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I know where I am. It's my uncle. He's lost. She checked over her shoulder. He was buying a gift and I looked around. Then he was gone. Erin glanced about the store. Everyone here was buying something. It was the day after Christmas, sale day. The biggest shopping day of the year, equal only to Black Friday. The store was so crowded Erin had left her office to join the sales staff. She admitted she loved doing it, but today had been so busy she hardly had time to look at any of the people she was serving, just their credit cards or checks.
Okay, Alicia Marie Allen, my name is Erin. She pointed to the small white name tag pinned to the lapel of her red suit with her first name printed in block letters. Erin smiled broadly. She wanted to hug the child. Well maybe in my case, he'll make an exception.
Now what's your uncle's name? Erin stiffened. She lost her balance, putting her hand on the floor to keep from falling. It couldn't be him, she told herself. Uncle Raimi Price? Erin asked, grasping at a straw, knowing she was wrong even before the child's head bobbed up and down. There was only one person she'd ever met named Raimi. Uncle Raimi Price, the child supplied as if on cue and with the same aplomb with which she'd given her own name. Erin caught her gasp before it escaped. Raimi Price was in her store. What was he doing here?
When had he returned to Cranbury, New Jersey, and why did no one mention he was in town?
The rumor mill here was as lively as it was in any small community. Cranbury was only a few miles square. She could walk it end to end in under an hour.
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Yet the grapevine had failed to get word to her that the man who'd dumped her at the senior prom was back and likely to cross paths with her at any moment. The small hamlet in the center of the state was quiet and reserved with only a meager area they could call downtown. On any summer evening you could find people walking down the streets.
At this time of year, they admired the holiday decorations and store scenes. Erin's store sat in the center of town, near the lake. When she'd bought the old warehouse building, people called her idea crazy, but today those same people shopped there regularly and spoke to her with a smile and a nod.
Any one of them could have told her Raimi was back. Yet none of them had. Had they forgotten what happened to her? It was years ago. She was thirty-two now, no longer a sophomore, and no longer in love with Raimi Price. But the pain of his humiliation would live with her forever. What would Raimi's presence change? Would they remember what he'd done to her? Of course they would, she told herself. It was a hazard of living in a small town. Everyone knew everyone else and memories were long. Do you think we could look for him?
The little voice brought her back to her position on the floor. There he is. Alicia's voice rose with excitement, and she scampered off toward him. Erin wanted to turn away, but she was crouched on the floor. She stood up slowly, fear making her heart beat faster, waiting for that moment when he'd make eye contact with her, the moment he recognized who she was. In one hand Raimi had a shopping bag with the store's logo on its side. With the grace of a large cat, he knelt to the floor and received the running child. Erin watched him hug her, then push her away, saying something reprimanding before pulling her against his chest and hugging her again.
Finally, he stood, taking the child with him, holding her with only one arm. The other he used to pick up the shopping bag. Erin hadn't seen Raimi Price since his last day of high school, sixteen years ago. He'd humiliated her so badly at the senior prom that she never wanted to see him again. Yet here he stood, looking directly at her.
The crowd in the store seemed to recede as Alicia pointed toward her and Raimi came forward. He hadn't changed much in sixteen years. As a seventeen-year-old he was the best-looking guy in school: tall, athletic, tight buns. At thirty-four any boyishness he had had long since vanished. The man approaching her was blindingly sexy.
His skin was dark and rich like smooth silk. His hair was thick, closely cut, and he wore a small mustache. He still had that outdoor athletic look. Erin remembered thinking he reminded her of a Montana cowboy—rugged, strong, capable-of-anything—and how she'd wanted those strong arms banded about her body. The weather outside was warm for December. She'd seen a lot of sweatshirts and jeans this afternoon.
Raimi Price wore no coat. Gray wool slacks and a cable knit sweater outlined his body to the point that Erin wanted to run her hands over him, despite the amount of time between them and despite what she'd just been thinking about him. Looks this good should be against the law, but Raimi Price was a law unto himself.
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Quickly she moved behind the service desk. Her mouth went dry, and her heart started a tom-tom beat that was more than a little familiar. He approached her, standing Alicia on the floor next to him but keeping hold of her hand. He set the shopping bag down and extended his hand to her. Thank you, he said. She allowed her fingers to be swallowed in his. Alicia said you were helping her find me. It's so crowded we got separated.
I can tell you, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest when I discovered her missing. I wasn't missing, Uncle Raimi, the high, sweet voice contradicted. Everything is fine now. Erin's voice was a whisper as she pulled her hand away from the warm grasp. She didn't know what to say.
She didn't know just seeing him again could make her knees weak. She hated him. She'd hated him for sixteen years, but he appeared not to know who she was. One part of her wanted to remind him of what he'd done, confront him with the details of their one and only date.
The other part of her was grateful the event had no significance in his mind. I see you've been doing some after-Christmas shopping. Erin said the first thing that came to mind. It beat having him scrutinizing her like a lab rat. Of course not.
She gave him her associate smile. Told against the backdrop of the family inn, this charming sequel to the best- selling Winter Street rejoins the Quinn family amidst the chaos of the holiday season. With juicy plot lines including scorned ex-wives, new paramours, and a bitter Santa Claus, this is a must read for anyone who can relate to the calamities that come when you mix the holidays with family. Will these two find love? Pick up your copy to find out! Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk. Known as the local Pollyanna, this enchanting young woman has the whole town of Good Hope, Wisconsin wrapped around her cheerful little finger.
Kwanzaa Angel (The Holiday Collection - Book 3) - Shirley Hailstock - Google книги
Offsetting her positive demeanor, however, lies a dark secret that breaks her heart. Will the distraction of the holidays and her adorably grumpy neighbor, Beckett, be enough to heal her spirit? Read on to find out! Perfect for those seeking a respite from the hecticness of the holiday season, this coloring books takes on holiday celebrations around the globe.
From the iconic ice skating rink at the Rockefeller Center in NYC to winter festivals in London, the unique illustrations in this enchanting coloring book will take you to worlds near and far. Best-selling author Shirley Hailstock has created a gem in the latest installment in The Holiday Collection series. Erin Scott is a successful local businesswoman who is looking forward to spending the Kwanzaa holiday with her family.
As these two battle over a local piece of property, it becomes apparent that tensions are running as high as ever. Is love still a lingering possibility between this strained duo? When Vicki, a floral designer, meets political strategist Jordan, sparks fly immediately. However, he is determined to carve out an identity separate from work and fatherhood.
Will he be able to fit Vicki into the search for his adult identity? Set against the backdrop of the Kwanzaa holiday, this delightful story reinforces the importance of recognizing the beauty of family and love in small, everyday moments. Though this anthology also includes two Christmas tales, I particularly loved Whisper to Me. In this moving tribute to the obstacles of love, we meet teacher Iman Parrish and widower Cedric Hamilton, an entrepreneurial businessman. The Kwanzaa holiday festivities allow these two to open their hearts and minds to an unexpected and enchanting love story.
Kwanzaa in Hawaii by Ayin M. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the annual Kwanzaa celebrations that take place in Hawaii. Combining philosophy, poetry, recipes, and photographs, this journey into the traditions of this holiday is a must-read for children and adult alike.