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With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.
Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.
Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?
Page Count: 138
Word Count: 35255
Something niggled at the back of my mind, but I lost it when Santini reached for my hand again.
“Don’t,” I said. “Please.”
Something resembling regret danced across his face as he nodded.
“Let’s go back here.” He pointed to the area behind the booths where the electrical generators were stationed.
I had that heretic-shuffling-her-way-to-the-hangman’s-tree stoop to my body again as I walked a little in front of him.
The alleyway behind the festival booths was dark enough so I knew no one could see us, but lit enough from the Christmas lights so we could see each other.
With the quiet whirr of the generator as white noise, Santini stopped. “Thanks for coming with me.”
“I can’t stay back here for long,” I said, a little note of nerves breaking in my voice.
“Okay.” He stood, rock still, staring down at me.
Something aside from the subtle hum of the generator buzzed in the cold air around us as he looked at me. It took me a moment to recognize what it was, and when I did, I almost bolted.
I swear on a stack of Bibles and holding Nonna’s rosary beads blessed by Pope Pius XII in my hands I could feel sexual tension palpating in the air.
There was no mistaking the charged energy bouncing between our bodies, though we were dressed head to toe in parkas, gloves, hats, and scarves.
I could smell it, pungent and spicy; feel it, hot and steamy; taste it, honeyed and sweet.
This is how animals must recognize their mates in the wild.
I was so glad it was dark because I knew my face looked as red as Mama’s tomato sauce when it’s coming to a soft boil.
Neither of us said a word. We just stared at one another. Even in the dark, I could make out the moisture flickering in his soulful eyes. His breath steamed into vapor with each expiration, a white puff of clear smoke veiling his face, and from the looks of it, he was breathing as hard and fast as I was.
My girlie parts suddenly got quite warm, the sensation not only shocking me, but exciting me as well.
I don’t know how or why, but something pushed me from behind, actually shoved me forward with such force I landed in his outstretched embrace, arms circling and tightening around my waist.
I couldn’t speak because his arms around me felt like absolute heaven. I can honestly say being held by him was the most exciting sensation I’ve ever had in any guy’s arms.
I took my time drifting my gaze up his neck, across his hard-as-concrete jawline, to his lips. From there it was a quick hop up to his eyes. And, Holy Mother, those eyes.
I took a deep breath and then sighed it out.
“Angels singing.” I wasn’t at all sure I’d said the words aloud.
I swallowed, trapped in his stare. “When you say my name, I swear I hear angels singing.”
“You’re the angel,” he whispered. In the next breath, his lips slid across mine.
He may have sounded and looked like a god, but he kissed like Lucifer himself, all heat and fire blasting from every movement of his mouth across mine. When his tongue slipped past my lips, he skimmed his hands down to my butt and pressed me as close as two people could get completely garbed in artic wear.
I heard someone moan, deep and throaty. In a heartbeat, I realized it was me.
Horrified, I yanked myself back with such force, I almost fell. Santini was quick, though, and reached out to save me.
“Stop. Let me go.”
My hand flew to my mouth, my lips burning with the taste of him.
He started to say something, but I cut him off. “No. I can’t do this. You can’t do this. You’re a priest—”
“No, I’m not.”
“Well, not ordained, yet,” I said, shaking my head, “but almost, so it’s the same thing. Don’t argue semantics with me.”
“Gia.” He took a deep breath in and shook his head. “I’m not a priest. Ordained, soon to be, or in any other way.”
He looked so sincere, I stopped for a moment and just stared at him.
“Yes, you are.”
“No, sweetheart. I’m not.”
Not a priest? Yes, he was…wasn’t he?
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