Sequel to Operation Toy Rescue
When one of Santa’s reindeer becomes depressed, what’s an elf to do? Caleb always makes sure the reindeer are ready for the big night, but when Dancer gets worse and won’t participate in any activities, they bring in new vet Greg Starr.
There’s an instant attraction between the men, but Caleb’s been hurt in the past and isn’t sure he can risk his heart again. The more time he spends with Greg, the harder he falls. But if he can’t get past his fear, he could lose the man he’s meant to be with.
Caleb hung their jackets and scarves on a set of hooks on the wall, just inside the door.
“Smells absolutely wonderful in here.”
Caleb gestured for Greg to take a seat at the round wooden table in the kitchen, but Greg shook his head. “Can’t I help with anything?”
Caleb smiled. “Sure. Grab some plates and glasses from the cabinet just next to the refrigerator. And silverware is in the drawer right over there.”
Greg set the plates on the counter for Caleb and then set about placing the silverware on the table. Once Caleb pulled the tray from the oven and dished it out, Greg grabbed the plates and set them on the table.
Soon they were sitting down to the best meal Greg had eaten in years. “You are an amazing cook,” he said as he tried to keep from shoveling each bite into his mouth.
Caleb watched him with a grin. “You seem extra hungry.”
Greg took a long drink of his milk before answering. “Before I moved out here, I was living on fast food or frozen meals. I’m not much of a cook. Not really one at all. I can heat up things in the microwave, put a pizza in the oven, but not much else. They fed me well at the clinic, definitely, but this ... this is melt-in-your-mouth, can-I-have-seconds-and-thirds, kind of food.” He leaned forward and whispered, “Is this your superpower?” he asked with a wink.
The blush spread across Caleb’s face and down his neck, pleasing Greg immensely. “You’re adorable, Caleb. I bet you have guys beating down the door to date you.”
Caleb shook his head. “Hardly,” he mumbled.
Greg was shocked. “I guess the men around here aren’t too bright, then. Letting you slip through their fingers.” He put his fork down and reached across the table, tapping a finger until Caleb slid his handout and Greg could stroke the top of his hand. “I know we just met, and I’m probably doing this all wrong, and this is all so new to me, the North Pole, the Island, working with the reindeer ... but I keep having this urgent feeling that if I don’t say something to you, then I might be blowing the most important thing in my life. Which I know could also scare you, being so blunt.”
Cale leaned back and blew a breath out. “Wow. I don’t think anyone’s ever been so honest with me. People hide behind flirting, looking for a hook-up, or just a fling, but you’re kind of putting it all out there, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. I am. It’s been a long time since I’ve dated. I spent a lot of time getting my degree and then I just sort of immersed myself in my work. Besides, everyone I met seemed to be the same ... nobody piqued my interest.”
Caleb’s eyes darkened. “But I did?”
Greg rose from his seat and rounded the table and took his hand, crouching down in front of him. “I don’t want to scare you off, but I couldn’t let this night go by without telling you I’m interested.” He laughed nervously. “I’m not usually too good at this,” he admitted.