“All I Want for Christmas” in The Naughty List
Originally Published: September 28, 2010 (in trade paperback)
Good girl toy inventor Christie takes a walk on the naughty side when she sparks a no-strings fling with Santa—actually, sexy cop Jonas in a Santa suit. She loves her new “bad girl” persona, except as the holidays approach, she starts falling, and hard, for this known’ “love ’em and leave ’em” ladies man…
Black brows rose. “Mind if I come in?” A puff of white appeared before his mouth. “Damn cold out here.”
Oh, yes, right. She opened the door wider. Jonas stomped his boots on her mat, then crossed the threshold, immediately making her feel that her doorway was too small. He was too big. He was—
He had a package in his hands. A small, red box with a dark green bow. “I brought you something.”
He’d never given her a present before. Not once, and sometimes, it felt like she’d known him forever.
Known him, wanted him, had too much champagne and finally asked for her secret desire.
She pushed the door closed behind them. Her eyes were on the present. It looked small and innocent in his big, gloved hands. Of course, there was nothing innocent about him. She knew that.
“Don’t worry,” he told her, flashing a smile that revealed his perfect white teeth. “It’s not going to bite you.”
But I will. The words seemed to hang in the air as she stared at him. Christie gulped and stepped forward to take the present. “It’s…uh…not Christmas yet.” Not for another week. They’d had the party at Tate Toys last night because it was a Friday night. The perfect opportunity for a party—not many folks had to get up early the next day.
“Anything wrong with an early present between friends?” His gloved fingers brushed hers as she took the gift. A lick of heat seemed to shoot right through her body.
She was holding the present too tightly. “Is that what we are? Friends?” She tasted the word. Jonas had been on the cusp of her life for so long now. When she’d transferred to Duke University, he and Daniel had already been room-mates. Jonas had treated her like a kid sister, too. She’d been crazy about him. One look in those green eyes…
She shook the present. Didn’t hear anything.
Jonas shrugged out of his coat and hung in on the rack. His gloves hit the table. “We could be friends.” His head cocked to the right as he studied her. “We could be more.”
“Don’t crush the box,” he murmured and she realized her hold had turned into a death grip.