I turn off the ignition and then got out of the car. It's colder here than it had been in Philly. I need to make sure there was enough firewood in the house, in case I decide to light a fire. I set my grocery bags on the porch and then walk back to the car to fetch my battered weekend bag. That's when I notice a dark figure coming up the driveway.
Whoever it is is tall and walked with care on the snow-dusted gravel. I call out a "hey!" and the figure stops then comes toward me. Shit, maybe this was dumb.
"This is private property," I say with more bravery than I feel. It is dark enough now that the porch light isn't providing enough light to see the stranger's face.
"I know, so what are you doing here?"
"I own this place," I say hotly. "Who are you? And just what are you doing here?"
"I live here," the man replies and steps closer. "If you own this place, then you should know who your tenant is."
"What are you talking about? I never said anyone could rent here—"
"Ruth Carter helped me set everything up," he says. "I've got a lease."
"Look, my grandmother left me this place—"
"Ah..you're the prodigal granddaughter…right, that explains it. You don't live here."
"Just who are you?"
"I'm Jake Groenewald," he clarifies. "Like I said, I'm your tenant. I'm renting the guest cottage."
"I'm Mia Wilkinson."
"I figured. Ruth said you might show up," he says. "Are we going to keep standing out here in the cold?"
"No one was supposed to be here."
"Well, I'm here until at least the end of January. Your grandmother and I worked it out before she fell ill."
"Sounds like Grandma Ruth…damn it! I wanted to be alone for Christmas."
"Yeah, well, I figured I would be too, but it looks like we're stuck with each other."
We have a Mexican standoff. I flash him my most annoyed glare, but he just shrugs and smiles. I turn and stalk off. I don't know who he is, but…dammit! I didn't want to see any men for a few days…especially really gorgeous ones. I didn't want any company at all.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish