Home for the Holiday
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by Wendy Stone
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Kenna McEwen is sent into a panic when her mother calls to invite her home for the holidays. This past year hadn't been very good to her and the idea of meeting up with her sister, pregnant by the man that Kenna had planned to marry, makes her anxious. Nicolas Grefield is Kenna's best friend, so she turns to him to make this trip easier to bear. She cons Nicky intol pretending to be her boyfriend in front of her parents. Nicolas likes the idea and decides they should use it with his parents as well. But Kenna has no idea how seriously Nicky wants to actually be her boyfriend, and how badly he wants to take her home as his actual fiancee. Now will Kenna go along with him so that they might have their own perfect trip "Home for the Holiday?"
eBook Publisher: Phaze, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: October 2009
227 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [258 KB]
Reading time: 176-247 min.
"Hi, Mom! It's Kenna."
"Baby!" I could hear the happiness in my mom's voice and that tiny little voice inside berated me for not calling home more. "Is everything okay?"
"It's great, mom, I just wanted to call and let you know that I got some time off around Christmas and I thought I'd come home. That is, if that's okay?"
"Okay? Okay? That's wonderful. Your dad will be so happy. He's been wanting a big family Christmas with all the kids and grandkids. Now that you're coming, it'll be perfect. Oh, I can't wait to tell him."
"Wait, Mom, what do you mean all the kids and grandkids? Do you mean Bekka and Steven will be there?"
"Oh, honey. It was such a long time ago, can't you forgive them?"
Yeah, sure, Mom," I thought, my brain whirling around the fact that my two-timing ex-fiancé and my sneaky bitch of a sister were going to be at Mom and Dad's for Christmas.
"Yeah, Mom," I said, offhandedly. "Sure."
"Bring your new beaux home with you, baby. We're all anxious to meet him."
"Yeah, Mom," I said, distracted. I was having problems getting the last time I'd seen Bekka and Steven out of my mind. It was at my wedding, when she'd come and broke it up to tell Steven that she was pregnant with his child. Two-faced blonde bitch.
I finished the conversation with my mom in somewhat of a daze, sitting back in my chair in my small, one bedroom apartment. I worked for the State Police Post in Lapeer, Michigan. I was a 911 operator and a good one, or at least my last evaluation had said as much. One of the officers I was in charge of keeping track of was Steven. I'd managed to pull his ass out of some minor trouble and he'd come in and thanked me. We'd gone out once and then we'd been damn near inseparable.
That was, until I made the mistake of taking him home to meet the rest of my family. He'd taken one look at Bekka with her thick blonde hair and baby blue eyes and had barely been able to speak. I should have known then that he wasn't right for me. If I hadn't been so stubborn, maybe...
The maybe flew from my head at the knock on the door to my apartment. "Who is it?" I yelled through the door, even though I was pretty sure I knew.
I knew that voice. I heard it almost every day at work, in the cubicle behind mine. "Get in here," I said, opening the door and dragging Nicky in. "What are you delivering?" I asked, lust in my voice. It could have been for the food in his hands or for the hands holding the food. Both were lust-worthy.
Nicholas Evans, six feet two inches of pure male. He preyed on my mind and my libido on a regular basis. But try to get him to realize that. I sighed, wishing that I could be more like my pretty sister, with her confidence and her fashion sense. Instead, I got the Irish in the family. Red hair that held a lot of curl no matter how many times I tried to straighten it. Green eyes that always sparkled with a hint of deviltry, even after Steven. A smattering of freckles graced my nose. They were my cute factor and a place every single man I'd ever dated had felt the need to kiss.
I was curvy instead of lithe and lean, holding onto about ten extra pounds that no amount of sit ups or running at the track would dispel. Where Bekka was model height and weight, I was the shortest in the family. Even Mara was taller than I and she was the youngest in the family, still in school.
"What's wrong?" Nick asked, holding the food above his head, where he knew I couldn't reach it. "Tell me and I'd be tempted to share."
"You tell me what you got and I'll see if I want to share," I teased.
"Meatball sub," he said, bringing the bag down to nose height and rolling open the flap. "Your favorite, with lots of marinara sauce."
"Ah hell, Nicky. I can't. I'm on a diet."
"Since when?" he said, and I could see his eyes lingering on my full figure.
"Since I heard that Bekka and Steven are going to be at Mom's for Christmas."
Nick dropped the bag on the counter. He knew the entire story. He'd been at the wedding when Bekka had dropped her bomb and then scuttled away with the groom, leaving the abandoned bride to deal with the fallout. "Hell," he said, digging a hand through the thick black hair on his head. "I'm sorry, Kennie. Is there anything I can do?"
"Well," I said, half-joking. "Now that you mention it, you could go with me and pretend to be my boyfriend."
I stared out the window, waiting for his decision. I could feel his gaze roaming over me and I wanted to punch him. Just the thought of him looking at me like that sent my pulse racing and my heart thundering in my chest. It beat so hard I could barely hear anything over the sound.
"Pretend?" he asked softly, coming up behind me.
"Yeah," I answered, shivering as his hands settled against my stomach. I sucked it in, trying to hide the small bump.
"Would I have to kiss you?" he asked near my ear, his nose nuzzling my hair aside.
"I-If you wanted to. They might expect it." His lips were warm against my throat, wrenching a moan from my lips.
"Would I have to touch you?" he asked, his hands moving over my stomach and up my arms, drawing me back until I could feel every hard inch of him from his shoulder to his thighs.
"N-Nicky." I gasped as he pressed his erection into me. "W-What are you doing?"
He turned me in his arms, pressing me back against the counter, his fingers under my chin to hold my lips up. "Practicing, so your family doesn't think we're playing them," he whispered, his lips finding mine with a softness that made me want to claw my way through his clothes to reach the hard body under them. He twisted my mouth open, pushing his tongue in to play with mine.
I returned his kiss. I couldn't help but return it. I heard him groan, pressing his big body harder against mine, holding me close. I wanted more, much, much more than what he was giving me. I stretched, standing on tip toe to put my arms around his neck, drawing my leg up the back of his until it was hooked around him. How far it would have gone, I don't know. My damn beeper went off, a dull buzz that made me push him away. We were forced to wear them and answer immediately, a burden of the job.
My lips felt swollen, my eyes heavy. I stared at him, panting. "What the hell was that for, Nicky?"
Instead of answering me, he plucked my pager off my waistband and handed it to me. "You might want to get this," he growled before turning away and pushing his hand through his hair again.
I checked the number on the pager and groaned. Mom must have been on the phone the second I'd hung up for them to call me so quickly. I picked up the phone and punched in the familiar number, my heart jumping when I heard his voice answer.
"Kenna?" Steven said softly, almost as if he were hiding the call from his wife.
"Yeah, what do you want, Steven?" My attention was focused on the call but I couldn't keep my eyes off of Nicky as he made his way around my kitchen, gathering plates and a couple of beers, napkins out of the cupboard. He sat down at my scarred second-hand table, cutting the sub in half and putting it on the two plates. Then he twisted open both bottles of beer, rising and bringing me mine. I took a long pull off it, wiping my lips with the back of my hand.
"Bekka's in her last month of the pregnancy, Kenna. Any stress could harm her or the baby. I was just going to ask if I could get you to stay away from your folks this Christmas. For your sister's sake," he added.
Fucking snively little weasel, why had I ever loved him? "Maybe you two should stay away, Steven. Mom sent me the invitation herself and I'm going. I'm sorry if that might make you uncomfortable, but maybe you should have thought about family Christmases when you were fucking my sister!" I hung up, taking another long drink of the beer and feeling it rush right to my head. "Fucking snively little weasel!"
"Well, don't hold back," Nicky said. "Tell me how you really feel about the douche bag."
"He is a douche bag, isn't he? A used-up douche bag owned by an ancient hooker with syphilis."
"Gross, Kenna. Really, really gross." Nicky waved his hand into the chair across from him and I couldn't help but notice that he'd given me an extra meatball.
"You know, this is going to go right to my ass, Nick."
"You've got a sexy ass, Kenna. Nice and soft, just right for grabbing and..."
"Shut up," I said, self-defensively. I couldn't sit there after talking to my ex-fiancé on the phone and listen to what Nick had to say about my ass. I just couldn't. I picked up the sandwich, taking a bite and letting the soothing taste of marinara and bread, cheese, and onions--not to mention the meatballs--sooth my ruffled feathers.
"So about the boyfriend gig?" Nick said around a bite. "How long would you need me?"
I almost said "life" but I could just see him racing out of my door, never to be seen again. "How long could you do it?"
I could almost see the wheels in his brain spinning. "Well, I was just thinking it might be a returnable favor. My folks want me to come home for the holidays, too. We could go to your parents' for Christmas and then mine for the New Year's. That way neither set of parents would have a real long time to troll for information and we can make them all happy. What do you think?"
"You want to spend an entire week with me?" I asked him, shocked.
"I do that now," he said with a laugh. "Between work and the shit we do together after work, we almost live together."
Oh, how I wished! The thought of getting into bed beside him, of having him there every night was an aphrodisiac, and I could feel my panties getting damp.
"Besides, it's not like they'd ever catch on that we're duping them, Kenna. We could just say things went south a few weeks after Christmas and no one would be the wiser, right?"
"Right," I said slowly. I picked up my beer, clinking it to his. "Here's to making the parents happy on the holidays."
"To making them happy and keeping them off our cases," he added.
* * * *
That conversation had been two weeks ago. Now, we stood outside the bus depot, waiting for my father to come and pick us up. I sat huddled on my suitcase, cursing the wintery weather that had made our bus late. It was dark and I almost jumped out of my skin when Nicky came and sat on the other half of my suitcase, wrapping his arms around me. He'd taken to this boyfriend gig like a duck to water, constantly touching me, holding my hand, bringing me little things at work to make me smile. His kisses had been warm, frequent, and had kept me in a constant state of arousal. My poor vibrator was almost worn out from constant use. I'd been sure to pack it, as well as new batteries.
"Cold?" he whispered against my ear, the heat from his breath causing new shivers to tingle through me. His hands rubbed over my arms and down my back and his tongue made a slow foray around the curve of my ear. "I bet I can warm you up."
"Nick, they aren't here. You don't have to pretend yet." But I didn't shrug him off. Why should I when I enjoyed the attention so damn much? It was going to be hard to go back to just friends when the holidays were over.
"Maybe I'm not pretending," he growled, suckling lightly on my earlobe and sending another shiver of lust through me. He'd been right about one thing, I was definitely warmer.
I giggled nervously, turning my head to look at him when a flash of headlights played across us. He used that second to kiss me, his tongue eagerly playing with my own, a soft moan leaking into my mouth.
"Can't keep his hands off of her, Mara. Looks like we might have to use the bundling bag for this one, hmmm?"
"Daddy!" I squealed, pulling away from Nicky and launching myself into my father's arms. I missed him so much. The last time I'd seen him, he'd been threatening to kill Steven for what he'd done to his daughters. He was still a big bulk of a man, kept in shape by chopping wood and all the other outdoor things he enjoyed.
"Kenna, baby," I heard his voice grow gruff and knew he was blinking his eyes just as rapidly as I was, trying to hold back the tears.
"I've missed you, Daddy," I said, lifting my head out of the comforting padding of his shoulder. His scent was around me, the scent of fresh air and cheap aftershave given to him by us kids. He always smelled like he'd been out working on the snowmobiles or working in his shop. It brought back such memories, making me feel even more a fraud for what I was about to do. "Daddy, you remember Nicky, don't you? From the wedding? He's my best friend," I said as honestly as I could. "Nicholas Evans."
"Mr. McEwen, it's a huge pleasure to see you again, sir," Nick said, standing and holding out his hand for Kenna's father to shake. He'd met the man at the wedding, right before disaster struck.
Call me Doug," my dad said, shaking Nick's hand with a firm grip and evaluating the man who stood before him. He must have liked what he'd seen. "Well, grab that luggage. If I know Kenna's mom, she's standing at the window almost dancing in her anxiousness to see her babies all together again."
I hugged Mara, noting with a frown that my redheaded little sister was almost half a head taller than me. "How's school?" I asked, climbing in the back seat of Dad's car with her.
"Fine," she said in a non-committal tone. "He's a hottie, Ken. I'd never have looked at Steven if I had a stud like that to chase after."
"Mara!" I said, more than a little shocked before laughing it off. "He is pretty hot, isn't he?"
"More than a little. Does he have any little brothers?"
"I don't know," I answered, my brow furrowing. Nick knew everything about my family; he'd sat and listened to every little foible. But I knew next to nothing about his family. That would be changing before this trip was over. "We're heading to his family's for the New Year. I'll smuggle you one out."
"Just make sure you send him air mail, I'd like a little life left in him when he gets here."
I tugged on her hat, pulling it down to cover her bright blue eyes. "Fine, but until then, keep your mitts off of this one. He's mine."
"I'm not Bekka, Kenna," she said. Then she slammed a mittened hand over her mouth. "Oh, God. I'm sorry, Kenna, that was a terrible thing for me to say."
"It's okay, kid," I said to her, feeling a huge surge of relief as I realized I spoke the truth. "I'm so over that moron. Bekka's welcome to him."
"If I had a guy like Nick, I think I'd feel the same way."
We snuggled together in the back seat and I felt a warm glow inside. I smiled when I saw Nicky talking with my dad and making him laugh. My father's always been a big one on the wonders of laughter and how it can better your life. I grinned when Dad give me a wink in the rear view mirror. It was his patented stamp of approval. This might work out after all.
The house came into view, decorated with holly and tiny, white, glittering lights. It looked like something out of a Christmas movie. The big white farmhouse, done over in green and red ivy and white lights, Christmas tree shining out of the front window. It created a scene of welcome that made a tear appear in my eye. "Oh," I said softly, "it's so beautiful."
"Mom's been cracking the whip for two weeks now, ever since you said you were coming home. She wanted everything perfect for you," Mara whispered to me.
"It is," I whispered back. "Just being back here with you guys is a slice of heaven."
I heard barking and saw my dog, Riley, standing at the top of the porch stairs. I could barely wait for Nicky to open the door before I was pushing at the seat, wanting out. Riley came barreling at me, seventy pounds of lab and chow mix. I held out my arms and he jumped, knocking me backwards into the snow, my hat flying off and my red curls bouncing as I tried to keep my face from being swiped off by his big black tongue.
Sitting up, I managed to get him to stop long enough to take Nick's hands and stand up. "If I bark and wag my tail, can I knock you into the snow, too?" he whispered in my ear, making me blush. Mara handed me my hat and I patted my chest. Riley was tall enough to stand on his hind legs and look me in the eyes. "Good boy, Rye. I missed you. Nicky, this is my dog, Riley. Riley, this is Nick, he's a friend," I said, staring into my trusted companion's eyes.
Riley sat, holding up his paw for Nick to shake before he began bounding around again, the picture of chaotic energy on four legs. By that time, my mom had come to the back door, wiping her hands on her apron, her red hair braided and curled like a crown upon her head. Her face was flushed from the heat of the kitchen and she shivered when she stepped outside. "Baby," she said to me, her face lighting up.
I ran to her, letting her gather me in her arms and holding on fiercely. Where Daddy always meant safety and security, Mom was comfort and care. She knew how to make every hurt better. Whether it was with a kiss and a caress or a scolding and a lecture, she knew what was needed the most. "Hi, Momma," I whispered against her cheek, kissing her softly. "I missed you."
"Well, we've always been at the end of the bus line, little girl. You know that." She gave me one last squeeze and then stepped back. "So let me meet your Nicky."
This was the ultimate test of Nick's acting skill. My Momma wasn't an easy one to fool. I'd been trying to do it for years but hadn't been able to, not once. I took a deep breath and held my hand out to Nick. He came, taking it and twining his fingers with mine.
"Momma, this is Nicky, you met him at ... well you remember when. Nick, this is my momma, Evelyn McEwen."
Nick reached out holding my mom's hand as he bent and touched his lips to her cheek. "Mrs. McEwen, I'm so happy to see you again."
I squeezed Nick's hand as Mom's eyes turned serious, gazing into Nicky's sparkling blue ones. She narrowed her gaze for an instant and I felt a moment of panic. If not for Nick's hand on mine, I might have headed back for the car.
"You'll do," my mom finally said. "But you'll call me Evelyn and none of this Mrs. McEwen malarkey. I saved some dinner for you, it's on the stove." She started to herd us through the door, Riley squeezing in past my legs. "Douglas, bring in their suitcases. Nick will be staying in Kenna's old room. Kenna's bunking with Mara."
"Now, I want to hear everything," she continued, taking my hat off my hair and pulling on my coat.
She and Dad sat with us while we ate. Mom had made a pot roast, my favorite, with baked carrots and potatoes and huge fresh mushrooms. She'd even made fresh homemade noodles and cooked them in the juice from the roast. I was in heaven. Nick must have been as well. He ate everything on his plate and then had seconds, barely resisting thirds when he heard that Mom had made pie as well.
"I don't know how I ever made it out of this house without gaining two hundred pounds, Mom. You are such a fantastic cook."
"You're too skinny as it is, Kenna. Don't you eat in that big town of yours?"
I glanced down at my voluptuous figure and scoffed. "Yeah, right, Mom. Besides, I don't know if I'd count Lapeer as a big city." I looked over at Nick, my eyes begging for help.
"I bribe her with meatball subs, Evelyn, but she's a hard cookie to break. She's right about one thing, this is fantastic. Thank you." He shot me a conspiratorial glance.
"You're welcome." My mom almost gushed, her cheeks blushing prettily under Nick's admiring blue gaze. He had that affect on women and he used it whenever he could. I barely stifled a yawn, but Mom caught it. "You can tell us all about things tomorrow. Bekka and Stephen will be here in the morning and then we're going out to Pine's Pass to get the Christmas tree. Just like we used to do when you were a kid."
"Sounds great, Mom, but what about the tree I saw in the window of the living room when we pulled up?"
"That's just decoration, baby. The tree we get tomorrow will go into the family room. I hope you brought warm clothes with you, but if not, we probably have stuff around here that will work for you."
"We did, Mom. I'm going to take Nick up, show him where he'll be sleeping and where the bathroom is. I love you," I said, dropping a kiss on her head. I held my hand out to Nick, who groaned and pushed himself out of his chair.
"That was the best dinner I've ever eaten," he said, patting his lean belly. "Thank you, Evelyn." He said his goodnights and then took my hand, following me out of the room. I pulled him up the stairs and opened my old bedroom door, a bit embarrassed by the signs of teenage girl that filled the room. The posters of boy bands and horses were still where I'd left them when I'd moved out. The books, most of them well worn, still filled the bookcases.
I couldn't help but wrap my arms around his neck and give Nick a quick hug. "It worked," I breathed quietly. Nick held tight, refusing to let me go when I tried to get away.
"Of course it worked. I have a way with moms," he teased, dropping his head to kiss me quickly. He lifted his head just a bit, his eyes boring into mine, full of questions I didn't understand. Then his lips were on mine again, his mouth doing things that had me moaning in pleasure. I felt him backing me up, his hands sliding down my back and over the curve of my ass, squeezing me through the denim jeans. I heard him moan and then felt him give a small push, knocking me back on the bed.
He followed me down, covering my lips once more. His hands were on my waist, pulling at the sweater I'd worn. When he touched me his hands were hot, scorching on my skin. "I want you," he whispered against my mouth, making me moan. He raised his head, staring down at me, the heat in his blue eyes making me shiver with want. "Come to me later tonight?" he asked, his hand covering my breast, touching me intimately for the first time. "Please, Kenna?"
His fingers found my bra-covered nipple, tugging on the hard bud until my head fell back, my eyes closing to savor the pleasure. His mouth skimmed over my throat, stopping at the hollow at the bottom of my neck and licking my skin. "When Mara is asleep, I'll be waiting for you," he said quickly, pulling his hand off of my breast and sitting up, dragging me with him just as Mom came to the door.
"Did you show him where the towels were, Kenna?" she asked, her eyes noting my flushed face and the curls that were mussed around my face. "I've brought you another blanket, Nick. This room can be really cold."
"Thanks, Evelyn," Nick said, glancing down into my face. "I guess I got her caught up in telling me stories of when she was younger. We hadn't gotten around to the tour yet."
I rose, pulling down on my sweater and giving him a narrowed-eyed look. "The bathroom's right there," I said, pointing to the open doorway. Towels are in the first cupboard on the left side of the door. If you need anything, I'm next door in Mara's room," I turned and dropped a light kiss on his mouth, under my mom's watchful eye. "Good night, Nicky."
I could see Nicky wanted to say something to me but couldn't, not while Mom was there. I turned and ran, proving myself a coward when what I really wanted to do was tell him yes.
I used the bathroom first, brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. Throwing on a pair of fleece pajama pants and a short sleeved shirt, I walked out of the bathroom and right into a wide chest. Nick's hands came out, holding me, keeping me from falling.
"Nick, you scared me," I breathed, looking up into his face.
"You didn't answer me before," he said. "I'm not going to ask that you answer me now. Just know that I'll be waiting for you." He bent, his mouth going to my ear. "I've dreamed of finding out how you taste, Kenna. Please don't disappoint me." Then he disappeared into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
Mara was sitting on her bed when I went into the room. She was the only one of us that had twin beds. Mine was a full and Bekka had a queen-sized bed in her room. It was the one most often used as a guest room when Mom and Dad had company.
"If you stay in the room with me all night," Mara said, breaking into my thoughts, "you are a stupider person than I thought. He's a stud, Kenna. You know Mom and Dad sleep like the dead. How many times did you sneak out when you were a teenager and make it back without them knowing? I'm certainly not going to tell anyone." She came up and gave me a hug. "If anyone asks, you went downstairs for a glass of milk to help you sleep."
"How old are you?" I asked her, astonished by what she was saying. "When did you get so smart?"
"Old enough," she said. "I can see what he feels. It's in his eyes, Kenna. He won't leave you stranded at the altar and take off with your sister."
"He'd better not, since you're the only other sister I have and Bekka's knocked up." I gave her a mock scowl that elicited a giggle and then swatted her on the butt. "Go to bed, brat."
"I'm just saying," she said once more. "If I had a hunk like that in reach, I don't think I'd be sitting all alone in my little single bed." She grabbed her pajamas as she heard the bathroom door open and went for her turn. I watched the door, expecting Nick to show up, to try to talk me into coming to him again.
I wanted to, God knows I did. The man turned my body into putty with a single touch. When he kissed me, my toes curled. I'd never felt that before. But could I take another chance with my heart, with my body, after what Stephen had done?
That was the big question. I didn't know. I pulled the blankets down on the small single bed and slipped between fresh-smelling sheets. Turning on my side, I punched my pillow and tried to get comfortable while my brain flip-flopped between decisions.