Genre: seasonal contemporary romance
Length: short story (6,733 words)
Release Date: December 2007
It’s another Christmas Eve for roommates, colleagues, and eternal bickering partners, Lana and Cole. Yet it’s not the same as the previous years, because there is something heavy in the air, charged with electricity and pent-up emotions.
Something happened the previous night, something that could change their relationship and make this Christmas Eve the most special and memorable of them all.
» FREE Download (link opens in new window)
Some of the books on this site contain material of a sexual nature or graphic violence and are only suitable for adults. By reading the excerpt below you release me as the author of any responsibility.
Lana felt faint as a warm, muscular body pressed against her back and a strong arm circled her waist. Her partner’s warm breath tickled her ear.
“Here, allow me,” he said roughly, letting his fingers travel down her arm to reach for the star.
An electric shock ran along her spine, making her head spin. Lana bit down onto her lip, feeling Cole’s thumb brush her wrist before he took the ornament from her fingers.
He pulled her closer and leaned forward to place the star on the top of the tree. Lana held her breath as she felt something press against the lower of her back. Crimson heat washed over her cheeks.
Seeing her blush, Cole smiled slightly and pressed himself even more against her back. His self-control has shattered, his body wasn’t listening to reason anymore… He might as well listen to what his heart was saying and take a leap of faith. She’d be in danger anyway. The bastards threatening whichever client he was protecting at the time sooner or later found out he was in love with his partner, even though he was reluctant to admit it. Everybody in Chicago knew he loved Lana, that’s why tha bad guys always kidnapped her in order to force his compliance. She was his only weakness. Probably the only one.
Cole has finally admitted to himself that there was only one woman for him. All the others, endless arrays of girlfriends and one-night stands, were just a diversion to convince her he felt nothing but friendship for her. If she only knew. He’s spent the entire night tossing and turning, thinking about their situation and trying to calm down his raging libido that wanted nothing else but to go down the short flight of stairs and jump into her bed. And then he’s spent the entire day thinking and he still hasn’t come to the conclusion as to why exactly he’s kissed her. But what was done was done and now he wanted nothing more than to repeat the experience. And a certain part of his anatomy was more than happy with the decision made. Maybe a little too happy, because Lana became purple. Grinning wolfishly, Cole lowered his head and brushed his lips against the soft skin of her neck.
Lana’s knees began to buckle, but now certainly was not the time to give into temptation. Oh, no. Not yet. Wiggling out of his embrace, she ran around their tree to watch him through the branches and ornaments.
“What the hell are you doing?”
He smiled enticingly, his eyes twinkling. “I’m proceeding from where we left off yesterday.”
He shrugged nonchalantly. “Why not?”
One hell of a question. Why not? Lana shook her head to get rid of such thoughts. That kiss last night has been pure magic and she wanted to remember it forever, but she also needed to know what exactly he has kissed her. Has it been just some sort of instinct? Residue from a dangerous situation? She had been the one in danger, not him. So why has he kissed her? Was it possible he was attracted to her? He’s never shown anything other than friendship and fleeting care for her.
“Why did you kiss me yesterday?”
Cole rolled his eyes. He didn’t want to talk at the moment. There would be plenty of time later for lengthy conversations. Or better yet, tomorrow. Now all he wanted to do was kiss her.
“Come here and I’ll tell you.” And he began tracking her around the tree.
Lana wasn’t one to give up so easily. “Why did you kiss me yesterday?”
Damn, but the woman really didn’t want to stop circling the tree. It was a nice tree. Quite lovely and lush. Cole certainly didn’t want to trample all over it in order to get to her.
“Because I felt like it.”
Lana froze, her eyes wide. He said he’s kissed her because he wanted to? What did he mean? Her face darkened and her eyes fired up with anger. “You mean you felt like it and I was the only one available?!”
Cole was at her side in an instant. “Why do you always have to jump to conclusions?”
He cupped her face in his hands and touched his lips to hers, light and soft as a butterfly’s caress…
Lifting his head, he looked at her with passion flaring in his eyes. “I wanted to because you were the only one available, Lana.”
She was speechless. She still didn’t quite comprehend, maybe because of that soul-shaking kiss, but something started to make sense. The way he watched her when he thought no one saw him, the tender smiles, furtive caresses… He’s done that and more in the last five years. Was it possible he… Once again she felt something press against her. This time from the front and Lana smiled. Oh, yeah. It was possible. But she wanted to keep him unbalanced for a little while longer. It wasn’t everyday that Cole Bartlett made such an open declaration of devotion. So to speak.
“What do you mean?”
Cole tilted his head. Was she teasing him or was she really that naïve that she still didn’t get it? Sure these five years he’s done everything humanly possible to convince her she was just a friend to him, almost like a little sister, but recently even an idiot could see he felt more than just friendship for her. Or was she trying to tell him she was the one who wasn’t interested?
Lana was looking straight into his eyes and after the myriad of every single human emotion, she noticed a flash of insecurity, almost fear. Was he so afraid she wasn’t in love with him? Was he insane? Blind? Stupid? Did he bump his head somewhere?
Lana decided she’s had enough of delight in his torture. A little while longer and he might decide to let it all go. She would have her declaration of devotion. A first-rate confession. But later. Now she wanted to do only one thing.
Cole felt swamped by an insane sense of fear. Was it possible he’s misinterpreted all the signals? Did she really see him only as a friend or brother? Were those flashes he saw in her eyes whenever he brought a woman over only signs of irritation and not jealousy? Was it possible—
He was unable to finish that last pessimistic thought because Lana stood on tiptoes, circled his neck with her arms and pressed her lips to his…
She moved away with a mischievous smile and Cole lifted an eyebrow.
“And what was this?”
She shrugged. “A kiss.”
“And why did you kiss me?”
“Because I felt like it.”
Cole’s lips extended into a grin. As far as professions went, hers had much to be desired, but he couldn’t expect something he did not give her in return. But there was still time to make amends. Later.
“Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, darling, but that was not a kiss.”
» FREE Download (link opens in new window)