Christmas Magic on the Mountain
Published By: Harlequin
Published: Nov 01, 2010
ISBN # 9780373176946
Available in: Secure Adobe Epub eBook, Secure Adobe eBook
When snowboard designer Sean Hughes sees Zoe Flynn hitchhiking at the bottom of Mount Hood he recognizes a free spirit--much like himself!
They hit it off, and Zoe ends up agreeing to pose as Sean's girlfriend at his family's Thanksgiving. But following an accident and a misunderstanding they're soon stuck with each other for the Christmas holidays!
Zoe's girl-next-door looks make Sean wish their charade was a romantic reality, but Zoe is hiding something...and he has until the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve to discover her secret!
The familiar sound of the crunch of traction tires against packed snow filled the cab of Sean Hughes's truck. He inhaled the crisp air laced with the scent of pine and the smell of wet dog. Denali, his Siberian husky, panted on the seat next to him.
Winter on Mount Hood was their favorite time of year-- boarding, climbing and snowshoeing. Sean grimaced wryly. Too bad Thanksgiving and Christmas had to get in the way of all that fun.
A snowplow heading west passed him.
No doubt the early morning road crews working hard to clear the overnight snowfall from Highway 26. Portlanders would be driving up in throngs today to spend Thanksgiving on the slopes or eating turkey at Timberline Lodge's Cascade dining room.
Sean wished he could be one of them.
A well-cooked dinner served by an obliging wait staff at a nice restaurant where quiet conversation was de rigueur would be better than the chaotic holiday meal at his parents' house where everyone poked their noses into everybody's business. Especially his. No one listened to his "let's eat dinner out" suggestion--not even when he offered to pay for all thirty-eight of them. Make that thirty-nine. One of his cousins had given birth to another baby a couple of months ago.
"A good thing we don't have to be at Mom and Dad's until later." Sean glanced at Denali. "I'd rather spend this bluebird day on the mountain than be stuck inside listening to people tell me what's missing from my life is a wife."
Denali nudged his arm with her nose.
"They don't seem to understand you're my number one girl." Sean patted the dog's head. He had nothing against marriage per se, but he didn't have the time necessary to make a relationship work. He had too many other things going on in his life to make any woman a priority. In the past, he'd somehow given women the wrong idea about his commitment level so now he only dated casually. Much to his family's dismay. "No worries. We'll make the most of the time we have on our own this morning."
The dog stared out the windshield and barked.
At the base of the road leading up to Timberline Lodge stood a snowboarder. A large, overstuffed backpack set at his feet along with a board.
Around here, no one thought twice about hitchhiking up to the ski area or giving a skier or snowboarder a lift.
Sean remembered hitching rides up the hill from locals and strangers when he'd been a teenager. Back then he'd worked all summer for his dad to pay for a season pass. He'd pack a lunch since he couldn't afford to buy a cup of hot chocolate, let alone food. Times and his circumstances sure had changed since then. But seeing the kid made Sean remember the joy and freedom of those days.
Flicking on his left turn signal, he tapped the brakes to slow down. The image of the kid hoping for a ride made a great visual. He would have to mention that to the advertising firm his snowboard manufacturing company used. They were already talking about next season's promo campaign.
He turned off the highway, pulled over to the right and rolled down the passenger window.
A burst of frigid air rushed in. Denali stuck her head out.
The snowboarder straightened. "Hi."
Not a kid. A woman. Even better.
"Hey," Sean said to her.
A wool beanie hid her hair. The fit of her jacket made him wonder what curves lay underneath.
"Beautiful dog," she said.
"Thanks." The woman was pretty herself with pink cheeks and glossed lips. Her outerwear coordinated with the graphics on her board. Not one of his snowboards, but she looked like the...