This scene takes place after the events in French Kissed…
I woke late, the Paris sun shining through my bedroom window. I reached across the bed and found cool silk rather than Max’s warm body. I leaned over, glancing at the alarm clock, wincing slightly at the time. In my defense, he’d wanted to ring in Christmas last night in his own unique fashion, and I’d been more than happy to do my part. I figured I’d earned a lazy morning in bed…I just wished I had someone to keep me company.
I threw on the cashmere robe at the foot of my bed, tying it tightly around my waist, and went off in search of my man. I reached the hallway and ran into Maggie.
She grinned. “Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas,” I repeated, figuring I was going to have to start learning the American way of things.
Her eyes twinkled with mischief. “I guess I don’t need to ask if you had a good night last night.”
I could actually feel my cheeks flaming. It wasn’t lost on me that I could be…loud.
I groaned. “Tell me you guys didn’t hear me having sex.”
“We didn’t hear you having sex.” She grinned. “But if we did, then I just have to say, well-done, Max.”
I fought to keep the smile off my face. She didn’t know the half of it. We’d been apart for weeks and he’d taken our reunion very seriously.
“Although, Samir might have mentioned something about wanting to pour bleach in his ears.”
I made a face at that. I didn’t blame him. If the roles had been reversed, I would have died if I’d heard my cousin having sex.
“Where is Samir?” I asked, trying to change the subject.
“I don’t know. I, uh, slept in, too.”
I stifled a snort. I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one ringing in Christmas between the sheets.
We walked down the long, marble hallway, headed toward the formal rooms. We froze at the sound in the entryway, voices reaching us.
Max and Samir stood in front of the giant Christmas tree Maggie had convinced us to put up, their arms full of wrapped presents with giant bows. Some of the presents were beautiful—elegant paper that definitely looked professionally packaged, with easily recognizable paper in familiar store colors. Other presents had wrinkled edges, pockets of wrapping bunched at the sides, images of snowmen and candy canes on the paper.
The sight of presents Max had so obviously wrapped brought a lump to my throat.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a family Christmas. Usually my parents just deposited some money in my account and called it my Christmas gift. But Max had clearly gone out—gone shopping—and then tried to wrap them himself.
I loved him. So much.
“Did you remember to put the tags from Santa on some of the gifts?” Max asked.
Samir made a noise and muttered something in Arabic under his breath.
Max glared at him. “You need to do some gifts from Santa. It’s tradition.”
Samir looked like he was about to lose his patience. I had no clue how long they’d been up arranging gifts under the tree, just that it definitely hadn’t looked like this when we went to bed last night.
More Arabic from Samir.
My cousin had mellowed a lot since he and Maggie had gotten together, but he was a whole other beast from Max, but he didn’t do Christmas with his family, and the image of him celebrating a holiday he clearly knew nothing about was hilarious. He looked frustrated, and yet, by the impressive display of gifts that looked like they were for Maggie, I figured he’d tried his best.
“How about the hot cocoa?” Max asked, his tone sounding equally frustrated. “Is it ready?”
I snickered. Samir really looked like he was ready to lose it. We’d both grown up with chefs. I’d bet my favorite Birkin bag that he’d never made cocoa in his life.
I figured we had thirty seconds before they noticed us standing there watching them because Maggie looked about ready to burst out laughing.
“It’s ready,” Samir grumbled. “And the cookies for Santa are on a tray.”
And just like that, Maggie’s eyes went from laughter to complete and total adoration.
Yep. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to make her happy. Even if it meant giving her a traditional American Christmas when she was spending her holiday away from her family, with her half French, half Lebanese boyfriend who had never celebrated Christmas like this in his life, her best friend—and I’d totally own that up until Christmas Eve last night when Max had surprised me and given me the best present ever, I’d never been a big fan of the holidays—and her boyfriend’s best friend who seemed determined to single-handedly bring Christmas cheer to us all.
And then the boys turned, and their gazes landed on us, and I watched as the two most important guys in my life gifted us with smiles that brought a lump to my throat.
Yep. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
We went into their arms, Samir’s gaze on Maggie, Max’s arms around me, and everything else fell away.
We spent the morning laughing, drinking cocoa and eating cookies, opening gift after gift, and when it was all said and done, and we all collapsed on the sofas, surrounded by crumpled wrapping paper and discarded bows, my gaze connected with Maggie’s across the room, and we both smiled and I knew—
Love was the greatest gift of all.
FRENCH KISSED BOOK SUMMARY:
On the surface, Fleur Marceaux has it all. If only the facade matched reality. With one year left at the International School in London, Fleur’s struggling to graduate, her love life is a mess, and she can’t stop thinking about Max, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. But all that pales compared to the blackmailer determined to destroy her.
There’s a social hierarchy at the International School and Max Tucker is outside the velvet ropes. After watching Fleur break his friend’s heart, Max knows to stay away from trouble, despite the crush he’s had on her since freshman year. But when they’re partnered on a project, Max learns there’s more to Fleur than meets the eye, and she just might be worth the wild ride.
The more time they spend together, the further Max falls. And when a kiss awakens a passion Fleur never imagined, she’s unable to resist Max, who she had thought was all wrong for her but might be the only thing that’s right. But will he stand by her when her secrets are revealed?
Don’t miss the final book in the International School series. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 17 and up.
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22858376-french-kissed
FRENCH KISSED (International School Book #3)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1vlkljJ
I SEE LONDON (International School Book #1)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ibPGgh
LONDON FALLING (International School Book #2):
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/VxbiOd
Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise and a fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in Asia.
Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her fighter pilot husband.
She is the author of I SEE LONDON and LONDON FALLING, published by Harlequin HQN, the upcoming FRENCH KISSED, and FLIRTING WITH SCANDAL, the first book in a new three-book series to be released by Penguin/Berkley in 2015.
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