Released December 1, 2013
ISBN – 9780857991065
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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COPYRIGHT © RHIAN CAHILL 2013
Morgan quickly put the set of small, yellow envelopes in his pocket. He could hear Jenn out in the corridor and didn’t want to get caught rigging the Secret Santa lottery. It was going to be risky enough getting her to pick an envelope now before the rest of the staff arrived. Pushing back his chair, he grabbed the fake batch of yellow packets and headed out of his office.
He found his manager in the wine cellar, checking the night’s special selection. “Hey, Jenn.”
She jumped as she glanced over her shoulder. “Oh, hey. Didn’t realise anyone else was in yet.”
Morgan smiled. “I’m always in.”
“True.” Jenn shook her head as she bent over to slide a bottle out of a lower rack, offering him the perfect view of her rear end in the process.
His gut clenched, his groin stirring to life at the sight of her sexy curves. He had to clear the lump in his throat before he could speak. “Here. You get to take first pick.” Morgan held out his hand, the envelopes fanned out like a deck of cards.
“Hmm…” She straightened as she turned to face him. “Oh, right.”
Making a huge show of her decision, she went from one end of the fan to the other and back again several times. Morgan had to bite his cheek to hold back a laugh. If she only knew… No matter which one she plucked from his hand, she’d end up with the same person.
And he’d end up with her, because her name wasn’t even going in to the draw this year.
It was past time Morgan made his move.
They’d danced around their attraction from day one. That was over two years ago now and Morgan had had enough. He wanted her. And not just in his bed. If that was all he wanted, there were a number of women of his acquaintance who would willingly spread their legs for him. Of course, they all thought they could win his heart, but that had been off limits long before Jenn had come into his life and stolen it right out of his chest while he wasn’t paying attention.
He was paying attention now.
He found it amusing that the one woman he wanted chose to ignore him most of the time. Unless it was work related, she kept her distance. But she liked him. Morgan was one hundred percent sure she did. The sparks firing between them couldn’t be one sided. Add in the occasional hungry look he’d intercepted and he was more than convinced the attraction went both ways.
“Is the limit still fifty?” Jenn asked as she finally plucked an envelope from his hand.
Snapped out of his thoughts, Morgan met her gaze. “Huh? Oh, yes. Fifty dollars. But you don’t have to spend that much.” He didn’t want her stretching herself thin and he knew she’d gone into debt to cover the medical bills her parents incurred before their deaths.
“No worries.” She tucked the envelope in her back pocket as she turned back to her task.
“Aren’t you going to open it?” he asked, even though he knew whose name was written on the little slip of paper inside.
“No. It’s supposed to be a secret Santa. That means only I get to know who I’m buying a gift for.” Jenn didn’t bother to turn away from what she was doing to answer him.
Morgan frowned. He’d wanted to see her reaction when she read his name. “Right. Well, I better get to work. I’ve got to prep this weekend’s desserts before we open at six.”
“Oh, John called to say he was running late, but as he’ll only be delayed thirty minutes or so I didn’t bother to get anyone in to cover. I can pick up any slack before he gets here.” She spun around and slammed into him. “Oops, sorry. Didn’t realise you were right behind me.”
He grabbed her hips to steady her. The temptation to pull her closer was huge, but he forced himself to let go and take a step back to give them both breathing space. “My fault.”
She smiled and his gut tightened, his insides shuddering with the impact of the simple curving of her lips. “Don’t you have food to prepare?”
“Yes, yes. Sorry.” He smiled and took another step away from temptation. “I’m a bit distracted today.”
“What has your attention if not your prized restaurant?” Jenn asked.
He’d love to tell her the truth. Would love to say you while wrapping his hand around her neck and pulling her in for a kiss, but she wasn’t ready for that. She’d back right away and he’d never be able to pull off the special Christmas present he had planned for her.
“Nothing. You know me. Single minded when it comes to Morgan’s. I’ve been getting organised for the holiday break. Getting all the stock to cover the holiday period and keep Morgan’s running smoothly.”
“I thought we had everything ironed out?” She arched one eyebrow. “If you need me to work extra hours I can. I’m not heading home this year.”
Morgan heard the catch in Jenn’s voice on the word home and quickly changed the subject. “Did you see Wade and Emily when they came in with Davie last night? I swear they’re feeding him growth hormones or something. He doubles in size every time I see him.”
“I did.” Her frown was replaced by a smile that lit up her whole face. “He’s such a cutie. I just want to pick him up and squeeze the stuffing out of him.”
“He is a chubby little thing. Well, not so little.” Morgan grinned. He loved that his friend had found happiness after years of heartache. Now if he could just be the one to ease Jenn’s pain…
Out in the dining area, the phone rang and Jenn quickly headed that way. “I’ll get that. You get to those desserts,” she ordered over her shoulder.
Morgan gave a mock salute to her back before turning in the direction of the kitchen. Glancing down the corridor, he checked Jenn was out of sight before slipping into his office to dispose of the bogus envelopes. He shoved them to the bottom of his backpack then retrieved the real set from his pocket. He’d pin them on the staff noticeboard and remind everyone to grab one before leaving tonight. Anyone not working today would pick theirs up over the next couple of days.
He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The first stage of his plan had gone off without a hitch. Now he could only hope the second part would prove as successful.
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