Maddie Hayward has been actively looking for a husband for nearly three years, but no gentleman will spare her more than a smile. Everyone thinks she's destined to wed Kit Mathison...except neither of them is interested in a romance with the other. When Kit and his family come to visit the Haywards for Christmas, the whole village expects a proposal—but Maddie has other plans. Can she convince everyone that her friendship with Kit will never be a courtship? Or will she have to choose between her closest friend and the chance at family of her own?
Thomas Mathison has loved Maddie since the day they were first introduced, but can't ask for her hand until he can afford to support a family. When she suggests a sham courtship between them he agrees, despite his misgivings. Being seen with someone other than Kit would shatter the illusion of an arrangement between them and give Maddie a chance at a happy life. But while she would be feigning affection, Thomas would not. Can he conceal his true feelings from her while executing her plan? Will he have the strength to let her go when he returns home?
A standalone novella set in the same world as the Maitland Maidens series. Previous published in the anthology Christmas Ever After.