I pull on my boots as fast as I can. I throw on my coat and walk towards the front door. I see the Jeep turn into the driveway and park just as I walk off the porch and down the front steps. I stand there for half a second, holding the bat, and wait to see who gets out. The snow is really pouring down now, and even a few feet away from the car, it’s hard to make out what’s happening.

When a small woman in a big coat and stocking cap rounds the back of the Jeep, I squint as I try to make out who it is. She stops short when she sees me with a bat in my hand, and it’s then I realize I don’t have anything on to cover my face. I’m not wearing a hat or scarf, and my scars must frighten her.

I can’t see her eyes very well with all the snow that’s coming down, but I lower the bat a little, thinking she must need some kind of help to come out this far.


The one word nearly knocks me over on my ass. I let the bat drop into the snow and I turn around, quickly giving Noelle my back. I can’t let her see me. How did she even get here?

“What are doing here, Noelle?” I can hear the cold callous sound in my voice, but I can’t stop it.

“I…I had a problem with my internet. I needed to get the book back to you today.”

Her warm voice is silky, like melted caramel rolling over my tense shoulders and penetrating my heart. My cock responds to her like it always does, going rock hard even in this frosty weather.

“You shouldn’t be out in this weather.” All I can think about is how dangerous it was for her to come here.

There’s silence for half a second, and then I hear her feet shuffle slightly. “You’re right. It was a real bitch getting here. I’m sorry. I tried to call, but I didn’t want to miss a deadline.” I hear her nervous laughter and have to rein myself in from going to comfort her. “I’m sorry, we can do this another time. I’ll just make my way back to town and try to call you later.”

“No!” I don’t turn around, but the word echoes through the forest, silencing her.

I never dreamed she would be here, and now that she is, I can’t stand the thought of her leaving. It’s too dangerous for her to drive anywhere else, not that I would let her anyway.

“The weather is getting worse. You can’t drive in this.”

“I’m sorry, Alex. I just didn’t want to lose my job. I’m sorry I disturbed you on Christmas Eve. I saw the town just a few miles back. I can go to the motel there, and maybe we can talk after the holiday.”

“Stay!” I turn around quickly, throwing out the word before I have a chance to pull it back. I look away, not making eye contact and trying to keep my head turned so the worst of my scars aren’t facing her. “The motel is full. You can stay with me. I have a room.” I have no idea if the motel is full or not. I just don’t want Noelle to leave.

“I can’t put you out like that, Alex. I’m really sorry—”

“Just come inside. It’s freezing.” I wait for a second, and I see her turn to her Jeep and grab a bag out of the back. “You can stay the night. In the morning I can take you to the motel in town.”

“Thank you,” she whispers, and I turn to walk into the house. When I hear sound of her footsteps following behind me, I release a breath I didn't know I was holding. How bad can this be? I can stay clear of her for one night. I can do this.


Chapter 5


I quickly grab my bag from the passenger seat and follow in his wake, my heart pounding.

“You cold?” he asks, stomping his boots and shaking the snow from them on the front door mat. I follow his lead, doing the same, not wanting to track snow into his cabin.

“Ah, yeah.” It’s freezing out, but the wind seems to have more of a bite out here than it did in town. The cold cuts right through you out here. I could feel it rattle my car the further I got from the city.

I follow him into the cabin before pulling off my boots and placing them by the door. He does the same, keeping his back to me as he does it. I can’t help but stare at his broad shoulders. I thought he'd be a big guy as he has such a deep voice, but he’s even bigger than I imagined. He’s over six feet, probably coming in a good foot over my five two stature. Most people have a lot of inches on me, but he has more than most.

He turns his head a little, glancing over his shoulder at me. One deep blue eye meets mine. Loose, charcoal hair falls over his face, like he’s in need of a slight trim, and it blocks my view of his face. I’m dying to see it. It looked like he had a scar running down his forehead to his cheekbone when I saw him first. But with the dim light in the cabin and his hair blocking my view, it’s hard to tell.

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