Christmas is Coming
Christmas is coming. Give your lover the gift of pleasure…
Gaby Montgomery works for Fancy Free as a condom designer. Recently she’s been designing sex toys and testing her inventions with fellow designer Marc, but they’ve parted ways. The timing couldn’t be worse because she’s stuck without a willing test subject for her sexy products.
Gaby’s roommates Liam Richardson and Fletch Darcy both want a serious relationship with Gaby, and now that she’s free, it’s time to make a move. But how do they decide which one will date Gaby? Fletch finally suggests they share her. Liam is skeptical but agrees the scheme might work, which allows Fletch to move on to step two of his romance plan. Fletch doesn’t just want Gaby, he wants Liam as well.
The loving is hot, their days full of fun product testing, exquisite pleasure and laughter. Everything is perfect until the outside world intrudes, putting their budding relationship under stress. This time their love and friendship might not stand the pressure.
Publisher’s Note: Want to have more fun with the characters in this book, including finding out more about those spaceship sightings, then pick up Fancy Free along with the books in the Talking Dog series. They’re an out-of-this world experience.
Note for Readers: You must be over eighteen to read this excerpt.
Country town Sloan, New Zealand
“Quiet!” James Bates hollered the order and waited for the bedlam to subside. All pretty normal for a Fancy Free board meeting. Alice, his wife, winked at him and set down the fiberglass penis she’d been fondling in her hands. Just as well too. He had a devil of a time concentrating when she caressed the demos, and the saucy wench knew it pressed his buttons.
“I don’t see why we needed this special meeting.” Richard Morgan placed his coffee mug on the table with a thump.
Sam Glengarry, another of the elderly board members smirked, his face lighting with glee. “You’re pissy because you’d rather canoodle with Hinekiri.”
“Damn straight,” Richard snapped. “Shut up like the man said or we’ll be here until Christmas.”
“We might as well listen.” Joseph Craig indicated the crumb-laden plates in the middle of the table. “The cake’s finished.”
“I’m ready.” Harriet Te Whare’s knitting needles flashed like silver swords, yarn twisting this way and that while she completed another row. “Hello, Gabrielle.” Her knitting needles ceased their clicking. “Were you looking for me? Can it wait until after my meeting?”
“Hi, Gran.” Gaby stepped inside the boardroom and hovered uncertainly.
“Gaby is here for the meeting.” James indicated the seat beside him, waving her over. “Come and sit beside me.”
She still hesitated. “Should I bring in my bag of stuff?”
James nodded with enthusiasm. “Bring it on.”
Gaby disappeared, returning a few minutes later lugging a bulging green fabric bag.
“Do we have a new condom design?” Katarina Wilson straightened, her pale blue eyes sparkling with eagerness. “When do we get to test it?”
The second Katarina mentioned condoms the smart-ass comments and gossip subsided to quiet anticipation. James bit back his amusement. Condoms and the Good Vibration in particular had made them and the company rich. He couldn’t wait to learn what the board made of the product today.
“Gaby approached Alice with this idea last year. We thought her concept held merit and sent her away to develop it into a product.”
“What is it?” Ben Kumar leaned forward, a frown creasing his brow. “Surely they can’t come up with another condom design? Haven’t we done everything? There’s ones with spots and stripes, different flavors. They vibrate. Hell, they practically stand up and beg.”
Joseph barked out a laugh. “They’re no use if something isn’t standing.”
James ignored the interruption and resulting chortles to continue. “Gaby has developed several sex toys. We intend to choose one and do a Christmas promotion. We’ll target the toy as a special gift for the one you love.”
“Sex toys are for women,” Joseph scoffed. “Stick to condoms. At least both men and women buy them.”
James grinned. “Not this one.”
“James, perhaps I should explain,” Gaby said.
“Someone needs to explain,” Sam muttered. “I want to know why we need another new product.”
“Hush! That’s my granddaughter,” Harriet said, the knitting needles halting for an instant while she beamed at everyone. “She’s very clever.”
“Go ahead,” James said drily, yielding the floor to her. “Maybe you can control them better than me.”
Gaby winked at her grandmother and lifted the bag onto the table. She made a show of opening the zipper fastening. Each of the oldies craned their necks, leaning forward for a better look at the contents. Just like that her nerves subsided and excitement fizzled inside her. James and Alice had already seen her invention and taken one of the prototypes home to test.
“I’ve worked in the research and development department since I joined the company. I started thinking about sex toys and, in my spare time, I tinkered and developed my own.” Gaby pulled out her first toy. “This is a butt plug. It’s fairly standard in design. I’ve made the plug from a material that will hold both heat and cold. Once inserted, the toy will gradually acclimate to body temperature.”
Richard winced. “That’s all I need. A red-hot poker up my ass.”
“Look at Joseph.” Katarina chortled gleefully. “He’s crossing his legs.”
The insults started to fly and, like James, Gaby ignored the interruption to continue with her product description. “Notice the flared base. That’s for safety reasons because we don’t want anyone having to go to hospital to have an item surgically removed from their rectum.”
“I should think not,” Richard said in a weak voice.
“We didn’t have any problems when we tested it.” Alice smirked at James. She let out a sudden eep of shock and fell silent, color spreading across her face.
Silence fell and speculative glances winged their way around the boardroom.
“James, hands on the tabletop,” Richard said sternly. “This is a meeting, not foreplay.”
“Doesn’t that depend on your mindset?” Alice asked, cocking her head to the side like a curious cat. “How can talking about sex and condoms all the time not rate as foreplay?”
“Ew,” Katarina said. “I don’t wanna imagine sex with anyone but my husband.”
“As it should be,” James said, smirking at Alice.
“James said you’d want to test my inventions,” Gaby said loudly. Inwardly she marveled at her lack of embarrassment. Not even blunt talk about sex threw her these days. Not even if it was in front of her grandmother. Maybe her mother was right and she was a lost cause. No man wanted a woman who always talked about sex or constantly thought about the act. Gaby pushed aside the last hurtful conversation with her mother and older sister because they weren’t right. Sex was a normal bodily function, dammit. Nothing to get embarrassed about. “The secret to any sex toy is to make sure your partner is excited and to use lubrication. Lube is our friend,” Gaby said in a firm voice.
“Gaby has designed several new lubes for us to test,” James added.
“I’m a fan,” Alice said. “We need to market Gaby’s lubes. We could give away sachets of gels with the condoms to get people used to using them. You’ll see when you test them. The lubes make things nice and tingly. They’re excellent.”
Gaby couldn’t help smiling at Alice’s enthusiasm. God, she loved her job. Working for Alice and James was the best job ever.
“What else do you have in your bag of tricks?” her grandmother asked.
“Could you pass these around please?” Gaby handed James several bottles of lube and butt plugs. “I’ve included detailed instructions with each product plus a questionnaire. If you have any questions you can ring me—not in the middle of the night,” she added, knowing her grandmother and her friends too well.
Her mother blamed her grandmother for sending Gaby off the rails in the first place. Gaby didn’t want to follow the traditional route of her mother and sister with a secretarial job. She liked making things and she liked sex. Nothing odd about either of those factors.
“This is my second invention and, I think, the best choice for Fancy Free to market. It’s a vibrator but different from the norm. I’ve managed to design a long-life battery that lasts significantly longer than most. I’ve also made several speed settings because everyone requires different levels of pressure and our bodies are diverse in the way we behave to stimulus. There are five different attachments.” Gaby reached into her bag and pulled out a vibrator plus her favorite attachment. “Most of you will have noticed the massage chairs they have at the mall. I’ve designed this attachment to massage either side of the clit. It gives the most delicious Os.” She handed the boxes containing the vibrators to James to pass around. “Make sure you read the instructions. I’ve tried to keep them brief and concise, but I want to know if you have any problems, either in understanding my instructions or working the toys. I can’t correct problems or confusion if you don’t tell me.”
“Does your mother know about this?” her grandmother asked.
“Nope,” Gaby said, forcing a smile and ignoring the tight sensation in her chest. “And you’re not gonna tell her.”
Ben cast her a sly smile. “Do you still bake those cupcakes? The ones with the pink icing.”
“Ah! Good point,” Sam said. “How many cupcakes will you give us not to tell her?”
Gaby gasped. “That’s blackmail.”
“You’d better get used to it.” Alice glowered at each of the elderly board members. “They’re good at blackmail. It was their misspent youth.”
“Where did you get the ideas for your designs?” Richard asked.
Gaby relaxed a little under his kind smile. “I belong to an online group called Romance Divas. We were chatting about sex toys—”
“As you do,” Alice chirped.
Gaby laughed. “You have no idea of the discussions that go on in the Diva forum. Anyhow, I asked about the features they thought a good sex toy should possess and went from there.”
“I need a sex toy to do what I want when I want,” Katarina said drily. “Instead of one that says, I’m coming, dammit. I can’t stop.”
Sam swept a hand through his grizzled hair. “Huh! You women are all alike. You need one of those genies to keep you satisfied.”
Alice’s brows shot upward. “Do you have one of those in your bag?”
“Alice!” James said.
Alice gave a throaty chuckle and the couple shared a private glance that made Gaby hot all over. She wished Marc felt the same about her. An ache sprang to life, her regret like a stab to the heart. Her fuck buddy. The man who’d helped her test countless condoms and new sex toys. They worked together and loved together, except it wasn’t love. It was sex. Friends with benefits and nothing more. The day fast approached when she’d have to tell Marc they couldn’t sleep together anymore. Her stupid heart had done a number on her and she’d fallen for him, against their rules. She swallowed the knot of anguish in her throat. Tonight. She’d tell him tonight, but first she’d have a few glasses of wine to dull the pain.
If she asked them, Liam and Fletch, her roomies, would probably go to The Thirsty Cricket with her for a few drinks after work. Then she’d drop by Marc’s flat and tell him.
“Okay, that’s everything. Does anyone have any questions?”
“No, I have to go,” Richard said. “Hinekiri is expecting me.” He grabbed his sample boxes and hightailed out of the boardroom.
Joseph stared at the empty doorway. “Well, I can guess what’s on his mind.”
Gaby smiled with the others while inside she cried. At least someone was in for a good night with some hot lovin’.
* * * * *
When they passed the three-quarter mark of their usual run along the riverbank, Liam Richardson tossed a grin at Fletcher Darcy and subtly eased up on the pace, slowing to a jog. “I wanted to talk.”
“We talk at home,” Fletch said.
“I don’t want to take a chance on Gaby hearing.”
Fletch came to an abrupt halt, wiping the sweat from his forehead and dragging his hand through his damp brown hair. “Am I gonna like this?”
Liam stopped too and turned back to face his best friend. He lifted his thin T-shirt to wipe off his brow. “I wanted to talk about Gaby.”
“Yeah.” Liam dropped onto a fallen log and stretched his legs out in front of him.
Fletch propped one foot on the log and did a hamstring stretch. “So talk.”
Liam hesitated and stared at the river, wondering if this was a good idea. “It’s feelings stuff.”
“No shit, mate. You’d better spit it out or I’m gonna think the worst and you’re in love with me or something.”
Liam snorted, Fletch soothing his inner turmoil as he always did. “I’m going to ask Gaby out.”
“For a date?”
“No to wash the dishes. Of course a bloody date.”
Fletch scowled, emotion flickering too quickly through his brown eyes for Liam to read him. Fletch dropped onto the log beside him. “I was thinking along the same lines.”
Liam dragged a hand through his disheveled hair. “Fuck. I thought you two were just friends.”
“I thought the same about you and Gaby.”
“Fuck,” Liam said again.
“I’ve been waiting for her to sort out her shit with Marc.” Fletch stood and started to pace back and forth in front of the log.
“The friends-with-benefits thing?”
“Yeah.” Fletch stopped pacing and plonked down beside him again. “What are we gonna do? I’m serious about Gaby. I want something permanent.”
“Yep. Me too. Gaby is everything I want in a woman, plus she’s always bringing home stuff from work. I’d like to try out her inventions with her. So what are we gonna do?”
“We can’t exactly toss a coin. You sure about this? You’re really serious about her?”
Liam stared at his friend and slowly nodded. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while.”
“Why didn’t you say something?”
“I’m telling you now.”
Fletch sighed. “One of us will have to back off.”
They both fell silent. Liam stared at the river, watched a stick float past. The last thing he wanted to do was fall out with Fletch. They’d never fought over a woman before and he didn’t want to make Gaby the first. At his side, Fletch closed his eyes. Despite their dilemma, Liam grinned at Fletch’s fierce expression. His buddy always appeared intense when deep in contemplation, his dark hair and olive skin lending him a brooding façade. Gave people entirely the wrong impression of him. Fletch was happy-go-lucky and full of humor. Not much bothered him—he just shrugged it off with his broad grin.
Fletch’s eyes popped open without warning. “We both want Gaby, a serious relationship rather than casual, right?”
“That’s the way I’m heading.”
“We could always share.”
“Shelley Munro’s CHRISTMAS IS COMING makes kissing under the mistletoe seem positively tame….I found CHRISTMAS IS COMING to be a beautiful story full of all the passion and fun surprises I’ve come to appreciate in Ms. Munro’s stories.”
~ Romance Junkies
“Overall, I thoroughly enojoyed this novel penned by this incredible author and I can’t wait to read more of this series in the future, of which this is the second instalment.”
~ The Romance Studio
“I loved this story; Ms. Munro wove this story seamlessly and I was enthralled with what she gave us. There was heat but also emotion. She took us on a journey with Gaby as she realized that not only did she love her best friends, Liam and Fletch, but that she was in love with them.”
~ Two Lips Reviews, Recommended Read.