Come back home to Caddo Cove, a small Texas town where love and life are given a second chance.
On her way to work one morning, Carrie Trapp is forced to slam on her brakes when a stray dog darts across the street in front of her car. In this single moment, her well-orchestrated, pet and boyfriend free life, takes an unexpected turn. Already late for work, Carrie hopes to turn to her trusted vet for help with the scrawny, but sweet, golden retriever. But to her surprise, she discovers that there’s a new vet in town.
It’s almost Christmas, and Jake Adams has just taken over the only veterinary practice in the small town of Caddo Cove, Texas, where he doesn't know a single soul. He’s hoping for a fresh start and a quiet life after some disappointments in the city. When fate brings the lovely and lively Carrie into his life, small town living becomes much more exciting than he ever imagined.
Someone for Christmas is a short but sweet, contemporary romance story with a Happy Ever After ending.
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Carrie was already late for work when a dog ran in front of her car.
She was singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of her lungs when she glimpsed a yellow blur running across the road. She instantly slammed on the brakes and put her car in park. She had gone from relaxed to “red alert” in a matter of seconds, and she could feel the adrenaline coursing through her body.
Shakily, she got out of her car, afraid of what she would discover. To her great relief, she saw the medium sized dog, a golden lab mix, sitting on the curb seemingly without a care in the world.
Carrie kneeled beside the panting dog and ruffled his fur.
“Where were you going in such a hurry?” she asked as she searched through his matted fur for a collar. When she did find the collar, she was disappointed to see that it lacked a tag. Carrie looked at her watch with a sigh. She should’ve been at work five minutes ago.
It looked like she was going to be late.
“Let’s get you somewhere safe.”
When she opened the back door of her car, the dog eagerly jumped in. Instead of staying where she intended, however, he climbed the center console and happily settled down in the passenger seat, looking perfectly at home. His tongue was hanging out of his mouth, and she swore he looked like he was smiling.
“Don’t look so pleased with yourself,” she said grumpily. She had just vacuumed her car, and she could already see that the blue cloth seats were covered with a coating of yellow dog fur.
Caddo Cove was too small for an animal shelter, but luckily, this small East Texas town only a few miles from the Louisiana border, did have its own veterinarian, Dr. Brown. He had cared for every single creature, from squirrels to dogs, which Carrie had brought to him during her childhood. He always said she must be a living homing device for every critter in East Texas. While Carrie didn’t have any pets now, she still had a soft spot for them in her heart. Even when they shed all over her car seats.
Starting up the car, she made her way to the vet’s office. Carrie looked over at her new copilot. He had a gentle face and liquid brown eyes that made her heart melt. His collar looked old, and his coat was a mess, so she guessed that he had more likely been abandoned then escaped.
“Dr. Brown will take good care of you,” she said as they pulled into the parking lot. She noticed a painter working on the clinic’s sign as she parked the car. It also looked like the outside trim of the unprepossessing one-story building had gotten a new coat of paint, and she saw a vintage, red vintage truck at the side of the building that she had never seen before.
When you lived in a place as small as Caddo Cove, you knew every car, house, and person in town.
When Carrie opened her car door, the dog immediately stepped out and followed her into the office. Someone had taken the time to train him, it seemed. A bell over the door chimed, announcing their arrival. Lacy Dunlop, Dr. Brown’s longtime assistant, came to the desk. She was wearing scrubs with a garish parrot pattern, and her nut brown hair was hair sprayed into a stiff high-low bob.
“Well, hey there Carrie.” Her eyebrows rose when she saw the dog sitting peacefully at her feet. “I didn’t know you had a dog.”
Carrie laughed. “I don’t. Or I didn’t. This guy ran in front of me on my way to work. The rotten beast got lucky this time. I thought I’d better bring him to Dr. Brown. I’m hoping you know who he belongs to?”
“Nope, never seen him before in my life. But, didn't you know Dr. Brown retired? He sold the practice last month, and the new vet started working today.” She lowered her voice to a whisper, “And he’s smoking hot.” She waggled her eyebrows. “Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
Carrie glanced at the time and saw that she was now ten minutes late to work. Dr. Lee would not be impressed. She got her phone from her back pocket and tapped out a quick message to the nurse to let her know something had come up, and she would be late.
Lacy led her to the back room. They walked past steel kennels filled with cats and small dogs. The back room smelled of bleach, dogs, and from an open window, fresh, pine-scented air. Carrie peeked in the kennels and saw that most of the nine cages were occupied. While the cats were curled up in the corners of their cages, the little dogs were at the bars barking for attention.
“Some of these guys are up for adoption if you’re interested?” Lacy said over her shoulder.
“I’ve got enough on my plate, but thanks,” Carrie replied. “Between the art gallery and work, I hardly have a spare moment as it is.”
She reached a few fingers between the bars to scratch behind the ears of a long-haired Chihuahua. The dog leaned into her fingers, relishing the attention.
“It sure is tempting, though,” Carrie said wistfully. It could get lonesome on her own sometimes, and a pet would be good company.
“He’s through here,” Lacy said, opening the door to the surgery theater.
When Carrie walked into the square room lit by bright fluorescent lights, she saw a tall man bent over in front of a cabinet filled with bottles and surgery supplies.
He was wearing a short-sleeved white lab coat, so she could see that his arms were tanned and muscular. His dark blonde hair brushed the top of his collar. For some strange reason, she found herself wanting to run her fingers through it.
“Dr. Adams? I have someone I’d like you to meet,” Lacy said.
He shelved a bottle, wiped his hands on his worn jeans, and held out a hand toward Carrie. She watched as his expression changed from ‘polite’ to ‘thrilled’ when he got a good look at her. His interest was good for her ego, which had been bruised by her last boyfriend.
“Hi,” he gave her a warm smile and an appreciative glance at her tall, willowy figure. “You caught me setting up shop. I’m Jake Adams.”
Holy Moly. Carrie swallowed hard. He wasn’t so bad himself. If there’s a Jake Adams fan club, she thought, sign me up.
“Welcome to Caddo Cove,” she managed to squeak out. She actually felt her heart skip a beat. “I didn’t realize that Dr. Brown had retired.”
“He’s already at his lake house doing some serious fishing, I understand.” His sky blue eyes shifted down to the obedient dog at her feet.
“You’ve got a beauty here.” He ruffled the dog’s fur. “Are you here for an appointment?”
“Yes, I mean, no. This guy ran in front of my car, and I just barely managed to miss him. I was on my way to work, so I thought I’d drop him off here. I was hoping someone would know who he belongs to.”
The vet frowned for a moment. “I don’t usually take in stray dogs.”
“Oh,” Carrie felt her face turn red. “Dr. Brown did. You see, we don’t have an animal shelter in Caddo Cove.”
“I had heard that,” Jake said, “which explains why we have so many clinic residents.”
Carrie felt her temper begin to rise. Dr. Brown had always helped animals without complaint.
“Look, you may have to rethink your approach. I don’t know what it’s like where you’re from, but this is a small town, and we look out for each other here.” Angrily, she brushed a lock of blonde hair out of her eye. Lacy was right, he was gorgeous, but a strong moral code was more important in her books.
He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. “I’m sorry, you’re right. My last job was at a Dallas clinic, and we were overwhelmed. You’ve probably heard that there are packs of dogs running loose in some Dallas neighborhoods? It’s crazy.”
Kneeling down, he scratched the dog behind his ears and patted his side.
“This guy looks like he hasn’t been taken care of in a long time. Why don’t you leave him here, and I’ll exam him and get him a bath. And some breakfast.”
The dog licked his hand and then held out a paw to shake.
He chuckled. “He’s a sweet one. And trained.” He looked up at her with a sparkle in his eye. “He’d make someone a wonderful pet.”
“Good try, doc,” she said with a wink. A look at her watch showed her that she was now half an hour late.
“I gotta rush. If it’s no trouble, could you let me know how the exam goes? Lacy has my number.”
Back on his feet, he was standing quite close. He actually towered over her, and she wasn’t exactly short. He had to be at least six foot three.