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Practising for Christmas by Rachael Richey

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  • A remote coastal cottage; a group of old friends; the Christmas holidays. It's just the break Olivia needs to help her relax and forget her worries. What could be more perfect? But that was before she found a handsome unconscious stranger on the beach. Add in a case of mistaken identity, a lot of kissing practice, and an inquisitive best friend, and things begin to get more than a little complicated.

    The large bump on Adam's head hurts, but he refuses to go to the hospital—or back home—and eventually accepts Olivia's offer of hospitality. When her friends arrive the following morning, a chance remark catapults them both into a bizarre and amusing situation that promises to make it a Christmas to remember.

    Rating:Spicy
    Page Count: 260
    Word Count: 65897  
    978-1-5092-2236-0 Paperback
    978-1-5092-2237-7 Digital

    Excerpt

    Chapter 1

     

    23rd December

     

    Olivia stared down at the body of the man at her feet, and her heart leapt into her mouth. Was he dead? What had happened to him? What was he even doing there? She gently nudged at his leg with her booted foot. To her relief, he uttered a small sound, and she dropped to her knees on the sand beside him. A more detailed look at the surroundings suggested to her he had slipped on the rocks and probably banged his head as he fell. They were certainly very slick with wet seaweed, easy to slip on if you didn’t take care. She reached out and gently touched his shoulder.

    “Are you all right?” Realising that was probably a ridiculous thing to ask since he was lying unconscious on a deserted beach in the middle of winter, she took a deep breath and tried again. “I mean, I know you’re not all right, but can you hear me?”

    There was no reply, so she bent down closer to him and gently pushed his hair off his forehead. A bruise was forming above his right eye, and as she touched him his eyelids flickered and his lips moved.

    “It’s all right. Take your time. I’ll look after you.” She reassuringly put her hand on his shoulder and watched him closely as he tried again to open his eyes. She could see he was young, probably not much older than she was, with thick dark chestnut hair, and although she tried not to look too closely, a very nice body. He was dressed in jeans and a dark green hoodie and had a pair of rather old trainers on his feet. Not the best footwear to be traversing rocks, she thought. No wonder he had fallen.

    She looked around her. But what on earth had he been doing there anyway? Apart from the cottage, there were no other houses for miles, and as far as she could see no vehicles parked nearby. Had he walked here? If so, from where, and why? It was two days until Christmas, and the weather was dreadful.

    A slight sound made her turn her attention back to the man just as he managed to open his eyes and stare straight at her. They were very piercing green eyes.

    “Hello.” Olivia smiled at him. “You’re back, then. Do you remember what happened? Did you fall?”

    Cautiously the man pushed himself up onto his elbow and sucked in his breath. “Ouch, that hurts.” His hand went up to his head and located the lump forming on his forehead.

    “Is anything else hurt?” Olivia moved closer. “Anything broken?”

    “I don’t think so.” He struggled into a sitting position and flexed both his legs and arms. “I think it’s just my head. Must have caught it on a rock when I fell.” He looked up at her. “Have I been here long?”

    “I don’t know. I found you a couple of minutes ago. I actually thought you were dead.”

    “Sorry. Must have been scary.”

    “Don’t be daft. You don’t need to apologise! I’m just glad you’re not dead. You should probably go to the hospital to get that head checked out, though. You may have concussion. I can drive you.”

    “No, I’m fine.” He put his hand up and ran it gently over the lump again. “No real harm done. Thanks for the offer, though.”

    “Honestly, I think you should get checked. Head injuries can be very dodgy. I’ve done a first aid course. You might think you’re okay, but then later you may just drop dead.”

    The man grinned painfully. “I’m sure I won’t, but thank you for your concern. If you’ve done a first aid course, maybe you could check me over?”

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Practising for Christmas

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