Microsoft Word - carr_naughtyisnice

BOOK: Microsoft Word - carr_naughtyisnice
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During the holidays, sometimes the nicest things are the naughtiest.

Dedicated to the faithful readers of Samhain Publishing. Here’s hoping each and every

one of you has a wonderful holiday and the happiest of New Years!

Naughty Is Nice

Copyright 2008, Mari Carr

Cover Art: Scott Carpenter

This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the

writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are no construed to be real. Any

resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely

incidental.

All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner

whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief excerpts or quotations

embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Chapter One

“Thanks for dinner, Kylie. It was delicious.” Joy leaned back and tried to suck in a deep

breath. “Dammit, I think I’m about to burst.”

“Amen to that. Why do turkey dinners with all the fixings leave you feeling like a balloon

ready to pop?” Kylie unbuttoned her jeans.

Joy laughed. “You know, these pants were loose when I got here. I think I’m gonna have to

cut them off tonight when I get home.”

“Well at least we didn’t have to do the clean up. We can just sit here and bask in our

gluttony.”

Joy shook her head. “I still can’t believe the fellas hopped up to do the dishes like that.”

“In this house, the cook doesn’t clean. You and I just spent the better part of our day

cooking up a feast that those three ravenous beasts consumed in less than twenty minutes,”

Kylie joked.

“Isn’t that always the way? Five hours of fixin’ for five minutes of feastin’. I really want to

thank you for inviting me, Ky. Tonight was fun.”

“You know you can spend the night and do Christmas morning with us.”

Joy grinned at Kylie’s tenacity. Her best friend seemed appalled at the fact she’d decided

against making the long trip to visit her folks this year. Fact was, she couldn’t afford the plane

fare and a week with her parents wasn’t exactly her idea of celebrating the holidays. She was

fairly certain her folks were the model for George Costanza’s parents on
Seinfeld
. “I’ll be fine at

home.”

“People aren’t supposed to spend Christmas alone,” Kylie argued.

“Maybe not in your world, but I have to tell you, I can’t think of anything nicer than lying in

bed all day watching a Harry Potter movie marathon and eating junk food. Of course after

tonight’s dinner, I’ll probably need to fast all damn day just to fit in the bed.”

“Well, if you get bored, come over,” Kylie added one last plea.

“If I get bored, I’ll just work on my holiday wish list some more.”

“Isn’t Christmas day a bit late to be writing a wish list?” Kylie asked.

“This list is different. Here,” Joy reached into her purse and pulled out a piece of folded

paper. “I’ve been working on it for a few days. What do you think?”

Kylie took the paper and perused it for a moment. Joy struggled not to giggle at her friend’s

face.

“This is a sex checklist,” Kylie said, confusion in her voice.

“Well yeah, sort of. I’ve decided to grant myself a few wishes this year.”

“With who?”

Joy frowned. “I haven’t exactly figured out that point yet, but there’s still time. I’m completely

serious about doing every single one of the things on that list before next Christmas.”

“This is a helluva list, Joy. Can I make a copy of it?”

Joy grinned. “Yeah, like you aren’t living in a sex fantasy world everyday! You’re my

inspiration. I’m telling you Ky, I’ve had it with boring love affairs. I’m dating duds, in and out of

the bedroom. Crap, all I have to show for this year is Ron, the science teacher and Matt, the

accountant.”

Kylie scrunched up her nose. “That is a pretty sad statement for your year.”

“Tell me about it. The only lesson I learned from Ron is that you should never date

someone from work and Matt the Missionary Man was dull as dirt.”

Kylie laughed as Joy used the nickname she’d given the boring accountant.

“Laugh if you must, but I’m serious. If I don’t have some halfway decent sex this year, I’m

going to spontaneously combust. There’s just so much you can do with sex toys alone.”

“Hey Joy,” Nick called as he came into the living room. “Damn snow started falling again. If

we don’t get a move on, the roads will be slick as hell.”

“Okay,” Joy said, hastily shoving her wish list back into her bag. She’d ridden to Kylie,

Heath and Colt’s house with her neighbor and friend, Nick. Nick and Colt were partners at the

police department, while she and Kylie taught at the same high school. She and Nick were two

of the few trusted friends who were privy to the truth behind Kylie’s committed relationship with

not one, but two men. Joy had been shocked when she’d first learned that Kylie was involved in

a ménage, but after meeting Heath and Colt, Joy’s initial reservations turned to utter envy. Her

friend was a very lucky woman to have landed two such faithful, handsome men and Joy had no

doubt their relationship, though unusual, was one that was destined to last forever.

“Thanks again for inviting me,” Joy said as she and Kylie hugged each other. “Merry

Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” Kylie answered. “And here’s hoping you get everything on your wish

list!”

*****

“You’ve been awfully quiet tonight,” Nick said. Joy had been his friend for close to two years

and the woman was
never
quiet.

“Just thinking,” she said, looking over and smiling at him. He was struck again by how pretty

and peaceful she’d seemed all night. She was typically a ball of energy, bouncing off every

surface in whatever room she happened to be standing in. She talked too fast and too much

and every time he was around her he felt as if he was constantly struggling to keep up.

“What are you thinking about?” He wasn’t used to trying to initiate a conversation with her.

He’d gotten used to her doing all the talking while he threw in a few nods and grunts every once

in awhile so she knew he was listening. Fact of the matter was, he found her insights into life

fascinating and entertaining.

“I don’t know. The holidays.”

Again she stopped talking and Nick was left wondering. He was slightly surprised to find he

didn’t like not knowing what was going on inside her pretty little head.

“What about the holidays?” he prodded.

Joy laughed softly. “I don’t know, Nick. I guess I’m just reflecting a bit on the year. Thinking

about things I’d like to change in my life.”

Nick frowned. Change? Why the hell did she need change? As far as he knew, she was

happy with her life. At least, she always seemed happy. “Like what?”

She shrugged and he found himself starting to lose his temper, something he rarely did. He

pulled into Joy’s driveway and got out. As always she had her door open and was halfway out

before he could get around to her side. “Dammit Joy, the pavement is slippery. Why don’t you

ever wait for me?”

Joy took his proffered hand with a grin. “My gentlemanly neighbor. We’ve discussed this

before, Nick. I’m perfectly capable of getting in and out of cars on my own.”

“Nothing wrong with a man opening a door for a woman, Joy. Damn women’s libbers.”

“Hallelujah! Mr. Caveman managed to sneak in an appearance in the eleventh hour.

Leaving it a bit late aren’t you Nick? I mean I’m almost to my front door.”

“Very funny. Where’s your key?” He asked the question, then stood back on the front porch

and smirked. Joy didn’t disappoint him.

“Oh crap, I should have looked for it in the car,” she said as Nick nodded. That was pretty

much her standard line. Now they would spend the next five minutes freezing their asses off

while she dug through her gargantuan handbag. His luggage was smaller than her purse and he

couldn’t for the life of him understand why she felt like she needed to tote around so much shit

all the time.

“It’s in here somewhere,” she muttered and Nick glanced at his watch. Three minutes down,

two to go. She continued to rifle through the bag and a piece of paper fell out. She failed to

notice so he bent down to pick it up as she continued searching.

“Aha! Here it is. What was my time?” she asked.

“Four minutes and twelve seconds. A new record,” he teased.

“Woo Hoo! Good night, Nick. Thanks for driving.”

“Merry Christmas, Joy.”

She leaned forward and pulled him into a friendly hug, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek.

Nick was surrounded by her warm, cozy smells, a pleasant mix of peppermint and cookies and

hot chocolate that made him think of home.

“Merry Christmas, Nick. I hope the snow stops soon. I don’t like the thought of you driving

three hours in this mess to your sister’s house tomorrow.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ve got my trusty four-wheel drive. Sure you don’t wanna come with me?”

“Hmmm. Spend Christmas day with your sister and her seventy-two screaming children or

laze about in bed all day. That is a tough choice.”

“She has five kids and only four of them scream. The teenager just sulks. Thanks for

reminding me what I’m in for,” he answered sarcastically as she laughed.

“You love them all and you know it. Be careful and I’ll see you day after tomorrow.”

“Night, Joy.”

She turned and went into her house and Nick stayed put until he heard the lock click into

place. He started to walk back to his truck when he realized he was still holding on to the piece

of paper she’d dropped. He turned back to her door, ready to knock when his eyes landed on

the heading.

My Christmas Wish List.

Nick grinned at the length of the list. Joy’s tiny, neat handwriting covered nearly three-

fourths of the page. He scanned the items slowly and felt his jaw drop.

Holy shit.

Joy was planning to give herself quite a merry Christmas. He continued to peruse the list

wondering if some of the things she’d listed were even legal.

He folded the list and put it in his pocket, his mind running a hundred miles a minute. The

changes Joy was thinking about making in her life were erotic as all get out.

Who the hell is she planning to do all this stuff with?

That single question plagued him as he moved his truck from her driveway across the street

into his. He was uneasy with the thought of her trying any of the things on that wish list with

anyone, but him. Nick leaned back against the headrest, not moving from the truck as the

impact of that thought jolted through him.

When he and Joy had met, they’d both been in relationships. They’d become friends

through Colt and Kylie, bringing along their partners on outings and picnics. Her relationship

ended, but by the time he’d broken up with his girlfriend, she’d started dating someone else. It

always seemed when one of them was free, the other wasn’t. For the last few months, they’d

both been single, but after so much time as friends, it seemed like neither one of them looked

upon the other in a romantic light.

Now Nick couldn’t get over the feeling that Joy was meant to be his and he’d be damned if

he’d let another man snatch her up before he could. He pulled her list out again and grinned. He

was about to make all of Joy’s naughty Christmas wishes come true and with any luck, he’d

make sure both of them had a very happy new year as well.

Chapter Two

It was dark when Joy opened her eyes. She wondered what had woken her up and then

she heard it. Footsteps on the carpet. In her room. She started to bolt up and scream when a

hand clasped itself over her lips. Her heart raced with fear until she heard Nick’s voice

whispering in her ear.

“Relax Joy. It’s just me.”

She sighed with relief. Nick had a key to her house for emergencies. But there didn’t seem

to be an emergency right now and she was overcome with a flood of anger. When he released

BOOK: Microsoft Word - carr_naughtyisnice
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