After grieving the loss of her husband and son, TV host Morgan Marshall is ready to embrace life again. But she won’t risk a relationship with the father of her favorite cooking student, Avery, since the girl’s happiness is more important than her own.
Advertising executive Alex Blake never thought another woman could pique his interest after losing his wife to pneumonia, a complication of her cancer. Yet every time he’s in Morgan’s presence, she brings sunlight into the room. Plus, she’s a role model for his daughter, always assuring Avery that dyslexia can’t hold her back. But if he asks Morgan for a date and then she refuses a second one, the person he loves the most, Avery, could get hurt the worst because she adores Morgan.
When Alex is injured in a fall, Morgan insists on caring for him and Avery. As they share holiday fun, Avery topples Morgan’s beloved crystal bell collection, shattering it to pieces. Through it all, they discover love of one another is more priceless than any object money can buy. Love rings in the air at Christmastime.
Alex turned when someone from behind tapped his shoulder. “Yes?”
“You two are the cutest couple. So you have a daughter in the program tonight?” a silver-haired lady, draped in strands of pearls, asked. “I’ll bet she’s beautiful, looking at the two of you.”
“We—” Morgan began.
“Thank you.” Alex interrupted, cutting her off. “Avery Blake is her name. She has a solo. It’s listed in the program.” He smiled brightly at the lady and then turned his gaze back to Morgan. She appeared surprised but didn’t contradict him.
He figured the lady didn’t need to know the intimate details of their life. It was enough that she considered them a couple. If others could see it, would it be possible for Morgan to see it, too? It wasn’t until that moment he understood how much he truly missed being a family of three and having a wife, after being forced to let go of the woman he loved. It proved tougher than he imagined. Now eighteen months later, he looked forward to a new chapter of his life. Maybe one with Morgan Marshall playing a major role.
When the girl reached the bottom of the stairs, she ran for the kitchen. “Come watch me, Daddy.”
Morgan started to follow, but stopped when Alex touched her arm. “You’re sure about this.” He tilted his head toward the kitchen. Uncertainty filled his eyes.
“Oh ye of little faith,” Morgan admonished teasingly. “Your daughter can cook a four-star meal. Just you wait and see.”
“Well, Miss Morgan, if my child gives me food poisoning, I’m going to hold you responsible. I’ll insist you nurse me back to health.” He winked and then bowed, waving his hand in a flourish, suggesting he would follow her lead to the kitchen.
Morgan took a step, stopped, and glanced over her shoulder. Alex was grinning wider than she’d ever seen. The slightly crinkled, starched white shirt with the cuffs rolled up, top button undone, tucked into charcoal gray slacks made his chest appear broader, his waist slimmer, and his smile brighter. She had never noticed the strength in the squareness of his jaw or the thickness of his lashes. A tingle shivered along her spine. Was the man flirting with her?