Title: The Homespun Holiday
Author: Sarah O’Rourke
Dr. Mackenzie Daniels was a loner. He had the divorce, a far-away family, and well-known cranky persona to prove it. And if he had his way, he would continue on his loner way, in spite of the attempts of the townspeople to infiltrate his life with their irritating, so-called charming ways. That was…until he met the beautiful Nurse Millicent Robbins.
Millie Robbins had done the love and marriage thing, and all she could say was that she got a beautiful daughter out of the entire debacle. Love was not in her long-term plans when she graduated from nursing school, thank you very much….until she found herself falling head over heels for the grouchiest but most gorgeous doctor she’d ever met.
Can Mack and Millie find their way to love in spite of their histories? Can happiness actually exist for two star-crossed lovers?
“Fine. What about a favor, huh? Friends do favors for each other all the time, don’t they?” Mack volleyed smoothly, studying her. “How about you do me this favor, Millicent? You won’t deny me that, will you? Especially since you’re the one that got me into this predicament.”
“No, I suppose not. I’d be happy to spend the holidays with you and your family.”
“Same here,” he admitted softly. “Now, how do you feel about you and Paisley helping me decorate my place tomorrow? It’s Saturday. We both have the day off unless one of my patients decides to go into labor, and since nobody is that close to delivery yet, I think we’re pretty clear there. My family expects to fly into Paradise and find my home a completely undecorated mess. I’d love to knock my sister down a peg or two and surprise her with a perfectly designed Winter Wonderland. Really, this is the least you could do,” he grumbled when Millie didn’t make a peep. “Let me remind you once more that this shit is all your fault.”
“Such a sweet talker.” Millie sighed dramatically and batted her eyelashes demurely. “You sure know how to charm a girl.”
“My ex-wife used to say the same thing,” he reminisced.
“You were married? For real? To a woman?” Millie gaped in stunned disbelief, unable to imagine this male as a part of a couple. Sure, she’d had her fantasies about her sexy boss. Of course she had! He was hot. Lean and muscular in all the right places. And she’d bet her right pinky toe that he was hung like a horse. But that’s where the fantasy ended. Because in addition to all she fantasized about, Mackenzie Daniels was also surly, stubborn and an all-around Gloomy Gus on most all the days that ended in Y.
“For your sake, lady, I’m going to choose not to be offended here,” Mack returned mockingly as he fought a grin. “You don’t need to look quite so astonished; I’m not exactly an ogre, Mills.”
Staring up at him, Millie took stock of the Doc’s high, chiseled cheekbones, his dimpled chin, his square jaw and his perfectly sculpted, extremely kissable lips and she had to agree. “No, definitely not an ogre,” she whispered, as her tongue darted out to lick her suddenly dry lips. “What I meant to say is that I just never imagined anyone that valued his solitude and privacy as much as you do married to anyone.”
“I do enjoy my solitude and privacy, but I’m also a guy, Millie. I do like to fuck.”
Millie nearly choked on her tongue. “Women, right?”
“Yes, women! Did you assume I was asexual? Or did you think I was gay? Do I strike you as a latent homosexual, Millie?” he asked as his steady gaze connected with her nervous one.
“N-no, but if you did swing that way, you should know that Paradise has this lovely florist that’s been looking for love in all the wrong places,” she managed to impart through her mostly frozen lips.
“He’ll have to keep lookin’ then because I’m straight as an arrow, woman,” Mack growled, his eyes skating hungrily over her pretty face.
“Doc, why are you tellin’ me this stuff?” Millie asked, trying desperately to understand where and when this new and open Mackenzie had emerged. Would she find the ‘Old Mackenzie’ collapsed at his desk in the office? Was she hallucinating? What exactly had been in her sandwich from the diner?
“That’s what friends do, right? Share and shit like that?” he asked with a careless shrug.
“I reckon,” Millie mumbled. “But maybe we should think about getting back to the office. It’s almost two and you’ve got a 2:30 with Sandy Bingham.” Honestly, she was more than a little nervous standing here with him because suddenly Mack was eyeing her like she was a steak and he was a very hungry animal. And crazily enough, she found herself not minding in the least the idea of being his meal.
Ignoring her reminder of his afternoon appointment, he kept staring at her. “So, is that a yes to spending tomorrow with me?”
“I… uh…. I guess, if that’s really what you want,” she agreed, her cheeks blushing as she tried to make herself stop fidgeting like a teenage girl being asked on her first date.
“What about tonight? Are you busy tonight?” he asked.
“I don’t think so. Why?”
“Because, you haven’t seen my place. I want to show it to you so that you can get an idea of what we’ll need. I’ll even feed you if you’ll agree to help me out,” he offered calmly.
“I…you’re sure about this?” she asked, not quite able to believe that this man was volunteering to spend time with her. Or hell, with anybody really. Mack was a loner. Everyone, including her, knew it. He’d already knocked her off her axis with the news that he’d once had a wife. Now, he was acting like — dare she even imagine it – like he was actually interested in her?
“I’m positive. And maybe tonight could be an adults-only evening since tomorrow will be kid-friendly,” he suggested smoothly.
“Uhmmm – okay,” she agreed slowly, nodding. “I’m sure my mom and dad won’t mind watching Paisley for a few hours.”
“Good,” Mack declared with a satisfied nod as he reached around Millie to open the vehicle’s door for her. “Then I’ll pick you up at your place around six. Is that enough time to get off work and get Paisley to your parents’ house?”
Millie nodded as she began to climb into the cab of the truck, her mind reeling as she tried to keep up with their conversation. Things were happening so quickly that she felt like she’d somehow fallen into an alternate universe – one where sexy-as-sin doctors wanted to spend time with her outside of work. “Yeah, that’ll be…great,” she acknowledged, her voice a little shaky. Offering him a dazed look, she shook her head.
“What?” he growled in that surly voice she knew so well.
“I don’t understand what’s happening here, Doc,” she said truthfully. “Have you just asked me out on a date?” she asked, her eyes twinkling with enthusiasm as her heart pounded in her chest.
Mack’s face flushed and he shrugged. “Why is it so important to women to label everything? We’re gonna share a meal tonight. If you wanna call it a date, I can’t stop you,” he declared before slamming the door on her reply.
“I’ll be damned,” Millie muttered to herself as she watched him slowly circle the SUV to reach the driver’s side. “It’s an honest-to-God Christmas miracle.”
Sarah O’Rourke is actually TWO besties who live three states apart and write at all hours of the day and night! Born and raised in the Southern United States, they are overly attached to their one-click accounts, can’t make it through the day without copious doses of caffeine, and spend way too much time on the phone with each other. Between them, they have four children and eighteen years of marriage…one to a super soldier and the other to egomaniac engineer. They hate empty chocolate wrappers and writer’s block, love to talk to readers…and oh, by the way, they write about strong, kick-ass women and hot alpha heroes!
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org