Matt Watson is stuck. His business partner, Bethany is off getting married leaving him with no help with the Gingerbread House competition. On a whim, he asks his neighbor, Riley Callahan to help him since she is artistic. Will it be something Matt regrets? Ms. Blizzard writes a charming story that will sweep you off your feet. Riley and Matt have a difficult time seeing eye-to-eye. Will they find there is more than they imagined.
Matt smiled. "Only if you share."
"I think that's the first time I've seen you smile since we started this project. You should do it more often. It's nice." She handed him a piece of gingerbread and set a bowl of icing between them.
"I smile," he insisted. "I know how to have fun."
"Really? When was the last time you did?"
"Well, I-I," he stammered. "I can't remember."
"That's horrible. You really don't know?"
With a look of regret, he shook his head. "No, I don't. The last seven years I've been dedicated to culinary school and then my job at La Belle. There wasn't time for fun. I had too much to prove."
"To whom?" she wondered aloud. "Why'd you give up so much to prove you're a good chef? You had to know you were good at it or you wouldn't have gone to culinary school in the first place or landed a job at a hotel as prestigious as La Belle."
"It wasn't about being a good baker," he said slowly. "It was about success, proving to my father that I could be successful."
"Is that what this gingerbread house is about?"
"What does it matter?" Matt questioned bitterly.
"Hey, don't do that." Riley dipped another piece of gingerbread in icing and popped it in her mouth.
She wiped her fingers. "Act like that. For a few minutes you were pleasant and friendly, now you're back to doing a Scrooge impression. I'm struggling to figure out which Matt is the real one."
"Yeah, me, too," he sighed. "For years I've tried to prove something to my father and in the process ended up being just like him. Too focused on business to enjoy anything else."
"Don't look so down in the dumps," she said gently, giving his hand a squeeze. "There's still plenty of time. And it's Christmas. There isn't a better time to get back to enjoying life again."
Matt glanced down as Riley pulled her slender hand back, confused by his sudden temptation to reach out and slide his fingers through hers.