Jessica Jeffries hates Christmas. With all the commercialism, stress and chaos, there are a lot of people who feel the same way. But Jessie has more reason than most for hating it. She’s been robbed, dumped, caught pneumonia, broken her leg, and this year she ran over Santa Claus with her truck.
Tom Dunham’s holiday is turning out to be pretty awful. Not only is he suddenly responsible for a six-year-old daughter he hasn’t seen since infancy, but Amy holds him personally responsible for uprooting her, making it impossible for Santa to find her on Christmas morning.
Things go from bad to worse when Tom’s car breaks down on a freezing mountain road, but he gets a reprieve when a young woman who looks more like a Victoria’s Secret model than a tow truck driver comes to his rescue. Suddenly things are looking up—until she runs over an old man with an eerie resemblance to St. Nick.
Warning: One Snowy Night Before Christmas might just make you believe in Santa Claus again. If you’re a fan of Donna Kauffman, Jane Graves and Jill Shalvis, this Christmas story is sure to make you yearn for eggnog and gingerbread cookies.
**Contains sexual content; this story is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**
Length: 35,000 words (approximately 100 pages)
Jessica picked up her radio handset and called in, to Hazel no doubt, telling her she’d picked up “the ducks.” The radio crackled in response, but Tom couldn’t make out any of the words. Jessie dropped the microphone back in its holder and looked past him at Amy again. “That hot chocolate getting you warmed up?”
Amy nodded. “Uh huh.”
Glory be, a response. Followed by another uncomfortable silence. Jessie slowed the truck for a tight S-turn.
“How’d you get stuck working through the holidays?” Even before he finished asking the question, he knew it was a mistake. He was intrigued by this delightful contradiction of beauty and strength and had lost control of his mouth.
“Don’t celebrate Christmas,” she answered simply.
“Are you Jewish?” Shut up, Dunham.
She glanced at him. All the sarcasm was gone, as was the glimmer in those vivid green eyes. Now they were cool, like the ocean under a stormy sky. “No, I just hate Christmas.”
Amy shot her a surprised look. “How can you hate Christmas?” Her already shrill voice hit a high-note, as though it were the most outrageous thing she’d ever heard.
For a moment Jessie’s hardness faltered. Her eyes were almost sad. No…hurt was a better way to describe them. “I’ve just had a lot of bad luck at Christmas, that’s all.”
As she looked at the road again, her face suddenly registered shock. “Oh my God!” She hit the brakes, sending the truck sliding to a stop, but not fast enough. Whatever was in the road, it made a sickening thud as it impacted the front grille.