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Mistress christmas, p.17
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       Mistress Christmas, p.17

         Part #1 of Wild West Boys series by Lorelei James
 
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Page 17

  Author: Lorelei James

  Holly learned firsthand what people meant when they spoke of a hard cop stare. “What about me?”

  “How does an accountant end up working in a strip club? Even temporarily?”

  “It’s not that much of a stretch. Ivy, the owner, is a good friend as well as a client. I stopped by to drop off some quarterly paperwork and she begged me to fill in. I’d knocked back a couple glasses of spiced wine…and the next thing I knew, I was strutting across stage wearing a bustier, leather hot pants and ankle-breaking heels. ”

  Those shimmering hazel eyes softened. “That first night was the first night you ever…?”

  “Got all dolled up, paraded across a stage barely dressed, in front of a roomful of horny men, and pretended to be someone I’m not? Yes. ”

  “Oh baby. ”

  “Then I met you, and followed through with the lap dance fiasco—”

  “Not a fiasco. It was the sexiest goddamn thing that’d ever happened to me. ”

  Holly blinked. “It was?”

  “Yep. ”

  “But I didn’t know what I was doing! And I especially didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to touch you or let you touch me, let alone have an orgasm with all my clothes on. ”

  A ghost of his sexy smile appeared. “The last time that happened to me, I think I still believed in Santa Claus. ”

  She smiled back at him. “Part of me didn’t want you to come back to the strip club, but an even larger part of me wanted to see you again. ”

  Confused, he demanded, “Why?”

  “I was afraid a gorgeous guy like you would only be interested in me if I was a wild stripper. Yet, I was afraid if I told you I wasn’t Mistress Christmas you wouldn’t be interested in me either because you’d think I was boring. Especially if you saw me without all the caked-on makeup and revealing clothing. ”

  “Your au naturel look didn’t seem to deter me, did it?”

  “No. Maybe it was selfish, but I didn’t tell you my real identity because I wanted one night with you to be the sexy woman you thought I was. That was my Christmas wish. You just ended up being so much…more than I’d ever dared hope for. ”

  “Sweet darlin’. ” Nick’s voice held bewilderment and something deeper she couldn’t decipher.

  Embarrassed, she glanced down at her hands. “I never meant to hurt you. Or trick you. Or lift your wallet. ”

  “I understand that now. ”

  “Last night was one hundred percent me in that hotel room. Holly North. Mild-mannered accountant gone wild. ”

  Several excruciating seconds passed before Nick sighed. “Maybe we were both at cross-purposes, at least initially. But everything I told you, everything I did, everything I was last night, was me too. Not Detective Nick West, just Nick West, a lonely man who’d gotten lucky enough to catch the eye and the attention of a beautiful, sweet, smart, sexy woman. ”

  Holly’s heart kicked into high gear as she heard his footsteps getting closer. Very gently Nick lifted her chin to meet his gaze.

  “Might sound sappy, but the first night you asked what I wanted for Christmas, so earnestly, like you really cared? I almost blurted out the truth. ”

  “Which is?”

  “For a long time I’ve wished for a woman to see the real me. A woman with fire, passion and sweetness, inside the bedroom and out. A woman who could make me laugh, drive me insane with lust, challenge my mind and see beyond my badge, and my redneck background. You are that woman. ”

  “You sure? Not two hours ago you called me a thief. ”

  “Holly—”

  “Do you know how bad I freaked out when I discovered I had your wallet? And then I saw that badge? I was half-afraid you’d show up here and bust me for solicitation. ”

  He practically snarled, “Like I said, it wasn’t a cop in bed with you last night, it was a man. A man who hopes to see a lot more of you—in bed and out. ”

  “What? You want to…date me?”

  “It’ll do for now. ”

  “F-for n-now?” she sputtered. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

  “It means, how we met will be a great Christmas story to tell our kids and grandkids. ” Nick closed her mouth after it’d dropped open in absolute shock. “Does that surprise you? Or scare you?”

  “Both. ”

  “Me too, baby, me too. This all happened so fast. Like some kind of Christmas miracle. Sounds sappy, but it’s true. ”

  Tears shimmered in her eyes and hope clogged her throat. “So what now?”

  “We build on the magic between us and see where it takes us. ” He pushed a wayward strand of hair behind her ear. “And maybe I called you a thief because you stole my damn heart, not my wallet. ”

  Holly absolutely melted.

  Nick kissed her; his mouth was as warm and sweet as his words. “Spend Christmas with me. We’ll do all the traditional things like decorate the tree, bake cookies and snuggle up to watch A Christmas Story. Then I’d like to start a few of our own traditions. ”

  Lord, she loved the feel of his lips on her skin. “Like?”

  “Like making nekkid carpet angels underneath the Christmas tree. Decorating your body with peppermint-flavored gel. Wrapping you up with velvet ribbon and tyin’ you up with garland. I know how it turns you on to be trussed up like a Christmas turkey, darlin’. ”

  Holly couldn’t help it; she moaned.

  His breath was hot in her ear. “Be my Mistress, Holly, not just for Christmas, but for every day. ”

  “Best proposition I’ve ever had, Not-So-Saint Nick. ” She maneuvered him under the mistletoe and sealed the deal with a kiss.

  Epilogue

  One year later…

  “Holly Jolly Christmas” blasted from the alarm clock. Nick rolled over and smacked the plastic box until the cheery song vanished back to the realm of hell from whence it came. He returned to his spot, but the warm, curvy body he’d been cuddled against had moved.

  Frowning, he looked across the mattress. Bright green eyes blinked at him, followed by the sultry smile he’d never get tired of waking up to.

  “Good morning, Mr. Scowly Face. ”

  “Good morning, Mrs. West. ” Nick leaned forward and kissed her. “Mmm. I love the sound of that. ” He stole another kiss just because he could. “Have I mentioned how much I love bein’ married to you?”

  “We’ve only been married twelve hours, Nick. ”

  “Best twelve hours of my life, darlin’ wife. ”

  Truthfully, the last twelve months had been the best of his life. He and Holly had embarked on a whirlwind relationship. They’d spent Christmas together, were living together by Valentine’s Day, and were engaged by Easter.

  So at sunset, exactly one year to the day Holly North had strutted across that stage and made all Nick West’s wishes—Christmas and otherwise—come true, they’d pledged their lives and love to each other on a secluded Hawaiian beach.

  “Let’s get up. There’s a million things I want to do today besides lay around. ”

  “I’d like to lay in bed and do my wife all day,” he muttered.

  “Nick!”

  “What? Setting the alarm on the first day of our honeymoon is just plain wrong, Holls. ”

  Holly angled over and kissed his cheek, then rolled to the side and stood. Naked. “But I hear they’re serving mimosas on the restaurant terrace. ”

  It took Nick’s gaze a long time to reach her eyes. His wife was fine. Damn fine. “I’d rather be servicing you on our terrace. ”

  “But, honey, you know how much I love that bubbly stuff. ”

  “Yeah? And just to show you how much I love you, and how eager I am to compromise in this marriage, I’ll point out there’s a quart of orange juice in the fridge. ”

  Holly’s slow, sexy grin appeared. “Then I’ll get the champagne. ”

 
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