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Santa's Plus-One Surprise

Written by Melissa Senate

Chapter Three

The next afternoon, while on final recess duty in the schoolyard of Wedlock Creek Elementary, Felicity unloaded on her friend and fellow kindergarten teacher, Darcy DeLoria.

Darcy ran through a list of her husband’s friend and coworkers, then nixed every one of them as the opposite of “perfect boyfriend” material. “Oooh, wait,” Darcy said. “Perfect fake boyfriend problem solved,” she added, pointing across the schoolyard to the field.

Drake Russo was in a huddle with his little soccer players. Scorching hot with thick, messy dark-blond hair and intense blue eyes, the tall and muscular Drake was a cowboy with his own successful cattle ranch and farm. He’d recently started volunteering as the elementary school sports coach—which had surprised everyone and made him even swoonier to the female population of Wedlock Creek. Drake had asked Felicity out earlier this week in his charming way, and though surprised and flattered, she’d turned him down. Everyone at school knew Drake’s reputation as a heartbreaker who didn’t do relationships or commitment.

Wait a minute…lightbulb: he would be perfect for a fake boyfriend for a family wedding.

Looks: Movie Star.

Job: Man of the Land. And that was some pricey pickup he drove.

Standing in Community: The guy was a volunteer coach for elementary kids. Enough said.

Charm Factor: 10 out of 10.

Her family would love him. And Felicity would have no expectations of him because she’d know going in that he was a six-hour date. He’d be the perfect fake serious boyfriend. Her family would stop feeling sorry for her and she could get on her with life.

She stared at Drake as he knelt down to give a little girl with red pigtails a pep talk. Last week, when he’d shocked her by asking her out (Felicity hadn’t thought she’d be his type, with her twin sets and wavy long brown bob), she’d been even more surprised to see real disappointment on his handsome face. That unexpected disappointment had stayed with her, making her wonder. Could he actually be interested in more than another notch on the ole bed post? Nope. Because later that same day, she’d seen him sidling up to two other and far sexier female teachers, so he’d gotten over her real quick.

The dismissal bell rang, and she narrowed her gaze on her target as he led the kids back to the schoolyard. “I’m going to ask him,” she said to Darcy. “Wish me luck.”

“Wait, Felicity, Darcy said. “He’s probably gonna want to know what’s in it for him.”

Felicity thought about it for a second, came up with nothing, then marched over to him.

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