ALL I WANT
Holiday Hearts series
Damon Kallis is always in control, whether in his VP position for his family's toy company, captaining his men's rec league hockey team, or taking care of his friends. There isn't any room for romance in his well-ordered life. He made that mistake once, and it nearly cost him everything. Work, family, and friends are all he needs.
All Emily Lombardi needs is a job. After her ex poisoned her reputation as a reporter, no TV station is willing to give her a chance. When the job as Damon's executive assistant opens up, she's in the right place at the right time. Landing the position is simple compared to dealing with Damon -- the stubborn man won't let her in.
Working in close quarters leads to accidental touches, lingering glances, and simmering passion. Soon, they can’t deny their attraction.
With the holiday season under way, Damon's ice starts to thaw, and Emily sees someone caring and real, someone she could count on. But their past experiences are hard to forget, and when their new-found love is tested, only a Christmas miracle can give them a happily-ever-after.
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The next day passed in a blur. Damon spent most of the day in meetings, but he stopped by to check in on Emily during a break. She and the other admins were filling up the gift bags for the kids at Children’s Hospital with toys. He spent a little while pitching in, with Emily working by his side. Laughing, smiling, lighting up the room with her presence. She’d proved herself to be far more than an adequate assistant, and he kept picturing scenarios that ended with them twined together like lights on a Christmas tree. He had it bad.
By the time he arrived at Kira and Hunter’s house to help decorate their tree, he needed a drink. Emily’s car was already in the driveway, along with Aidan’s SUV, which meant he was the last to arrive.
Kira threw the door open and holiday music spilled out into the night. “Come in.”
“I brought beer and wine.”
“And I thank you.” She stepped back and waved him inside. “Everyone’s in the living room.”
He followed the sound of voices. Hunter and Aidan stood by the TV, eyes on a hockey game. Skye and Emily sat on the couch, looking through a box of ornaments. He set his bag on the coffee table, the urge to touch Emily welling huge within him.
She smiled at him. “I found one you made when you were a kid.”
“Really?” He crouched by her side. The red and green painted ceramic wreath was tacky and ugly. “I guess artistic talent escaped me.”
“You really must like me, to say that.” He was teasing, but her cheeks turned pink and her smile shy.
Kira set a tray of Christmas cookies on the coffee table. “Okay, people. This tree isn’t going to decorate itself.”
For the next half hour, he helped string lights and hang ornament after ornament on the tree. And watched his little sister and one of his best friends beam at their first Christmas tree together. So much had changed within their group in the last year, with Hunter engaged to Kira and Aidan engaged to Skye. He had to admit, at times, he felt a little like a fifth wheel.
Having Emily there helped, but it would help more if they actually were together. She chatted with him and was free with her touches to his hand, his arm, his back, but he didn’t yet have the freedom to wrap his arm around her or kiss her or hold her close.
Hunter ordered pizzas, and as the group trooped into the kitchen to eat, Damon spied mistletoe hanging in a few doorways. He pulled Emily aside, and under the doorway to the laundry room.
Heart beating faster, he pointed to the little sprig of green above their heads. “Think we know each other well enough yet?”
She nodded. “I do.”
Her words eased his tight muscles. Damon traced his finger along her cheek, taking his time, learning the shape of her face. He wrapped his other hand around her shoulder, and the soft material of her sweater tickled his palm.
She leaned into him and rested her tapered fingers on his hip. Her brown eyes looked into his and then lowered to his mouth. He bent closer and her lips parted in response. Tucking her hair behind her ear, he lowered his head, his heart pounding like a drum.
Her eyes fluttered closed. He paused a breath away, so close he could almost feel her lips on his. Energy flowed through him, powering his muscles like his body knew he was on the verge of something big. He hadn’t felt this exact way with any other woman. Maybe that was because there wasn’t anyone exactly like her.
His lips closed over hers, and it was as though his heart had woken up for the first time. Everything felt more—his senses were alive with her scent, her taste, her body against his. Need and want coursed through him as swift as a flash flood.
He tasted the sweetness of the wine and the cookies and wanted more, sliding his hand through the thick strands of her hair to cup the back of her head.
Warm, soft, and perfect, she opened for him, slanting her head to accommodate him as he sought for a deeper taste. The brush of her tongue against his made his blood sing. His hands tightened, tugging her closer. Her hands traveled up his back and dug into his shirt, and he could feel her nails through the material. That dull pain ramped up his need.
His sister’s voice broke in, calling out from the kitchen, asking if they were coming in.
Damon raised his head, surprised that he felt a little off-balance. Emily held his gaze, her breathing unsteady. He traced his finger along her face once more, savoring the moment. “I guess that will have to hold me for now.”