Author's note: This book is NOT to be considered Christian Fiction.
Christmas recipe for love--combine a matchmaking Santa, lots of mistletoe, one iron-clad rule, fated hearts; mix and stir. The Riley siblings don't stand a chance.
Major Mark Riley plays Court Jester to Janelle Walsh's Snow Queen at the Christmas Parade and is instantly captivated by the cute redhead whose grandpa just happens to be Santa. When Mark learns she's the tenant he evicted from his newly purchased property, it's going to take a little bit of Santa's mistletoe magic to save their romance.
(Previously published 2009 in Mistletoe Rules anthology, a 2010 Write Touch Readers' Award Winner)
She gave him a quick half-smile and sidestepped toward the wagon. "It was nice to meet you, Major. Thanks for doing such a great job as the jester."
"You're welcome, and you can call me Mark, you know."
The briefest flash of consternation in her expression told him she hadn't meant to say that out loud. When her foot landed on the step so she could pull herself up into the driver's seat, Mark caught her arm and turned her around. She grabbed hold of his shoulder to keep her balance on the narrow step.
"If I don't do this, it's going to drive me crazy until I see you again," he told her in a low voice.
Her throat muscles worked in a hard swallow. "Do what?" A downward flick of her gaze said she knew the answer to her own question.
He let his mouth relax in a slow, confidant smile. One step closer brought him close enough to brace a hand against the wagon on either side of her. "I gotta tell you, pretty as you were as the Snow Queen, elf suits you better--although I do miss those cute, pointy little ears."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, please."
He took a moment to let his gaze roam over her face. Snow drifted down silently and their breath mingled in the frigid air. Mark drew out the anticipation of what was to come, enjoying the awareness that warmed the space between them.
"You look like Christmas," he murmured.
One corner of her mouth twitched. "I'm guessing it's the costume."
He shook his head and reached up to twirl a red curl around his finger, watching the silky length wind against his skin before holding her gaze with his. "Red and green, and all wrapped up like a delicious, cinnamon scented present."
She laughed softly.
Mark closed the remaining few inches, pressing the length of his body to hers. "In fact, I think I need to go find Santa and tell him I've been a real good boy this year."
He spoke the last words a hairsbreadth away from her lips.