Read Valentine Surprise Online

Authors: Jennifer Conner

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Valentine Surprise (3 page)

BOOK: Valentine Surprise
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Chapter 5

Lee lay awake most the night. When a garbage truck clattered by, he dragged himself out of bed and made a pot of coffee. He tried to read the paper, but his mind was elsewhere. He folded it and threw in the basket on the floor.

He sat up and briskly rubbed his face. It was the day before Valentine’s Day and truth be told, even guys were drawn in by the idea of having someone special to spend the day with. That had to be why he couldn’t stop thinking about Cecilia. She had been a part of his life for years, so what changed to make him feel like this?

What would she say if he asked her on a real date? She was one of his best friends, could she ever think of him in a different light?
A man who struggled with feelings surfacing of her as his lover?

But, Cecilia wasn’t his type. She wasn’t blond and petite… or ditsy… and only interested in his money… or his body… and she could carry on a conversation about… everything.

When he logged in to the website last night there were twenty-five blinking hearts. All blonds. Why suddenly did none of them seem appealing? He wanted a woman with brown hair and dark eyes. Eyes that danced and laughed without words.

Things were going too fast. Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day, and he would give
Cupid’s Okay
one last try.

##

When the phone rang, Cecilia knew it was Lee wit
hout even checking the caller ID.

“Thought you were going on another date?” She tried to make her voice light, but every time, with every date, it grew more complicated. Good or bad dates, she didn’t want him seeing other women and hated this possessiveness.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Must have been a short term bug or the miracle soup you brought over. I feel great. I’ve been out for a jog already this morning.”

“I have my truck packed with hiking and snow gear. I know you are recuperating from being sick, but I thought maybe we could go up to Paradise Lodge for a short hike and a late lunch.”

“It’s Valentine’s Day. Aren’t you supposed to be with your
one true love
?”

“I’ll be at your place in an hour. Bundle up. I don’t want you getting sick again.”

Cecilia stared at the phone when he hung up. She hadn’t said yes, had she?

Lee was on her doorstep in exactly one hour. He wore a black ski jacket and his head was covered in a hand knit, two-tone hat with ear flaps his mother made.

She crossed her arms. “You had another date today. What happened this time?”

“Didn’t work out. I told her we were going mountain hiking. When I showed up dressed like this, she was in some sexy black get-up. How did
mountain hiking
end up to be misconstrued as sexual innuendo?” He blew out a breath. “Why do women think just because I have money all I want to do is hang out at clubs, golf, and have sex?”

“You don’t?”

He stopped and grinned, a wicked grin. “Well, two out of three are wrong. Come on. By the time we get up there we’ll have only a few hours of light. We have to make it fast.”

Cecilia licked her lips and batted her eyes. “But, I like it slow…”

“Knock it off.” He chuckled as he grabbed her hand and pulled her out the door. “Come on.”

For February it was unseasonably warm. When she and Lee reached the end of the trail, the view took her breath away. The evergreens were far below with the dusted mountain peaks poking through in the distance.

Cecilia wiggled off her white tasseled hat and striped multi-color knit gloves. “Wow, what a day. It’s perfect. You, Tami, and I have been here before, but not when there’s snow. It’s amazing.”

Lee shrugged off his backpack and dropped it to the ground. He fished out a bottle of champagne, popped the top, and poured two paper cups.

“Only the finest china. Let’s toast to Valentine’s Day.” He bumped his cup with hers. After they drank, he took her cup and set it next to his on a rock.

“I hate Valentine’s day,” she muttered.

“I have something for you.” He pulled out a palm-sized Styrofoam red heart and handed it to her.

“What’s this?”

There were two pieces of paper safety pinned to the top of the heart.

“This is what I’m changing my profile to read.” He took the piece of paper. “
What I am looking for in a woman:
You are independent and smart. I can be myself around you without feeling judged. I work long hours-but so do you. We can always find time to be together.
I only have eyes for you, you only have eyes for me. We communicate this verbally, physically and consensually. Warm and comforting cuddling can be just as good between us as making love. Fights are rare and when we do, we don’t stop talking until we’ve reached some sort of peace. I hope, unparalleled friendship will grant us the foundation for a lasting long-term relationship. We’re already best friends, and I would never want to jeopardize that, so we can take it easy if you want.
If you are willing to take a chance this Valentine’s Day, take it with me.”

Cecilia stared at him and knew her mouth gaped open.

He took a step until he was close and tipped her mouth closed with his finger. “I don’t know what I thought all these years. I was looking for something,
someone
, that I think was right in front of me.” Lee touched her cheek, letting his fingers stroke through her hair and bent his forehead to hers. “Say something CC. Say yes, no, or go to Hell. What are you thinking?”

Her heart thundered in her chest as she looked up into his crystal blue eyes. “I’m thinking I want you to kiss me.”

He smiled. “Funny…I was thinking the exact same thing.”

His gaze moved over her face as if was seeing her for the first time, and then drifted to her mouth. Something sparked between them. He pulled her close and kissed her.

Cecilia felt touched, held and embraced by nothing more than his lips. His mouth was warm and intoxicating. The kiss took everything she would allow, and then a little more.

“CC…” he whispered the nickname he’d always called her. Now it sounded sexy, heated, and desperate. She loved it.

She wound her hands around the back of his neck and kissed him again. She softened it, shaping the contours of her mouth to his. His fingers tightened on her waist as he fitted her flush against his hard body. When they finally broke apart, she saw his breath was as unsteady as hers.

“I had no idea you liked me. Why didn’t you say something?” she asked.

“What about you. Before I kissed you, had you ever thought of me…romantically?”

“For longer than I care to admit.”

“Really? Then why did you fill out the profile for me on the dating service?” He paused, looking confused. “You did do it didn’t you? I wasn’t hacked?”

“I thought if you found someone else, I could forget about you.”

“Do you want to forget about me?” he asked. “Because, I want you as mine, and I’m not sure I can ever forget you.”

At that moment Lee was so impossibly handsome her words stuck in her throat. He radiated masculine energy that made her body hum. She couldn’t believe that with a few words, after all this time, he was offering to be hers.

“I want you as mine,” she confessed.

He held her like the most precious thing on earth and pressed his mouth against hers again. Slow and sweet, he deepened the kiss until her knees threatened to buckle.

“Sometimes, I set goals right in front of my nose that make me not see the obvious.”

“Were those goals blond and five-foot two?”

“I have a new goal. Five-nine brunettes. Know any who might be available?”

“I think I might know a few.”

“Sorry, I’m only interested in one. The other note pinned on the heart is my withdrawal from the dating service. I filled it out myself… online … without your help.” He chuckled softly.

Cecilia kissed him lightly as they lifted their champagne filled paper cups. “I guess Cupid is okay after all. This has been quite a Valentine surprise. But I can live with years of surprises!”

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If you enjoyed Valentine Surprise look for Jennifer Conner’s other short stories:

Excerpt from Cupcakes and Cupids:

Cupcakes and Cupids

The Valentine Day wedding for Mark and Julie Spencer was the first big job Analeigh Russell contracted for her cupcake company,
Let Them Eat Cake
. Excitement, and a little too much caffeine coursed through her bloodstream.

The head food critic for Seattle’s Metro magazine was the mother-of-the-groom. Everything had to be perfect. She hoped the magazine’s write-up about the wedding would help her business skyrocket.

 

Analeigh looked into the rearview mirror and rubbed at a smear of pink lipstick on her front tooth. She smiled, as she looked at the reflection of white plastic containers stacked in tidy rows in the back of her SUV. They would be nothing but impressed when she delivered the order early.

Headlights in the mirror caught her eye.
The car’s not stopping.
Her smile flipped, her eyes widened, and her mouth formed an O. She pushed harder on the brake with both feet and prayed she wouldn’t be thrown into the intersection.

For a split second, her mind raced as she desperately thought what she could do. Should she speed forward?
No
. There were cars flying through the busy intersection in front of her. A woman waited to her left waited at a crosswalk.
Not that way.
Analeigh tensed her shoulders, grasped the steering wheel, and closed her eyes. The impact of the collision filled the car with the sounds of crushing plastic, metal, and broken taillights.

Her car lurched forward and then stopped. She forced her eyes open. The car that hit her suddenly backed up, hooked a u-turn and started to speed off.

Fear replaced anger. She yanked open her door, jumped out, and yelled at the disappearing car, “Come back here, you… you moron! You hit my car!”

BOOK: Valentine Surprise
3.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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