Colin only meant to take a wrongly delivered package to a house a few streets over. But a sudden snowstorm leaves him with no option but to beg shelter from his unknown neighbour James. During the course of a long night, a cozy fire, a little hot chocolate and the snow outside conspire to draw the two men closer. But will their connection outlast the storm?
A Special Delivery
by Laura Bailo
Author: Laura Bailo
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 8100
Sex Content: N/A
A Special Delivery
Laura Bailo © 2017
All Rights Reserved
The snow had finally given us a break despite the weather warning for a blizzard, and I was getting ready to take Anubis for his walk when I fell down, face-first, on my own porch. Nothing was harmed, except for my pride—although thankfully there was no one around to see it. I searched for whatever it was that had made me trip, and discovered a box sitting on my doorstep. That was weird; I couldn’t remember ordering anything, and Mom and Dad would have told me if they’d sent something.
Upon inspecting the box, I found it was certainly not for me, since the name on the front was James Atwell, and that was in no way close to my own, which was Colin Owens. When I saw the address, I understood what had happened. I lived in a townhouse on Mounty Road and apparently, James lived at the same number as me, but on Mount Road. With those names, it was a surprise this hadn’t happened before. That road was about a thirty minutes’ walk from my home, so I picked up the box and started in that direction—box under one arm, Anubis’s leash on my opposite hand.
I was halfway there when it started snowing again. I could turn back, but I’d already come all of this way, and I didn’t want to spoil Anubis’s fun. He was running as far as the leash would let him and trying to catch the snowflakes with his mouth.
Of course, as soon as I decided to just keep going, the wind picked up and the snow started falling in earnest. By then, the way back to my house would be longer than the way I still had left to walk, so I kept walking. There were no cars on the street, and it seemed as if I was the only one that had disregarded the warning for a blizzard. Intelligent people had stayed in their houses where it was warm and they didn’t have to worry about their fingers freezing off. I hurried, Anubis trotting at my side, but even then, what I’d estimated to be a thirty-minute walk took us almost an hour.
The storm had turned into a blizzard by the time I finally got to the address written on the box. I stepped on the porch, sighing in relief when the snow and wind couldn’t hit my face. I stood there staring at the door, the snow on my clothes melting and soaking through. I was shivering, and my fingers where so cold it took me two tries to ring the doorbell. Then it dawned on me that I was standing on a stranger’s porch with a box that belonged to him and I’d walked through a blizzard to get there. What was I supposed to do? Give him the box and walk back home? I was not looking forward to that.
The house was similar to mine, and I studied it after ringing the doorbell. Mine was probably a bit newer, but this was well-kept, the paint on the door recent and the light on the porch quite bright. There weren’t any decorations up, even though it was almost Christmas. When there was no answer to the doorbell, I tried ringing again, and then I heard steps approaching the door quickly.
“Whatever it is you’re selling, I don’t—” He stopped short when the door was wide open and he finally saw us. He looked at me, then at the dog sitting at my feet, and I could read the confusion in his face. I hoped he was confused enough not to notice me staring, because he was handsome, with dark brown skin and a mouth that curved upward as if hinting at a hidden smile. He was wearing loose sweats and a big T-shirt, but I still could see the outline of his shoulders, and I had no problem imagining his powerful frame without those clothes covering it. I’d gotten so lost in my own imagination that I startled when he finally spoke.
“Sorry, I thought you were someone else.”
I smiled wryly. “Yeah, I gathered that.” He seemed sheepish, and I wondered how he had gone from the confident guy that had opened the door to the one I was seeing now. I held up the package. “I think this is for you. I live on Mounty Street and it was left there by mistake.”
“And you came all this way with this storm?”
“To be fair, it wasn’t snowing when I got out, and I had to walk Anubis.” I petted the dog’s ears. “I couldn’t imagine we would be caught in this.” The snow on my head and shoulders was melting and water was starting to run along my back, making me shiver.
James opened the door wider for us. “I’m so sorry! Let me take that.” He took the package from my hands. “And please, come in. I’ll get you some towels.”
I cleaned my feet in the doormat and hesitated for a second. “Umm… Do you mind if Anubis comes in, too? It’s getting cold out there and I don’t like leaving him of his own.”
“Of course he can come in!” He made a gesture towards a door on the left. “If you would please go to the living room, the fireplace is lit.” He disappeared up a staircase on the right.