And then, there's Valentine's Day. Who wouldn't love a day celebrated with candlelight dinners, chocolate and heartfelt gifts? A couple of years ago, I participated in the RED STILETTO multi-author series about a pair of legendary stiletto's that were shared by four friends who bought them at an estate sale during their annual New Year's celebration. My contribution, HEAD OVER HEELS included a Valentine's Day charity ball given by hero, Rhys Vincent's foundation.
Head Over Heels—Book One—Red Stilettos
By Paris Brandon
Rhys Vincent ground his back teeth and took Veronica Smith–Hathaway’s elbow as they crossed the street. It was snowing and not for the first time did he wish he were wearing boots instead of dress shoes with his tux. Ronnie didn’t seem to notice the puddle that soaked her designer heels or the frigid wind that tore at the edges of her flimsy black evening coat. Neither had been designed for January in Kansas City.
Veronica—Ronnie—was his best friend Brian’s estranged wife. She had insisted she knew a shop that had the fedora they needed to complete the scavenger-hunt list—right after he’d politely refused her offer to give him the best sex of his life. Was it too much to ask for a woman who didn’t have an agenda to want to have sex with him? He’d been down the revenge-sex path years ago and it was one he didn’t want to take with a woman he’d known for twenty years.
He’d promised Brian that he’d keep an eye on her and that meant he couldn’t very well let her walk around alone in the Crossroads art district after dark.
As CEO of the Vincent Foundation, he’d put Veronica in charge of the annual event as a favor. One he was coming to regret. He was still trying to figure out why Brian was so worried about a wife he’d clearly been neglecting for the past year when Ronnie leaned over and peered into a dimly lit shop.
“There it is,” she hissed, pointing at a weathered brown fedora, jauntily perched on a torso mannequin’s head. Before he could figure out why she was hissing, he glanced through the window, started to shout and everything went into slow motion.
He saw a pair of curvy legs that ended in sexy red spike heels leaning forward and overbalancing a rickety ladder. The bell over the door jangled as he pushed it open and sprinted three full strides. He reached her before she finished screaming.
“Her” was an armful of black and white fluff he grabbed and swept out of the way as the ladder fell.
Maybe he couldn’t breathe because she’d smacked him square in the chest but he didn’t think so. Although it could have been because her arms were wrapped solidly around his neck, as if she didn’t intend to let go anytime soon. Fine by him.
He didn’t know if she was shocked that he’d caught her or because she knew the shudder that rippled through her like a faint orgasm had telegraphed its way into his fingertips. She looked like a naughty fairy-tale princess with big blue eyes. A fall of silky dark hair brushed the top of her black turtleneck and her creamy cheeks were flushed as bright as an apple. She knew.
She blinked while he was trying to catch his breath and still his body’s clamoring need to explore all the soft, warm flesh under her skirt. He was trying very hard not be too obvious that he was instantly aroused by the fact that his right hand was wrapped around her naked thigh. And then he thought, What the hell, and slid his thumb beneath the top of her stocking where it hooked into her garter.
She put her very plump red lips together…and blew. Nothing came out and she looked as surprised as he felt. The chuckle built in his chest, the low rumble originating from someplace distinctly lower.
“Excuse me,” Veronica ground waspishly from behind him before coming into his line of vision. “Are you whistling at him?”
His surprise package turned her head slowly, her eyes widening as if just realizing that someone else was in the tiny, dimly lit shop. A smile quirked the corner of her lips and she shrugged.
“No, I was trying to whistle for him.” She turned her attention back to him and smiled warmly. “I do apologize for that,” she said, with a wistful sigh that caught him hard in the solar plexus. “You startled me.”
He did laugh then because it seemed rude not to acknowledge a heartfelt apology while he was still holding on to her satiny-smooth, very naked thigh, which was covered by yards and yards of hideous checked material he wished would just fall away. He lowered her to her feet while Ronnie seethed.
"I’m Bella—owner, operator, sometimes janitor,” she said, holding up a light bulb, “of Bella’s Treasures. Is there something I can do for you?” she asked as if she hadn’t noticed how much he’d been enjoying her naked skin. There was no mistaking the twinkle in her very blue eyes. She’d noticed.
How about you? Do you have a favorite holiday-centered romance that you've written or read?
Until next month,
Happy Valentine's Day!