Happy to announce that the release day giveaway for His Christmas Delight is still on. Just leave a comment below this post to enter.
This story started as a prompt for a Christmas themed anthology, but Jay and Myra’s quest for love couldn’t be solved in 2k words. I had to put all other projects on hold because they told me firmly to put down their story first.
Here’s something about the book.
Caught by Santa in her misdeeds!
For Myra, Christmas means supporting her friends. They rallied round getting her back on her feet after she lost Pete, her husband, so she’s always ready to help any of them. No matter to what lengths the challenge makes her go. Only she didn’t expect to find Santa almost catching her in her wrongdoings. Then she finds that the handsome Santa is Jay, her old high school friend. Now he’s changed from a gangly geek to an attractive stranger. After missing out on the dating scene for a long time after losing Pete, she feels the first stirring of desire. But Jay is playing hot and cold, refusing to admit the attraction sizzling between them.
He’s back in Goa just for Christmas…
Jay knew Myra as his best friend’s girl. Now Pete is gone, but Jay is finding difficult to let go of the scars he picked up in Coast Guard service. He’s home only to help revive his brother’s toy shop. When he finds himself making excuses to stay, he knows he’s crossing the limits he’d set himself. What’s the purpose in taking this further when he knows he cannot be the one to give her the happiness she deserves? But no matter how hard he tries, the scorching flames of wanting only seem to get stronger. How can he keep on denying the attraction between them when she insists on coming close?
Here’s a First Chapter excerpt from the book:
Myra wiped her hands on her sides, the smoothly abrasive texture of denim anchoring her to the present. She had to be crazy to be doing this.
Nobody stole from Santa.
You asked him for it.
Ensured you were on your best behavior so you could get it.
She couldn’t believe she’d allowed Tonya to persuade her into this idiocy.
Coerced, she corrected herself. The promise of two recipes from Chef Tonya – honest to God, chocolate dessert recipes at that – had lured her. When one of them was a flourless cake, which she could surprise her brother with, it was a clincher.
Her friend Tonya was desperate. In the way moms who made rash promises to their kids to hurry them to get ready for school were desperate. She’d promised to get little Toby the Revengers Miniature Hologram game, that every kid around was super-excited about, but she had done the unforgivable. She clean forgot about it.
Then the nurse at the hospital where Myra did volunteer work had disclosed that one surprise item in the Tollinger Toys Santa’s goodies bag would be the game set, if her salesman boyfriend was to be believed.
Her own mistake: mentioning it to Tonya.
Tonya was convinced that her childhood friend, who used to pilfer her mother’s cookies, was smart enough to do justice to this mission impossible. A desperate mom couldn’t take chances on a lucky dip into Santa’s bag.
Myra gulped and sent up a prayer she wouldn’t be found out. The thought of little Toby’s disappointed face spurred her on. Last year he had had a father and a mother who doted on him to exclusion of everything else. Now his father was gone from his life and Tonya had her hands full, managing her job as a chef and bringing up a kid alone as well.
Her aim was to strike at a moment when everyone was busy setting up. That was the only time she could be sure the target was in position, or put less dramatically, the toy was in the bag.
So, she tightened her grip on the shopping bags she carried and approached Santa’s bag. There it was, left unguarded in an incredibly unforeseen manner. She sent up an apology to the powers that be and to Santa, though of course, it wouldn’t harm him in any way. No one would know who got the game. She would pay for it along with the rest of her shopping. She was hoping the teenage boy at cash counter wouldn’t wonder how she got the game. Luckily Tollinger Toys hadn’t invested yet in CCTV surveillance.
She edged closer and sank down ostensibly to tighten one strap of her sandals.
And let her hand creep towards the bag…
‘Hey you’re not supposed to touch that!’
Her head shot up, her startled gaze locking into an alert dark glance.
It couldn’t be her.
Jay actually felt his heart thud to a near stop before it went off into a racing gallop.
He couldn’t tear his gaze away from her startled hazel eyes. When he could, he found his eyes roving on her, up and down, drinking in the reality of her, absorbing the smallest tiniest detail. His glance roamed on her slender form, clad in a chic top and skinny jeans. It fixated on her delicate, pixie features. He could have sketched her with his eyes closed. From the neatly braided hair with brown wisps escaping onto her forehead to the purple painted toe nails.
Did she even recognize him? Probably not. He couldn’t see any spark of dawning familiarity in her eyes.
He couldn’t blame her really. He’d come a long way from the tall gangly kid, with a cap flattening his shaggy mop of hair, who had hung around his older brother and his group because he didn’t have any friends of his own.
Pete had been his brother’s best friend.
So much had happened. But she looked still as fresh and, yes – he gulped – as pretty as she had the night she stole a kiss with him when she’d been angry at Pete.
She rose to her feet slowly, smiling at him. ‘Hello, Santa!’
He remembered he was in costume. That’s why she didn’t know him.
‘I was just wondering what Santa had in store for me.’
Her breathless voice with its tinge of huskiness sent tingles down his spine.
Even while reacting inwardly to its unintended allure, he began to frown a little.
Because the flirtatious smile she was offering was definitely not unintended.
What was she upto?
Memories stirred. Myra was known to be the kid who got most into trouble in the entire neighborhood.
She couldn’t be the same now?
Yet he had a moment of déjà vu looking at her pink cheeks and brash smile. She’d always been in a hurry to get into mischief even though she had a hard time hiding the guilty look.
She’d been reaching for the bag. Wanting to take something from it? Still upto her old tricks?
If so, she needed to be taught a lesson and it was high time someone did.
‘Do you really want to find out?’ He found himself saying in an exaggerated drawl.
He had an instant of satisfaction of having his suspicions confirmed and of having surprised her. The suave smile changed to alarmed expression and he was hard put to suppress a chuckle.
She recovered with swiftness he had to admire.
‘Of course. What could be better for a girl than a present from Santa at Christmas? Do you keep something for big girls? Maybe I’ll just take a peep at what you have here…’
She was a manipulator all right. She had the bag open before he, reacting swiftly, reached out to pull it closed.
‘It’s only for girls who have been good.’ He put on his best suggestive tone.
‘I have been good. Really!’ She batted her eye lashes. ‘How can you doubt that?’
He felt a laugh coming on. At the same time, her pixie looks combined with that sexy pout gave rise to an unbidden impulse in him to kiss her.
He suppressed both the laugh and the impulse.
‘Some gifts cannot be packed in a bag, princess.’
She frowned and he could’ve bitten off his tongue. His customary nickname of her had easily slipped off his tongue.
She shook her head, puzzlement making her wrinkle her nose. ‘What? Princess?’ She peered at him closely, her normal tone restored. ‘Wait! Do I know you? ‘
He would have liked it to be, ‘Don’t I know you?’ Still, it was something that she remembered his nickname for her.
‘Surely I’m not that different, Myra?’
He pulled down the beard.
The next moment an ear splitting shriek echoed round the walls of ground floor display room of Tollinger Toys.