DESPERATELY SEEKING SANTA
By Jane Beckenham
Red Rose Publishing
What’s in your Christmas Stocking?
Dreams and fantasies are just that for Mandy Brooks, assistant manager of Wentworth’s, an upmarket department store. Work always gets in the way. But then that is exactly how Mandy likes it. Until Christmas comes round again and she’s forced to play the part of Mrs Santa.
Christmas day five years ago, Tate Sullivan left town. It was also the day Mandy ditched him at the altar. Forced back because of his father’s death, he knows he’s got unfinished business with Mandy Brooks. He wants her back in his bed on his terms, his way. He’s out for revenge. It’s meant to be sweet, isn’t it?
Her body preened its thanks, arching from the downy folds of the bedcovers, aching for his touch, temptation overruling any coherent thought.
This was her fantasy played out in the shadowy hours of pre-dawn. She welcomed him with open arms, an internal greed of sensual need cohabited with the desperation of an addict for a fix.
He was her fix. And she wanted him. Now!
Each night proved the same. He came. He teased. And she desperately wanted him.
She couldn’t see him clearly, the mists of fantasy versus reality obscuring him partly. But it was what he did to her that called to her.
His kisses. His touch. His loving.
It refueled her hope he would return.
His hand caressed her breast, tipping her into a world of mindless pleasure.
The purr seemed a whisper at first, slowly intensifying, dragging her heated body from his arms. He shifted away and instantly a sense of bereavement washed across her nakedness left cold and empty by his departure.
“No. Please stay. Love me.”
The acerbic ring of her alarm sliced through her dreams with a brutal thrust. She jolted upright, shocked at her traitorous body and mind.
She’d been about to say she loved him. But how could she love a fantasy?
Santa leaned against a railing of silky teddies and thongs, all pink fluff and feathers along with black lace and faux fur. Mandy blinked several times. The guy didn’t move. The look on his face, humor and downright daring indicate he knew exactly what he leaned against. But still he stayed there. His arms crossed his chest, pulling the red suit across his broad shoulders. The fabric stretched and Mandy’s eyes widened. This was no weasely old man Santa and she wondered for the first time, what lay beneath all that fake Santa stuff?
“The phone lines are down,” he said, suddenly breaking into her heated thoughts.
Mandy shook her head, tendrils falling loose across her face. It tickled and she roughly brushed it away, tucking it behind her ears.
“Don’t do that.”
Her hand stalled, a strand of hair still between her thumb and forefinger. “Pardon?” Had she heard right, the guys voice was kinda muffled beneath all those whiskers.
“I liked it like that.”
Her brows puckered. Liked? Mandy snapped her thoughts closed. “The phone,” she prompted.
“The phone lines are out. Must have hit the mobile phone tower too, because can’t get a signal on my phone. The storm has struck so it looks like we’ll have to stay the night.”
“You want to what?" Shocked, Mandy gaped at Santa. "Sleep here?” She took a quick inventory. Not a bed in sight. “You've got to be joking. Besides, it's Christmas Eve."
"Got anywhere else to go?"
Mandy’s jaw dropped, but no words came out while a stain of heat scalded her cheeks. She didn't have anywhere else to go No family. No life. Christmas as far as she was concerned was a non-event. But she wasn't about to admit that. She tucked her suddenly fidgeting hands behind her. “Don't you?” she questioned as a counter-defense.
Desperation hiked up ten-fold. “But we're locked in, everyone's gone home. What'll we do?"
“Told you. Sleep."
Mandy stared into the dimness all around them, expecting, praying a security guard would walk out of the increasing darkness. “"You can't sleep here. This is a department store."
“Sure I can. There's a bed, isn't there?" he said pointing towards the Santa grotto.
“That's Santa's sleigh!"
“Bed, sleigh, what's the difference?" He shrugged and his bushy white brows wiggled. “You're a mite picky for someone stuck in a department store, don’t ya think?" He strode towards the sleigh and without thinking she found herself following him. Santa was in full force tossing out presents...well boxes of various sizes and colors intended to grant every child's desire, as she side-stepped the elve’s mushroom stand.
“Which side do you want?"
You can find this book at Red Rose Publishing's site. http://www.redrosepublishing.com/bookstore
6 months ago