as though they were friends, involved…it wasn’t a good idea. She was going to fall for him, and it was going to be more than his good looks and his kindness that wormed its way under her skin. “Maybe you should have taken me to a hotel and had someone else guard me.”
He tweaked her nose as he passed her to get some boots sitting by the door. “No. Trust me; there’s no one better for the job than me.”
“I’m not going to run.”
“That’s not what I mean. C’mon. Put some of that lotion on your face and let’s go.”
He was like a kid, and his excitement was contagious. Holli quickly put the moisturizer on and set the tube on the counter before letting him help her into her jacket. He shoved a baseball cap on her head and ushered her out into the cold hallway. She shivered.
“Oh damn. Here.” He handed her a pair of gloves he pulled from his pants pocket. “I forgot to give these to you. Mrs. Collins said you could hold on to them until you leave.”
“Nice of her.” Holli quickly put them on, and though it wasn’t immediate or scalding warmth, they were wonderful against the bite of the wind as they stepped outside. “These her boots too?”
The snow was even more blinding outside and even more beautiful. She stood there, looking up, letting it fall on her face. “This is real snow. We don’t get this in Atlanta.”
“What do you get?”
“It’s not powder. It’s wet and icy, but this is…this is delicate, and there are actual snowflakes.”
“We get the icy stuff too, but we’ve gotten a lot more powder this year than normal.”
Holli walked a little farther out into the small backyard but stopped short when a ball of snow hit her square in the chest. “Hey!” Michael’s smile was all innocence. She didn’t buy it for a second. “Weren’t you ever taught not to hit girls?”
“Yes, but snowball fights don’t count.”
“How do they not count?” He was already rolling another ball between his hands, his eyes trained on her. “Oh I see. You’re not gonna play fair.”
“I always play fair.”
He drew back his arm, his fingers… Wait. Were those his knuckles on top of the snowball? She squinted and tried her best to focus, to see clearly. Was he going to…? Oh hell no. He was going to send a knuckleball her way? Two could play that game. One of the greatest knuckleball pitchers of all time played for the Atlanta Braves, and Officer “Pretty Boy” Hunky wasn’t about to show her up. “Unless what?”
Holli dropped down, shed her gloves for the time it took to mold the snow into the right size ball. Her fingers were so numb and cold she could hardly feel what she was doing, but it was going to be well worth it. She pinched off little bits of snow until she had the perfect size pile of powder sitting in her palm. “Unless what, Hunky?”
Carefully she laid the mock baseball down, then picked up the gloves again, making sure to pick a few pieces of fuzz off. After slipping her fingers back inside the blessed semiwarmth, she scooped up the snow baseball, packed the fuzz from the gloves into it so that it could be seen clearly, and took her stance.
“Unless it’s something I really want.”
He looked for all the world like he was waiting patiently, but she knew better. He was in competition mode, just like she was, and there was no patiently waiting about either of them.
“And then I stop at nothing until I get it.”
Be sure to check out snippets from the following authors:
Have a wonderful weekend.