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07.03.2019

I jerk my head to the table. “Go set it up. I’m going to talk to your mom a sec.”

I walk up to Kate and guide her to a corner of the room, out of the others’ earshot.

“Did your meeting finish up early?” she asks in a steely voice.

Can’t really blame her.

“I canceled the meeting.”

Her big, gorgeous brown eyes look surprised. And hopeful. “Why?”

“Because being here with you is more important than any deal. I never should’ve scheduled work on Christmas Eve. I never should’ve left the apartment when you were upset about it. I won’t do it again. I’m sorry.”

Kate gazes into my eyes, reading my sincerity. Then she smiles. With so much love, it makes my knees tremble.

“I forgive you.”

I pull her to me and kiss her deeply. Tenderly. Stroking her cheek with my thumb.

Then Kate looks up into my face. “Are you okay? You seem different.”

“I had this really screwed-up dream. I’ll tell you about it later.” Then I think of something else. “Hey—what do you think of going to Bumfuck, Ohio, for New Year’s Eve?”

She smiles even brighter. “I would love that.”

I wink. “Then so will I.”

Later, after we tuck James into bed and he’s out cold, Kate and I spend two hours putting together a shiny blue bicycle and an eight-foot-wide kid’s trampoline with enclosure that will take up residence in the formal dining room.

At least that room will finally have a frigging purpose.

When we’re finished, just after midnight, we sit back on the couch and gaze at the fruits of our labor. The twinkling lights of the tree reflect magically off the big red bows and the green reindeer wrapping paper. Behind the tree, outside the large picture window, delicate snowflakes cascade down from the dark sky—it’s a picture straight out of a goddamn Hallmark holiday special.

Kate’s eyes settle on me. Adoringly. “We make a pretty good team.”

I rub her shoulder. “We really do.”

It’s something I’ll never forget again.

I get up and head to the kitchen. When I come back, there’s two wineglasses and a bottle of Chateau Petrus 2002 in my hands. I uncork the bottle, letting it breathe for less time than I should, and pour a generous glass for each of us.

Kate takes the wine with a smile, and I raise my glass.

“Merry Christmas, Kate.”

She taps my glass with a clink. “Merry Christmas, Drew.”

We sip, then I lean in for a wine-flavored kiss.

Delicious.

Next, I stand up and mess with the stereo. The sound of Michael Bublé singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” fills the room, low enough not to wake James. I take her glass and set it on the table.

Then I hold out my hand to my amazing wife. “May I have this dance, Mrs. Evans?”

Her warm hand slides into mine. “There’s nothing I’d rather do, Mr. Evans.” Then—because Kate is the perfect woman—she adds, “Well, maybe there’s one thing—but I’m sure we’ll get to that later.”

I chuckle deeply. My arms wrap around her, holding her against me, her head resting against my chest. And in the light of the Christmas tree, we sway in time to the music.

Was it all just a dream?

Honestly? I don’t fucking know. But I’m grateful it happened. Because even someone as brilliant as me needs a refresher once in a while about what’s really important. The moments that matter. And the people we can’t and don’t want to imagine living without.

As I dance with the love of my life on Christmas Eve, I swear I hear the soft ring of a bell. And if you believe what that legend says, then somewhere, an angel has gotten her wings.

author’s note

The following scene was originally written and emailed as a thank-you to those readers who had preordered Tied. Since it shows a special moment in Drew and Kate’s relationship, I’m excited to be able to release it now for all fans of the Tangled series to enjoy.

It takes place after the events in Twisted (Tangled series, Book 2) but before Tied (Tangled series, Book 4).

indecent proposal

It’s a perfect fall day. The leaves are just starting to change, and the sky is a cerulean-blue backdrop for cotton-white clouds. The air is still comfortably warm, but the breeze has that subtle bite to it—a reminder that winter is around the corner.

Our son, James, is six months old now—a good age. No longer just a screaming head, he’s interactive, expressive, and fun, but not mobile enough to be any real trouble. After dropping him off at my parents’ condo, Kate and I take the Lincoln Tunnel out of the city, to destinations unknown.

Well . . . unknown to her.

From the passenger seat, she looks sideways at me, and makes a terrible attempt at tripping me up. “Where did you say we were going again?”

❮❯