Reindeer Ranch: A Sweet Romance Story |
Will Darci get a second-chance at love? When she and her children move back to Hope Falls to be near her parents after her divorce, she's not looking for love. With very little money, she initially must live with her parents as she works toward being independent again by having her own apartment and car. Working two jobs she finally is able to do just that. Just days before the Christmas Extravaganza, a tire blows on her way home. Could fate be tapping Darci on the shoulder? Life has a way of bringing serendipitous events to people when they least expect it...but sometimes they come with troubles of their own. Nibbling on a fingernail, I reach for the phone. Normally, placing a business call is a no-brainer, but this is Rita's brother. He had already come out and fixed my tire, after all. I don't even know his last name. I grab the slip of paper and punch in the number and wait as it rings ... and rings. As I'm ready to hang up, someone answers in a very deep voice."Hello, is this Brian?"After a pause, he says, "Yes, I'm Brian.""This is Darci. Rita's next-door neighbor. The one you came and fixed the tire for."Laughter booms from the other end. "Hi, Darci, Rita's next-door neighbor that I had the tire fixed for."I stay quiet. Him repeating my words feels odd, but really friendly."Hello?" Brian asks in wonder."Ah, yes. Hi. I wanted to thank you. I'm sorry I didn't see you or know you had come out and did all that. I was preoccupied with phone calls, and my children were home sick.""Hey, no sweat at all. How well do you know Rita?""Not very well. She usually catches me in a hurry in or out. We haven't spent much time chatting."I hear him chuckling under his breath. "She can talk an ear off. Look. You don't owe me anything. It didn't cost me anything but a bit of time.""I want to apologize for not even meeting you while you were here. I could have at least brought you out some hot chocolate.""Now you're tempting my tummy," he says, laughing.I like his laugh. "I actually called you for another reason, too. Rita mentioned you have reindeer.""She did, did she? Does that make me sound crazy?""Not in the least. You see, I'm the city's event planner, and it just so happens we have a huge event in a couple of weeks.""Oh yes, the Christmas Extravaganza.""Then you know it takes a lot of vendors to maintain interest. I've booked a Santa, and I thought if you aren't scheduled anywhere on Saturday the nineteenth, I would love for you to be a vendor.""My reindeer aren't scheduled to be anywhere that day, so yeah, that sounds like a plan. I'd still want to pay the vendor fee, though.""That is really nice of you. The fees do go a long way in helping us prepare for the next events, so thank you for that. I have some forms you'll need to sign. Could you come by the office after the weekend to sign them?""So, how is that little boy and girl of yours?""Um, better? I think?""I was thinking, you could bring them out for a sneak peek at the reindeer on Saturday. You could bring the forms, and I'd sign them while you're here.""Go there to see the reindeer ...""Yes, Mommy, yes! Please, can we go see the reindeer?" Mattie asks, overhearing me."I guess you heard my daughter. Can I let you know tomorrow evening?""No, sure, that's fine. I thought they might get a kick out of it, and we could take care of the business end of things at the same time.""Trust me. I think your offer will be a magical cure-all once Ethan hears of this opportunity.""Call anytime. I'll be around.""It was very nice meeting you by phone, Brian. Thank you again for fixing my tire. I really do feel bad for not at least going out there to meet you.""Don't be. It's all good.""Okay then. I guess I'll speak to you tomorrow.""Bye, Darci."I hang up the phone and realize I feel flushed. Flushed!