Stranded with the One Read Online Heidi McLaughlin

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Contemporary, Insta-Love, Novella Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 24
Estimated words: 22483 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 112(@200wpm)___ 90(@250wpm)___ 75(@300wpm)

Holly Saint and Christian Lane grew up together and were best friends until he fell in love with someone else. Now, years later they find themselves stranded—both trying to get back to their hometown for Christmas, that’s if Jack Frost will allow them.

* Readers, please take note: this novel was previously published under the pen name, Darby Blake. The content is the same.*

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Christian Lane paid for his cab fare and exited onto the busy sidewalk. He rushed into the airport without paying attention and ran smack into a cart loaded with luggage. The suitcases on top of the pile crashed to the floor. A lady screamed, waved her hands in the air, and said something about her Christmas gifts being broken, while Christian buckled over in excruciating pain as he felt his very essence leave his body. Getting hit in the nuts, even the slightest touch, was the most pain he had ever experienced, until now. What he felt was life-sucking, debilitating agony. Every part of his being wanted to cry and tell the woman who continued to rant about her precious gifts to shut the fuck up because he was dying a slow, painful death. He placed his hands on his knees and groaned. He practiced his breathing, inhaling, and exhaling calmly, but there wasn’t anything he could do to assuage the deep throbbing he felt. It wasn’t even the good kind of throbbing that promised some relief at the end. This was the seeing-stars-through-watery-eyes kind. The kind that made grown men cry out for their mothers, knowing even they couldn’t help their sons. Christian had taken hits to his midsection before, but this took the cake. He was pretty sure that one of the suitcase handles had gripped his man parts and squeezed tightly before letting go.

“Fuck,” he muttered under his breath. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that he was going to have trouble walking, never mind sitting on an airplane for a three-hour flight. He needed a bag of ice—anything frozen to ease the pain.

“Sorry,” he squeaked and inhaled. He didn’t usually make a habit of knocking things over, but had been preoccupied when his ex-wife called and chastised him for something he had no control over. The condo they had shared in New York City didn’t pass inspection, and since he hadn’t lived there for over a year, he felt it wasn’t his responsibility to take care of it. Skye—the ex—thought differently. Her early morning call threw him off his game, and now with this minor mishap, his return to his hometown for Christmas was starting to look like one of those bad holiday movies. Of course, those always turned out for the best, so he had a smidgen of hope.

Thankfully, the husband of the screaming wife told Christian not to worry about their pile of luggage. Not that he would’ve been much help since his berries and tree trunk—yes, he considered his manhood a tree trunk—were currently tucked into his stomach out of fear they were going to die.

Christian hobbled his way to the TSA line and fished his passport out of his pocket. He showed it to the agent, along with his boarding pass, and then made his way to the security screener, wondering if the X-ray machine could tell him whether he was still intact. He wanted kids, but after a stunt like that, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to perform anytime soon. This had been a quick trip to Miami to meet with a client who “wintered” in a high-rise facing the ocean. It was odd seeing a flocked Christmas tree in the corner of the apartment, as his client's wife sat on the balcony in her swimsuit, tanning, while Christmas music played. As much as Christian hated winter, he’d never leave the north during the holidays. There was something magical about the cold, the snow, and the ambience that New York City and his hometown of North Pole, New York brought.

After a long and agonizing trip to the bathroom, he looked for a spot to buy coffee. Both lines for Starbucks and Dunkin’ were long—longer than he wanted to stand in. He rested against the wall and placed a mobile order. It was the best he could do for himself because he was still in pain and the thought of standing there didn’t appeal to him. When his name was called for his order, he ambled toward the counter, grabbed his coffee, and thanked the barista. Christian walked through the terminal as close to the middle of the wide aisle as possible, thinking this would be the better spot. He’d avoid any collisions from people leaving their gates, and he’d be able to dodge anyone coming toward him. He needed to get to his departure gate so he could sit down and not move until boarded his flight.

After what felt like the longest walk of his life, Christian finally made it to the gate. His flight would take him home to New York City and from there, he’d drive north for his much-needed vacation. Never mind the fact he was going from one tourist spot to another. He’d be home, and no one would bother him with work or house repairs that weren’t his—except for his father, and Christian could handle those requests. He read the reader board, saw that his flight was on time, and that the airline had him checked in for his first-class seat. Once he got on board, he would order the stiffest cocktail he could and hopefully fall asleep.