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Christmas by the Fire Blog Hop! Part 2

August 15, 2014

Welcome to the Written Fireside August Blog Hop!

wf hop pic

Fifteen authors from Harper Impulse will write fifteen stories all starting from one shared starting paragraph written by competition winner Georgia Beyers!

Be sure to check out all the awesome stories and enter the giveaway! There are books to be had and the chance to win a $70 Amazon gift card!

Join us by the fire!

Lori Connelly – Aug 1,2,3

Erin Lawless – Aug 4,5

Mandy Baggot – Aug 6,7

Aimee Duffy – Aug 8,9

Teresa F. Morgan – Aug 10,11

Angela Campbell – Aug 12,13

Lisa Fox – Aug 14,15

Lynn Marie Hulsman – Aug 16,17

Linn B. Halton – Aug 18,19

Carmel Harrington – Aug 20,21

Charlotte Phillips – Aug 22,23

Romy Sommer – Aug 24,25

Jane Lark – Aug 26,27

Zara Stoneley – Aug 28,29

AJ Nuest – Aug 30,31

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY RIGHT HERE:

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

***

Christmas Wishes – PART TWO

[Check out PART ONE right here: Christmas Wishes – PART ONE]

The man’s eyes narrowed. “Five hundred.”

Her stomach clenched. She didn’t have that kind of cash on hand. Desperate, she pulled all the money she had out of her pockets and handed it to Liam. He added her bills to his own and counted the pile.

“Four hundred nineteen dollars,” Liam said, offering the man the money.

“Five hundred,” the man repeated.

“Come on,” Liam said, taking a step closer to the man. “Who else is going to offer you cash money right here on the sidewalk? Most of the shoppers are home now or on their way there. You’re not going to get a better offer.”

The man looked at the wad of bills in Liam’s fist and Charlotte prayed to every god she could think of that he’d take the money—she even sent a silent, frantic request to Santa Claus himself. Time seemed to expand, one heartbeat was eons long, and then the man nodded, and Charlotte was able to breathe again.

“Fine,” he said, handing them the box.

The instant the deal was done, Charlotte threw her arms around Liam’s neck and hugged him tight. “You did it!”

He hugged her back, lifting her off her feet, the gun crushed between them as they danced around like lunatics on the sidewalk. Charlotte didn’t care how many nasty looks she got from the passersby. She was too happy let them ruin her moment.

Liam released her as her mad giggles started to fade. She gripped the lapels of his pea coat for balance, trying to steady herself now that she was back on solid ground. She looked up into his eyes and their gazes met, held. Something passed between them, something electric and tingly. Her skin went deliciously tight and heat rushed to her cheeks. Her gaze fell to his mouth, his slightly parted lips, the white plume of his breath. He was so close, she only had to lift her chin the barest fraction of an inch and his lips would be on hers.

A horn blared, followed by a string of angry curses, and Charlotte jumped, rudely dropped back into reality. She took a hasty step away from him, putting some distance between them. What was she thinking? Liam liked to tease her, but there was no way he was interested in her in that way. She’d seen the type of girls he dated—beautiful women in designer clothes, with flawless skin and gym-toned bodies. There was no way she could ever compete with them. He was out of her league. She touched his jacket, then quickly pulled her hand back. Kissing him was dream best reserved for her long, solitary nights. Crazy thoughts like that had no place here. She gathered herself and gave him the best smile she could muster. “Thanks.”

“I’d do anything for you, Charlotte. You know that.” He held her gaze for a moment longer and then looked away. “I guess you should get to your sister’s now.”

“Yeah,” she said, still trying to get her thumping heart under control. “You probably have somewhere to go too.”

“No, not really,” he said, and she knew him well enough to know that smile on his face was forced. “I’m just spending a quiet Christmas alone this year.”

“Oh, no,” she said, taking his hand. She couldn’t imagine anything sadder than spending Christmas alone. “You’re coming with me.”

“Your family won’t mind?”

“Definitely not,” she said, and raised her hand to hail a cab. She flashed him a quick grin as one pulled over. “Besides, a hero can’t spend the holiday alone. That’s against all the rules.”

It didn’t take long for them to arrive at her sister’s Pacific Heights home. Karen greeted them at the door, her eyes going wide in surprise and delight when she saw the package Liam was carrying.

“You got it!” she said, taking the box. “I can’t believe you did it, Char.”

Charlotte grinned and hooked her arm through Liam’s. “I had help.”

“Of course you did,” Karen said. “How are you, Liam? Will you be joining us tonight?”

“If that’s all right with you, Karen.”

“Don’t be silly,” Karen said, escorting them inside. “We love you, Liam.” Charlotte suppressed a sigh as her sister shot a significant look her way. Karen was probably the most unsubtle person on Earth. “Come on in. I’ll get this all wrapped up for Daniel.”

Karen left them alone in the living room, carrying the gun off with her. Charlotte could hear her mom and dad and Daniel’s voices from the back of the apartment—they were probably all in the boy’s room. She looked at Liam and then quickly away. For the first time ever, the silence between them was tense, edgy. The memory of his body pressed against hers was all too fresh in her mind, and the thought of almost kissing him made her dizzy. She needed to get a hold of herself and fast. She didn’t want to be awkward around him.

“So, she said, taking off her coat and hanging it on the rack by the door just to do something. “I guess I owe you one.”

“I guess you do,” he said, circling the room, checking out the stockings hanging from the mantelpiece, the pine Christmas tree, the festive strings of lights. When he met her gaze again, there was a mischievous glint in his eyes. “I’m sure we can work something out.”

Something about the way he looked at her made her pause. Liam was always a flirt, but this felt different. She swallowed hard and decided to take a chance. “What do you have in mind?”

“Hmm,” he said, a deep hum in the back of his throat that sent heated shivers down her spine. “Well, I have a Christmas wish I was hoping you could help me out with.”

“Oh, yeah? What’s that?” He stopped before her, stood less than an inch away, and her breath hitched. This couldn’t really be happening. It was too good to be true. She wanted to tremble from the excitement, but she didn’t dare move or even blink for fear the slightest twitch would shatter the moment and end the dream.

He held her eyes for a long moment, then looked up at the ceiling, high above their heads. “I’ve always wanted to kiss a beautiful woman under the mistletoe.”

Blood raced through her veins, heating every inch of her skin. “You want to kiss me?”

His gaze flicked to her lips, and a deep, longing ache uncurled in her belly. “Yes.”

Her heart galloped, and she feared she might seriously swoon. “Really?”

He flashed her a quick grin, then dipped his head. She had no time to think, no time to react. His lips touched hers and pure desire overtook every single one of her senses. She froze, too overwhelmed to respond at first. But his lips moved, slowly, tentatively, exploring and caressing, and she was quickly swept away, caught up in his taste, his breath, his kiss.

With a gasp, she kissed him back, and any remaining thoughts she might have had evaporated when his fingers slid up her back to tangle in her hair. She succumbed to his kiss and her own no longer secret desires. He gave her hair a gentle tug, sliding his tongue past her lips and into her mouth. She opened for him with a low moan, let him ravage and take, let the kiss build and build until they were both out of their minds. Her heart thundered in her chest, but maybe it was his heart pounding like that, she no longer had any concept of where she ended and he began.

When he pulled away, he left her panting, wanting, needing more. She clung to him in the middle of her sister’s living room, her knees weak, her breath unsteady. Every hormone in her body was on fire, every nerve ending sizzling. She met his gaze, startled to see her own tangled emotions reflected in his hazel eyes. Lust raced over her, pumping through her blood, but it was a spark of hope that maybe they could have something more that kept her from pulling away. The love that she had so long repressed burst through all the walls she had so carefully constructed around herself. It was too much and perfect all at the same time. She could only laugh at the glorious insanity.

“What?” he asked, his voice soft.

“I have a Christmas wish too.”

“Do you?” he asked, and nuzzled her nose. “I can’t wait to hear it.”

She nuzzled him back and the simple, loving gesture was enough to give her the courage to voice her heart’s deepest desire. “I want more than just this one kiss with you.”

He cupped her face in his hands. “That’s what I’ve always wanted too, Charlotte. I’ve been trying to tell you that forever.”

“Yeah, well, I guess I’m pretty dense sometimes.” She knew she was glowing and she had no desire to wipe the stupid grin off her face. Her own happiness made her bold and she snuggled up against him. “I’ll just have to make it up to you with lots of sex.”

His eyes widened for an instant and he pulled her closer. “I had no idea you were so naughty.” He kissed her on the lips. “I like it.”

She laughed. “You know, right before you called me, I was thinking at the bus stop about if I’d make the naughty or nice list this year.” What a difference one phone call could make. This was the best Christmas of her entire life. “I got Daniel his toy, so that definitely makes me nice. But…” She hugged him tight, his body solid and warm against hers. “I think naughty might be a lot more fun.”

A slow, wicked grin curled his lips. “Naughty does have its advantages.”

She traced the line of his jaw, her heart filled with absolute joy. “I couldn’t agree more.”

 

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