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To risk or not risk? That is the question. A second-chance, enemies-to-lovers novel.
With Christmas on the horizon, things take an unexpected turn that will force Lexi Russell to decide whether love is worth the risk.
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With a twist of the doorknob, Cort was gone.
It felt like a great wind had just died down.
“Now there is a truly nice guy.” Junie rose from her seat and began clearing the table.
Lexi, choosing not to remark even if she agreed, stacked several dirty plates to take to the sink. She wasn’t about to let her little sister do more to help her mother than she did.
Her father and Todd, carrying Parker, headed for the TV set and proceeded to switch on a football game while Parker contented himself with the stackable blocks her mom had put out.
“Don’t you think he’s hot?” Junie asked, seemingly affronted at Lexi’s lack of response.
Hot? The guy was pure fire. “He’s good-looking,” she said, hoping to sound nonchalant.
Junie set the used silverware on the counter with a huff. “You don’t fool me.” Junie came close to Lexi’s ear and whispered, “Because I caught you many a time kissing him that summer. And you were a mournful old soul when he suddenly disappeared. And now he’s back.” She returned to normal volume. “He’ll need a partner to run the enterprise he’s fixing to create.”
“A life partner or a business partner? In either case, not interested. I’ve got a life in California. A job that needs me, remember?” Because she sure did.
She placed six dessert plates, napkins, and utensils around the table
Junie shook her head as she plugged the coffeemaker in. “I bet he’d be worth giving it all up for. And he’s got money.” Junie set about filling the dishwasher in that methodical, every-dish-has-its-place way that was pure Junie. Rather than risk putting a plate in the dishwasher the “wrong” way, Lexi rinsed the dishes and handed them to Junie to load.
“Don’t try to play matchmaker. Especially with someone who hasn’t shown a grain of interest and lives thousands of miles from me.”
“In Wyoming. Your home state.’
“But not where my job is. I’ve worked too hard to get where I am. I love what I do.” At least, she did when things turned out well and she collected the bonus. “I make good money. I have no desire to give it all up, much less for a man. Besides, he had his chance. He wasn’t interested then, and he isn’t interested now.”
Junie shook her head. “You were children then. Just now, he offered to take the time to feed your horse so you could spend more time with your family. That sounds like interest to me.”
“As you said, he’s a nice guy. He’d do that for anyone.” But the offer had touched her.
Their mother rose from the table. “You could do a lot worse than Cort McClane.”
That was the problem with an open-concept floor plan—nowhere to hide.
“I’m sure that’s true.” She could have married Philip, who, in contrast, was looking a lot less appealing. “But the circumstances aren’t right.” And, thankfully, she wouldn’t be at the ranch long enough to be tempted to start up something that had no future.
Not to mention, Cort had given no indication he’d be tempted.
Her mother shoved leftovers into the packed refrigerator and turned to the girls. “Leave the rest for now. Your father and I would like to have a family meeting with you both. Todd’s going to keep Parker occupied. After, we’ll have dessert.”
Lexi stilled. “This sounds serious.”
“It’s nothing bad. In fact, Dad and I feel it’s something good. But it’s something we need to discuss with the family. Not that Todd’s not family.”
“I can listen from here,” Todd called out. “It’s important for your parents to have your full attention, though.” Todd hit the remote, and the TV volume lowered.
Lexi glanced at Junie. Her sister averted her gaze. Her mother had said it was something good. She hoped that would prove true.
Excerpt from Country Snow and Mistletoe ©2022. These are works of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialog in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or person, living or dead, is completely coincidental.