Snow Place Like Home (A Cozy AF Christmas Book 1) by Olivia T. Turner



Chapter One





Mandy





“What are these supposed to be?” I ask with a laugh as Christine puts the tray of cookies on the counter.

“Candy canes,” Christine answers with her shoulders slumped down.

They’ve melted into phallic shapes. I pick up one that looks especially bad and laugh. “It looks like a Christmas treat, but it’s no candy cane.”

She snatches it out of my hand and places it back on the tray. “It’s Christmas, get your mind out of the gutter. They’ll look fine after we put icing all over it.”

“Yes, let’s cover it with white icing because that will make it look less like a cock.”

Christine laughs as she mixes the bowl of red icing. “I missed you so much! How many more years of college?”

“Two,” I say with a sigh. I didn’t realize how much I missed being home until I came home for the Christmas holidays. It feels like forever since I’ve hung out with my best friend.

“What am I supposed to do until then?” she asks, looking depressed.

I smile sadly at her. “You’ll always have your penis cookies.”

We both laugh as Mariah Carey belts out some high notes in the background. Christmas at Christine’s has always been a huge affair. Every inch of her parent’s house is decorated with something Christmas related. They even decorate inside the garage. They devote a full room in the basement to storing all of their Christmas stuff and it comes out on October 1st. Every year for Halloween, Christine’s house is decorated as the North Pole and her parents are Mr. & Mrs. Clause. The kids in the neighborhood love it.

“So,” Christine whispers. “Tell me about the guy sitch.”

“Sitch?”

“Situation. I’ve been cutting off the second half of some words since you’ve been gone. It’s my new thing.”

I shake my head as I look at her in shock. “You’ve changed so much.”

“I know. Sometimes I don’t even recognize the face in the mirror.” We laugh and then she keeps prodding me for some juicy details. “Come on! What’s college like? Are you banging a new hot guy named Chad every night? Do people still say bang?”

I wish I had some juicy details for her.

“There’s a really hot guy in my Psych class.”

“Yeah?” she says, perking up.

“He asked me to borrow a pen.”

“Is that like a code word for hooking up?”

“No,” I say with a heavy breath. “He just wanted a pen. But when I gave it to him, our hands touched.”

She holds the spatula up, her eyes wide with excitement. “And you fell in love?”

“No. That’s the end of my story.”

Her body slumps down as she stares at me like I’ve just told her that Santa isn’t real. “That’s it?”

“Oh, the pen!”

“Yeah?” she asks, perking back up.

“He never gave it back.”

“That’s the worst story in the history of stories,” she says as she turns back to the icing and starts mixing the purple. “Have you hooked up with anyone? It’s your second year of college. Don’t tell me you still have your V-Card.”

I tap my pocket as my cheeks go red. “Still intact.”

“What’s the point of paying three hundred thousand dollars a year in college tuition if you’re not going to bang every guy in sight?”

“Do you have any idea how much college costs?”

“You should be nailing guys around the clock!”

“There’s like so much homework and when I’m not studying, I’m working at the coffee shop!”

“Okay, what about there?” she asks, not letting this go. “Do you have any hot coworkers who want to dip their tea bag into your cup?”

“I don’t even know what that means.”

“It’s a metaphor,” she says with a salacious grin. “For sex.”

I roll my eyes and laugh. Aw, I missed her.

I do have a crush on someone, but it’s not on anyone on campus. Or at work.

It’s the same crush I’ve had for the past thirteen years. Since I was eight years old. It doesn’t seem to want to go away.

Matt walks in at the perfect time to save me. He leans over Christine’s shoulder and frowns at the cookies. “Penis cookies? Interesting choice for a Christmas Eve party.”