Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsay, Katie Lane
Small Town Christmas
Kissing Santa Claus by
“Merry Christmas,” Sandy Jansen murmured to herself, staring in her office mirror. She closed her eyes, trying to avoid the sadness in her own reflection. She loved Christmas, loved the decorations, loved the festivities, loved the joy of the entire season, but this year that joy was sorely lacking.
It had been for five months, ever since the day she’d watched Logan Perrish’s very fine ass walk out of her life.
It was silly because she’d known he was just a fling. Hell, it’d even been her idea. But she hadn’t known that she’d miss the NASCAR star as much as she had.
Or that all these months later, she’d still remember his smile, his warm, dark eyes, how she’d melted at the sight of him. And when he’d touched her… well. She’d gone up in flames for him, all of her, including her damn heart.
Sandy opened her eyes but didn’t meet her own gaze again. Instead she looked at the rest of her. As the town clerk of Lucky Harbor, she’d come to the annual employee Christmas cocktail party in a cute little red dress, her “holiday” dress, which never failed to cheer her up. Being all of five foot two was a bit of a problem, but her four- inch Manolo knockoffs helped.
From outside her office and down the hall, there was only silence. The party had emptied out, leaving her alone in the building. Tomorrow night, Christmas Eve, everyone in town would be here for the annual Christmas parade, which Santa would head up in the same 1972 Buick convertible, aka rust bucket, that they’d been using for years. The evening would culminate at the end of the pier, with all the kids lining up to sit on Santa’s lap so they could whisper their holiday wish.
Sandy’s wish, if anyone had asked, would be that Anderson hadn’t caught the flu so
There was no one else to ask, which panicked Sandy. No one but her… She took her roll of town clerk very seriously, but this… this was going over and above the call of duty. Yet all she could think of was the kids of Lucky Harbor, and how disappointed they’d be without Santa. Dammit. She sighed and took one last look at herself. She did actually look a little bit like Santa, albeit a very short one.
“You, Sandy Jansen,” she told her reflection. “Are a sucker.”
The biggest. And she had a broken heart to prove it. With a sigh, she reached around behind her to unzip the Santa costume, but the zipper wouldn’t budge. She tried again. And then again. “
Karma wasn’t listening. The zipper was stuck.
“Dammit,” she said, and tried again to no avail. “Well, isn’t this just perfect.” With an eye roll, she snatched up her purse and her keys and headed out into the night, hoping a neighbor was still up. But if anyone so much as smiled at this
Santa in drag…
Good thing she was all alone. Except she wasn’t.
The lot was empty but for her rundown Toyota and another car, a convertible BMW.
And leaning against her car as if he belonged there was the cool, sophisticated, gorgeous Logan Perrish, as if she’d conjured him out of her nightly fantasies. Except in her nightly fantasies, he returned her rambling but heartfelt e-mails…
Clearly she was hallucinating. Because no way would karma be so cruel as to stick her in the Santa costume and then produce the man who’d crushed her.
At the low, almost unbearably familiar voice that she’d expected to never hear again, she dropped her keys. To give herself a desperately needed moment, she bent over, and her hat and wig fell off. What were the chances he’d believe she really was Santa?
Dammit! Oh, how she wished she could turn back time. Because then, when she’d gotten that sexy “hey, babe” voice mail message a few days after he’d left, she wouldn’t have then poured her heart out to him via e-mail.
To which he’d never responded…
She scooped up both the hat and the keys and hugged them to her padded belly as she straightened and shook her head wildly. Nope, not Sandy. No Sandy here-
“It is. It’s you,” he murmured, and then laughed.
Which settled it. He’d hurt her
Logan pushed off of Sandy’s car and shook his head. He couldn’t believe it when, through the mist of the frosty night, came a very short, round Santa, wobbling through the lot toward Sandy’s car.
In four-inch FMPs.
It hadn’t been until Santa dropped the hat and wig that he realized he recognized that wavy mass of dark hair. Choking out a laugh, he took a step toward her. His smiled faded when she just stared at him. Her baby blues, usually so soft and warm, were putting out a chill to rival the December night air.
Not exactly the welcome he’d envisioned. And he
“Hey,” he said. “You okay?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
Hmm. That didn’t sound like she was gearing up to throw herself at him at all, much less anything indecent