Happy Thursday all!
Today I’ve got another excerpt for you on my holiday contemporary romance, All I Want For Christmas which is available at Amazon and Smashwords. Enjoy!
As Abby looked at the rotunda that morning, the glitter of Christmas came back in force. Sweet strains of O Holy Night! came over the mall speaker system, and unlike last night, the sparkle on the reindeer and the lights on the tree heralded a cheerful season. The stuffed Santa’s plastic grin showed no signs of sinister intentions.
She shivered. Thinking about the creepy encounter with the mysterious man last night made her look around, half expecting him to appear.
Abby glanced at her watch and wondered if Nick would be late this morning. There were no kids lined up, but give them time. The closer to Christmas, the more children would arrive at the mall to visit Santa.
As she stood by Santa’s throne twenty minutes to opening time, Abby’s mind swirled with ideas. Despite the lack of sleep that made her eyes gritty, she itched to start her decorating ideas. She also wanted to see if Santa’s charm would confound her as easily today as it had yesterday. Surely it was an anomaly. Now that Abby knew Santa had a penchant for wiseacre remarks, she guessed that his effect on her would dissipate.
“Morning,” a deep voice said close to her ear.
She whirled and stepped smack into Nick’s arms.
“Whoa, Pixie. You going somewhere?”
She’d never believed in the old adage about time standing still. In that moment she discovered the truth. His hands clasped her shoulders gently, and her body just touched his pillow-stuffed paunch, but his proximity took her breath and held it suspended.
Nick smelled delicious. Something spicy, musky and masculine. The brilliance in his gaze warmed her, the curve of his lips rakish and amused. And he was so damned tall. At five ten she saw eye to eye with most men, but with Nick she had to look up. Abby felt as small as her nickname implied. Tiny. Overwhelmed.
As his fingers caressed her shoulders, their heat translated to pleasant shivers in her body. She stepped away and looked around to see if anyone noticed. She could see the mall newsletter now.
Abby kisses Santa Claus. Elf does the tango with Father Christmas.
“You’re early,” she said.
He grinned again and lumbered to his chair. “I’m always early. Hate to be late.”
Nick sighed as he sank into his throne. He grimaced.
“What’s that look for?” she asked.
“Should have brought a pillow to sit on. Let me tell you, my butt was killing me last night.” He crossed his eyes.
A mock frown plastered what she could see of his face. “What’s so funny?”
“I brought a pillow with me this morning. If I sit down in the store today, I know my tailbone is going to appreciate it.”
“Clever lady.” He shifted in the chair and groaned.
“I can get the pillow if you want to use it.”
Suddenly, Nick stood and walked toward her. Abby wanted to back away, but she didn’t want him to think he could intimate her so she didn’t move.
When he was close, he said, “Would you really loan me the pillow?”
Before she could dash off, he said, “Oh, I stopped by the store this morning and Becca took my application. She looked over my resume and said I had a great chance at getting the job.”
She sobered. “Becca and I make those decisions together.”
With that parting shot, Abby dashed to the store to retrieve the pillow. When Abby entered the store, Becca glanced up from the counter in surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“Getting a pillow for Santa’s butt.”
Becca laughed. “What happened? Nick forget his padding?”
“No. He’s sore from sitting in the throne for hours yesterday. Guess it’s sort of like riding a horse.”
“He can’t take the pillow away from his belly and change places?”
Abby sighed and put her hands on her hips. “Becca, have you ever seen a Santa with a small tummy and a big ass?”
Becca nodded. “You’ve never met my Uncle Dranvers.”
Uncle Dick. Her uncle had never played Santa for children to make them happy. Thinking about her uncle’s Christmas activities made her stomach roll, then pitch to the side.
No. She wouldn’t…couldn’t think about him now.
As Abby started to leave the store with the pillow, Becca said, “Hey. You aren’t going to let him cover up his wonderful butt with that pillow¾”
Becca chuckled and leaned on the counter. “You have to admit, Nick Claussen is one hunk.”
“You are incorrigible.” Abby started to turn away, but then she remembered that Nick had given Becca the application and resume. “Can I see Nick’s resume?”
Grabbing a file folder, Becca extracted Nick’s resume and application. Abby scanned the resume. Her mouth dropped open. “You’re kidding.”
Becca leaned forward, as if she could see from that angle. “Amazing, isn’t it? A man with his credentials and his background working as a Santa and a clerk.”
“You’re not planning on hiring him?” Abby glanced at her friend sharply.
“None of the resumes turned in so far stand up to his.”
“He’s way overqualified.”
“Granted, but I think in this case he’s a perfect match. He’s had plenty of experience with inventory, stocking, business practices, organization, typing, computer work…you name it. Maybe he just needs something low pressure.”
When Abby continued to peruse the resume, Becca cleared her throat. “What are you thinking?”
Abby shook her head and handed the resume and application back to Becca. “He’s a bad fit for the job. We can’t have a man like him working in this store.”
“A man like him? Abby¾”
“We shouldn’t hire him.” With that parting shot, Abby walked away.
When she got back to the rotunda, she handed Nick the pillow. He settled into his throne again.
Since no children had appeared yet, she launched into him. “Why didn’t you tell me who you really are?”
His eyebrows drew together. “Who I really am?”
She looked around the rotunda. “Is there an echo in here? I saw your resume.”
Nick held up both hands as if in surrender. “You’re right. I give up. You’ve found me out. My real name is…” He leaned forward. “James Bond.”
You can pick up All I Want For Christmas at Amazon and at Smashwords for only 99 cents!