A Whiskey River Christmas
A Texas Christmas Reunion
Years ago, Harlan Sullivan broke Savannah Taylor’s heart. Now he’s back in Whiskey River as the new owner of the local construction company--and Savannah’s new boss. Giving up Savannah was the hardest thing Harlan ever had to do, but it’s way past time to explain why he did. Besides, after fourteen years, they have both moved on. Or so he thinks—until their unexpected meeting at Felicity’s Christmas Ball shocks him into realizing his buried feelings—and secret passion—are very much alive.
As long as she keeps a tight grip over her emotions, Savannah is confident she can weather having her old flame become her new boss. She’s even willing to indulge the desire that time seems to have intensified. But there’s no way she will let Harlan anywhere close to her heart.
Harlan soon realizes he wants more from the sexy, sultry Savannah than a temporary affair and sets out to convince her that this time, their love will last forever. But it will take a bit of Christmas magic from the Harwood Inn ghost to bring this reluctant banker’s daughter and determined Barrels Bad Boy to their happily-ever-after.
Glancing around, Savannah's gaze lit on a man standing a few feet away with his back to her. He was tall, with longish, thick dark brown hair reaching just to the collar of a tux that fitted his broad shoulders to perfection. She wondered if he looked as good from the front as he did from the back. He was talking to Elijah Lane, who’d returned to Whiskey River just recently. Rumor held Elijah had bought land in the area and was looking to build a winery on it.
Seeing Eli reminded Savannah of him and his friends: the “bad boys from the Barrels.” Harlan Sullivan, Logan Calloway, and Eli had quite the reputation in high school. Just as she always did, she pushed thoughts of Harlan Sullivan out of her head as soon as she had them. But Christmastime—even years later—always reminded her of Harlan and what might have been.
Savannah moved away, intending to check with Avery about the timing of the silent auction, and saw her boss, Bill Griffith, owner of the Whiskey River Construction company. Just yesterday Bill had told Savannah and their part-time help, Liv Anderson, that the sale of the company had gone through. He’d been trying to sell it for some time now, ever since he decided to retire. So the fact that it had finally sold didn’t come as a shock. But Savannah wasn’t sure about what this meant for her.
“Good news,” her boss had said. “I’ve sold Whiskey River Construction to Phoenix Homes. You’ve likely heard of them.”
Phoenix Homes? Sure, she’d heard the name, but she didn’t know much about them.
“That big company out of Dallas?” she asked.
“That’s the one.”
“I thought they only built houses.”
“According to the owner, they do other things as well. He’s a general contractor and plans to get going with some commercial projects along with building custom homes.”
“Do we get to keep our jobs?” Liv asked.
Which was exactly what Savannah had wondered. Bless Liv for asking so she didn’t have to.
“Don’t worry,” Bill said, still beaming. “He assured me he’s not planning to fire either of you.”
Savannah wasn’t so sure of that. Was her job as office manager truly safe or would the new owner bring his own staff with him? She and Liv exchanged an uh-oh glance. Liv was probably even more worried than Savannah, since she was part-time. Who knew if the new owner might decide he only needed one employee in the office?
After Bill left them, Liv had said glumly, “I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. Checking out the help wanted ads.”
Savannah had protested but secretly wondered if that wasn’t what she should be doing as well.
But tonight was about the Christmas ball and enabling the Children’s Home, which was bursting at the seams, to add on more living quarters.
“Savannah, you look beautiful,” Bill said when he reached her side.
“Thank you, Bill. Is Poppy here?” she asked referring to his wife.
“Yes, she’s talking with some friends. She said to tell you to come talk to her when you get a chance.” He looked around and asked, “Where’s your date?”
“No date. I’m fancy free.”
He looked pleased at that, though she couldn’t imagine why. “Great. Let me introduce you to the new owner.” He took her arm and led her toward the man she’d noticed a little earlier.
“Harlan,” he called out as they approached. “Here’s someone I want you to meet.”
Harlan? Surely not—
Harlan Sullivan turned around.
Harlan Sullivan. Harlan had bought Whiskey River Construction? Harlan would be her new boss?
Oh, hell, no.
Damn, he grew up gorgeous. He looks good. Really, really good.
Idiot. He might look good but he’s probably still the same jerk who—
“Thanks, Bill, but there’s no need for an introduction,” the voice she’d never forgotten said. Deep, smooth and sexy. Like the man. “Savannah and I have known each other since high school.”
“Well, isn’t that handy?” Bill said jovially, unaware of any tension.
But the tension was probably all on her side. After all, Harlan had had no problem dropping her flat years before. Shit. Why couldn’t she speak? She’d imagined this moment a million times over the years. Particularly when she was younger. However, those daydreams had always ended with her crushing Harlan’s heart under her stiletto heels and laughing when he begged her to forgive him.
He did not look in the least crushable.