That First Christmas


That First Christmas
by Lily Graison

Contemporary Romance
Format: eBook
Length: Novella
Released: Dec. 2008

Meredith Gunter has always been Daddy’s little girl. Spoiled all her life, she’s never had to ask for anything and expects to get exactly what she wants. When she wrecks her car on the way home from college for Christmas break, she finds herself stranded on the mountain in the middle of a snowstorm, in a one-room cabin with a man she can’t help but want.

Travis Gregory has lived alone on the mountain for the last four years. He has little contact with the outside world and prefers it that way. When he spots a girl on the side of the road, his conscience won’t let him abandon her. The redhead captivates him instantly.

Worlds collide when Travis and Meredith try to co-exist in his one room cabin. Can they fight their growing attraction when the nights get longer and the storm isolates them from the rest of the world? Can two people, from such different worlds, ever truly be happy together?





Chapter One

Meredith Gunter sat stunned, staring out the front window of her car. The tree she’d run into laid heavily on the cold bent metal of her brand new, ice blue jaguar. Smoke billowed from under the crumpled hood and when she looked behind her, up the steep incline she’d just driven her car down, a bubble of hysterics surfaced and started a round of hysterical screaming.

With her lungs aching, her throat hoarse, and her entire body shaking, Meredith took deep breaths to try and calm down. She closed her eyes, hummed quietly to center her thoughts, and felt better when she opened them.

Looking around the interior of her car, she spotted her purse on the floor and reached for it. She dug her cell phone out, dialing her father’s number and waited.

Three long beeps later, she screamed in frustration. “No signal” flashed on the screen when she looked and she threw the phone back to the floor before looking out her driver’s side window.

“Nothing but trees,” she mumbled while she stared out at the surrounding forest.

Meredith shook her head before her eyes widened. “Oh, please tell me that isn’t snow!” She watched as the small white flakes begin to fall thicker and more quickly before laughing. “This is just perfect.”

Oh, take the short cut Meredith. It never snows this early in the year. The words she’d thought earlier mocked her now and she frowned before turning her head to look up the hill.

She unlocked her door, opening it, and climbed out, wrapping her coat around her body.

The climb up the hill was difficult. Her high-heel boots sunk into the soft ground and she grunted as she slipped and fell to one knee, cursing her now ruined white slacks, before finally making it to the road. There was nothing but wet pavement and trees as far as the eye could see.

The small furry animal she’d barely missed hitting, and caused her to swerve, was nowhere in sight. “Figures,” she said to herself before turning to look back down the hill at her car. You could barely see the back of it for all the trees. It was dented and long sections of paint had been rubbed clean down to metal.

Her graduation present was now nothing but junk.

Meredith nibbled her bottom lip, looking between her car and the road. The last town she’d seen was at the bottom of the mountain and there was no way she was walking the now snow covered roads. Looking up the road, she tried to remember if there was anything there. It had been almost a year since she’d taken this short cut. She cursed her stupidity. Why had she been in such a hurry to get home? She couldn’t even remember, now.

The wind gusted suddenly and she shivered, pulling her coat tighter around her. She needed to do something. She couldn’t stand on the side of the road. “I can’t very well sit in the car either, can I? No one can even see it.”

She groaned pitifully, her shoulders slumping and felt tears burning the back of her eyes. “Dear God,” she said, looking up and blinking the snow catching on her eyelashes away. “If you can hear me, it’s Meredith. I know I’ve been kind of bad lately, and I really did want to go to church every Sunday, but if I had missed those parties on Saturday night, no one would have liked me, and you wouldn’t want me to be a social leper now, would you? Anyway, I’m in trouble. Can you please send someone to help me?”

Meredith smiled into the heavens (just to be safe) and waited patiently. The wind blew harder as the minutes ticked by and she bounced on her heels to try and keep warm. Her fingers were numb, her nose frozen to the point it was starting to run, and the snow on the ground getting deeper by the second.

Turning to look back down the hill, she gave the road one last look before darting to the edge of the grass and starting back down the hill. She’d made it half way down when she heard it. A vehicle barreling up the road.

She turned back, rushing up the hill and looked both ways, trying to see where the car was. She saw it seconds later. Only it wasn’t a car. It was a truck. If you wanted to call it that.

A large, beat up red pick-up truck was flying up the road. A roll bar stood proudly over the cab and blaring music disturbed the stillness around her. It was missing the front bumper and the hood was a different color than the rest of it. She raised one eyebrow as it approached. If the truck were that ratty, what would the person inside be like? “Oh lord. It’s probably some snaggle-toothed mountain man who hasn’t seen a woman in years. Hide, Meredith, before he spots you.”

She didn’t have to worry. The truck flew past her like she wasn’t even there, a wave of dirt and snow slush splashing up and covering her in its wake. She screamed, looking down as the brown water dripped off of her and shivered when she felt it soaking into her clothes. Her hair hung in long, wet tendrils in front of her face and she gasped as a sudden gust of wind chilled her to the bone.

Meredith spit, raising a hand to wipe the gunk off her face and screamed again in frustration. She looked to her right, the direction the truck had gone, and straightened her spine, screaming, “You asshole! I was standing here!”

The taillights flashed red and the truck slid to a stop. It idled in the road for long seconds and Meredith’s temper flared hot by the time it started the slow, backward trek to where she stood.

When it stopped in front of her, Meredith raised her head. The tires were huge and lifted the entire truck up in the air, preventing her from seeing who was inside. The passenger side door opened a moment later.

“Are you all right?

“Do I look all right to you?” she snapped. “Look at me! I’m soaking wet, thanks to you, and probably catching pneumonia as I speak. What kind of backwards hillbilly drives past a woman on the side of the road like she isn’t even there?”

“I didn’t see you until it was too late.”

“Obviously,” she spat. “Now, I demand you take me to town.”

He raised a brow at her. It was then Meredith took a good look at him. It was her first mistake. She’d seen many good-looking men in her life but never once had any of them made her pulse quicken with just a glance.

The man in the truck looking down at her was beautiful. Sinfully so. His onyx locks brushed his shoulders and curled slightly on the ends. Big, bright blue eyes stared back at her, cheekbones she would have to pay to have graced his square face with a full, sensual mouth that looked like it was made for kissing. A shadow of dark stubble covered his chin and she tilted her head slightly when a flash of straight, white teeth gleamed at her.

“Hey, I’m just trying to help, lady. What are you doing out here?” he asked.

“Huh?” she said, snapping out of her stupor.

“On the side of the road? In a snow storm?”

Meredith felt suddenly warm and almost sighed at the perfection in front of her. A chill wind brought her thoughts into focus and she realized instead of ogling this Adonis, she should be pissed at him instead.

She straightened her spine and looked him in the eyes, trying her best to look stern. It didn’t work. When she opened her mouth to speak, a wave of dizziness weakened her knees and caused the world to spin suddenly. “I don’t feel so good,” she said, dazedly. Her vision blurred and she managed to say, “I wrecked my car,” before the world tilted on its axis.

Meredith blinked several times, lifting her hand to the side of her head. It was throbbing all of a sudden. She heard the man say something and looked back at him. His eyes were wide, his lips moving quickly and all she heard was loud, screeching sounds inside her head. A glance at her hand and her own eyes widened. Blood. Her blood. She looked up, startled. “I’m bleeding,” she said, her words fading in her ears as everything went dark and her legs gave out.

* * * *

“Feeling better?”

Meredith turned her head, looking for the owner of the voice. She saw him an instant later, squatting in front of the fireplace, adding wood logs to the slowing growing blaze. “Where am I?”

“My cabin,” he said, standing.

“Your cabin?” She looked around the room. There were two chairs, a sofa, which she was currently occupying, a table by the left hand wall, and a bed on the wall opposite the only door she could see. One room? She was in a one-room shack with…

She glanced at the man standing by the fire and her eyes widened. It was the Adonis from the road and he looked more nervous than she felt. “Why am I here?” she asked, slowly.

“You fainted on the road.”


“You’ve got a nasty cut on your head but it doesn’t need stitches. I didn’t see anything else wrong. Are you in pain?”

Pain? Meredith squinted, doing a mental check and shook her head. “No. Nothing hurts other than my head.”

“Good. The cut will heal. You’ll probably have a headache for a while but other than that, you’ll be fine.”

He walked across the room and disappeared behind the sofa. She could hear him moving things around and lifted her head to see what he was doing. A small kitchen was directly behind her and another door that was closed. She sat up and that’s when she noticed her clothes. Or rather, her lack of clothes. “Oh my god, I’m naked!”

End of excerpt


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