- Author: Diana Castilleja
- Publisher: Forbidden Publications
- Year: 2006
- Setting: Ohio
- Fictionwise Listing: Holiday Magic
Lola Beckham is a hard working single mother, caring for her deaf son. Her ex-husband left her early in their marriage out of youthful ignorance and an inability to cope with a child with a handicap. She has managed and over time, Bennie has regained a relationship with his father and his current wife and children. Lola is glad for the family Bennie has and is thankful that Rick has matured enough to share his twin daughters and life with his son. She only wonders when she'll be able to stop living as a statistic and find a man who can accept her and the responsibility of her life and son.
“Can I tell you something?”
She peeked up at him, spotting his grin and the slightly worried glint in his dark gaze. “Is this one of those, ‘tell me and I promise not to hurt you’ kind of things?”
That low chuckle floated from inside his chest. It was so not fair. He even had one of those low, sexy laughs. “That is exactly the kind of ‘thing’ this is.”
She leveled a look at him. “I’ll do my best for restraint.”
His grin grew and she felt him relax beneath her touch. “You threw me for a loop when you said you had a son.”
She stopped dancing on the spot, her arms feeling leaden around his shoulders. “Oh.” It was her worst fear. Her arms started to slide free and a chill walked over her skin.
Not that she blamed him. He didn’t mind that she had been married, but having a son was something else altogether. It usually was. She’d hate to find out what he thought about his hearing impairment.
“I see,” she whispered.
He reached for her hands, cradling them into his chest, capturing her from escape. “What’s wrong?”
She shook her head. “Nothing.” She avoided his questioning glances.
“I still want to meet him. For more than a wave.”
She snapped up to look at him. “You do?”
“Of course I do.” He seemed genuinely confused. “Why wouldn’t I want to meet him?”
“What you just said,” she stumbled. “I thought…” She felt less sure about it now.
“You thought,” he prompted. He pulled her arms back up again and if she breathed too deeply, she would feel his entire length up and down her front. It left her aware of just how close they were, dancing together. “You’re very protective of him.”
She swallowed and nodded. “I am. Rick left us before he was a year old.”
He froze in place at that admission. “Seriously?” She nodded again. “So what did you think I meant?” Instead of dancing more, he gently steered her to the side of the room near the tree and some quiet shadows.
She kept her gaze fixed on the buttons of his suit. “That because I have a son, you aren’t…don’t…” Shame filled her as she realized how quickly she had jumped to that conclusion. Not all men were the same. Not everyone hated that she had a child. And by his expressions, she knew she had been unfair. His next words proved it.
“Oh, I’m very,” he whispered, leaning over to breathe against the skin of her neck. “And I do. Definitely.” The words flared over her until the skin that had chilled, warmed with the blatant tone of promise. “I meant you don’t look like anyone’s mother.” His hands moved, forming around her waist a little tighter than any other first date in memory. “You’re beautiful.”
She felt when he brushed a soft kiss to the side of her jaw and her knees trembled in reaction. Standing close to the fragrant tree, the soft twinkle of the colored lights buried like hidden treasures in the branches swirled in her vision. They brought back his words from earlier. His Christmas wish. Believe in the magic of the holiday.
When he gently drew an earlobe into the warmth between his lips, she let her eyes drift shut. She wanted to believe.