Unwrapped

Berkley Intermix
November 18, 2014


Unwrapped

#Novella 3

(Sarah's Book)

In USA Today bestselling author Maisey Yates’s latest Silver Creek Romance, a naughty Christmas wish turns into something so much more...

Kindergarten teacher Sarah Larsen has spent her whole life being the good girl. But now, she’s ready to do something bad. So wearing the shortest, tightest black dress she owns, she marches over to the nearest bar to fulfill her Christmas fantasy: a wild night with a total stranger.

Walker Callahan moved to Silver Creek to start fresh. He doesn’t want to bring his baggage into a relationship, so an evening of fun with the sexiest welcoming committee ever is just what he needs.

They were both in it for one night with no strings attached.. But when Sarah discovers that Walker is the father of her new student, things turn deliciously complicated. Can the cold winter nights thaw two frozen hearts?

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Excerpt

Chapter One

 

What was a girl to do when she was too afraid to take a shot of liquid courage? Sarah Larsen had never let any alcohol touch her lips, unless you counted cough syrup. And her grandmother hadn’t even counted cough syrup, which meant it officially didn’t count at all.

Sarah pushed the shot glass away from her, then turned it. She should have ordered something with an umbrella. Or at least something with more sugar than booze. But, filled with false bravado and a feeling of utter claustrophobia brought on by the way she lived her life, she’d walked into the bar in the tightest – skimming her figure, not hugging it, but still-  shortest – an inch above the knee, but whatever – black dress she owned, strode right up to the counter and ordered a shot of whiskey.

That she was too afraid to drink.

And if she couldn’t get even a little drunk then there was no way she was going to be able to find the courage to realize the night’s ultimate goal: Find a man. A hot, sexy man, and cut loose for the first time in her life.

And by cutting loose she meant having sex.

She winced internally. Yes. Sex. She wasn’t backing down now. She wasn’t going to spell it mentally anymore either. She could think it. She could even say it. She wasn’t going to be repressed tonight. No, she was not.

Of course, she’d been in the bar an hour and she knew every guy who had come in. Not that that was a bad thing, except it meant that she just sort of blended into the wood paneling when they scanned the room.

Typical. Sarah Larsen, kindergarten teacher, was not the woman the men of Silver Creek called for a good time.

That line of thinking had her feeling decidedly morose. Which was just another reason she shouldn’t drink the alcohol. It would probably make that feeling worse.

The door to the bar opened and a rush of cold air spilled in. Sarah looked, and nearly choked. The man standing in the door was a stranger. Tall, broad shouldered, tight jeans and some very expensive looking boots. He was back lit by the porch light, snow falling behind him across the black sky.

If she’d been drunk she could have blamed the whiskey for the sheer drama of the moment. But she still hadn’t touched her whiskey.

She blinked as the man walked in and let the door swing shut behind him. And…and he was coming toward her. She almost stopped breathing. Then she almost took the whiskey shot because she really did want to find the courage to at least talk to him.

Except if she tried alcohol for the first time, right now, it would probably put her on the floor and that wasn’t the idea either.

He rested his forearms on the bar beside her, not noticing her at all. Typical. There was a group of women standing by the juke box, wearing skirts so short that they were in danger of showing London, France and their underpants. Assuming they were wearing any.

They presented a much more enticing picture to the male of the species. She was sure. Not from experience, but because it was why her grandmother had always made her wear skirts that went mid calf of or longer. Because anything else would tempt men, and her along with them, to sin.

Well, she was looking for sin tonight and she wasn’t having a lot of luck finding it.

She should ask those women where they’d bought their skirts.

She looked out of the corner of her eye, just enough to get another peek at the stranger. He drew his hand over his beard. Not a full beard, but a couple days worth of growth maybe.

As if she had any idea of how quickly men’s facial hair grew. She’d never lived with a man, not even a male relative.

Still, that was her guess. She also guessed it would feel rough on her skin. And she was surprised to learn that she didn’t find the thought off-putting in the least. Oh no, the idea of a little rough stubble against her skin seemed altogether too enticing, really.

“I don’t actually…want this,” she said, her voice way too mousy and shaky and not at all vampy. She pushed the shot in his direction. “So if you were going to order one…you could always have mine.”

He arched one dark eyebrow. “I was after a beer. I have to drive.”

“Oh.” She looked back down at her glass. “I could…I could drive you…if…if you wanted to…never mind.”

He raised his other brow and pulled the glass toward himself, lifting it to his lips and knocking it back. “Thank you. For the offer and the drink.”

“It seemed like a nice thing to do. I don’t…where are you from?”

“Texas,” he said. “Austin.”

“Oh. I hope you weren’t planning on driving back to Austin. My offer wasn’t…really meant to extend that far.”

He laughed and a flush of heat spread over her skin. She’d made him laugh. She took a breath and tried to banish her nerves. She wasn’t totally failing at this.

“I’m staying here tonight. I have a room at the lodge over by the lake.”

“Those are…nice. I hear. I’ve never had occasion to stay in one, since I live here and all.”

“Local girl, huh?”

“Very.”

“And what brings you out tonight?”

Did she just say it? Did she just say, ‘the desire for hot sweaty sex brought me here would you oblige me?’ How was the game played? How did one pick up a stranger? Did they talk for a while? Did they just get down to it? She had no idea.

“Dancing?” he asked, a smile quirking his lips. Wicked lips, she noticed. And she thought ‘wicked’ because they made her think of him doing wicked things with them. Kissing her mouth. Her neck. Her…oh boy.

Thirty years of fantasies. Thirty years of virginity. It had to go, and it had to go now. Tonight. She hoped she didn’t mess it up. Because if she lost hold of her stranger, she was left with the local boys…and that meant there would be no action for her.

“Sure. Dancing sounds much better than what I was going to say.”

He stood straightened and held out his hand. She took it, heat surging through her when his rough fingers closed over her skin. “What were you going to say? Now I’m intrigued.”

He led her out to the dance floor, such as it was, a little space carved out by the juke box. The women in the tight skirts were still there, and they were looking on. With envy. She was being envied. And she could see why.

This man, this stranger, was tall and lean, handsome to an almost ridiculous degree, and – she discovered the last part when he tugged her up against his body – all hard muscle.

He laced his fingers through hers, and wrapped his other arm around her waist, holding her close. “Come on, now, red, I’m curious.”

“Red? Really? That’s the best you have?”

“I would have better if you gave me a name. And if you hadn’t given me a shot of whiskey.”

“Sarah,” she said, first name only.

“Walker.” First or last name, she didn’t know. It didn’t matter. She’d already made her decision. This was the night. This was the man.

If he wanted her, this was most definitely the man.

“Now you have better, so you may ask me again,” she said, knowing she had her teacher voice on a little bit. But it helped. It helped her feel confident.

“Sarah,” he said, his voice husky, a whiskey-coated dream, “what were you going to say?”

“I-” He started moving in time with the music and her brain just sort of stopped sending signals to her mouth. She’d never been held this close by a man before. Had never danced with one. Had never danced at all. “Would it be too convenient for me to say I don’t remember?”

“Yes. Much too convenient. And you’re only making me more interested.”

“Oh.” She sucked in a deep breath and closed her eyes. She couldn’t look at him, not while she said this. “I was sort of here to…to see if a nice man might take me back to his…lodge. For the night. And it’s especially nice that I met you since you’re staying in a literal lodge and I’ve never been to that particular lodge. Also, point in your favor, you’re a man.”

The silence on his end was thick. And awkward. And Sarah thought she might die of humiliation then and there.

“Tough night, baby?” His thumb brushed the corner of her lip and her eyes flew open, meeting his startling blue ones, glittering in the dim light.

“What makes you say that?”

“You don’t seem the like the kind of girl who comes here for this kind of thing on a regular basis.”

“What gave me away?”

“The pantyhose, for a start. The blush for another.”

“It’s cold. And anyway I’m not in the habit of going out with bare legs.”

“That’s another indicator.”

“All right, so I don’t usually but…but…” she looked at him, at his impossible handsome face, “but it’s what I’m here for now.”

He nodded once. “There was a time in my life when I was the kind of man who came to places like this and did this kind of thing. Not for years though. But I’m thinking I might make an exception tonight. For you.”

 

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