Christmastown, Vermont: where it’s Christmas 365 days a year…
To Darcy Carr the holiday is depressing enough without reliving it every day. Her thriving wreath business and faithful cat are no longer enough to distract her from the pain of her past memories or her current loneliness. Is her frosty neighbor, the only one in town with no Christmas decorations, just another Scrooge, or could he be the one she’s been looking for?
Coppersmith Dean Whitfield hasn’t celebrated Christmas—or anything else—since the death of his wife and unborn child. And he certainly has no desire to carry on the family tradition of crafting a star for the town’s Christmas tree, even if it will benefit a charity. Can Darcy and the joy of the season thaw his frozen heart and help him love again?
Dean slunk down the hallway to leave through the kitchen to avoid interrupting class. His foot hit the first square of the faded tile floor when a high-pitched voice rang out.
Drat. He faced the parlor. Ruth Simpson.
“I thought that was you, Dean. Come in here and sit a spell.”
“Thanks, but I’ve got a delivery to make.”
Ruth pursed her shockingly bright red lips. “Nonsense. You’ve got time to grab a cookie or two. Come on.”
He looked to Darcy for an escape.
“Help yourself. There’s plenty.”
Ethel gave a high thumbs-up, devouring the baked disc like it was her last meal.
Why was everyone throwing food at him all of a sudden? Did he look sick?
Darcy handed him a napkin and pointed to the plate of peppermint cookies. He only took one, still full from the donuts. Darcy layered it with another, a mischievous smile curling her lips.
“We’re all excited about this year’s charity auction, Dean.” Ruth stabbed her foliage hoop with a sparkly Christmas ornament.
His stomach tightened.
“Charity auction?” Darcy’s eyes widened with interest.
Ruth sipped her coffee. “Every Christmas since 1958, Whitfield Copper makes something to represent the town. It’s auctioned, and the proceeds go to charity. They mayor decides which charity will get the goods.”
“What a great tradition.” Darcy’s big brown eyes sparkled.
He had to get out of here.
“Your father always did such a fantastic job with the opening speech,” Ruth continued. “Had a special way of working the crowd. We’re excited to see what you’ll bring to us now.” She lowered her flabby chin, her gaudy earring swaying.
Dean swallowed. “I better get going. Storm’s rolling in.”
He handed Darcy the napkin of untouched cookies. With long strides, he fled the house, escaping into the frigid December air.