No sane woman would ditch an expensive evening gown to run naked through the streets of New York, but Naomi Cartwright did just that... and then had an intimate encounter with a speeding truck that left her unable to remember anything that came before. Two weeks later, she's out of the hospital and returning home on Christmas Eve. She expects to find a dark, empty apartment, a place that means no more to her than an address on her driver's license.
Instead, she discovers that her Manhattan penthouse has been turned into a naughty Christmas wonderland by a man she can't even remember. And before she can ask "Who are you?" Naomi's swept off her feet. This man will do anything to remind her that memories made between the sheets, under the mistletoe, and beneath the hard body of a devoted mate, can never truly be forgotten.
Praise for Stray Urges
"A hoot to read."
4 Cherries! -- Tiger Lily, Whipped Cream Reviews
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Holiday Howlz: Stray Urges
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2009 Lacey Savage
There's only one thing worse than feeling like a bitch in heat, and that's looking like one. And getting hit by a truck. Okay, make that two things.
I should know. Over the last two weeks, I experienced both. Mercifully, I don't remember much about either.
Vague images of running naked through the streets of New York sometimes flash behind my eyes, but I try to ignore them. Most of the time, I even succeed. When I don't manage to scrub the stray pictures from my retinas, they get even weirder. Like, howling-at-the-moon weird.
The doctors say my memory will return in time. If you ask me, I'm better off not remembering.
I mean, seriously, what kind of woman would toss a brand new $4,500.00 evening gown in a Dumpster in favor of streaking through the back alleys of the city in the nude? A crazy woman, that's who.
And I'm probably many things, but I'm pretty sure crazy isn't one of them. At least, not at the moment. I can't account for my mental state two weeks ago.
In a way, my life began the day I woke up in the hospital with a bandage wrapped around my head. A cute but much too young doctor said I'd been in an accident. I didn't believe him when he told me I'd been run over by a truck, but there were witnesses. Too many to doubt.
Apparently, I was lucky to be alive. I was even relatively unscathed. Aside from a nasty bump on the noggin that gave me two black eyes and a swollen nose, I had a variety of scrapes and lesions, including some nasty bruises on my ribs that made it painful to breathe.
I didn't have a purse when the paramedics brought me in, but the cops found it the next day, in the same Dumpster as my expensive dress. In a quirky twist of fate, it turned out I'd designed the dress. It was a genuine Naomi Cartwright, from the 2009 winter collection. Seeing it didn't open the floodgates to my memory like my cute doctor had hoped, though in my defense, the red silk fabric was torn and covered with a dark slime that might have been jelly... or something else I didn't want to think too much about.
In fact, nothing jogged my memory in the fourteen days I was in the hospital. I healed surprisingly quickly so I didn't have to stay that long, but evidently I had money to burn, and frankly, I was nervous about going home to an empty apartment. I left when the doctor made it clear that they needed the bed for patients who were actually sick or injured, instead of simply disoriented and afraid.
And now here I stand in front of a red door only slightly darker than the dress had been, gripping a small key in my hand hard enough for the metal to dig painfully into my palm. My teeth are chattering. It's not cold in the hallway; a warm recycled air breeze wafts from the vent above my head. The clothes I'd bought to replace the hospital gown and the ruined dress are comfortable, if not quite the designer labels I'd supposedly been used to. I don't mind. The thick cotton turtleneck gives me something to burrow my face in as I stare at the damn door.
"Come on, girl. You are not afraid. You're not." I say it again to convince myself. And again.
I'm about to say it a third time and risk alerting the neighbors to the crazy – err... confused -- woman standing in the hallway, when the door I'd been gawking at for the last twenty minutes swings open on its own.
"Shit." I'm not nuts. I'm telekinetic! Maybe that legitimizes the nude jog too. It's a stretch, but as good an explanation as any.
What I can't explain, no matter how hard I rack my damaged brain, is the half naked and very angry-looking man standing on the other side of the door.
"Get in here." He grabs my arm and yanks me inside.
I part my lips to protest, but before I can make more than a stunned little sound in the back of my throat, his mouth slams against mine. The kiss is as angry as he is, fierce and desperate. He clings to me, wraps both arms around my waist, and pulls me close as his tongue slips past my lips and sweeps into my mouth.