THE MISTLETOE TRAP
Heart in the Game, #2
by Cindi Madsen
Publication Date: November 16, 2020
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Amara, Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this holiday season, Julie knows some things will never change.
Gavin is well-aware his family’s wanted him and Julie to get together since forever, even though he’s been friend-zoned since they could talk—and he’s been happy to play that role. After all, as the new starting quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs, he’s got enough on his plate without adding romance to the mix.
But between playing elves in the holiday bazaar to nights spent one-on-one watching rom-coms or soaking in their town’s hot springs, suddenly the “reverse parent trap” they’ve fallen into is actually starting to work. But this could be one scheme where letting themselves get trapped might be way too dangerous.
Each book in the Heart in the Game series is STANDALONE:
* The Wedding Deal
* The Mistletoe Trap
The rapid rise and fall of her chest as her breath quickened wasn’t helping his tactical skills. After a couple of seconds, she picked out a single M&M and demanded him to open up. Expecting a trap, his muscles coiled, ready to spring, but he did as instructed.
After firing—and landing—one in his mouth, she tossed the rest into hers and crunched on the candies. “Between the marshmallows and M&Ms, I think we’re safe.”
Interesting. He felt anything but safe right now. He closed the gap between them with one long stride and arched an eyebrow. “Is that your way of calling a truce?”
She nodded. “Truce.” Her chin lifted a couple more inches so she could peer at his face, keying him in to the fact that he was looming over her. Surprising how all that attitude, humor, kindness, and scientific knowledge could be packed into such a tiny body.
A short, curvy body that kept causing his pulse to thunder and his common sense to go on a vacation of its own. Had time halted or was this one of those moments of clarity that held enough weight to draw it out longer?
His gaze dipped to her lips. Whoever was in control of his body lifted his arm. He pressed his thumb to the corner of her mouth and used it to wipe away the frosting that’d stuck there.
“Oh jeez.” Her tongue darted out, swiping that same spot he’d touched, and he just stood there, unable to move. “Pretty sure that’s evidence enough that I fail at being sexy. And maybe I have to accept that’s just not one of my sides or whatever. But come on, I’m hardly boring.”
Her eyes sought his, as if she needed confirmation.
On impulse, he lifted his thumb to his own mouth and sucked it clean of the frosting.
Sugary-sweet, just like her.
Her lips parted with a ragged breath, and regardless of the fuzziness that’d invaded his entire body, he needed to say something—without giving away too much.
“I’ve never been bored with you, that’s for sure.” He swallowed, hard. “As for that other part, I think we have some sexy pills around here somewhere. One bite and the spell some asshole put on you to make you think something so foolish will be broken.”
Blindly he reached back, aiming for the bowls of candy. Only his hand found frosting instead. “Damn it,” he muttered, shaking off bits of the green goop that looked remarkably like the face mask Julie had forced upon him the other night. So much for his smooth delivery. “That was supposed to go differently. The point is, it’s all in your head, babe. You’re really sexy. Just trust me on that.”
For several seconds, he didn’t think she would respond. Was she even breathing? Blinking? Had the poisonous mistletoe cookies kicked in?
The silence was nearing frantic territory when her eyes flicked to the green frosting on his fingertips. He was about to wipe the mess on his pants, but then her fingers circled his wrist. She lifted his arm and studied his hand like she’d never seen one before.
Another inch higher, and time ground to a halt as she flicked her tongue over the pad of his greenest fingertip. “Since you helped me with my frosting issue,” she rasped.
With his hand already poised next to the lower lip he couldn’t stop obsessing over, he gave in to the urge to drag his thumb over it, the softness and the accompanying dilating pupils completely hypnotizing.
A heated exhale whispered across his wrist as he continued down, down, down until his palm rested against the side of her neck.
“Looks like I didn’t quite get it all, though.” He drew her closer, eradicating all but the last inch of space between their mouths. He held the intimate position for a beat, giving her a chance to pull away if she wanted to. Then he angled his head and flicked his tongue over the corner that was perfectly clean but hadn’t been taste-tested yet.
“Well, now you have some on your lip.” Her tongue darted out, the tip barely hitting the seam of his mouth. The low mmm noise that followed the featherlight touch left his throat sandpaper dry.
Usually Julie was the one who analyzed, applied logic, and kept them out of trouble. He should return the favor, but a haze of lust shrouded his mind, and instead of attempting to clear it, he wanted to sink in and live in this dream for a while.
The world narrowed to her mouth and his, and then he was guiding her face to his, testing the limits of their dangerous game.
The fuse on his nerve endings lit up like a sparkler, burning fast and bright. She parted her lips, and boom. No going back after an explosion like that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. She and her family also take their Marvel addiction very seriously, as their one-eyed cat, Agent Fury, and their kitty named Valkyrie can attest.
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