If you’re too good at protecting your heart, you just might succeed.
I love my small town, even my small-town name. I love living in the house I grew up in, minus the parents who’d moved to a retirement community. I love it when everything stays the same.
What I don’t love is that the sweet little old lady I’ve always lived next door to passed away. To make matters worse, her money-hungry grandson showed up to do a couple of quick fixes before putting the house on the market.
Rowdy is the epitome of everything that’s wrong with the world, including the stupid nickname he insists on using. Where was he when she was alive? Why can’t he respect my privacy when I’m in my backyard? And how could his smile be so contagious?
It’s not that I was opposed to smiles or happiness or guys who exuded sex appeal. The problem was that he was only going to be in town for a couple of months, short enough he wouldn’t even tell me his real name or what he did for a living.
Then he had the nerve to take a job at the grocery store where I worked. He couldn’t possibly get any more annoying. Why bother with a job when you aren’t sticking around? And how in the world did we end up under the mistletoe together at the company Christmas party?
The kiss was almost enough to make me let my guard down. Almost. But the bombshell I found out immediately after the kiss was more than I could handle.
Imagine my surprise finding out my grandmother had been alive. Had been. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out until I got a letter explaining that she’d passed away and I’d inherited her house.
She’d lived in a small town in the Colorado mountains. A far cry from my life in Vegas but all I had to do was fix it up, put it on the market, then let the realtors do the rest. Between the income from the sale and my savings account, I’d be able to quit my job as a stripper and go back to school. I wasn’t sure what for, but it wouldn’t be stripping.
I’d heard small towns were friendly but my grandma’s neighbor hadn’t gotten the message. No matter how many times I said hi and tried to talk to her, she made it clear I was the unwelcome outsider.
Did I simply want what I couldn’t have or was Mae truly the woman of my dreams? She was sweet and simple in a way I’d never understood. The most basic offerings in life like sunsets and snowflakes filled her with joy.
I’d thought I wanted a reprieve from the fast-paced life of a stripper, but Mae showed me what I really wanted. Life with her and all of the simplicities. Without a university in sight, it’s possible I overstepped my bounds taking a job at the grocery store where she worked but I was dragging out my stay and spending as much time with her as possible.
Little did I know it would lead us to a kiss under the mistletoe. A kiss that solidified every suspicion I’d had that my life wouldn’t be complete without Mae. But I might have misread her starry eyes when I pulled away because minutes later, she was running out of the party instead of into my arms.
Was giving up city life and my plans for a university education worth the fantasy I could convince Mae we were meant to be together?