Her Christmas Kiss

Publisher: Cardinal Press, LLC

Formats: eBook, print 


ISBN: 978-1944777142


Will Christian’s kisses break through Leanne’s tough exterior and melt her heart? Or will a dash of Christmas magic be required?

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Her Christmas Kiss

Paramedic Leanne Thomas works hard to be “one of the boys” at the fire station and on the mountain. What the guys don’t know is she keeps her inner girly-girl hidden from them. When gorgeous, rookie firefighter Christian Welton turns on the charm, Leanne shuts him down fast. She won’t risk her heart or her reputation by dating a younger man who is also a coworker.

Leanne intrigues Christian. After she rescues him off the mountain, he glimpses a softer, more vulnerable side to her tough-as-nails personality. Christian’s not looking for a relationship, yet he can’t deny his attraction. A surprise kiss under the mistletoe sparks a three-alarm fire, but something is holding her back.

Will Christian’s kisses break through Leanne’s tough exterior and melt her heart? Or will a dash of Christmas magic be required?

Previously published as Firefighter Under the Mistletoe.

Read an Excerpt

Things were bad up here. Driving winds limited visibility. The temperature remained in the low teens. The conditions werent fit for man or beast. 

Yet, here she was. 

Leanne Thomas sniffled, her nose runny from the cold temperature. Her breath rasped against the ski mask covering her face. A layer of ice had formed on her goggles and clothing. It probably was on her pack, too, which was filled with forty-odd pounds of gear and medical equipment. 

But the only other place she wanted to be right now was higher on the mountain. At 10,500 feet to be exact. The approximate location of the two missing subjects. If only the rest of the six-person rescue team would pick up the pace 

She gritted her teeth. This slower-than-snail’s pace up the south side of Mount Hood was killing her. Leanne wanted to climb faster, as part of a two-or-three-person hasty team, but Sean Hughes, the team leader, didnt want anyone to break a sweat and risk hypothermia. He could be such a mother hen during missions. The trait was both endearing and annoying. 

The smell of sulfur from the Devils Kitchen hung in the air. Not as bad as some days due to the wind. The hot fumes from the mountain kept the rocks free from snow, but she could barely see them today due to the conditions. 

Okay, Leanne shouldndiss Hughes. She understood his concerns. Hypothermia and frostbite were real threats despite better conditions than yesterday. The lack of visibility meant they had to be especially cautious. No one wanted to lose a member of the rescue team in this weather. But she hated moving so slowly knowing two climbers needed their help. 

Worry gripped Leanne. Something she wasnt used to feeling on a mission. But this one was different from the others. 

Focus, Thomas. Maintain objectivity. 

Leanne jammed her ski pole into the snow. Shed been a mountain rescuer volunteer and a paramedic with Hood Hamlet Fire and Rescue long enough to know emotion didnt belong in the field. But staying detached wasnt so easy this time. 

One of their own was missing. 

Not an OMSAR member but a Hood Hamlet firefighter. The stations rookie, even though hed been working there for over a year now. The guy was the youngest among the professional firefighters. 

Christian Welton. 

Tall with brown hair and an athletic build, Welton defined the phrase babe magnet with model-worthy features and striking blue eyes. 

Not that Leanne wanted to date him or vice versa. Oh, hed flirted with her at the beginning. His interest had surprised her. She didn’t want the men she worked with to see her as a woman. That might make things at the station or on the mountain uncomfortableHaving the guys think of her as one of them was easier. With Christian, that had been harder to do. Shed had to shut him down when he asked her out for a drinkAfter shetold him no—okay, she may have said a few other harsh words—hed backed off. Since thenWelton had acted professional and treated her like the other guys. A good thing since the fire department frowned upon workplace romances. 

But Welton was too hot for her not to notice him. She might not date anyone at the station, but that didnt mean she couldnt appreciate a nice piece of eye candy on occasion. One who cooked a delicious chicken marsala and climbed, too. 

Hed told her about learning to mountain climb, but rock seemed to be more Weltons thing. Unless a bluebird day appeared. Then shed bump into him skiing on their days off. 

But the north side of Mount Hood had some challenging, technical climbs. Not something a newbie should undertake. Shed never seen Christian act rashly before. She would be surprised to find out he had with this climb. 

The temperature dropped. 

Ignoring the biting cold, she took another step. A gust of wind nearly knocked her over. She clutched her ski poles, managing to regain her balance. 

Slow down, Thomas, Hughes shouted. Youre not on your own out here. 

Leanne barely heard him over the wind. She slowed her pace since she was getting ahead of the others, but she hadnt felt this anxious since last Thanksgiving when a broken snowboard binding made Sean fall, seriously injure himself, and need rescuing. One of the longest Thanksgiving days of her life. 

Going after strangers was one thing, but someone she knew and worked with was a completely different situation. 

Over a year ago, Welton had strutted into the station full of confidence. Hed shown a sense of humor with the light hazing and bad duty assignments. Hed also shown surprising competence and composure for a rookie. Though he could be annoying at times, he was dedicated. Hardworking. Too bad he didnt put as much effort into the women in his life. 

She trudged forward. 

Last night at the lodge, Leanne had gone up to a beautiful but distraught young woman named Alexa and given her a candy bar. Alexa had said shed gone out with Welton a few times and was a little worried about him. To Leanne, Alexa had seemed more into him than she let on. Poor girl. Welton kept things casual with members of the opposite sex. Serious and commitment werent part of his vocabulary. 

Leanne cleared her goggles with her gloved hand. 

She knew more than she wanted to know about the dating habits and marriages of her coworkers, all men. But that knowledge helped her figure out what she wanted—and didnt want—in a relationship. Shed watched male friends, both firefighters and mountain rescuers alike, break womens hearts as if it were a hobby or game. Leanne had suffered too much heartbreak in her life to ever put herself in that position again. 

The rescue teams slog up the mountain continued toward the Hogsback and then east. She focused on each step. 

Ice continued to cling to her exterior clothing and accessories, but Leannes base layer remained dry. She might be cold, but she wasnt freezing. Hughes deserved kudos for that. 

He gathered the team together. Were in range of the GPS coordinates. Look for markers. Anything to tell us where they might be. 

As they searched, Hughes blew a whistle in hopes the missing men would hear it and make their whereabouts known. The sound carried better than a voice in this kind of weather. 

If Welton and his cousin were inside a snow cave—which Leanne prayed they were—they might not be able to hear anything. The snow muted noise. That made for peace and quiet during a storm, but if subjects didn’t hear the rescuers who were looking for them, search efforts could be hampered. 

X marks the spot, Bill Paulson yelled, pointing to a pair of neon-orange-bottomed skis marking a snow cave. 

Relief washed over Leanne. Building a shelter was key to surviving in this kind of weather. She hurried over to the entrance. Backpacks covered the opening from the inside. 

Paulson stood behind her. Looks like the rookie knew what to do. 

Leanne removed her pack, unzipped it, and pulled out the medical kit. Lets find out.