The Christmas Mistake
Publication date: December 1st, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Dressed in nothing but Christmas lingerie, Carina has a bellhop deliver her in a gift box to her fiance’s hotel room, but the last thing she expects when she is unwrapped is to see a sexy stranger in holiday boxers who looks like he just stepped off a magazine cover – definitely NOT her fiancé! How in the silver bells was she delivered to the wrong room?
As the owner of a small flower shop, Carina’s surrounded by romance on a daily basis. Her workaholic fiancé has been distant for the past several months, so she decides to drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to surprise him on Christmas Eve. However, that distance between them has brought loneliness, and the mere thought of the sexy stranger plucks at her mistletoe. When she discovers the reason for her fiance’s lack of attention, will she put him on Santa’s naughty list and take the stranger for a sleigh ride?
Rad had no desire for a one-night stand or even a new long-term stand. Despite his recent social media status change from in-a-relationship to single, he needed a break from women in general. Funny thing about it was that even though it was the holidays, he was more relieved than sad. Why does society pressure people so much to be in a relationship? Why does the vast majority believe that one must be with someone in order to be happy? He wanted to focus on himself, be selfish, and check off items on his bucket list before tying himself down to another woman.
Towel drying his hair, he sat on the bed. Yes, he wanted a family, but right now, his parents needed him. He was the youngest of five kids, but the other siblings lived out of state. He lived next door to his folks just to really be there for them.
Shaking his head, he noticed his phone blinked with a message. He picked it up, confirming it was from one of his buds, Chip. Where y’at? We found ya a hottie.
He tossed the phone on the bed, ignoring the text. When he had slipped away from them earlier, he had hoped they would forget about him for a while. He had no interest in fooling around with under-aged women. There was no way those girls were of age despite the game of dress up they played. High heels, short skirts, and too much makeup only made them appear silly to him. They had squealed too much and jittered nervously despite their attempt to appear cool with the New Orleans scene. Fish out of water. They were probably Catholic high school girls on a sneak out.
To be quite honest, he preferred the artistic side of New Orleans versus the party life. He enjoyed hunting down antiques in the French Quarter for his shop in Baton Rouge, and sometimes, he acquired art from the street vendors to resell. He believed in supporting starving artists instead of feeding the corporate piggy bank. He had secretly hoped to do more of that this weekend than drinking it up. That ship, however, had sailed.
His cell phone played “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. In his brain, he always heard Mrs. Grinch. His heart dropped at the thought of his ex. What the devil did she want now?
Snatching his phone off the dresser, he sat on the edge of the messed-up bed, wrinkling his nose at the smell of spilled beer. The spot on the floor had dried, but that combined with the dozen or so empty bottles kept the room smelling like a bar. He wished again that he had not put out the Do Not Disturb sign. The place was in desperate need of a cleaning lady.
Scrolling through his ex’s mile long text, the words listing her items left at his house blurred. He responded with whatever and tossed the phone back on the dresser. He considered blocking her number and didn’t fight the memory of their parting ways. Had it only been three weeks ago?
They had been at her work’s Christmas party. She had gone to the restroom, and thirty minutes later, Rad had gone to check on her. The night’s festivities were winding down, and only a handful of people remained. It had been time to leave, and he feared she’d passed out in the bathroom. She’d started tossing them back before they left the house, so he knew he was the designated driver for the evening. Once they’d gotten there, she had headed to the bar for more.
Two ladies exited the bathroom, and he had asked if they had seen her. The women had glanced at each other before both vehemently insisting nobody was in there. He instantly became suspicious and rushed past them. Entering the ladies’ room, he froze at the sound of lips smacking in what was an obvious make out session. He pushed open the door on every stall until one revealed his fiancé and another woman.
Instead of feeling sad, a huge weight had lifted off Rad’s shoulders. For some reason, he hadn’t been surprised, and even now, his eyes remained dry. Everything had fallen into place like the pieces of a puzzle. The late-night calls and weekend sleepovers she had spent with her girlfriend. It now seemed a more than appropriate word for the bestie who always hung around.
Now I know why.
Josephine Templeton has six published novels that range from historical romance to urban fantasy. She has been to numerous conferences, including Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans, as well as a former member of Romance Writers of America.