It's a New Adult Christmas!
Thanks for joining us as we celebrate the holidays with thirteen New Adult authors. Check out every stop leading up to December 24 to get excerpts, exclusive content, and hopefully a cutie under the mistletoe! Be sure to enter the rafflecopter to win a grand prize pack of an ebook from every author!
For this, I (Jess) get the grand honor of hosting Kristine Wyllys--my best friend who writes the best books ever, I swear. And since she's my best friend, I have a bonus Wild Ones Christmas scene! (Seriously, me having this scene has nothing to do with taking part in this hop. Nope.)
Bri Martin likes her skirts too short, her heels too high, and trouble close at hand. So when big, brooding underground boxer Luke Turner comes into the bar where she works and starts a fight before she brings his first drink, she can't help being intrigued. Luke is everything she never wanted and everything she can't resist. Soon, Luke is showing up everywhere Bri is, and she can't break free of his hold on her, nor does she want to. When her best friend turns on her, it's Luke who is there. When Luke's opponent comes after her to send Luke a message, it's he who comes to her rescue. Before Bri knows it, she's caught in the midst of a rivalry between her boyfriend and her boss, both of whom are not content to settle their scores inside the ring. She swore she'd never live this life, so like the one she once ran from. But only by confronting her past can she decide where her future lies…and whether Luke can be a part of it.
**BONUS WILD ONES CHRISTMAS SCENE**
"You've got to be kidding me," I muttered, running a hand through my hair, slick with sweat from the gym. Before me sat the saddest sight I'd ever laid eyes on. Considering I'd grown up with a mom who could barely take care of herself in the worst parts of town, that was saying something.
"Who's kidding who about what?" Bri's voice floated down the hall from our bedroom. She'd be back there getting ready for work, squeezing into shorts a little too short and a skin-tight tank despite the frigid temperatures outside. I'd grumble a little under my breath as she left and she'd shoot me a look over her shoulder. One that said the others could look, but only I got to touch. I might grumble only to see it. I liked the reminder.
"What the hell is this?" I gestured toward the leaning, nearly-bare, fire hazard in front of me, as though she could see. I didn't have to see her to feel her frown.
"You better not be talking about my tree."
"This is not a tree. This is probably against the effing lease, is what it is."
"Hey!" There it was. That fire in her voice that ignited the fire in me. "I got that special!"
"On special? Tell the truth. You got it for free, didn't you?"
"Damn it, Luke!" I glanced toward the hallway where she stood like an angel of death, of destruction, like my every dream that ended in wet sheets. She tossed her hair back and planted her hands on her hips. Hips that were bare, save for those hands. I wanted to replace them with mine.
Focus, Turner. She was angry.
"That was supposed to be a surprise! And you're standing there with your judgy little eyes, making fun of it."
I gave the tree in front of me a suspicious look. "The hell else am I supposed to do? Other than get it out of here before the building manager comes by and sees I'm inviting a fire. Is that the surprise? We're gonna burn down the complex?"
"The surprise -" Her voice kicked up a notch, shrill and dangerous. We were treading into troubled waters and she was the siren waiting in the waves to finish me off. "Is I got us a tree. Our first tree for our first Christmas together. But that doesn't even matter because you're an ass."
I shouldn't have been turned. I shouldn't have looked at her in all her righteous anger, standing there in her bra and tiny shorts, vibrating with her rage. That rage was always my downfall. Had been since the beginning.
I felt myself growing hard.
She stomped past me, shrugging her shirt on. All long legs, fiery eyes, and radiating fury. I reached for her arm and she all but snarled.
"Don't. Touch. Me." Each word was a bite. A threat and a dare. Under normal circumstances, I'd have nudged the fire burning in her. Just a little. Because that's what we liked. We liked the clash then the crash. But I held back. There was something else there, something in the set of her mouth and the way her chin quivered.
Bri was hurt. There was few things that cut me straight to the bone and her pain was at the top of that short list.
I reached for her again, despite her warning, and she jerked away as though scalded. She shook her head, hair whipping, and she was gone, all but sprinting to the door and into the dark that lay beyond. I didn't chase. Not even when I heard her car start up and back out like the hounds of hell were after her.
I crossed the two steps over to the couch and dropped on to it, letting my head fall, sweaty hair falling into my eyes. I needed a shower. I needed to change out of my gym shorts and unravel the tape still on my hands. I needed to make this right.
Never was sure how to do that.
"Our first Christmas together," she'd said. But below that, I heard what she wasn't saying. I haven't had a Christmas before.
I was on my feet before I realized what I was doing, pulling back on my coat and grabbing my keys.
There was a hardware store down the street, a mom and pop operation that managed, somehow, to stay open despite the big box stores in the town over. Maybe because assholes like me had to use it last minute. The fluorescents were too harsh, the Christmas music coming from overhead too cheery as I snatched up a cart just inside the door. I filled it without pausing to think or consider. Lights, ropes of flimsy, shiny stuff the packaging claimed was something called garland. Bulbs, ornaments, and stockings. If my eyes landed on it, in it went, until it looked like Christmas puked inside of the cart.
I paused at the small display of fake trees, some already lit, some as dark as Bri's eyes. The biggest. She deserved the biggest. A Rockefeller monstrosity of a tree that came with lights and I'd fill it up with more lights until it was a beacon and our living room on fire with its glow. But she'd chosen the Charlie Brown number and Bri got what she wanted. I made sure of that.
The cashier eyed the tape on my hands curiously as I piled the belt up in front of her. "You hurt yourself?" she asked, between humming Jingle Bells in time with the store's speakers. I grunted in response, fighting to keep from tapping my foot as she ran each item up at a maddeningly slow pace. Finally, I shoved a wad of bills at her when she was through.
"Keep the change." I didn't stick around to hear any protests.
Bri would be at work for a few more hours, which was good. I'd need all that time to get things together. Unlike her, this wasn't my first Christmas, but it might as well have been. It was the first one I'd ever had as an adult. Ever had a reason to celebrate.
Her eyes were wary when she finally came in, until she caught sight of the spectacle before her. She let out a small gasp, softer than anything I thought Bri capable of.
"You like it?" The cheesy Santa hat, so effing ridiculous, itched my forehead. Her lips quirked, before she let out a bark of laughter.
"You in that hat or the rest of it?"
"All of it."
"You kept my tree," she said instead of answering.
"It's still an ugly son of a bitch."
She grinned at me, impossibly large and brighter than a thousand decorated trees.
"It is. Looks a little better under all those decorations, though."
"It barely held them. It's weak and scrawny. I almost bought a different one."
"So why didn't you?" She wasn't looking at me. Instead, she was staring at the tree, at the rest of the lights I'd strung around the room, the stockings I'd hung on the wall since we didn't have a fireplace.
"Because this one is special."
She turned, her eyes either warmer than I'd ever seen them or a trick of the light. She launched herself at me, tiny fingers clutching at my shoulders, around my neck, grabbing my hair as I heaved her up against my chest and her legs locked around my hips. She was kissing me, only she wasn't, because her lips were against mine but they were repeating, "I love you I love you I love you" and I'd fill up our apartment with every sad, ugly tree if it meant this. Her happiness and her wrapped around me, emotion she normally didn't show spilling from her.
She nipped at my bottom lip and I smiled.
"I didn't forget anything, did I?" I asked. "I'll go back."
Because if I'm addicted to your fire, I'm an effing goner for this, I didn't add. I think she heard it anyway.
"One thing," she whispered against my throat. "You forgot one thing."
"What's that?" It came out husky and my hands tightened on her thighs. She somehow managed to wiggle closer, until she was molded against me.
She slid down my body, igniting every nerve-ending on the way, then grabbed my hand.
"But we don't need it."
And with a look, the look I didn't get before she left for work, she dragged me toward the bedroom.
"We don't have to go back there," I offered, my eyes firmly on those little hips wiggling in front of me. She glanced over her shoulder, eyes dark with her fire and her desire.
"First Christmas," I said. "Let's stay right in here."
"Make our own holy night?"
"Exactly." I pulled her against me. "But it won't be silent, Sugar."
**About Kristine Wyllys**
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