Whatever We Are by @leighhfleming1 is a Christmas in July Fete pick #romance #holidayreads #giveaway
Title: Whatever We Are
Author: Leigh Fleming
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tucker Callum has always wanted to play Mr. Claus at Highland Springs’ Mistletoe Ball, but he needs a Mrs. Claus to win the coveted role. Liza Fisk believes Christmas is cursed but reluctantly agrees to help Tucker by pretending they’re a real couple. Can Christmas kisses and mistletoe magic turn a fake relationship into a real romance?
“Liza…remember my offer last night? You know, about the Christmas season?” Diana gestured at Liza with her wine.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Liza moved out of Tucker’s arm, picked up a cloth and began wiping down the countertop.
“You know.” Through gritted teeth, Diana shot a quick glance at Tucker and leaned through the window toward Liza. “About Bret and me being Mr. and Mrs. Claus.” Did she think by lowering her voice he wouldn’t hear?
“Oh, yeah, about that.” Tucker drew himself to his full six-foot-two height and stepped closer to the window. “Liza said you were thinking about approaching the committee to volunteer your services.”
“Well, it’s just, um, we—” Diana sputtered.
“Maybe next year.” Tucker crossed his arms and glared at her in silent warning.
“Mr. and Mrs. Claus are usually a couple, a committed couple.” Bret broke his silence and draped his arm over Diana’s shoulder to emphasize their relationship.
“Well now, Bret, what makes you think I’m not committed to someone?”
“Diana’s mom said you weren’t dating anyone.”
“Last I checked, Diana’s mom doesn’t know anything about my personal life.”
“We just wouldn’t want the people of Highland Springs to be disappointed,” Diana said, coming to Bret’s defense.
Tucker’s hand slid around Liza’s waist and he bent down, pressing his cheek to hers. “We’re not going to disappoint anyone, are we, sweetheart?”
“Ah…” Liza’s swallowed deep and loud.
“See, guys, you don’t have anything to worry about. Liza and I will be the best Mr. and Mrs. Claus this town has ever seen.”
Diana and Bret were stunned into silence, their jaws agape, carbon copies of each other.
“So, just let Virginia know you’ll take over next year. But this year, it’s me and my girl.”
They turned quick and walked off with a huff. As soon as they were out of ear-shot, Liza turned on him, fire in her blue eyes.
“What was that all about?” Her flushed cheeks signaled she was boiling mad or embarrassed—either way, he was about to get an earful, and damned if she wouldn’t be cute doing it.
“What do you mean?” He gathered the empty wine bottles cluttering the countertop and carried them toward the recycling bin. Her toe brushed the back of his heels as she trailed behind him.
“That…that…sweetheart business. My girl business.”
He dropped the bottles in the plastic bin and turned around to begin his preemptive strike against her tongue lashing.
“You were the one who told them I would be Santa and that I had found Mrs. Claus. I didn’t want to make a liar out of you, and this was your idea.”
Liza’s flush turned waxy. She wrung her hands, twisting them nervously. The determined gleam in her eye was replaced by fear. “But I was going to help you find someone tonight.”
“I don’t want anyone else to do it but you.” You, you’re the only one I want—have ever wanted.
“You know I don’t like Christmas. Even if I liked Christmas, it doesn’t like me.”
“It’ll be okay. I’m not worried.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “What was that sweetheart business a minute ago?”
He gathered her cherub face in his hands. “Bret said it had to be a real couple. I was just making it look convincing.”
“Yeah, but what if—”
“Just leave it to me. We can pull this off.” He placed his hands on her shoulders and squatted down to her eye level, walking her backward until she came to a halt against the walk-in refrigerator. Her eyes were as big as moons and her chest rose and fell with shallow breaths. What would she do if he placed a long, slow kiss on her quivering lips right now?
“Seriously, Tucker? How can we pull this off? When people date they—”
“Hold hands, hug, kiss? We already do that, remember?”
“But not like that. We hug and kiss like siblings, not lovers.”
He stood up straight and laughed. “Good God, how much PDA do you expect us to do? Even if we were seriously dating, I wouldn’t stick my tongue down your throat in public.”
“I know, but—” She wrenched out of his hold and turned her attention to the overflowing trashcan. She twisted the ends of the plastic bag and attempted to lift it out of the barrel. “When people are dating and presumably in love, they get a certain look in their eyes, a certain expression. You know what I mean?”
“You did theatre in high school and I was quite a bullshitter in my day. We can fake it.”
He grabbed the bag and pulled it free with little effort. She crossed her arms over her chest.
“But, it’s my entire family we have to convince, not just Diana and Bret. This is a bad idea.”
“We can tell Brody and Kate the truth, and your parents if you want.” He lumbered toward the back door, carrying two enormous bags of trash in each hand. “Besides, now that I’m in shape, it only makes sense you’d date a hot guy like me.” He tossed her a playful wink before he stepped into the cold night. There was no way he’d let her out of this.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
What I love most about the holiday season:
I love decorating my tree and my house, the anticipation of gathering with family and friends, and the mouth-watering smells coming from the kitchen.
Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?
Liza, the main character, is a real Scrooge about Christmas, but by the end of the book she has a change of heart. It’s fun to watch Liza and Tucker go from friends to lovers during the holiday season.
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Runs July 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on August 2.