Fall by Winter | Cara Dee
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Camassia Cover Universe
Tropes: Humor, contemporary, family, holidays
I didn’t know what to say.
Writing a dating profile would force me to come to terms with the fact that I’d officially become one of those people who had to say, “It’s complicated.” And maybe that wasn’t entirely correct; I had come to terms with everything, but I doubted a man would touch my baggage with a ten-foot pole, much less his own approximately seven-inch one.
It didn’t matter. I didn’t want any kind of pole near my complicated mess. I was finally happy on my own. In fact, I was rocking this whole divorce thing. I was free. My ex-husband and I had a good thing going on. We remained close, we raised our rambunctious son and our hormonal daughter together, and I’d just moved into my dream house.
I was going to cruise through the rest of my forties with a glass of wine in my hand and no one to answer to.
No, the dating market could wait. I had work, I had my kids, I had my health. I had an ex-husband who’d just gotten engaged to another man, an ex-husband who was telling me that Mason, his older brother, was moving back to town. On my street, to boot.
Now, that was a pole I shouldn’t be thinking about.
Whoever said you couldn’t miss what you’d never had was wrong. I’d never had Mason before, but I’d missed him. He’d lived on the fringes of my life for over twenty years, and now it was like a lost part had been returned to me.
“It doesn’t matter,” I settled for saying. “I’m not interested in meeting anyone. I’m perfectly content with my life as it is.”
“You’re not even interested in the eye candy looking at you over there?” Sharon pointed toward the bar. “Mother of God, what a specimen.”
I cocked my head and followed her gaze, wondering who—holy shit.
“Mason!” I exclaimed. It was Mason. Mason was in town. “That’s William’s older brother,” I said, getting up from my seat. “I’ll be right back.”
“That’s Mason?” Sharon asked me incredulously. “How the fuck have you not jumped him yet? Girl, you picked the wrong brother. No offense.”
I pressed my lips together to keep from laughing and shook my head instead. She was incorrigible.
“I’ll be right back,” I repeated and left her at the table. She wouldn’t understand. Mason was gorgeous, yes—out of this world, really—but he was the type of man you only watched from afar. By day, he rocked Armani suits and worked in finance. On the weekends, he wore ratty jeans and flannel as he built furniture in his garage. A walking contradiction was what he was. As humble as he was cocky. Quiet and observant, yet unafraid to raise hell and be the center of attention. Add a killer smile, charisma that went on for days, and eyes that could strip you of your defenses in a second. Unlike William’s slate-colored eyes, Mason’s carried a pinch of green.
He flashed me one of his charming smirks as I approached.
Dress pants and a button-down tonight, I noted. No doubt tailored to fit his body.
“You don’t call, you don’t write?” I beamed at him and snuck in for a hug.
He chuckled and gave me a tight squeeze.
Man, he smelled good. If I were to look up the word masculine in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Mason Calvert.
“Maybe I wanted to surprise you.” Then there was his voice. His rich, warm voice.
“I’m trying to be patient and let William handle the communication between you two, but you both kinda suck at relaying information to me.” I released him and glanced up at him with a smirk. “How are you doing, hon? You look great. How long are you in town for? And when did you get here?”
He took my firing squad approach in stride and ticked off each answer with mirth in his eyes. “I’m doing much better. So do you. I’m here to stay. I got here last night.”
“You found a house already?” That was a surprise.
“Well, no.” He cleared his throat and chuckled a little. “I’m staying at Cedar Inn for a while. Tomorrow I have a few places I’m gonna look at.”
Made much more sense. “I hope you’ll buy the house on my street,” I told him. “Rumor has it you’re about to be a grandfather, and I like babies.”
He grinned, all sexy laugh lines and warmth. He made forty-seven look so fucking fine. “Be careful what you wish for. I’ve already been warned about the fact that I’ll be the grandparent closest to Tristan and Katie. Her folks are in Toronto.”
Oh, but that made me happy! It meant Mason would be babysitting more often. “I’ll dust off Brady’s and Aurora’s baby things that I haven’t been able to throw away,” I promised with a wink.
Mason laughed under his breath and touched my cheek briefly. “It’s good to see you, Lis.”
“You too.” I smiled, feeling some heat rise to my skin. It was what Mason did. He unnerved me. He did it to all women. “Did you know I would be here tonight?”
He nodded toward my table. “Your friend tagged you in a picture on Facebook and said you were on your way here. So I thought I’d crash the party for a little while and buy you ladies a drink or two.”
Well, that was mildly embarrassing. It hadn’t been the most flattering photo. We’d been in the back of Sharon’s husband’s car, me reapplying my lipstick and Sharon feeling like the world should know about it.
“You should see her Instagram,” I huffed. “Every time we’re out, she posts a photo of me with the all-caps caption, ‘SHE’S SINGLE.’”
Mason let out a laugh and grabbed his beer from the bar top. “That’s a reason to get Instagram if I ever heard one.”
“Oh, you.” I was ready to dare any woman alive to resist this man’s charm. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to Sharon.” I linked my arm with his and guided him away from the bar.
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
All the social media links you could ever need: https://www.caradeewrites.com/stalkcaradee