Spending the holidays with my aunt in her small town would have made me insanely happy as a kid. As an adult, I’d outgrown the idea of settling down in a small town and enjoyed my city life. The month I was staying would go fast and I’d be back to normal before I knew it. I hoped.
Then I met the curvy server. The one who handled the overly friendly customers with ease and ignored me just as seamlessly. Walking her home at the end of the night felt normal, almost like I could belong there.
First, I had to get over everyone knowing everything. But there were perks. Like running in to Piper again. And getting matched with her on an online dating app.
Online dating worked for me. I was not looking for more than one night. Relationships and me didn’t mix. I was good with that. But there were always times when I didn’t want to be quite so alone.
Like during the holidays.
Gavin was different than most of the men I knew. He said we could be friends. He didn’t try for anything more. He said he’s leaving after the holidays and not looking to get involved. He has a life, and it’s not in my small town.
So when he asks me to spend the holidays pretending to be dating him, I go along with it. But every fake relationship has to include kisses, and gentle touches, and nights spent between the sheets.
I let myself trust him. I let myself believe he was different. I almost let myself fall for him.
Never mind. I fell. I just hope he can catch me.
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Excerpt from His Curvy Gift
“Is it always like this?” he asked as I swept the glass up.
I nodded. “On Thanksgiving? Yep. People need an escape from their families.”
“Is that why you’re here? To escape your family?”
I shook my head. “I’m here because it’s my job.”
“So you’re the only person in here who isn’t trying to hide from your family?”
I looked him over and tried to place him. He made it sound like he was one of us. Like he was a part of MacKellar Cove. But if he had been there before, I would have remembered him. He was the kind of guy who was hard to ignore, and would be hard to forget. The guy who made your feminine parts stand up and take notice. The guy who made you forget all the promises you made to yourself about not getting involved with someone again.
A tourist was easy. They were temporary. They were gone after a few days. Locals came back over and over again. They were always around. And some of them wanted a connection. A relationship. I wasn’t equipped for that. Not anymore.
Which was why O’Kelley’s was the perfect job for me. I didn’t have to think twice about going home with someone because I knew I’d see them again. But this guy…I couldn’t figure him out.
“Except you,” I finally said. “What are you doing here?”
“Hiding from my family. Too much family time makes me twitchy. I needed to get away.”
“Where is your family? You’re not from here.”
He shook his head. “No, I’m not. But my aunt lives here. I’m staying with her for a few months. I’m Gavin, by the way. Gavin Holbrook.”
“Like Gina Holbrook? MacKellar Cove Inn?”
He nodded. “This whole small town thing is gonna take some getting used to.”
“Well, I guess welcome to MacKellar Cove.”
He grinned. “I think I’m going to really like it here.”