In Your DreamsBy: Kristan Higgins
Everyone loves Jack Holland, but Emmaline Neal needs him.
Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can’t go to the wedding alone. In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won’t get the wrong idea.
What Jack needs is an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he’s been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy, especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back, angling for a reunion . He’s always liked Emmaline. She needs a weekend date? No problem.
So when they wind up in bed together, Em chalks it up to red wine and chocolate cake, just one impulsive night not to be repeated. But Jack’s pushing for more, and if she lets down her guard, either she’ll get her heart crushed again, or discover that Jack’s worth more than just dreaming about.
Well, now, it goes without saying that we all love Jack Holland. Especially us women.
But the Midwinter Miracle... Oh, gosh, can you even imagine? Not that we were surprised that Jack was wonderful—of course he was! First of all, he’s John Holland’s son, the only boy in the family, though I guess we’d have to say “man” now, of course. And he was in the navy, too, just in case he hadn’t already won us over by being the nicest thing ever. Not to mention handsome! Those blue eyes... Even Cathy and Louise were talking about those eyes the other day!
Jack’s just about royalty around here, since the Hollands are a founding family of Manningsport, and Jack’s the head winemaker at Blue Heron, the Hollands’ vineyard. Guess we won’t have to worry about them selling their land to a developer, not with all those kids in the family business. And then there’s the way Jack treats those three sisters of his, and his stepmother! A prince, that’s what he is! Don’t get us started on that ex-wife of his. She never deserved him.
Anyway, what we were saying? Oh, yes, the Midwinter Miracle! Well now, sure, it was a group effort. Levi Cooper, our police chief, he was wonderful (no relation to Anderson, and don’t think we didn’t ask). Levi and his deputy, Luanne Macomb’s granddaughter, what’s her name again? Emily? Emmaline? Anyway, they did the CPR. And that handsome Gerard Chartier, him, too.
But mostly, it was Jack.
Which was no surprise to us.
It was quite...well, exciting isn’t quite the right word, is it? But it was remarkable, no disrespect meant to that poor family, of course. Manningsport just about shuts down in the winter, just us year-rounders left, no tourists until spring when the wine tastings start up again. So the Midwinter Miracle brought all sorts of media celebrities here—Brian Williams stayed at the Black Swan; did you know? So charming! And just about everyone and their brother had to drop by O’Rourke’s when Anderson Cooper was in there.
That night put our little lakeside town on the map, and given that it happened in January, well, we could all use the distraction. Laney Hughes even opened up the gift shop off-season, there were so many people flocking to town. Unloaded plenty of Keuka Lake T-shirts, she sure did. Lorelei’s Sunrise Bakery sold out of everything by 8:00 a.m. that entire week.
What’s that? How’s Jack doing? He’s fine! He’s wonderful! A true hero. Anyone will tell you that.
Why would you even ask?
NOTHING KICKED OFF Emmaline Neal’s weekend like using a Taser.
Okay, okay, she hadn’t used the Taser yet and she probably wouldn’t get to (dang), but the tiny thrill of anticipation didn’t lie. If indeed there was an intruder in the McIntosh house, it would be deeply satisfying to apprehend him. Barb McIntosh suspected a sex offender, and, if she was right, Em knew exactly where she’d target the electrodes.