"Oh hey." I'm trying to be nonchalant, as if I just plopped down on the ground, legs splayed. The ice and fluffy snow numbs my ass cheeks.
"Whoa. You okay?" Oliver holds out his hand, and I take it. When my skin touches his, I'm instantly warm all over.
He smells exactly the same as he did when I last saw him. Like freshly laundered clothes, Florida sun, and a drop of dangerous, spicy-musk man smell that never fails to make my insides melt.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine." I look up at him. Snowflakes have accumulated in his dark, unruly hair. Looking at him makes my heart bounce in my chest like a beach ball. "My God, you've gotten taller. And bigger."
He grins. It's that wide, lazy Oliver smile that I've seen practically since I was born. Oh, shit. That smile never affected me until I turned fourteen. After that, I couldn't get enough of his smile.
Things have not changed one iota.
"Let's get inside, Sharkie." He lets go of one of my hands but keeps a grip on my upper arm, obviously wanting to steer me inside without another tumble.
That he remembers my childhood nickname—I used to love sharks, and the first syllable of my name is phonetically similar to the ocean predator—makes me laugh. "Thanks. I need to come out and get the rest of my stuff."
"I got it."
We step inside the door and heat washes over me. Butterflies seem to have suddenly taken up residence in my stomach.
"You have more than that big duffel?" His voice is low and growly. More man-like than I remember.
"Yeah. I do. There are two more suitcases in the back. I'll get them in a while." My eyes take in the cabin and land on a large stone fireplace, complete with crackling fire. We've never rented this place before, never had Christmas in Vermont before. It's way bigger than where we usually stay.
I turn back to Oliver and am immediately captivated by his piercing eyes. My mind goes temporarily blank. I smile. He smiles.
"Give me your keys. I'll get the rest of your stuff."
My brain powers back to life. "Oh! You sure? I can help."
I hand him the keys and our fingers touch. There's a zing and a zap, and the theme song to the Electric Company runs through my head.
"Yeah. Don't worry about it. Stay here and warm up." He flashes another brilliant smile and walks out.
His butt looks incredible in those sweatpants. I don't think I'll need the fire to warm me up if I keep staring at him. Yikes.
I walk around the large living room, checking out the massive Christmas tree in the corner that's done up in gold and red tones. That must be Mom's doing. I'm sure she called ahead and requested it, right down to the gilded angel on top. She's a detail person.
The living room is bland in the way that all upscale homes are. There's a high wooden ceiling, a U-shaped sofa, and...wait. Red deer heads? Maybe it's not so bland. I tilt my head and study the three ridiculous heads attached above the stone fireplace. They're not real. In fact, they're plastic. Like pop art. They somehow look decent with the traditional décor, as if Andy Warhol created something for a ski lodge.
That's when I spot a pillow on the massive console sofa. It says SKI LODGE in large red letters. I grin. Probably Mom chose this place because of those little touches. She likes the quirky and silly and will never pass up the absurdly ironic.
YOU ARE READING
Snowed in a mountain cabin over the holidays, Oliver and Charlotte act on longtime hidden feelings - but will their love last after the snow melts? ***** Charlotte and Oliver have...