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With Everything I Am (2)(7)

By´╝ÜKristen Ashley

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Callum’s fingers brushed Sonia’s hair away from her neck.

Then he leaned to her ear and said, “Wake up, honey. It’s Christmas.”

Her eyes fluttered but stayed closed. Then he watched her sniff and they opened.

She came up on an arm, her fingers clutching the covers to her breasts and stared at the coffee mug in his hand.

She looked at him sitting beside her on the bed and breathed, her voice husky with sleep and surprise, “You made coffee?

He grinned at her and replied, “I was a bachelor for many years, Sonia. I know how to make coffee,” and he handed her the mug.

Her eyes grew wide but she sat up in bed, tucking the covers around to conceal her body, and took it.

He put his hands in the bed on either side of her hips and lowered his face so it was close to hers. “Now, my queen, say ‘Merry Christmas’ to your king.”

She blinked then whispered, “Merry Christmas.”

He touched his lips to hers and whispered back, “Merry Christmas.”

Then he pulled away, leaned down and picked up the lavishly wrapped box he’d brought into the room.

Her eyes didn’t go wide this time. They nearly popped out of her head.

“What’s that?” Sonia uttered on a choked cry.

He set it in her lap and reached for his own mug which he’d placed on the nightstand, saying, “Telling you, I think, would break about fifteen Christmas commandments.”

She watched him sip from his mug like she’d never seen him before.

When she seemed unwilling to move, he prompted, “Open it.”

She hesitated a moment, as if she’d never had a present bestowed on her and had no idea what to do, then set aside her mug and opened the box.

She pulled out a wisp of dove gray satin, shook it out along the bed and stared at it.

It was a full-length nightgown with thin straps that criss-crossed at the back and a full skirt that settled on the bed luxuriously.

“It’s… it’s –” she stammered.

Callum cut her off, informing her, “Every Christmas morning, when we were pups, Mac and Regan left pillowcases stuffed full at the end of our beds.” Her mesmerized gaze slowly swung to him as he kept talking. “We were allowed to tear into them immediately. In them was candy, toys, all sorts, but always a new pair of pajamas that we had to put on before going downstairs to unwrap the presents under the tree.” He gently pulled the soft fabric from her fingers and ordered, “Lift your arms, baby doll.”

Almost dreamily, she lifted her arms and he slid the nightgown over her head then put his hands under her arms and lifted her free of the bed, placing her on her feet in front of him. The nightgown glided down her body to swirl elegantly to her ankles.

A perfect fit.

His mother could definitely shop.

He allowed his hands to slide across the cool material that covered her warm, soft body then he bent down and picked up another box wrapped in the same extravagant manner, bigger than the first.

He gave it to her murmuring, “Now this.”

She gazed at him looking baffled a moment before she took the box, placed it on the bed and tore off the wrapping. She pulled it open and gasped. Her fingers fisted in the material in the box and she lifted the winter white cashmere robe to her face. She was holding it in both hands against her nose and mouth so, when she turned to him, all he could see was the amazement shining in her green eyes.

He couldn’t stop his chuckle as he pulled her into his arms, looked down at her and teased, “Honey, are you going to eat it or wear it?”

She pulled the robe from her mouth and muttered worshipfully, “Wear it. Definitely wear it.”

Still chuckling at the tone of her voice, he touched his forehead to hers and released her so she could don her robe.

Clutching the lapels across her chest, she raised bright eyes to his, “I… this is so… I… I don’t know what to say, Callum.”

He felt disappointment nag at him when she used his full name. She’d called him Cal last night.

He beat the feeling back, hoping, in time, it would come again.

He curled a hand at her neck, using his thumb to stroke the underside of her jaw and prompted, “Do you like them?”

She nodded enthusiastically.

He grinned and finished, “That’s all you need to say.”

She moved forward the step that separated them and slid her arms around him, her cheek at his chest, her arms going tight.

His hand at her jaw shifted into her hair and held her face against him.

“Now this is definitely better than a nod,” he told her, his voice gruff.

She emitted a short, happy giggle, keeping his body tight in her arms and tipped back her head to look at him. “I’m being very rude. I should say thank you.”