Business deal behind him, attorney Carter Reed can’t wait to put Stone Cliff Resort and the festive town of Deerfield in his rearview mirror. Once upon a time, he believed in Christmas, but that was before Santa had permanently placed him on the naughty list.
When snowy roads and a stray dog send his car into a spin, foiling his attempt to get to the airport, a woman comes to his rescue. Suddenly, he can think of all kinds of ways to pass the time, but when she tells him he hit a magical wolf and he’s soon to get everything he needs, he’s more determined than ever to get out of town. He doesn’t believe in magic, and the last thing he needs is more false hopes and empty promises.
Biologist Josie Walker takes one look at Carter and can’t help but wonder if her Christmas wish has been granted. She’d like nothing better than to take him home and unwrap him, but Scrooge is determined to get out of town. When his every attempt to flee is thwarted, Josie knows the wolf is keeping him there, because sometimes what you think you want isn’t necessarily what you need.
Carter soon finds himself caught up in Josie’s spirit of Christmas. Making new memories with her has him wanting to ask for things—a family of his own, someone to love—things Santa had refused him as a child. But when the storm abates and he’s finally free to leave, will he get on the plane and turn his back on the one girl who has thawed his frozen heart or find the courage to break his rules and ask for everything he’s always needed?
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In the NHL, I’m known as the Risk Taker, and I happily lived up to that handle, especially in my private life, until tragedy struck and turned my world inside out. I still play hard on the ice, take chances in every game and reap the rewards when they pay off, but when the buzzer sounds, ending the game, The Risk Taker takes the bench. Off the ice, I’m cautious. No commitments, no tomorrows. Then my late brother’s wife returns to Seattle with her four-year-old son, asking me for help. Fallon an I used to be best friends. Used to be. I don’t want to get close. I’ll only end up hurting her again. But how can I say no to the woman I’ve secretly loved for as long as I can remember? The woman who is a widow because of me. Or do I let down my guard and take the biggest risk of my life?
Coming back to Seattle and facing Jamie is the second hardest thing I’ve done in my life. The first was burying his brother and then walking away. But my son needs a positive male role model, and there’s no one I trust for the job but his Uncle Jamie. I ran away from him after the fatal car accident—not because I blamed him, but to protect him. He’s agreed to help us, opened his home to us, and for the first time in my life, I feel I’m finally where I was always meant to be. When I’m in his arms, I’m sure of it. When I learn he blames himself for the accident, I know I must tell him the truth, but will knowing the real reason behind the crash give him the freedom to forgive himself and move on, or will it destroy everything he’s believed in, including me? For Jamie’s sake, it’s a risk I have to take.
Both on and off the ice, I’m known as the Wingman. When it comes to my teammates, I’m the ice breaker, happy to help them look good with the ladies, and once I set the play in motion, my job is to disappear. I have zero problems fading into the background. Hell, being invisible saved my ass more than once in foster care. Now, a hot little nurse has asked me to be her wingman, but the uncertainty in her big, brown eyes slay me. I know that feeling—the fear of rejection—all to well, and for once, watching from the sideline is a no go.
When it comes to relationships, I need all the help I can get. When Rider agrees to be my buffer, I happily put myself in his capable hands. It isn’t his fault my date goes south, but the tough as nails hockey player takes it personal. Under his wing, I find the freedom to let go, and the joy of having it accepted. But can two people, one afraid he’s unlovable and the other afraid to love, trust in themselves enough to realize this could be their shot at happily ever after?