Date Published: Sep 2014
“That’s it? I was hoping for something a little more personal. Something like . . . I’ll always cherish the night we had in Vegas. Love, Ellie the Virgin.” He flashed her a smile. “With a heart around Ellie, of course.”
Ellie jumped up from the chair and spoke through clenched teeth. “Could I speak with you in private for a moment?” Without waiting for a reply, she swiveled on her heel and headed through the rows of shelves to the deserted children’s section in the back. She didn’t look to see if he followed her, but somehow she knew he did. When she reached the secluded back corner, she whipped around, intending to give him a piece of her mind.
Unfortunately, in order to give someone a piece of your mind you have to be able to breath, and all the air left her lungs in a painful whoosh when she turned to find a solid chest inches away from her nose. It was like getting too close to the sun. His brilliance and heat surrounded her, dissolving all her angry words beneath the subtle scent of musky cologne and virile man.
Slowly, she lifted her gaze. Up past the striped tie, the square chin with the small dent in the middle, the full lower lip and thinner top, over the twin nostrils that flared with his rapid breathing, to the hungry green of his eyes. Her tongue flicked out to wet her suddenly parched lips. But before she could achieve her goal, his warm hands cradled her jaw and his mouth descended.
While her mind had tried to explain her uncharacteristic behavior in Vegas on Riley’s betrayal and alcohol, her body hadn’t been listening. At the first touch of his lips, she melted. Her lips melted into his lips. Her breasts melted into his pecs. And the spot between her legs melted against the hardness of his thigh. And not one part of her wanted to stop kissing him.
In fact, she might’ve gone on kissing him forever if he hadn’t stepped away, replacing heat with cold emptiness. She opened her eyes to twin pools of green that looked as unfocused and confused as she felt. He blinked, and the confusion was replaced with annoying arrogance.
“So what did you want to talk about?” He leaned a shoulder against the wall and crossed his arms.
Her anger came back in full force, and she jabbed a finger at her chest. “Me? I’m not the one who showed up and embarrassed you in public by talking about what happened in Vegas!”
“Oh, so suddenly you remember the night in Vegas.”
“Cut the crap, Ellie. Nobody forgets six orgasms.” He grinned. “Or was it seven?”
How could she have gone to bed with such an annoying man? She had to stifle the urge to grab up Harry Potter and beat him over the head with The Deathly Hallows. Instead, she latched on to the one thing she knew would make him as angry as she was. “Are you sure I didn’t fake them?”
That pretty much did it. He unfolded his arms and came away from the wall. “You swore.”
She shrugged. “It was in The Heat Suite, so it didn’t count.”
“But nobody can fake orgasms like that.”
“If you say so.” She tossed him a smug smile. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my book signing.”
He blocked her way. “Do these people know you’re a fraud? No virgin would’ve done what you did on a stripper pole. Funny, but I didn’t see a chapter on that in your book.”
“You read my book?”
“All three hundred and sixty-three pages of crap.”
“If it was crap, why did you keep reading it?”
He shrugged. “Curiosity, I guess. I was looking for one shred of valuable information.”
“Which you couldn’t find because nothing in my book pertains to you. The only thing you’re interested in is getting women into bed, not out of it. And what are you doing at a shopping mall in Denver?”
The amused smile was back. “Fate.”
Ellie didn’t believe in fate. She believed that people made their own fate and freaky things that happened were mere coincidence. This was all just a freaky coincidence. A very, very freaky coincidence. One she needed to get through without doing anything to embarrass herself—like having sex with him on the Little Tikes table in the corner.
“Sorry to interrupt, Ellie.” Sidney peeked around the corner of a bookshelf, staring at them like they were two of her favorite reality television stars. “But there’s a woman waiting to speak with you,” she glanced at her watch, “and you meet with the realtor in thirty minutes.”
“Realtor?” Her Vegas Lover shot her a surprised look. “Are you moving here? Your bio said that you lived in Kansas.”
Without replying, Ellie pushed past him. On the way back to the front of the store, she tried to calm her nerves with a little internal dialogue.
Okay, this is no big deal. So you ran into the only man you’ve ever had sex with. So what? Other women run into their one-night stands all the time and deal with it. You can too. Of course, other women probably don’t wrap themselves around their one-night stand like shrink-wrap.
She took a deep breath and slowly released it. Well, it wouldn’t happen again. Denver was a big city. Even if he lived here, that didn’t mean she had to see him. And even if she did, it would be a cold day in hell before she let him touch her again.” (Excerpt from Ring in the Holidays by Katie Lane)
The Night Before Christmas: A Contemporary Romance Christmas Collection
Unwrapped appears in this anthology.