Sure—there’s been speculation. Tabloid photos of me coming and going from The Hawthorne on a Saturday night but always alone. The women I meet there follow a strict code of conduct. They understand how much I value my privacy. They also understand exactly what will happen to them if they violate it.
“Tricky?” She tosses me an eyeroll over her shoulder as she hits the turn of the staircase she’s leading me down. “I think you mean expensive.”
“Yeah. I—” Reaching out, I snag her elbow, stopping her mid-step, just before she exits the stairwell. “Wait.” I push back against the tense, panicked feeling that grips my gut. As soon as she stops and turns to look at me, I let her go. “Are you sure you’re ready for this, Ms. Sawyer?”
“Are you?” she asks me quietly, her brilliant blue eyes suddenly clouded with concern. It burns me, the fact that she can see through the mask I wear in public. How easily she can see how much it still affects me, even after all these years.
“All things considered, I’m fine,” I snap back at her, using my tone to thwart her concern. Push her away.
“All things considered?” Danika parrots back, her hands lifting to settle on her hips.
“Yes—considering you’re insisting on Shake Shack instead of Davino’s.” Great, I sound like a snob again. The truth is I like Shake Shack but I haven’t had it in years because it offers absolutely no privacy.
When I say it, her gaze goes flinty as she narrows it slowly on my face. “I don’t even want to do this,” she hisses at me, jerking a hand off her hip to drill a finger into my chest. “I was just fine with my pepperoni and extra cheese. Maybe it’s not Davino’s but—”
Reaching up, I mean to push her hand away from my chest. Open my mouth to tell her to stop fucking poking me. Instead of pushing her hand away, I grip it. Use it to pull her against me and the only thing that comes out of my mouth is a growl, a moment before I fuck everything up and kiss her.
~ MR. RIGHT
DON'T MISS THIS HOT HOLIDAY ROMANCE!
“Stop treating me like a child.” It’s a ridiculous thing to say in the face of what he’s telling me but saying it is easier than the alternative. “I don’t need you—”
“Yes you do.” He nods his head, nailing me with a hard look. “You abso-fucking-lutely need me to do this because it’s the only thing keeping me from throwing you over my goddamned shoulder and carrying you out of here.” He lowers his voice even further. Pulls me even closer. “Because as soon as I get you alone, I’m gonna do something.”
The deep rumble of his voice shoots a rush of heat straight down my spine. That heat pools in my lower belly before spreading lower. Seeping into my core. Setting off a dull, throbbing ache that has me shifting from one foot to the other. “Something?” The word comes out on a breath. “What something?”
“Not sure. I can’t decide if I want to turn you over my knee and paddle your ass for being so goddamned stubborn for so goddamned long or if I want to get you naked and fuck you so hard your Nan will feel it.” The corner of his mouth lifts just a bit. “Maybe I’ll do both. You used to like it when I did both.”
The hinge on my jaw loosens and my mouth falls open and I’m suddenly very grateful that Mad has his hand buried in the front of my coat because I’m fairly certain his grip is the only thing keeping me upright.
“You’d let me too…” His gaze dips to my mouth before bouncing it back up to connect with mine. “I’d be willing to bet you’re dripping wet right now. Bet you soaked clear through your panties, the second you realized who you were looking at.”
- KISSING KRISTMAS