Mistletoe Not Required(6)

By: Anne Oliver

Her lips burned and the low tugging sensation pulled into a tight knot. Her habitual defensiveness evaporated. What was it about this man that she’d throw away any sense of caution?

She’d obviously been struck by some random insanity.

Over the years, she’d grown accustomed to guys accusing her of being intimidating or closed off. Snowflake and her studies had taken her focus and consumed her energy for so long it hadn’t left time for anything else, particularly any fleeting and indulgent liaisons with the opposite sex. She had more important things on her agenda, such as making a difference for people with serious and terminal illness.

But it was Christmas Eve and random insanity had indeed struck because right now on the top of this year’s Christmas list was his lips on hers. Her Secret Santa—dark as midnight, and an exciting mystery to unravel and enjoy. Just for tonight.

He watched her, reading her thoughts. Knowing she was going to say yes. But then he said, ‘When a woman tells me it’s none of my business, it’s usually because she wants me to kiss her regardless of the man she’s sleeping with.’

Oh, he was cocky, arrogant, full of himself. An irate breath caught in her throat. ‘Of course I’m not sleeping with anyone or I wouldn’t be standing here with you.’ She drew herself up tall. ‘And if you think I’m that kind of woman then you have very poor taste and we have nothing in common.’

‘On the contrary, I have very discerning taste when it comes to women. If I thought you were lying you wouldn’t see me for dust.’

She relaxed a bit, if you could call letting out a slow breath and sucking in another relaxing. ‘Good, then. Because...because I want you to kiss me...that way.’

His mouth quirked and he touched the ends of her hair again as the band struck up their version of ‘All I Want for Christmas’. ‘Glad we cleared that up.’

‘Me too.’

‘Now, where were we?’

She licked dry lips. ‘Secret Santa.’

‘Ah...’ The devil with a smile lurked in his black eyes as his hands slid up her bare arms to her shoulders.

The hairs on her arms rose in response and she shivered and met his gaze. ‘Except you look like more of a sinner than a Santa.’

He pulled the top half of her body into stunning and breath-stealing contact, his lips tantalisingly close to hers. ‘Which do you want me to be?’


Of course the guy was a mind-reader as well because he knew her instant preference for sin over safe and his body hardened against hers and his fingers tightened on her arms. Up close Olivia could see gold stardust in his irises and her own desire reflected back.

And heaven help her, wild and wicked was exactly what she needed tonight. She wanted to lose herself to oblivion. To dive headlong into those dark depths and surrender to the promised pleasure she saw there—

Except...this whole scenario was straight out of her private fantasies but now it was real and happening and moving too fast and she couldn’t catch her breath.

‘Wait.’ She dragged a hand up between them, pushed it against his chest. Hard as concrete. But warm and sculpted, and to her dismay her fingers spread over the undulating surface of their own volition. ‘Just. Wait.’

‘Are you okay?’ He loosened his hold and leaned back. ‘Because if you’re not s—’

‘I’m fine.’ She sucked in air. ‘Absolutely fine.’ Or would be if she could establish the same footing with this godlike, devilishly attractive being in front of her. Not surrender, she told herself. Equality.

‘Tell you what,’ he said, slowly. ‘Why don’t we—?’

‘Yes. Why don’t we?’ And before she changed her mind again she wound her fingers around the ends of her boa for a firm hold. Here was a rare chance to grab life and living with both hands and reel him in. She saw the glimpse of surprise in his dark eyes as she reached up on tiptoe, yanked him close and planted her mouth on his.

And oh, this man didn’t disappoint. As their lips connected she was sure she heard a hiss. More of a sizzle, actually. Heat met heat and that smouldering spark that had been arcing between them since they’d first laid eyes on each other ignited. She felt it catch, deep down inside, sending showers of sparkles to every extremity.

He pulled back a fraction. ‘Is control your thing, darling?’ A rogue’s smile danced over his lips and his eyes lit with amusement.

In a different situation his condescending darling would have annoyed her, but she didn’t have time to be annoyed because he was already moving his lips over hers once more and playing the game—his way. He was mayhem and magic and completely irresistible.

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