Christmas in Heaven

an excerpt

Chapter One

Damian Washington had never believed in love at first sight until he walked into the bakery and confectionary shop and saw the woman of his dreams. She stood behind a counter with two other clerks waiting on customers. Her skin reminded him of milk chocolate. Her hair was as dark as licorice, and her eyes as brown as Hershey's Kisses. She also had luscious-looking lips that begged to be kissed by him.

"Number sixty-three."

Damian's cock responded with a slow rise at the sound of her sexy southern voice. "I'm number sixty-three." The toothy smile stole his breath away.

"You're a stranger in town, aren't you," she asked upon approach.

"Yes, but not really," Damian said. "I used to live here many years ago."

That got another smile out of her. "Well, welcome back. How may I help you?"

By having my babies, Damian wanted to say. "I'd like a dozen of the buttermilk drops and two dozen assorted doughnuts."

"Um, that's quite a sweet tooth," she said, not once taking her gaze from his.

"It's for the office," Damian said. "It's my turn to bring in dessert."

She began filling his order. "Do you work around here?"

Damian nodded like an idiot. "At the Noel City Medical Center."

"Are you a doctor?"

"Yes," Damian answered. "I'm Doctor North's replacement."

She handed him a bag and two boxes. "I'm Audrina Frost."

"It's nice to meet you, Audrina, I'm Damian Washington. How much do I owe you?"

"Ten dollars," Audrina answered.

Damian paid her, noticing the pretty hands that went with that stellar smile. "Are you married?"

Audrina shook her head. "No, are you?"

Damian shook his head. "No, are you dating someone?"

The women behind the counter with her chuckled. "No. Are you?"

"No," Damian answered. "Why aren't you?"

They sounded like a couple of teens. "Because I'm saving myself for Mr. Right," Audrina answered.

Some of the customers in line chuckled at her response. "Oh, I better go and let you get back to work," Damian said.

"My boss won't mind," Audrina said. "She's a very nice lady."

"Why don't you ask her for a date," an elderly woman said. "Audrina's one of the best cooks in St. Charles Parish."

"Would you like to go out with me?" Damian asked.

Audrina nodded, pulled a card from her apron pocket and handed it to him. "I'm available most nights after we close. Call me tonight and we'll talk."

Damian put the card into his coat pocket while the other people in the bakery clapped. "Have a nice day, Miss Frost."

"You too, Doctor Right, I mean Washington," Audrina said. "I'll be expecting your call."

Damian walked out of the little shop smiling all the way to the car. He noticed the store next to the bakery in the strip mall. It was one of those holiday stores. Christmas would be here before he knew it and he hadn't started shopping yet. It was his favorite time of the year. Damian started up his car and drove back to the medical center.

The building was located just a few blocks from the bakery. Damian parked in his assigned spot, got out and carried the bag, boxes and his briefcase inside. His friend Sean Miller was in the employee's lounge making a big pot of coffee. He and Sean had studied medicine in New York City, and Sean had moved back to Noel several years ago. Sean was an attractive white guy and served the medical center as a pediatrician.

"Why are you smiling?" Sean asked as he walked over to help Damian with the boxes. "You look like you've struck gold or something. Were you visiting the nursery at the hospital again?"

Damian shook his head. "No, I just came from the bakery."

"Frost's Bakery?" Sean asked as he went back over to a cabinet and began taking out condiments, napkins and paper products.

"Yes, how did you know that?"

"Just a hunch," Sean said. "Plus it's written on the boxes. You didn't by chance get waited on by Audrina Frost, did you?"

Damian nodded. "Do you know her?"

"Yes. I'm dating her cousin, Willow. No wonder you look like you're sitting on top of the world."

"You're dating her cousin? Is she as pretty as Audrina?" He'd just been back in Noel two weeks and didn't really know anyone outside of the medical center.

"Yes. Good genes run in the family. So did Audrina talk to you?"

"Yes," Damian answered. "Her smile is so brilliant."

"Oh, my God, you're one lucky guy," Sean said.

"How come?"

"Men have been trying to date her for as long as I can remember, but she has turned them all down. She's a strange one. Willow and I have tried to fix her up, but she always says that she's waiting for Mr. Right."

Damian pulled her business card out of his pocket and showed it to Sean. "She wants me to call her tonight."

Sean handed the card back to Damian. "Willow is never going to believe this. The entire family thinks she's going to be a spinster and here you come along and break through that icy exterior."

"What icy exterior?" Damian asked as he finally took off his coat. "I saw nothing but an angelic smile."

"Did you happen to get a look at the body?" Sean asked.

Damian shook his head. "She was standing behind a pastry counter."

"So are you going to call her?" Sean asked as he fixed two cups of coffee. He handed one to Damian.

"Thanks, and yes." He paused. "Are you sure she's not dating anyone?"

"Not that I know of. She's only been in one serious relationship with a guy named Jack. He died many years ago and left the bakery to Audrina."

"She's the owner?" Damian asked.

Sean nodded.

"Were they married?"

"No, but they were engaged. He died before they made it to the altar."

"Oh," Damian said. "Hopefully she's not still in mourning."

"I don't think she is," Sean said. "Not anymore."

Damian didn't understand what Sean meant and his friend didn't elaborate. The other staff started entering the lounge and their conversation ended. Later that evening he called Audrina and invited her to join him for dinner and dancing on Friday night. She accepted and gave Damian her address. "I'll see you on Friday," he said.

"I can't wait," was her response.