• Cami Checketts

Christmas Pact

I absolutely love this book! Read an excerpt of Von and Allison's story below. Find this fast-paced, touching, and hilarious romance on Amazon.

Merry Christmas,

Cami



Excerpt:

Her thoughts scattered when Von looked at her and asked with a slight smirk on his full, appealing, too-beautiful lips, “Do you want to shoot it?”

Allison backed up a step. “No. I’m fine. You and Josh have fun.”

Josh bounced up and down. “Mama! Shoot it! Then you’ll want to buy me one so bad.”

She arched her eyebrows at Von. “I blame you,” she said. “He already had a gun obsession. Now it’s going to be mania.”

He chuckled. “Come and try it.”

“Fine.” She walked to them.

Josh backed up, clapping and grinning. “You got this, Mama.”

Von refilled the BBs and then rested the gun in her hands. His larger palms brushed hers and she had to fight to ignore that odd, warm, incredible tingling sensation. He eased behind her and wrapped his arms around her from behind, supporting her hands on the gun and making her quiver. He was so tall and muscular she felt surrounded, protected, and on fire from his touch.

What was happening? What was he doing getting so familiar? What was she doing not only allowing it, but loving the sensation? She should tell him to back off. She couldn’t find her tongue to talk at all.

He leaned down and his breath brushed her hairline as he explained, “Hold it level and you can sight in the target.”

She tried to listen and squeezed one eye shut as she sighted in the pop cans, but her hands were trembling so badly she couldn’t hold it level.

Von chuckled softly, and she wasn’t sure if he was laughing at her or if he simply enjoyed knowing he affected her. He could easily tell that, right? Josh could probably tell. Dang, she was in trouble.

His chest pressed against the top of her back and shoulders, and her head rested perfectly in the crook of his neck. His arms tightened around her as he held her hands and the gun steady. The world around them disappeared. There was only Von and his nicely muscled arms and chest, making her feel safe and full of tingles, and his warm, spicy scent, and his even warmer breath against her forehead as he bent his head. If she turned her head slightly and arched onto tiptoes, their lips would line up. What would it be like to kiss a man like this? Her imagination ran wild, and she knew it would be the kiss of a lifetime. Was it wrong to deny herself such a pleasure before getting engaged to Ryan and sharing boring kisses the rest of her life?

“Shoot it, Mama!” Josh cheered, thankfully pulling her from her crazy thoughts. Had she really been imagining kissing him? For the second time since she’d met him? So what if the man was famous, handsome, and irresistible? She was in a committed relationship. Heaven help her. Von’s grip on her tightened. Somebody help her.

“You got this,” Von whispered against her forehead.

She blew out a breath, focused on the target, and with him holding her steady, she held down the trigger. The gun bucked against her shoulder and the ding of the pop cans being hit made Josh cheer.

A clicking sounded, indicating the bullets were out, and Von whispered, “Good job.”

Allison released the trigger, but she couldn’t catch a breath with him so near. She needed to get out of his arms and away from him if she was going to resist him. Far away. Like in Texas, maybe. No. South Africa.

Leaving his perfect arms was the last thing her physical body wanted to do, but thankfully her brain and spirit were stronger, if only marginally so at the moment. She yanked away and spun to face him, pulling in and pushing out uneven breaths as she clung to the gun.

He smiled softly, his green eyes full of her. It looked like he knew exactly how much he was affecting her, and he liked it. She knew nothing about this man except he was famous, an incredible athlete, had been married to an A-list actress, had lost his charitably-minded parents, funded multiple charities, was cute with her son, was irresistibly handsome … Okay, she knew a lot about him for being around him for twenty minutes. But still. He wasn’t Ryan, and she wasn’t committed to him and, guaranteed, women flung themselves at this guy’s feet. She wasn’t some famous-man groupie. She was a responsible, rational, settled-in-her-life mother.

“Mama, you okay?” Josh asked. “You’re breathing like Darth Vader.” He imitated the loud, panting breaths of Vader.

Heat filled her face, and Von’s smile grew.

“We need to go,” she said sharply, shoving the gun into Von’s hands, careful not to let their hands brush. “It’s naptime.”

Josh cocked his head at her and then shook it. “No, it’s not. I already had my nap.”

Allison rolled her eyes at herself. “I’m sorry, I meant … chore time.”

“Mama.” Josh pushed out her name like a huffy teenager. “I did my chores already this day.”

“Reading time?” she squeaked out as Von’s green gaze somehow got darker, more irresistible, and more knowing.

“We read before naps and we’ll read again at dark time,” Josh reminded her. He talked well for a three-year-old, spending most of his time with adults, but right now she felt like her son was the adult and she was the three-year-old.

“Snack time,” she declared. “And we’re making cookies!” Josh loved treats probably more than guns.

“Yay!” Josh punched a fist in the air and raced toward the house. He turned back around quick, ran back, picked up his airsoft pistol, hugged Von fiercely around the legs and yelled, “Thanks for shooting guns!”

“Anytime,” Von said smoothly, with more charm than any man deserved to have.

Ryan. Picture Ryan’s face. Ryan was smoothly good-looking. Ryan was kind and pleasant to be around. She’d dated him for two years. She should love him. She was determined to marry him. Why couldn’t she picture his face?

Josh looked up at her. “Mama? Can Von make cookies with us?”

Von and Josh both stared at her with appealing gazes. One of those looks would’ve been torture to resist, but their combined power was crippling.

“No,” she said too sharply, proud she’d pushed the correct word out instead of begging Von to spend every spare minute with them. “Mr. Tabane is busy moving in, very busy, too busy.”

Von grinned like she’d said out loud that he was messing with her brain and she wanted to throw herself at his feet like all those other women probably did.

“I’m not,” he said softly. “I’d never be too busy for the two of you.”

Fire rushed through her. He wasn’t too busy for them? He’d never be too busy for them? Oh, my. She shook her head. “I’m sorry. No. We’ve got to make the cookies quick and then Mama has her big date tonight with Ryan and Noah and Savvy are coming to eat pizza with you.” She was talking to Josh but couldn’t peel her eyes from Von.

“Yay for Ryan, Unca’ Noah, Auntie Savvy, and pizza!” Josh cheered. He looked up at Von, sobering. “Sorry you can’t have cookies or pizza. When Mama says no, we have to listen or Papa will kick our bums.”

Allison had never seen her father even discipline Josh, but she appreciated he was trying to teach Josh to obey her.

“No worries, man.” Von extended his fist and Josh bumped it. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“All right!” Josh jumped and cheered and ran for the house.

Allison stared at Von. See him tomorrow? What? They weren’t starting some relationship here. They would be cordial neighbors. Maybe she’d bring him cookies someday. That was more than enough.

She tilted her chin up. “Thank you again. If you’ll excuse me.”

Von strode up to her. She froze as she watched him approach. He was big. He was powerful. He was beautiful. He was breathtaking.

He reached her and stared at her for several incredible seconds, then he said softly, “Breathe.”

Allison gasped for air. What was he doing to her?

His gaze swept over her face, then locked in on her eyes and she couldn’t have looked away unless Josh was in danger.

“I agree with your friend on the phone,” he said softly. “If your options are to break up or get married, break up with him. If it’s not right, getting married will only make the situation worse and cause more pain.”

She couldn’t look away from him. Was he speaking from experience of his highly publicized failed marriage? She wanted to know more, ask him about his life and his advice.

Wait a minute. What right did he have to give her advice? He didn’t know her or Ryan or their situation. It was right. Marrying Ryan was right. She should repeat that a hundred times and maybe she wouldn’t want to beg Von Tabane to keep staring into her eyes.

“Mama! Please come. Cookies!” Josh called from the back patio.

“I’ve got to go,” she murmured, though she hated the thought of walking away from him. She wanted to stay right here, looking up into his incredible gaze and finding out all about him.

He only nodded, still studying her.

Allison backed away and then spun and broke into a jog. She needed to get away from that man and whatever crazy power he had over her. So he was handsome, wealthy, well-known, and adorable with Josh. He wasn’t Ryan, and she hadn’t invested two years in a relationship with him.

Something told her if she spent two days in a relationship with Von, she’d be more invested than she’d ever been in her life.

Dumb. That was dumb. She’d been married to Jonah, an incredible man, and she would get engaged to Ryan, another incredible man, tonight. Von Tabane? Legendary and handsome, could handle a basketball. Who cared? He meant nothing to her.

Despite that fact, she looked over her shoulder before she ushered Josh into the house. And quivered with pleasure when she found him still watching her, his gaze full of her and everything about him far too alluring.


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