There are two things you need to know about me. 1: I’m never late. And 2: I hate Christmas. Yes, I’m a girl who hates the holidays.

My entire, enormous family is already enjoying their holiday vacation in Iceland, but thanks to my busy job and having to meet them there, I’m late. They could have chosen any holiday to fly across the world, but Christmas won, which sent me scrambling because the end of the year is my busiest time. It’s difficult to carve out moments to see the family at all.

So, now, I’m forty thousand feet in the air, trying to get to Iceland before Christmas morning, all while also attempting to get some work done. If only the hot guy next to me would leave me be.

Dylan says I should put the work away until after my holiday and relax a bit. And while his suggestion of spending some time together on the north Atlantic island seems preposterous, I can’t help but feel intrigued when he promises to show me how to enjoy the Yuletide season properly.

After all, I can’t possibly spend every minute with my family.

But how do I just shrug off my duty to my job and throw caution to the wind for a stranger…no matter how handsome he is? Because that’s something else about me: I never throw caution to the wind—even a beautiful, blustery Icelandic wind.

Then again, Mama always said, “Never say never…

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Excerpt: The Scramble
By Kristen Proby

Excerpt: The Scramble

So thrilled to share an excerpt from THE SCRAMBLE (out today!) — a holiday meet-cute romance from New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kristen Proby and 1001 Dark Nights. Read below!

Sometimes, my life is weird.

“That’s the third time you’ve sighed in five minutes.”

I frown and look around. Suddenly, the wall separating me from the first-class pod next to me lowers, and the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen smile over at me.

“What?”

Great comeback, Mad. Why am I so damn awkward with men? With people in general? I didn’t used to be when I was little.

But the older I got, the more awkward I became.

I like to blame it on hormones.

“You. Sighing.” He shifts so he can look at me closer. “Why so down, beautiful?”

I feel my cheeks flush and stare at my laptop.

I don’t think anyone, aside from my dad and other family members, has ever called me beautiful.

“I’m not down. I’m busy.”

“Ah. So, going on a business trip, then?” He nods. “Me, too.”

“It’s not a business trip. I’m meeting my family in Reykjavík for Christmas.”

I glance over, and his eyebrows climb. “It’s Christmas in…wait, I have to do math with the time change.” He mimics doing math in the air with his finger. “Carry the one…now. It’s Christmas there now.

“I know.” I sigh again, and he smiles. Holy shit, that smile. Why is he so…hot? His teeth aren’t completely straight, but that smile just made my lady bits stand up and do the cha-cha.

“I’m Dylan.” He awkwardly offers me his hand over the panel between us. “And you are?”

“Late.” I try to ignore the awareness that crawls up my arm from his touch. “I’m late, and I hate being late.”

“So, why are you?” He leans on his elbow, propping his chin in his hand to give me his undivided attention.

It’s a little disconcerting.

I shake my head and close the laptop, resigning myself to the fact that I’m taking a break I really can’t afford. Yet I’m not totally annoyed by this guy, so I might as well chat with him.

“I couldn’t get away until today. To be honest, I should be in the office all week. But my uncle Luke talked me into going to Iceland with the rest of the family.”

“Oh, it’s an extended-family thing. How many people are going?”

I blink at him. “A few dozen, probably.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“It’s a big family.” I shrug. “I don’t know why I felt obligated. It’s not like they’d really miss me with all those people there.”

“I bet they would.” His eyes narrow on me. “Miss you, I mean.”

“Why are you going to Iceland?” I change the subject, not sure what to do with all the flirtation from a sexy stranger on a freaking airplane.

“Work, like I said.”

“What do you do?”

Those green eyes smile at me again. If I were a romantic person, I’d say I could lose myself in them.

They’re like the mossy hills of Ireland.

Not that I’ve ever been to Ireland. We have family there, but I’ve never gotten the chance to go.

“I’m a travel writer for a major network.”

“No way.”

He laughs, and I feel it all the way to my toes. “Way. They send me all over the world to scout things, do some writing, and then they send in crews to film.”

“Wow, that sounds exciting.”

“What about you?”

I frown. “What about me?”

“What do you do that you couldn’t get away for a family vacation to one of the most beautiful places in the world?”

“Oh, that. I’m an accountant.”

I expect him to balk and ask me why I would choose something so boring. That’s usually the response I get.

But he just nods slowly. “Wow, that’s kind of cool.”

I stare at him for a full ten seconds and then burst out laughing. I laugh until my sides hurt. I haven’t laughed this hard in years.

When I slow down and wipe a tear from my eye, he passes me a tissue.

“No one has ever said that what I do is cool.”

“Hey, aside from figuring out time zones because I’m an expert at that these days, I’m not good with numbers. So, meeting someone who is is cool.”

“Thanks.” I wipe the last of the tears and take a deep breath.

“What’s your name?”

“Oh, sorry. Maddie. Maddie Montgomery. And I really should get back to work.” I point at the laptop.

“I hate to break it to you, Maddie Montgomery, but you’re on vacation. Therefore, you absolutely should not work.”

“Yeah, well, my clients would disagree with you.”

“Do your clients never take holidays?”

“Oh, they do. And then they try to write them off on their taxes.” I grin at him. “Sometimes, they can. But most of the time, they can’t.”

“Can you write this one off?” he asks.

“No.” I shake my head.

“What if I asked you accounting questions?”

“I could only write it off if you actually hired me, and there was work to be done in Iceland. Nice try, though. Besides, I’m not paying for it. Uncle Luke treated all of us cousins for Christmas.”

“I like Uncle Luke,” Dylan says with a laugh.

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