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Must Love Santa

the steamy version | the sweet version | the German edition

Must Love Santa - the steamy version
Mouse over the cover to see
the hero, Nick Palladin

Must Love Santa - the sweet version
Mouse over the cover to see
the hero, Nick Palladin

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Must Love Santa – the steamy version
Cajun Hot Press
November 2014

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All he wants…

All NYPD Vice Detective Nick Palladin wants for Christmas is a transfer to the K-9 Unit. He just needs to close this one last big case first—shutting down a human trafficking ring run by a scummy veterinarian. Which is why he’s out on a street corner dressed as Santa Claus, ringing a bell and taking covert photos of the vet’s customers, hoping one of them might be the link he needs to put the bastard out of business for good.

Everything he needs…

But Nick’s irrepressible terrier has a very different Christmas wish. Airedale Zenon—cleverly disguised as Rudolph—has set his sights on a cute little perfumed fluff ball trotting his way…along with the adorably sexy lady holding her leash. When the two are suddenly accosted, well, what’s a gentleman—canine or Santa—to do? Why run to the rescue, of course! And hope for the best holiday gift ever…true love.

Must Love Santa – the sweet version
Cajun Hot Press
November 2013

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From Chapter Two

New York City
December 20th

Oh, God. Not another Santa.

Emily Milan groaned inwardly. Red velvet-clad, bell-ringing Santas were everywhere in Manhattan, it seemed, and she always felt like a Grinch if she passed them by without dropping at least a few coins in the pot. But if she kept it up, she’d be totally broke before Christmas.

Not that she had far to go.

Emily gripped the pink, bejeweled leash in her hand, at the end of which her frisky charge, Pogo, perked. Pogo’s ears went straight up, and her front paw paused in midair.

Emily did a double-take at the Santa up ahead.

Oh, just great. This one had a dog, too. Even from half a block away, she could see a big, scary, brown and black beast sitting next to Santa on the sidewalk.

Okay, on second thought, maybe not so scary. Poking up between its ears was an off-kilter pair of reindeer antlers.


Passers-by were stopping to laugh and comment, and everyone was donating generously.

Emily couldn’t help laughing, too, as she got closer. The poor pooch actually looked a bit embarrassed.

Then it spotted Pogo. Leaping up, the beast stood at attention. Pogo started to prance on her leash, wanting to run and greet her new friend.


Emily gripped the leash tighter. “Pogo!” she commanded sternly. “Ignore the nice doggie. You need to pee.”


Emily checked her watch. She only had twenty minutes to get to her job interview. Even though it was only a couple of blocks away, there was no time for any of Pogo’s usual shenanigans.

She could not be late. All her plans depended on getting this job.

“Come on, sweet girl. Hurry up,” she coaxed.

Being able to borrow her holiday-vacationing friend Cindy’s apartment while job-hunting in New York City was a lifesaver. But seriously, she must have been totally out of her mind when she’d agreed to take care of the dog, too. Emily was so not a dog person. Oh, she liked them all right, but had no idea how to talk to one to make it obey.

Suddenly, Pogo squeaked out a pained bark. A rude man sneered down at her. “Watch where you’re going, mutt.” Hands in his pockets, he drew back a foot to kick her.

Outraged, Emily gasped. “Hey!”

Rather than cowering, Pogo wriggled her butt and started to bark at the top of her lungs. Then she lunged at the man’s ankles. The leash jerked wildly.


Emily’s stiletto heel caught on a crack in the sidewalk. She wheeled, her purse went flying, and she lost her balance. “Oh, crap!”

She went down. Hard. Right into the gutter. The wind was knocked from her lungs in a blinding flash of pain.
Wait. The gutter?

A deep bark suddenly sounded above her, and a blur of brown and black fur streaked past. Followed swiftly by the pounding of boots, and the jingle of bells.

“Zenon! Sit! Heel!” Then came some very un-Santa-like curses. “God damn it, Zenon! Would you freaking stop for chrissake?”

Pogo’s leash jerked even more frantically, biting into Emily’s hand as she lay flat on her back gasping for air. Somehow she managed to hang onto the leash, but her sleeve was dragged back and forth across the filthy pavement of the gutter. Then she heard a distinct rrrip, and the ping of a button popping off.

Oh, no. No, no, no.

Her heart plummeted, and this time she groaned out loud as she squeezed her eyes shut.

Her new suit! For the interview, she’d spent the last dregs of her final paycheck from her former job to pay for the splashy couture business suit at a high end consignment shop off Fifth Avenue.

“Ma’am? Are you okay?” The concerned masculine voice blended perfectly with the deep timbre of the barking. Almost as if…

No, Emily.

Dogs did not talk. Jeez, she must have hit her head harder than she thought. She opened her eyes. Santa was staring down at her, looking very worried.

And…very sexy.

Wow. Talk about visions of sugarplums. Oh. My. God. What a Santa!

His eyes were as blue as a North Pole sky, gazing at her from beneath a rakishly angled red Santa hat. Instead of a big, fat belly, he had a lean waist which arrowed up to a broad chest, and wide shoulders that stretched his red velvet jacket to the breaking point. His soft, white beard was pulled down around his neck leaving sexy dark stubble in its place. His strong hands were large and gentle as they felt along her limbs for injuries.

She was sorely tempted to open her jacket and let him continue up her ribs. And maybe a bit higher.