When Master Sergeant Glenn Trawick rotates back to the US, he's got no plans for the holidays. Until his cousin Karen talks him into escorting all the volunteers he can round up to the annual corporate Military Friends and Family Christmas party.
Not Glenn's idea of a good time. Until he meets Eddie. And realizes Karen's latest matchmaking project just might work. Because Eddie's the one woman who can turn his world upside down. Literally.
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After Party (Christmas Magic)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Shelby Morgen
A balloon burst, and Glenn flinched, barely keeping his reactions in check. He gave the idiot kid standing at the helium tank the kind of scowl that would make most men who knew him piss themselves. "Careful," he warned.
"Hey, dude. Accident. It was just a balloon."
Just a balloon my ass. Nobody made mistakes like that more than once. "Lot of combat veterans in this room, kid. Probably not a good idea to make us think we're under fire. I'd hate to see you get shot. By accident."
The kid paled a couple shades. "Done here anyway. Later, man."
Probably just as well. Party guests were arriving. Long past time for the setup crew to be gone. The growing array of blue and silver balloons made him feel like he was trapped in a carnival fun house where things might pop out at him any minute, rather than an invited guest at a corporate Christmas party.
Glenn stepped back and forced his fist to straighten and lay flat against his uniform pants. Time he got out of the way, before he got himself into trouble.
He wasn't great at parties. Wouldn't have been here at all, if Karen hadn't...
No please. He'd been taught to say please when he asked people to get the hell out of the way. Well, screw that. He was already about as out of the way as a guy his size could get. Glenn stepped aside, looking down and back.
And did a double take. Wow.
Black hair. Green eyes. Petite, but curvy, yet well muscled at the same time.
A caustic retort died on his lips. Instead the words that came out, almost against his will, were "Let me get that."
He lifted the massive crystal punch bowl out of the woman's arms and set it on the serving table.
"Thank you," she huffed up at him, a relieved smile on her flushed face.
"That thing must weigh more than you do." He stared down at her in surprise. "Don't people usually move those things empty?"
The woman had the grace to laugh, though her tone held a trace of annoyance. "They sure do. But then, other people try to help. Without paying the least attention to the layout. Now, see, you took one look at this table and saw exactly where it belonged. Some people obviously thought it belonged in the kitchen."
He let his gaze drop from the woman to the ornate bowl and back. "The kitchen." He glanced at the bowl again. "That's... no."
"That's what I told the so-called caterers." The woman smiled up at him. "Pardon me, dear. Let me slip back by you, please, and I'll go round up the rest of the goodies."
The please made his mouth quirk up a bit on one side. But the Dear? She wasn't old enough to be calling him Dear. His mother called him Dear. Maybe his grandmother. But this woman was young. Mid-thirties, maybe. He was really kind of surprised she was talking to him at all. Most women didn't. Especially not tiny little women with black hair and green eyes and the kind of smile a man wanted to come home to every day of his life, just to know she was smiling at him.
Glenn's mouth came open and words he'd been taught since childhood spilled out without his knowledge or consent. "What can I help with?"