An After Hours Naughty Bite!
Who wants to be nice for Christmas? It’s so much better to be naughty.
In “Any Way She Wants It,” David and Tricia finally found each other again after more than twenty years. Now they’re in love, they’re euphoric, and they can’t get enough of each other. Finally they’re about to get their happily ever after.
And what they want is a very naughty Christmas together.
Instead they’re flying out for the first family Christmas where Tricia is the new woman in David’s life, just a year after his wife’s death. His college-age kids will be there and his parents, and worse, his sister Judy, who was once Tricia’s best friend until Judy betrayed her. Tricia and David’s past is coming back to haunt them.
If you think families can’t ruin a perfect relationship, think again.
Their fight to stay together is about to begin.
What Readers Are Saying:
A Very Naughty Christmas
© 2018 Jasmine Haynes
“Oh my goodness, dear, you’ve grown so beautiful.” David’s mother held Tricia’s arms out like she was Cinderella transformed by her ball gown and glass slippers. “I always knew you had it in you no matter what anyone else said.” Then she pulled Tricia in to buss her cheek and quick-hug her.
Yep, that was her. Fairy tale princess transformed. Tricia didn’t resent it. Honestly she didn’t. David’s mother was sweet. Lorna Farris had always been sweet, even when Tricia was the awkward, ugly duckling teenager and BFF of Judy, Lorna’s far prettier, more popular daughter.
Now Lorna was opening her Florida home and her Christmas holiday to someone she hadn’t seen in over twenty years. Yeah, that was sweet.
“Thank you, Lorna. It’s so good to see you.” She felt David’s hand on her back as if he thought she needed reassurance.
Of course she appreciated it, but she didn’t really need it. She was thirty-eight years old, not sixteen. She was David’s lover, no longer his younger sister’s best friend. His family had no clue about their history together—that they even had a history at all—and they didn’t know about David and Tricia’s future plans either. David wanted to wait until Tricia had been reintroduced to the entire family before he told them he’d asked Tricia to marry him. She understood and agreed with his reasoning. Even their work colleagues didn’t know they were dating—except their CEO Holt Montgomery. David wasn’t about to reveal any big news to his coworkers until he’d told his family.
She squeezed Lorna’s arm. “And you look marvelous.”
Lorna waved a hand. “Oh my dear, you don’t have to flatter an old woman.”
Tricia wasn’t flattering. At seventy-two, Lorna Farris looked like she was in her midsixties, her back straight, her wrinkles few, her hair a lovely shade of silver. She’d thrived in the Florida climate.
“Come in, all of you, sit down. Everett’s getting the lemonade.” Lorna ushered them all into the living room. “I’m so glad you came early.”
David and Tricia, plus his two college-age kids Christina and Brian, had descended on the Farrises on December twenty-third to avoid the total chaos of Christmas Eve travel. Not that San Francisco Airport hadn’t been madness this morning. They’d taken an oh-dark-thirty flight because of the time change flying east.
“Is that real lemonade, Grams, made with real lemons?” Christina had given her grandmother a huge long hug when they arrived, whispered something that made Lorna smile and tear-up at the same time.
Christina was as kind as she was beautiful—of course David’s daughter would be. Tall and blond, with her father’s hazel eyes and steady, understanding gaze, in ways she seemed much older than nineteen. Maybe that’s what losing your mother to cancer did to you, forced you to grow up way too fast.
“Of course, sweetie,” Lorna said. “It wouldn’t be Florida if we didn’t have a few citrus trees in our backyard. But sit, sit.” She waved, shooing them all to chairs.
David sat on the couch next to Tricia, and yeah, okay, she didn’t need reassurance, but she loved the feel of his warm thigh against hers, the heat of his arm along the sofa at her back.
“Your home is gorgeous.” Tricia wasn’t beyond buttering up David’s mother—who’d given them a brief house tour—but she meant every compliment she’d given so far.
The living room was massive—it had to be to handle the huge Christmas tree in the corner twinkling with lights and ornaments. In Florida, with the sun and the warm weather, the tree and the decorations were the only things that made it feel like Christmas.
The house had four bedrooms upstairs, three bathrooms total, a formal living room and dining room—Lorna and Everett had always loved entertaining—and a large family room off the kitchen with French doors that opened onto the pool deck. They lived on a golf course, and had spent half the money on a house twice the size of anything in a comparable California neighborhood, David had told her.
Everett Farris entered the living room then, the tray he carried holding a sweating pitcher and tall glasses.
“Gramps, let me get that.” David’s son Brian jumped out of his chair to help. A college senior studying engineering, he was as thoughtful as his sister.
Both kids took after their mother in looks—Tricia had seen the family photos—but Brian had David’s more serious expression. Though he wore his hair short like his father, he was more blond than sandy, like his sister. But he had David’s lean body, probably from workouts, whereas David’s came from yardwork and outdoor activities. Or maybe it was just good genes.
David had plenty of those.
“Thanks, but I’m not that decrepit yet.” Still, Everett let Brian take the tray and set it on the coffee table between them all.
“He golfs every day,” Lorna said as she started pouring. “In the summers, he’s out there by five-thirty in the morning to avoid the heat.”
David’s father, a couple of years older than Lorna, was in great shape, too. He’d always been a big man, but now he had the muscles to go with it, as if he carried his golf bag instead of driving his cart to the next hole. Or maybe he swam every day in that inviting pool out back. He still had a full head of hair, a distinguished steel gray, and the same sincere eyes Tricia remembered.
“You’ve got the life, Dad.” David played with the ends of Tricia’s hair, his fingers running up her nape. They hadn’t been together long enough for the touchy-feely stuff to get old.
She swore she’d never let it get old.
Everett grunted, “You betcha,” as he flopped down into a chair that seemed too dainty for his frame.
“Now I want to apologize right away for making you two go to a hotel,” Lorna told David, her hands clasped together as if she were worried about his reaction. “But Judy’s kids are younger than Christina and Brian, so it just seemed more appropriate to have them all stay at the house.” His sister Judy was Tricia’s age, younger than David by ten years.
“No problem, Mom.”
David had booked a hotel room before he’d known about the sleeping arrangements. It wasn’t just for lack of room at the house; he wanted somewhere no one would worry about the noise. Because Tricia loved getting naughty and she loved making noise. And David loved being the cause of all that noise.
She also felt better about having a little more space between her and Judy. They hadn’t seen each other since high school, twenty years ago. And the friendship hadn’t ended on a positive note.
“We’ll put the two boys together and the two girls. You don’t mind sleeping with your cousins, do you? Twin beds, I promise.”
Brian and Christina echoed each other. “Of course not.”
“Judy just about dropped her cell phone when I told her you were bringing Tricia.” Lorna leaned forward to hand David a glass. “She’s just so happy the two of you found each other after all these years. It’s amazing.”
Christina jumped right in. “Brian and I are really happy, too. And Dad’s finally getting out of that big old house.”
But would they all be so happy when they learned that this was forever thing between them and David had asked Tricia to marry him?
There was just the slightest hesitation before Lorna passed over Tricia’s glass, a moment when both their hands were on it and Lorna looked right in the girl’s eyes. Tricia saw everything Lorna wasn’t asking aloud.
How were the kids doing with the first-year anniversary of their mother’s death?
How did they feel about their mom being replaced when she’d only been gone a year?
What did they think about their dad selling the house they’d grown up in?
She and David hadn’t moved in together. He was still getting his house ready for sale. It was better to put it on the market after the holidays, maybe even in the spring.
She hadn’t been thinking beyond spending five days with the family and getting through the Christmas holiday.
And seeing Judy again. She still hadn’t decided how she’d handle her former friend: forget anything had ever happened between them or confront Judy, say her piece, and move on.
David rescued them all. “Christina and Brian have really encouraged me to get out of the house.”
“It’s way too big for one person,” Christina added, as if she had to defend her father.
“But where are you and Brian going to stay during holidays and your breaks?” Lorna did all the talking for Everett. She always had.
“I’ll get something with enough bedrooms,” David assured her. “I’m just done with all the space wasted on a formal living room and dining room.”
This was the first Tricia had heard of extra bedrooms. Well, except for Thanksgiving Day when the kids had arrived unexpectedly and David had claimed Tricia was his real estate agent instead of admitting they were lovers. But they’d cleared all that up, and Christina and Brian seemed to accept her. She’d actually started fantasizing about David moving into her condo for good.
But she should have remembered Thanksgiving Day. Because of course something bigger than a condo made sense.
“Yes, I know,” Lorna said, sitting back in her chair now that the lemonade had made the rounds. “Marie was the one who liked entertaining.”
There. The name had been said. It was out. Marie. David’s wife who had died of cancer last year. The mother of his children. The woman he’d loved and lived with for over twenty years.
But Tricia had come to terms with all that. This was their second chance.
“Mom would be real happy that Dad’s thinking about the future.” Christina once again jumped into her dad’s court.
“Oh, of course she would,” Lorna agreed. But her tone was just this side of uncertain, and her gaze wandered between Tricia and David as if looking for cracks.
In contrast, Christina was almost too enthusiastic. Like she was trying to prove something. Or deny her real feelings. From the moment Christina had found out her dad was dating Tricia—during the Thanksgiving holiday, two weeks before the anniversary of her mother’s death, no less—she’d supported the relationship. When David wanted to bring Tricia along for the Christmas trip, Christina agree wholeheartedly. So had Brian.
Or so they both said.
Tricia had been apprehensive about the trip, spending time with David’s kids, seeing Lorna and Everett again. Facing Judy after all this time. She’d fixated on her relationship with Judy because that was easier than dwelling on the fact that she was the new woman showing up at the family gatherings. Especially this holiday, which was the first time they’d all been together since David’s wife’s funeral.
Tricia was the interloper. Maybe that was the real reason why Lorna had decided they should be the ones who got the hotel room. Because Tricia wasn’t part of the family.
David flipped his wrist to look at his watch. “If we’re going to get back for dinner on time, we better check in. You said Judy’d be here by then, right?”
Tricia wondered if he wanted to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room—the elephant being her as the interloper—or if he was simply trying to minimize her discomfort. It wasn’t like he could just come out and say, Hey, let’s not talk about my deceased wife in front of the woman I’m going to marry.
“Yes, yes.” Lorna’s glass hit the tray just a little too loudly and she stood too quickly, bumping the table. She was as nervous as Tricia had tried to pretend she wasn’t. “They should be here by six and I thought we’d have dinner at seven.”
She and David had booked that early morning flight so they’d have time to check in, unpack. Even time for a relaxing glass of wine.
The kids would have time to tell their grandparents how much they missed their mom.
And Lorna would have time to pump them for how they really felt about the new woman in their dad’s life.