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Authors: Anna Robbins

My Only Wish

BOOK: My Only Wish
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My Only Wish

By

Anna Robbins

 
  
* * *

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

My Only Wish

Copyright
©
2012 by Anna Robbins

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

* * *

Chapter 1

Dear Santa,

I know it’s been some time since I’ve written you my wish list. In truth, I haven’t believed in you for years. But this year, I want to believe in your magic. I want to believe even for a few minutes that this Christmas wish will find its way to you.

As I sit with my family at Thanksgiving, I feel a hollowness that they can’t fill.

For Christmas, I want someone to love. Someone who will love me in return. Is this too much to ask for?

My heart aches as I think of going through another set of holidays in which people will be kissing, holding hands, celebrating their love and good fortune, only to find that I have no one to share that with.

Please Santa, please send me someone that will make my heart race, someone who will enflame my passions, someone I can laugh and be myself with, and especially someone I will never want to let go.

Sincerely,

Abby Carter

PS. I have been nice all year. In fact, I can’t even think of a time I was truly naughty.

“This is so stupid,” Abby muttered to herself as she pulled into a parking space in the empty lot. But she was not turning back. The letter was already written and there was only one thing left to do.

Climbing out of her compact car, she heard the gravel crunch beneath her battered sneakers. Sand from the beach had trailed out to the lot, concealing most of the white parking lines.

In the off season, the beach wasn’t as scrupulously maintained.

After walking around her car, she opened the passenger door with a determined yank. As soon as she sent the letter, she would forget it. It would be out there. Somewhere in the Universe where Santa or whatever other wish grantor would know of it.

Who was she kidding? Santa, really?

Taking the letter, she rolled it slowly, carefully placing the crisp page in the clear bottle, making sure to screw the lid on tight. It would likely sink immediately, not bothering to travel more than several yards, but did it matter?

What harm could it do?

With December lurking around the corner, the air was frigid as icy winds rolled in off the water. Not one other person dared to leave the comfort of their home to embrace the natural beauty of the turbulent winter ocean.

She huddled in the hood of her oversized red sweatshirt and took care to make sure her ears were protected.

With only the steady sound of the tide for company, Abby walked to the waterfront, standing directly in front of Lifeguard Tower 1. Sheltered by the nearby bluffs, Tower 1 seemed to be in a world of its own.

Perhaps it was that loneliness that called to her now.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, making one last wish before she threw the bottle into the greedy sea. The ocean lapped at it, carrying it out into its hungry bowels. The salt spray stung her eyes, but she held them open to see the bottle as long as she could. Unable to stop the watering, she shut her eyes on a fresh wave of tears.

It was done.

With her last hopes placed in that bottle, Abby made for her car, determined not to look back.

“So did you do it?”

Abby glanced up from her laptop, zeroing in on her roommate who hovered in the doorway. “Do what?” Abby smiled knowingly. “And welcome back, by the way.”

“Thanks.” Ashley moved into the room, stopping at the foot of Abby’s bed. “Oh, come on. You know I’ll just keep asking.”

It was true. If there was anything she knew about Ashley it was that she could be as determined as a dog after a bone. Tucking a stray blond curl behind her ear, Abby glanced at her computer again. “All right. Yes. I wrote it and threw it in the ocean. And I’d rather not have to hear you laugh about it.”

“Of course I wouldn’t laugh.” Sinking to the bed, her friend’s inky hair almost touched the duvet. “I know how much this means to you.”

“Honestly, I don’t know why I let it bother me.” Giving up, she put her computer aside. “There are tons of people our age that don’t have anyone and they’re happy.”

Ashley’s brow arched. “Our age? Like we’re old or something?” She laughed. “Come on, Abby. I wouldn’t say we’re over the hill at twenty-seven. We’re in our prime.”

“Yeah, I know.” Abby’s lips pursed ruefully. “I’m just sick of being alone. Especially this time of year. I’m sick of going to the parties alone, sick of watching everyone else enjoy the season with someone at their side.”

“Maybe you’re just trying too hard.” Ashley held up her hands for silence. “Wait. Just hear me out. I know what you want, but maybe it isn’t all you think it is.”

“How so?”

“Well, you only see them out shopping, having fun at parties. The good times. I’m sure it’s not all hearts and rainbows.”

“Of course not. And I don’t expect anything so unrealistic.”

“All I’m saying is that maybe you should loosen up. Why not have some fun and stop being so serious about the whole thing? You should come dancing with me on Friday. It may not be a place where you will find your white knight, but you might find some hotty to dance with that will take your mind off it all.”

“Clubbing isn’t really my thing.”

“Yeah, I know. That’s why I think it will be great for you.”

Abby laughed at the absurdity of going to a dark, smoky club and picking up some guy. It wasn’t her style at all. She began to tell Ashley that she would pass, but something stopped her.

Why shouldn’t she go? Just because it wasn’t her normal thing didn’t mean she wouldn’t enjoy it. She couldn’t just sit around and wait for Mr. Right to show up, and while she seriously doubted any Mr. Right of hers would be hanging out in the club scene, it might be fun.

“All right. Why not?”

With a squeal, Ashley launched forward to embrace Abby. “I promise you’ll have fun. The music is great, we’ll get a couple drinks in you, and who knows what will happen?”

Laughing at her friend’s excitement, she felt a little thrill from doing something so out of the ordinary.

Perhaps it was just what she needed.

Chapter 2

Dylan could taste the crisp salt air as it rushed forcefully in and out of his lungs. It was gray out, as much from the salt spray as from the clouds that perpetually hung around this time of year.

There was nothing new to his morning jog along the beach. His muscles flexed and responded to the uneven ground beneath him as the sand shifted, his heart pumped blood throughout his body faster when he picked up speed, and the movements heated his skin. It was something dependable, something constant.

Usually, he woke up and began to put his jogging clothes on before it even registered he was doing so because it was so engrained.

But not today.

He knew what waited back at his home atop the bluffs. One pissed-off, five-foot-seven, redhead who swore she wore a size two.

Charisse.

She had been the right kind of girl. The kind that he normally went after. Smooth, cultured, with enough sass to keep him interested. If only it could have stayed that way.

Unwilling to head back to the stairs that would lead to an argument he wasn’t ready to have, he plunked down on the sand, staring out at the murky water.

The ocean had always fascinated him, with its untamed beauty and its ever-changing moods. It could be clear as glass one day, then spitting blue fire the next. It was another constant that he found comfort in. No matter what happened in the world or his life, the tide still rolled in, the waves still crashed.

His eyes narrowed as something glinted off one of the waves. Watching the water move, he saw the glimmer again.

A bottle.

Heaving a sigh, he rose to collect the garbage from the coming wave. It was a shame that so many people believed the ocean to be their personal dumping ground.

Washing in to land at his feet, he thought for a moment that it looked like it was being delivered to him. In any case, he was grateful he wouldn’t have to chase after it.

His tanned hand wrapped around the neck, carelessly holding it as he would a beer that had gone flat. It wasn’t anything but luck that had him glancing at the bottle again, noticing that it wasn’t empty as he had first thought.

“A message in a bottle?” The thought amused him enough to have his lips quirking. Glancing up at the house he wasn’t in any hurry to enter, he sat back on the beach, quickly divesting the bottle of its cap, and fished out a rolled note.

His face slowly lost its amusement as he read the heart-wrenching letter to Santa. It was something private from a woman he had never met, and it touched something in him.

To want someone to love so fiercely was something he never let himself think about. And if he were being honest with himself, it wasn’t something he wanted to think about now.

After brushing off his sweatpants, he carefully replaced the note in the bottle, resigned to the scene he was about to endure.

He walked up the wooden staircase to his private residence, not with the trudge of someone fearing their execution, but as a man ready to face the storm.

Stepping onto the travertine floor, he entered the kitchen, grabbing a bottle of water off of the deep blue granite countertop. It took only a moment before he felt her presence in the doorway.

Finishing with a deep gulp, he turned to her, his posture deceptively relaxed against the counter. “Good morning, Charisse.”

“Is that all you have to say to me?” Her lips formed into a slicked red pout. “I thought I made myself clear last night.”

“You did.” He capped and placed the bottle down. “Perfectly clear before you passed out.”

BOOK: My Only Wish
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