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Escaping Christmas - Lisa DeVore

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Inc.

Praise for Lisa DeVore’s

BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

This romantic suspense by debut author Lisa DeVore takes you on a thrill ride of twists and turns, and when you think you know what’s going to happen, you find you really don’t have a clue.

~Modokker Book Picks

Escaping Christmas

by

Lisa DeVore

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

Escaping Christmas

COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Lisa DeVore

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

Contact Information: info@thewildrosepress.com

Cover Art by Tina Lynn Stout

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Crimson Rose Edition, 2014

Digital ISBN 978-1-62830-617-0

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

To the women in my life

who are always there when I need them—

my mom, Patricia Tullys,

my mom in-law, Rose Mary DeVore,

and the sisters of my heart,

Julie Luthie, Kat Bauer, and Joanna,

Michele, and Carrie DeVore.

I love you all!

Chapter One

Mother, I’ll be fine. This is what I want to do. Alexandra Storm plopped on her over-stuffed chair in her bedroom, phone in hand. This was her favorite place to sit in times of distress, overlooking the valley below and the mountains in the distance. The scenery calmed her. Well, usually. Right now, her mother was winning out.

No one should be alone on Christmas, especially my daughter, her mother said in the stern voice Alex was all too familiar with from her childhood.

I’m going to Colorado for Christmas. I’m finishing my book. She paused. How about if I come for a visit after?

Would you stay long? Bribery was next. Her mother didn’t compromise.

I’ll stay a couple of weeks and you can even take me shopping. She hated to shop. Alex was signing a deal with the devil.

Well…I don’t like this, Alexandra. You’re going to miss the party. Her mother never called her by her nickname.

It’s better that I’m not there. You know I’m not big on Christmas.

You’re not fooling me. Don’t let him ruin you. He made a mistake. He’ll come to his senses.

It has nothing to do with him, she lied, biting her lip.

Funny. I remember you racing down the stairs every Christmas morning. You loved the holiday.

I was a child, Mother. Alex attempted to swallow her impatience. I have to go. I still have packing to do. Give Dad a kiss for me and I’ll see you in January.

Will you, at least, call? The negotiations continued.

I’ll have my cell. I’m not sure what kind of signal I’ll have there, but I’ll try. She wasn’t going to tell her she was staying in a log cabin in the mountains…away from everything…and everyone.

All right. I guess I’m not going to change your mind. You’re an adult. The sigh from her mother breezed through the phone.

I’m surprised to hear you admit it. Alex cringed, immediately regretting the comment. Her mother wouldn’t let her have the last word. That was a given.

Keep that up and I’m going to send for you.

I’ll talk to you soon, okay? Alex wasn’t going to push her. She’d probably send the butler.

Goodbye, dear.

Bye, Mother. Alex pushed the magic button to end that uncomfortable call. One down and one to go, she muttered while dialing her best friend since childhood. This interrogation would be worse. They’d known each other since they were…she couldn’t remember a time without her. Tiffany knew her better than anyone—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Convincing her she wasn’t running away wouldn’t be as easy.

Hello?

Alex smiled at the sound of her voice. Hey, bestie.

Hi, Alex. What’s up?

I’m, um… she stammered. This was more difficult than telling her mother.

You’re having a big party to celebrate the exit of what’s his name. Tiffany’s jubilation wasn’t lost on her.

What’s his name has been gone from my life for nearly two years. Actually, no. I’m going to Colorado. I won’t be around for Christmas. Might as well put it out there.

What? Are you kidding me? Leaving town at Christmas? Who do you know who lives in Colorado? Her voice turned suspicious.

No one. That’s the point. Besides, I wouldn’t be here anyway. You know my parents have that huge party in New York. And you can’t tell my mother. I’m sure she thinks I’m staying at a resort. I rented a log cabin in the mountains, she blurted. The calming view outside her window wasn’t helping the way it usually did.

Now I know you’ve gone insane. Don’t let him win, Alex. He’ll gloat if he knows you left town.

I don’t care what he thinks and even if I did, which I don’t, she added quickly, he knows about the Christmas party they torture me with every year. She forced a firm voice. He made his choice. This has nothing to do with Owen Banks. Her escape had everything to do with her cheating, lying ex-boyfriend. If lightning didn’t strike maybe she could convince Tiffany otherwise.

It has nothing to do with him being cast the lead in your Christmas movie? And that it starts airing this week? Nope. She wasn’t buying it.

Alex sighed. Listen, Tiff, I just want to be by myself and finish this book. She was sure Tiffany knew what she meant. This was her last obligation with the production company. The book was already picked up for a TV movie. The sooner she finished, the sooner she could move on and put the past behind her.

There’s no talking you out of this?

No. I already have my reservations.

You will have electricity…a phone, right? Here comes interrogation number two.

I will. I don’t even have to drive there. The owner will pick me up from the airport. He owns several log homes on his land. Why did she always explain herself? Could having an over-bearing mother have something to do with it?

How long are you staying?

I’ll be there through New Year’s.

I can’t believe you’re doing this, Tiffany huffed.

I just had this conversation with my mother. I’ll tell you what I told her. I’ll be fine. This is what I want, okay? Quit worrying. I’m actually looking forward to the quiet, the slow pace…and no interruptions. She wasn’t lying about those facts.

Maybe you’ll run into some hunky skier, she teased.

Nope. It’ll be me and my laptop. Although, a hunky skier would be a nice distraction. I have to get going, Tiff. I’ll call you when I get the chance.

Sure. What do I say? Have a great time?

Alex laughed at her friend’s sarcasm. Yeah, that would be nice.

Okay, she sighed, have a great time. Love you.

Bye. Love you, too.

Immense relief flooded her body. She was dreading those two phone calls and now they were behind her. She could finish packing and start her new chapter, both on her book and her life. She was looking forward to putting distance between her and Owen Banks.

Chapter Two

Alex stared blankly out the window waiting for her taxi, her suitcase and laptop at her feet. The mountains of California loomed in the distance. In less than eight hours she would be tucked into her new home for the month. She wasn’t looking forward to the layover or the trip into the mountains. Making small talk to people she didn’t know never was her forte.

Maybe when she returned she’d put her house on the market. She wanted distance from her ex and his wife. The only reason she stayed in California now was Tiffany…and the fact she had nowhere else she wanted to go. She had to admit, putting an entire country between her and her parents had been a plus. She hoped this trip would help her make a few important decisions she’d been avoiding. Her mind drifted to him. She met him after he was cast for the first TV movie they made from her book. She sighed loudly. It was her fault. She had chosen him for the first movie. He would be cast for this final book-turned-movie. There was no way around it. Her head pounded thinking about him. Everyone expected them to marry. She expected them to marry. Her face flooded with heat—the embarrassment, the betrayal, the rejection all still fresh in her mind. Owen told her on Christmas Day he asked his co-star to marry him. The nausea returned, as it always did, when she remembered that night. Two years had passed and the happy couple were now parents. They had moved on, but she couldn’t shake the past. She was contracted to the pain. But that would end with this last book and movie. Alexandra Storm would finally be free to move on with her life. All she had to do was face her demons.

The taxi arrived, jolting her from the memories. Working through the pain was the only way to put this behind her. Maybe she could channel it into her book. A sinister thought came to mind. She could kill him off. Her momentary revenge was snuffed by the reality of her fans. They would be crushed. They didn’t know the real guy who played her hero. They only knew the hero she created, and Owen Banks was no hero. He was a cad.

Not only was Alex happy about getting away from the memories of her broken heart, but the stress from her most recent meeting with the production company made her head hurt. Mr. Cohen was pushing her to sign a contract for future stories for TV movies. The last meeting was a nightmare. The usual calm of the executive was replaced by a red-faced tyrant. He could hold his breath and pass out as far as she cared. She