The Cowgirl’s Christmas – Excerpt

Hundreds of flickering lights skipped against a black backdrop like diamonds on velvet. Holly hit the turn signal and pulled off the nearly deserted highway. The car purred along the merge lane before gliding into the busy city traffic. She slowed down to a crawl and stared at the brightly lit storefronts and the strings of lights that hung from bare trees lining the streets.

The massive, decorated spruce that stood atop the hotel where she'd made reservations drew a giggle. It seemed fitting that the hotel would appear to be a gift. The holiday would be well worth the wait, she thought as she parked near the entrance.

"Good evening," the woman at the desk greeted her warmly. "Happy holidays."

"Merry Christmas," Holly replied, tucking her keys into her purse. "I'm Holly Walker. Is my room ready?"

"Yes, it is. Anthony will take your luggage up." The desk clerk waved a tall, sandy-haired young man over. "Will you be attending the auction tomorrow night?"

"Of course." Holly signed the slip with a flourish, a grin on her face. "I'm looking forward to it."

"Excellent. Enjoy your stay, Ms. Walker."

"Thank you." She followed the bellhop into the elevator. Holly stood silently, her gaze steady on the elevator doors. She could feel the young man's eyes on her, and she looked down at the pale flesh on her ring finger where her wedding band usually rested. She wondered if the elegant gold band would be back in place come Christmas morning.

With her luggage secured in her room, she pressed a bill into Anthony's hand and ushered him out the door. She tossed her coat across the back of a chair and turned to study her room.

A massive mahogany bed was made up in red and green linen. Six plump pillows lined the head of it and a bathrobe lay folded on the end. She ran a hand over the garment. The soft, warm fleece of the robe tickled her fingertips as her gaze swung to the desk in the room. A large, cellophane-wrapped basket sat atop it, and two crimson roses that had been tied with some holly hung from the handle.

She toed off her boots and padded on stocking feet to investigate the offering. The sweet scent filled her nostrils as she sniffed the flowers, her hand already reaching for the card. It was a simple card, elegant and very masculine in its stark whiteness and blue print.

Merry Christmas, and welcome to the Mistletoe Charity Auction. I hope you'll find these small tokens useful. The masculine scrawl along the card curved upward to a seasonal graphic.

Holly tore into the goodies left by the hotel. A delicate flush climbed her cheeks as she pushed the cellophane away to reveal the contents of the basket. "No wonder it has dark wrapping." She whistled as she lifted out a bottle of massage oil. "Cherry flavored, hmm. Ooh, what's this?" She pulled out a slim package and turned it over. The simple silver box offered few clues to its contents. Her long nails scraped under the flap and pulled it upward. Inside lay a simple bottle. "Menthol lubricant, for that extra tingle." Holly laughed and set the bottle down next to the bed.

A quick glance at the clock revealed it was nearly seven. He must have arrived by now. Was he settled into his room, impatient for the culmination of their very own little ritual? She shifted, the bare skin of her thighs rubbing together to create a sweet, heated friction. Beneath the satin of her panties her body throbbed with a deep longing.

Desperate to hear his voice she grabbed her cellphone from the bedside table. Flipping it open, she stretched out on the bed. She slipped the fingers of her free hand between her legs to fan the flames as she punched in the familiar numbers. She listened to the musical tone of the ringer.

"Hello, you've reached Tyson. I can't come to the phone. Leave your name and number, and I'll be sure to call you back."

Holly trailed a finger down her throat as she listened to the rich twang in his baritone. At the beep she inhaled.