He knows if she's been bad or good.
Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she's having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she's ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer.
Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for thirteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes.
And when Warren decides Julia is all he wants for Christmas, will she risk their longtime friendship for the gift of love?
“Now step into my office.”
Julia blinked at his hard tone, her gaze shifting to his closed office door. “I beg your pardon?”
Warren opened the door. “In. Now.”
Her features tightened with resistance just as the elevator doors opened and several employees emerged, their voices rising in chatter. Julia crossed the hallway in front of them, her shoulders rigid. He caught a whiff of Chanel No. 5 as she passed him.
He entered the office behind her and closed the door, flicking the lock shut.
“You are not to take out personal crap on my employees,” he said. “That’s not how I run this company.”
Julia’s lips compressed. “Odd that you’ve never before questioned my treatment of your employees. And it wasn’t personal. She needed to know she’d screwed up.”
“Announcing the holiday party early is not screwing up,” Warren replied evenly. “You’re pissed off because you’ve had a shitty week, you have too much on your plate, an old bucket list has thrown you off your game, and you don’t know what to do with the fact that we fucked the other night.”
Two spots of color appeared on her cheeks. “I seem to recall that what I did with that fact was tell you it wasn’t going to happen again. After which you informed me in excellent caveman style that I was wrong. You seem to forget I’m never wrong.”
About this, you are.
He bit back the words. He hadn’t become the president of Sugar Rush by throwing his weight around. He knew how to bide his time, work his way into getting what he wanted. And damned if he didn’t want her more with every passing second.
“Well?” Julia put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Are we done here?”
Under her make-up, purplish smudges shadowed her eyes. Brackets of tension lined her mouth. His jaw tightened.
“You had a migraine yesterday,” he said.
“What the fuck do you care?” Julia snapped.
Warren’s hands flexed. He was used to her quick-fire cursing, all the more effective when delivered by a woman who looked like royalty, but he didn’t like being the recipient of her wrath.
“I’m putting Mia Donovan in charge of the Sugar Rush holiday party,” he said.
“You’re firing me?” Julia stared at him, her eyes widening. “Are you serious?”
“Yes.” He steeled himself against her shock and the knowledge that he was hurting her. “You’ve planned it for the past ten years, and it’s time to hand it over to someone else.”
“You don’t get to decide that.”
“Yes, I do. Sugar Rush is my company. This is also the event where I’ll be announcing my retirement. You’re not going to plan it.”
“Because I have too much on my plate?” Julia stopped in front of the windows, her arms crossed and her fiery gaze fixed on him. “Thanks for your concern, Daddy, but I assure you I can handle everything I take on.”
“That’s why you’re such a success. It’s also why your headaches are getting worse.”
“You are not my fucking doctor.”
She barked out a laugh. “You need to rethink this retirement thing, Warren. It’s making you soft.”
Given the state of his dick, he was anything but soft.
About the Author
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she's that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.
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