Home > Dearest Malachi Keogh

Dearest Malachi Keogh
Author: N.R. Walker

 

Blurb

 

 

Julian Pollard never believed in love at first sight. That was until he met Malachi Keogh. Well, maybe it wasn’t love at first sight, but it sure was something.

Julian had forgotten how to live, how to be happy, and Malachi changed all that. Now together for four years, Julian wants to give Malachi a Christmas he’ll never forget.

The only problem is, Christmas at a mail distribution centre is the busiest time of the year. It just might take the whole team to make it happen.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

I didn’t believe in love at first sight. I thought it was a preposterous notion for fools and people who didn’t know any better. How could anyone have something shift inside them the second they meet someone?

Well, I’ll tell you.

After years of heartbreak and loneliness, of closing myself off from the world around me, a bright ray of sunshine with a streak of blue in his hair that matched his neon boots, walked into my office and changed my life.

I didn’t know how important he would become to me in that moment, but I knew he was . . . something.

He sure was something.

I tried to distance myself. I tried to tell myself he could never want someone like me, that it was foolish to think he would. Not to mention the whole work complication . . .

But my heart wouldn’t be swayed.

We just had this instantaneous connection. Something I’d never experienced before. I stopped trying to fight it, and it turned into the best thing to ever happen to me.

Malachi fit into my life in every way.

He fit in my life like a piece I didn’t even know was missing—with my family, with my friends, with me.

He didn’t just fit in with everyone at work either. He joined our little eclectic patchwork of people and somehow made us better. We’d always been a friendly unit, but in the last four years, owing to Malachi’s insistence, we became more of a team.

He just brightened up every room he walked into.

A knock at my office door snapped my attention. Cherry poked her head in. “You wanted to see me?”

Oh, shoot.

I’d been daydreaming again. Daydreaming about Malachi again.

“Yes, please come in. I know you’re run off your feet. Is, ah . . .” I made a face. “Is Malachi still busy?”

She came in and sat in one of the two chairs opposite me at my desk. “Uh, yeah. You do know he’s putting up more Christmas decorations?”

“Yeah, he asked me. I said it was fine.”

“He’s up a ladder draping tinsel and baubles from every surface. I think it’s going to be worse than last year.”

“He buys all the decorations really cheap after Christmas every year,” I explained. “So there is more this year, so it is technically worse. And . . .” I cleared my throat. “My mother gave him all that stuff he’s putting up today. I tried to stop them, but when they get together . . . I’d have more luck stopping the sun rise, to be frank. Honestly, I’d rather all the decorations be here than at home.” Although he’d outdone himself there as well.

“It looks like Santa’s Workshop exploded out there. And there were no survivors.”

I smiled. “I’m sure it does.”

“And Malachi told Paul he has a sexy elf costume for him to wear. What even is a sexy elf costume?”

“I don’t think I want to know.”

“Personally, I think Paul would be better suited as a reindeer, and the sexy elf should be left to Malachi.”

I smiled. “Please do not suggest that.”

Although, the mental imagery of him wearing something like that wasn’t exactly unpleasant.

“I think Denise already did, so . . .” Cherry shrugged. “Too late.” Then she paused for a second. “Um, you wanted to see me?”

“Yes! Yes, I do. It’s a personal thing.”

She looked horrified. “If it involves him wearing a sexy elf costume—”

“No, not that personal,” I amended quickly. “It’s not like that, it’s just not exactly work-related.”

Cherry frowned. “Oh, okay.”

“And you can’t tell Malachi about it.”

She eyed me cautiously. “He’s like a little ferret, you know that, right? Cute as hell, but sneaky too, and if he gets a sniff of something suspicious, he won’t stop until he finds it.”

I grinned at her. “Yes, I know. But it’s his Christmas present.”

“Oh.”

“I need help making it happen.”

She stared at me. “How?”

I felt stupidly giddy. Nervous and slightly nauseous. Taking a deep breath, I opened my top desk drawer, pulled out an envelope, and carefully placed it on the desk between us.

There was no address, no stamp. Just a name.

Dearest Malachi Keogh

 

 

“I’m going to ask him to marry me.”

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

I’d wanted to ask him for a long time.

And it had to be special. He was special. He was also fun and outlandish and far from clichéd. If anyone was deserving of a personal grand gesture that was anything but clichéd, it was Malachi.

Asking for help from Cherry was my best shot at making this happen. She knew him well, they’d become close, so between us we had a pretty solid scope on his thought process and how he might try and solve the mystery. But she was also very good at clues, and if he needed steering in any particular direction, she could do that without him becoming suspicious.

“This is going to take all of us,” Cherry said. “To some degree. Even if it’s just running interference or sending him on a wild goose chase to distract him.”

I conceded a nod. “But can they keep it a secret?”

Her eyes narrowed. “They wouldn’t dare spoil it.”

Actually, she looked a little scary and I knew then why she and Malachi were such good friends.

“Excellent.”

So we concocted a plan.

Well, I had a Plan A and Cherry helped me fine tune it. It probably wasn’t foolproof and there was no contingency. If it fell apart at any time, I’d implement Plan B. Which was to forget trying to make it fun and just get down on bended knee and ask him outright.

But Plan A: Christmas was in seven days, there were five days of ‘surprises’ for Malachi which meant I had two days to put the first plan into action, and there were some details to perfect beforehand. And we were so busy at work that I’d spent most of my December on the floor running cages as well. Christmas was always the busiest time of the year; our workload easily tripled.

But I was using the fact Malachi was so busy to help make my plan work. Hiding stuff and keeping secrets from someone I lived with and worked with wasn’t easy. And it would most likely take the whole team at work to make it happen.

So two days later, five days before Christmas, I gave Denise the first letter.

“Please put this on Malachi’s cart. On top where it’s not obvious but it can’t get lost,” I said, handing it over. “He can’t know it came from me.”

Denise nodded, her mission understood, and she took the envelope. “Is this it?”

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