The ice man cometh…
Elle Sutcliffe will do anything to stay far away from happy couples making out under sprigs of mistletoe. So when her best friend asks for a favor on Christmas Eve, she quickly agrees. After all, she only has to watch an ice cream store for a couple of hours.
Or so she thinks, until she learns there's more than frozen yogurt in the walk-in freezer. When she sneaks inside to investigate, she finds a six-foot ice sculpture of a naked man, carved to mouthwatering perfection.
If only Elle's body temperature didn't run hot enough to melt ice from two feet away, she might be able to put all that hard masculine beauty to some real use.
Then again, one brief touch couldn't hurt… could it?
Praise for Fire and Ice
"Christmas Cookies: Fire and Ice is a story so romantic it left this reviewer sighing—a wonderful read in any season."
-- Alisha, TwoLips Reviews
"This is a story that is different and unique. Readers and fans of Lacey Savage will recognize her flair for the erotic. This is a hot, hot story and is sure to melt the panties off the reader. But, Ms. Savage also has the knack of telling a good story that captivates with twists and turns and surprises."
Five Hearts! -- Valerie, Love Romances
"This is such a cute story and wow who wouldn't want to find a gorgeous naked man in their freezer. I loved this little story. Elle is such a wonderfully vulnerable character; I was drawn in from the first page. I would highly recommend this one if anyone is looking for a nice hot break from reality."
-- Sandra, The Romance Studio
"Lacey Savage manages to fit wonderfully written characters, a nice holiday story and -- literally -- steaming sex into the pages of this quick holiday delight. Great conversations, descriptions and motivations make this everything I love about a short story."
-- Aster, Whipped Cream
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Christmas Cookies: Fire and Ice
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2007 Lacey Savage
"Tonight's the night, Elle! Can you believe it? In a few hours, I'll be engaged!"
A frigid gust of wind slammed the door to the Kool Kreme ice cream store behind Elle Sutcliffe. In the busy summer months, the silvery chime that announced new customers never stopped ringing. Now it echoed sullenly through the store, its tinny wail mirroring the empty, forlorn feel of the place.
Elle stomped her feet on the floor mat to dislodge some of the fresh snow she'd tracked in, and gave Ricki Delaney, her best friend since high school, a shaky smile. "I hope you're right, but --"
Ricki waved Elle's concern away with a flip of her perfectly manicured nails. "But nothing. It's Christmas Eve. Mike's been waiting for the perfect time to pop the question. This is it."
Unconvinced, Elle yanked the scarf off altogether and draped it over the hook on the wall. Her shawl followed. "You started dating right out of high school. You know as well as I do those teenage crushes never amount to anything."
Ricki's spine stiffened. Elle didn't have to see her face to know she was frowning, so she softened her tone. "I just don't want to see you get hurt, that's all."
"Just because your high school sweetheart left town the day he graduated doesn't mean all relationships work out that way. Besides, we're not all holding out for Prince Charming to sweep us off our feet."
"I'm not --"
Ricki cut her off again with a snort. "Sure you are, Elle. You've been waiting since third grade."
Elle opened her mouth to protest, then closed it again. They'd had this argument before. It never ended well. She shuffled down the length of the display case, glancing at the myriad of assorted flavors.
Ricki's parents had owned the store for thirty years. Although they'd passed away, their presence still lingered in the place. From the vinyl bar stools that sat around the counter to the framed black-and-white pictures showing two people very much in love, Mr. and Mrs. Delaney would live on as long as Kool Kreme remained open. And if Ricki had anything to say about it, that would be forever.
"Thanks for doing this on such short notice. Mike said this couldn't wait, so I really appreciate you filling in for me. You can start closing around eight-thirty. Technically we should stay open until nine, but I doubt anyone will be by that late on Christmas Eve."
Elle drew her lower lip between her teeth and bit down. She didn't have the heart to remind Ricki that no one came in to the store at this time of the year. Except for her, of course. Kool Kreme provided the perfect refuge from the endless parade of happy couples smooching under every loose strand of mistletoe they came upon.
She sighed happily as she glanced at the ceiling. Perfect. Not a leafy strand of the awful stuff anywhere.
"The tubs will keep in the refrigerated display cases, so you don't need to do anything with those when you close. Don't lean against the counter."
Elle blinked, her brain trying to process the rapid shift in topic. Ricki had just finished tugging on her boot, and she still had her back to the serving area where Elle stood.
Or rather, where she leaned against the counter.
Elle jerked herself away. When she'd put enough distance between herself and the containers, she peered at the display. She couldn't have been standing there for even a minute, yet that had been long enough to melt the surface area of half the containers.
"Sorry," she murmured sheepishly. "I should know better." She was usually more careful, but worrying about Ricki took precedence over remembering to stay away from the ice cream.
Elle's body temperature ran much hotter than everyone else's. It had been that way since she was born. Luckily, it hadn't affected her ability to interact with people -- the few boyfriends she'd had loved her natural heat -- but frozen objects didn't stay that way for long around her. She couldn't even hold an ice cream cone for more than thirty seconds before it transformed into a gooey mess. Luckily, it rarely took longer than that to serve a customer.
Her unusual ability came with a few perks. Aside from being a great conversation starter, it also gave her a natural immunity to the harsh Minnesota winters. When everyone else in Blue Falls donned mittens, hats, snow boots and parkas, she felt perfectly comfortable in a woolen shawl and long pants. She still wore boots to keep her feet dry, but she could choose the sexy, flimsy kind over the fur-lined military-style ones that were so popular.
"Okay, I'm off." Ricki beamed an exuberant smile and pushed open the door. At the last moment, she stopped and smacked her gloved hand against her forehead. "I almost forgot. Not that you go back there anyway, but there's an ice man in the freezer."