It's in his kiss holiday romance collection

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It's in His Kiss Holiday Romance CollectionMary LeoPryde Multimedia, LLC (2013)

From the Back Cover

Three novellas with a touch of whimsy and a whole lotta heat to warm you on those cold winter nights!

The Gypsy's Valentine:When a gypsy's prediction begins to come true, Rose Cupido dismisses it as coincidence, but when a past lover shows up reminding her of the passion they once shared, Rose can't help wondering if that gypsy had true magical powers.

Irish Kiss:Can a tricky leprechaun and one of his gold coins bring luck and love to two people who had all but given up on each other? The outcome depends on their ability to once again believe in the magic and the power of the wee-folk.

Romancing Rudy Raindear:North Pole, Main is a curious town where Christmas is celebrated all year long. And this Christmas is no exception. Unfortunately, Rudy no longer believes in Christmas and has gotten on Santa's naughty list. Rudy's red nose proves it. That is until Jenny Bells takes on the challenge of showing him just what 'being good' really means.

It’s In His Kiss

Holiday Romance Collection

By

Mary Leo

Acknowledgments

I want to thank Erin Quinn and Calista Fox for all their brainstorming and help while writing and plotting these books. You guys are the best! A shout out to my fabulous friend and editor, Janet Wellington who always makes my words sparkle. Thanks to my readers who keep me writing. To my family who love and support me no matter what crazy adventure I’m into. And as always, a big thanks to my husband, Richter Watkins, who is the love of my life!

Main Menu

The Gypsy’s Valentine

Irish Kiss

Romancing Rudy Raindear

Anise Cookies

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Table of Contents

For Alison Van Epps—I miss you, dear friend.

The Gypsy’s Valentine

Chapter One

It wasn’t as if Rose-Marie Cupido had actually believed she would find her one true love during this past year, she’d simply been hopeful that it could possibly happen. Everything else the gypsy had predicted had come true: the wild success ofWith a Twist,the martini bar and bistro she and her two best friends had opened. The fact that she was now listed as one of San Diego’s top ten chefs, and the unexpected letter she’d received from her estranged father wanting to mend their relationship—all these predictions had come to pass. But finding her true love before February fourteenth?

Impossible!

Besides, Rose truly didn’t see how she could fit a romance into her already busy schedule, no matter how badly she may want or need one. What with all her responsibilities of running the kitchen, ordering the food, and cooking six nights a week, squeezing in a budding romance seemed highly unlikely.

She had all but given up on the love prediction, convinced it would never happen, until Maximilian Rosso walked into the bar looking for his cousin, Jasmine.

She knew him instantly, knew the curve of his chin, the shape of his lips, the deep amber of his eyes, but most of all she knew the swagger of his walk. No other boy or man she’d ever known walked with that much cool. He’d had that strut since they were kids and she was glad to see it hadn’t changed.

All at once, the proximity of his tantalizing body caused the gypsy’s red crystal heart sitting on the bar glow like crazy, and all at once Rose felt completely dumbstruck, not knowing what to do or say. The likelihood that Max could fall in love with her in less than thirteen days seemed about as probable as her not stressing over every meal that came out of her kitchen.

The crystal had already cast its glow on some hot cutie that Jasmine was all happy about, but if Max was truly the one for Rose, she had her work cut out for her. For one thing, he barely knew she existed.

Just last year, Rose and her two best friends, Jasmine and Daisy had decided to get all glammed up on Valentine’s Day to make it a fun night instead of moping around because they didn’t have dates. They decided on dinner and drinks at Harbor House in San Diego’s Seaport Village, then a walk along the boardwalk to walk to their next stop when they came across the gypsy with her folding table, shiny baubles and colorful silk scarves. Rose caught the amazing red glow of the large crystal heart perched on her table and went directly for it as if she had no choice in the matter. When she reached for it, she realized that Jasmine and Daisy were doing the same thing.

Rose hadn’t thought her friends had even noticed the gypsy, and certainly not the dazzling crystal that seemed to have a life of its own. A red so deep and so vibrant she felt sure it was magical.

“Never seen it choose three before,” the gypsy woman crowed, almost laughing as she spoke. Rose was at once apprehensive of this assertive woman who looked as if she were dressed for a costume party rather than someone to be taken as a serious medium.

Still, Rose and her friends lingered in front of her small table, each mesmerized by the crystal.

Looking back, Rose thought she should’ve known their lives were about to change, but logic had told her to be skeptical of this lively woman.

“It chose you, each of you. Don’t you even want to know why?”

Rose had tried to walk away. They all three had made the attempt, but the gypsy had captivated their imaginations.

Each of them seemed enthralled and couldn’t leave without knowing what this charismatic woman had to say. When she finally had their full attention along with several dollars in her tip jar, she began her predictions. She prophesized their opening ofWith a Twistin the Gaslamp District. The bar and bistro would bring them success and wealth. She’d even given the details of the property’s exact address and the date they’d be open for business.

Then she predicted something for each girl. Rose would hear from her father and the two of them would cast aside their differences and begin to heal their relationship.

Rose was doubtful. “The last I heard, my father died several years ago.”

“This was never true,” the gypsy said. “Your father is alive and will contact you soon. He loves you very much.”

Her words brought up a well of emotion that Rose had thought she’d dealt with, but clearly she had not. She never could understand why her father had deserted her mom, and now to hear a stranger talk about his return was overwhelming.

The gypsy turned to them once again and gave the final prediction. “Great things will come to you in the next twelve months. You will have success beyond your wildest dreams. But this heart is not a good luck charm. It is a symbol of love and you have been called by it. Each of you must find your one true love and make him return your love before February fourteenth of next year, or everything you’ve gained will be lost.”

Rose and her friends had walked away from the gypsy laughing over her prophesies, but Rose couldn’t shake what the woman had said about her father or about each of them finding their true love. And none of them could get over the dire prediction aboutlosing everythingif one of them didn’t “fill up the heart,” whatever that meant.

The festive night had ended on a somber note.

The very next day, Rose received a phone call from her father asking for her forgiveness and would she consider meeting him for coffee. He was passing through San Diego and wanted to see her again.

She agreed, and he’d been calling her once a month ever since. Not exactly the relationship Rose had hoped for, but at least he was back in her life.

Rose, with all of her logic, brushed the prediction off as a coincidence. Then when they openedWith a Twistto great fanfare, she decided the gypsy had put the idea out there and they had simply followed through with it, getting the extra nudge they had needed to make their dream come true from the gypsy’s prediction.

But when the red crystal heart turned up in Jasmine’s office with no viable explanation for its presence, Rose began to believe in its power.

The gypsy’s warning that all threemustfind love and have it returned or all three would lose everything wasn’t exactly an encouraging prediction.

More like a calamitous threat!

Still, none of them had known the strength of the crystal heart until Jasmine had brought it into the bar area that very morning and placed it up on a shelf. She thought it was a nice touch for the upcoming romantic holiday. Rose, in her zest for cleanliness and sparkle, had taken it down momentarily to wipe off any trace of finger prints, and placed it directly in a small patch of sunlight that beamed on the walnut bar.

Now the heart radiated a brilliant unearthly red, a red so deep and so full of life it dazzled Rose as she stared across the bar at Max, who she hadn’t seen in more than ten years.

This can’t be happening, she thought as he finally noticed her staring at him, the red glow shining brighter with each step he took.

Rose hadn’t officially opened the place yet, but the front door had been unlocked for deliveries. Max apparently had come in through that door, rolling a black carry-on suitcase behind him and a black backpack slung over one shoulder. He wore a black leather jacket, a black tight-fitting tee, and well worn jeans that hugged all the right places.

Maximilian Rosso had certainly grown tenfold into that childhood baritone voice he’d had, and was now walking toward her, an aura around him now glowing a deep shade of sparkling red.

She wondered if his voice was still deep and sexy.

Of all the gin joints in all the world …Max just happened to be the one man Rose wanted more than air, but logic told her to keep her distance. She’d been down that rocky road with him once before when they were teens and it brought her nothing but grief and heartache.

“Rosie?” he asked after a few seconds of checking her out, while a pulsating red sparkled all around him and dragged different shades of scarlet as he moved. It appeared as if all the degrees of color couldn’t quite keep up with his movements. Like they were a moment out of sync.

Could he see the glow?

She quickly moved the crystal out of the sunlight, but the darn thing wouldn’t stop glowing. She even threw the white bar towel over it, but it made no impact. Instead, its beam just grew more intense as if it wanted to make sure she saw it.

“This place looks great.” He gave her the once over. “You look great.”

The raging glow seemed to have no impact on him. He just kept smiling, completely oblivious to what was happening all around him.

This is so cool!

Rose wore a gray top that covered her hips, a thick black belt around her waist, skinny black jeans, and knee-high black boots. Not that she would keep the boots on once she began cooking, worn sneakers were good enough for that, but she liked to come into work looking half-way decent. Now, as she stared at a glowing Max she wished she’d worn something that showed a little more cleavage.

“Thanks,” she mumbled. “So do you.”

He looked more than great, incredibly sexy seemed like an apt description. Problem was, if his personality hadn’t changed in the last ten years, his ego didn’t need to hear anything more.

“That’s my Rosie. Always quick with the compliments.”

He dropped his backpack on the waxed floor, stood his suitcase upright and walked behind the bar and gave her one of those quick hugs a person would give to their aunt, or grandmother, the ruby red glow never leaving him. “Where’s that cousin of mine? She told me to meet her here.”

“In back,” Rose told him, still trying to assimilate the crystal’s obvious misguided glow.

Max looked like some Latin god with a face that could break a girls’ heart with just one glance and a body guaranteed to bring her back for more.

“So, I hear you’re a chef now.” He took a step back and gave her another once over, smirking as his eyes traveled up and down her body. It gave her a rush of excitement. “Little Rosie Cupido, a chef. Who knew?”

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