Welcome to Fiction Fridays! We plan to give you a short bite of fiction every week – something to enjoy during your lunch hour – but with a twist: We want you to give us the idea for the next installment! Come join in the fun with our holiday short story, a contemporary romance. And don’t forget to vote to help us decide which way the story will turn! Click here to read last week’s installment, written by the fabulous Karen Fleming. Fiction Fridays Christmas Magic Part 2
by Tammy Baumann
A loud knock sounded on Heath’s door. “Police! Open up!”
Yeah right. Probably his friend Charlie the comedian on his way home from the bars. He must’ve struck out with the ladies again.
Heath tucked a soft blond curl behind Julianne’s ear and whispered, “Be right back.”
“Kay.” She smiled at him in that sweet way of hers. It always tugged at something deep inside. But tonight there was something else. A heat in her gaze he hadn’t noticed before. Damn Charlie. The guy’s timing seriously sucked.
Heath swung his front door open ready to take his best friend’s head off, but pulled up short. One of the officers who worked for him stood before him with widened eyes. “Wilkes?”
“Sarge?” Wilkes turned and spotted the now softly snoring Julianne dressed in her sexy snow bunny costume and grinned. “Dude!” He held up a fist for a knuckle bump.
Heath crossed his arms. “What do you need? I’m busy.”
“Yeah. I can see that.” When Wilkes turned his attention back to Heath the grin died on his lips. “Oh, yes sir. Sorry. Uh, we got a complaint. Guy says he’s worried about his date’s safety. His name’s George—”
“The guy’s a moron.” If he saw that pansy George again…, “Clearly, everything’s fine. Good night!”
Wilkes’s eyes cut to Julianne again and a slow smile formed. “Clearly. Wow. We didn’t know you had it in ya, Sargen—”
Heath slapped the door shut. The guys at the station were going to be jerks about this. As he laid a blanket over Julianne’s tempting, but off limits body, he sighed. A real night with Julianne, when she wasn’t drunk, would be worth all the razzing they could dish out.
* * *
At the sound of a loud belch, Julianne’s eyes flew open. What was Heath’s police jacket doing hanging by her door? And why was she sleeping on the— oh yeah. The party, too many chocolate martinis, George, the sad abandoned tree, Heath laying her on his couch, and how she’d planned to take things into her own hands and kiss him but she’d passed out….not her finest moments. Except for the almost kissing him part. That would’ve been good. She could have totally blamed it on all the alcohol.
A loud grinding sound from the kitchen startled her out of her foggy haze. She turned her head slowly so it wouldn’t fall off of her shoulders, while trying to ignore the way the bright morning sun stabbed daggers into her eyeballs. Heath stood with his back to her, his wavy hair slightly wet from his shower, t-shirt straining against a muscular back and his faded jeans hugging him in all the right places. With that body, who cared if he burped now and again? She could overlook his only flaw. That’s what friends do. Heath told George that’s what they were. Just friends.
She sighed and closed her aching eyes, counting the heartbeats pounding in her head—and in other unmentionable places after the sight of yummy Heath. The throbbing proved she’d live, but no more chocolate martinis for her. Ever.
At the thought of alcohol, her belly did a back flip. Was she going to be sick? No. Not in front of Heath. That would be…she’d have to move. Maine wouldn’t be far enough away.
“Julianne?” She blinked her eyes open. A glass filled with something greenish appeared under her nose. “Here, this might help your, uh, digestion.”
Her digestion? When she glanced up at Heath, he was fighting a grin. As gas bubbles surged up her throat, realization hit. Then mortification. It wasn’t Heath’s belch that had awoken her. It was hers!
Forget moving, just shoot me now!
“Um…thanks.” She slowly sat up, pushed a stray curl from her face and reached for the glass. “These thin walls. Did you hear those really disgusting noises coming from next door?”
Heath laughed and slipped beside her on the couch, his big shoulder warming hers. “Must’ve been Mrs. Lawson. She’s like seventy, but can belt one out as good as the next guy.”
Okay, he wasn’t buying it. She needed to leave. Now. Well, as fast as she could make her hung-over body move.
Whatever was in the glass didn’t look good and smelled even worse, so she plugged her nose and chugged. And wasn’t that ladylike of her? Jeez, she needed to get a grip!
The concoction was foul. So bad a shiver ran up her spine as she handed the glass back. “Thanks for coming to my rescue last night, and for…everything. I’ll be out of your way in just a second.”
“I make a mean frozen waffle. Want to stay?” His low voice next to her ear sent delicious tingles to her tummy.
Pushing her embarrassment aside, she met his steady gaze. He wasn’t smirking at her like she’d been a naughty child anymore—rather the naughty snow angel with fish-net stockings she’d pretended to be last night. But what if her stomach didn’t hold and embarrassed her even more—if that was possible. “Thanks, but I think I’d better get going.” She frantically searched for her things.
“Are you looking for these?” Her strappy stilettos dangled from his fingers, her purse in his palm, looking doll-sized in his big hand.
“Thank you.” She smiled at his obvious discomfort at holding her purse. Or was it because she’d turned him down for breakfast? Did he really want her to stay?
He stood when she did and walked her to his door, then reached down and opened it for her. “So, are you still working on Christmas day? And will your pal, George, be manning the ER with you?”
She stopped and looked up at him, surprised he remembered that. “Um, yeah. I don’t have any family in town so I thought I’d let one of the other nurses enjoy theirs. And I have no idea what George’s schedule is.”
“He said you called him Heath last night.”
“Did I?” Seriously? Could things get any more embarrassing? “About last night. I usually don’t drink like that. I was just…it’s Christmas and I don’t have anyone…you must think I’m—“
He laid his fingers on her lips putting a stop to her babbling and sending scorching heat to all her girly parts. “What I think is that you’re a beautiful, sweet, woman and way too good for George.”
A hallelujah chorus rang in her head. Finally!
But just as it looked like he might kiss her—
Be sure to tune in next Friday for your next lunch installment.
Copyright 2012 by The Firebirds
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