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A Simple Wish About Love

A Simple Wish About Love

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Erika Larson knows one thing for sure. She is awful at dating and has spent her life avoiding men at all costs. After getting dumped by a man who was her forever because she became pregnant, Erika’s been a little skeptical about the entire concept of love.

It seems like an excuse for men to get what they want before they leave town. 
After all, she works as a bartender at the world-famous Silver Ridge Ski Resort and has seen her fair share of one-night stands and guys’ trips gone wrong. 

But when Slade Tenison rolls into her bar looking to meet up with his old high school sweetheart who never shows, Erika gets a soft spot for him and tries to turn his ski trip around. It’s meant to be a quick trip for Slade and a fun fling for Erika, but their connection is undeniable and the spark between them is lit for everyone to see.

Main Tropes

  • Single Mom Romance
  • Obliv
  • Happily Ever After


Emilia Hudson has never been one to consider arranged marriages, especially if it meant her fifty-five year old parents would have a say, but with her dismal love life, she’s almost reconsidering.

After her latest dating disaster, Emilia writes a simple blog post that goes viral. Worse yet, people start considering her a relationship expert, and all she feels like is a fraud.

As the emails and speaking engagements start rolling in, she realizes her only option is to take the bull by the horns and run with the unexpected fame.

What she doesn’t want to do is talk about the real reason why she won’t ever fall in love again.

However, when she gets an offer she can’t refuse from a major publisher, that’s all they want her to write about, but It isn’t until she meets the man behind the proposal that she realizes why…

Intro to Chapter One

Erika Larson’s father had always taught her that if a man gave her lemons, squirt the juice right back at him, preferably in his eyes, blind him for a second or two, take whatever you can, and run.
She wiped down the bar counter and smiled. Her father had always been full of idioms that he’d made his own. It was a trait she’d apparently inherited because her motto about life and lemons often involved cocktails, which made sense since she was a bartender at the Silver Ridge Ski Resort.
“Can you believe how sexy that guy is over there?” Daisy asked, coming up behind Erika. She was the latest hire at Silver Ridge, and Erika instantly loved her. She was a spunky blonde and didn’t fall for the lines of drunken skiers and snowboarders trying to sleep with her, so it surprised Erika that Daisy even noticed the man sitting at the table.
He’d ordered two drinks while he’d been here and stared out the window in between staring at the door as if he were waiting for someone.
Only, no one ever showed up.
“He’s pretty good-looking.” Erika nodded while Daisy grabbed Erika’s free wrist.
“Do you even have a pulse?” Daisy teased, and Erika laughed. “Look, I know you’ve had a rough time with men and—”
Erika shook her hand away from Daisy’s and chuckled before she tucked a piece of auburn hair behind her ear. “It’s not that. I’m just too busy to care.”
Daisy rolled her eyes. “You’re telling me that the guy over there doesn’t even get your heart beating a little quicker?”
Erika glanced at the man for a brief second and ignored the immediate sensation of butterflies taking flight in her abdomen.
That’s what I get for not eating all day.
She snuck another look and let out a sigh. There was no doubt about it. His dark hair and bright blue eyes were a brilliant contrast, and his chiseled features only tied the package together perfectly. But she wasn’t interested.
When he’d first walked into the bar, his dark sunglasses covered his beautiful eyes, but he was one of those men you just knew would look good after he removed the shades. And she’d been right. But again, she wasn’t interested.
“I can appreciate an attractive specimen from afar, but that doesn’t mean I need to take him out of the jar.” Erika grinned and grabbed the stack of menus to wipe down.
Daisy grimaced and reached for an empty pilsner glass. “Well, men aren’t science experiments. That’s the first problem.”
“Problem? I don’t have a problem.” Erika scowled and slid the menus under the counter.
The science experiment’s gaze caught Erika’s, and a thrill darted through her.
She quickly grumbled at Daisy to take care of him. Erika didn’t need to be swept off her feet for a weekend tryst.
Erika had too much at stake.
Her son, Scott, was finishing up his last trimester before the summer break, and even as her heart broke thinking about it, he was about to start junior high. It was impossible to believe that her little baby boy was about to be a teenager.
But he was the one and only man in Erika’s life, and she fully intended to keep it that way.
So, as she watched Daisy swing her hips a little extra as she got closer to the table, Erika couldn’t help but chuckle. He was fair game as far as Erika was concerned.
“Erika?” Drew North’s familiar voice boomed through the air, and Erika instantly spun around to see the youngest North brother walking into the bar.
The North brothers were like family to her. They owned the Silver Ridge Ski Resort, but a person would never know it by the way they acted. They were incredible men and treated her and the other staff as equals.
“Is that my long, lost—and should I add, favorite— North brother?” Erika gushed, reaching out her arms for a hug.
Drew smiled and gave her a quick hug before taking a step back. He scratched his chin and looked toward the ceiling.
“How do I look?” He smiled and posed as Erika chuckled. “More worldly?”
“Still better looking than your other brothers, if that’s what you’re asking.”
Drew North batted his lashes and laughed. “Good. I was hoping my time overseas didn’t wear me down. I swear, my brothers sent me on that trip just to get rid of me.”
Erika laughed. “You never know.”
“Well, I’m back now and can focus on the important things.”
Erika’s brows raised. “Like?”
Drew chuckled. “I don’t know. I was hoping you could point me in the right direction.”
Erika groaned. “You’re so full of it.”
“Me?” Drew smiled and glanced over at Daisy, talking to the customer. “New hire?”
“Yup. Daisy is twenty-four and a great bartender.”
He nodded. “Good.”
Erika’s brows raised. “That’s all you’re going to say?”
“What?” Drew shrugged. “We don’t date staff.”
Erika stifled a laugh.
“Anymore,” he clarified. “Besides, she’s too young. I need someone who’s mature and looking to settle down.”
“Wow. Is that what Europe did to you?”
Erika knew that Drew North enjoyed spending his days on the slopes that his family owned more than sitting behind a desk, and he was never one to turn down a good party.
Drew grimaced and leaned toward Erika.
“I don’t know what’s come over me.” He looked around the bar as if he were about to reveal a terrible secret. “Lately, the thought of going home to an empty house just doesn’t do it for me.”
“Interesting, but don’t you usually make sure you’re not going home to an empty one?” Erika wiggled her brows.
Drew laughed, wiggling his brows. “I don’t know what you heard about me, but it’s not true.”
Erika giggled and nodded. “Maybe you’re longing for a relationship because of your brothers’ new ones.”
“Maybe.” Drew paused. “They do seem so happy now that they’ve settled down.”
Erika shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m certainly not the one you want to discuss your love life with.”
Drew grinned and noticed Daisy leaning on the customer’s table.
“Does she always take so much time with the customers?” he asked, smiling.
“Not usually. But this one is special.”
Drew laughed. “How so?”
“He’s like every hot model and Hollywood actor rolled into one specimen. You’ll see when she moves aside.”
Drew laughed. “Specimen? Is that how you think of men? Like we’re just meat or something to be poked at?”
Erika threw her head back and laughed. “I’m glad you’re back, Drew North.”
By the time Daisy reappeared, Drew had left to catch up on some office work, and Erika was coming up on her break.
“The guy is getting stood up. Can you believe it?” Daisy’s eyes were wide and sympathetic. “But I don’t think he knows it yet.”
Erika cringed and filled up two pitchers for a table across the room. “That’s sad.”
“It is.”
“Or he’s just playing you. We’re coming up on a long weekend, you know.” Erika winked at Daisy, and she shook her head vehemently. “He might be laying out a plan to pick up a cute young bartender for his lonely nights.”
“No, this guy isn’t like that,” she assured Erika.
“They never are.” Erika grinned before carting the two pitchers of beer across the room.
Erika thought about how freeing it was to be so naïve at that age. At times, she wanted to go back to that way of thinking, but she knew better. Men had one thing on their minds.
It consisted of three little letters, but they were willing to do three million things to experience it.
As Erika placed the pitchers on the table, exhilaration ran through her. She glanced behind her and saw the sexy specimen look away quickly. She hid a smile and made her way back to the bar.
Daisy wandered over and poured two shots of tequila for another table.
“I think I caught your science experiment checking you out.” Daisy smiled and picked up the shot glasses.
“Hardly.” Erika rolled her eyes but snuck a glance in the man’s direction.
Her heart sank a little because he was looking at his phone.
Easily distracted.
They always seemed to be.
Daisy leaned over and whispered, “Well, he was looking,” before wandering off to serve up shots.
Erika smiled to herself and glanced around the bar that was quickly filling up. The resort was in that in-between time where only certain ski slopes were running, and the lower half of the mountain was starting to fill up with mountain bikers, who were often a rowdy bunch in their own right.
She loved this time of year. Spring flowers were starting to pop up, but there was still a certain chill in the air. Erika had always loved crisp mornings, and living in the mountains at Silver Ridge Ski Resort in Washington provided that nearly year-round.
It was always so much fun to go into her son’s room, wake him up, and get the fire going as she prepared breakfast. It was one of the few times they could both settle in and talk about their days without one of his many friends joining in the conversation. Erika’s house always seemed to be Grand Central Station with his friends.
Erika had been lucky with Scott. He was an easy boy who loved the outdoors and never wanted to cause trouble.
Unlike his father.
Erika let out a sigh as she watched a couple walk into the bar. They took a seat at the other end of the bar and immediately grabbed a Happy Hour menu. They looked so happy, so in love.
She thought back to Scott’s dad and wondered if she’d truly been in love, even back then. It certainly wasn’t reciprocal if she had been.
The woman at the bar caught Erika’s gaze and nodded, so Erika quickly went over to take their food and drink orders. It wasn’t until she’d gotten their drinks delivered and was wiping down the bar that she noticed the man by the window had left. Her heart sank a little before relief filled her. She didn’t need to fall for any one-liners.
Erika quickly made her way over to the table and grabbed the bill folio that Daisy had dropped off. He’d left a crisp hundred-dollar bill for only a few items that didn’t even total twenty. She shook her head and smiled at Daisy. Whatever she said to him must have made quite the impression.
Erika wiped down the table and brought the bill to the register, where Daisy hid a yawn.
“You definitely made a fan,” Erika whispered, showing her the hundred.
Daisy’s eyes widened. “Holy smokes.”
“You must teach me your technique,” Erika teased, and Daisy blushed.
“I don’t think you’d like it very much.” Daisy's cheeks reddened even more.
Erika grinned. “What I don’t know won’t hurt me.”
“Good.” Daisy gave a quick nod and started toward the latest customers who took a seat across the room. “Because he asked when you work next.”
Erika’s mouth dropped, and she started to say something but nothing came to mind.
She’d barely said a word to the man.
Should she be flattered or worried?
She twisted her mouth into a scowl as she glanced at the clock. She’d managed to work right through her shift without her break, and now it was time to meet Scott at school. He was presenting on his family tree and was beyond nervous about it since not much was known about his dad’s side.
Erika hated assignments like the one Scott had. They seemed to come up every year, and every year, she prayed that Scott wouldn’t ask too many questions about his dad. Her worry wasn’t because she didn’t want Scott to know who he was. Erika’s worry stemmed from the fact that his father didn’t want him and didn’t want her. She’d always tried to protect him from all of that pain.
Daisy walked over and waved out the door. “Aren’t you going to be late?”
“Probably.” Erika smiled. “Are you just trying to get rid of me so I don’t come unglued when I let myself think about what you did to get that money?”
“Maybe.” She beamed, and Erika let out a little groan. “You’re just lucky I like you.”
“I thought you loved me,” Daisy teased.
Erika gave her a quick hug and walked out of the bar through the resort.
Drew North waved from the lobby and stepped toward her as she grinned and managed to crash right into the science experiment from earlier. Her purse fell to the ground with a thud, and her hands moved to his chest to steady herself.
When she glanced up at the stranger, her heart skipped a beat the moment his eyes connected with hers.
She knew she was in trouble, so she did what any woman would do.
Erika scowled at him and bent down to pick up her purse with the contents that had spilled all over the place.
The man was immediately by her side as she attempted to gather her loose makeup, credit cards, and change.
“I’m so sorry.” The gruffness in his voice made Erika glance at him as he handed her a stack of cards.
She laughed and shook her head. “It wasn’t you. I fully blame my boss for distracting me.”
Erika stood, stuffing everything into her purse and glancing at the time on her phone.
“I’m sorry. If you’ll excuse me, I’m late for an appointment.” She cleared her throat and attempted to step around him.
“Let me make it up to you. I’d love to buy you a drink later.”

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