Release Date: December 15, 2019
Cover Designer: Vanilla Lily
When Emma Grant caught her boyfriend cheating just days before Christmas, she hatched a plan with her best friend to escape for the holidays.But her getaway wasn’t quite what she’d thought it would be as a record-breaking blizzard chased her up into the mountains of Tennessee where she found herself stranded in a one-bedroom cabin with a man she’d never met. That gorgeous guy just might bring her a magical Christmas—and a happily ever after—beyond her wildest dreams.
The sun had gone down, and the huge snowflakes I’d seen in the parking lot were nothing compared to what appeared to be a whiteout. It wasn’t quite that bad—I could still see thirty or forty feet in front of my SUV but not well. A four-hour drive had turned into six, and I had no idea when I’d reach the town limits.
My cell phone had chirped more times than I could count, but I was too afraid to take my eyes off the road or my hands off the wheel to see who it was. I could only imagine it was Cole, or worse, his cousin. It was late, and the guy didn’t even know me. I hoped to God he was a night owl; otherwise, he was likely pretty angry.
When I thought I’d just pull over and take my chances on the side of the road until the sun came up, I came around a curve and the lights of civilization burned through the white blanket in the sky, a haze making them almost ethereal. I’d never been so excited to see a Chevron and McDonald’s in my life. I made my way to the golden arches and pulled into a space right outside their door to call JD.
I’d missed forty-seven text messages from Cole and had six voicemails. There were two calls from a number I didn’t recognize until I looked at the text Cole had sent me with his cousin’s contact information. It took longer than I hoped to read through all of the messages my best friend had sent, starting from silly to angry and then downright paranoid—all with weather warnings that would have been helpful an hour earlier than they’d come.
I decided to deal with Cole after I returned his cousin’s calls since JD was the one waiting for me. But his number went straight to voicemail. If I’d just listened to the messages he’d left, I wouldn’t still be sitting here. I would have realized that he was at the cabin, waiting for my arrival to let me in and give me the keys. I wouldn’t say that he sounded angry, but I doubted I was one of his favorite people right about now; however, that could just be my being overly optimistic.
Before I got back on the road, I sent Cole a message, telling him I had another five miles to go, and then I tossed my cell phone back into the seat. If I thought the trek I’d just made was bad, it was nothing compared to the last few miles of my journey. The road hung off the side of a mountain, and it was paved in ice. For a girl who’d never driven in snow, this was the worst adventure of my life. All I wanted to do was get inside where it was warm and down a bottle of wine to calm my frazzled nerves.
But when GPS indicated I’d arrived at my destination, there was no destination to be found—just a winter wonderland that stretched on as far as the eye could see, which admittedly wasn’t all that far at the moment. I assumed the driveway was on one side of the mailbox, I just wasn’t sure which side. As I sat there, pressing the brakes, I started to slide and realized the time for debating had come to an abrupt halt. I turned the wheel to the right and prayed I’d taken the driveway toward—something.
Indeed, I had. Just as the SUV went perpendicular to the main road, the driveway dipped into a steep incline that ended at a quaint little chalet. Smoke came from the chimney, and one or two of the lights glowed from the front windows. And as lovely as that scene was, it was trumped by the fact that my car was sliding straight down the hill and into what looked like a very expensive GMC truck. There was nowhere to go. The house barely clung to the side of a mountain, and on the other side was nothing but a cliff leading to a valley. In a split second, I had to decide—the truck’s death or my own.
I prayed the owner of that black machine would forgive me as I slammed into the tailgate. The seatbelt pulled tight against my chest as my body lurched forward in opposition. That muted sound of metal crunching metal pierced the night air, and by the time I’d finally stopped moving, I had an audience of one, and “Jingle Bells” played on my car horn that my arm rested against. I’d bet money the giant looming off to my right with his hands planted firmly on his hips was none other than JD.
And it was just my luck, JD was nothing like Cole and every bit a man who’d tease my dreams. Dark hair, broad shoulders, and a tic in his strong jaw that I could see from here. For the second time in less than eight hours, I tried to hold on to my wounded pride and lifted my arm from the horn so the music wouldn’t keep ringing into the night.
One of Five ARC’s for Holiday Hideaway
About the Author
Bestselling author, Stephie Walls is a lover of words–the more poetic the better. She lives on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina in her own veritable zoo with two dogs, three cats, and Magoo (in no preferential order). She would thrive on coffee, books, and Charlie Hunnam if it were possible, but since it’s not, add in some Chinese food or sushi and she’s one happy girl.
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