Tomorrow is Christmas! Hope everyone is ready! I know I am! *grin* Don't worry though, we're just taking a slight intermission from Holiday Reads Extravaganza. I'll pick back up on the 26th. Until then I leave you with a truly wonderful holiday read by Stephanie Taylor. Having read this story I can tell you, it's a good one. :-)
A-list actress Deb Atkins hasn’t allowed her glamorous lifestyle to go to her head. She owes this to her wonderful family, who keeps her grounded. So, for Deb, not just any man will do, especially if he’s part of the Hollywood elite. Most actors have one thing on their mind, and happily ever after isn’t it.
Until she meets Zach Sparks, her new co-star.
Zach Sparks is famous not just for his acting skills, but his quick wit and good looks. One glance at Deb, and he's smitten. After a drunken night at a Vegas premiere after-party, one thing leads to another. The result: marriage.
Deb is appalled by her actions. So much so, she and Zach can't get along on the set. Their director demands they spend Christmas holidays together to work out their differences or they're both fired. Driven by selfish motivations, they don't expect to fall in love over Christmas or for their marriage to turn into a real one. But can their tenuous relationship withstand a bigger test than either of them ever imagined?
“You first,” Zach said with a grin. Seeing the engagement ring on her finger, even now, sent a surge of protectiveness through him. He couldn’t wait until she sported it proudly in public. Would they ever get there?
Delicately, Deb opened the gift. She bit her lip as everyone watched in anticipation. “You really shouldn’t have done this,” she muttered.
“I could say the same for you.” He lifted his gift slightly. She shot him a wry look and opened the velvet box.
Deb gasped and tears shone in her eyes as she revealed a matching wedding band made of diamonds and emeralds.
“I didn’t mean to make you cry,” he whispered so the others wouldn’t hear.
“No, this is just so beautiful!” She fingered the band gently and looked up at him. “But what does this mean, Zach?”
“It doesn’t come without strings, Deb.” His serious gaze caused her expression to sober.
She pulled him closer so they stood face to face. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she rested her cheek next to his. He pulled her against him and inhaled deeply. This was exactly how he wanted to feel the rest of his life.
Deb pulled back and looked up at him. “I don’t need fancy diamonds to be happy.”
Zach watched her, wanting so badly for her to love him. “This just makes it official.”
She grinned, but only a small one. “I’m confused.”
The room was so quiet, a pin could ping off the carpet and sound like a bell toll. It dawned on him with everyone standing around it felt like an intimate wedding. Zach never even thought to ask Deb if she regretted not having her family there.
But he would give it to her now on Christmas, at four in the morning.
He settled his gaze on her neck and toyed with a strand of hair, afraid he might tear up and cry himself. “What do you say, Deb? Will you wear these rings to remind you of how much I love you?” Zach glanced back into her eyes only long enough to make sure she knew he meant it. “Will you be my wife?”
Deb’s gaze settled on his lips. He touched her cheek, the skin velvet underneath his fingertip.
Looking out to her family, she seemed to realize his intentions.
Her eyes returned to his. “I will,” she murmured.
Zach looked around for the ring and Eric wheeled it over to him. They watched as he slid the band on her finger, pushing it to rest against the diamond he had given her the previous night.
He shrugged. “We’ve kind of done things backward, so I guess the fact your rings are on backward is fitting, huh?”
She closed her eyes, a soft smile curving her lips and entwined their fingers.
“Kiss the bride!” Deb’s father called out.
Deb slowly looked up and saw they stood underneath the mistletoe. She cocked her eyebrow. “I told you watch out for the mistletoe.”
Zach laughed. “Not a chance.”
In a dramatic gesture, he dipped Deb and met her lips halfway. When he was done, he settled her on her feet as they laughed.
“Now open your gift,” she said when she pulled away.
Only he didn’t have to open it to know the greatest gift was right there in his arms.