A #free story and a massive giveaway for a $70 Amazon voucher and more!
Christmas now? Oh yes!
All the Harper Impulse Written Fireside writers are gathering about our virtual fire again, only this time, we are playing the game a little differently.
Lori Connelly ran a competition through Harper Impulse – an imprint of Harper Collins – in June to find a paragraph to start us all off with our own individual stories, here’s the winner…
‘Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely ‘nice’. This year she had broken Daniel’s heart into a million tiny pieces, so ‘naughty’ seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon.’
by Georgia Beyers
So in August we will be sharing our stories, or teasers, on our blogs and then all the stories will be published in an anthology in time for Christmas. Plus, there is a massive competition running to support it all the way through August.
Fifteen authors, fifteen stories.
One shared, starting paragraph…
Here is the second part of my story
All I want for Christmas… cuddle up by the fire
by Jane Lark© Publishing rights owned by Harper Impulse
Part one ~ FATE
Part Two ~ WILL WE…
The drive up was crazy. It was a bit like sitting on Space Mountain and waiting for the rocket to fire. I’d given up dull life with Daniel to seek a heart pounding life––jumping in my hot boss’s jag, and driving four hours up north, to spend a weekend alone in an isolated cottage on Christmas Eve fitted the bill.
Shit I’d used that word. What would the penance be if he knew?
His hand gripped on the gear stick and shifted it up. “I need a coffee and this is the last services before we hit the hills, we’re only forty-five minutes away from the cottage but I need a break.”
He’d put Black Eyed Peas on as we’d left London, and turned the speakers up, and then we’d worked our way through, Ed Sheeran, One Republic, Snow Patrol, and The Script, and now we’d moved on to Coldplay.
He’d sung along, and I’d sung along. Carrick had always been a fun boss; he kept stuff light in the office, he was a joker, a come-on-guys-we-can-do-this person, not a stop-talking-and-get-on-with-it slave driver. But he’d never been this much fun in the office, we’d sung lines from the songs at full pitch. Drowning out Christmas from our minds.
Shit I’d used that word again––I wish I knew what the penance would be.
He had charm. This was the player in him.
He pulled into a parking place in the services, cut the engine and looked over at me with a smile. “Pull the hood of your sweat top up, so you don’t have to look at any…” his eyebrows lifted and a smile cut across his beautiful face as he left the word out, “…decorations.”
I laughed and flicked it up, I’d changed into casual clothes when I’d packed, I just had jeans a loose top and a sweat top on now.
When I came out of the loos, he was waiting for me. “We’ll avoid the main hall, and go to the Costa by the door. It’s getting hard not to see this stuff.” When he walked up to the counter he pointed at a sign by the till. “Can you take that down for a minute? We’re avoiding the ‘C’ word shit.”
The guy behind the counter gave him a weird look but did. But when the woman barrister set the to-go coffees on the side, she said, “Hap-”
“Don’t say that word! Not everyone is happy about it!” Bitterness burned his tone, but I laughed. He was hamming it up for me.
“What are you Scrooge!” The woman made a face.
We picked up our coffees and walked out laughing.
“Do you think we offended her?”
“Yeah, but who gives shit, they can’t force the day on us. It’s just a day.”
We headed towards the Jag. “Are you really a scrooge? Have you always hated this time of year?”
He looked over, his closed smile twisting. Shit the more time I spent with him, the deeper I fell in lust with the guy. He’d been on a can’t-touch list forever––it gave him a forbidden edge… it twisted in my tummy.
Now I was listed as naughty… all rules were off.
For Christmas anyway.
That would have been three forfeits.
I sipped my coffee. What would the forfeits be?
“You didn’t answer. Have you always hated Christmas?”
“That’s a penance.” He did an exaggerated eye roll at me, but smiled. “No. Just this year, and for saying that, at some point this weekend, I am going to tie your hands up.”
Shit, a hard burst of lust ripped through my middle. “Do you like kinky sex?”
He leaned forward, the look in his eyes and his smile bone melting. “No, Charlotte, I like it really twisted.”
“Shit, you are such a player. I am not even going to think about what you get up to in your office when we get back to work.”
He leaned back, laughing. ”You know what I got up to, not much. It has glass walls.” He drank the last of his coffee. “Come on, let’s get out of here and get to the cottage.”
He’d got into my veins, like a drug. I could see why girls fell for players, he was the purest antidote to Daniel’s dullness.
I didn’t blame Sharon for giving up on him––but, I just wanted some heart-pounding escapism, his promiscuity didn’t bother me.
It was really dark when Carrick drove through the narrow roads of the Lake District. I’d never been here before but oh my God, it was like something out of Lord of the Rings; gnarly woods, broad glass like lakes, rugged snow topped mountains, twisty narrow roads, and little whitewashed cottages. “This place is amazing!”
“I know; it’s picture postcard stuff. I always feel awed up here. I used to bring Sharon when London got too noisy. You know what I mean…”
“Sort of, only I’ve never had anywhere to run off to.”
He flicked his indicator on and turned off onto a track which ran across a field. “This is the driveway to the cottage.”
“It is out in the sticks.”
He glanced at me and smiled.
Then I saw it––nestled at the foot of a mountain, a two storey, slate-roofed, white-washed, squat, perfectly picturesque, little cottage. “That is awesome.”
He glanced at me. “Isn’t it? I love it. But it was never Sharon’s thing.”
“Oh my God, it’s my thing. This place is so cool.” My words came out breathless as he pulled up in front of an amazing old fashioned, charming little porch. It had two gas lamps flickering either side of it.
Someone had left a light on inside too.
He got out of the Jag and stretched. When he turned to me his shoulders had dropped like he’d dumped the weight of work in the car. “I wouldn’t have come up here on my own. Thanks for saying, yes.”
Space Mountain fired up and I was in orbit, racing around a roller-coaster track, screaming. Was I really doing this? Giving up nice and just going all-in naughty.
“I’ll get our stuff. You go in.” He threw the jag keys at me. I caught them. “There should be wine and food in the fridge.”
There was also a bare fir tree in one corner of the living room.
When he came in behind me, I turned. “You forgot to tell whoever brought the food you aren’t doing Christmas.”
His smile twisted with a bitter look, but then the he leaned a little forward. “That’s a blindfold.”
I laughed and smacked his arm.
“You check out the fridge. I’ll put the cases upstairs?”
I avoided asking which room he’d be putting my case in? His?
“Can you rustle something up and get out some champagne.” The stairs came down into the living room so I could see his athletic, muscular legs and his ass moving as he walked up them.
I turned to the kitchen. I was hungry. Ravenous actually.
Daniel would be playing a dull game of charades with our parents probably… Go him, he could keep nice.
I found caviar, smoked salmon moose, prawns, salad stuff and chicken in the fridge, along with a dozen varieties of local cheese. Carrick knew how to eat well. Problem was I didn’t, I took out some cheddar, found the bread and started making grilled cheese on toast.
“What have we got?”
He’d taken off his leather jacket and wore a loose long sleeved top, with his dark jeans.
He looked sexy, so sexy my stomach did a back flip. He’d never affected me like this at work. But maybe that was because I’d classed him as untouchable.
“Sorry, I don’t know what to do with your posh food.”
“Toasted cheese is good. It was Sharon who was into all that sort of food, I haven’t told the woman who manages this place that we’ve split. I’ll get the fire going then I’ll open the champagne…”
What the hell was happening to me? Who was I?
We’d pulled the cushions off the sofas and thrown them on the floor in front of the fire––an open grate which was set back in a wide ingle nook fireplace. Flames blazed through the logs sending flickering light about the room. The only other light we had was from a thick old candle which stood on the stone flagged floor.
For the last hour we’d been talking.
About stupid stuff.
We’d taken turns to pick topics. It didn’t feel like ‘C’ at all, despite the fact that I could smell the fir tree.
I was getting very drunk.
I’d never liked champagne, but his champagne––chosen by Sharon––was good.
I should feel sorry for her. I didn’t. I wanted to be naughty.
“Carrick, did you just invite me up here to talk. It was a long way to come for a conversation and––” I was drunk. “You promised me tying up, and a blindfold.”
The guy laughed and his washboard belly stirred beneath my head. That had been my pillow for half an hour. His fingers pulled out my hair tie. Then combed through my hair.
He was laying on his back, propped up on the scatter cushions, with his legs stretched out.
“What will Daniel be doing?”
I sat up and turned, kneeling and looking down at him. “I don’t give a shit. Something really boring.”
“Sharon will be in a club somewhere, sweaty and laughing …”
“Is that where you’d have been?”
“Yeah? Would you prefer to be in a club?”
“No, I’m not the clubbing type, I’m the thrills type, but not with noise. I’ve been playing chameleon for years though and I want to change colour.”
A twisted smile shifted his lips. “Do you like rock climbing?”
Was he kidding? “I’ve never done it, but I’m scared of heights.”
“That’ll get your heart racing for sure then. That’s what I like to do up here, to keep fit. Sharon was never into it, you can try it with me if you want. Believe me, it’s pretty awesome clinging to a rock with a bird’s eyes view, no tourists, just silence and stone.”
“Thanks for showing me depths I never knew you had, but I came up here to enjoy your shallowness.”
“I thought you came up here, to avoid being home alone for––”
My fingers covered his lips. “Uh uh, don’t say the C––”
He grabbed my hand and toppled me backwards. I fell over laughing, our legs all tangled up.
When I stopped laughing, my heart rate went manic.
His hand covered my breast over my sweater and his mouth came down on mine.
I gripped his shoulders as desire charged through my blood, whizzing around like zippy fireworks.
If it was stupid to do this with my boss. I didn’t care? I’d get a new job! This was exciting!
He could kiss good… Better than Daniel.
Because he’s a player, he’d done it with loads of girls.
That didn’t put me off, I wanted to know what an experienced guy was like in bed. Daniel had always been a little clumsy.
His hand kneaded my breast through my sweater. He had long slender fingers.
His tongue slipped into my mouth.
Expectation already had me panting, he didn’t need to do anymore to turn me on.
He broke the kiss. “Are you really up for this, you seem a little distracted.”
I nodded like an idiot. “Yes…”
He smiled. “Do you want to stay down here, or go upstairs?”
“Let’s stay down here by the fire… It’s kind of cool, and I’ve never done it before a fire before.” I laughed. “Who is this girl who’s taken me over…”
“I don’t know, Charlotte, but I like her.” His blue eyes held my gaze. His fingers freed the button on my jeans then slid the zip down.
“You’re making my belly go weird.”
“As good as being up-high.”
“Better than being up-high… I’m not afraid…”
“Good.” His hand slid into my jeans.
I shut my eyes. Awesome.
“Let’s make this easy and get rid of our clothes.” His heavy pitch rumbled against my neck.
Carrick knelt up and stripped off his long sleeved top, he had nothing on under it.
I reached out and touched a finger on his abs, “Tsss,” making a sound like he sizzled. “Hot!”
He laughed. “Get your clothes off.”
“The fire and the candle are romantic, I’m not. Strip!”
I peeled my sweater and top off. It was warm in front of the fire and I smelt a little sweaty.
As I shimmied off my jeans, he unbuttoned his. He had nothing on under them either. The player.
“You wear thongs. I never guessed. Seriously that was a wise decision for you to split with Daniel, from what I saw of the guy, he wouldn’t have a clue how to look after a girl who likes thongs.”
I laughed as I finished shimmying off my tight jeans.
“And stay-up stockings… Are you trying to kill me, I hope you don’t expect me to be able to ever talk sense to you at work again. My brain will be picturing everything underneath your clothes.”
“I didn’t have time to change my underwear.”
“Now I am dying. You really wear this shit at work. A purple lacy bra and thong and stockings… Charlotte, if I had known I’d have come here with you the week you started.”
I shouldn’t be laughing at that.
But I was joining the players––that was my… not saying it… present to myself. Being really naughty for once in my life.
His long fingers rolled down one stocking. Tremors raced through my blood.
I liked being naughty.
He tossed it away. But he held on to the second one as he stood and took off his jeans.
Carrick dropped down onto his knees on the sofa cushion, a dark silhouette in the orange light thrown by the fire, gripped my ankles and pulled my legs apart, then slid me down to him.
“Tying first I think.”
Shit, my belly did a full tumble as he leaned over me and gripped my wrists, then he tied them with my stocking.
With my wrists tied above my head, he kissed my lips.
“I don’t know whether to take these off or not…” His hot breath brushed over my lips as his hand rubbed over my thong.
Then his whole body moved down, and he bit me down there.
“You said you didn’t want dull.”
“I don’t want dull, I was just shocked.”
He sucked me, through the satin, for a moment, then his finger slipped around the side of it, as his thumb skimmed over it.
One hand rested near my hips while his other played with me. Then his mouth came down half over the satin and half not, his tongue crept around it.
He was killing me now… My heart didn’t race, it thundered a crazy base beat, as heat burned under my skin.
Experience showed. Garrick knew what he was doing.
My fingers ran over his skin, through his hair and across the slender muscles in his arms as my toes gripped at the skin on his back.
I came, easily, in minutes, for his fingers and his tongue, but he didn’t stop, he waited until I came again, and then it was like having my face slammed up against a windscreen as he rose up, stripped off my thong and pushed into me.
Oh my God. The guy was pure ecstasy.
Sorry Santa, I am giving up nice for life.
Sorry, you are going to have to be patient for part three and download the Christmas #Free ebook 😉 to read
Sorry, you are going to have to be patient for part three and download the Christams #free ebook 😉 to read. (BUT check out the sale prices on Just You)
Part Three ~ THE REAL CARRICK
but here is a taster…
I opened my eyes. Charlotte was still asleep. Our legs were tangled together and her hand rested idly on my abs.
She’d wanted heart racing––I’d given her that and she’d given me a night of escape.
The room was cold. The fire had burned down to embers. One of Charlotte’s stockings hung in the fir tree, it slid off and fell among the ashes around the hearth as I untangled myself.
“Perfect timing,” she whispered, stirring. “That’s Santa’s judgement.”
Humour stirred in my chest. I was down today, but it was pretty cool having Charlotte here, and Charlotte in a naughty mood––awesome.
“Don’t you dare say that swear word.” I covered her mouth. She laughed beneath my hand.
Sod getting up. I bent over to kiss her.
“It’s cold and I need the loo, Carrick.”
“And I’m hungry anyway, I’ll get you breakfast, seeing as you can’t handle the posh food. You can go shower. Your case is in my room, but don’t come back with too many clothes on. I am going to get that fire going again.”
She laughed and scrambled out from underneath me. I got up and grabbed my jeans as she ran upstairs.
The girl looked pretty good––and she was nothing like Sharon… I’d always noticed her at work but my staff had been untouchable––this had felt like fate though.
I’d been driving back from work, wondering what the hell to do with myself over the holidays, then there was Charlotte, alone, wet, and wondering the same.
I got eggs, smoked salmon, dill and cheese out for breakfast, to make a salmon omelette. I put the kettle on too, then spooned fresh coffee into the cafetiere.
I looked at my phone, turmoil rioting in my guts. I wanted to call. Just a quick call. If she shut me down, then she shut me down…
I picked the phone up, slid up her details then touched the icon.
It rang five times, I was going to hang up, but––“Carrick?”
“Hey, can I speak to her?”
“What’s up with you?”
“You, maybe, I want to speak to her.”
But while you are waiting…
Why not read some of the other stories, some are told in full, and enter our competition for a load of awesome #free stuff donated by the Harper Impulse authors, including a $70 Amazon voucher! and to read all their #free stories click on the frog below to find all the links.
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