I love the holidays and always have. When I was growing my family didn’t have a lot of money so Christmas was one of those times that really stood out. There was more food on the table that I could ever imagine and my mom always managed to make sure that our tree was full of presents on Christmas morning.
True some of those gifts would be practical things like pjs, underwear (my family is infamous for gifting it), and socks but there would also be a gift that seemed so far out of our family budget that was a huge surprise. The magic of Christmas was born for me on those many early mornings.
I have been lucky in that I haven’t had really “hard” times as an adult but those early Christmases stuck with me. My kids have grown up “adopting” a family for Christmas to give gifts to and by giving all of their change to the Salvation Army bell ringers. Seriously, I doubt there is one in my city that we haven’t visited!
“Dashing through snow,” Will said, under his breath, too.
She tipped her head back and started laughing. “Is that song also in your head?”
“It’s impossible for it not to be. We are in the middle of a freakin’ Norman Rockwell Christmas scene.”
“I would have said Currier and Ives.”
He shook his head. “You like to argue, don’t you?”
She thought about that for a long minute. She did have to always make sure she had her own opinion. “I never thought of it that way. I just want to make sure I’m standing on my own, not following someone else.”
“Me, too. And this is definitely Norman Rockwell. You’ll never convince me otherwise.
“Are you sure?”
“How could you possibly? I’ve made my mind up and I never change it,” he said.
“Never? Are you sure about that?”
He nodded. “I can promise you I will never change my mind. Once a decision has been made I stick to it.”
“Duly noted,” she said. It was something that she might see as a red flag if they were going to date long-term, but for two weeks… What did that matter? “Jingle bells, jingle bells…”
He squeezed her close, putting his finger under her chin, and when he tipped her head back, she looked up at the strong line of his jaw. There was a tiny birthmark under his chin. Something she wouldn’t have noticed if they hadn’t been sitting so close. She reached up and touched it.
“Beauty mark,” she said.
“That’s what my mom always calls them. She has one that looks like a strawberry along her neck, and she says it’s a mark of inner beauty.” Penny missed her mom but she was in the Caribbean with her new husband celebrating the holidays. Exhaling softly, she stroked his neck. It was strong and had the tiniest bit of beard stubble on it. His light brown hair brushed the side of his face and she pushed it out of the way.
“No one has ever suggested there was anything beautiful about me,” he said gruffly.
She looked into those incredible blue eyes of his and wondered about this man. She had a bunch of questions about his past. What had shaped him into the person he was today? Why would anyone be satisfied with two-week relationships?
But she kept those questions to herself. “You have to know you are a very beautiful man.”
“Rugged maybe. And I get charming a lot…but beauty? Nah.” She understood where he was coming from. But there was something about his confidence and the way he pushed her to take him on his terms that contributed to what she saw when she looked at him.
Or at least what she saw now, on this magical snow ride. “Well, we can agree to disagree.”
What is about the holiday season that makes it magical for you?
One lucky reader who leaves a comment on my blog will be randomly selected to win a Holiday Heat swag pack including all three books and some goodies. Good luck!