An Island Kind of Christmas
by Kat & Stone Bastion
Cade and Hannah exchange presents while on their honeymoon in the Seychelles…
“Oh…damn.” My jaw fell open.
Had Hannah been wearing skimpy bikinis? Fuck yeah, she had.
But this one?
It was red. And tiny. Very Tiny. As in no matter how little was covered, the only thing this red-blooded male saw? Endless curves.
She gave me a sweet smile as she posed for my approval. And I couldn’t breathe.
Right. Give me a minute.
Thin, white trim edged the top of those triangles and the barely-there bottom. If she was going for Santa Claus, she missed the mark. No sainthood for her. She’d gone straight to the naughty list.
Before I had a chance to close my mouth or respond—or play out any bad boy fantasies—she grabbed my hand. Then she threw her canvas beach bag over her shoulder and nearly yanked me out of the hotel room.
With quick reflexes, I snagged the two unopened beers I’d set out.
After half jogging down to our favorite stretch of sand, we planted our asses down. I opened the beers, handed her one, then held mine high. She set down her bag and did the same.
I angled the bottle neck toward her. “To our first Christmas. May they all be filled with laughter and love.”
“To laughter and love.” She clinked hers with mine before taking a sip.
Then she wedged her bottle into the sand, in the stripe of shade cast by a palm tree trunk, and reached into the bag. “I’m first. We need to save yours for last.”
Twisting my beer into the sand beside hers, I huffed out a laugh. “Why?”
She suppressed a smile. “You’ll see.” Then she pulled out her present: small square box, silver foil wrapping, dark red metallic ribbon. With great care not to tear the paper or undo the bow of the ribbon, she unwrapped it. Then she glanced at me, bit her lip, and opened the black velvet box.
She gasped quietly. “Cade, it’s a beautiful necklace.”
I exhaled a held breath, happy she liked it. “The skeleton shell is platinum. Inside is a rare silver-blue black pearl. The two diamonds—”
“—match my wedding ring!” She held her finger up to the diamonds on the necklace that hung from delicate chains to sparkle beside the platinum-encased pearl. The diamonds had been specifically chosen to match those on her ring. She held the box out. “Put it on me?”
I lifted the necklace out and did as she’d requested. Once I’d finished, the pendant hung midway between the base of her neck and the upper swell of her breasts.
“Beautiful,” I whispered. “The necklace too.”
She kissed me softly, then abruptly pulled away. “Okay. Your turn.”
Excitement sparked in her eyes as she made a huge production of reaching into her blue-and-red flowered beach bag. She rifled around as if a shitload of presents had been stuffed in there. Paper crinkled rapidly, like she drummed her fingertips on hidden wrapping paper.
“You want to blindfold me? Or is the suspense enough?” I arched a brow.
She pressed her lips together, fighting a smile. “Ta-da!” She whipped out a small, flat package that was wrapped in the same silver foil and red ribbon.
“Really? All of your production, for that? Thought for sure you’d haul a canoe out of there.”
She stuck her tongue out. “This isn’t The Santa Clause movie. No Christmas magic is involved.”
Her expression turned serious as she handed me the gift. The package had surprising weight for its slight size; The thing fit into the palm of my hand.
When I flipped it over, considering whether or not to draw out the suspense (now that I had control), she moved the beach bag aside and sidled up next to me. Then she nudged my shoulder. “Please let me know if you don’t like it. You can always exchange it for something else.”
I nudged her back. “Maestro, I already have everything I could ever want—you. And anything you’ve picked out for me? The best kind of gift.” I shook it, pretending to check if it rattled. “But I’m warning you now. If it’s an ugly Christmas sweater? All bets are off.”
“Well, hell. Now I know what to get you every other Christmas.”
Finally, I ended the mystery and ripped the wrapping paper off in one crumpled swipe. I blinked. A familiar sparkle-coated cell phone reflected the midday sun.
Thoroughly confused, I glanced at her. “Uh, you got me your phone?”
With a smug expression, she gave me a single headshake as she crossed her arms. “Nope.”
“You know all of our sextual foreplay is on my phone too. My very non-girly phone.”
She leaned in, lowering her voice. “Your gifts are in the photo album. I couldn’t exactly bring them on the plane.”
I turned my head slightly, gaze never veering from hers as I narrowed my eyes. “Are there naked pics of you on here for me?”
“No!” She shoved me hard enough to topple me to the side. “Go to the photo album.” Her eyeroll that followed was priceless. And adorable.
I planted a hand to stop my fall. “All right. Chill. I’m clicking. I’m looking.”
When I navigated to her album, the first photo had objects in the frame. I turned the phone sideways, then enlarged the image further. Four well-known items were in the photo: a glass jar of honey, gourmet jars of caramel and chocolate sauce, and a red-and-white can of whipped cream. They were arranged on a glossy black surface, their reflections stretching toward the bottom edge of the photo.
“Oh, wow.” I was stunned speechless. After a full breath, I found my voice. “You got me food porn.”
She grinned. “There’s another photo.”
I swiped my thumb over the screen until another image appeared. On the same gloss-black surface, six glass bowls filled with various colors of frosting were grouped together. Lined up in front of them, were three small bottles of cake toppings. “You’ve recreated the ammo for our frosting war.”
“So you like? I had the help of a professional photographer. And she positioned everything on a black granite slab. The photographs are being matted and framed now.”
I flipped back and forth to both images. She’d gone through a lot of effort to make all that frosting again, without me knowing, and getting the photos taken.
But the memories of the incredible night they evoked? My voice went gruff, thick with emotion. “It’s the best gift you could’ve given me, Maestro.”
She beamed me a megawatt smile.
I tossed the phone onto her beach bag, then covered her scantily clad body with mine and kissed her softly. “Second only to you.”
Thank you for reading and sharing in Cade and Hannah’s holiday fun. More can be found in the romantic comedy, Three Christmases, but their entire romance unfolds throughout the No Weddings Series. We hope you’ll give it a try and fall in love with Cade and Hannah for yourselves.
As the holiday season approaches in this fourth book in the No Weddings Series, Cade Michaelson strives to be better at balancing work and love, and Hannah Martin’s growing ability to trust is put to the test.
Lust and friendship brought us together, but with the increasing demands of my two businesses, Hannah’s thriving bakery, and our successful event-planning company, stability becomes my focus.
Then a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity takes me to the West Coast, and everything goes into a tailspin.
Laughter, love, and excitement fill our lives, but Cade refuses to settle into the wonderful bliss we’ve found—he wants spectacular fireworks and an unshakable foundation. Driven like no one I’ve ever met, Cade insists a dream job across the country will be better for our future together, but I worry about whether we can survive the present apart.
When intimate time diminishes…and lives get more hectic…
Will a little bit of faith be all that it takes? Or will the sacrifice to get there be too great?
signed copy of Three Christmases
Check out what Shirley Wells is talking about over at:
After 17 years I've finally finished my BA in English (no I do not want to be a teacher). Before majoring in English I would not have touched anything labeled "classic", but I have enjoyed a few along the way in my college career.
While I hated to read growing up, I am now an avid book reader and audiobook listener. I love rejecting reality one book at a time. I only read fiction within my favorite (at least to date) genres which include: most romance (paranormal, contemporary, D/s, BDSM, M/M)Urban Fantasy, and a few YA (mostly PNR or UF from favorite adult authors, but I'm slowly stepping out of my comfort zone after enjoying a few contemporary YA novels in adolescent literature class I took).