Was it too much to ask for a little privacy? Jake Pearson hadn’t expected to be awakened by a bold intruder, nor did he plan on running for the room door to stop her from escaping. Something about the woman was familiar though. He’d only gotten the briefest of glances at her in the dim room, but her scent—something gingerbreadish—threw him back to a past Christmas. The last time he’d smelled that fragrance…
Enough light spilled in from the window that Jake was able to see the woman’s shoulders stiffen. She was facing the wall beside the door, pressed up against it as if she expected him to attack her.
She peeked over her shoulder and those hazel eyes were definitely Katrina Harris’s.
“Jacob?” she whispered as she slowly turned around to face him. “Jacob Morey?”
Why did it delight him that she remembered his name? His real name. The name his agent had made him change once he’d signed a record deal. Apparently Jake Pearson had a more badass rocker sound to it than Jacob Morey. At the time, he’d been willing to completely reinvent himself if it meant getting his music out into the world. Now, with Kat Harris standing before him, however, he longed to be Jacob Morey again. The Jacob Morey who had spent his elementary and middle school years teasing Kat Harris about everything because he hadn’t been sure how else to get her attention. The Jacob Morey who had played the piano in the high school band where he stole glances at Kat playing the violin. The Jacob Morey who had always heard the most beautiful music in his head whenever he looked at the most beautiful girl in the world.
The Jacob Morey who had forever been too insecure to actually ask Kat out on a date.
“What are you doing here?” Kat asked, an adorable crinkle forming right between her blonde brows. God, she looked amazing with all that golden hair piled on one shoulder and cascading down to just above her breasts—which also looked amazing beneath a green dress that told him she’d only gotten hotter over the past four years. Long, toned legs supported all that sexiness, and Jake had to remind himself to look, not touch.
“I believe the question is what are you doing here?” Jacob gestured to the room around them. “I paid for this room.”
“But I thought this was Jake Pearson’s room.” Her gaze lowered for a moment, and Jacob would have given anything to learn what she thought about the view of his naked chest. He’d been sleeping in only a pair of sweatpants when she’d busted into his room. Kat was no doubt wondering how the hell a scrawny teenager like he’d been could have grown into someone Tunes Magazine had called “as rock hard as his hard rock.” He wrote his best music when he worked out so he worked out often. Turns out all that lifting built muscles where he never even realized he could have them.
Kat appeared to be inventorying those muscles right now as she stared at him, a faint pink tingeing her cheeks.
“This is Jake Pearson’s room, Kat.” He pressed his hands to his bare chest. “I’m Jake Pearson.”
“I… I don’t understand.” She looked him over again then seemed to catch herself and snapped her gaze up to meet his.
“Why don’t you answer my question first?” He put his hands on his hips. “Why did you sneak into my room?”
“I didn’t sneak into your room.” She tilted her chin up and he remembered all the times she’d done that exact thing while telling him he was the most annoying boy she’d ever met.
Of course she’d never told him to take a hike either. She’d had plenty of opportunities to stop talking to him when they’d been in school together, but she hadn’t. She’d tolerated him. Maybe even liked his company, but he’d never been sure enough to take that next step and ask her to go out with him on an actual date. Then they’d gone their separate ways after high school, lost contact, and he’d been too afraid to just call her.
Coward. But he wasn’t that guy anymore. He was Jake Pearson now. World famous rock star. He didn’t need to ask women out on dates. They threw themselves at him.
And not one of them had ever meant as much to him as Kat had. This was his chance to right one of the biggest mistakes of his life.
Christmas is a time of miracles.
“Okay,” he said. “If you didn’t sneak in here, what are you doing here?”
Kat sifted out a breath, her shoulders slumping a bit as she no doubt realized he wasn’t letting her leave until she gave him some answers. “My friend Fiona is a huge fan of Jake Pearson… of you, I guess… and because I work here at this hotel, she wanted me to get something of yours for her. You weren’t supposed to be in here. I’d heard you’d gone to breakfast.”
The red staining her cheeks deepened, and Jacob wondered if that blush covered the flesh he couldn’t see. Now that was a question he really wanted to answer.
“I was tired after my last concert so I canceled my breakfast engagement.” He angled his head at her. “You’re willing to break into someone’s hotel room and steal for this friend? A big risk, no?”
Kat looked down to her feet—her sexy feet in a pair of spike-heeled black boots. The kind of boots dudes had dreams about.
“I owe Fiona.”
“Must have been a pretty big favor she did for you.”
Kat’s eyes filled with tears as she whispered. “The biggest.”
“Oh, hey. I didn’t mean to upset you, Kat.” Shit, that was the last thing he wanted to do. He’d been granted this unexpected Christmas gift, and he was blowing it. Big time.
She shook her head, sniffed, and cleared her throat. “You’re not upsetting me. I’m okay.” She hugged herself. “Why is it so damn cold in here?”
“I worked out earlier and got overheated. Forgot I turned the air conditioner on.”
“Do you have a sweatshirt or something I could borrow?”
“Sure.” Figuring she’d stay if she were warmer, he rustled around in the closet and handed her a red hoodie. “Here you go.”
"Thanks." Kat grabbed it, ripped open the room door, and was gone before Jake could blink.
Tune in tomorrow for Chapter Three! In the meantime, head on over to Small Town Hearts on Facebook and enjoy holiday fun with me.