The snow fell and the temperature dropped.
New York City froze. For once, the sidewalks were empty, stores closed early, even shows on Broadway were cancelled.
Everyone was warned against everything but nonessential travel.
Roxy stayed at home with Mia, trying not to think about the money she wasn’t earning. She and Mia made cookies, following one of Eva’s recipes, and covered the kitchen in flour. Then they made paper chains and read books together.
They were halfway through building a tower out of Lego bricks when there was a hammering on her door.
She opened it, expecting Matt or Frankie, but it was James who stood there.
Her heart lifted and flew, like a bird catching a thermal.
She knew she shouldn’t feel that way but she couldn’t help it.
Just seeing him turned an ordinary day into something special.
His bulky all-weather jacket was covered in snow and he was carrying a long cardboard box on his shoulder.
She giggled. “You look like the abominable snowman.”
“That’s the thanks I get for carrying this ton weight halfway across Brooklyn in a blizzard.”
“You’re puny. I’ve said it before. Get some muscle and you wouldn’t even feel it.”
“I have muscle. You need to look harder.”
If she looked any harder she’d combust. “So what’s in the box?”
He ran his hand over his face to clear the snow. “Shelves. You asked what my life was like growing up.”
“You had shelves?”
“We had a library.”
Her mouth fell open. “A— You mean like the New York Public Library? With the big lions?”
“No lions.” He lowered the box to the floor. “And we didn’t have quite that square footage, but we had a room that was all books. If you’re planning on buying Mia every book I ever read, you’re going to need more space.”
Her heart gave a little jump. “You’re building a library for my baby?”
He stared at her for a moment, looked as if he was about to say something else, then changed his mind. “Yes.” His tone was gruff. “I’m doing this for Mia.”
“And you’re doing this today? When it’s however many degrees below zero and it’s like living on the set of Ice Age, only without the mammoths?”
“This is the day I chose. Every other day we’re working on a job, and you’re working two jobs, so today seemed like a good decision.” He ripped open the box. “Where’s Mia? I don’t want her tripping over this and hurting herself.”
“She’s in the living room building towers. I think she might run a construction company when she’s grown up. If you go in there, she’ll put you to work. That girl puts the boss in bossy.”
“I wonder where she gets that from?”
She put her hands on her hips. “Are you implying something?”
“Yes. Now tell me where you want these shelves. Concentrate.”
She couldn’t concentrate. How could she concentrate when he’d shown up at her door on the worst day of the year to build a library for her baby?
Her brain was a mess.
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