Bestselling author Kale McKinnon is a modern Scrooge – eccentric, misanthropic and reclusive, made bitter by the coldness of his wealthy family. But when optimistic Canadian graduate student Molly Gillis visits Oxford and invades his space, he realizes Christmas is about to change for him forever. But can he make her stay, and force himself to un-Scrooge enough to be the right man for her?
Kale peeked out the window at the rising sun and the falling snow, and breathed in the aroma of bubbling coffee from the kitchen. Soon Molly would arrive, and he rubbed his hands together in anticipation for his surprise. He had something to tell her that he was not at all sure she was going to like, and he hoped, perhaps foolishly, that a special breakfast would soften the blow.
It was Friday. He knew she didn’t have class, and he had burned through his pages last night in order to clear his day today, so if breakfast didn’t work he would convince her to go with him to find a Christmas present for herself—anything she wanted.
He knew by instinct that Molly was one of those people who adored the abominable season, and he was determined not to come off as a Scrooge. He had always spent his money wisely, though not exactly from a cheap nature. It occurred to him that he never really had anyone he wanted to spend it on, but now he wanted to lavish it on Molly. He knew she had been raised with a tight budget; he wanted to give her everything.
Money was the one thing his family had given him, he thought with a tinge of bitterness that he pushed away.
Smiling instead, he switched on the waffle iron, and considered the way she would look as she watched the snow. Being Canadian, perhaps she had a special relationship to it. He had begun to look at it differently, himself. What had previously been a cold, wet annoyance now appeared somewhat magical, blanketing them in sparkly privacy within their warm little bubble.
Of course Molly would be a Christmas-lover—she even smelled like Christmas, all cinnamon and vanilla. For Kale, who never even really considered what Christmas meant, Molly was the human embodiment of the season. Bright, shiny, and fresh.
“I guess that would make me, what? Halloween?” He snickered at his own fanciful thoughts. “Not even that exciting—more like the August Bank Holiday.”
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