A Smoky Mountain Hockey Holiday Read Online Toni Aleo

Categories Genre: Angst, Sports Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 25
Estimated words: 23556 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 118(@200wpm)___ 94(@250wpm)___ 79(@300wpm)

One chalet in the Smokies.
Four loving families.
While all the grandbabies are on Santa’s Nice List, a few of the adults are getting coal in their stockings.
But no matter their status with the man in the red suit, Elli Adler will spoil each and every one of her favorite people with love and holiday cheer.
It’ll be a Christmas to remember for some, but for one…this will be a Christmas he’ll want to forget.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Elli Adler

As the truck door slams, I look back at my husband’s very confused face and smile brightly. I glance over at the chalet I rented for the Christmas holiday, and I am just so giddy with excitement, I’m shaking.

All my kids, all my family, and all my grandbabies under one roof. I’m squealing internally!

“Eleanor Adler. What the hell?”

I grin at him, throwing up my hands in enthusiasm. “Surprise!”

Shea glares. “Elli, you said we were getting a cabin.”

“No—a chalet,” I correct. He doesn’t appear to have the patience for my extravagance.

“This is a mansion,” he states matter-of-factly as he watches me in disbelief.

“No. It’s a chalet, and we have potentially twenty people who are going to be here for the holidays. We needed space.”

“Yes, like six rooms. This is what, twenty?”

I press my lips together as I glance back at the holiday home. “Twenty-two. But in my defense, I felt it was a lucky number. Twenty-two is Lucas’s number,” I offer since Shea and Lucas are such good friends.

Shea doesn’t miss a beat. “And six is my number. I’d rather have stayed in a six-room cabin than this monstrosity. I mean hell, Elli. Did you pay for all those lights to be put up too?”

Yes, I did. “No,” I fib, and he rolls his eyes as he lifts our suitcases out of the snow. Shea stands bigger than ever, with a little more weight around his hips than he cares for. For me, I love it. Being a hockey player for so long, he was always so trim. But that was Shea Adler, defensive powerhouse for the Nashville Assassins.

Oh, how I love that man. We’ve built one hell of a life, had five gorgeous, talented children, and somehow survived all of them, mostly unscathed. Shea Adler as a dad is a sight that can’t be unseen. He loves his kids and puts his whole self into them. Each one knows their daddy loves them and that he would honestly lay down his life for them. He taught them to be patient, to be kind, but most of all, to love. He showed our girls how to be loved by a man, and our boys how to love a woman.

All by loving me.

It all seems like time has gone so quickly, but the years show on his handsome face. The wrinkles around his eyes, the gray in his beard and on the sides of his head. My PopPop, as our eldest grandson Zac calls him. I really don’t know how I’ve been lucky enough to fall for Shea repeatedly all these years, but now that he’s a grandpa, I wish like hell that I could freeze time and just stand in awe of him. Crazy as it sounds, I think Shea as a grandpa may be my favorite. He loves our grandbabies like he loves their mommas. With his whole body and soul.

I’m not one to question if my husband loves me; I know he does. But he’s staring at me, one brow cocked and his lips pursed. “You’re lying.”

I shrug innocently. “Fibbing.”

Shea shakes his head as he walks in my direction. “This is ridiculous. So over the top. And just know, when my parents, and Lucas, Fallon, Grace, and whoever else shows up and teases you for going overboard, I won’t defend you.”

I hold back my laughter. He will. I know he will. I look up at the massively huge chalet that will hold my whole family for the holidays, a little worried I did go overboard. Yes, it’s rather large. And yes, it’s covered basement to roof with Christmas lights. And yes, maybe there is an inflatable Grinch scene. Oh, and a life-size nativity. But I couldn’t help myself. “I just love Christmas!”

“Elli,” is all he says as he comes toward me. He drops one bag in the snow and points to the door. “Tell me now. Is the inside just as bad?”

I bat my lashes at him. “Define bad.”

His eyes burn into mine, and he knows that inside could be the film set for any Hallmark movie. “How many Christmas trees?”

I press my lips together. “Like, a total? Or small trees and then floor-to-ceiling trees?”

He lets his head fall back, closing his eyes as he groans my name. “Eleanor. Am I sleeping in a Christmas sleigh?”

I smile widely at him, wrinkling my nose as he looks back down at me. “No, but there is a lot of mistletoe in our room.”

Annoyance leaves his face almost instantly as he gazes into my eyes. He reaches out, taking my jaw in his large, callused hand. I smile as he grins down at me, his dimples taking my breath away. He strokes his thumb along my lips and leans down to kiss me. Before he does, he says, “How many trees?”

“One in each room, and if they didn’t fit, then I did small trees.”