This short features Toby and Sean from “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”
“There you go, Mrs. Rosenberry! Happy Valentine’s Day.” I placed Mrs. Rosenberry’s books in her fabric bag and slid them over the counter.
Despite being in her 70s, she was apparently feeling the sentiments of season, because she’d picked a racy contemporary romance along with her usual cozy mystery. “Thank you, Toby. You too. I can see you’re someone’s valentine.”
She eyed the bouquet that sat on the library’s main desk and gave me a knowing smile. She knew exactly who my valentine was—Sean Miggles, the head librarian. I’d been flustered when the bouquet was delivered that morning. I’d never received flowers in my life! I was as proud of the understated mass of white rosebuds and green carnations as if they were the Man Booker prize for literature.
“I’m a lucky guy,” I agreed, brushing my fingers over the soft petals.
“So is he. Have a wonderful day, Toby!”
After she left, I knocked on Sean’s office door, slipped inside, and gave him yet another quick kiss of appreciation.
“Not in the library,” Sean muttered, the way he always did, even though we were alone in his office and his gentle fingers on my cheek said he wasn’t really adverse to the attention.
“Then you shouldn’t send me flowers. Apparently they really turn me on,” I countered, nuzzling his neck before pulling away.
I returned to my desk whistling, pleased with myself for leaving him flushed and speechless.
That night after the library closed, Sean drove us to The Refractory, a French restaurant near Columbus that was tres chic. It was completely booked for Valentine’s Day, but of course Sean had made reservations. It was in a gorgeous old building with brick walls, huge arched windows, fine linen and candles on the tables, and the wait staff all in black. It had the sort of dishes that had small but elegant portions, green and orange drizzles on the plates for color, springs of rosemary, and slices of fresh berries as garnish. Everything I put in my mouth was amazing. But better than anything the chefs could serve up was the sight of Mr. Miggles across from me.
Damn. He looked so handsome it made me squirm. He’d worn his best gray suit with a light rose shirt and deep burgundy tie. His neat brown hair and dimpled chin brought me to my knees, but best of all was the heat and love in his eyes.
How did I, little old Toby Kincaid from Sandy Lake, Ohio, renown book geek, ever get so lucky?
While we waited for our dessert of chocolate mousse, he put a rectangular box on the table. It looked like the sort of box that might hold a pen. I gave him a curious look and put my gift for him on the table too.
“What is it?” I asked, picking up my box.
“A question you’ll soon have answered,” he remarked with a smile. “You first. Go ahead.”
I opened the box. Inside was a shiny set of keys on a beautiful key fob. The fob was made of soft black leather and was inset with two initials in gold. They read “T&S” for Toby & Sean. I adored the fob instantly, but what were the keys for?
I blinked at them for a moment before I recognized the individual items—there were two library keys, a key to Sean’s house, a key to my parents’ house, and two familiar Hyundai keys. They were my own keys, but they’d been cleaned and polished and added to the new fob. Had he done that today?
I looked up at him questioningly.
“I couldn’t afford to get you a new car, alas. But you know how I worry about you. I had your Hyundai detailed, given a maintenance and oil change, and four new snow tires put on it. It’ll be more enjoyable to drive and safer now.”
My mouth dropped open. That was so sweet! I had sort of trashed that Hyundai, and I’d been needing new tires for about a year. And wow, had he been tricky! He’d suggested I put my car in the tiny garage at his lake house a week ago ahead of an oncoming snowstorm, and had offered to drive us both to work in the week since. I’d had no idea my car hadn’t been in the garage the whole time.
“Wow, you’re good at subterfuge,” I told him. “Now I’m worried.”
“I’ll only use it for the best of motives, I promise.” He winked at me slyly.
“This is the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.” I added, in a soft voice, “You are so getting laid for this.” I rubbed his calf with my toe under the table.
“Mmm. I look forward to it.” His low and sexy tone sent a thrill of lust through me.
I swallowed. “Now open yours.”
His box was a larger rectangular about the size of a book. With a raised eyebrow he unwrapped the brown paper with pink hearts. Inside was a kindle in elegant brown case with his name and email address engraved inside the cover in case he ever lost it.
“Sacrilege!” he said teasingly, but he didn’t look unpleased.
“I know you’ve resisted. And you can still read real books too. But this will be great if you ever need to travel, or if you want to read at night when I’m asleep. It’s backlit. Plus, with our new digital lending program at the library, I thought you might want need it to check on downloads from time to time.”
“It’s perfect,” he said simply. He put it down by his plate. “And so are you.”
Oh my God. The look in his eyes for was adoring. I was tempted to jump him despite being in a four star restaurant.
The mousse arrived, distracting my carnal thoughts momentarily with chocolate bliss. We ate from the same dish. I was feeling sappy enough to think about it as a metaphor for life.
As we left the restaurant, Sean took my elbow, clearly proud to be with me. I gave him a long, hot kiss in the car before he started the engine.
When you love someone you want to do things for them—little things and big things.
“Happy Valentine’s day, my love,” Sean whispered, placing a final kiss on the top of my head.
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Toby Kincaid loves being the junior librarian in his hometown of Sandy Lake, Ohio. He spends his days surrounded by books and chatting with the library patrons. He especially adores the head librarian, Mr. Miggles, who is kind, witty, knowledgeable about everything, and hopelessly addicted to Christmas. Sean Miggles is also pretty cute—especially for an older guy who wears ties and suit pants every day.
But Sean keeps himself at a distance, and there’s a sadness about him that Toby can’t figure out. When Sean is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he gives up without a fight. Toby realizes that he alone can save the library—and their head librarian.
Toby will need to uncover the darkness in Sean’s past and prove to him that he deserves a second chance at life and at love too. And while Christmas miracles are being handed out, maybe Toby will get his own dearest wish—to love and be loved by Mr. Miggles.
As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, two cows, pot belly pig, and cat.
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