Silver water glistened just beyond the tree line. The view hadn't changed. But her world view was different now. The log cabin her grandfather had built in the sixties still stood as sturdy as the day he'd hewn the first logs. He'd tried to teach her to be sturdy and strong like the stunning snow-covered aspens and blue spruce trees of this quaint ski village in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. But she'd always be a girly-girl. With a spine of steel.
Reunion. What kind of name was that for a small town? And why had Grandpa insisted they have one more Christmas here? Sure, he was old and ornery but he needed to stay down in the valley at the nice retirement center where he'd be close to doctors and friends. And she should have stayed in Denver, in her tiny apartment where she had a good job and good friends. But not much else.
Grace Holly turned from the ceiling-to-floor window and remembered laughter and a lot of happy Christmases here with her grandparents. Grandmother died four years ago and this old cabin had become too much for Grandpa Jeb. She and Jericho had a hard time convincing her stoic, proud grandfather that he couldn't live here alone anymore.
Jericho Walker. Grace hadn't though about him in years. He'd moved away, too, after that one Christmas when they'd fallen in and out of love. All that mistletoe and snow could get to a girl and that's exactly what had happened to Grace for one blissful week. Mistletoe. And a man who made her heart melt like marshmallows in hot chocolate.
"Enough about him," Grace said out loud. Pushing a hand over her always unruly dark hair, she said, "I have to get this place in shape for Christmas. A tree and some decorations, a fire. And one missing grandpa. Where are you, anyway?"
She heard a rattling at the door. "Ah, I guess the aide got you here in one piece."
Grace rushed to the front door and opened it, a blast of misty snow obscuring her view and rattling her ornament-inspired earrings. "Grandpa, I was getting worried ...."
She stopped in mid-sentence. Grandpa wasn't alone. Jericho Walker stood there behind Grandpa's fancy wheelchair, his deep blue eyes bright with expectation. "Hello, Grace. We're here."
Grace swallowed and ignored the current that rushed over her like Christmas lights flickering to life. "Jericho? What on earth are you doing here?"
"He's with me," Grandpa announced with gruff pride. "He's my aide. We'll all be here together."
Grace's unsteady gaze met Jericho's unyielding eyes. "For the entire week?"
"Yes," Jericho said. "Where he goes, I go." The look he shot her dared Grace to argue.
"Merry Christmas," Grandpa said with a triumphant huff.
"Ho, ho, ho," Grace retorted. A whole week in a cabin with Jericho?
She'd been set-up. Big time.