Home > Christmas Kisses (Winter Kisses #1)(6)

Christmas Kisses (Winter Kisses #1)(6)
Author: H.M. Ward

I realize that she’s uncomfortable. She twists her fingers the way she does when she’s nervous. Her lips part, like she’s going to say something, but she doesn’t. My god, if she acts like this all night, I’ll lose my mind.

Grinning, I walk toward her and say, “It’s okay. You can sit. I swear it’s clean. I haven’t had sex on it in a week. Or has it been a day?” I stroke my chin, feeling the stubble under my fingertips.

She smirks. “A week?”

For some reason, she takes me seriously. “I’m kidding, Connelly. Damn, woman. You still think I’m a male slut, don’t you?”

“Well, there seems to be a never-ending line of blondes behind you… under you.” She smiles as she says it.

“Ah, my kryptonite—blondes with silky hair. You figured me out.” I swirl a finger in the air, while thinking, wondering, if she realizes that’s not my type at all.

Holly’s my type. Everything from the way her hair curls to the shape of her body, to that sharp tongue that I want to suck into my mouth and kiss. God, how does she not see it? I’m practically drooling on her. I hold out my hand. “Sit. My roommate is a bit of a freak, so don’t touch his crap unless you want him to kill me when he gets back.”

“Hmmm. My own hit man.” She raises her dark brows and taps a slender finger to her lips. “I could ditch my Caprice and get a Fiat, let him do all my dirty work.”

I laugh. I can’t help it. The way she says it and that look on her face makes it funny. “A Fiat?”

She smiles. “It’s my dream car. I think I could fit three of them inside the beast.” She turns toward me, her hands pressing into her arms as she folds them over her chest.

“That’s your dream car?” I ask, goading her. But she doesn’t take my bait. She just stands there, inches from me, staring at me. Her eyes flick between my hair and my eyes, occasionally drifting to my lips. I wonder if I have ketchup on my face and she’s too nice to tell me. Why else would she be looking at my mouth?

She nods once, slowly, and steps toward me. “I suppose you want something that’s more typical male. Like a midlife crisis car?”

“Of course. Why do you think guys have a midlife crisis, anyway? It’s to get the car, babe.”

She laughs. Her eyes drift to my mouth again and stay there. No one says anything. I hear my heart beating faster and Holly’s shallow breaths. Her hand lifts like she’s going to do something, but she only touches her hair, pushing a stray curl away from her glittering eyes. It takes everything in me to stay where I am. I couldn’t sleep with her and just blow it off the next day. The woman had worked her way too far under my skin for anything like that. If I had half a brain, I would have made a joke and laughed, but I had no brain. Holly makes my mind retreat and my body flare to life.

My hands lift on their own and rest on her waist. That little black dress is so sexy. The fabric is smooth beneath my hands. Holly doesn’t shirk me off. Instead she lifts her arms and places them at my shoulders. We stay like that—dancing when there’s no music—her body rocking, moving from foot to foot, her h*ps swaying beneath my hands. I step closer to her, wishing that I could read her mind, but she won’t look at me. Her eyes remain lowered and her thick lashes conceal her thoughts.

Holly’s fingers find the nape of my neck and tangle in my hair. Her body is so close to mine, nearly pressed flat against me, but not. Only certain parts brush, like her chest against mine. It makes me want to press her whole body against me. I wonder what she’s doing, what she’s thinking, but I can’t ruin the moment. It’s one of those times that I’ll replay in my mind when she’s gone. Because one thing is certain, Holly isn’t staying in New York. As soon as New Years is over, she’ll be flying back down to the hee-haw state without me. I try not to think about it. I try to be happy with things the way they are now, but I can’t leave it alone.

“Holly?” I breathe her name.

She makes a purring noise in my ear, before saying, “Yes?” She sounds content, so I don’t know why I feel the need to push her away, but I do. Her head snaps up and she looks at me like I just woke her from a dream.

I let go of her waist and walk away, even though I ache for her touch. Opening a dresser, I toss her a tee shirt. She catches it. “You can sleep in that, unless you’re comfy in your garters and boots.”

She stares at me. Those brown eyes meet mine and silently berate me for being a dick, but I have to. I can’t let her start something that she won’t finish. Holly smiles and holds up the shirt. “Thanks. I’ll wait a bit to put it on, if that’s okay with you?” I nod. She looks around and asks, “Where’s your TV? Stereo?”

“I brought that stuff home. I didn’t think I’d be coming back so soon.” She nods and glances around.

“So, what are we going to do until bed?”

The way she says bed makes my throat tighten. She glances at me, suddenly shy again. I want to take her in my arms and hold her. I push the thought away and break eye contact. “We can play games. I have cards, dice, and that kind of crap. Actually, it’s my roommates, but I’ll risk getting whacked so we have something to do.” Besides each other. I suck in a deep breath and grab the cards.



I feel strange standing in his room. I have no idea how I’m supposed to stay here and not touch him. Every time Ryan gets within reach, I want to pull him to me and hold on tight. Maybe I should go out into the snow and cool off. Naughty thoughts keep popping up in my mind, and his blue eyes make me nuts.

Ryan sits on the floor and opens a deck of cards. I sit across from him and unzip my boots. I pull my legs out and wiggle my toes. I tuck my legs under me, but the dress is too short. It hikes up and he can see the lace at the top of my thigh highs and the tip of the garter strap. Crap. I shift and pull at the dress. It barely covers the stockings. When I glance up, Ryan’s eyes are on my legs. He looks away quickly, like he was caught doing something he shouldn’t.

“So, what’s the game?” I ask, trying to ignore the heat in his gaze.

“Strip poker. What else would I chose? You chose the game.” He shuffles and doesn’t look at me. He seems agitated and I don’t know what I’ve done. I shouldn’t have touched him before. I bet he thinks he has to rebuff my advances all night and is worried about it. I make a vow to keep my hands to myself. Cross my heart and hope to die. Or not.

I watch Ryan’s hands on the deck, the way they move. If his fingers could trail down my chest, just for a moment, I’d die. I know I would. There’s no way I could live through that, and yet.

Oh, fuck. Pick a game. I don’t know any card games except Old Maid, War, and—“Go Fish.” I smile like I’m serious when he looks up.

Ryan laughs and shakes his head. “Okay, and what are the stakes?” He deals cards and lets me make the rules of this crazy little card game.

I move to pull my knees into my chest and stop. Damn dress. I want to sit on the floor with him the way we used to, when I was wearing jeans and a tee shirt, not this. I shift my legs. His eyes follow the movement, but he doesn’t comment. “Winner gets to choose the next game.”

“And the loser?”

“Does a booty dance in the snow.” Yeah, that sounds good and clean, right? Plus, it’s freezing and should cool off my flaming panties pretty fast. I intend to lose. I suck at every card game invented. I’m a guaranteed loser.

“A booty dance?” he asks.

“Yeah, are you up for it? Or is that too girlie for you?”

He shrugs his shoulders, “Nope, and you know that you’re the one who’s going to be dancing, right?”

“Booty dance,” I correct.

“What’s the difference?”

“Regular dancing doesn’t count. You have to wildly shake your booty.”

“Ah, so it’s meant to be freezing and humiliating?”

“Yup.” I rub my palms together and pick up my cards. “Hello. My name is Holly Connelly. You killed my Caprice. Prepare to die.”

He grins at me, but it mixes with another expression, like he thinks I might be crazy. Well, that’s okay. I am crazy. I’m in his room, alone, in the middle of a snow storm playing Go Fish. Of course I’m crazy. “Come on, pokey, pick a card so I can kick your ass.” I talk trash like I’m trying to win and by the third round, I’m clearly losing.

Ryan laughs. “Better get that booty dance ready. I believe I kicked your ass.” He puts down his last two cards and I pout.

“Another round?”

“Hell, no. We’re going outside right now.” He jumps up and takes my arm, pulling me up with him. I pause trying to grab my boots, and he lets me pull them on. I zip them quickly and act like I’m dreading it. When we push through the front doors, I walk out onto the snow covered front lawn of the dorm.

I glance back at him. The cold air fills my lungs, stinging my cheeks and whipping my hair across my face. God, he looks beautiful. He stands there watching me as the snow falls around him. There’s a street light behind Ryan’s head that casts a golden glow around his face. I thought the snow would chill me, help me snap out of it, but it doesn’t. Awh, crap.

The longer I wait, the worse it’ll be. I turn abruptly and hold my hands up and shake my butt. I turn around 360 degrees, laughing and doing a kickass booty dance, when I see Ryan’s face. He’s smiling so hard that it looks like his cheeks will crack. The wind whips at the hem of my dress lifting it, and my hands smack it back down. My body is frozen. Snowflakes cling to my skin and melt. I stop and look at him.

I open my mouth to say something, but he cuts me off. “That was the best booty dance, I have ever seen. And I mean, in my entire life.”

I grin. I can’t help it. I love making him laugh. “Well, that’s the only one you’re going to see tonight. I’m not losing again.”

“Good thing you went first. Now I know exactly how silly I’ll look. It’s a good threat to those of us who have never booty danced before.”

We laugh like lunatics and go back to his room, play another game—this time War—and after a do-over, and another retry, I lose all three times. Every time I lost the stakes compounded, which means my booty dance has to be three times as long. As we exit the elevators, I’m laughing.

I jump into the snow, glad to have the cold air clearing my head. The wind whips my hair about as I shake my butt and dance. Ryan watches me with his arms folded across his chest and a tight smile on his mouth. On my second rotation, I run over and pull his hands so he’s standing with me in the snow. I twist and wiggle and bump my hip into his. He laughs, watching me. By the time I turn a full circle, there isn’t a hint of laughter on his face.

Ryan holds out his hand, “Come on. Let’s go back in.” I take it and feel a zing shoot through my chest. It darts through my body, warming me. I can’t stand it, but I can’t let go either.

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