The Reindeer's St. Patrick's Surprise (Reindeer Holidays Book 2)

By: E A Price


“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“I’m getting married.”

“I see.”

Her heart deflated in dismay, and she was a little ashamed to realize she had been hoping he was there just to see her. Damnit, she should be over that by now.

His brow creased a little at her dismal response. What was he expecting? A freaking parade?

“Aren’t you happy?”

“Sure,” she murmured softly. Sixth’s time the charm. She was getting a little tired of trying to dredge up any enthusiasm for his ill-fated marriages.

But he seemed satisfied by her response. “I’m sure you’ll like her,” he said with what could easily be described as giddy excitement.

“Yes,” she agreed faintly.

Jeez, she wondered how old this one was. Nineteen maybe? Given that his wives were getting progressively younger, she wouldn’t be at all surprised. The younger his wives got, the shorter the marriages.

“We’re having an engagement party on Saturday.”

Temp wrinkled her nose. “St. Patrick’s Day?” Was she even old enough to drink?

Her dad nodded. “Her parents were both Irish; she thought that they would have found it funny.”

Hilarious she thought sourly. She hoped he wasn’t wasting too much money on this engagement party. For his last engagement party, he hired the whole aquarium and allowed everyone to swim with the dolphins. Given that his bride-to-be was a party girl and her friends unbelievably unruly, needless to say, it ended badly and his dad was inundated with lawsuits from the aquarium. The dolphins hadn’t been right since. They still had PTSD.

He gave her a puppy dog look that seemed to work on women the world over. When it didn’t work, he had a healthy bank balance to wave at them as plan B. “You will be there, right?”

Temp hesitated. She really didn’t want to be there, watching her dad embarrass himself over another woman while he called her his ‘best girl.’ She really didn’t feel like wasting her time.

Her hands shuffled the various documents littering her desk. “I am rather busy.”

“Pumpkin,” he wheedled.

She sighed. “Are you sure about this? Are you sure about getting married again?”

“Of course,” he replied immediately, slight surprise on his face.

“You said that about all your last five wives, and, well…” They all ended in acrimonious, expensive divorces.

“I’m certain about her,” he said in his usual, friendly voice, except this time, there was an edge of steel in his tone.

Temp inwardly cursed herself. She could be tough when she needed to be – she got downright shirty when suppliers let her down. But that small part of her – the little, needy girl who just wanted her daddy’s attention – gave in.

“Okay, I’ll be there.”

He broke out into a grin. “That’s my best girl.”

She pursed her lips in annoyance. “Umm hmmm.”

Her dad got up to leave and paused. “And please invite Mira.”

Temp blinked at him. “Are you sure?”

“Of course, she is your sister.”

“Okay, thanks,” she mumbled.

He rattled off the details of the party and left.

This was new behavior for her dad. Her dad really didn’t like to acknowledge the fact that her mom left him, got remarried and had another child. Usually, he liked to pretend Mira didn’t exist – made pretending her mom didn’t have a life after she left a lot easier. Maybe that was a step up; maybe things would be different this time, though she doubted it.

*

“Large latte and an almond croissant to go.”

The bubbly barista smiled at Harlan as he handed over a twenty.

“Keep the change,” he purred and winked at her.

She giggled slightly excessively and virtually batted her eyelashes.

“Have a nice day,” she said, pushing the cup at him and giving him a significant look.

As he walked away he realized she had written her name and phone number on it, along with a few hearts – just in case he didn’t get her meaning. He smiled. He came to the coffee shop regularly and figured she was new. She seemed like a nice, young woman – if a little energetic – but he could see their relationship a mile off. They’d go out on a few dates, spend a few nights together, he’d get bored, she’d get demanding and then she’d screech at him when he broke it off. He’d done it more than a dozen times before, and he was starting to get a little tired of it. Yeah, he’d just drink his coffee, throw the cup away and save himself the bother.

He opened the door, holding it as he spotted a woman hurrying his way. He was considering where he was going to lunch when his inner reindeer grunted uneasily. Something was wrong; his beast could sense it.