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An Excerpt From: SANTA’S SLEEPING BEAUTY
Copyright © LISA FOX
Macy’s was a madhouse. Of course it was. It was eleven p.m. on Christmas Eve and every last-minute-shopping, deal-saving-hoping, lazy-slacker procrastinator in New York City was out trying to buy whatever they could, as fast as they could, preferably at a discount.
Jordan blew her long, blonde bangs out of her eyes as she wove her way through the other shoppers toward the cafe. She needed a break. A cup of coffee. A shot of bourbon would be better, but the Bar & Grill was closed, and leaving the store was not an option. If she left, she might not come back, and she really did need to finish her Christmas shopping. There was no way she could show up tomorrow morning at her sister’s house a few gifts short.
She let the smells of coffee and cinnamon guide her feet and eventually she came upon the line for the cafe. Jordan shut her eyes and let out a long, weary breath. This was going to take awhile. With nothing better to do, she shifted her weight from foot to aching foot and took a quick peek at the presents she’d already bought to pass the time.
She was still a little bit jealous of the rich, navy cashmere sweater she’d bought for her sister Anne. She thought again about keeping it for herself and getting Anne something else but decided that it wasn’t worth the effort. She didn’t have time for redos. Besides, Christmas was about giving. She wished she didn’t have to keep reminding herself of that.
She moved the sweater aside and fingered the supple leather golf gloves she’d gotten for her sister’s husband Mark. They were total quality and she hoped he liked them. Next to them were the Little Mistress Lolly brand jeans she’d risked her life to get for her niece Veronica.
“You’re lucky your Auntie Jordan loves you,” she muttered under her breath. Physical violence had literally broken out over one of the last remaining pairs in stock, and Jordan had fled the department with her purchase clutched against her chest.
The line inched forward and Jordan groaned, making waving motions with her arms in a futile attempt to make it go faster.
That only left her mother and father. She figured she could get away with some perfume for her mom, but for her dad… Jordan winced inwardly at the thought of shopping for her father. The man was so damn picky, it was a wonder he owned anything. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what she might get him.
Finally, thankfully, after an eternity, Jordan had her coffee. She turned from the counter and sighed heavily, seeing nothing but a rolling sea of people and nary an empty seat in the place.
“The fun never ends,” she grumbled as she tread through the tables, trying not to hear the screaming children, the frustrated grunts, the whining complaints, the sappy Christmas Muzak.
She roamed the seating area, craning her neck from side to side, trying to find just one unoccupied chair. She didn’t care if she had to sit with Hannibal Lecter, just as long as she got to sit down for a minute.
And then she saw it. Off in a far corner, an empty seat. Jordan could almost hear the heavenly choir sing as she traversed the distance, entirely focused on that plastic vision of sublime relief.
The chair appeared to belong to a table where a man sat with his head bowed over a steaming cup of coffee. He wore the lower half of a Santa costume and a white t-shirt. His hat, beard and jacket rested off to the side. A bright red shopping bag sat at his feet. She wondered for an instant if he was the Macy’s Santa but quickly realized there was no way they’d let him sit half-dressed in the cafe if he were. He had to be just another tired Santa doing some last-minute shopping.
“Excuse me?” she asked, hovering over him. “Is that seat taken?”
His head came up at the sound of her voice, and Jordan involuntarily gasped. He was gorgeous! Like unbelievably, seen-only-in-magazines gorgeous. Messy dark-brown hair framed his handsome face, and a spark of good-natured humor shone from the depths of his ice-blue eyes. The barest shadow of a beard highlighted the sharp angle of his jaw and outlined his very luscious lips. The t-shirt hugged his arms and fit snuggly against the hard contours of his chest. She knew that Santa Claus should not be inspiring the wicked, wicked thoughts that instantly popped into her head, and yet she couldn’t help but gaze at his full lower lip and wonder what his kiss might taste like.