All she wants for Christmas is…him.
For Laurel, Christmas so sucks. She’s out of a job, money, and luck until her neighbor Scott plays Santa. This tall, dark, and sexy hunk delivers sweet decadence and holiday magic that makes being bad oh-so good.
Laurel Austen jerked awake, uncertain why.
She winced at the piercing wail and forced one eye open. Crumbs decorated her kitchen table, along with chocolate smears from cookies she couldn’t bake. Depressed by the season and her current circumstances, she’d gobbled the remaining raw dough. A bad move according to the CDC or some other government agency that warned against salmonella, E.coli, Ebola, or a disease-of-the-week. Just what she didn’t need.
Like the Energizer Bunny, the damn noise kept going and…
“Oh, crap.” She jumped up and flapped her hands. “No, no, no.”
Her oven belched smoke worse than an active volcano, her cookies burnt to ash. The smoke alarm hit it highest note and stayed there, loud enough to break her eardrums.
“Hey!” A deep male voice in the hall cut through the racket.
Couldn’t be her neighbor Scott Quinn. With the other tenants gone for the holiday, she’d hoped to corner him at last and impress him with her awesome baking skills, not this.
A fist pounded on her front door. “You okay in there?”
She was lightyears from all right. Moving to Boulder had been a huge mistake despite the supposed job opportunities and men outnumbering women by an awesome margin. Neither situation had worked for her, and now this. It was him. She’d recognize his rumbling baritone anywhere.
“Ms.…ah.…” He hammered again. “Miss!”
He doesn’t even know my name. She hadn’t combed her hair. Wasn’t wearing makeup. This couldn’t get worse. She shouted, “Yeah, I’m—” Gah. Coughing, she turned off the oven.
He knocked hard enough to rattle her teeth.
Before he called 911 and firefighters arrived, which would make her feel unbelievably dumb, she slapped on a smile and swung her front door open.
He peered over her head into her crappy studio apartment. An easy task given his height. At least six-three, he had broad shoulders, narrow hips, long legs, and a super impressive bulge behind his jeans fly. Stuff that fueled female wet dreams.
Her mouth watered.
Scott batted away smoke, a huge extinguisher in hand. “Where is it?”
“What? You mean a fire?”
“Yeah.” He shouldered past her.
She followed him. “There isn’t one. It’s my oven. I turned it off. My cookies burned. No biggie. Everything’s cool.”
The screaming alarm contradicted her.
He flicked on the oven fan and checked the appliance. “You need fresh air in here to get rid of the…” He stopped at her window, ice caking it. Snow fell in huge, wet flakes.
According to weather.com, Boulder hadn’t experienced a winter this cold in decades. Lucky me. “I’m afraid you can’t open that. It’s frozen shut.”
He rubbed his arm.
She bet his skin goose-pimpled beneath his gray Henley, and she would’ve sold her soul to snuggle close to keep him warm.
“Don’t you find it cold in here?” He checked her thermostat and whistled. “It’s only fifty-two degrees.”
Before she’d turned on her oven, the temperature had dipped to the upper forties. “Can’t be winter forever, right?” She forced a laugh.
He looked at her.
Black hair skimmed his forehead and curled around his ears and neck, a just-got-out-of-bed look.
Her blood raced.
His stubble was to-die-for, the kind that rasped a woman’s inner thighs, encouraging them to part fully.