Flynn Callister burst into the main sitting room at Deer Creek Inn and set the womansicle he’d pulled from the front yard onto the couch. He pulled his jacket from her shoulders then unzipped her own coat. Tossing them to the floor, he grabbed the thick quilt on the back of the couch and draped it around the lass. Next he pulled his phone out of his back pocket.
“I’m calling 911,” he said, though he wasn’t sure if the woman was with it enough to understand him. Her cheeks were so red from the biting cold, her lips nearly blue, and her clothes were soaked. “Gran!”
Aideen Rhodes, owner of Deer Creek Inn and grandmother to Flynn’s friend and bandmate, Emma, came into the sitting room. As soon as she saw the woman on her couch, her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, dear, what’s happened?”
“I found her outside. She must have fallen trying to get to the front door. She might be hur—” He stopped when the 911 operator answered. After explaining the situation, he hung up. “An ambulance is on the way, but do you have some dry clothes. She drenched and freezing.”
“Of course.” Gran scurried from the room and Flynn turned his attention back to the woman.
“Hey.” He kneeled beside the couch and used his index finger to move aside strands of wet, golden hair. “Can you hear me?”
The woman nodded, but it appeared to sap her energy to do so. Poor lass. How long had she’d been out there? Just how hurt was she? Who was she?
“I’m Flynn Callister and we’ll get you all warmed up, aye. Don’t worry.”
Good thing he’d come to the inn tonight. Every other member of their Celtic rock band, Hendrake, was in a relationship and Emma, Torrin, and Blaithin had taken their mates on romantic getaways as Christmas presents. They’d, of course, invited him to come along, but what was more pathetic than being the seventh wheel? So he’d elected to stay behind and help Emma’s grandmother run the inn for the week before Christmas. In exchange, Gran had promised to make him all the snickerdoodles he could eat.
Which was an unholy number.
When he’d heard the howling earlier, he’d opened the front door, concerned that wild animals were getting a bit too close to the inn. He’d been prepared to fire off a couple of warning shots with Gran’s rifle, but then he’d thought he’d heard a voice out there in the blizzard.
Thank heavens he’d checked it out. This lass could have died out there tonight.
Gran bustled back into the sitting room and shooed him out so she could help the woman change her clothes. When he was allowed back in, the lass was sitting up and looking… hot. She made the gray sweats Gran had given her look like something a supermodel would wear.
That golden hair, though still wet, fell around her shoulders in long waves. She was petite, all her features delicate and feminine. Rich green eyes searched the sitting room before settling on Flynn and making something magnetic inside him pull him farther into the room. Closer to the couch.
Closer to her.
“I… I’m Brooke Myers,” she said after clearing her throat. There was a slight southern twang to her words that enchanted Flynn. “Are you the one who pulled me out of the snow?”
Flynn nodded, too caught up in her to form words.
“Well, thank you. Thank you so much. I was about two seconds from becoming a permanent ice sculpture.” She coughed, a wince scrunching up her face.
“Are you hurt?” He navigated himself to the coffee table in front of the couch where Gran was already standing.
“Her back,” Gran said. “Wrenched it trying to get out of the snow bank. I’m so sorry, lass. Usually everything is cleared, but the snow was falling too quickly to stay ahead of it and I wasn’t expecting any new guests tonight.”
Brooke held up a hand. “I totally understand. I didn’t expect to be a guest. I’m supposed to be at a ski lodge an hour from here with my family.” Her gaze shot to Flynn. “I’m meeting my parents and siblings for Christmas.”
Not a boyfriend or husband? Good to know, and had she wanted him to have that information?
The doorbell rang and Gran went to answer it while Flynn lowered to sit on the edge of the coffee table. “Can I get you something to drink?” He was glad that question came out and not do you want to run away with me?
“Something hot would be wonderful,” Brooke said in a soft, scratchy voice. A rather sexy voice. “I’m so cold.”
“Aye. Coming right up.” Flynn met Gran and two EMTs in the foyer. “Aside from hurting her back and being out in the cold, she appears to be okay.”
“We’ll check her out,” one of the EMTs said.
“Help me get her something to drink, Gran?” Flynn angled his head toward the inn’s kitchen.
“I know just the thing.” Gran led the way and moved around the kitchen as if she could do so with her eyes closed. “What a way for a lass to start her holiday.”
A dozen other ways Flynn could start Brooke’s holiday flashed through his mind as he leaned against the threshold and watched Gran. As he let a few of those scenarios play out in his mind, he grew heated beneath his flannel shirt and jeans. How could he let his mind wander into that territory? The woman had suffered a frightening ordeal being stuck outside and hurting her back during a blizzard. She didn’t need some guy trying to put the moves on her.
Does she? She had pointed out that the family she was meeting included her parents and siblings. Not a significant other. Why would she specify if she wasn’t interested?
Flynn was totally ready for some excitement. He’d grown so tired of being the only one not in a relationship. Emma had Kole, Blaithin had Vix, and Torrin had Kari. And while he could have hooked up with any number of lasses at Hendrake concerts, eager to score with the band’s drummer, that wasn’t what he was looking for in his life right now. At thirty-four years old, he wanted something like his friends had. Something real. Something more. Something with the potential for forever.
A loud snap in front of his face made him blink and focus on Gran standing in front of him. She held up a mug with steam curling from the hot cocoa it contained.
“Earth to Flynn.” She smiled. “Can you take this to our guest?”
“Aye.” He took the mug and carefully made his way toward the sitting room. With a quick peek around the doorway to make sure he wasn’t interrupting an examination, he entered and set the cocoa on the coffee table.
One of the EMTs shook a bottle of pills at him. “She’s pulled a muscle in her back. Some of these, coupled with rest, and she’ll be as good as new. No signs of frostbite, but she does need some warming up.”
“Which you’re already on top of with the cocoa,” the other EMT said.
But that’s not the only way to warm up a lass…
Flynn shook that thought from his head as he accepted the bottle of pills from the EMT.
“She shouldn’t drive or operate any heavy machinery while she’s on these,” the first EMT said.
“Darn.” Flynn shot her a quick smile. “I was going to have her snowblow out there.” He gestured out the window where the storm was still raging.
Brooke offered him a grin that made her entire face radiant. “Snowblowing is not on my resume. I’m from Texas.”
Picturing her dressed as a cowgirl made Flynn have to bite back a groan. What was wrong with him tonight? He’d pulled one gorgeous woman from the snow and his hormones were all high-fiving each other, ready to get into the game.
He thanked the EMTs and walked them out. When he returned to the sitting room, Brooke had her hands wrapped around the mug. He wiggled the pill bottle. “Want some of these?”
“Yes, please.” She held out her hand and he shook two pills into her palm. After taking them, she looked up at Flynn. “Please tell me you have a room here.”
He certainly did.
Come back tomorrow for the last part of Melt My Heart!
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