Rachel Lewis hides her looks behind dark framed glasses and drab clothes. As the head librarian in Holton, she is satisfied with her life and her appearance. Rachel isn't looking for love or a relationship, but Paul captivates her. He lives in a completely different world, but she wants him more than she has ever wanted any other man.
Paul Hart is handsome, rich, and successful. As the owner of a thriving business, he is happy with short-term relationships and jaded women. Paul has been betrayed too many times to trust a woman, but Rachel intrigues him. She isn't like any other woman he has ever known. Can he learn to trust her?
“You could just go talk to her, you know,” Andrew said as he sat down beside him. Paul looked at Victoria’s fiancé. He had gotten to know Andrew fairly well in the past few months. Paul had not liked the man at first. He had hurt Victoria, albeit unknowingly, but Paul was very protective of his friend so Andrew had not made a good first impression. However, as time passed, Paul realized Andrew had good instincts and a strong desire to serve the public. He was running for a seat in the Texas State Senate, and Paul had decided to give him his support.
“Talk to whom?” Paul asked grudgingly. Andrew was very observant. It was part of his courtroom training. Paul just hoped Andrew had not observed what he feared he might have.
Andrew just smiled. “Rachel, of course. You’ve been staring at her all evening. Is there something you want to tell me about last night?”
Paul wiped his face clean of all expression. “Nothing to tell and I haven’t been staring at her.”
“Sure,” Andrew nodded. “You just happened to be looking in her direction. It isn’t a sin to be interested in a decent woman, you know.”
“I’m not interested in her. Rachel is a very nice woman, but we really don’t have anything in common and besides…”
“Listen up, everyone,” Victoria called. Paul was grateful for the interruption. He did not want to discuss his mixed up feelings with anyone, least of all Victoria’s fiancé.
“We’re now ready to do our gift exchange. I know some of you are a little reluctant to play the game, but I promise you’ll have fun. We’re going to play a variation on the traditional gift exchange. You will answer a trivia question, and if you answer correctly, then you can pick out a gift from the gift pile. The next person to answer a question correctly will have the option of choosing a gift or stealing one that has already been picked. A gift can only be stolen twice. Does everyone understand the rules?”
Everyone nodded. “Okay, then first open your box and take the ornament out. At the bottom of the box is a number. That is the order we’ll go in to answer the trivia questions.”
The game began, and laughter quickly filled the room. Some of the questions were funny and other serious. Soon everyone was stealing gifts and answering questions. Mitch and Rachel were the first two players to obtain a gift that had been stolen twice so they were out of the game. The two of them moved away from the group and started talking. Paul was the next one to go out. He watched Mitch and Rachel growing angrier by the minute. What was Mitch doing? He kept touching Rachel on the arm and was flirting outrageously. Mitch was an infamous flirt, but Rachel was not the type of woman who would be used to such attention. Paul was tempted to go over there and stop him.
A soft chuckle from his right distracted him. Paul turned to see amusement covering Andrew’s face. He was shaking his head. “No, you’re not interested in her at all, my friend.”