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Authors: Rhian Cahill

Secret Santa (novella)

BOOK: Secret Santa (novella)
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Secret Santa
Rhian Cahill

Secret Santa

Rhian Cahill

From bestselling author Rhian Cahill. Sometimes Santa doesn’t give you what you want — he gives you what you need.

The last thing Jenn wants this Christmas to be is merry. Hibernating in her apartment is the perfect plan for someone who has lost way more than just her Christmas cheer. She’ll re-emerge on December 26
th
and move on with her life.

Morgan has had just about enough of dancing around the sexual chemistry between himself and his manager, Jenn. If he has his way, she won’t spend this Christmas — or any other — alone. With the help of a bogus set of secret Santa envelopes, he’s going to deliver a Christmas present to the woman he loves, one she’ll never forget!

About the Author

Rhian Cahill is the alter ego of a stay-at-home mother of four. With motherly duties rapidly dwindling, Rhian is able to make use of the fertile imagination she used to keep herself sane for all those years of slavery. Having spent some years living overseas and visiting tropical climates has helped inspire some steamy stories. Multi-published in erotic romance and contemporary romance, Rhian, with the help of Mr Muse, spends her days and nights writing. When not glued to the keyboard you’ll find her book in hand, avoiding any and all housework.

For more on Rhian visit her website
www.rhiancahill.com
or you can contact her at [email protected] , connect on Twitter at https://twitter.eom/#l/RhianCahill or Facebook at https://
www.facebook.com/
RhianCahillAuthor. You can also download Rhian’s free app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.

Acknowledgments

A big, BIG thank you to Maggie and Connie. Without their expert help Morgan wouldn’t have gotten his happy-ever-after. It was great working with you girls.

For the man who puts the Chris in my Christmas every day. Together forever, babe.

Contents

About the Author

Acknowledgment

November 25 : Secret Santa

December 24 : Christmas Eve

December 25 : Christmas Morning

December 25 : Christmas Night

December 26 : Boxing Day

December 26 : The Date

December 27 : The Kiss Goodnight

December 27 : The Key to Secret Santa’s Heart

Bestselling Titles by Escape Publishing…

November 25
th
Secret Santa

Morgan quickly put the set of small, yellow envelopes in his pocket. He could hear Jenn out in the corridor and didn’t want to get caught rigging the Secret Santa lottery. It was going to be risky enough getting her to pick an envelope now before the rest of the staff arrived. Pushing back his chair, he grabbed the fake batch of yellow packets and headed out of his office.

He found his manager in the wine cellar, checking the night’s special selection. ‘Hey, Jenn.’

She jumped as she glanced over her shoulder. ‘Oh, hey. Didn’t realise anyone else was in yet.’

Morgan smiled. ‘I’m always in.’

‘True.’ Jenn shook her head as she bent over to slide a bottle out of a lower rack, offering him the perfect view of her rear end in the process.

His gut clenched, his groin stirring to life at the sight of her sexy curves. He had to clear the lump in his throat before he could speak. ‘Here. You get to take first pick.’ Morgan held out his hand, the envelopes fanned out like a deck of cards.

‘Hmm…’ She straightened as she turned to face him. ‘Oh, right.’

Making a huge show of her decision, she went from one end of the fan to the other and back again several times. Morgan had to bite his cheek to hold back a laugh. If she only knew… No matter which one she plucked from his hand, she’d end up with the same person.

Him.

And he’d end up with her, because her name wasn’t even going into the draw this year.

It was past time Morgan made his move.

They’d danced around their attraction from day one. That was over two years ago now and Morgan had had enough. He wanted her. And not just in his bed. If that was all he wanted, there were a number of women of his acquaintance who would willingly spread their legs for him. Of course, they all thought they could win his heart, but that had been off limits long before Jenn had come into his life and stolen it right out of his chest while he wasn’t paying attention.

He was paying attention now.

He found it amusing that the one woman he wanted chose to ignore him most of the time. Unless it was work related, she kept her distance. But she liked him. Morgan was one hundred percent sure she did. The sparks firing between them couldn’t be one-sided. Add in the occasional hungry look he’d intercepted and he was more than convinced the attraction went both ways.

‘Is the limit still fifty?’ Jenn asked as she finally plucked an envelope from his hand.

Snapped out of his thoughts, Morgan met her gaze. ‘Huh? Oh, yes. Fifty dollars. But you don’t have to spend that much.’ He didn’t want her stretching herself thin and he knew she’d gone into debt to cover the medical bills her parents incurred before their deaths.

‘No worries.’ She tucked the envelope in her back pocket as she turned back to her task.

‘Aren’t you going to open it?’ he asked, even though he knew whose name was written on the little slip of paper inside.

‘No. It’s supposed to be a
secret
Santa. That means only I get to know who I’m buying a gift for.’ Jenn didn’t bother to turn away from what she was doing to answer him.

Morgan frowned. He’d wanted to see her reaction when she read his name. ‘Right. Well, I better get to work. I’ve got to prep this weekend’s desserts before we open at six.’

‘Oh, John called to say he was running late, but as he’ll only be delayed thirty minutes or so I didn’t bother to get anyone in to cover. I can pick up any slack before he gets here.’ She spun around and slammed into him. ‘Oops, sorry. Didn’t realise you were right behind me.’

He grabbed her hips to steady her. The temptation to pull her closer was huge, but he forced himself to let go and take a step back to give them both breathing space. ‘My fault.’

She smiled and his gut tightened, his insides shuddering with the impact of the simple curving of her lips. ‘Don’t you have food to prepare?’

‘Yes, yes. Sorry.’ He smiled and took another step away from temptation. ‘I’m a bit distracted today.’

‘What has your attention if not your prized restaurant?’ Jenn asked.

He’d love to tell her the truth. Would love to say
you
while wrapping his hand around her neck and pulling her in for a kiss, but she wasn’t ready for that. She’d back right away and he’d never be able to pull off the special Christmas present he had planned for her.

‘Nothing. You know me. Single-minded when it comes to Morgan’s. I’ve been getting organised for the holiday break. Getting all the stock to cover the holiday period and keep Morgan’s running smoothly.’

‘I thought we had everything ironed out?’ She arched one eyebrow. ‘If you need me to work extra hours I can. I’m not heading home this year.’

Morgan heard the catch in Jenn’s voice on the word home and quickly changed the subject. ‘Did you see Wade and Emily when they came in with Davie last night? I swear they’re feeding him growth hormones or something. He doubles in size every time I see him’

‘I did.’ Her frown was replaced by a smile that lit up her whole face. ‘He’s such a cutie. I just want to pick him up and squeeze the stuffing out of him.’

‘He is a chubby little thing. Well, not so little.’ Morgan grinned. He loved that his friend had found happiness after years of heartache. Now if he could just be the one to ease Jenn’s pain…

Out in the dining area, the phone rang and Jenn quickly headed that way. ‘I’ll get that. You get to those desserts,’ she ordered over her shoulder.

‘Yes, Ma’am.’

Morgan gave a mock salute to her back before turning in the direction of the kitchen. Glancing down the corridor, he checked Jenn was out of sight before slipping into his office to dispose of the bogus envelopes. He shoved them to the bottom of his backpack then retrieved the real set from his pocket. He’d pin them on the staff noticeboard and remind everyone to grab one before leaving tonight. Anyone not working today would pick theirs up over the next couple of days.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The first stage of his plan had gone off without a hitch. Now he could only hope the second part would prove as successful.

Jenn put the phone down and made the change to the Tibbs booking. She had to double-check she’d changed it correctly. It was hard to concentrate when her mind and body were completely focused elsewhere. She sighed. She’d found herself in this state a lot lately. It was this state getting harder and harder to ignore the feelings Morgan provoked. Every day they spent together only added to her affection for the man. He was dependable, dedicated, and loyal to those close to him — a nice guy who hadn’t let his celebrity chef status go to his head like so many others thrust into the limelight unexpectedly. Jenn genuinely liked him. It was the other emotions she felt towards Morgan that had her all tangled up.

Lusting after her boss was not a good idea, especially as she loved her job. She’d been thrilled to score the manager’s position at Morgan’s straight out of university. It was a dream job — but it was her even dreamier boss that got under her skin. Morgan Campbell was six feet of blond, bronzed, masculine perfection and he’d spent the last two years starring in every one of her secret fantasies — leaving her with two years’ worth of sexual frustration.

She’d gone out on a few dates, but she’d soon given up when none of the men had been able to wipe her mind clear of her scrumptiously tempting boss. He was known for his decadent desserts, but Jenn thought he was far more appealing. The man was lickable from head to toe and she’d love to sample just a teeny tiny piece of him.

Her lips vibrated as she let out a gush of air. She couldn’t risk her job no matter how much her hormones stood up and danced when Morgan was around — or when he wasn’t. She’d just have to pull on her big girl panties and suck it up. There was no way she was stepping over that line. He might embody everything she wanted in a man, but he was strictly off limits and it would serve her well to remember that.

She scanned tonight’s bookings and smiled. It was a full house. Again. Both the early and late sittings were fully booked and she had a number of names on a waiting list for last minute cancellations. Jenn couldn’t fathom waiting at home for a phone call that might never come, but Morgan’s was so popular that they often had people waiting out in the street on the off chance someone finished early and they were able to sit an extra table for the evening.

Pride filled her. She might not be what drew the customers in, but Jenn was more than pleased to be a major part of the team at such a successful establishment. As well as working with one of the best chefs in Sydney, she was lucky to have formed strong relationships with all the staff at Morgan’s as well as a few of their regular patrons; something she’d been extremely grateful for earlier in the year when she’d lost her whole family in one horrifying moment.

Tears stung her eyes and she had to drag in a deep breath to hold them at bay. She hadn’t cried in months, but as the holiday season approached Jenn’s emotions were being pulled to the surface once more. In the eight months since a semitrailer had wiped out her mum and dad’s car, leaving her parents fighting for their lives — a battle they’d both lost some weeks later — she’d come to terms with her loss. Almost. Nothing would ever erase the ache or hole their absence left in her heart — in her life — but she had found the days less of a struggle to get through.

And she owed that to her surrogate family here at Morgan’s. Reaching into her back pocket she pulled out the Secret Santa envelope and tore it open. She tipped it up and shook the slip of paper into her palm. It landed writing down and Jenn used her thumb to flick it over.

BOOK: Secret Santa (novella)
13.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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