From the back cover of One Week to Win Her Boss:
Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It’s a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she’s the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…
A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude.
Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she’s looking for.
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Finally, the front door closed behind Nick and the Barnetts, and he was left alone with Amber and her daughter. She settled Penny in the playpen, then took a seat on the couch. Light came only from the fixture over the dining room table, the Christmas tree, and the fireplace. Amber stared at the flames.
Without a word, he took the chair beside the couch, content just to watch her. She was still, and yet she wasn’t. Flickering light from the fire danced across her, giving the illusion of movement. From the corner of the room, the Christmas tree lights blinked, reflecting in her hair.
After a while, she glanced at him. “Thanks for the save. About the early start for our morning, I mean.”
“That wasn’t a save. I meant it. The team with the most donations wins, right?”
She laughed, her eyes suddenly gleaming. “No, that’s not right. Sorry. We don’t compete with one another. Well, except on game nights.”
“The Super Bowl? The World Series?”
“Monopoly and dominoes.”
He shook his head. “You guys are too good to be true. Do you dress up to pose for Christmas photos together, too?”
Wrong move. The brightness left her eyes. Her shoulders stiffened.
He had to remember not everyone had a family like his. Especially not Amber.
“Yes, we do take group pictures. What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing, I guess. It’s just not something we do in my family.”
“What do you do?”
“As I said the other day, we go our separate ways.”
“And as I said, that’s sad.”
“No, it’s just the way things are.”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.” And would mean having a conversation he didn’t want to get into. But she would keep asking because she was Amber and she was all about family. If not tonight or this week, she would ask this question again when he made another trip to the lodge. “Not everybody’s got the picture-perfect family.”
“Nobody has that, whether they take group photos or not.”
“Yeah, well. Some are less perfect than others.” She opened her mouth, but he shook his head. “Don’t ask. It’s too complicated to get into.”
He could see concern in her eyes and almost hear the rest of her questions. But after a moment, she turned away.
“I should get Penny upstairs.”
I should get you upstairs.
The thought hit without warning, and his body’s instant response showed just how well he liked the idea. But his brain knew there was more to his interest in Amber than getting her into bed.
Again, he watched the reflections dance over her. He wished he were sitting beside her, running his fingers down her hair, trying to catch the twinkling Christmas lights.
That was it.
That was what he’d always found different about her. What she had brought into his life from the day he had met her. Her sparkling eyes. Her sunny smile. Her light. They kept his thoughts coming back to her no matter how hard he fought them, no matter how many times he reminded himself she was off-limits. He’d forgotten or pushed away or just plain ignored those reminders. Instead, he needed to listen to them. Starting now.
He shot to his feet as she rose from the couch.
She froze, looking up at him uncertainly. But she didn’t back away. She didn’t look away. Those sparkling eyes of hers stared into his, drawing him to her. Instead of backing up and walking off the way he’d intended to—the way he should have—he stepped forward, as if he had no choice in the matter. And maybe he hadn’t.
Maybe there was a reason he had come to the lodge just when Amber had decided to hide out here.
Maybe he wasn’t meant to keep his thoughts away from her.
Or his hands off her.
He trailed his fingertips along her jaw, then lifted her chin. Her eyes widened and her lips parted and her breath exhaled in a rush that halted any thought he’d had of walking away.
With the tip of his thumb, he grazed her bottom lip. Her answering indrawn breath made it impossible for him to keep from lowering his mouth to hers.
One more taste…
But even as his lips brushed hers, he knew that taste would come with a price he wouldn’t want to pay.
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About the Author
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!
Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed “The End” to her first novel many years later…in the eighth grade. Now she’s writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life: https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.
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