A christmas surprise, p.1
A Christmas Surprise, p.1Jana Leigh
A Christmas Surprise
Book Two 1/2
Author: Jana Leigh
Editor Rose Colton
Artwork by JK Publishing INC
Published by JK Publishing INC
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This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
© Copyright December 2012 JK Publishing INC as part of a grouping “Christmas Surprise”
Reissued March 2013 as a single
All cover art and logo © Copyright 2013 by JK Publishing
All rights reserved.
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Table of Contents
~Books by Jana Leigh
~Excerpt from Alpha’s Mate
~Excerpt from Cat’s Choice
~Excerpt from The Mating Call
~Excerpt from Playing With Zach
~Excerpt from Dangerous Trio Part One
The snow fell in big, fluffy flakes. Sandi juggled the box she was carrying as she unlocked the back door to the restaurant. She loved working at JT's Fancy Diner that was owned by her two best friends, Jade and Traci. They both went to culinary school together and then came home to their hometown of Johnstown, Colorado, to open the restaurant, which had become a big hit. It was the only restaurant around besides a pizza place and at night, they turned it into a bar with a great little dance area.
Sandi set the box down on the counter and began to unpack it. She had gone upstairs to drag down the Christmas decorations, considering it was the beginning of December, and they had just taken down all the Thanksgiving decorations. This was the last box, and now she had to get everything organized. Soon, Jade and Traci would arrive to begin cooking and setting up.
She walked out into the dining area and began to take the chairs off the tables as she glanced outside and saw that people were out milling around, beginning to open their own shops. Just then, a young couple walked by the windows, smiling at each other, gazing into each other's eyes. The couple stopped, the man reached up and cradled the woman's face in his hands and kissed her slowly. Sandi turned her back, not wanting to intrude on such a private moment and also, because she felt that twinge of longing and jealousy, reminding her that she was alone.
Sandi lost her parents when she was fifteen, the state sent her to live with an elderly aunt who she barely knew. Aunt Betty turned out to be just what Sandi needed. She opened her home and arms to the young teenager, helping her through the tragedy of her parents’ death. They had been hit head-on by a trucker who had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Aunt Betty had sued on behalf of the family and procured a sizeable amount of money, which she placed into Trust for Sandi. She was to receive the Trust when she turned thirty, which meant she wouldn't be able to access it for another five years. Sandi was grateful to Betty for making sure she’d always be taken care of, but at the same time, she wished she had that money now. She missed Betty. She had passed on a few years ago herself, and that’s when Sandi had decided she needed a change and had ended up in Johnstown.
When she said she needed a change, Sandi really had. In one day, she packed up the house, sold everything she could, and took off in her old beat-up Firebird. Of course, it only made it so far, the fucker broken down right outside the town of Johnstown. When she called for a tow, the local man came out and sold her on this little sleepy town. It was just what she needed to get her life back on track. She found this job and the rest as they say was history, except for a few bumps in the road of course.
Although she couldn't complain, she had a great job working for two great bosses; she also had a cute little one-bedroom apartment above the restaurant. She had to admit, her life was decent, but it was lacking the one thing that Sandi had always wanted, someone to love her. She thought she was close once, but he was the one she had to let go.
Sandi had met Danny when she moved into town and began to work at JT's. He sauntered in with his brothers for lunch one day, and she had literally tripped while walking over to their table. It had been Danny, who jumped up and caught her in his arms.
She could still remember how it felt the first time those strong arms had closed around her, and just for a moment, she had closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Taking in his woodsy scent and feeling the warmth of his body pressed to hers. She had opened her eyes to find herself looking into the deep-blue eyes of a Greek God. Standing at over six feet, he towered over her smaller five foot three-inch frame. He had smiled at her and then sat back down at the table. She went on to take their order without further incident.
When he introduced himself, after she returned with their food, his brothers got a good laugh out of the whole name thing. Danny and Sandi, they teased and began to sing the song, “We Go Together.” It had been embarrassing considering she’d been the one to trip over him and now his brothers were giving him shit. It is a wonder they ever went out on a date.
She sighed once again as she thought back on their courtship. She had figured out pretty quick that Danny was a man-whore and not looking for a relationship, well, a serious one at least. He had been in his playboy stage, which in some ways still rang true, although he didn't seem to be going out as much lately.
This could be because first, his sister Jade had an incident with a boyfriend in college. The idiot thought he would have the easy life and marry into the Cassidy family. In a calculated move, he set out to seducing Jade.
Jade didn’t want to get involved in a serious relationship, and when she saw things in his closet before a date one night, she knew they were not compatible. When she tried to break up with him, it had turned into an ugly fight. Jade ended up pressing charges because he refused to accept no for an answer. He’d been sentenced to a few years in jail for domestic violence and attempted rape. Jade wasn’t going to press charges, until the day after she’d broken his nose for getting a little too frisky—the dumbass tried to break into her bedroom and rape her.
Then Jared, the oldest Cassidy brother, had been shot and then hunted by a terrorist he had dealings with back when he was in the military. Since then, the family had been on a lockdown of sorts since the threat against them had not been completely dealt with yet.
Sandi had thought that Danny was "the one," but those hopes had been dashed quickly. They had gone out on several dates and gotten along really well, but Sandi felt him holding back. Danny played as if he was only trying to bed her, when she knew that it was an act he was putting on. Maybe she came off as a prude, but she wanted to save herself for that special man, the one she would spend the rest of her life loving. Danny accepted that when they were alone. However, i
Danny changed on the last date they went on dramatically. If she had the same self-confidence she had now, then, things possibly would have turned out differently. She never could find a reason, so she ended things before her heart got more involved. That had been a laugh, she realized quickly that she had indeed fallen head over heels for him, and now she had to sit back and watch him with other women. Yep, her life was just fan-fuckin’-tastic.
She shrugged off her thoughts as Jade and Traci came in from the back and started taking off their coats while they seemed to be arguing.
"Why are they being asses about the tuxes? It's not like we chose the ones with the tail-y things on them," Jade said as she looked over at her childhood best friend. Traci and Jade had been best friends since kindergarten. They met on the playground when an older girl had taken Traci’s lunch. Jade had punched the girl in the stomach and then gave her new friend her peanut butter and jelly sandwich back. They had been inseparable ever since. They shared everything together and when one was in trouble, so was the other one.
"Jared was only teasing you about wearing his jeans, Jade, you know that. You know he will do as I say...ask." Traci sighed as she turned and smiled at Sandi. The two best friends were in the middle of planning their double wedding that was to take place on Valentine's Day. They were two lucky ladies who had finally gotten their men. Jade had been in love with Zach for as long as she could remember. Traci and Jared were the same, but both couples took a while and a whole lot of antics on both sides to get together. Sandi thought that when they did, the whole town breathed a sigh of relief.
"Hey girl," Jade said as she walked up and gave Sandi a hug. "You got all this down by yourself? Why didn't you wait for us?"
"Well, since I live upstairs and didn't sleep well, I figured I would start, and it didn't seem to take any time at all," Sandi said with a shrug.
"Next time wait for us. I don't like you carrying stuff up and down those stairs without someone here. You could have fallen and been laying there for God knows how long before we got here," Jade said, then turned, and began to open the boxes.
Before long, they had Christmas Carols playing and had finished decorating the whole restaurant. Traci had gone in the back to start on the specials for the day, and Jade was getting ready to begin making their traditional Christmas cookies and pastries. Sandi began to get out the menus and set up the tables for the lunch crowd.
With Christmas only a few days away, the lunch crowd had picked up as everyone was out shopping to grab last minute gifts. She heard the bell jingle above the door and turned to see Danny and Miles, Jade's other brother, walking over to their usual table. She let one of the other girls go over and take their orders. After she’d had those thoughts of him earlier, she didn't think it would be a good idea to be too close.
Just then, there was a crash in the back, and she heard Jade cussing up a storm. She rolled her eyes and made her way to the kitchen to see if she could help. Yep, it was gonna be a great day.
Danny Cassidy strode into his sister's restaurant with his brother Miles and sat down at their favorite table. They could see everything from there, including their wayward sister, well, that was before Zach got control of her.
He could see Sandi by the counter, talking with another waitress, and knew she would be over soon. He and Sandi had dated for a short while not too long ago. He had gotten the feeling that she wanted a commitment, which had freaked him out. He wasn’t ready to settle down, then or now. He wanted to slap himself when the thought of family and kids snuck into his head yet again. Damn it, he needed to get a grip, there were too many Cassidys getting married. He needed to maintain the family reputation. Miles surely wouldn’t do it; he was the quietest out of the whole bunch.
As he saw her turn towards him, his pulse sped up and for a moment, he felt excited that he would get to talk to her. Not that he hadn't talked to her yesterday or the day before, but since all the issues with his family members had started, something was changing inside of him. He played it cool by looking at the menu, as if he had no idea what was on it. Hell, he had helped make the damn thing, but of course, Danny refused to look as if he missed a woman, his reputation and all was on the line.
Just then, someone walked up to the table, and he looked up into the eyes of Kristy, the newest addition to the restaurant staff. What was going on? Where was Sandi?
“Where is Sandi?” Danny asked smoothly.
“Why?” Kristy frowned and looked around. “I can take your order and not screw it up.”
“I know, darlin'. I was just wantin’ to ask Sandi a question about a Christmas present for Jade.” Danny lied.
“Oh, well, she’s in the kitchen. She muttered something about refusing to jump every time you smiled at her and told me to take your order,” Kristy said honestly and looked down at her pad of paper as if she hadn’t said anything wrong.
Miles laughed loudly and Danny glared at him, really. So, this was the way it was going to be. Huh? What the fuck ever, who needed the hassle, Danny thought, ignoring the nagging feeling in the back of his head and ordered his usual.
The lone man sat at a corner table by the window where no one would notice him. He had found her, he smiled to himself, and there was no mistaking it was her. Looking all kinds of damn happy and content, what nerve of the bitch. She ruined his life, and all she could do was smile gently at him, as she looked right by him. She didn’t even realize who she was staring at.
She was going to pay now that he had found her. He was pleased that he’d tracked her all the way from Tennessee to this small-town dump. He looked around. It may be small; however, it was the perfect place for him to do what he had to do. Huckleberry Hound over there didn’t look like he could solve a case unless it was written down and mapped out for him.
She was ignorant to everything around her, he decided. It had taken him years to prepare for this. Oh, he would have had her a few years ago if she had stayed in place. He found her just after she shut up the posh house she was allowed to grow up in.
She had ruined their lives, not that it was great to begin with, but it got even worse after. She was at fault. She was the reason his mother drank herself into an early grave, and he was thrown into foster care. He’d been bounced around from home to home, never finding a family of his own. The caseworker had finally sent him to a group home, where he had stayed until he was eighteen.
When he’d gotten out of that hellhole and got a job in a restaurant washing dishes, he began to search records on the Internet, trying to find her. That was when he saw the obituary on the aunt. That led him to Tennessee where he talked to a neighbor who, after finding out he was a long-lost cousin, told him that Sandi had moved.
She conveniently had a forwarding address in Colorado where Sandi was currently staying. Now here he was, sitting in a restaurant not fifteen feet from her. He couldn't wait to get his hands on her, but first she had to suffer a little bit, after all, it was Christmas and anticipation was everything.
It seemed the lunch crowd had thinned out, and Sandi decided to take a break out back for just a few minutes to feel the soft flakes falling on her face and enjoy the crisp air after helping out in the hot kitchen. She stepped out of the back door, walking over to the small picnic table they had set up for employee breaks. She turned her back to the alleyway and leaned against the table, tipping her face up to catch the flakes on her tongue. She closed her eyes and took a slow, deep breath.
Her mind wandered to Danny as it usually did, he looked so damn good in his deputy uniform. His hair had been windblown and that one stray lock had fallen over his forehead. Her fingers had itched to brush it back for him.
She smiled as she thought about how he would looked at her and smiled, reaching
Later that evening after the last customer left, Traci and Sandi were putting the chairs on top of the tables. Being one of the nights they closed early, usually they moved things around and turned into a bar, but tonight was Tuesday, on every Monday and Tuesday they closed after dinner.
Sandi was really tired. She had put in a long day, and all she wanted to do was go upstairs and have a nice long soak in the tub. She heard a tapping on the main door and looked up to see Traci unlocking it for Jared, Jade's oldest brother and now Traci's fiancé. Jared walked in, took off his sheriff’s hat, and shook his head.
"Evenin' ladies, everything alright?" he asked, moving further into the room. Jared was tall and muscular. He had led the school to their first State Championship in football. He was the All-Star quarterback who had all the girls throwing their underwear at him when he walked into a room. Now he was off the market, and by the way he and Traci were kissing right now, they should be out of the public’s sight. Man, they were steaming up the front windows that Sandi just cleaned.
A Christmas Surprise by Jana Leigh / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes