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Christmas Sugar (Insta-Spark #2)
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Dylan Maxwell is a busy man. His no-nonsense approach to life and business keeps him balanced—and alone. His life is bland—devoid of any kind of sweetness or light.
An unexpected business trip close to Christmas, however, brings three people into his life he never expected.
An oversharing teenager.
A lisping little angel.
A sexy, unassuming woman unlike any he has ever met. Her bossy attitude challenges him, while her green eyes melt the frost around his heart.
They draw out something in him that he has never experienced.
Are they the Christmas miracles he needs—or will he walk away from the sweetest gift he has ever been offered?
Book 2 in the Insta-Spark Series – Complete standalone reads with one thing in common – lots of sweetness and a guaranteed HEA. Instant attraction, little angst – love and happiness abounds in this series.
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I LIFTED MY MUG, TOOK a deep swallow of coffee, and grimaced. Slamming down the cup on my desk and ignoring the mess it made as the liquid splashed onto the dark wood, I hit the button on my phone.
“Amy! Get in here!”
My door opened, and she peeked around the corner.
“Yes, Mr. Maxwell?”
I drew in a calming breath, fighting to keep my voice neutral and even. “How long have you worked here?”
“Um, about two weeks.”
I nodded. “How often have you brought me coffee?”
She stepped closer, no doubt encouraged by my mild tone.
“Every day, sir.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “Do you have a mental problem I’m unaware of?”
Her smile faltered. “Um, no, sir.”
“Then why”—my voice began escalating—“is there fucking sugar in my coffee? I like a splash of cream—just cream. Is that such a difficult thing to remember?”
Her hand flew to her mouth. “I’m sorry! I must have mixed up the mugs!” She lunged forward, grabbing the mug and spilling more coffee over my desktop. “I’m sorry!” she repeated. “I’ll clean that up.” She turned, practically running out of my office. “I’ll get you a fresh mug,” she called over her shoulder, passing Mrs. Carson as she ran, babbling about different colored mugs.
I rolled my eyes and huffed at Arlene as she stood in front of my desk.
“I can’t believe you’re actually going to retire and leave me with the likes of her. She can’t even get a fucking cup of coffee right.”
Her brown eyes danced with mirth as she grinned at me. “I can’t believe she’s lasted two weeks. That has to be a record. I don’t think either of the other two lasted a week. She’s got some backbone.”
I started to laugh. Nothing I ever said to Mrs. C fazed her. I leaned back in my chair. “Seriously, you’re going to hate retirement. Rambling around in that big house of yours, playing bridge, and talking to your cats. You’ll be a drunk in a month. Two, tops.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mr. Maxwell. You have a better plan?”
“Stay here with me.”
“And listen to your demands and bitching all the time? No thanks. I’ll take my chances with the alcohol.”
I smirked at her. “Simon is going to drive you nuts.”
She shrugged. “Him or you. At least at home, I can wear my fuzzy slippers.”
“I’ll add that to your contract. Fuzzy slippers acceptable.”
She shook her head, the white waves remaining firmly in place. Even her hair knew better than to disobey Mrs. C. “You’ll be fine, Dylan. Just try to find a little patience. Stop yelling at everyone.”
“I don’t yell at everyone.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Okay, so I do. It’s my thing. Keeps the staff on their toes.”
“Your thing is going to lose you perfectly good staff.”
I snorted. “I don’t think you can consider Amy ‘perfectly good staff.’”
“You’ll never know unless you stop being such a hard-nosed ass. A little sugar isn’t going to kill you—in fact, it might help sweeten you up a bit.”
I waved my hand dismissively. “All right. Enough bad-mouthing the boss—I’ve changed my mind. You’re fired.”
We grinned at each other, completely comfortable with our banter.
Arlene had been with me since I started my company, Maxwell Corp., and had watched it grow from a small, struggling business to the huge, multimillion-dollar land development conglomerate it was today. When my father had turned his back on me, telling me I would fail, she stood right by my side and supported me all the way. It was with her I celebrated my victories, and her I turned to for counsel. She was my right-hand, but the bottom line, it was still simply a job to her—part of her life, unlike me, who made it my entire life.
When her husband Simon retired earlier in the year, I knew it was merely a matter of time before she wanted to spend her days with him instead of me.
I was going to miss her like crazy.
And she knew it.
The door opened, and Amy walked in, a steaming cup in her shaking hand. I accepted it silently and watched as she mopped up the spill and stood back, waiting for approval. I sipped the brew and nodded at the lack of sugar. It was perfect. Mrs. C was glaring at me, and I set down the mug, knowing what they were waiting for.
“Excellent. Thank you, Amy.”
A big smile broke out on her face. “You’re welcome, Mr. Maxwell.”
“Try to remember how I take it next time, all right? No sugar in my coffee or my food.”
She nodded enthusiastically. “I put an X on the bottom of your cup. I won’t mix them up again.”
I stifled a groan, not wanting to hear if she planned to check she had the right mug before it was full. I was certain I didn’t want to hear the answer. Even Mrs. C was smirking. Instead, I decided to check on the details of the next project I was working on.