She Came to See the Snow
Haley Blackwell travels to Colorado with plans to relive her favorite childhood memories—including a snowy Christmas. When she meets her grandparents’ neighbor, she finds herself yearning for more than a white Christmas, but trusting men has never been easy for Haley.
After a failed marriage, and the death of his ex-wife, Tate Rivers is determined to concentrate on raising his preschool daughter, Ashlyn, and to stay clear of another relationship. He doubts he can ever trust his heart to another woman—until he meets Haley.
Despite the weather forecast that does not include snow on Christmas Day, Ashlyn prays that God will give Haley the desires of her heart. Will Haley realize Tate isn’t a man who will abandon those he loves, and will they be able to push aside the past and step forward together in love—the way God desires?
“Ashlyn.” Tate followed after her.
She ignored him and scampered along the walk as fast as her three-year-old legs could carry her.
“This is my little neighbor, Ashlyn,” Cora explained to her granddaughter as Ashlyn barreled toward them, arms flailing like a baby bird trying to take flight. She reeled to a stop and swung both arms around Haley’s leg.
What in the world? “Ashlyn.” Tate quickened his pace.
Haley startled a second then broke into laugher. “Well, hello there.” She tousled Ashlyn’s blonde curls.
At least Cora’s granddaughter wasn’t offended. Still, Tate had no idea why his shy little girl was clinging to a woman they’d never met. Reaching his daughter, he hunkered down beside her. “Sugarbean, let go of the nice lady.”
The blue eyes that met his showed no remorse. “I like Miss Cora’s friend.”
“I’m sure she’s very―”
“I like you, too.” Haley bent down to Ashlyn’s eye level, breaking the death grip on her leg. “My grandmother told me about a precious little girl who comes to visit with her and Granddad. Would that happen to be you?”
“Uh-huh.” Ashlyn’s giggle touched Tate’s heart. A sound he’d seldom heard...actually hadn’t heard in over a month, not since Ashlyn’s Nana and Pop left town to help with his sister Amy’s kids. Amy was on bed rest with her fourth child, and her husband was serving in Iraq. Tate’s sister needed their parents. But the absence of Ashlyn’s Nana and Pop made being a single father harder. Without them here…well, he thanked God for Cora and Ned.
“Ashlyn, let’s get you out of the cold.” Cora picked her up. “In fact, we all best get inside.”
Standing upright, Tate brushed dirt from his gloves. “Cora, thanks again. I need to get Ashlyn home.”
Cora shifted Ashlyn on her hip. “OK. I’ll put this little cherub in her car seat for you.”
“Bye, Miss Cora’s friend.” Ashlyn waved all the way to the truck.
Northern winds had been gusting all day, and with evening creeping in, the chill intensified. But as Haley smiled and waved to his daughter, Tate barely noticed the cold.
“She’s adorable.” Haley shifted her attention to him. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Haley Blackwell, Cora and Ned’s granddaughter.”
“Tate Rivers.” Tate removed his glove and extended his hand. “Sorry. My daughter isn’t usually so friendly.”
“Then I feel privileged.” Haley grasped his hand. A smile punched dimples in her rosy cheeks.
Beautiful and gracious. A rare combination.
He blinked. Great attributes but the last thing he needed was another female in his life. His last relationship cured him of that. Broken dreams. Tattered heart. He had no intention of making that mistake again.
Besides, he’d yet to figure the little girl in the car seat.
“I appreciate your understanding.” Tate smiled. “Welcome to Fairplay.”