Claiming Christmas

Page 6

Chapter Three
The wind is picking up. I can hear it howling outside and rattling the windows. Everyone else has gone home, so it’s just Connor and me in the building—or it was until an hour ago when he got a call-out. Apart from that, the phones have been quiet—just a few calls from elderly residents seeking the reassurance of a human voice.
Did Connor mean what he said earlier? About saying yes if I was the one asking him for a date? It’s the second time today he’s flustered me with his words. Not to mention his touch. When he held my hand in his, my nerve endings lit up like a thousand twinkling Christmas lights.
Goosebumps break out on my skin, and I shiver. Before I can second guess myself, I head for the storeroom, grabbing an armful of blankets. Then I take the seat cushions from the chairs in the reception area and place them on the floor, covering them with the blankets to make a cozy seating area.
I make some tuna sandwiches in the small kitchen and put them on a plate with potato chips and pickles. Then I prepare a flask of coffee, knowing Connor will appreciate something warm when he gets back, and carry everything through to the office, laying it all out next to the blankets.
I bite my lip uncertainly. I could be committing professional suicide doing this, but it feels like Connor and I have been dancing around each other for months. My confidence took a hit, courtesy of my ex, but I can’t let that stop me from taking a chance on someone else. On Connor. And if it turns out that I’ve misread the situation, then I guess I’ll just have to move to the mountains of Kathmandu and spend the rest of my life milking mountain goats.
Before I can overthink things any further, the door opens, and I look up to see Connor brushing snow from his police issue jacket.
“Everything okay?” I ask.
“All good. Will Parker slid off the road and got his back tires stuck in the snow.”
“Oh, no! Is he hurt?”
“Not a scratch. He was driving slowly, so there was no damage to him or the car. Between the two of us, we managed to get the tires dug out, and I followed him home,” he says, running a hand through his damp hair.
My eyes cling to his tall frame. He’s mouthwateringly attractive with his piercing blue eyes and olive-toned skin.
“Let’s hope that’s the worst thing that happens tonight,” I say hopefully.
“I’m sure everything will be fine. It’s like a ghost town out there. Everyone is tucked up safely in their homes and—" He trails off as he moves closer and his eyes fall on my little makeshift seating area.
I lick my lips nervously. “I was, uh, hoping you’d join me for that indoor picnic we talked about earlier. I know you’re on call, but you still need to eat, so I’ve made sandwiches, and we have potato chips and pickles. I’m sure you must be cold, so there’s a flask of coffee to warm you up if—”
Connor reaches me in three long strides, and the next thing I know, I’m wrapped up in his arms with his mouth on mine. He licks across the seam of my mouth, and I open up for him with a whimper, meeting the thrust of his tongue with my own. His scent and taste envelop me, woodsy and earthy, scattering every one of my senses to the howling wind outside.
His kiss is everything I dreamed of and more. Intoxicating. Addictive. Devastating.
My breasts flatten against his hard chest, and a sound rumbles up from his throat, something between a groan and a growl. The sound vibrates through me and across my sensitized skin, tightening my nipples.
We’re both gasping for breath when he finally breaks the kiss, dropping his forehead to mine.
“Holy crap,” I whisper.
He smiles. “Yeah. Been wanting to kiss you for months.”
I pull back to look at him. “Why didn’t you?”
He shrugs. “Too old for you. Too much baggage.”
I shake my head, smoothing a hand across his cheek. “Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?”
Connor turns his head, placing a kiss on my palm. “You don’t have a judgmental bone in your body, Jess, and that’s the problem. You’re kind and generous. You light up a room when you smile. It’s one of the first things I noticed about you. That and these goddamn sexy curves,” he says, cupping my ass.
I laugh bitterly. “My ex didn’t think they were sexy.”
“Fucking idiot!” Connor glowers. “Wanna tell me about it over a coffee and pickles?” he asks with a grin, tipping his head toward the blankets.
Warmth spreads through my chest as he links his fingers with mine and tugs me with him. He pours us both a coffee from the flask, handing me my mug as I settle myself cross-legged on the blankets. I watch as he sinks down next to me, admiring the way his uniform shirt molds his wide chest and firm biceps. I gulp my hot coffee, yelping as I almost give my tongue third-degree burns.
Jesus, Monroe, could you be any less sexy?