View Full Version : Just In Time For Christmas: Baby It's Cold Outside-Blurb + Excerpt

December 11th, 2010, 07:31 PM


Madeline Delaney has suffered a terrible loss. She's returned to her home town with her daughter to spend Christmas with Madeline's grandmother. Next door is Jack DeLuna, an adolescent crush that seems to be rekindling into a very adult passion. Still reeling from the death of her husband, will Madeline have the courage to let Jack into her heart, or will guilt and the fear of loving someone again keep her from the future Jack has waited years to give her?

Here's a wee excerpt for ya'll!

“Maddie?” Dark eyebrows came together and then cleared in shock as recognition dawned.

He was tall and his jeans clung to his thighs comfortably. She wondered if his frame was as broad and muscled as she remembered from the last time she’d seen him. Jack DeLuna. Good lord.

“Hi,” she replied, feeling a ridiculous girlish shiver that reminded her of the teenager she had been with her first serious crush on the handsome Mexican boy. She shook her head, telling herself she was shivering because of the cold.

He put the shovel down and walked over to her, a wide smile on his face. “I heard you were coming back to town. It’s good to see you.”

“Thanks. We’re here for the holidays. Afterwards…well,” she shrugged. “I’m not sure yet.”

His eyes softened with sympathy, his dark hair stuck in unruly curls on his damp forehead. “I heard about your husband. I am so sorry.”

Madeline bit her lip, a little ashamed of the reminder of her loss when for just a second, it’d felt so good to forget. “Thanks.”

“You said ‘we’? Your little girl is inside?”

“Katie yes. Gran is probably allowing her to gorge herself on chocolate chip cookies so I’d better get back inside before she puts my child into a diabetic coma.”

That made him laugh.

In school, she would have given anything to have made him laugh. God, would she ever be that carefree again?

“Why good morning, Jack!” Meggie exclaimed coming out onto the porch.

“Morning, Meggie. I was just catching up with Maddie. It’s so nice to have her back. I was about to offer to help her bring her luggage inside and maybe steal a cookie?”

“Of course. Come on in. What a gentleman. Isn’t that right, Madeline, dear?” Meggie asked.

Madeline looked at her grandmother curiously. Surely the old woman wasn’t matchmaking, was she? She glared at her and followed Jack back to the car.

“Thanks for your help, but you really didn’t have to do this.” She pulled one suitcase from the back of the silver BMW.

“Yeah I did. I really want that cookie,” he replied with a smile and this time she laughed while he grabbed one bag and pulled its strap over a shoulder and carried two more in his hands.

She felt a moment of surprise, realizing it was the first time she had genuinely laughed since Max’s death. Guilt clenched like a tight fist in her belly and she looked away and locked the doors.

She followed him into the house where Katie greeted them, her mouth circled with chocolate and cookie crumbs.

“Hi. Where you come from?” the little girl asked, surprised to see the man coming in ahead of Madeline.

“This is a very good friend and my next door neighbour, Jack DeLuna. He’s a teacher,” Meggie said as she came towards Jack with a plate of still warm cookies. He snatched one eagerly and she beamed when he made the appropriate noises of appreciation.

“Really?” Katie asked, her blue eyes lighting up. “I go kindygarten next year. You gonna be my teacher?”

“Afraid not, sweetheart. My students are a bit older than you,” Jack tapped her nose playfully.

“Jack teaches sixth grade,” Meggie explained.

Madeline tried not to show her surprise, not wanting to seem rude. Jack DeLuna had never seemed all that interested in school as a youngster. “That’s great,” she admitted. Beyond her own career as a script writer, she couldn’t imagine a more fun, fulfilling career than teaching.

Her grandmother had floor to ceiling shelves filled with books and Madeline had grown up with a love of reading that had followed her throughout her whole life.

“He won teacher of the year this past May.” Meggie beamed, wrapping an arm around Jack’s shoulders and Madeline watched the grown man blush at the pride in her grandmother’s voice.

“Oh my,” Madeline remarked, unable to hide her own admiration.

He smiled shyly at her. “Well, I’ve only been there two years so they could still find out I use to pronounce it ‘supposably’ and fire my a—” he looked quickly at Katie and caught himself. “—behind,”

Katie laughed. “I bet you were gonna say ass.”

He cringed and gave Madeline an apologetic smile. “That’s my cue to leave, I guess. Gotta go finish shovelling that drive just so it can get dumped on again tonight. Ah the joys of Massachusetts,” he added, getting up from where he sat on a stool at the kitchen island.

“I’m making roast chicken for dinner tonight to celebrate Madeline’s return. If you think you can manage my drive as well, you can come join us.”

Madeline stared at her grandmother and gritted her teeth. What was the woman thinking?

“Sounds like an even trade to me, but I don’t want to impose,” he said and Madeline could feel his eyes on her as she looked down into her mug of hot chocolate. A marshmallow bumped her nose.

She forced herself to take a sip to gather herself for a moment and looked up. “Of course not. I really appreciate you helping my grandmother out since she’s been injured.”

“Oh, that,” he gave a short chuckle. “She’s one of my most enthusiastic students. I try and get her to slow down, but you know your grandmother.”

“One of your students?” Madeline asked curiously.

“I teach salsa on Saturday nights. Oh, you should come by. It’s a lot of fun.”

Visions of the movie Dirty Dancing filled her head and Madeline focused back on her drink. “I’m not much of a dancer,” she admitted.

“Honey, believe me. Jack is an excellent teacher. The man moves like a dream,” Meggie insisted with a wink.

Jack rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Okay, now that is my cue to leave.” He grabbed one more cookie. He touched Katie’s shoulder. “Very nice meeting you, Katie.”

“You too, Jack!” the little girl replied beaming at the attention.

“Madeline, if it’s all right with you, I’ll be here for dinner?”

“Oh, of course,” she replied, though inside she was an uneasy mess.

He smiled and left them. She waited until she heard the door close before getting up from her stool and whirling on her grandmother. “Okay, what on earth was that?”