Precocious Allison has a plan. With daddy firmly wrapped around her little finger, she figured getting a pony, a kitty, a hula-hoop...and a mother for Christmas should be an easy chore—especially when her beautiful ballet teacher, Leslie Seaforth, comes with Alvin the kitty and Edward the pony. It's one stop shopping in Allison's mind. When Keon Challenger takes one look at his daughter's teacher, Allison knows she's made Santa's work a lot easier this year.
Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist 2006
It took a panicked breath to realize Keon's right arm was around her waist; his left had a hold of the ladder, securing them. He remained that way, letting her regain her balance.
As the vertigo subsided, she became aware of other things, like the deceptive power of the man. He was strong, much stronger than the John Phillip's suit of the high-powered businessman had revealed. He obviously exercised regularly, for the arms felt like bands of steel, protecting her from falling. The strong pounding of his heart against her back. His radiant heat poured through her, calming her fear. It was so tempting to turn and bury her face against his neck, inhale the super-charged pheromones exuded by the sexy man. Let arousal drive the fear away.
"You all right?" he asked, his head against hers.
Leslie managed a faint nod. "Just a spot of dizziness."
"Spot, my arse." He growled. "I'm stepping down a rung and I want you to do the same. I won't let go. Just step when I say. We won't move until you have your footing."
Leslie did as Keon said and felt an utter fool for the whole episode. She was sweating by the time her feet touched the stage floor. Trembling, the worst of her fear ebbing, she allowed Keon to wrap his arms about her and just let her shaking fade. She welcomed that high body heat. Felt she could stay there for an hour. She liked standing in Challenger's embrace too much.
Keon finally stepped back, put his hands on his hips and fixed her with those stormy eyes. "You suffer vertigo?"
"Then why the bloody hell were you up on a ten-foot ladder? Of all the stupid, moronic, imbecilic…"
Allison came over with Alvin twining around her legs. She patted Challenger's thigh. "That's okay, Miz Leslie. Daddy's a Scrooge grouch with me, too. He just needs to play hide the pickle and get laid, then he'll smile more."