Warming My Winter Heart by Michelle Cornish
Publication date: November 22nd 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
You can’t run from love forever . . .
When Lexi Blair comes home to Little City from LA for Christmas, she gets the surprise of her life—the ex-fiancé she thought was dead is very much alive and wants her back!
It’s Christmas Eve and Lexi’s seen a ghost. Or . . . she thought he was a ghost until her mom admits to faking his death so Lexi would come home for Christmas.
After a humiliating run-in with her ex—which results in Lexi disowning her mother—she hides out at her best friend’s tree farm, babysitting a nameless puppy while her friend and hubby tend to a family emergency.
But farm life comes with a few perks Lexi isn’t expecting—mainly a hunky farmhand who’s helping Lexi run the place until her friends return.
While Lexi ran from Little City, John ran to it, and she quickly learns he’s healing from past hurts of his own.
Can Lexi and John stop running before it’s too late?
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The church is exactly as I remember it—tiny and packed with people of all ages. Even though it’s bright and cheery, it has an ancient vibe to it. Mom’s friend Janice plays “O Come All Ye Faithful” on the piano at the front of the church while we find our seats.
“She’s just so talented,” Mom says as we take off our coats and get comfortable—as if that’s possible on these ancient pews. I nod in agreement.
As a voice resounds from the front of the church, a latecomer sits on my left. I turn to whisper, “Merry Christmas,” but instead I jump up out of the pew and point. “Gah!” It’s my dead ex, Ian. I gasp for breath and press my hand to my heart. Mom is straight-faced, ignoring me, looking at the man at the front of the church. Is anyone else seeing this apparition? The old folks in the row behind me are gawking. One man looks as though his dentures are about to fall right out of his mouth, but I can’t tell if it’s because of me or Ian. Oh, God.
My cheeks burn as I turn around to face the front. “I’m sorry, your honor. Uh . . . your grace.” Crap, I forget what this guy is called.
“I’m a minister, dear. But you can call me Ken.” Right . . . minister. “Is everything okay?” he asks.
Guess there’s no sense explaining that my own personal version of the ghost of Christmas past is sitting to my left, so I take a breath and sit back down on the cold, hard pew.
“I’m sorry, Ken.” I cross my legs and pretend like I’m not going insane. I shift a little to get comfortable—as if anyone’s ever comfortable on these damn wooden benches—and my hip bumps Ian. What the? If he’s a ghost he shouldn’t feel that solid, should he?
To test my theory, I haul off and karate chop him right in the solar plexus.
He hollers and doubles over in his seat. I leap up again. Yikes! This is not how I saw this going. My arm should have gone right through him. Shouldn’t it? Come to think of it, how is he taking up space on the pew if he’s a ghost?
I look around nervously. “Uh. Yyy . . . You’re supposed to be dead.”
“What is wrong with you?” My mother hisses from beside me, oblivious to the fact that Ian’s sitting next to me. “Sit down.” She gives me the evil eye only she can dish out.
“Dead? I’m not dead . . . but I’m guessing you’d like that based on that karate chop.” Ian looks up at me, still hunched over. His face is red, and he looks like he’s going to be sick.
“Lexi.” It’s my mother again. “Sit . . . down. Everyone’s staring.” Of course, she would care more about everyone staring at me than the fact she told me Ian died. Well, the last few years as a publicist in LA have made me immune to stares. I grab my coat off the pew then calmly reach under it for my purse. My mother or Ian. Which one do I cut in front of to get out of here? Ugh. If only teleporting were an option.
I’m pretty sure Ian had no part in this, and I feel a little bad for karate chopping him so unexpectedly, not that he didn’t deserve it.
“Excuse me,” I say to Ian without making eye contact. My mother whispers my name behind me as I make my way to the side of the church then hurry to the back and out the door.
I stand on the snow-covered sidewalk in front of the parking lot next to the church. Ian’s alive. I try and let that sink in, but I just can’t compute. Ian’s alive and my mother’s a conniving--
“Lexi? Lexi Blair, is that you?”
Michelle Cornish is a recovering CPA with a passion for stories. Writing mostly romance and women's fiction with strong female heroines, Michelle's books often include nods to her former life as a CPA. When Michelle’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her two boys and husband in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada.
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