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Santa's Plus-One Surprise

Written by Melissa Senate

Chapter Ten

Felicity wrapped the final strand of white lights around the evergreen to the left of the house and stepped back. “Beautiful,” she said, also admiring the wreath they’d hung on the front door.

Drake was quiet. She wanted to hug him, to tell him that dealing with the hard stuff would help…eventually, but she didn’t want to overload the poor guy.

“I’ll go call the Cartlands and set something up for tomorrow.” He pulled out his phone. He seemed to brace himself. “Hello, Mrs. Cartland. It’s Drake Russo. Please don’t hang up. I’d like to talk to you and Mr. Cartland about Colt and how important is for me to be in his life. I’m seriously involved with someone now, a kindergarten teacher at Wedlock Creek Elementary, and she’d like to join us.”

Felicity leaned closer, straining to listen for Mrs. Cartland’s response but she couldn’t hear a thing.

“Her name is Felicity Walsh,” Drake said. “Yes, I agree she is a lovely person. Yes, I do know she was named kindergarten teacher of the year last year. Okay, terrific, we’ll see you tomorrow at 5 p.m.”

He put his phone in his pocket and all the air seemed to whoosh out of him, either with relief or fear that the woman had actually said yes. And that the big plan he’d hung his hopes on had actually worked.

“Must be nice having a good reputation,” he said.

Felicity smiled. “And it’s not that hard to accomplish.”

He raised an eyebrow. “For some people it comes naturally. For others, a wrong look and they’re in the doghouse.”

“Are you saying you’re not a champion heartbreaker? A love `em and leave `em-er?”

He turned those blue eyes on her. “I’m always honest, Felicity. Like I said. I’m up-front about my lack of interest in commitment or relationships. Growing my ranch was always my focus. Now, it’s Colt.”

She stiffened. Yes, Colt had to be his priority. But she’d better remember this man wasn’t ever going to be her future. Fall for him at your own dumb risk! she reminded herself, forcing her eyes off his ridiculously muscular physique. He wore a blue Henley shirt over dark jeans and black work boots, and was too damned sexy.

“So tomorrow we’ll go get a Christmas tree from your non-boyfriend-stealing cousin’s farm, then get it all set up at my place, and we’ll head over to the Cartlands. Sound good?”

It sounded scary—all of it.

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Melissa Senate

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