By Mickie Sherwood~*~*~*~*~*~
Although Ashley Wagner feels more like Scrooge than Santa, she keeps her promise and accompanies her sister back home for a Christmas wedding. Her three-day weekend is off to a rocky start, thanks to the unexpected run-in with her womanizing ex-husband, and his very pregnant new wife. She manages to get away with her dignity intact, but later, with old wounds ripped open, the professional crisis manager ends up in the middle of her own life-altering predicament.
Then, sports journalist Craig Johnston, wheels to her rescue.
Will Ashley spend Christmas brooding over bitter memories? Or will Craig, a dynamic paraplegic, present the deserving divorcée with a gift she can't resist?
Ashley's on a road trip with Craig to attend his business meeting-slash-Christmas party. When they stop to help accident victims, Ashley finds there is more to Craig than what meets her eyes.
She wasted her breath.
Craig had already pulled over to the emergency lane. Simultaneously, Ashley threw her door open and unbuckled her seatbelt. The fact the SUV hadn't come to a complete stop didn't deter her daring exit. Only when her heels sank into the earth did she panic.
"Ashley!" Craig's voice sliced the night air. The SUV finally halted its roll several feet beyond her.
The harshness of his voice got her attention. Standing upright was a balancing act. Ashley briefly looked over and saw light illuminating inside Craig's SUV. She heard the whir of the back door motor.
"That stunt was crazy!" The angst in his voice was unmistakable.
Ashley wanted to respond but couldn't. Too busy willing her body to stand tall, her arms continued to flail. She teetered, back and forth, in her fashionable heels. The unsteadiness of her stance seemed to go on forever. Defiance kept her standing, until her footing stabilized. Regrettably, it was for a mere second.
Much to her horror, Ashley lost the battle to the pull of gravity. She closed her eyes, yet the pain she anticipated never came. Instead, Ashley made a soft landing—directly across Craig's lap.
Craig, now nose-to-nose, glowered at her. "What did you think you were doing?"
She owed Craig again. Nonetheless, she retorted. "Don't use that tone with me."
A staring contest ensued.
Ashley knew he performed a balancing act of his own. Craig's chair was propped on uneven surfaces, the wheels lodged on both the blacktop and the grassy slope. Her feet dangled precariously. Feeling the rocking movement, she attempted to get off.
"Wait." His fingers locked at her waist as he tried to steady his chair with his other hand.
Ashley sensed restrained power in his touch. Now grooved into his body, she languished there. Craig's minty breath seared the skin on her cheek. Although caught up in the moment, she knew his chair would topple if she didn't reduce the added weight. Her mind made up, she garnered the will to move. At the same time, an unpredicted change occurred in Craig's body. She jumped off his lap—in a hurry.
A car pulled up, throwing light their way.
Ashley felt like she was under a microscope as Craig's glazed eyes tracked her every move. A tic attacked his right eye, crinkling his cheek. One side of his mustache cocked upwards. She charged, "I don't see anything funny."
Safely situated, he sported a meddlesome grin. "I'm sorry. You're right."
Smoothing her dress at the hips, she stepped back. Her mind rebelled in confusion over what had just transpired. Craig seemed to find humor where, as far as she was concerned, there was none. "Then why are you grinning?"
"I'm a man, Ashley." Craig's smile broadened. His voice relayed subtle intimacy. "And you're a beautiful woman. Sometimes the unexpected happens."
Experience the tender moments as Ashley and Craig overcome obstacles, and learn more about each other one wonderful Christmas weekend.
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Mickie Sherwood is an author and a novice photographer. Using her backyard as the backdrop for her inspiration, she loves taking pictures of nature. Her love of photography incites her creativity for writing. Spending time with her family and cruise vacations, also stokes her imagination.
With all of her interest combined, fascinating characters and intriguing circumstances can develop.
Mickie also enjoys a good laugh. Revel in the humorous stories she shares about life, at her blog—Mickie's Mutterings.
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First Chapters Blog: http://www.bayouloveromances.blogspot.com