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Snowbound (McIntyre Security Bodyguard #7.6)
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Fans of the McIntyre Security Bodyguard Series will love this new novella featuring Beth and Shane, as well as other favorites, including Luke, Sam, Cooper, Erin and Mack. This suspenseful Christmas novella will best be enjoyed as part of the series.
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“It’s snowing,” Sam says as he walks through the open door to my office carrying two bright red holiday cups with lids. “It looks like we’ll have a white Christmas after all.”
The holiday music coming through the store’s sound system reminds me that tomorrow is Christmas. It will be Luke’s first Christmas! I can’t believe my baby is six months old. It seems like just yesterday he entered this world under a cloud of trauma and fear. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and I’ve had more than my fair share of challenges adjusting to motherhood. But thankfully, in large part because of Shane’s unwavering patience and support, I’ve made the adjustment. I already have my Christmas presents—my husband and my son. They’re all I need.
My bodyguard hands me one of the steaming cups. “I come bearing gifts.”
The warm cup feels good in my hands. I sniff the steam coming out of the sipping spout. “Mmm, chocolate.”
“Not just any chocolate,” he clarifies. “Peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. Your favorite.”
“I love you,” I say, sighing as I take a tentative sip of the hot, creamy mixture. Ah, sweet chocolatey goodness. Just what I need.
“I know you do.” Sam heads to the sofa where he likes to kick back and relax while we’re at the store, propping his boots up on the coffee table while I work at my desk. He stops in front of the large picture window that overlooks North Michigan Avenue and the bustling shopping district of downtown Chicago known as The Magnificent Mile. “It’s really coming down now.”
I hop up from my desk chair and join him at the window. He’s not kidding. The white stuff’s really coming down in big fat flakes. I’d heard the forecast was for a few inches of snow today, but this looks like much more than that. “We’re definitely going to have a white Christmas.”
A side door to my office opens, and Lindsey Carmichael’s smiling face appears. Big brown eyes dominate a pretty face framed by a cloud of curly brown hair. “Guess who’s awake and hungry?”
Lindsey is a godsend. She was working the sales floor as a part-time employee—one of the many college students who work here—when I first started bringing Luke to work with me. She’d find any excuse to come up to my office to fawn over him. She’s a real baby magnet, and Luke took to her right away.
As the eldest of ten kids, Lindsey has tons of childcare experience—just what I needed. So, I offered her a promotion, and she’s now Luke’s nanny here at Clancy’s Bookshop on the days when I’m here.
I set my hot chocolate on my desk and meet Lindsey halfway.
Looking like he just woke up, Luke squints his soft blue eyes as he adjusts to the lights. When he sees me, he grins, revealing the tip of his first little tooth peeking out of his bottom gum. He reaches for me. “Mum-mum-mum-mum-mum.”
Luke has become increasingly vocal in just the past couple of weeks. His first utterance was “mum-mum-mum.” Poor Shane has been trying to get him to say da-da, but he hasn’t had any luck so far.
“There’s my sweet boy,” I say, grinning at my son as I take him from Lindsey. I prop him on my hip and kiss his forehead. He grasps my sweater in one tight little fist, and he presses his free hand to his mouth and starts sucking loudly.
Sam chuckles as he gently brushes his hand over Luke’s tufts of blond hair. “Definitely hungry.”
“I changed his diaper and his clothes,” Lindsey says, smiling brightly. The twenty-year-old is practically bouncing on her feet.
Luke looks very handsome in his black knit sweatpants, a gray-and-white striped hoodie shirt, and white socks. He squirms in my arms, squawking softly as he turns his face toward me and nuzzles my blouse. Yes, he’s hungry.
Lindsey sniffs the air. “Do I smell chocolate?”
“Peppermint hot chocolate,” I say. “Why don’t you run downstairs to the café and have some while I nurse Luke.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice,” she says, heading for the door with an excited wave.
“Don’t forget the whipped cream and sprinkles!” Sam calls after her.
Before heading into the attached nursery, I glance out the window, amazed at how hard the snow is coming down now. The air is so thick with snow I can barely make out the tall buildings across the street. “Have you seen the updated forecast?” I ask Sam. “How much snow are they predicting?”
He shakes his head as he pulls out his phone. “I’ll check.”
Luke lets out a plaintive cry as he throws his head against my shoulder and sticks his thumb in his mouth. “Mum-mum-mum,” he says around his thumb.
“Okay, sweetie, we’re going. Poor baby.” And then to Sam, I say, “Be back soon.”