Everybody Loves Mickey
He’s a saint with a tarnished halo, and Aubrey Thomas can’t stand him…or can she?
Handsome fireman, Mickey Hurst is loved by all. He volunteers at the local parish where Aubrey Thomas works as an administrator. He sings in the choir. He leads the youth group. He even acts as the church handyman, but Aubrey knew him before he became Saint Mickey—when he told her he’d have to be drunk to kiss her…and he was. What’s so infuriating is that despite his horrible admission, Aubrey loves Mickey as much as everybody else.
Mickey doesn’t blame Aubrey for disliking him. After all, he kissed her when he wasn’t sober—and insulted her, to boot. Aubrey deserved a better man—a Godly man. But, since that fateful kiss, Mickey’s drawn closer to the Lord. With the intercession of God and the matchmaking parish staff, Mickey prays that this Christmas he will be able to prove to Aubrey he’s now the man for her.
Through the frosty square of safety glass plunked in the middle of her office door, Aubrey Thomas watched Mickey Hurst strut into the parish office reception area. Well, maybe he didn’t strut. Maybe that was a little harsh. But he walked with all the confidence of a celebrity who knows he’s loved.
Of course, it was true. Everybody loved Mickey. He was a fireman, a natural hero, good looking, had a voice to die for, and a personality to match. Just now, Bella, the receptionist, stared up at him like he had just granted her a million dollar tax deduction. Aubrey knew what that tilt to Bella’s chin meant. She’d seen the look of admiration before.
Mickey stood with his hands in his pockets, throwing his head back with his great, booming laugh that Aubrey could hear through the closed door.
Then Bella pointed. Mickey turned, and Aubrey ducked out of sight. A second later a knock sounded, and she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear while she called, “Come in.”
He did, all six feet plus of him, with the curly brown hair and blue eyes that would melt a confirmed man-hater’s heart.
Oh, yes, everybody loved him, and people like Bella were always shoving Mickey Aubrey’s way. Those warm blue eyes and deep dimples just did something to her insides. But he couldn’t look her in the eye, hadn’t for three years, and that made it hard for Aubrey to believe Bella or any of the other matchmakers knew what they were about.
He’d done a lot of other things in those years. He’d turned his life around, given his heart to Jesus, persuaded the community that Rome ought to change its rules and proclaim him a saint before he died. But he hadn’t met her gaze. Not once.
She’d been watching. That, and the fact that Mickey never seemed to either notice or mind the gossips, made her see red and plot murder on her off days. She’d been having a lot of off days lately. She hated feeling that way but really, it wasn’t her fault.
Mickey. Hurst. Drove. Aubrey. Nuts.
Mostly because a huge part of her agreed Mickey belonged with her.
He slouched into her office and rubbed a hand over the faint stubble on his jaw. Her heart sang with the sound. Aubrey shushed it.
“Can I help you?”
Why couldn’t she act casual? Everything she said came out of her mouth sounding like a formal office memo. But hurt feelings made her manner unwielding.
Not that Mickey cared.
The last time he had really paid attention to her was the day after he had made a drunken, hilarious pass at her. And she could have forgiven and forgotten, other than when she told it as a joke at parties, if he’d just gone on home, slept it off and never mentioned it again. But, oh, no, Mickey the Great, who could probably seduce a woman without knowing he was doing it, had come crawling to her apartment the next morning, looking like he’d gotten run over by a buffalo, just before it sat on him.
“I’m sorry,” he’d said. “I am so sorry.”
Even that would have been just fine, but he had to go on and dig a buffalo-sized hole for himself. “I shouldn’t have done that. It was—I shouldn’t have. Believe me, I would never have made a pass at you if I was sober. I swear, I’ll never drink again.”
As far as Aubrey heard—and she heard plenty—he never did.
From that day on Saint Mickey became a parish icon, a favorite in the pews, as popular as Father Julio. But she never forgave him for the insult that she wasn’t worth making a pass at without a few beers in him. Or a lot of beers.
And here Aubrey had been thinking of that kiss as the start of something wonderful.
Now, Bella was probably giggling to herself at having been so clever, throwing Aubrey and Mickey together again, and Mickey the Awesome was once again in Aubrey’s face. If it weren’t for Mickey, people would think Aubrey was nice. But with him around, she could barely manage halfway decent.
“Bella says Father Julio is at the hospital with a parishioner and you’re supposed to tell me where everything goes.” Mickey stared at her nose while he spoke.
“Everything?” She raised her eyebrows, even though he probably wouldn’t notice that part of her face.
“The nativity. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? I got a bunch of guys from the youth group to come help me move the statues into the church.” He turned in the direction of the parking lot, even though he couldn’t see it through the walls, and kept staring that way.
Aubrey waited for him to actually show a sign he knew she had eyes. Or even a face to wear them in. He didn’t. She sighed. “Right. Well, they go on the altar.”
His mouth quirked and showed off a couple dimples that she wanted to—
No. She did not want to have anything to do with his dimples, no matter how deep or sweet or engaging or…Anyway, he didn’t like her. He didn’t dislike her; he just didn’t like her. She told her heart to back off and pretended she needed something from her file cabinet. Not having to look at him—not looking at her—helped.
‘‘It’s a wide altar, and there are lots of statues to arrange.” When she didn’t answer, he said, “Tell you what, when we’ve got everything we need in the church, I’ll call so you can come over to supervise. That way the guys’ll still be there to put things in the right places.”
She sighed again. “All right.”
She’d tell him where to put his nativity, and maybe then he’d leave her alone. Again.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Monday, 03 December 2012) Rating: 4 Don't you just love the cover? It looks so fun and playful, and that's exactly how I felt...
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email@example.com (Sunday, 02 December 2012) Rating: 5 So sweet! I loved it!rnrnMickey is adorable and Aubrey is just so caught up in the past...
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