- Author: Anthology
- Genre:Full-figured Heroines, Holidays, Cowboy & Western, Fantasy & Paranormal, Shapeshifter
- Cover Artist: Laura Givens
Twelve Nights of Christmas by Treva Harte
A younger man literally falls for an older woman. Straight out of a tree. When a snowstorm strands them in her home, not even his concussion can keep 'things' from happening a little too fast for comfort.
Jingle's Belle by Lani Aames
A Christmas elf who has never fit in draws a special assignment to revive a human woman’s Christmas spirit. He has just a week to help her believe, and it's going to take all of his skill and more than a little extra-special Christmas 'magic'.
Santa Claws by MaryJanice Davidson
One wicked Wyndham werewolf on the prowl for a mate. One mouthy, plump American in a Salvation Army suit who smells of ripe peaches and has eyes of the color of Godiva chocolate. After he rescues her from oysters gone bad, she promises to stay the night. He wants her to stay forever.
Nicely Naughty is a revised and reedited version of the previous release Naughty but Nice.
“People do pay me for what I create with computers.” Rome looked at her. “Don’t tell me you haven't heard something about me in town.”
“Just a little. Just today.” She smiled again. “I hoped you might offer some expertise.”
“Darling, I can offer all kinds of expertise.” He stopped talking. Rome knew he was implying more than he could safely promise.
But his body was damn near humming with anticipation. And Mari didn't seem either angry or afraid. This might be the right time. Rome tried breathing through his nose, deeply. Now or never.
“Um… excuse me.” He saw Mari staring as he bolted out of the kitchen. But if he could just get his hand on one, just one, of those damn manuals he’d bought, he could kick things off with some confidence. And maybe not pass out.
What had she done? Mari stood up and turned the squealing tea kettle off. One minute, he had been standing over her, giving her goosebumps with how intent he seemed, and the next, he had charged out of the room like she had rabies.
Mari poured the hot chocolate mix into the mugs and carefully stirred the hot water in. He didn’t like people to ask about his work with computers? She still didn't know what he did. Had she been too obvious when she sat there, waiting for him? Mari made a face at her flannel robe. Maybe she hadn’t been obvious enough? There was no nightgown underneath her bathrobe, but they hadn’t gotten far enough for Rome to see that. Now it was too cold to strip down unless she was under the covers with some extra male body warmth. And there was no extra male body warmth in sight.
Mari lingeringly drank the hot chocolate. She finished the mug and put it down a bit forcefully on the kitchen counter. Fine. She’d leave. She wasn't going to bother to clean up after. Let there be sticky hot chocolate around. Let there be dark rings left on the counter. Rome didn’t care. To hell with--
“Marigold?” The voice was a little hoarse.
He was back but he was too late. Now she was ready to kill.
“What?” she asked, not too pleasantly. “Your chocolate is cold.”
“But I’m not.” Rome walked toward her, his eyes fixed on hers. He put his hands on her shoulders. “Just tell me if I do anything you don’t like. Please.”
He bent down and began to nuzzle at the V of her robe. The robe parted easily.
“What?” she asked again, stunned.
“Because I want to do everything to you. Anything. Anything you want.” She walked backward, wondering if this was another one of her dreams. She’d been dreaming of Rome a lot. He followed her, stopping her flight so that his tongue could flick at her breasts and nipples, his breathing harsh in the quiet kitchen. She let her head fall back for a moment, savoring the pleasure, and then took another step back.
The hard chair that she fell into, making her sit down abruptly, felt real.
Rome smiled at her. She thought the smile looked a little strained but didn't have time to think anything more when he got down on his knees before her and pushed the robe even further aside.
Thank God she hadn’t worn anything underneath. His tongue was lapping against her thighs, up higher and higher yet. She squirmed. He hadn’t even gotten close yet, and Mari heard herself let out one little whimper.
He looked up then, startled.
“Is it all right?”
“Not yet.” Mari spread open those lips that were dying for attention. His eyes rested on them as if he couldn’t stop. “But if you keep going, it will be.”
“OK.” That wasn’t eloquent, but soon he was using his tongue very effectively. He was at first tentative, as if to see what she wanted. Mari forgot restraint and pride. She’d been burning up for this man for days. She told him in whimpers and gestures and sometimes words. Rome soon stopped being tentative.
Yes. His tongue was hot against her cunt, and she could feel her wetness mingling with his tongue’s. Sensations danced from her clit and twisted up into the rest of her body. When had she last felt this way? It had been so long, too long. She needed…
His teeth tugged a little, making her shudder.
“I need more!” Mari wailed, knowing she was near shattering but not close enough. “Please! Oh, Rome, please come inside!”
He hesitated again, looking up, his eyes dilated almost the way she’d feared they might be when she checked him that first night.
“Oh, God! I’m not going to hurt you, am I?” Mari asked almost incoherently. “I have to feel you; I need you to fill me--”
When had she begged like this? She must have a long time ago, before Chet told her he didn't want a slut but a wife. Rome’s finger brushed against her clit while he seemed to ponder whether she’d pleaded enough for her release.
“I want your cock, Rome. In me, stretching me… I can't come until I feel it!” Mari wailed in earnest.
“No, Mari. Not yet. But I’ll take care of it--”
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Bel poured over her mother’s handwritten recipes. As soon as she saw the recipe for Sugar Sandwich Cookies, with a sinfully rich cream cheese filling, she remembered her mother baking them every Christmas. They were the ones she’d most often left out for Santa. If they used ready-made sugar cookie dough instead of mixing their own, they might actually be able to prepare the number of cookies Jingle had promised. A sprinkling of red and green sugar would help disguise they weren’t homemade.
When they returned from the supermarket, after creating another big dent in her California Dreamin’ Fund, Bel started opening a roll of cookie dough.
Jingle frowned. “This isn’t how Mrs. Claus makes cookies. She mixes flour, butter, and cream and makes dough. Then--”
“Jingle,” Bel interrupted sharply. “Is Mrs. Claus here now?”
He shook his head, his long, glossy hair shimmering over his shoulders. Bel sighed in envy. She wished her hair had that much body and shine.
“Then we’re doing it the easy way. Deal with it.”
Everything was covered in small pieces of dough, including Jingle and her, by the time they had baked all the cookies and the last batches were cooling on the counter.
They took a break and had a quick meal of sandwiches. While they ate, they talked. Jingle told her about his life at the North Pole. How all the other elves either ridiculed or shunned him because he was different. That he'd chosen the elven name Jingle for himself when they made fun of the human name Alexander. And when he at last realized Tinsel the elfess would never return his feelings. Bel felt honored that he would share so much of himself with her.
She told him she knew what it was like to feel lonely in a crowd, too. She didn’t admit it to Jingle, but it was of her own making, wasn’t it? She had never volunteered to bake cookies when Elaine Grogan began her seasonal plans for the Children’s Fund. Elaine campaigned all year long, but the closer it was to Christmas, the more generous people were. She always had fund-raising projects planned for the last few days before Christmas.
Christmas, Bel mused, opened everyone’s heart more…except her own.
With lunch finished, they returned to cookie-making. Bel was grateful her mother’s stand mixer, an antique by anyone’s standard, held up to the task. Every time she finished a batch of the sweet cream cheese mixture, they immediately made up sandwich cookies and started packing them in boxes she’d bought at the supermarket bakery.
Night had fallen some time ago by the time she pulled out the last batch of filling from under the mixer and called to Jingle. Before she could set the bowl on the table, Jingle stuck his finger in, scooped out a big blob, and stuck it in his mouth.
“You can’t do that!” Bel yelled. She grabbed a clean spoon to lift out the filling around the spot where he’d stuck his finger. Exhausted, she did not feel like making yet another batch.
“Why not? Mmmm, this is good,” Jingle mumbled around a mouthful of filling.
“It’s not sanitary. Other people will be buying these cookies. They don't want your--your elf germs in their cookies.”
“We’ll just keep this last batch for ourselves…”
His finger aimed for the bowl again. Bel swung around and held the bowl out of his reach. He missed, but his arms went around her as he stretched for it. Unfortunately, his arms were longer than hers, and his finger zeroed in, lifting out another scoop.
“Taste it.” He raised the filling to her mouth. The cool, creamy mixture touched her lips, and she automatically swiped her tongue across them.
Again, Jingle ran the filling over her mouth. Before she had a chance to lick it this time, he was cleaning it off for her. He tilted back her head and his lips pressed to hers, sweet cream cheese caught between them. It melted with their heat causing their lips to slide silkily together. Jingle drew back long enough to add more filling, then kissed her again.
She relaxed back against him, and Jingle drew a line of filling from her bottom lip, over her chin, down her throat, to deep between her breasts. He slid her over into the crook of his arm and proceeded to lick the trail clean. Bel knew she should stop him. One lick led to another and another…and he might not stop where the trail ended.
When Jingle reached the beginning of her cleavage, his hands caught her at the waist and he lifted her to sit on the edge of the sturdy table. He spread her legs and fitted himself snugly between them.
Bel’s blood pounded in her ears and her breath came more quickly. He accidentally brushed the tip of one nipple, peaking tautly against the knit material of her shirt, and she gasped. When he pulled the edge down, exposing more of her breasts, and lowered his head, Bel had to say something to stop him.
“Jingle, I--” But the sounds came out in a faint rush, barely audible.
“Don’t you like the way it feels?” His husky voice sent a shiver through her. He touched the tip of his tongue to her filling-coated skin. It slid smoothly along, lower and lower, until he reached as far as he could, her shirt impeding his progress.
“Jingle, I--” Again, that was as far as she got, because she didn't seem to have enough air to say more.
His hands slipped up beneath her shirt, his thumbs outside to catch the material, and his hot palms glided upwards, taking the shirt with them. He quickly thumbed her thin bra up and over her breasts, leaning her back until she lay on the table amid red and green sugar and bits of dough.
The scent of warm sugar cookies and the taste of sweet cream cheese would always remind her of Jingle’s hands on her body.
He took the bowl and set it on the table next to her, lifting out another gobbet to smear around the peak of each breast and trail down the center of her ribs and stomach until he reached the next barrier, the waistband of her sweatpants.
He leaned over her, resting on his elbows, and took one cream-cheese-covered nipple into his mouth. His tongue swirled deliciously over and around the sensitized bud, sending tingles straight to the center of her sex as if a single taut thread connected the two and Jingle strummed it in a steady rhythm, building to a crescendo.
Bel writhed, her throbbing clit demanding attention. Without thinking about the consequences, her hips rose, pressing against the hard bulge in his pants. Jingle responded instantly, grinding his cock against her. He curled his fingers around the waistband of her pants and started to pull them down.
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One minute they were having a (reasonably) civilized conversation, and the next his hands were everywhere. Her nightclothes were tugged, pulled, and finally torn off her. His weight bore her back on the bed.
“Alec!” Surprise made her voice squeakier than usual. “For crying out loud, I feel like I’m caught in an exercise machine-- yeek!” “Yeek” because his head was suddenly, shockingly between her breasts; his long fingers were circling one of her nipples, then tugging impatiently on the bud. Heat shot through her stomach like a comet. And speaking of comets, what the hell wasthat pressing against her leg?
“I don't think this is what the doctor had in mind--” she began again.
“Giselle, my own, my sweet, I would do nearly anything you asked.” He was having this conversation with her cleavage. “But will you please stop talking for just a minute?”
“Forget it. I reserve the right to chat if you’ve reserved the right to rip up my nice new nightgown,” she informed the top of his head. And her old panties. Well, at least it wasn't laundry day. No granny underpants on her, thank you very much!
She was striving to sound coolly logical, matter-of-fact, but his mouth was busy nibbling and kissing and licking; it was too damned wonderful. Distracting! She meant distracting. She ought to kick him in the ‘nads. Whywasn’t she kicking him in the ‘nads? Or at least screaming for help?
Because he wouldn’t hurt her. Because he wanted her with a clear, hungry passion no man had ever shown her. Because she had a crush on him the size of Australia. Because if she screamed, he might stop.
“Uh…help?” she said weakly, a moment before he rose up and his mouth was on hers. He smelled clean and masculine; his lips were warm and firm and insistent. His tongue traced her lower lip, then thrust into her mouth. Claimed it. His groin was pressing against hers, and she could feel his…er…pulse.
She tore her mouth from his, not without serious regret. If he kissed her likethat again, it was all over. Good-bye, good-girl rep. Hello, new life as a slut puppy. “Condoms!” she shouted into his startled face. “I'll bet you a hundred bucks you don't have any.”
“Of course I don't,” he said indignantly. He was-- ack!-- shrugging out of his shirt. His chest was tanned (in December!) and lightly furred with black hair. She actually moved to see if his chest hair was as crisp as it looked, then pulled her hands back and clenched them into fists. “I didna come here to mate. Have sex, I mean. I'm here on business. I never thought--”
“Yeah, well, that’s a problem, Buckaroo Banzai, because I didn’t exactly line my bra with prophylactics, either. Which means looky but no nooky. In fact,” she added on a mutter, “we shouldn't even looky.”
“But you’re on the Pill-- ow, dammit!”
She’d formed a fist and smacked him between the eyes. The only way he would have known she was taking birth control pills was if he had gone through her purse while she was sick; she’d stopped at the pharmacy on the way to work and picked up her prescription.
“We had to,” he said, as if reading her mind. He rubbed the rapidly fading red spot on his forehead. “Dr. Madison was concerned we’d have to take you to the hospital. She needed to know if you were taking any medication.”
“A likely story,” she grumbled, but it sounded plausible, so she didn’t follow up with a headbutt. Not that she’d ever done one in her life, but how hard could it be? “And it’s the Minipill, Mr. Knows-So-Much. Besides, I’m not worried about getting pregnant--”
“You should be,” he teased. Except she doubted he was really teasing.
“I’m worried about catching something. Without condoms our options are--thank God--limited. Saran Wrap and a rubber band? Forget it. For all I know, you could be crawling with disease. I could be taking my life in my hands if I let you bone me!”
“Bone you? Crawling--” He got up off her--weep!--and started to pace. Shirtless, and with an interesting bulge beneath his belt buckle. She struggled to keep her gaze on his face. Well, his shoulders, at least. “First of all, my family…we don’t…that is to say, I’ve never been sick a day in my life, and no one I know has ever had…er…problems in that area. Second, I know for a factyou’re disease-free.”
“How?” she asked curiously. He was right, of course, but how’d he know?
“It’s hard to--never mind. And third…third…” He laughed unwillingly and ran a hand through his hair. It stuck up in all directions, but, instead of looking silly, it only made him look immensely likeable. Adorably rumpled. “Giselle, you’re unlike any woman I’ve ever known. You--” He shook his head. “There’s just something about you. I can’t put it into words. Come back to Scotland with me.”
She’d been busily arranging the covers over herself, though it was a bit late for modesty, and looked up. “What? Scotland? You mean, like a visit?”
“Sure. A visit.” He grinned. “Starting tomorrow, and ending never.”
“Yeah, yeah. Look, if you still feel like this tomorrow--later today, I mean--I could leave you my phone number.”And never hear from you again, most likely.
“We need Santas in Scotland,” he said seriously. “It can be a verra lonesome place.”
“Oh, come on!” She started to get the giggles, and laughed harder when he pounced on her like a big cat. A good trick, since he’d been standing several feet away from the bed. The man was in great shape, no doubt about it. “Now, cut it out…get off, now! I told you-- no condoms, no nooky.”
“What if I could prove I wasn't…er…how did you put it? Crawling with disease?”
“Prove it how?” she asked suspiciously. Part of her couldn’t believe they were having this discussion. The last time she’d had sex had been…uh…what year was it? Anyway, the point was, this was so unlike her.
Well, why not? Why not jump without looking for once in her ridiculously dull life? The most interesting thing about her was her name. Mama Smith had been Jane Smith, of all the rotten jokes, and wanted her kid to be remembered. It didn’t work. Short, plump women with brown hair and brown eyes weren’t exactly noticed on the street.
“Okay,” she said slowly, “and back off a minute, let me think.” She pinched his nipple, hard. He yelped and reared back. “That’s better. Okay, if you can prove you’re disease-free, I’ll stay the night with you.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. Her face was so red she was sure her head was going to explode, like that poor schmuck inScanners. “I'll do anything you want until the sun comes up. You’ve got my word on it. And a Smith never goes back on her word. This Smith, anyway,” she finished in a mutter.
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