Sometimes the heart needs a little Christmas magic.
When Dr. Christie Harmon up and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming to escape a vicious scandal, she expected a quiet, lonely Christmas on-call as a pediatrician at the local hospital. But when she’s treating a little boy with a bump on the head, she doesn’t expect his dad to be so distractingly handsome…or single.
In the wake of his ex-wife’s abandonment five years ago, Luke Grayson has been focused on raising his son Ethan. The scars from the split run deep, and Luke hasn’t trusted another woman to come into their lives. But there’s something about the sweet—and sexy—Christie that has him wondering if something’s been missing.
Can new love help lonely hearts find a way? After all, Christmas is a time for magic…
About the Author
Tara Wyatt is a contemporary romance and romantic suspense author. Known for her humor and steamy love scenes, Tara’s writing has won several awards, including the Librarian’s Readers’ Choice Award and the New England Readers’ Choice Award. A librarian by day and romance writer by night, Tara lives in Hamilton, Ontario with the world's cutest dog and a husband who makes all of her heroes look like chumps.
Read an Excerpt
When Snowflakes Fall
By Tara Wyatt
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Tara Wyatt
All rights reserved.
Luke Grayson's phone buzzed against his chest from its resting place in the front pocket of his flannel shirt. Hefting his hammer from his right hand to his left, he slipped it back into his low-slung tool belt, and then fished his phone out of his pocket, checking the display.
"Hey, Robin. What's up?" he answered, leaning back against the cabinets he was in the process of installing.
"Hey, Luke." Her voice was higher than normal, tight and thin.
"What's wrong?" Robin's sons were friends with his son, Ethan, and she usually watched Ethan after school. He rubbed a hand over the back of his neck, trying to soothe the hot, prickling skin there.
"I'm at the hospital. In the emergency room. With Ethan."
Luke's vision narrowed, his grip on his phone like a vise. "What happened?" He could barely swallow, his mouth was so dry, but he managed to get the words out.
"The boys were sliding on ice, and Ethan fell and hit his head. He seems okay, but I thought I'd better bring him in just in case."
"I'll be there in ten minutes." Forcing himself to take a deep breath, he ran a hand through his hair and dropped his phone back into his pocket. He scribbled a note to Mrs. Norton, letting her know he'd be back first thing in the morning to finish with her cabinets. He'd promised her he'd have them all mounted by the end of the day today, but he felt confident she wouldn't give him too much grief. Sometimes the single-dad angle really worked in his favor.
He tossed on his coat and stepped out into the chilly, early December air. Winter already had Cheyenne, Wyoming, tightly in its grip. A light dusting of snow covered his truck, but he didn't have time to clean it off. The fluff would blow away as soon as he started driving, anyway. Despite the sprinkling of snow, the sun now shone weakly through the clouds, sparkling against the sparse, white flakes.
Key in the ignition, his truck roared to life, and he took off in the direction of the hospital, fighting against the urge to speed. If he got pulled over, he'd be stuck by the side of the road trying to plead his way out of a ticket instead of on his way to make sure Ethan really was okay. He knew he'd be on edge until he could see his son with his own two eyes. Ever since Angela had left five years ago, it had just been him and his little man. His little man, who had somehow become a smart, funny, loudmouthed, amazing third grader.
His foot weighed a bit heavier on the gas pedal.
He pulled into the parking lot and cut the ignition, taking a second to force in a deep breath, closing his eyes and trying to calm down. It would only upset Ethan if he thought Luke was scared. Ethan was still young enough to believe wholeheartedly in the infallibility of his dad, and Luke didn't want to do anything to take that away from him.
The sliding glass doors of the emergency room whooshed open, and after stopping at the reception desk, he was directed down a hall to one of the small, curtained-off partitions. At the sound of his son's voice, talking about the various kinds of Pokémon, he flung back the thin, blue curtain. He closed the distance between himself and where his son lay on a stretcher in a single stride. Without a word, he gathered Ethan to him in a strong hug.
He released him gently and held him away, his eyes roaming over his son. "What happened? Are you okay?"
Ethan tried to wriggle out of Luke's hold. "I slipped. I'm fine," he answered, drawing the word out on a long, exasperated sigh.
Stroking a hand over Ethan's hair, Luke turned his attention to Robin, who was sitting in a plastic chair on the other side of the stretcher. "Thanks for looking after him. I really appreciate it."
"Not a problem. Better safe than sorry, right?" She gathered her purse from the floor and slung it over her shoulder. "Ryan's looking after the boys, and I need to get supper going. You okay if I head home? The nurse said the pediatrician would be in to check him out shortly."
He shot her a grateful smile. "It's fine. You go ahead. Thanks again, Robin."
She eased the curtain closed behind her, and unable to help himself, he once again pulled Ethan into a hug, gently kissing the top of his head.
"Dad. Jeez. I just fell. That's all. I'm okay."
"Oh, yeah?" asked Luke, letting Ethan go and sitting down in the chair Robin had vacated. He held up three fingers. "How many fingers am I holding up?"
Ethan flung his arms out in front of him, scrabbling at the air. "Fingers? What fingers?" A grin stretched across his face. "Oh, no, Dad. I'm blind!" With an overdramatic sigh, he clutched his head in his hands, giggling.
"Okay, wise guy. Point taken." He shook his head and smiled, gingerly ruffling Ethan's hair as the vise clenching his lungs finally eased. Ethan really did seem okay. Hopefully the doctor would confirm it, and they could be on their way.
The curtain slid back with a metallic scrape to reveal a pretty blonde wearing light blue scrubs and a white lab coat, a stethoscope hanging from her neck.
A warm smile lit up her face. "Well, hi there. You must be ..." She glanced down at the clipboard in one hand before looking back up at him. "Mr. Grayson." She stepped toward him, extending her hand. "I'm Dr. Harmon, and I'll be looking after Ethan." Her Southern accent was decidedly out of place, and only added to her immediate charm.
He shook her hand, and their eyes met. He could've sworn hers widened, just a bit, when they were palm to palm, her skin warm and soft against his. A warm, tingling sensation worked its way up his arm.
Damn. She was beautiful. Soft and feminine with long, blond hair swept up in a ponytail, warm brown eyes, high cheekbones, and a wide, full mouth. She looked young, but he figured she had to be at least in her early thirties, maybe only a year or two younger than him.
"Call me Luke." He wanted to hear her say his name in that cute accent.
She nodded, her ponytail bobbing behind her. "Sure. Luke."
Oh, hell yeah. He definitely liked that.
And then he realized that he still had her hand. Giving him a slightly puzzled look, she took a step back. He was staring, probably drooling. She was going to think he was the one who'd hit his head, not Ethan.
Turning her attention to her young patient, she smiled again. "Hi there, Ethan. Can you tell me about how you fell?"
Ethan nodded, his eyes darting between Luke and the doctor. "I was playing with Ben and Michael Hayward and there was a patch of ice, so we decided to see who could slide the farthest. I lost, but only because I wiped out. I mostly landed on my butt, but I hit the back of my head, and Mrs. Hayward brought me here. But I didn't cry."
Dr. Harmon nodded seriously, her eyes holding Ethan's. "You're a very brave boy, by the sounds of it. I'm going to check you out and make sure you're okay." She smiled reassuringly at him and patted his shoulder. Although Luke knew she was just doing her job, the unexpected tenderness of the gesture caught him completely off guard, tugging at something deep in his chest.
As Dr. Harmon examined Ethan, checking his pupils, his reflexes and balance, she also asked him several questions about his favorite movies and TV shows, if he liked sports, and what he was going to ask Santa to bring him for Christmas. She asked a few of the questions twice, and he realized she was testing Ethan's memory and recall. She smiled wide when Ethan informed her that she'd already asked him which Avenger was his favorite.
"Does he have a concussion?" asked Luke, swallowing around the weird lump in his throat. With a flash of clarity, he realized that it was the sincerity in her interest in Ethan's answers that was getting to him. It was strange. Lots of people were nice to his son, but there was something about the way she talked to him, the way she tilted her head when she was listening to his answers ... He couldn't quite put his finger on it. All he knew was that he liked watching her with his son. He cleared his throat.
She shook her head. "No. He didn't lose consciousness when he hit his head, and all of his vitals check out nice and normal. He passed my little test with flying colors. Most importantly, he knew how many days until Christmas morning." She smiled and winked at Ethan, and Luke's chest tightened ever so slightly. "He'll likely have a nasty bump, though. You'll want to put ice on it, and if it's real sore, you can give him some children's Advil. If he develops any worrisome symptoms, like vomiting, confusion, dizziness — anything like that — then bring him on back right away. But I think he'll be fine." She scribbled a few notes on her clipboard and then clicked her pen.
"Thank you, Dr. Harmon. We really appreciate it." He nudged Ethan gently.
"Thanks, Dr. Harmon. Did you know that my dad's single?"
* * *
Huh. Christie Harmon could honestly say that she'd never met a guy worthy of being called a hunk before. But Luke Grayson was definitely a hunk. No other way to describe him. That thick, dark blond hair. Those piercing light blue eyes. That smile, with the dimples and the perfect white teeth. That square chin and granite jaw covered with a few days' worth of stubble.
Yep. Total hunk.
Real professional, Christie. Down, girl.
"Did you know that my dad's single?" At Ethan's question, she found her eyes darting to Luke's left hand, which, sure enough, was devoid of a wedding ring.
"Ethan." Luke's voice was low and full of warning.
"You should ask her out. She's so pretty and nice. I like her." Ethan turned his attention to Christie, and it hit her that he was a mini version of Luke. Same blond hair, same blue eyes, same dimpled smile. Ethan leaned toward her and cupped a hand over his mouth. "He's probably nervous because it's been a really long time since he went on a date."
Christie bit back a smile as Luke cringed. "You're a terrible wingman. Let's go." He tipped his head toward her. "Thanks again, Dr. Harmon."
Something flared in Luke's eyes, and he looked at her again. Really looked at her, the way he had when they'd shook hands. The way that made her stomach flip and her heart flutter.
"Thanks, Christie." The way he said her name sent heat rippling over her skin. She clenched a fist against the urge to fan herself.
"You're very welcome. Take care, Ethan." She raised her hand in a wave, tearing her eyes from Luke to smile at her young patient. She stepped to the side to give Luke and Ethan room to pass in the small examination space, but Luke stepped at the same time. Awkwardly, she stepped again, and so did he. It was the dorkiest Texas Two-Step anyone had ever seen.
"Smooth, Dad. Jeez." Ethan rolled his eyes.
Luke laid one large, wide hand on her shoulder and her arm went boneless at his touch. The pen she'd been clutching in her left hand hit the floor, skittering over the tiles. She racked her brain, trying to think of something, anything to say, but she came up empty. Relishing the excuse to literally duck out of the interaction and get out of their way, she bent to retrieve her pen. Unfortunately, Luke picked that exact moment to do the same, and their foreheads crashed together.
"Oh, my God. I'm so sorry. Are you okay?" he asked, rubbing his own forehead and extending a hand toward her.
She nodded weakly, more embarrassed than hurt. "Yeah. I just wanted to make sure y'all had matching lumps." He stared at her blankly for a second, and she felt even more blood rush to her cheeks. "Sorry. That was a joke."
A smile spread across his face. "I know. It was cute."
Oh, dear Lord. Based on the heat coming off her face, she probably looked like a damn strawberry.
"You sure you're okay?" His eyes searched hers, and she nodded again.
"I'm sure. Are you all right? I think I got you good and hard." She closed her eyes briefly and pursed her lips together, praying for the ground to swallow her up as she realized what she'd just said.
His eyes held hers, heat sparking in them. "You sure did, but I'll survive."
"I'm just gonna stand here and let you two leave without my hindrance. Have a nice evening." She stood back, fiddling with the stethoscope.
"Bye, Christie." He turned his attention to his son. "C'mon, dude. Let's go home and get some ice on that bump."
"Do I have to go to school tomorrow?"
"Of course you have to go to school tomorrow. You heard Dr. Harmon. You're fine."
"You should've asked her out."
As they walked away, Luke pulled Ethan into him, hugging him to his side as they walked. "No more playing on ice, okay buddy?"
She found herself smiling as she watched them make their way to the exit doors, a warm, melting sensation filling up her insides at the sight of them together. Quickly, she caught herself, giving her head a shake and jamming her pen back in the front pocket of her lab coat.
She exhaled slowly and tried not to laugh at herself for thinking she could ever be good enough for a man like that. Kind and warm and ... God, he was gorgeous. And watching him with his son? All funny and tender and worried? Holy hell. She'd have to go for an ultrasound just to make sure her ovaries were still intact.
She gave her head another shake. She'd taken this job in Cheyenne to start over after what had happened in Tulsa. A wave of nausea rolled through her along with the memories of the humiliation she'd had to endure, how she'd had no choice but to run, leaving behind friends and a job she'd loved. All because of a stupid, impulsive act. A decision with consequences that she'd foolishly thought she could outrun.
But she'd been wrong. Because even now, in a new city, in a new job, she felt the weight of what she'd done pressing on her shoulders. A small voice whispered, "They're not for you," and she swallowed thickly. Adjusting her stethoscope, she pushed them from her mind as she went to find her next patient.CHAPTER 2
Christie pulled her SUV into a spot in the Home Depot parking lot, navigating around the fresh mounds of snow that had been cleared into the corners of the lot. A couple of inches had fallen last night, and suddenly the wreaths, lights, and Christmas trees that had been everywhere since before Thanksgiving didn't look so out of place. Locking the SUV with a beep, she dug her phone out of her purse, cold fingers scrolling across the screen as she pulled up her shopping list. After last night's snow, she'd realized that she needed a shovel. Clearing her driveway with a broom hadn't worked out so well and had earned her more than one puzzled glance from her neighbors.
She'd been in Cheyenne for nearly three weeks now, and she was starting to wonder if taking this job had been a mistake. Those last few weeks, simply getting out of Tulsa had fueled every decision, and when the posting for a pediatric resident at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center had come up, she'd sent in her resume that day. After a Skype interview and a review of her glowing recommendations, they'd flown her out for an interview with the hospital board. When they'd offered her the job, she'd accepted on the spot, beyond grateful that they hadn't found out about her mess of a personal life. After tying up a few loose ends in Tulsa, she'd returned to Cheyenne and the adorable red brick bungalow she'd rented. The pictures had looked warm and cozy, and she'd put down a deposit right away.
Now, here she was, alone, cold, and trying to move snow with a damn broom. Not to mention dealing with an absentee landlord who had failed to mention that the bungalow was a bit more rustic than advertised. Okay, fine. A lot more rustic. It had charm, sure, but in a worn-out, shabby-chic kind of way, and needed a lot of small repairs.
Maybe it wouldn't feel so shabby with some Christmas decorations.
Right. Because spending Christmas on call watching Love Actually alone in the dark and eating disgusting amounts of chocolate in her pajamas was really an occasion that called for gussying up the house. She couldn't go home because of work, and she wouldn't drag her parents out here to spend a sad, lonely Christmas with her while she waited for her pager to go off.
She'd tried to spare them the details of what had happened, of why she'd had to leave Tulsa, but it had been too hard. They'd always been close, and she'd hated keeping such a big thing a secret from them. Her parents had handled it well, as had most of her friends. But there'd been a few who'd turned cold and judgmental, and while Christie knew that their behavior indicated that they'd never really been her friends in the first place, some of their words had cut deep, making a home somewhere in the dark recesses of her brain.
Excerpted from When Snowflakes Fall by Tara Wyatt. Copyright © 2016 Tara Wyatt. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
## This book is the definition of "short & sweet". Hero and heroine have a tremendous connection for sure. The story is heartwarming and the hero Luke is so sweet (almost too good to be true ;). I deducted a star because it was a little rushed even for a novella.
Like most novellas, the story takes place over only a few weeks so you do have to have a little more leniency on how quickly the characters fall in love. But it’s a Christmas read and, like a good Hallmark movie, it’s kinda to be expected and I think that Wyatt’s lovely writing helps make it work even more. Luke is all sexy handyman with a heart of gold. He’s a dedicated single dad and doing an awesome job of raising a fantastic kid all on his own. He’s sweet, kind and funny, a little gun-shy for getting involved again but willing to take a chance when he meets a woman that he’s got a strong connection with. It’s brave to put himself out there and Wyatt could have easily gone with him being too scared but I’m impressed that she chose to not go the obvious route. Christie on the other hand has been burned recently and is very hesitant to get involved, especially with a family man. An incident in her past has made her feel unworthy of such a loving and good family unit. As she spends time with Luke, and his son, she knows that she needs to tell him but it’s not easy for her. When things do come out I think that Luke handles it very well. He’s obviously (and realistically) upset but he’s a good man and once he’s had time to think things through his good heart overrules his hurt feelings. I love how he goes about winning her over again. It’s so sweet and perfect and just made me smile. *** I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s. ***
This was a super sweet romance. Two broken souls coming together over the holidays to find love and happiness. It might have been just a tad too sweet for me to really fall in love with the story. Christie has a "thing" in her past that is horrible and she's basically run away to start over again - and I think that was the right thing to do. This "thing" is mentioned many times but we don't know what it is until near the end. I had a hard time relating to her feelings on this without knowing what it was. Luke was in a crappy marriage and he's afraid to be hurt, and he's afraid to have his son hurt again. His protective instincts are amazing. I like the back and forth he has mentally over this - with his son firmly in the "go for it" camp. This was a very real struggle for him, and I imagine many readers would understand his hesitation and doubts. In the end, there was a huge misunderstanding and a huge reconciliation. It was sweet and sappy, but a little much at times. I still enjoyed the story, just from the side of Luke more than Christie. *I voluntarily read a review copy of this book*
When Snowflakes Falls is a sweet holiday romance novella that features Christie Harmon, a doctor who needs a second chance after a devastating breakup and Luke Grayson, a single father who is focused on his son. They meet at the hospital and can't seem to stay apart. This is a really sweet novella that was both sweet and steamy. I liked both main characters and was very entertained by how the story developed. If your looking for a good second chance romance, this book is for you! I was given a free copy for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book, A little short, but sweet & steamy!
while i'm not entirely sure i'm ready to be thinking of christmas, you can't deny that the winter holidays are a wonderful season to set a romance in. fresh fallen snow, twinkle lights, cuddling up to the one you love--it's the perfect atmosphere for love. in when snowflakes fall we are introduced to the grayson brothers, identical twins who've both had some rough divorces and are a little cautious when it comes to the idea of love. luke grayson has been too busy raising his young son alone and running his contractor business to focus on himself. but when his son is brought to the e.r. after falling on some ice, he is disconcerted to realize that he is interested in the pediatrician examining ethan. dr. christie harmon has just moved to cheyenne to escape a bad breakup and a scandal that left her reputation in tatters. she's not looking to meet anyone. but she felt the sting of attraction when she met luke and keeps running into him in the days that follow. even though she's so afraid that her past will come between them, she can't help give this thing between them a chance to grow. pretty quickly they find themselves in a relationship, but christie resists coming completely clean to luke, because she's so afraid of his reaction. of course when he does find out there is a complete miscommunication. will it work out? obviously it does, because it's christmas and falling in love just makes it that much sweeter. the characters are well-developed given that this is novella length and it's a quick, sweet read. **when snowflakes fall will publish on october 25, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.
Completely entertaining read! This is a new to me author and I must say if her romantic suspense books are as well done as this one, I need to get reading!! This is a wonderful contemporary small town romance set in Wyoming with one very hot carpenter and an ER doc that have chemistry sizzling from the pages. Luke Grayson is a single dad content with his life raising his son Ethan. That is until he walks into the ER and meets the new pediatric doc. Dr. Christie Harmon came to Wyoming to escape the scandal and cruelty of her last job. After her last relationship she definitely isn't looking to start anything new but resisting the very sexy Luke Grayson and his son Ethan proves hard to do! A great book for relaxing during the holiday season. I highly recommend it.