It’s XOXO AD’s 12 Days of Christmas! To “stuff your stocking” before Santa arrives later in the month, we’re bringing you holiday excerpts each day, from now through December 12. Be sure to check back every day for a heartwarming, ho-ho-holiday treat!
Today’s treat is from Have Yourself a Naughty Little Santa by Karin Tabke, a book that gives new meaning to the phrase “naughty list”. He knows if you’ve been bad or good… heck yes, he does. Amiright, ladies?
Workaholic Kimberly Michaels didn’t come to Evergreen only to enjoy herself, though; she’s there to sign off on a development deal in which her company will take over the town. Ricco Maza, whose sister owns the quaint B & B where Kim is staying, may be the hottest man she’s ever met but if he discovers why Kim is in town, she’ll soon be finding more coal and switches than kisses in her Christmas stocking.
For a long moment she stood outside door 417, waiting, hand poised ready to knock, when the door opened from the inside. Kim started, and so did the housekeeper on the other side of the threshold. “I need to speak to the man inside,” Kim calmly stated.
The robust lady looked surprised but smiled. “He no here.”
“He no here as in, he’s gone from his room or he left the hotel?”
“He check out.”
Heat flamed Kim’s cheeks, and she cursed the reaction. At least one of them had had a good time last night. It burned her bad that she now had the unenviable knowledge of what it felt like to be a quickly forgotten one- night stand. For several long moments she stood silently while she adequately leashed her anger. Once again she’d picked a love ’em and leave ’em Don Juan. One would think that after twenty or so years a girl could spy a hit-and-run guy from a distance.
Kim calmed down a little. It didn’t matter. She was here for her locket—that was all that mattered. She’d never see that guy again. And besides, she was the one who had slipped out of the room with no intention of going back, while he’d lain there on his back in all his naked glory happily snoring after a vigorous night of sex.
Kim smiled. She’d stood there for a good long time, staring. Her gaze trailing up from the long, thick muscles in his legs to his thighs and up to that bad boy curled up asleep in a soft, downy nest of dark curls. Even asleep he was hung like a horse. His belly was flat and hard and defined. He worked out. A lot. His chest and arms? Long, muscular arms that had held her tightly as her body had quivered and trembled as one wave of orgasm after another had shuddered through her. He had the classic chiseled face of David, though his hair was cut shorter, in a fashionable style that had been completely mussed when she’d finished with him.
She’d moved closer to the edge of the bed and bent down to press one last kiss on those full, sensuous lips of his. Her body warmed. Dear Lord, they’d been dangerous. He’d licked and sucked every inch of her body. When he’d smiled at her, the entire room had lit up. Never in her life had she just closed her eyes and free-fallen. It had been the most emancipating experience of her life. The smell of their sex had hung heavy in the air. Leaving that room had been one of the hardest things she could ever remember doing. But she had had to go. And he hadn’t asked her to stay.
Had her necklace not gone missing she would have done everything humanly possible to avoid him like a cold sore. But he’d beaten her to the punch. Kim flinched. Dumped again. The story of her life was really getting old.
“Did you find a necklace in there? A gold chain with a small heart locket?”
“No, señorita, nada.” The maid stepped back and opened the door wider, grinning from ear to ear. “You look. But I change the sheets.” She gave Kim a knowing smile.
It took Kim all of five minutes to come to the same conclusion the maid had. Her necklace was nowhere to be found. Or. Kim raised her eyes to the quiet, dark ones of the maid. Had she found it and pocketed it? Kim shook her head, not wanting to think the worst, but she had seen some pretty crappy things go down in her lifetime. Most especially in her line of work. It boded well for her to be suspicious, and she was by nature. Nothing personal. She just knew everyone had a dark side, and even good people did bad things. It was her mantra, one she had developed and lived by for years. It kept her safe and it kept her sane.
“Maybe you ask the man at the front desk for it?” the maid offered.
Kim thought about asking the smiling maid to empty her pockets right then and there, but something about her serene smile told Kim she’d look the fool.
“Thank you,” Kim said instead, then went directly down to the concierge desk. The tall man behind the counter smiled and held up a finger. He was on the phone. She paced back and forth, debating if she should have demanded that the maid empty her pockets. What if she did have it? A desperation almost like a panic attack overcame Kim. She had to have that locket!
When the concierge hung up, he gave Kim a smile and his undivided attention. “How may I help you?”
“I’m Kimberly Michaels, room two eighteen. Is there a message, a note, a package, something for me?”
He grinned, bent down behind his stand, and stood up with a small white envelope in his hand. He pulled a yellow Post-it from the envelope and looked from it to her.
He cleared his throat and asked, “Could you tell me the room number of the man who left this for you?”
Kim gasped, but her desperation slid into hope. The concierge’s cheeks flushed. “The gentleman wanted to make sure I gave it to the correct lady.” He continued to grin and looked at the Post-it, then back to her. “He said I should only give this envelope to a pushy, blondhaired, blue-eyed nymph who smells like springtime and who knows his room number.”
Kim swallowed hard and thought her insides would puddle right there on the floor. “Fo—four-seventeen.”
The concierge’s smile widened, and he handed her the envelope. On the outside, in a bold scroll, was one word: Cinderella. Kim’s hand trembled as she took it. She hurried to a nearby chair and sat down, afraid her knees would give out. Closing her eyes, she brought the envelope to her nose and inhaled. It was there, barely perceptible, but his spicy scent wafted along the velum. Sliding her nail under the edge, Kim opened the envelope. Folded inside a piece of paper was her gold chain. And scrawled in the same bold handwriting as on the envelope was a note:
If you want what goes to this, call me. 408.555.1043
On the fourth day of Christmas, XOXOAD gave to me…
And for so many more treats, check out this site for holiday fun!