I'm so thrilled to announce the release of my just-in-time-for-Christmas story, Yuletide Fire. I fell in love with Gabe and Maxine as I wrote this story and I hope you will too.
So just to get you in the mood for Christmas, here's an excerpt from the book.
Yuletide Fire by Nyla Rose
Excerpt (Adult rating!)
When the large art deco house came into view, Maxine swallowed and wondered again if she was doing the right thing. It didn’t feel right to be celebrating Christmas with her best friend and his family when Grandpa was on his own.
The cab drew to a halt. Before she’d gathered her purse to get out, the door to the house opened and Gabe came striding down the shallow steps. Her stomach flipped her heart into her throat.
Dressed in another torso-hugging woolen sweater over an equally tight pair of dark blue jeans, he looked breathtaking. She averted her gaze under the pretext of fishing out her purse to pay the driver.
“Here, let me.” He pulled out his wallet.
Irritation at the turbulent feelings he invoked so easily made her snap, “I think I can afford cab fare, Gabe. I’m not on the breadline yet.”
He eyed her with a stern look, which no doubt made witnesses on his courtroom stand cower in fear. “You’re here at my invitation. I’ll pay for the cab.”
“No, I chose to come, so I’ll pay—”
“Tell you what, if you can’t decide who should pay me, I’m happy to take double payment,” said the driver.
Bemused, they turned to stare at him. He grinned with unrepentant mirth. Gabe glanced to her, his brow cocked.
“You can let me pay, we can pay him double or we can go halves. What d'you say?”
“Halves it is, then,” she grudgingly agreed.
“Yeah, I thought you might go for that,” he murmured. She handed over her half with a tip for the driver, thanked him and started up the path.
He stalled her with a hand on her arm. “What was that all about?” He frowned down at her.
Since she couldn’t tell him he unsettled her, made her do things, feel things she had no business feeling, all just by being close to her, she returned his puzzled stare and kept her mouth shut. When he continued to stare, she cleared her throat.
“What do you mean?” she asked to buy more time.
“Asserting your independence like that. Surely, I’m not the first guy to offer to pay for your cab fare?” Now a smoldering heat had joined the puzzled look, sending her heart tripping all over again.
“No, you’re not. But haven’t you heard of a woman’s prerogative? If I want to pay for my own cab fare, I’ll damn well pay for it, all right?”
He stepped closer, bringing stinging body heat to warm up the frigid temperature around them. She tilted her head, the better to see him and stopped breathing altogether when his mouth lowered to hover over hers. “I don’t remember this side of you five years ago. Back then you were happy for me to take all the control,” he rasped softly, his breath warming her cheek.
“Five years is a long time, Gabe. A lot has happened since we last met.”
His arms dropped, gaze cooling. “Yes, I heard. You even got engaged, didn’t you? That sure as hell took me by surprise.” He gave a harsh laugh.
Surprise rocketed through her. “Will told you?”
“Of course he did. You’re his best friend. He talks about you quite a lot. What you’re doing, who you’re doing.” Was that a clenched jaw just then? She could’ve sworn it was. “But I gather you’re no longer engaged?” He raised dark brows.
“You think I’d agree to sleep with you if I was involved with another guy?” His implied insult stung deep.
He shrugged, the movement drawing her attention to the width and strength of the muscle beneath his sweater. “You won’t be the first or last woman to indulge in a pre-marital affair.”
She drew back from him, the urge to slap his face setting her fingers tingling. The corner of his mouth lifted in a mocking smile.
“I’d curb the urge to clock me one, if I were you. My dad’s watching like a keen spectator from the window. I don’t know how he’ll react to his son being walloped by a feisty, horny female. He might rush out to wrestle you down.”
“Humph. Give me a prize more like,” she snapped, before glancing over her shoulder to see the curtain twitched back into place. Heat washed over her face. “And I’m not horny.”
“I tell you what,” he murmured, as they neared the front door. “You come in and have some mulled wine or eggnog. Keep the temper on the back burner for later, when we’re alone. Then you can unleash it all on me, all right?”
The reminder of what the night held in store sent a hot wave of need crashing over her. “What makes you think I’ll turn up tonight after what you said?”
The door opened as Gabe’s foot hit the first step. Pulling her close, he murmured, “Because your pupils are dilated with lust, your nipples are rock hard, and right now, I bet if I slipped my hand between your thighs, I’d feel your deliciously wet clit.”
Her helpless shudder transmitted straight to the hand he’d placed on her back, ostensibly to guide her into the house. His satisfied smile told her he’d scored a bull’s-eye. The mischievous glint told her he knew she couldn’t answer him back. His father stood in front of them, holding the door open with a warm smile.