Have Yourself A Merry Tempting Holiday
'Twas the Season by Kimberly Kaye Terry
Overworked Nikki Danes is giving herself the perfect gifta guilt-free affair with her firm's gorgeous temp. But Max Hardaway isn't exactly who he claims to be. And if he gets his holiday wish, their steamy night will be the first of many .
Mistletoe in Memphis by Pamela Yaye
Essence Sinclair needs to land the holiday catering contract for Lincoln Davenport's company almost as much as she wants the sexy exec himself. When Lincoln glimpses the sensual chef, he's sure all his Christmas dreams have come true at once. Will this be a holiday flingor magic that's made to last?
Second-Chance Christmas by Farrah Rochon
The last time Ayana Taylor saw Jackson Richards, he broke her teenage heart. Now he's the best man at her brother's Christmas wedding. And Jackson hopes to earn her forgiveness and her loveone smoldering kiss at a time .
About the Author
Pamela Sadadi Yaye has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and her love for African-American fiction prompted her to pursue a career in writing romance. When she’s not working on her latest novel, this busy wife, mother and teacher is watching basketball, cooking or planning her next vacation. Pamela lives in Alberta, Canada with her gorgeous husband and adorable, but mischievous son and daughter.
Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her New York Sabers football series for Harlequin's Kimani Romance imprint. Farrah has been nominated for the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America and the RT BOOKReviews Reviewer's Choice Award. She can usually be found on Twitter or at a Broadway show.
Read an Excerpt
Nikki Danes took a small, cautious sip of the bright yellow sparkling wine. Her nostrils flared when the soft bubbles made contact. "Hmm," she murmured, and glanced down at the crystal flute, still nearly full after she'd taken the token taste. She tilted her head to the side, considering the contents as though deep in thought.
"Not too bad for wine," she continued, speaking softly to herself. She paused and narrowed her eyes, staring at the glass, considering.
If she didn't know better, she would swear she was drinking champagne and not sparkling wine, she thought, frowning. But as she'd never actually tasted champagne, and this was just a MagHard Interior Design-sponsored employee soiree, she assumed it was wine. Although the company she worked for treated its employees well, that didn't extend to spending thousands of dollars on champagne for the annual holiday event, aka an office party. At least that's what she assumed.
But as this was her first time attending one, she couldn't be certain.
"Whatever it is, I might as well enjoy," she said, and brought the glass to her lips. She tipped her head back and took a generous drink.
The golden liquid flowed easily down her throat and her eyelids floated partially down as she enjoyed the sweet yet sharp-tasting alcoholic drink whatever it was.
"Hmm, delicious." She spoke aloud, softly. Again to herself. Not only was the taste delicious, it was smooth. Intoxicating.
Nikki couldn't be called a connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but it most definitely couldn't be the corner-liquor-store variety of wine, she thought.
"So that's what the good stuff tastes like, huh? I'd better be careful. I'll be dancing on the tabletops if I drink too much of this stuff." Yet she took another sip.
She found herself swaying lightly to the music as the band started up. She'd never been a fan of live bands, but her friend and cubicle mate, Tony Morales, had informed her this one was on point. He'd in fact heard the group perform at many area clubs, both straight and gay.
She smiled, thinking of Tony. Most of the time his information was gotten via the Tony connect, which was what he called his gossip trail, but this time he put the special Tony connect guarantee on it.
"The bomb dot, tic, mami! And those tight little black leather jeans the lead singer wears mmm. Caliente! Yeah, mami, you are most def in for a treat!"
As Tony considered himself an aficionado of all things club, she figured he knew what he was talking about. She had been disappointed when Tony had informed her he wouldn't be attending, but really, she shouldn't be. As much as she liked Tony, she would be crazy embarrassed if her friend knew what she wanted tonight and more so if the night went as she planned.
Best to keep some things on the down-low, she thought, her body swaying lightly to the beat. They began to transition from the opening song to an even more upbeat one and Nikki nodded absently as they began to sing a popular hip-hop tune, the catchy beat and tight lyrics immediately recognizable.
Tony was right. Not too bad, she thought as the group began to encourage the partygoers to get to their feet and dance to the music. Although it was still fairly early in the evening, the party room, which was a sectioned-off area of the one of the hotel's ballrooms, was already packed and an impressive number of her colleagues shuffled to the dance floor.
She brought the fluted glass to her lips again and drank as she surveyed the crowd.
Nikki rarely danced in public. Despite the moodaltering effects of the smooth-tasting wine, or champagne, or whatever it was she was drinking, it hadn't yet given her the courage to approach the dance floor.
She knew she needed to be careful with her drinking. She hadn't gotten around to eating the entire day, unless you counted the one Thin Mints cookie she'd gleefully found at the bottom of her backpack and devoured in less time than it took to snag it from the wrinkled plastic bag.
After pulling an all-nighter of editing a paper for her last graduate design course, she'd barely had time to take a quick shower before rushing to work, much less grab a bite to eat.
Nikki's stomach growled and she glanced around, looking for a waiter carrying a plate of hors d'oeuvres. She needed crackers, chips something. The music was pounding and the beat was intoxicating, yet she stifled a yawn.
To say she was tired from a few nights of only getting three to four hours of sleep had to be the understatement of the year. She shook her head and blew out a breath, determined that she would enjoy the night and keep to the plan. She glanced around to see if the object of said plan was in attendance.
She felt a rush of disappointment at the same time that her stomach growled again. She needed to eat something quickly and shake off the fatigue from a demanding day.
Exhausted, she'd rushed to work hoping it would be a light day at MagHard Interior Design, the company she worked for on a part-time basis. After learning that Tony was going to be in after lunch, she'd concluded that she was going to have to work twice as hard. In half the time. She'd swallowed down an angry sigh of irritation. She'd do what she had to do, since there was a deadline assigned to their project.
That didn't mean she had to like it. She'd muttered and complained to no one in particular but done the work in the end, barely able to keep a pleasant disposition as she did so. Since she wanted to get hired as a designer with the company and transfer out of the accounting department, she needed to be seen as reliable.
Absently she continued her search for some type of sustenance from one of the floating waiters. "Where's a food platter when you need one?" she grumbled.
She felt a frown creep on her face and quickly erased it, vowing to stay calm. She was here to have fun. Just chill, relax and enjoy. No stress and possibly get a little sex.
Nikki blushed as the thought crossed her mind, but she firmed her spine and tossed her hair back over a shoulder.
She did a quick check around to see if anyone was watching her talk to herself and drink like a soldier on leave. The talking to herself was her normal routine, but the drinking wasn't, outside of the occasional glass at bedtime to help her relax enough to go to sleep.
She finished off the drink and felt warmth in her belly soothe the grumbling. Food would have to wait, she thought.
When a waiter glided by her, balancing a smoky mirrored platter topped with filled glasses on his shoulder, Nikki snagged a second flute quickly and, with a small smile, placed the empty one in its place.
Her glance ran over him as she took a sip and lifted a brow at his reaction.
The tall, blond, handsome young waiter smiled back at her, offering a dazzling display of his pearly whites and nearly crashed into another waiter who was also staring at Nikki.
In direct contrast to his blond counterpart, this one was dark, the color of espresso with light brown eyes and a smile that nearly made her drop the glass of wine. The man looked so good.
Hmm, hmm, hmm fine, fine, to-the-nth-degree fine, she thought, running her gaze over him from head to toe. From the top of his jet-black, hip-length locs, secured at the back of his head with a leather wrap, to his muscled body that the uniform in no way hid, he was superb.
"Hmm. Lord have mercy," she said, a smile growing on her face.
It grew until her face ached, her confidence boosted to the max by the attention and near collision of the two handsome waiters.
Not only had her confidence increased from the near accident, but she knew some of her coworkers had noticed as well, and that made her feel good. Damn good, Nikki thought, and ran her fingers through her curls.
She took another sip of the sparkling drink, then began to feel the mellowing effect caused by the subtle but potent champagne. This has to be champagne, she thought.
She ran a hand over her hip, smoothing the booty-hugging, designer-knockoff dress down over her slim but curvy thighs, the hem stopping several inches from her knee.
Although the dress was a knockoff, she knew it not only looked like the real deal, but she was rocking the hell out of it.
Nikki smoothed the dress down again. The move was completely conscious. The hem of the dress hit her midthigh, and although she knew she looked good in it, she was still, truth be told, just the smallest bit uncomfortable, as it wasn't her normal modus operandi, so to speak, when she dressed.
When she felt her hands inching toward the hem again, she stopped herself before she started tugging it farther down.
Mental-check time: she had come to the party to have fun, be sexy and, if only for one night, operate under a different set of rules. The sort of rules where she threw caution to the wind and let her hair down, both literally and figuratively.
She found a tall table with an available bar stool, so she took a seat. Glancing around, she noticed George from accounting, who was eyeing her boobs like they were manna from heaven.
The creep. She suppressed a shiver.
Nikki knew he eyed any woman under the age of seventy like that. In fact, last week she'd caught his creepy ass eyeing Ms. Burke, the elderly housekeeper who cleaned the offices during the evening.
She shuddered and ignored him, barely hiding her laugh when his wife caught him staring, and without missing a beat in her conversation, reached a hand out and slapped him upside his head.
Although George's wife missed full-on connection, her handwhich was probably as large as any man's, since she stood six feet tall in stocking feetglanced the side of his face as he ducked the blow.
Shamed, his pale face flamed with color as he swiftly rushed toward the bar to refill his drink. His wife continued to talk with one of the ladies from accounting as though the incident had never occurred.
Nikki shifted her focus and turned around to survey the room.
She remembered the rules. Her rules, unique ones she'd decided would dictate her actions and deeds tonight.
In other words, she planned to not only have fun, but she was going to do something or at least attempt to do something she'd never done before.
Pick up a man.
But not just any man, she thought, tapping the table with her nails. She was going to be a different creature than she normally was. If only for one night.
She turned around to check out the growing crowd at the office party. Although this was her second year with MagHard Interior Design, this was the first time she'd attended their office party, and what an event it was.
She swayed slightly to the beat as she analyzed the guests, casually, so that just in case anyone was watching her, they weren't aware that she was looking for someone.
Fred and Ginger were just a few feet away, heads down, faces close together deep in conversation.
She covered her face and giggled really, she needed to quit calling the pair Fred and Ginger, but everyone in the company did after the last holiday party. She had just started and hadn't felt comfortable attending, but she'd been privy to the gossip for weeks afterward.
That party had been small, much smaller than this year's extravagant affair, and had taken place in the office. Fred and Ginger, aka Bill and Esther, had both gotten so drunk they'd started dancing around the office, cranking up the music on the small iPod player, performing various numbers. From John Travolta's moves in Saturday Night Fever to a painful-to-watch rendition of Dirty Dancing, the two had danced as though there was no tomorrow.
Their last dance had, unfortunately, been their last performance of the night. Ginger had leaped onto the desk and slid into a full split, dress above her thick thighs, a smug expression on her round face a feat that Nikki had to give praise to the woman for, as Ginger was by no means a small woman.
Demonstrating surprising agility, she'd gotten to her feet and then attempted to perform a tuck and spin that would have her landing into Fred's arms.
Despite the laws of physics seeming not to be on her side, the stunt might have worked, had Ginger not been so much bigger than Fred.
The paramedics had been called.
"But at least they had fun! And now look at them," Nikki said and giggled softly to herself. Before last year's party, the self-proclaimed nerds had been too bashful to talk to the other. But since returning from the ER, bandaged and bruised, the now inseparable lovebirds had been just about joined at the hip.
They would be celebrating their upcoming nuptials in the spring.
Nikki sighed, thinking of her own love life. It wasn't like she was jealous of Fred and Gingernothing like thatbut she had come to terms with the fact that it might be a while a long while before she found her Mr. Right. Which was why she'd decided that Mr. Right Now would do.
Between school and the job, she had zero to no time for anything serious. The problem was that she was, well horny.
She felt her cheeks heat, but truth was truth.
She hadn't had good dick in. She frowned, trying to remember the last time she had.
"That is so sad," she mumbled to herself, and took another sip.
Nikki squared her shoulders. She had never been the type of woman to have sex for the sake of it, but she had needs. And those needs had cobwebs on them. It had been so long since they'd been fulfilled.
Oh, well, what the heck. 'Twas the season to be merry and all that, she thought, and brought the flute to her mouth.
Deciding she needed a healthy dose of courage, she downed the champagne in one swallow and started coughing. Slow down slow down, she cautioned herself. The night was young and she was in need. And as she waited for the one she'd set her sights on to help clean her cobwebs out, she didn't need a trip to the doctor because of choking.
Damn. So much for trying to be cute, she thought as she tried to clear her throat of the liquid that seemed to have gone down the wrong pipe.
A nearby waitress quickly came to her rescue and thumped her so hard on the back she nearly pitched forward onto the table. She held up a hand and signaled the woman to stop her rigorous pounding. Then she handed the energetic waitress her empty flute after mumbling,
"I'm fine, thanks."
Nikki hazarded a guess the woman was simply trying to help, but something told her that the waitress was well aware that all that hard thumping had not been necessary. Nikki had caught the waitress checking out one of the waiters who'd been watching her during the collision. Not a worry. As fine as both waiters had been, neither one was on her menu for the night.
She grew impatient after checking the clock. She chewed her bottom lip. It was still early, but it seemed the entire staff of MagHard Interior Design had shown up tonight, and apparently had brought guests, as they'd been invited to do. The office party had grown into an all-out holiday ball, she thought. There were plenty of men in attendance, and Nikki knew she'd caught the eyes of several.
And she could probably pick one to help her out of her situation.
But she didn't want just anyone.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I bought the book for one author and loved all three stories. I will buy from any of these authors.
'Twas the Season - Nikki Danes is generally not the kind of woman for a one-night stand, but she has NEEDS. And her needs have cobwebs on them. So she decides to use the company holiday party to pursue gorgeous temp office manager Max Hardaway (could there be a more porntastic name?). I alternately loved and got ticked off by this story. I'm kinda over the little bitty sexpot woman with the big muscular guy thing. However, the author made me bust out laughing more than once,and the sex is steamy good, so... overall it's a win. Mistletoe in Memphis - Essence Sinclair, lush vibrant caterer and reality show star, both entices and repels exec Lincoln Davenport, who it seems has a stick permanently implanted up his nether parts. She came recommended by his receptionist (her best friend) and his board of directors has directed him to "do" Christmas and mingle with clients and contacts, little as he likes it. Lincoln is somewhat problematic for me: he's got an exact list of what he demands Essence serve to his guests, he freaks out when Essence decorates the party area, and when overcome with jealousy/irritation, he BERATES her at the conclusion of a very successful party. While lust/love seems to overcome his anal tendencies, and these two enjoy one of the hottest sex scenes in this collection, I've been there, dated that. When the honeymoon period wears off, those types tend to be just as (if not more) critical, controlling, and obnoxious, so I simply couldn't root for this couple with a whole heart; I wanted to scream at Essence to run fast, in the opposite direction. But if you've never known one of "them" IRL, you will probably love this story. Second-Chance Christmas - Having had her teen heart thoroughly smashed to bits, Ayana Taylor is determined to keep it - and herself - as far away from her first love Jackson Richards as possible. Not so easy to do at her brother's wedding, when Jax is lined up as best man. And when Ayana's brother plays runaway groom, they are thrown together to find him, and then the smoldering attraction between them threatens to burn them up despite the snow. I loved that all these women (and men) were (relatively) successful businesswomen, assertive and unafraid to pursue what they wanted in life, be that a career or a lover. The men were suitably hot; the Christmas elements well done, and the sex scenes deliciously brought to happy climaxes. Don't wait for Santa - put it in your own stocking, for your holiday reading pleasure.
Great story,slow first few pages ,but it gets really good, frist time reading her book.
It was an ok read