Derek’s world is about to change forever—again.
Mistletoe in the City
Publisher: Daulton Publishing
Cover Designer: Satin Rose Designs
Release Date: November 7th, 2023
Genre: New Adult Holiday Romance
Word Count: 35k
Heat Rating: 5 Flames
After his father’s stroke, Derek Weston dropped out of college and returned home to help his parents with the family business, Oak Landing Apartments. Now living on the premises as the groundskeeper and handyman, he never expected the girl he’d secretly crushed on in high school to move into a unit right before Christmas or stir up desires he thought long gone.
Krista Hartley needs a fresh start away from her overbearing parents, but falling for the tattooed hottie who ignored her back in school wasn’t in the plans. Despite old hurts, Derek’s hot kisses and strong arms offer the shelter she craves.
When another woman sets her sight on Derek and drives a wedge between him and Krista, they’ll have to decide if their relationship is real, or just a winter fling.
I wrote Mistletoe in the City several years ago as part of an anthology for my former publisher. Now, since the rights have reverted to me, I’m re-releasing it as a standalone novella with extra and extended scenes, a new sub-plot, and some revised characterizations. On the whole, it’s the same story as before, but now it’s more detailed and delves deeper into Krista and Derek’s steamy and sometimes rocky relationship. I hope you have a blast reading it.
A deep voice jerked her upright. Heat raced into her face, and air lodged in her throat. Wake up, Krista. Right now. She closed her eyes, forced air in and out of her lungs, and pushed the image of Derek Weston out of her mind. She opened her eyes.
What the hell?
Derek stood in front of her table with his pierced eyebrow arched.
She hadn’t noticed the black cone-shaped ring the day before, but she’d never forget the morning he’d shown up in sophomore English with a hoop in his swollen eyebrow.
“What are you doing here?” She winced as his other eyebrow rose. Licking her dry lips, she braced her hands on her knees and stood. “Sorry, I’m just surprised to see you.”
Derek shrugged, but his blue-eyed gaze never left hers. “Yeah, I get it. We haven’t seen each other in three years. You look good, Kris.”
Her heart somersaulted. Only her friends called her Kris. He tunneled his fingers through his dark, shiny hair, and the sexy locks cascaded over the back of his head to dangle around his clean-shaven cheeks and strong chin in erotic waves. The black stud in each of his earlobes poked out from between the locks like a dare for her to lick them.
She longed to reach out and stroke the ribbed fabric of his clingy, V-neck sweater, so she grasped her sweaty hands together behind her back instead. Safety pins secured patches of bands she’d never heard of on his denim jacket, and a collection of badass leather bracelets circled his left wrist. His mouthwatering jeans hung low on his hips, and she was half tempted to lean over the table and check out his footwear to complete the sexy picture of him in her mind for her to take out and drool over later.
Focus, Krista. She rolled her tight shoulders. High school is ancient history. You went to college, slept with a few guys, met a special guy, and then dumped his sorry ass. Be cool. You’re an adult. Act like it!
Easier said than done.
“You’re bigger than I remember.” Her face heated again. “I mean, you’re taller.”
A grin curled his lips. “Not really. I hit six-one back in school, but I am broader now.” He spread his arms wide and glanced down at himself. “There’s a room at my mom’s house that I can’t even enter without turning sideways because my shoulders are so wide. Granted, the doorway is insanely narrow, but I still feel like the Hulk every time I go into the laundry room.”
Her lower belly quivered. She clenched her thighs together and swallowed hard. “Well, you look good, too.” If only she could drizzle chocolate on him and lick it up. “It’s great to see you, but why are you here? Young, single, straight guys don’t usually come to craft fairs. Did your girlfriend drag you here?” Okay, so she fished for information. So what? If Derek wanted nothing to do with her romantically, she better find out now and let him fall into the acquaintance category as the groundskeeper and assistant manager of the Oak Landing Apartments.
If she was lucky, she could call him a friend.
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About the Author
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.
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