Chapter One
~ June ~
Christmas Morning

“Oh, God!” I gasp loudly with pleasure, as the man above me moves in long, hard, and possessive strokes.

I’m only half aware of my surroundings and of the Nor’easter still raging outside. Somewhere nearby, the embers of a fire crackle loudly, the wind whistles, and bare branches knock on the windowpanes.

At this moment, the only things that matter is the soft, warm bed beneath me and the man above, who is currently pounding white-hot pleasure into me.

As I become enveloped in sensation, my thighs begin to shake from where they are wrapped tightly around his back. My newly manicured nails dig into his back, and my last coherent thought as I fall into the oblivion is, How the hell did I get here? 

Chapter Two
~ June ~
December 22nd


I’m awoken from my all too short catnap by the fasten seatbelt sign illuminating overhead.

From my window seat, I watch as the plane descends into Burlington International Airport. The sight of snow-covered mountains does not greet me; instead, my arrival is shrouded under cloudy grey skies. As we touch down, all I see is dead, brown grass, surrounded by a sea of asphalt. Not a hint of white anywhere!

What about my white Christmas?

I read it has been an unusually mild winter here so far, but I assumed there would be some snow. Yesterday’s weather said there had been flurries. What happened to them?

The overly cheery and perfectly quaffed stewardess interrupts my thoughts chirping, “From all of us at JetBlue, thank you for flying with us, and happy holidays!”

While impatiently waiting to disembark the plane, I quickly send a text to my sister, Jessica. The overprotective mother hen would want to know I’ve arrived safely.

June: Just landed. NO FUCKING SNOW! xxoo

The small airport is decorated with festive cheer, making me smile with renewed excitement. 

It’s early afternoon when I exit the airport, and the sky is already beginning to darken. The air is crisp and cold, and it takes my breath away while my face burns and freezes. Wearing the new lilac L.L. Bean fleece jacket, I purchased for the trip, along with a dark grey knit scarf — I’m shivering.

Fuck, it’s cold!

I scan the area and quickly find the driver I’ve hired, who’s holding a sign, which reads: June Evans. He will take me to Middlebury, the home of Middlebury College. I hadn’t planned on renting a car since I tend to get lost even with GPS. Getting lost alone, in what I thought would be snow, didn’t seem like a smart idea.

A co-worker, Holly, visited Middlebury several years ago and loved her trip. So when I decided to search for a white Christmas this year, the small college town was my first thought.

In an odd twist, the room I booked at the historic inn is cheaper than the local Marriott. It is not only less expensive but is also within walking distance to the downtown shops and a spa, located in another historic inn, which I have several appointments at tomorrow.

When my family learned about my holiday plans, they all chipped in and purchased several treatments for me, including a pedicure, a manicure, and a massage. My entire afternoon will be spent relaxing and being pampered. 

I can’t wait!

Sadly, being born and raised in sunny Florida, in my 29 years on this planet, I have never had a white Christmas. Having spent a lifetime watching holiday-themed films where everything is covered in white fluffy snow, such as my favorite movie, White Christmas, it is something I’ve always wanted to experience.

This year presented me with the perfect opportunity to travel in search of the ever elusive—at least in my life—white Christmas. For various reasons, none of my family would be home for Christmas this year. I was on my own this holiday season, so I decided to make the most of it. My older brother, Josh, is deployed overseas in Afghanistan. His tour doesn’t end until next spring, so he’ll be enjoying a sweltering desert Christmas. Our sister, Jessica, the oldest, is spending the holiday in Texas with her husband and in-laws. And with our parents having passed several years ago, not to mention my screamingly single status, there was no reason for me to stay in Orlando.

Jessica’s in-laws graciously extended me an invitation, which I politely declined. To say our worldviews differ is putting it mildly. If you aren’t a white heterosexual Christian, they believe you will burn eternally in hell. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but theirs are just, wrong!

It will forever baffle me how my brother-in-law, James, is in any way related to them. He’s as open-minded and open-hearted as they come. I’m not really sure how my sister puts up with her in-laws, but I guess she does it for her husband. The things you do for love!

I, however, do not have to put myself through the slow, agonizing torture of being polite, when all I really want to do is slowly stab someone with a butter knife. Included in my secular holiday card were my less than truthful regrets, that I would not be joining them.

As long as there is Internet access, I can still have my Christmas morning Skype with Josh and Jessica. I have triple checked with the inn, and they have assured me they have working Wi-Fi, and I won’t have a problem connecting. I am not missing anything by leaving.

Let’s just say I need to get out of town for a bit for personal reasons and leave it at that. I refuse to let my past ruin what I hope will be a perfectly wonderful white Christmas!

The forty-five-minute ride to Middlebury has deflated my good mood and left me feeling even more depressed than before. We pass fields of brown, instead of the shimmering white landscape I had been expecting.

Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.

The driver is overly friendly for my mood, and the blaring Christmas tunes from the radio are doing nothing to help me regain my cheer.

As we drive through the town, I see wreaths and colored lights hanging from the street lamps, which make me smile. At least there are some festive decorations, despite the lack of snow.

When we approach the inn, it seems almost magical: the place is alight with twinkling white lights. The sight brings a smile to my frozen face and quickly chapping lips.

The portly driver unloads my large suitcase and wishes me a Merry Christmas before driving off, leaving me alone to contend with dragging my bags up the stairs and into the inn.

I struggle to wheel the overburdened suitcase across the cobblestone sidewalk while juggling my purse and large carry-on bag. I didn’t exactly pack light, but rather for every possible contingency—though being a warm-blooded Floridian, I didn’t realize what this biting cold would actually feel like.

Once I’m at the base of the stairs, I attempt to pull the suitcase up the first step. It has other ideas and topples backward, almost taking me with it. I’m able to save myself from embarrassment and possible injury, but my purse and carry-on land in a heap.

“Let me help you,” says a masculine voice from behind me. Turning, I’m struck by ocean blue eyes, which are perfectly placed on a devastatingly handsome face. The hottie is giving me a dazzling smile, and I stare, noticing a hint of dirty blonde hair peeking out from his grey knit hat.

My nipples tighten almost painfully with him so close. Must be the cold. I can’t be affected by a complete stranger, hottie or not.

“Thank you,” I manage to whisper. 

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