My choice today! Since it’s so hot and I feel cooling down, I choose… I Need You for Christmas, my little sweet holiday romance with a modern-day blacksmith hooking up with his college sweetheart Mountie…

I Need You for Christmas

Copyright © 2012 by Leah Braemel

The melting ice from the eaves created a steady drip-drip as Megan stepped out onto the balcony the next morning. The pines at the far end of the pond that had been bowed over under the weight of the snow when she’d arrived now stood straight, sparkling in the morning sun. One large drop found its way between the collar of her coat and her skin, the icy liquid sliding down her spine.

Behind her, the patio door opened and the soft leather of Ryan’s gloves covered her eyes.

“…The ultimate feel good Christmas story…” ~ Sarah,Feeling Fictional

“Describe the kid in the store the other night, the one who was pressing the button to make the train whistle.”

It was an exercise they’d developed back in college to help test her recall powers, knowing it could make a difference to her entrance exams. They’d turned it into a game, the winner getting to name what the loser must forfeit. With Ryan, it usually meant some interesting sexual demand. Even though he’d completely sated her the night before, her body hummed with arousal. “Our usual rules?”

“Of course.”

Game on. She didn’t even have to think about it—he’d made it too easy. “You mean Kevin Patrick Jennings?”

“I didn’t ask his name. I asked for you to describe him.”

“When putting out an alert for a missing child, it helps to have their name,” she said wryly. “He was about four or five years old. Probably five.

“Four and a half,” Ryan agreed. “Keep going.”

“Three and a half feet tall but that’s just a guesstimate. Blond hair. I don’t know how long it is though because he was wearing a hand-knitted tri-colored toque. Yellow at the top, orange in the middle, red ear flaps. It had a pompom with the same colors. Blue ski jacket. No brand name on it. His mitts were black.”

“Ha, he wasn’t wearing mitts!”

“No, but they were sticking out of his pocket. His snow pants were black too. So were his boots.”

He blew out a breath and dropped his hands to her shoulders. “I don’t know how you remember all that detail. I mean, I know him, and all I remember about what he was wearing was that Jayne hat.”

“You know I’m right.” Though she had no idea to what a Jayne hat was.

“Yeah, you’re right.” He dipped his head down and captured her mouth for a quick kiss before his lips quirked up in a grin. “You win.”

“Was there any doubt?” She looped her hands around his neck before he could straighten. “Now about my prize…”

“Before you make your demand, let me show you something I bought during my last trip to New York.”


I Need You For Christmas“You’ll understand when you see it.” A car door slammed in the parking lot, and an ear-splitting whistle rang out.

“Hey, Mr. Porter.” The whistler, a teenaged kid juggling a large cardboard box with a plastic grocery bag, trudged to the bottom of the steps. “You’re still going to help me with my welding, right?”

“Yeah, be right there, Don.” Ryan sighed. “He’s one of my students. I let them use my workshop to do their assignments instead of making them drive all the way into Haliburton. Why don’t you hang around here? Relax, read, kick back. I’ll be back in around noon.”

After Ryan gave her a kiss that had the kid yelling “Eeew, get a room,” Meg found herself alone in his loft. Less than an hour later, she’d tidied the counter, tossed the bedding into the washing machine, flipped through what felt like ten thousand television channels and found precisely nothing to watch. She picked up and discarded her e-reader within minutes. Missing Ryan more than she cared to admit, she wandered down to the barn he’d turned into a studio. Workshop, she amended.

Ryan had laughed at her surprise the first time she’d visited his workshop. To her, an artist’s studio had wooden floors splattered with paint, with bright sunny windows overlooking something exotic like the Seine. With its concrete floors, welding equipment and tools, his workshop was more like her father’s garage. A coal fireplace and hearth on the far wall not only kept the space warm but served as a blacksmith’s forge.

At a bench at the back of the room, Ryan stood next to the teen, their heads almost touching as they examined a small metal figure. Meg caught her breath at the passion on Ryan’s face when he pointed to the dragon sculpture in the back part of the barn.

He pulled on a thick pair of leather gloves, picked up two masks and handed the kid one, then put his own. Meg chuckled at the red-and-gold design he’d painted on his mask. She leaned against the wall, waiting quietly as he picked up a grinder and set to work on the metal. Sparks showered over him, hitting his jeans in a brilliant stream, making her wonder why he didn’t catch fire. After a few passes, he turned off the grinder and flipped up his mask. His explanation faltered when he caught sight of her.

Giving her a knee-melting smile, he headed her way. “Hey, what are you doing here?”

“Watching the master at work.”

“I like that idea.” Laughter and heat flickered across his expression. “You thinking I’m a master.”

“You are.” She poked a finger at his chest. “At your craft. If you think I’m going to start calling you Iron Man, I’ve got news for you, bud.” She slid her hands around his waist, and checking to make sure that Don wasn’t watching, squeezed Ryan’s ass. “I love watching you work.”

“I always knew you were a closet voyeur.”

“Nothing about me is in the closet.”

“So your partner and everyone else in Iqaluit know that you love bondage games?” He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “That you like being blindfolded, tied up and fucked from behind? Or getting on your knees and sucking me off while your hands are bound behind you?”

The images he painted sent heat flooding through her. Her breath was shaky as she released it. “How much longer are you going to be? Because I think I know what I want my prize to be.”

*HARLEQUIN COVER ART: Cover Art Copyright© 2012 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. © and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

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