Publication date: November 7th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance
For most people, Christmas is a time of joy and anticipation. But when a freak accident robs Gracie of her memory, the lines between fantasy and reality blur.
Now there’s only one gift Gracie wants for Christmas, and the only man who can bring it is not Santa.
EXCERPT:My body had just sunk into the bed when a knock at the door sent my eyes rolling to the ceiling. It took me back to that awful year I’d spent as RA in the dorm at Purdue. No matter what time of day or night, every petty issue that arose became my problem. God almighty, now what?
I forced my body to a sitting position fighting the outbreak of vertigo that threatened to push me back. Two or three inches of tequila were left in the bottle on the night stand. Christ, I drank way too much. Feet on the floor, I wrapped myself in the sheet, dragging it with me as I stumbled to the door and yanked it open. Victoria waited on the landing wearing a long silky robe, thick waves of blonde hair falling loose around her shoulders. A seductive smile curling her lips.
“What is it Victoria? If something’s broken in your room, you can call down to the management and they’ll come fix it.” My steady tone belied the tequila induced numbness in my tongue and teeth.
“Um… no, it’s something else,” she lowered her voice, fidgeting with the belt on her robe. “But I’d rather not say it out in the hall. Is it okay if I come in?”
I stepped back to let her in, leaving the door open, and waited to hear the dire emergency that only I could fix.
She didn’t speak, but pulled the tie on her robe and let it fall to the floor revealing only a lacy black thong underneath. Holy shit is she stacked!
“Wait, what? What are you doing?” No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t take my away. Her breasts seemed to magnify in my vision, begging for my touch. Was it the alcohol or her tight naked body staring at me that took away my ability to think? My blood pulsed loud in my ears.
“It’s okay, Jack, you don’t have to pretend anymore. I know you want me.” Her voice matched the air outside. Warm, silky, sultry.
I tightened the sheet around my waist and poked my head out into the hall to see if anyone had witnessed her crazy stunt. Thank God, no one had.
“No one’s there, Jack, they’re out back in the pool. We’re all alone now.” A slight push from her hand and the door clicked closed.
Never before had a woman come on to me so boldly. It was intimidating, but exciting as hell. Heat flashed through my body. Her mesmerizing breasts, pointing at me as she approached, seemed to shift in my wavering vision like a Picasso painting. My hands ached to reach out, and I clutched the sheet to control them.
A few feet stood between us and the large bed. Conflicted between throwing her down on the satiny soft sheets and tossing her out the door, my feet edged back with every step she took forward. I kept one eye on Victoria as I sneaked a peek behind me. If I didn’t take a stand, this situation would spiral out of control, fast.
“Victoria, stop.” My hands grasped her shoulders keeping her at arm’s length, but my heavy arms couldn’t support them. They drifted down. Her gooseflesh rippling under my fingers made the breath catch in my throat.
She leaned in. The heady scent of her jasmine perfume infused the air, further intoxicating me. Her lips, gliding down the side of my neck, left a trail of warm gentle kisses. My racing pulse made the room swim even more than before and I tightened my grip to steady myself. She turned her head, I felt her soft hair brush a whisper across my chest. Gracie.
Gracie’s soft laugh echoed in my ear. Her beautiful sun-kissed face a vision behind my closed lids. My hands anchored at her waist, I pulled her closer. I’ve wanted this for such a long time.
Heat radiating off her body stoked the fire in mine. My tongue ran along the seam of her eager lips, teasing, sampling, savoring. Mmm, peppermint candy.
“Jack.” She gasped against my lips. Her arms tightened around my neck, drawing me in, urging me on.
Any reservations I might have had in the beginning were now nonexistent. I’d reached the point of no return. I deepened the kiss, sweeping my tongue into her mouth, meeting hers, trading places. In a full embrace, our bodies angled toward the bed.
“Gracie, baby, I’ve dreamed of this so many times.”
Victoria’s body stiffened. Hands pushed back against my chest. “What did you call me?”
“Baby? I didn’t mean…”
“Did you just call me Gracie?”
“What? No, I didn’t, I…”
“Yes you did! You called me Gracie, you son of a bitch. How dare you! You’re seducing me and thinking of someone else?”
“Me? I am? Wait a minute…”
Her hand cracked against my face so hard, my head swung like a saloon door and I tasted blood in my mouth. The bell signaling the end of the first round rang in my ears. She gathered up her robe, tossed a few more irate insults at me and flounced out the door, slamming it behind her.
What the hell just happened? Victoria? Gracie? My head swam, going back and forth between the bed and the door, replaying the events of the last few minutes. Shit, did I really do that? I’d never called a woman by the wrong name before. Gracie’s got me so damn twisted up inside, I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore.
I eased my still burning body onto the mattress cradling my comfort in a bottle. The last few gulps of tequila slid down my throat with ease. But soon the spinning room had me gripping the sheets for balance.
Stomach churning, my clumsy feet scrambled for the bathroom, making it just in time to empty its meager contents into the porcelain bowl. It didn’t take long, but my head throbbed from the effort. I splashed water on my face, noting in the mirror the red hand imprint on my cheek. For a skinny little vixen, Victoria sure packs a wallop.
A transplant from the concrete sidewalks of New York City to the sunny beaches of Southern California, Ms. Carney enjoys writing stories about women who are strong—whether by nature or circumstance—and the men who love and respect them for who they are. Things that make her happy are rainy days (too much sun is a bore), writing the perfect first line, family get-togethers, reading books that grab her heart, and finding new connections in her genealogy research. Bold coffee and dark chocolate fuel the artistic fire inspired by her family, friends, and psycho, lizard hunting cat.
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