When it snowed in Cupid, it looked like a postcard. A postcard for love. It was like the snow fell in perfect flakes that might as well have been hearts, and the streets were coated in a wonderland that made everyone want to curl up in front of the fire with their loved one.
Or sometimes, it made people—and apparently animals—just plain horny.
I stared through the window as Ms. Patterson’s toy poodle humped her boot, yipping like it wanted the boot to reciprocate.
“It’s like a train wreck,” Jess said next to me.
She slid a cup of coffee across the counter while my eyes stayed riveted on said train wreck. “I know. Every time I try to look away and get back to work, Suzie switches angles. And Ms. Patterson just stands there and takes it.”
Jess snickered. “Yeah, she does. It’s keeping her feet warm.”
With a laugh, I looked over at her, finally breaking my trance. “Thanks for the coffee.”
“You’re going to need it.”
She was right. I’d gotten up early to make sure everything looked just right. And then Jess had ordered me to take a five-minute break at the counter, which afforded me a great view of the end of Main Street and the flurry of locals and tourists enjoying the snow that had come just in time for the weekend.
Today might be the most important day in the history of Cupid Bed and Breakfast. Well, second most important. After all, opening day had been huge—but that was back when my aunt owned the place and I was still in high school.
When she’d gotten sick and decided to go live with my other aunt in Florida, she left the place to me, knowing it was close to my heart.
I walked to the Wall of Love. My aunt and I used to talk all the time about the magic places in Cupid, Colorado, and how Cupid B&B had to be one of them because so many couples stayed here and then came back to get married. It was just one of those things that made Cupid what it was. The town of love.
And the wall in the lobby had been my idea. It was covered in pictures of couples who had stayed here and then gone on to get married. Over 200. The Wall of Love showed just how magical Cupid could be.
I frowned. For most people, anyway. The love bug still hadn’t bitten me.
“It’s kind of depressing, isn’t it?” Jess said from next to me. She stared up at the wall, lips pursed. “Like, if everyone else is finding their HEA here, where’s mine?”
“Right?” She glanced to the window. “Even Ms. Patterson is getting more action than us.”
I chuckled and sipped my coffee. “Well, you could get a dog if you’re that desperate.”
“Honey,” she said, voice chiding, “you know I don’t do pets. I do, however, do six feet of hunky men lost in the snow. Who is that?”
Outside the door, a man stood staring at the sign to Cupid B&B. He backed up a few steps and then angled his head before pulling out a notepad and writing on it. No gloves, no hat, just a light jacket that hugged his arm and chest muscles tight.
Man candy for sure. But also…
“Oh my god, that’s him!” I said, setting my coffee aside.
I nodded, folding my hands in front of me, then clasping them behind my back.
“Stop fidgeting,” Jess said. “You have nothing to worry about.”
“We need a good review if we’re going to keep this place open.” My stomach swirled with nerves. “We have to.”
Jess set her hand on my arm. “It’s not that bad. I know we’re down since last year, but you know all sorts of things go into how busy we are. Politics, weather, the construction at the end of the highway. It’s nothing. You’ll see.”
She was right. Probably. Things got slower after the election, and things definitely got slower because of the blizzard we’d had early in the winter that had caused the entire town to shut down.
But still. A good review would give me peace of mind.
“Is he going to come in?” Jess glanced at me, then grinned and wiggled her eyebrows. “Or should I go rescue him?”
I couldn’t see him well through the snow, but our newest guest seemed as handsome as Jess was claiming. His height alone was impressive, but there was more. A dark shock of hair and maybe even a little stubble. Strong jaw and lips I’d love to see turned in a smile.
“He’s younger than I expected,” I murmured.
Jess elbowed me. “Hotter. You mean hotter than you expected.”
That, too. Good thing Ms. Patterson hadn’t seen him. She’d be matching him up with every eligible person in Cupid, which wasn’t many. Jess had moved here a few years ago after she’d split with her boyfriend, and I hadn’t gone on a date in a year.
It was pathetic, really. Who was I to run one of the most romantic establishments in the state when I didn’t even know what true love was like? Jess told me to hold out for it—the real thing—but I was secretly starting to think the real thing didn’t exist.
Even if 200 photos on the wall said differently. If they had all found their true love, where was mine? Maybe the magic of Cupid didn’t work for people who actually lived here.
When the man finally walked through the door, my throat went dry. “I—” I stumbled when Jess nudged me again and shot her a glare before I stepped forward and held out my hand. “Mr. Fontaine. We’re so happy you were able to make it.”
He took my hand, strong fingers curling around mine for a moment longer than necessary. “You’re warm,” he said with a smile. “Call me Dallas.”
I swear Jess almost swooned next to me. Dallas Fontaine. A movie star name. And he looked exactly like a movie star. That little bit of stubble emphasized his strong jaw. And his eyes…they were as dark as coal. They should have been intimidating, but they changed completely when he smiled.
The dimple didn’t hurt either.
“Are you Lewis?” he asked me.
“Is it always that busy out there?” he asked, jerking his thumb to the street outside the B&B.
“Definitely,” Jess answered before I could. “Our town is friendly and everyone loves to be involved.”
He nodded, eyes sweeping across my face before they settled on Jess’s again. The slow burn of fire simmered in my stomach. I didn’t think I was imagining the heat in his gaze, but it had been a while. Long enough I was beginning to forget what it felt like to have a man’s mouth on mine, lips warm and demanding. His hands wandering my body like I was a lifeline after he’d nearly drowned.
I bit my lip. Who was I kidding? It had never really been like that. I lived my romantic life through the guests who visited Cupid. Through their happily ever afters and love stories.
Mine read more like a children’s story—especially after Jess and I had run outside last night with Patty from the coffee shop and made snow angels.
“I have to say, your town definitely holds up to its name,” Dallas said, his smile flashing again just briefly. “It looks like a place where matchmaking is meant to happen. A regular Hallmark movie.”
That’s what I loved about it. Except, I’d rather it be a Lifetime movie as opposed to a Hallmark one. A little more steam.
“If you’re looking for a Hallmark movie,” I told him, pointing to the Wall of Love, “here’s something that might interest you.”
He lifted his eyebrows.
“The Wall of Love. All these couples stayed here over the last several years and all of them got married. They sent us their wedding pictures or engagement pictures. Over 200.”
I expected him to pull out his notepad again to make a note, or maybe speak into his phone to document it. After all, The Wall of Love was the second stop on the tour of Cupid. All the tourists wanted to see it, along with the Fountain of Love and the post office, where people from all over the world could send their love letters and get an official Cupid stamp.
“Really?” he asked, his lip quirking like he was amused. “I read some history on the town, but people really believe in all this? The magic of love?”
My mouth opened, but words wouldn’t come out. I thought that was why he was here, to do a story on the town and the B&B—a place where people most definitely found love.
“Seeing is believing,” Jess said, pointing to the wall.
Dallas dropped his chin, and I swear I heard him snicker. What the hell?
“Well.” Dallas gave another one of his smiles—a smile I wasn’t finding charming at all anymore. “I understand it gives people hope. But it’s just a B&B, which is why I’m here. So.” He glanced to the front desk. “If I could just check in, I’ll grab my bags and get settled before you show me around.”
Still struck speechless, I checked him in. When Jess volunteered to help him with his bags, Dallas dismissed her with a wave of his hand.
He walked outside once more, and I slumped against the counter.
“I don’t think he’s into women,” Jess commented.
“I don’t think he’s nice,” I retorted.
She laughed. “Well. Maybe he was jilted by a lover and this is just too much for him.”
“But he’s supposed to be giving us a good review. How is he going to do that if he thinks our town and our B&B is a joke?”
Jess folded her arms across her chest. “I guess you’re just going to have to convince him.”
I frowned at the idea. I didn’t particularly want to spend any time with Dallas Fontaine. But this was for the B&B and the town, so I had to do something. No, I had to do more than something. I had to show Dallas that love really was in the air, whether he wanted to believe it or not.