_A Simple Wish About love - Karice Bolton by Karice Bolton

Chapter One





Erika Larson’s father had always taught her that if a man gave her lemons, squirt the juice right back at him, preferably in his eyes, blind him for a second or two, take whatever you can, and run.

She wiped down the bar counter and smiled. Her father had always been full of idioms that he’d made his own. It was a trait she’d apparently inherited because her motto about life and lemons often involved cocktails, which made sense since she was a bartender at the Silver Ridge Ski Resort.

“Can you believe how sexy that guy is over there?” Daisy asked, coming up behind Erika. She was the latest hire at Silver Ridge, and Erika instantly loved her. She was a spunky blonde and didn’t fall for the lines of drunk skiers and snowboarders trying to sleep with her, so it surprised Erika that Daisy even noticed the man sitting at the table.

He’d ordered two drinks while he’d been here and stared out the window in between staring at the door as if he were waiting for someone.

Only, no one ever showed up.

“He’s pretty good looking.” Erika nodded while Daisy grabbed Erika’s free wrist.

“Do you even have a pulse?” Daisy teased, and Erika laughed. “Look, I know you’ve had a rough time with men and—”

Erika shook her hand away from Daisy’s and chuckled before she tucked a piece of auburn hair behind her ear. “It’s not that. I’m just too busy to care.”

Daisy rolled her eyes. “You’re telling me that the guy over there doesn’t even get your heart beating a little quicker?”

Erika glanced at the man for a brief second and ignored the immediate sensation of butterflies taking flight in her abdomen.

That’s what I get for not eating all day.

She snuck another look and let out a sigh. There was no doubt about it. His dark hair and bright blue eyes were a brilliant contrast, and his chiseled features only tied the package together perfectly. But she wasn’t interested.

When he’d first walked into the bar, his dark sunglasses covered his beautiful eyes, but he was one of those men you just knew would look good after he removed the shades. And she’d been right. But again, she wasn’t interested.

“I can appreciate an attractive specimen from afar, but that doesn’t mean I need to take him out of the jar.” Erika grinned and grabbed the stack of menus to wipe down.

Daisy grimaced and reached for an empty pilsner glass. “Well, men aren’t science experiments. That’s the first problem.”

“Problem? I don’t have a problem.” Erika scowled and slid the menus under the counter.

The science experiment’s gaze caught Erika’s, and a thrill darted through her.

She quickly grumbled at Daisy to take care of him. Erika didn’t need to be swept off her feet for a weekend tryst.

Erika had too much at stake.

Her son, Scott, was finishing up his last trimester before the summer break, and even as her heart broke thinking about it, he was about to start junior high. It was impossible to believe that her little baby boy was about to be a teenager.

Ugh.

But he was the one and only man in Erika’s life, and she fully intended to keep it that way.

So, as she watched Daisy swing her hips a little extra as she got closer to the table, Erika couldn’t help but chuckle. He was fair game as far as Erika was concerned.

“Erika?” Drew North’s familiar voice boomed through the air, and Erika instantly spun around to see the youngest North brother walking into the bar.

The North brothers were like family to her. They owned the Silver Ridge Ski Resort, but a person would never know it by the way they acted. They were incredible men and treated her and the other staff as equals.

“Is that my long, lost—and should I add, favorite— North brother?” Erika gushed, reaching out her arms for a hug.

Drew smiled and gave her a quick hug before taking a step back. He scratched his chin and looked toward the ceiling.

“How do I look?” He smiled and posed as Erika chuckled. “More worldly?”

“Still better looking than your other brothers, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Drew North batted his lashes and laughed. “Good. I was hoping my time overseas didn’t wear me down. I swear, my brothers sent me on that trip just to get rid of me.”

Erika laughed. “You never know.”

“Well, I’m back now and can focus on the important things.”