Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection
Publication date: November 25th 2014
TEN fun, romantic holiday novellas by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors
An all-star gathering of some of today's most popular NYT and USA Today bestselling romance authors in a fun-filled collection...holiday style! With the overwhelming response to the chart-topping summer boxed set, we've brought together even MORE of your favorite authors for a winter compilation, and this time, we've giftwrapped TEN stories for you all. From the funny & sweet, to the STEAMY & heartfelt, each novella is packed with a whole lot of romance, and hand-picked to infuse perfectly-portioned holiday cheer into your busy days this season...along with hot bursts of holiday steam for those winter nights.
And at just ***99 CENTS USD*** that's a huge savings of over 95% off retail for the individual books sold separately! This is an extremely limited edition bundle available for just 5 weeks so get your copy today!
THE BOXED SET INCLUDES:
IF I RETURN
- by USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett
WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS
- by New York Times bestselling author Mari Carr
- by New York Times bestselling author Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
- by New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke
FAIRIES & WISHES -
by USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS
- by New York Times bestselling author Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans)
- by New York Times bestselling author Cathryn Fox
- by New York Times bestselling author Melody Grace
A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE
- by New York Times bestselling author Alannah Lynne
HIS CHRISTMAS WISH
- by New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine
USA Bestselling Author
About IF I RETURN
If I Return is about a chance meeting between two people that are destined to be with each other, but it just isn’t the right time for them. After meeting and falling into a hot fling over a Christmas resort holiday, shy college student, Hope Camden and gorgeous Army helicopter pilot, Jack Freeman have more of a connection than just what they discover between the sheets. These two just click… on all levels.
In ordinary circumstances, they would have continued to see each other and developed a normal relationship. But Hope is devastated to learn that this can’t happen because Jack is headed off to war. He’s asked her not to wait for him… not wanting her to suffer if he’s killed in action.
He’s made her a promise though. If he makes it back safely from the war, he will meet her back at this same resort one year from their last night together. Should she wait for him? And will Jack make it safely back? You’ll have to read it to find out, but Christmas is a time for miracles.
I’m about to step outside of the proverbial box.
Pushing away from the elevator wall I had been leaning against, I walk up to Jack, bringing my body close into his. Looking into his face, I see his nostrils flare and unbidden desire leap into his eyes. It's all the encouragement I need before I smooth my hands up over his chest, winding them behind his neck. My fingers graze over the stubble of his short haircut. I'm pleased when his arms wrap around my waist to draw me in closer. I waste no further time before pulling his head down to me, until our lips meet softly.
Despite the fact my inhibitions are lowered, despite the fact I boldly put myself in Jack's arms, and despite the fact that his eyes were heated as our lips moved toward one another, the kiss is surprisingly sweet. It's nothing more than a gentle meeting of our lips. Our mouths are slightly parted as we move against one another, tilting our heads first to one side, and then another as we explore.
Even though the kiss is soft and sweet, I still feel a warmth spreading through my body. It causes me to want more... to experience Jack on the next level. Tentatively, my tongue pushes forward into his mouth and at first he stills. I can feel his fingers flex into my lower back, and I push my tongue in just a little farther, taking a swipe at his.
He answers me with a groan and then he's gripping my head, holding me in place so his tongue can take charge.
And I let him.
Letting go, for once in my life, I let Jack have his way with my mouth. He deepens the kiss and I can't help the sigh that escapes me. He eats it up, pleading for more by the insistent way his lips move against mine.
Even though we seem to both be drowning in the kiss, I find myself wanting to submerge further into him. Desire floods my senses and my body moves without thinking. I push myself closer to him, our bodies connecting. My breasts mash into chest and I can feel his hardness against my stomach. I push closer yet, wanting—no, needing—the contact.
This kiss... this amazing kiss. It's like nothing I've ever experienced. It's full of passion and fire. I realize that my prior kisses have been lukewarm at best. Energy courses through me at the thought of what else I've been missing. The shy introvert is gone and I can feel my inner sex kitten awakening.
And I’m ready... ready to let her prowl because the passion that flows between us has firmly shut boring Hope Camden away.
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
About DECKING DREW
DECKING DREW is the holiday story of Skylar Sullivan from my NYT bestselling Can’t Resist series and Drew Lawson from my USA Today bestselling Cactus Creek series. They both have gone through so much in their lives, but while Skylar believes wholeheartedly in the magic of Christmas, for Drew, it’s just another day. Of course, if anyone could make him start believing, it would have to be the addictively sweet, mind-wreckingly beautiful girl-next-door of his dreams he'd classified as completely off-limits two years ago. The same one now standing on his doorstep on Christmas Eve.
What on earth was she doing here in Vegas?
And not alone, for that matter.
While he had managed the herculean task of speaking all civil-like to Skylar, Drew couldn’t stop the predatory growl vibrating out of his chest now that he was within striking range of the guy who’d been making Skylar smile for the past few minutes.
A hotel worker, by the looks of his uniform, carefully observing Skylar as if he’d just figured out the answer to a final crossword puzzle question.
“Huh,” commented the Abercrombie & Fitch model shoe-in, still half eating Skylar up with his eyes. “So this is the guy?”
Damn right, I’m the guy. Drew rumbled the silent declaration with a feral possessiveness he felt down to his bone marrow. If he could have it his way, there’d never be a question mark at the end of that sentence in any context when it came to Skylar.
But not much had changed in the two years since he’d seen her last.
And the few things that had changed just made it more imperative for him to keep his distance like he’d sworn he’d do.
…Something he was going to fail pretty epically at tonight, he wagered, as he skimmed his thumb across the petal-soft skin of her cheek to smooth away a few wayward locks of hair the wind had curtained over her eyes.
Though he didn’t have nearly enough platonic female friends to know the official descriptive term for it, Skylar looked both blonder and more brunette than he remembered. Her hair was down to her waist now in golden honey waves instead of the sandy apricot tresses he saw in his mind whenever he let himself think about her, which was more often than he could control.
He sifted his fingers through her hair and watched her reaction display in high-def via those incredible, animated eyes of hers—candidly expressive windows to her soul he’d never been able to banish from his mind for very long.
Always quietly thinking.
He forgot how much he loved the way he could see a thousand thoughts flashing over her expression at a million miles an hour before she’d eventually land on one, somehow always rooted in kindness, and usually linked to some unique personal insight that would light up her smile.
Jesus, she was doing it now. Smiling. At him.
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
Unwrapped is a fun stand-alone novella about spontaneous Lacey and straight-laced Daniel, who get stranded together on the way home for the holidays. Outside, it may be freezing, but inside, a racy game of truth or dare will get them all heated up…
“What do you say? Ready to get to know each other a little better?” I reach over and take a sip of his drink, slowly licking the moisture off my lips.
Daniel blinks once, then lowers himself slowly back on the barstool beside me. “Why not?” he gives me a grin that turns my insides to molten honey. “This should be good.”
I have to catch my breath. All night, I’ve been at war with myself: trying not to flirt with him or make a fool of myself. But now, I’m suddenly reckless. Unleashed. Now I’ve spied a crack in his cool, collected attitude, I’m not going to let this chance slide by, not without a fight.
I just want him, more than I can stand.
“You first,” I announce, slowly crossing my legs.
Daniel looks down at the fabric riding up over my thighs, then back up at me. “That’s easy, truth.”
Of course. A guy like him is an open book: nothing to hide. “Hmm,” I muse, wracking my brain. If I’m going to push him, it needs to be something good. “Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever had sex?”
Daniel raises an eyebrow, but he doesn’t flinch. “I don’t know...” he frowns, “Nowhere. I’ve always just done it the regular way, on a bed.”
I stare in disbelief. “Seriously? Not even in the backseat of a car? The gym locker rooms? The rooftop of the student lounge?” I prompt.
Daniel looks bashful. “I guess I’m just boring like that. Why, where’s yours?”
I think for a moment. “Backstage at a rock show, up against the amps. He lasted like, two seconds flat and I nearly went deaf... and electrocuted,” I shake my head, giving a wry smile at the memory.
“Sounds painful.” Daniel laughs, and I lose myself in his eyes. The tequila is warm in my bloodstream, mingling with desire and recklessness in one heady cocktail that’s impossible to ignore as I sit here, inches away from Daniel, his tanned forearm resting casually on the bar between us, close enough to touch...
I snap back to reality. “What?”
Daniel gives me a patient smile. “I said, why bother nearly killing yourself like that? It doesn’t sound like it was even worth your while.”
I shrug. “It was an experience.”
“Jumping off a cliff is an experience,” Daniel points out. “You going to try that too?”
“No, it’s like...” I try to gather my thoughts, “This is it, my wild adventurous youth. One day, I’m going to be settled down with a kid and a mini-van, and, and, a Costco clubcard. I want to be able to look back and say, I lived. I had adventures. You know?”
“Nope,” Daniel makes a face. “I’ve been on the same path since school, I never did anything crazy.”
My heart catches. I force myself to meet his eyes. “It’s never too late to try.”
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
About HIS CHRISTMAS WISH
His Christmas Wish, at heart, is a story about coming home and second chances at love. Joaquin Morales is a veteran and all he wants to do is rekindle his marriage with his estranged wife, Sage Caswell. But it won’t be easy for him at all. For one, in a strange (or is that serendipitous) twist of fate he and Sage became pen pals while he served in Afghanistan—only he lied to her about who he was and she recently found out. Second, no one actually knows they ran off and got married while they were in college because their families hate each other… and Sage would rather keep things that way so she can opt for a quiet divorce. Luckily, a snowstorm arrives in the nick of time, forcing Sage and Joaquin to spend time together. <G>
He strode to her, cupping her slender shoulders and turning her to face him. Her lashes fluttered down, skimming her cheekbones. “Sweetheart, I’m not blowing you off.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she said, still not looking at him.
“Yes, it does.” Hooking a finger under her chin, he lifted it up. A pink tongue darted out to lick at her top lip and he couldn’t stop himself from doing the same. She gasped, her full lips parting at his touch. Never one to let opportunity slide by, he nipped at her full bottom lip. “Ask me.”
Her hands came between them, lightly resting on his chest. The heat of her palms searing him. “You’re not playing fair.”
“This isn’t a game.” He let his hands travel the length of her arms, then back up again to cup her elbows and pull her closer. Full breasts pressed against him, her hands drifting lower to grab the waistband on his jeans. He hadn’t been with a woman in years, his determination to make something of himself and winning her back his only goal. Meaningless one-night stands weren’t part of the plan, which totally explained the hard-on pressing against the zipper of his jeans. “Ask me.”
What seemed like an eternity passed before she replied, “Kiss me.”
Sage expected him to go in for the kill, mostly because that’s what she felt like doing, but she restrained herself, locking joints and tightening muscles. However, Joaquin had other things in mind.
He started at the base of her neck, his tongue and teeth working in tandem to make everything inside of her warm and gooey.
“I won’t hurt you, not this time,” he whispered against her jaw, pressing butterfly light kisses along it. He teased the corner of lip. “Open.”
And as if that was somehow a magical command, she did. In her next heartbeat, his mouth was sealed over hers and he was drinking her in. She couldn’t stop kissing him, touching him, or moaning in his mouth. Four years of longing passed between them. In that moment time fell away, old regrets and new frustrations erasing from her heart with each toe-curling kiss.
Their tongues touched, then tangled as her body cried more. He was hard against her stomach and she touched him there, sliding her hand under the waistband of his loose jeans and caressing him until she was so damn weak in the knees that she all but thanked God when Joaquin swept her off of her feet.
Their mouths tasted and explored one another, remembering and showing exactly what the other liked as he carried her to bed. Don’t think, don’t think, she chanted in her head.
Her back hit the mattress, then the delicious weight of Joaquin pressed against her. Moaning into his mouth, she pushed at his shirt and sat up. “I want this off.”
He sat back on his calves, then gently removed her glasses and set them on the nightstand.
“That’s an order, soldier.”
“Yes ma’am,” he said on a laugh and pulled his shirt over his head, in the sexy way that men do. Tight abs greeted her and she kissed the center of his chest, rubbing her cheek in the crisp black hair. “Damn, woman.”
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
About WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS
Wild Irish Christmas embraces some of the same traditions I enjoy in my own family. Everyone coming together to eat, drink, open gifts and tell stories. My Wild Irish family is all grown up and married with kids of their own when the story begins. When they decide to recreate Christmas’ past for their father, Pat, the seven siblings spend the evening in the apartment where they grew up. They gather around the Christmas tree with a bottle of Jameson as Pat tells them the story of how he met their mother, Sunday.
As the bottle moved from hand to hand, they each offered up words of thanks or wishes for the New Year. When it reached Patrick, he lifted the bottle and proposed a toast he hadn’t used since the last Christmas he’d celebrated with his wife, Sunday.
“To Conall Brannagh.”
Ewan took the bottle from his father. “Who?”
“Conall Brannagh,” Patrick repeated. “If your mother had chosen him over me, none of us would be here tonight.”
Sean leaned forward, a definite gleam of interest in his eyes. “So you had some competition for Mom, eh? I never knew that.”
Keira grabbed a bag of pretzels. “I didn’t either. Was Mom in love with him?”
Teagan looked at Patrick. “I always thought you were her first love.”
Patrick smiled at his daughter. “I was her last love, Teagan. That’s a much better spot to claim. Besides, I don’t know if it’s fair to say she loved Conall, though he certainly turned the women’s heads. What’s the word you girls use for handsome men? Dreamy?”
Riley laughed. “Um…yeah, not in this decade. I definitely don’t use the word dreamy to describe Aaron.”
“Then what would you say?” Pat asked.
“He’s hot. Totally doable.”
Killian turned to look at his younger sister and shook his head. “Jesus. How are we related?”
“Dreamy works for me, Pop,” Teagan said quickly.
Patrick looked at his kids and silently marveled at how different they were. Somehow, miraculously, their unique qualities meshed perfectly, creating an amazing family.
Ewan, always the steady one, hadn’t been distracted by the asides. “So Mom thought this Conall was dreamy?”
“All the girls in Killarney thought Conall was handsome, but he only had eyes for Sunday. Not that I could blame him. Your mother was a beauty, with that long dark hair and those crystal-blue eyes. She caught every man’s attention.”
“But you didn’t fall in love with her because of her looks, right?” Keira asked.
“Och, Lord no. While Sunday’s face was pleasing, it was her heart, so kind and compassionate, that I found attractive. That’s what captured me by my hand and—pardon the expression—balls and kept me holding on to her for dear life.”
“So what was the story with this Conall guy?” Tris asked.
“Well now, that is a tale.” Patrick leaned back and closed his eyes, letting his mind drift to a different place, a different time.
“I was working on my family’s sheep farm during the day while tending bar at Scully’s Pub every night. I was a young buck of twenty when Sunday, who was just nineteen, moved to Killarney to live with her aunt. Scully hired her to sing in the pub and from the first moment I laid eyes on her, I was lost…”
Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
USA Bestselling Author
About FAIRIES & WISHES
My story features a holiday fairy (Lily) who's been sent down to earth to teach a lonely doctor how to love. My silly, innocent Lily didn't think things through though and ends up falling madly in love with Tim. And he falls madly in love with her. It has a bit of a fantasy aspect to it since she's a fairy and it's a light, fun, sexy read.
“I’ve never been kissed like that before,” she said, her voice tinged with wonder, quaking fingers still pressed to her mouth.
Tim frowned. What did she mean by that? Surely she’d been kissed before. At least he hoped.
Her other hand still clutching at the front of his jacket, she shifted, bringing her body closer to his. Amazing, he thought, considering the cramped quarters of his sports car. “I want you to kiss me again.”
He started to protest, but she shushed him with a single finger pressed against his lips. “Please?” She drifted the tip of her index finger across his lower lip in the subtlest of caresses.
Tim felt that touch as if she’d stroked the tip of his cock.
His lips met hers and this time he took it slower. Brushing her mouth again and again with his own, until he heard a tiny sound of frustration come from her. Her lips opened beneath his, and he slipped his tongue tentatively between them, her luscious taste filling his head, heating his skin.
“Mmm,” she murmured, her mouth opening even wider, her shy tongue brushing against his. Her fingers fumbled with the zipper on his leather jacket, and then she lowered it, hands diving inside to press against his chest.
Tim slid his hands into her hair, cupping her head, drinking from her lips. She tasted sinfully sweet, her tongue twining with his, hands greedily sliding up and down his chest. She seemed to want to get closer to him, her lower body shifting restlessly as she squirmed in her seat. He grabbed the lever at his side and slid his seat back, then cupped her shoulders and hauled her onto his lap, his mouth never leaving hers.
A coo of delight escaped from her, and she pressed her chest to his, her breasts soft and tempting nestled against him. Her hands moved up to wrap around his neck, clutching at him as if she couldn’t get enough and he could relate. Little moans sounded low her throat as she thrust her pelvis against his, driving him out of his mind with lust.
“Goodness, you’re a wonderful kisser,” she murmured against his mouth.
He chuckled, skimmed fingers across her soft cheeks. “Thanks. You’re not so bad yourself.”
“I don’t want you to stop.” She pressed another lingering kiss to his lips and sighed. “I want you to keep doing it.”
“Lily, we’re in my car in the driveway in front of my house. I can think of somewhere a lot more comfortable to continue this. Like inside the house, on the couch.” His couch would be a hell of a lot more comfortable than the front seat of his too small car.
She smiled, her little pink tongue darting out to lick at the corners of his lips. “I don’t care where we are as long as you keep on kissing me.”
Well hell, he couldn’t resist that. He pressed his open mouth to hers, their tongues sliding lazily against each other’s, hands roaming. If he allowed himself, he soon wouldn’t care where they were either, as long as they were still lip locked.
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
About TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS
The Twelve Dates of Christmas: The Ballad of Lula Jo is a Grinch story with a twist and a lot more holiday gnomes. We meet our holiday hater when she's a sweet young thing falling hard for a dashing young treasure hunter and catch up with her years later when the man who left her behind comes back determined to win a second chance with the only woman he's ever loved. And there are gnomes and maybe a gnome miracle--did I mention the gnomes?
Lula lay on the counter, blinking up at the ceiling, too shocked to care that half the influential women in Lonesome Point had just witnessed Carter’s plea and the kiss that followed.
It had only been a fleeting moment, the barest press of his warm skin against her cheek. But their entire love affair had flashed before her eyes, filling her with so many conflicting emotions that she still couldn’t form words, long minutes later. It wasn’t until Mia’s wild red curls popped into sight above Lula’s head that she finally felt life returning to her shell-shocked lips.
“Tallulah Josephine Watson,” Mia said, her eyes wide in her flushed face. “Who the hell was that?”
“Don’t curse, Mia.” Lula pushed into a seated position on the counter, and took the glass of orange juice Dr. Kemp pressed into her hand. “Carter is just…an old friend.”
“Why don’t my old friends look like that?” Dr. Kemp asked, summoning murmurs of agreement and giggles from the rest of the women.
“Seriously,” Mia agreed, still looking like she couldn’t be more shocked if Lula had given birth to an alien in the middle of the cookie exchange. “That man was gorgeous, Lula. It was so romantic, I almost passed out.” Mia let out a dreamy sigh. “What’s the story with you two? I never knew you had a serious boyfriend, let alone a hunky--”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Lula said, voice trembling.
“Oh, come on,” Mia pressed. “You have to tell us something. Are you going to let him have a second chance? I hope so, because the poor man looked—”
“I said I don’t want to talk about it, Amelia Louise,” Lula snapped, downing the rest of her juice before forcing a smile for the rest of the group. “I’m so sorry for putting a damper on the festivities, but I’m feeling much better now. I think we should get on with our party. Should we begin with holiday trivia for prizes, or with the balloon antler contest, since we’re already on our feet?”
After an awkward moment, in which Mia tried to apologize, Lula shushed her repeatedly, and everyone else stared uncomfortably at their shoes, their coffee, or their neighbor, the women divided into teams. Ten minutes later, five of the partygoers had enormous balloon-filled pantyhose antlers on their heads, and everyone was laughing so hard you would think nothing had disrupted the fun.
But Lula’s laughter was forced, and she couldn’t think of anything but Carter Bryce. He was the one who got away, the only man she’d ever loved. And now he was back, declaring his intentions to fight for a second chance.
Ten years ago, Lula would have been thrilled. Even eight years ago she had still clung to the hope that Carter might show up on her doorstep one day. But it had been eleven years, during which Lula had erected scaffolding around her heart, and declared the area permanently condemned. She had no idea if she was capable of loving someone again, no matter how intensely something inside her had reacted to Carter’s kiss.
She had gone without love, lust, or even the comfort of someone’s arms for so long. No, she was a confirmed spinster, and it would be best if she told Carter as much, and they went their separate ways.
But even as the thought plodded through her head, something light and hopeful danced behind it, blowing kisses at the stars, the way she had one December night, long ago.
Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
About SEDUCING SANTA
All Faith Roberts wants for Christmas is one sexy night with Matthew Carlton, the hot, gorgeous pediatric surgeon posing as Santa for a visit to the children's ward where she volunteers. Matthew has been interested in Faith for months and is more than willing to fulfill her naughty wishes, and more. As Faith seduces her Santa, It's Matthew who steals her heart. She might have only asked for one night, but Matthew is determined to show her that he's the kind of gift that keeps on giving.
For the next half hour, Faith watched the festivities along with April, waiting patiently for the little girl to come out of her shell and join the fun.
Finally, all the children had their turn with Santa and were busy playing with the toys he’d given them, but there was still one present left.
Holding a gaily wrapped gift in his hand, Santa looked over the rim of his gold framed glasses, searching the room for the recipient. “Is April here today?” he asked.
The little girl stiffened in surprise, and not sure whether or not April would speak up for herself, Faith gently coaxed her to approach Santa for her gift. “Come on, sweetie, I’ll go with you.”
With April clasping Faith’s hand tightly, they made their way to Santa. The young girl didn’t want to sit on his lap, but standing so close to him, she stared up at him in awe as he handed her the last present. She opened the gift tentatively, and her entire face transformed with gleeful excitement once the box was unwrapped.
“I got the doll I wanted,” she squealed in excitement. “Thank you, Santa!” She rushed off to share her gift with the friends she’d made during her stay in the hospital.
Feeling warm and fuzzy inside, Faith smiled from April, to Matthew. “Very well done, Santa.”
“Thank you,” he murmured in that low, velvet-lined voice of his that sent shivers down her spine. Before she realized his intent, his gloved fingers wrapped around her wrist and he pulled her onto his lap.
Suddenly self-conscious with the nurses and kids looking on in avid interest, and very aware of his hard, muscular thighs beneath her bottom and legs, she tried to make light of the situation. “Don’t you think I’m a bit too big to be sitting on your lap?”
“Not at all. You fit just right.” His eyes sparkled playfully, and the tilt of his mustache hinted at the sexy-as-sin smile hidden beneath. “So, what about you, Faith? Have you been naughty or nice this year?”
He’d placed his gloved hand on her knee, and the heat of his touch seeped through her slacks and spread upward, wreaking havoc with her sexually deprived body. She inhaled a deep, steady breath, and the warm, male scent of him invaded her senses, increasing the wanting unfurling in the pit of her belly.
“Oh, I’ve been very nice.” Too nice and good, but all that was about to change. And he’d just presented her with the perfect opportunity to act on her intentions, to be the kind of bold, assertive kind of woman she’d always admired from afar, but had never been before.
“So, what would you like for Christmas?” he asked quite innocently, but there was no mistaking the sexy dare in his gaze.
Caught up in the sensual awareness thrumming between them, Faith seized the moment and made it hers. Cupping her hand over his ear so that no one could hear her very private wish, she whispered, “I want to be naughty, Santa. Very naughty. With you.” She gently nipped his lobe to prove how brazen she was willing to be, and heard him suck in a startled breath. “I want one night of unforgettable, anything-goes sex with you, any way I please, and any way you want.”
She pulled back, not certain what to expect, but the arousing heat and desire in Matthew’s eyes reassured her that she’d definitely piqued his interest, and his libido, with her shameless request. And his next words confirmed her hunch.
“Well now, since you’ve been so good this year, I think your request can be arranged,” he drawled, and followed that up with a hearty, jovial, “Ho, ho, ho!” that had everyone wondering what, exactly, she’d asked for.
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
About HOLIDAY SPIRIT
My story in the bundle is fun, sexy story to help put you in the ‘mood’ for Christmas. The holidays are a hectic time so I wanted to write something that was short enough for a harried reader to devour in one sitting and walk way with a smile on their face. A voyeuristic holiday spirit? That ought to do it!
Lucas tried the door again, cursing under his breath. He slid his hand through his hair and shook his head. “Rule number one is to never get separated from your equipment,” he mumbled, his voice thick with arousal thanks to the crazy situation they’d found themselves in. “Stupid, stupid, stupid…”
Elly dropped onto the bed beside her phone. “Now what?” Lucas moved past her to try the window again, his tight, squeezable ass – which was now at eye level thank you very much – dragging her focus with him. His spicy scent curled around her, bombarding her body with primal hunger. She took a deep breath and pulled his aroma into her lungs.
“We could break it,” she said.
In one swift move that took her by surprise, Lucas ripped off his shirt, his gorgeous, athletic body glistening with perspiration.
Elly licked her dry lips, her temperature soaring. The air around them crackled with sexual tension, demanding all their attention. Her pussy muscles clenched as moisture pooled in her panties.
He reached for his belt. “Or we could go with rule number one. Never damage another person’s property and just find a way to cool our bodies down.”
And here she’d rather heat them up…
Excited by the prospect, her mind raced with wild and wicked ideas while visions of nakedness danced in her head.
With her body beckoning his touch, and never one to let an opportunity pass, Elly stood and crossed the room to stand directly in front of Lucas. She bumped his groin and could feel his thickening cock. His body trembled and a low growl crawled out of his throat.
“What are you doing, Elly?”
She cocked her head. “Well, for our own safety, we could always go with rule number two,” she said, her voice breathy, intimate.
He frowned. “We don’t have a rule number two.” His muscles bunched, his glance drifted downward, halting near her cleavage.
Her dry throat cracked, sexual tension frustrating her, making her feel oh so needy. “I know that! I’m winging it here, okay?”
As the sexual pull intensified, Elly unbuttoned her blouse farther, slowly exposing the soft black satin on her bra, when all the while what she really wanted to do was rip her clothes clear off her body. “I think we have to give the spirit what it wants. It seemed to work for Gloria and Phil and we certainly wouldn’t want to anger it without our equipment, right?”
Hey, this was as good an excuse as any to get him naked and have her wicked way with him.
Suddenly, the scent of her arousal saturated the small room. She watched Lucas’s throat work as he swallowed, and took note of the way his nostrils flared as he drew in her scent.
“What do you think it wants?” he asked, as though wanting to hear her say it. The deep sexiness of his voice made her want to rip his clothes off as well. His hand brushed hers and her skin came alive.
She drew a deep breath and tilted her head back, meeting eyes that were so dark and so full of urgent need that it made her knees weak. She gripped his shoulders, her blood igniting to a boil.
“I think it wants to watch us get naked and have sex.”
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author
All Samantha Mazze wants for Christmas is to create the perfect Christmas Eve celebration for her friends and family. The house is decorated, the meal has been prepared, the guests are arriving… and then all hell breaks loose. There’s no salvaging the burned garlic knots. Her husband’s ex-girlfriend makes an appearance. And the unexpected delivery of a new arrival all ensure that while this isn’t a picture-perfect holiday, it will go down in history as the Heat Wave gangs most memorable and best holiday ever.
Sam Mazze jerked her head back, dodging the burst of steam shooting up from the pan of boiling potatoes. The cubes bubbled and rolled in the frothy water, evading capture as she attempted to stab a piece to test its tenderness. Eventually, she managed to nick the corner of one with the tine of the fork enough to confirm her constant checking wasn’t getting the job done. She replaced the lid and vowed to leave them alone for at least ten minutes, then moved on to the top oven—what she’d come to think of as the guest of honor’s tanning bed.
Watching her husband, Kevin, truss up the turkey had gotten her a little hot and bothered, not to mention envious. The bird, however, either wasn’t kinky or he’d tried to escape, because when she removed the foil blanket to check his tan, she found the string popped loose and him lying there, spread eagle, flashing her.
She shook her head and sighed. “You’re a freak, Sam. You’ve been completely corrupted.” She wasn’t complaining. She loved the sexual adventure and excitement Kevin brought into her life. But it was a little embarrassing to always be thinking kinky, especially when looking at the Christmas turkey.
Setting aside her naughty thoughts, she switched her attention to the second oven. Her seven-year-old daughter Michy’s favorite, homemade macaroni and cheese, bubbled around the edges of the ceramic bake ware, while Sam’s personal favorite, fresh baked garlic knots, filled the air with downhome comfort. She’d fallen in love with Kevin for hundreds of reasons, but gaining possession of his mother’s garlic knot recipe had been the final gotcha.
She sniffed the air like a bloodhound on a scent and followed her nose across the kitchen to the creamy garlic-butter dipping sauce. The minced garlic had settled to the bottom of the bowl, while the colorful parsley and shredded Romano floated on top of the melted butter. Her saliva glands joined the party and made temptation impossible to resist.
She cut her eyes to the kitchen door and cocked her head to the side, listening for the sound of running shower water. Kevin hadn’t asked her to sample the sauce, but as the hostess, she had a responsibility to her guests to make sure everything was perfect. How would she know if she didn’t do a taste test?
Using the spoon Kevin conveniently left in the bowl, she vigorously stirred the contents, then ran her finger around the inside of the rim to gather the remnants. Her eyes rolled back in her head as the flavors burst to life on her tongue. “God, that’s good.”
The sample left her greedy and needy for seconds, so before she dove in with both hands, she fled from that side of the kitchen and found herself in front of the bar. Again. Kevin had the bar so well stocked, even Sunny, a professional bartender, would be impressed. One of the bottles of beer shifted and wiggled as a piece of ice melted beneath it. Any other day, she would take that as a sign from the universe she should grab the bottle up, pop the top, and say, “Ahhhh.”
But this wasn’t any other day. It was Christmas Eve. Her and Kevin’s first Christmas together as a married couple. Her first attempt at entertaining as Mrs. Mazze.
She took a deep breath, trying to get a grip on her tangled nerves. It was ridiculous to be so anxious when all of their guests were their closest friends, but all she wanted for Christmas was for this Christmas Eve dinner to be perfect.
USA Today Best-Selling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn't have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. Her books have been Top 10 bestsellers on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble, as well as NYT, USA Today, and international bestsellers. When she's not writing or feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, Violet enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools, trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, and cooking 'special edition' dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. She lives in Hawai'i with her two cute kids (daughter Violet & son Duke) and similarly adorable husband.
Melody Grace is a small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover. After spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Marquita Valentine, writes sexy heroes that make you swoon and sassy heroines that make you laugh. She's the author of the bestselling contemporary romance series, Holland Springs, and the new adult romance series, Boys of the South. Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man--and if that doesn't work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.
Writing a book was number one on Mari's bucket list and on her thirty-fourth birthday, she set out to see that goal achieved. Now her computer is jammed full of stories -- novels, novellas, short stories and dead-ends. A New York Times and USA Today bestseller as well as winner of the Passionate Plume, Mari found time for writing by squeezing it into the hours between 3 a.m. and daybreak when her family is asleep and the house is quiet.
Karen Erickson lives in central California with her husband, three kids, one dog and too many cats. Being a romance writer and bringing her characters to life is her greatest dream come true. She's also known as New York Times and USA Today bestselling new adult author Monica Murphy, the name under which she does all her social media (leading a double life is tough!).
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessie Evans, gave up a career as an international woman of mystery to write the sexy, contemporary romances she loves to read. She's married to the man of her dreams, and together they're raising a few adorable, mischievous children in a cottage in the jungle. She grew up in rural Arkansas, spending summers running wild, being chewed by chiggers, and now appreciates her home in a chigger-free part of the world even more. When she's not writing, Jessie enjoys playing her dulcimer (badly), sewing the worlds ugliest quilts to give to her friends, going for bike rides with her house full of boys, and drifting in and out on the waves, feeling thankful for sun, surf, and lovely people to share them with.
Janelle Denison is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over fifty contemporary romance novels. She is a two time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award, and has also been nominated for the prestigious RITA award. Janelle is a California native who now calls Oregon home. She resides in the Portland area with her husband and daughters, and can’t imagine a more beautiful place to live. When not writing, she can be found exploring the great Northwest, from the gorgeous beaches to the amazing waterfalls and lush mountains. Janelle also writes as NYT & USA Today bestselling author Erika Wilde.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Cathryn Fox is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love. Cathryn also writes New Adult Paranormal under Cat Kalen.
Alannah believes there’s nothing more magical than finding the other half of your soul, experiencing fiery passion, and knowing you’ve found happily-ever-after.
She loves going to work each day (in sweats and a T-shirt) and writing about hot heroes and feisty heroines who torment each other in the most delicious ways before finding their happy ending.
She lives in the coastal region of North Carolina with her husband, who also happens to be her best friend and biggest fan. They have two sons, a dog, Sadie, who is always causing trouble, and two cats.
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