He reminds me of one of the old romance heroes I read about in my mom’s old trashy novels. Everyone in the books seemed to carry a brooding aura around them. And were always blessed with dark hair and sharp blue eyes. It never failed time and time again that the heroes would be described that way. Whenever I’d pick up another one of her books, I could almost predict when it was going to say it, and now I seem to be standing mere feet from one, ripped straight from the pages.

I push the silly thought from my head because I’m once again living in my own fantasy, making real something that isn’t. I take a step toward him, unable to stop myself from reaching to move the hair out of his face. I don’t know what’s making me so bold, but I regret it instantly when he turns his head, giving me his broad back again, mumbling something I can’t quite catch.

It is almost like he doesn’t want to look at me or something. The thought sends a cold chill down my spine that has nothing to do with the weather. In fact, it’s kind of warm in here with me still all bundled up and a fire blazing at the far wall. I’m guessing this is the living room as a Christmas tree sits in the corner, colored lights dancing across it.

I’ve been dying to know what he looks like. I wanted to match a face to the man who’s been starring in my fantasies for the past few months. When I got out of the car, he took my breath away. I couldn’t even see him fully and I was entranced, just from being near him.

Being so close after wanting him for so long, I found his words were hard and nothing like I’d thought they’d be. At times he could be firm with me, like when I called him by his last name, or when it took me a few rings to pick up the phone when he called, but what happened outside was confusing and unsettling. It was like he wanted me to get the hell out of here. Only he didn’t really want me to leave at the same time.

“I…uh…” I say, trying to break the silence between us for the second time today. I’m totally getting fired. Hell, I kinda knew that when I popped on my audiobook and my voice wasn’t even on it. As much as I want to ask, I don’t feel like poking the bear he seems to have turned into.

I knew he was the silent broody type, but I didn’t think he bit. Now I’m not so sure. He could rip my heart to shreds with a few harsh words. Maybe this is why I spend so much time with my head in the clouds and my nose in books, dreaming in my own little world. This real-life romance shit is hard and scary.

“Follow me. I’ll show you where you can put your stuff,” he says without looking at me as he heads towards a hallway. It’s as if he wants to shove me into a room as quickly as possible. He won’t even look at me, and a lump starts to form in my throat. Forget it. I can’t do this.

“Maybe I should just…” I turn to grab the door handle, but I remember I don’t have my shoes on so I can’t make as quick of an escape as I’d like. Before I can turn to grab my shoes, big arms shoot out on either side of me, landing on the door. His warm body presses into mine.

“Don’t go.” His words are soft this time, and they tickle my ear. He doesn’t move, and I can’t seem to form any words with him pressed up against me like this. “Just let me show you to your room. You can take a warm bath if you like.”

“Okay.” The fight leaves my body at his deep, sensual voice. My answer comes out breathy, and it takes every muscle in my body to stop myself from leaning into him. I want to rub against him like a cat in heat. I’ve never done anything wanton in my life, but Alex makes me do a lot of things I’ve never done before. Like drive three hours in a snowstorm, pretending it was all about saving my job, when really I’m being a low-key stalker.

Maybe I can just say I’m cold or something if I rub against him. Oh my God, I’m totally trying to cop a feel! My cheeks burn with embarrassment at my own thoughts, but Alex still makes no move to release me. I can’t move until he drops the big arms that are caging me. God, how I wish I was facing the other way and staring into his dark blue eyes. I was so sure they would be brown when I pictured him, but my thoughts didn’t do those eyes justice.

“Don’t try to leave again.” The firmness in his voice is one I know all too well. I am about to tell him I’ll do whatever I want, but feeling him pressed against me banishes any thoughts I have of leaving this cabin. “It’s dark, the snow is falling thick, and the coyotes will be out.”

With that caution, the warmth of his body leaves mine, and I miss it instantly. Sadly, I think I could have stood like that all night and been utterly content. I turn, following him down the long hallway. The cabin is cute. It’s hard to make out much with so few lights on, but all the walls and floors are wooden. It’s rustic and homely and utterly perfect. The place looks like it was plucked right out of some catalogue. It would be the perfect place to spend Christmas.

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