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A Country Music Christmas

By: Maggie Carpenter
Published By: Dark Secrets Press
Copyright: Published by Dark Secrets Press
20 Chapters / 53,000 words
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AN AMBITIOUS SONGBIRD. LIES AND REGRET. THE HAND OF FATE.

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, wannabe country singer Summer Brown is standing nervously on the porch of the man who can make her a star, but when he opens the door she loses her nerve. Instead of begging for an audition she asks if she can be his personal assistant.

Looking for an escape from his hectic Nashville life, cowboy and legendary record producer Liam Taylor has just bought a house in small peaceful town. He needs help setting up his new house, and when a gorgeous girl shows up looking for a job he hires her on the spot. 

Weeks pass and a smoldering chemistry burns between them, but when he learns she's an ambitious singer he feels betrayed. A lifestyle dominant, Liam delivers a sharp spanking and sends her home, but a fierce snowstorm sweeps in and they are catapulted back together.

He can bury his anger in order to survive the treacherous conditions, but will he find a way back to their burgeoning love...?

If you enjoy a take-charge hero, a determined young woman, and a riveting romance with a fairy-tale ending, you'll love A Country Music Christmas. Click the link today.

Publisher's Note: A Country Music Christmas includes sexual scenes and spankings. If such material offends you, please don't buy this book. 

NOTE: This book was previously released in a box set entitled, Sexy Southern Hometown Heroes, under the title, A Song For Liam

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

She froze.

Please, dear God. No!

Sharply pulling her phone from her ear she held her breath. What the hell could she say?

“Summer? Summer are you there?”

Her thumb automatically slipped over the OFF icon ending the call, and dropping the phone on the table, with her heart sinking, she turned around. Liam was moving slowly towards her. A dark frown was crossing his face, his milk chocolate brown eyes were narrowing, and his full lips were grimly pressed together. How could she explain herself? She was screwed. Absolutely, one-thousand percent screwed.

“I-uh—“

“Don’t even try,” he growled, “I’ve heard enough. When you came knockin’ on my door lookin’ for a job you were here for one reason and one reason only, a record deal. I asked you about that point blank, and you lied to me. You lied to my face.”

Summer had never felt her heart pump so fast, nor her face burn so hot.

“And what about all those cozy talks we’ve been havin’,” he demanded, drawing ever closer, “and the flirtin’ in your painted-on jeans? Damn, all this time you’ve been playin’ me. Totally playin’ me.”

She could hear the hurt in his voice. It was killing her. She may have arrived on his doorstep wanting to be the next Taylor Swift, and she still did, but in the three months she’d been there she had fallen for him, hook, line and sinker, as her dad would say. She was positively drowning in her feelings for him, but he’d never believe her now, not in a million years.

He’d stopped directly in front of her. His cologne was tickling her nostrils. She loved that smell. A few weeks earlier she’d sneaked home one of his T-shirts, and each night, holding it tightly, she’d crawl into bed, close her eyes, and inhaling the spicy, musky fragrance, she would dance her fingers against her sex.

Suddenly it happened. The glorious unthinkable, and it abruptly chased away all thought.

Without warning his fingers were tangled in her hair, he was tugging back her head, and his lips were devouring her mouth. She couldn’t breathe, her stomach was alive with a thousand butterflies, and her heart was somersaulting against her chest, but he brusquely broke away, and with a life of its own her hand flew from her side and slapped him.

To her shock his head didn’t move. In every movie or television show she’d ever seen when a woman slapped a man his head turned. In a flash she knew that’s why she’d done it. She couldn’t bear for him to look at her. His accusatory, painful gaze was too much. Her guilt, her shame, her intense need for him, had overwhelmed her. But it hadn’t worked. His eyes were still blazing down at her. She needed to escape, to run, to hide.

“You think offense is gonna be your defense?” he scolded. “That’s not gonna work on me, Summer Brown. You’re not getting out of it that easy.”

Suddenly his arm was around her waist and lifting her off the ground. She squealed, her legs kicked out, but that was all she could manage before his hand landed on her backside in a flurry of hard swats. The short sharp spanking lasted only seconds, but when he set her on her feet her backside was hot and stinging.

“H-how d-dare you?” she railed, but her voice had sounded thin, and when she’d stammered her protest her eyes had been glued to the floor.

“Look at me,” he said sternly, ignoring her defiant outburst. “Right now! Look at me!”

“NO!”

“Summer! I said look at me!”

“After what you just did to me I don’t want to look at you,” she spat. “Why would I?”

“Because I’m tellin’, you to, and from where I’m standin’ it seems like the smart thing to do.”

Swallowing hard, she slowly raised her head.

“Did you really think if you were singin’ while you were workin’ I’d walk up and say, hey, girl, that’s a real pretty voice you got? Did you think I’d magically sign you to a million dollar record contract? Is that what you were thinkin’ when you lied your way into a job here?”

“Something like that,” she murmured, then feeling an unexpected spark of defiance she tilted up her chin and glared at him, “and why shouldn’t I? How else was I going to get you to hear me? I can’t afford to cut a demo, but dammit I can sing. I can sing anyone under the table.”

Her voice had risen in pitch and volume. She’d meant every word of it, but she also knew she’d been wrong to deceive him. At any time over the last three months she could have come clean and admitted why she’d knocked on his door, then politely asked if she could audition.

“Honey, that’s a fairytale,” he said solemnly. “I don’t mean to be unkind, but do you think you’re the first girl to have pulled that crap with me. There are thousands of pretty girls with pretty voices, and a whole bunch of them have come into my life with all kinds of excuses, believin’ if they sang a few bars I’d fall over myself to get their name on the dotted line. It doesn’t work that way.”

“But…”

“But, nothin’,” he said cutting her off.

An awkward silence suddenly dropped between then. Needing to shift her gaze from his scolding glare Summer glanced across at the window, and in spite of the circumstances she broke into a smile.

It was snowing!

Seeing her grin he followed her gaze.

“I guess the storm they talked about is comin’ in. This place is gonna have a white Christmas,” he remarked walking away from her to stare out at the weather. “I think you’d better leave.”

“But, uh, I just got here. Wait. You’re not firing me are you?”

Liam thrust his hands in his pockets. That’s not what he’d meant. The forecasters had warned heavy weather was about to hit. He wanted to make sure she was home before it turned bad.

“I’m sorry, honestly, I really like it here,” she said earnestly, “and, uh, I really like you.”

He turned and looked back at her. He knew she was sincere. He’d never have kissed her and certainly wouldn’t have spanked her if he hadn’t been sure she was as nuts about him as he was about her.

There had been a hot chemistry between them from the moment they’d laid eyes on each other, and over the last couple of weeks the sparkling energy had reached the bubbling point. He’d put it down to the influence of the holiday madness, but it didn’t matter why it had happened, it had, and that was that.

When he’d walked in and caught her on her phone telling her friend she’d been singing up a storm all morning hoping he’d say something, she’d looked so damn gorgeous, crazy-upset with her honey-blond hair falling around her shoulders, the impulsive kiss had taken hold before he’d been able to stop it.

“Say something, please, Liam, please tell me I’m not fired. I’m sorry.”

“I need to think about this,” he muttered, “and you’d better go before—what the hell is that?”

A series of beeps filled the room. It was the sound of the many electronic gadgets shutting down.

“Is the power off already?” Summer exclaimed. “How could that be?”

“It doesn’t matter. I have a generator. It should kick in pretty quick.”

“Thank goodness. We have one too. With dad being away so much he insisted on it.”

“There, see,” he declared as everything clicked back on. “Now go on, you’d best get home.”

“But, uh, you didn’t answer my question,” she said nervously. “Am I fired?”

“I said I need to think about it,” he said honestly. “Lyin’ to me for three months? That don’t sit well with me.”

“You just kissed me, and then you whacked my ass!” she retorted. “Maybe that didn’t sit well with me!”

She instantly regretted her outburst; fresh anger was now glinting from his eyes.

“Is that right?” he frowned. “Are you tellin’ me you didn’t want me to kiss you?”

She did, of course she did. She had dreamed about him planting his lips on hers more times than she could count, and it had been amazing. Her butterflies had burst to life, her knees had grown weak, and she’d never wanted it to end.

“Are you tellin’ me you didn’t like it?” he pressed. “Why the sudden silence? You’ve had a lot to say for yourself up ’til now.”

“Let’s just say it was unexpected,” she said, hoping that would get her out of the ridiculous hole in which she’d just buried herself.

“That about as evasive as a slick-tongued salesman, but at least it wasn’t a lie. Now scoot, go have a happy Christmas with your family. I’ll think about all this over the holiday.”

“How the hell am I supposed to have a happy Christmas with this hanging over my head? That’s not fair.”

Liam paused. She was right.

“Call me in the mornin’. I’ll be leavin’ for Nashville around ten, so make sure it’s before then.”

“That’s not fair either!”

“You think what you did, lyin’ to get in my house then schemin’ for weeks, you think that was bein’ fair to me?” he scolded. “Now you’d better get on outta here before I do give you an answer you don’t wanna hear.”

“I’m sorry,” she bleated. “It’s just hard sometimes.”

“Yep, life can be that way,” he said solemnly, then turning his eyes back to the window he shook his head. “It’s pickin’ up. Like I said, call me in the mornin’.”

“I am sorry, Liam,” she said softly, moving across to him.

“I know,” he sighed, hearing the regret in her voice. “I’ll walk you outside.”

They were in his den, a masculine man-cave with wood paneled walls, coffered ceilings boasting recessed lights, a solid antique desk, and a dark brown leather chesterfield sofa that sat in front of a fireplace. The room was her favorite place in the house. It looked like him, it smelled like him, and the platinum and gold records mounted proudly on the walls, and the line of Grammys on the fireplace mantle, inspired her every time she was in there.

“I love your den,” she remarked as they started down the hallway to the front door.

“Thanks, yeah. It was clear in my head when I started renovatin’ this place.”

“It must be amazing to sell millions of records and accept a Grammy. I dream about it all the time.”

“Takes a lotta hard work to get there, so yeah, it’s a great feelin’,” he replied as they lifted their coats off the hall tree.

“My dad says if you love something, it’s not work.”

“What does your dad do?”

“He’s a marine. Didn’t I tell you? He’s home for the holidays.”

“Nope,” he said, opening the door. “You should be proud. Tell him Merry Christmas from me, and thank him for his service.”

“I will. Wow, it’s falling fast!”

“I should take you home in my Rover.”

“I’ll be fine. I’m used to this, besides, I have a Subaru and it’s not far.”

“Be careful, drive slow, and call me the minute you get home. You have my cell number, right? In case the lines go down?”

“Yes, I have it.”

Firmly gripping her elbow, he walked her down the front steps to her car and opened the door.

“Remember, call me when you get home!”

“Yep, I promise,” she said, climbing in behind the wheel.

Shutting her door he hurried back to the protection of his porch, staying there to make sure the tall iron gates opened, then hurried back inside. Pulling off his jacket he strode to his kitchen, poured himself some hot coffee, and sat down on the padded bench seat in the kitchen nook. The bay window looked over his backyard, and the expansive lawn was quickly turning white. Reaching for the phone he called the local airport. He’d told Summer he was leaving for Nashville the following morning, but if the storm was coming in early and coming in fast, that would be in serious doubt.

“Apple Valley Air.”

“Hey, Wally, it’s Liam Taylor. Am I gonna be able to take off tomorrow?”

“Not a chance. Sorry. This thing developed bigger and quicker than anyone forecast.”

“What if I raced out there now?”

“Hmm, maybe. Hold on.”

Liam began drumming his fingers on the tabletop. He wasn’t far from the airfield, and his jet wasn’t some tiny Cessna. It was a Gulfstream, and a G550 no less.

“We’re good for about an hour then we’ll be closing down.”

  1. ’m goin’ for it.”

“I’ll call Frank for you, and see if I can scout out a co-pilot.”

Frank was Liam’s pilot, an ex-naval officer who had once been a Top Gun. He wasn’t just an outstanding flyer, he had become one of Liam’s closest friends. Initially he’d stayed at the house, but when Liam began spending so much time in Apple Valley, Frank had bought his own place.

“Thanks, Wally. I’ll see you shortly.”

Racing up to his bedroom, Liam placed his half-packed suitcase on to the bed and hurriedly threw in the last few bits and pieces. There were gifts that still needed wrapping, something he’d planned to do that night, but he could have fun recruiting his niece and nephew to help.

Believing he had everything he quickly changed, then carrying his bags into the garage he placed them in the back of his Range Rover. Heading back inside he secured the house and set the alarm, then returned to his den to make sure he’d not forgotten anything, but as he stood behind his desk the kiss flashed through his head. Summer had tasted so good, and he’d loved smacking her ass. She was a sassy spitfire. There had been a few times he’d wanted to throw her over his knee, and when she’d slapped him she’d given him the perfect excuse, but once again he chided himself for crossing the line.

There was no denying the girl was under his skin.

Shaking off the salacious thoughts he glanced at his watch. It had been twenty minutes since he’d talked to Wally. It was fifteen minutes to the airfield. He’d just make it. Then it hit him. He hadn’t heard from Summer. He didn’t know exactly where she lived, but Apple Valley was a small community and she’d often told him her house was just through town. Pulling his phone from his pocket he touched her name. The sound of HEART, one of his favorite bands from the eighties, suddenly filled the air.

Summer’s phone. It was her ringtone. Glancing across the room he saw it was still sitting where she’d left it on the table.

 

 

 

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