S’nogged: A Jenna Ray Christmas story

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A seasonal Thursday teaser

By Kayla Dawn Thomas

The house buzzed with energy and alcohol. Around nine-thirty a loud, “HO! HO! HO!” came from the foyer followed by the slamming of the front door. Silence followed until a man in a Santa Suit entered the living room where most of us had settled. Cheers erupted at the sight of him. This was a new addition to the party lineup.

“Has everyone been good this year?” Santa shouted over the crowd.

A chorus of catcalls and whoops filled the room, and Santa threw his head back and laughed jiggling his padded belly. Mack pressed a mug of eggnog into Santa’s hand, and with that, Jolly Old Saint Nick became part of the party. The red suit mingled its way through the living room, somehow keeping its back to me. The voice seemed familiar, but I’d had just enough champagne to doubt myself. No matter how I moved, I couldn’t get a good look at the eyes above the beard.

Finally, I made my way over to Kennedy. “Who’s Santa?”

“Oh, it’s one of the new guys from Mack’s office. He’s a total clown,” she replied with a dismissive flick of her wrist. Then she clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention. “It’s time for the white elephant gift exchange!”

Another round of cheers went up, and everyone refreshed their drinks before heading to the corner where a giant Christmas tree covered in delicate designer ornaments held court.

“Hey, Santa, why don’t you pass out the gifts?” Mack said.

“My pleasure, ho, ho, ho!” Santa’s voice had a mock depth to it. Sandwiched between my mother and sister on the floor, I wiggled around trying to get a good look at his face, but he turned around and presented me with a red, polyester-clad ass. Stretched taut, the pants revealed well-shaped, firm buns. This Santa was no fatty.

“Mmm…Santa’s been working out,” Nora murmured in my ear.

The sound of her voice pissed me off. We’d never been the type of sisters to giggle and share secrets and ogle boys together. I was happy her life was on an upswing but was struggling with it colliding into the one I’d built. It should have been Kennedy whispering in my ear.

A small box plopped into my lap wrapped in red paper with elves frolicking on it. I tore my attention away from my sister to watch as gifts were unwrapped, and the thievery began. The Dean white elephant gift exchange had a long tradition of randomness. There were usually a couple of really nice items, lots of cheesy things, and the occasional suggestive oddball. I was pleased when Nora unwrapped an ugly teddy bear candleholder.

“That’ll look great in your new living room,” I said loud enough for the whole group to hear bringing a roll of laughter.

Nora flashed a fake smile and cradled the ceramic bears in her hands. “Hey, Mom, you know you want it.”

“Like hell I do, unless Jenna opens something amazing, I’m going for that bottle of Jameson. That guy doesn’t look old enough to appreciate it.” One of Mack’s baby faced techs flushed and pretended to hide the whiskey under his shirt.

“All right, Jenna, you’re up,” Kennedy called from the couch where she’d stretched her legs across Mack’s lap.

Feeling adventurous, I decided to go with the package in my lap. Dropping the paper to the side, I revealed a glossy black box with a model wearing dark purple edible panties on the front. Grape flavored. Laughter bubbled up from deep within me, the silent kind that just makes you shake. Really? Two years in a row I get the naughty gift.

“What did you get?” Someone hollered from across the room. “Hold it up so everyone can see!”

Before I could react, Nora squealed and snatched the box, holding it triumphantly over her head. “Who’s hungry?”

“Oooo,” Mom said in my ear. “I had a pair of those recently. Strawberry. Tasted like a stale fruit roll-up.”

I snorted as a fresh wave of laughter tore through me. This was just surreal. Then I peed a little. Startled, I yipped and jumped to my feet making a mad dash for the bathroom. The living room buzzed with laughter and dirty jokes in my wake, but I didn’t care, I was about to completely wet myself.

Someone caught my arm as I passed through the doorway leading from the living room to the hallway. Startled, I whirled around and found myself nose to nose with Santa. A pair of familiar, electric blue eyes pierced me with an intense stare from above the white beard. My heart jumped into my throat, and I couldn’t swallow it.

The Collection

S’Nogged is Story 3 in the Jenna Ray series, available in The Collection.

Think twice before you slip off that ring, boys.

Arriving at her parents’ house for an impromptu visit, Jenna Ray gets her own surprise when she finds her father lip locked with a strange woman. Then, her brother-in-law defiles her sister’s car with a waitress in a parking lot. Jenna Ray snaps the night she discovers her mentor with his receptionist wrapped around his waist and proceeds to dump the guy in nothing but his boxers at his wife’s feet. Discovering her hidden talent to seduce, Jenna walks away from her IT career and reinvents herself as a vigilante seeking justice for women who are too tired and hurt to stand up for themselves.

A side effect of the job is losing her ability to trust any man. So, when she finds herself getting lost in Thad Benson’s hypnotic blue eyes, Jenna fights the attraction with all she’s got. But Thad’s a patient man, who’s up to the challenge of taming Jenna.

With a cast of quirky friends, clients, and family, the Jenna Ray Stories will have you laughing and cringing at Jenna’s predicaments.

Get it on Amazon.

You can also get the full S’Nogged story for free by subscribing to the BestSelling Reads email newsletter. Just fill out the form above right.

Kayla Dawn Thomas

has been telling stories since she could talk, telling her wild tales to a jump rope until she learned to read and write. Her mother was relieved when she made the transition to paper.

Today Kayla writes contemporary romance, weaving her experiences growing up on a cattle ranch into her work as well as whatever is striking her funny bone or curiosity at the moment. When Kayla isn’t writing she enjoys swimming, reading, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Learn more about Kayla and her books at her

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Thursday teaser: Fighting for Fall

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Enjoy this excerpt of the upcoming second book in the Seasons of Love series

By Kayla Dawn Thomas

Maddox held out a big hand, and the older women pressed the key into his palm. The glow in her eyes was back. Chanel fought the urge to reach over and slap Alice’s bony wrist by telling herself this was the most action the grouchy old broad ever got. It cheered her to know she got to go upstairs with Maddox and would be making love to him in a matter of minutes.

“Thanks, Alice,” Maddox said taking the key and passing it to Chanel, which reminded Alice of her presence.

“There is a marked pet area on the far side of the garden. That is the only place on the grounds where animals are allowed to do their business. Bags and a trash receptacle are provided, be sure to use them.” Alice glowered over her tiny rectangle glasses. “Security cameras are running around the clock both inside the public areas of the building and outside.”

Chanel forced a smile, felt Maddox stroking her back urging her to keep her cool. “I’m glad security is such a priority here.”

“I’ll give Chanel the rundown on everything else.” Apparently Maddox could feel Chanel’s growing agitation. He grabbed the luggage he’d set on the floor and took off toward a bank of elevators.

Once inside the plush elevator car, Chanel sagged against the rail and rested her head on the soft green upholstered wall. “I don’t know if I can do this. The traffic, the building Nazi tracking my every move. She does not like me.”

Maddox stood square in front of her, his blue eyes soft as he ran large hands up and down Chanel’s arms. “You’ve got this. You’re just wound up from the drive. We’re going to get in the apartment, and I’m going to help you unwind.”

He lowered his lips to hers sparking a fire in Chanel’s lower belly. Maddox had a way of wiping everything from her mind when he kissed her, a feat of pure magic as her brain was constantly on the go.

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open on the tenth floor.

“Get it! Wooo!” A male voice thundered into the car.

Chanel jumped in surprise while Maddox laughed and turned with a smile to greet the giant in the doorway. “Hey, Clavin.” The two exchanged a complicated handshake. “Meet my girlfriend, Chanel. Chanel, Clavin Marks. He’s an O lineman on the team. His place is next door to mine.”

“Hey, girl, it’s about time you got yo ass into town. This boy’s been lonely!” Clavin held out a beefy hand. Chanel took it to shake, but he pulled her in for a hug that all but suffocated her in his bulk.

Maddox laughed as he shuttled Chanel’s luggage out of the elevator. “Let her breathe, man. I’d like to keep her around a while.”

Clavin chuckled, a rumble that shook his whole body, and turned Chanel loose. “And who do we have here?” He knelt as Soda crossed the threshold, tail wagging. She leaned into the big man as he pet her with a surprisingly gentle touch. “You an old lady, aren’t cha.” His voice went up an octave as he spoke to the animal.

Image by Charlotte Post from Pixabay

“This is Soda,” Chanel said. She couldn’t help but smile at the pair on the floor. The two seemed smitten with each other.

“You a beaut,” Clavin said in his dog voice.

Chanel looked over at Maddox, who grinned and shook his head. “Clavin was planning to go to vet school if he hadn’t been drafted.”

“Oh, I’ll be goin’ as soon as this ride’s over,” Clavin said, regaining his feet. “I love animals. I got two dogs, a Sheltie and a Brussels griffon. Make Alice crazy every time we go downstairs. I taught ’em to bark extra when she around.”

“Albert, the griffon looks like a damn Ewok,” Maddox said, running a hand through his shoulder length blond hair.

That move had always turned Chanel on. While she was enjoying meeting Clavin, she really just wanted to get her man into his apartment and all to herself.

“So, it’s not just me she doesn’t like?”

“Hell no. Alice picks her favorites round here and’s a snot to everyone else. She ’specially don’t like dogs. She thinks they belong outside, but she don’t own the place, so she don’t get to make the rules.” Clavin’s phone chimed from his pocket. He dug it out. “I got to go, Sean’s waitin’ at The Dive for me. Don’t tell Coach, but we havin’ gut bomb burgers for dinner.” He poked the button to reopen the elevator door. “Awesome to meet cha, Chanel. Bring Soda over to play with Albert and Barbara sometime.”

“Will do,” Chanel said, giving Clavin a parting wave.

“Later, man,” Maddox said as the door slid closed.

“He’s a good guy,” he continued as they walked down the soft gray-carpeted hall. “Loves to eat, and hates Coach’s diet restrictions. He and the other linemen sneak greasy grub almost every Monday night since we usually have Tuesday off.”

Maddox stopped at a door with number 1082 on a plaque beside it. He grinned at Chanel. “Here we are. Home sweet home.”

Fighting For Fall

Seasons of Love Book 2

Go. Fight. Win. Love?

Chanel Eber, a rancher’s daughter, faces down her fear of big cities to follow the love of her life to Portland, Oregon where he’s living his NFL dream. But the Wolves aren’t the only ones looking to score. Another woman’s got her eye on Maddox, and Chanel’s going to have to fight harder than ever if she wants to keep his eyes on her.

Meanwhile, Delsi Melita has a big decision to make. She’s a single mom, the only woman in the athletic training room, her boss is a pompous jerk, and she’s falling for the team’s owner. Can she have the job and the man, will she have to pick one, or will she lose both?

The stakes are high, and both women stand to lose big if they don’t fight hard for love.

Kayla Dawn Thomas

Kayla Dawn Thomas grew up on an Idaho cattle ranch, but now calls the wheat fields of the Washington Palouse home with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Kayla writes romance, chick lit, and now romantic suspense. Her rural roots inspire her writing, and she enjoys giving the world a little taste of a life most folks have never experienced.

A rabid reader, when Kayla isn’t writing, ushering dogs in and out of the house, or taking care of the humans in her family, you can find her in a comfy spot with a book.

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Thursday teaser: The Collection

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Romantic comedy by Kayla Dawn Thomas

Tequila twang hit the back of my throat. Fighting the urge to grimace and twitch, I grabbed my glass of orange juice and took a slug. The alcohol warmed all the way down while the juice softened the blow. I smiled at the bartender, signaling I needed another round.

A short man with wide shoulders, a thick neck, and beefy arms took the stool beside mine. He looked like a brick. His hair was buzzed so short on his squarish head, it almost hid the gray beginning to sprinkle through it, and a close-fitting gray t-shirt created the illusion of a younger man. But I had an eye for male smoke and mirrors.

The bartender brought him a beer from the tap. He took a sip and then looked over at me and my fresh glasses of tequila and orange juice. “Interesting combo,” he said. Then his eyes slid over my fitted, white halter dress. He didn’t know the tie was cutting into my neck. I’d cinched it down tight in a desperate attempt to keep the girls corralled. I never knew when I’d have to launch into action.

“It works,” I replied. I had no desire to get into a conversation with this guy. I had a job to finish tonight. I checked the time on my phone. My “let him sweat break” was almost over, and there was no doubt in my mind Mr. Mendoza was sweating right now. I tipped back my second shot.

The Brick ordered a tequila and orange juice for himself and a round for me. What the hell. My job barely bordered on legal, so why not drive a little tipsy while I was at it.

We clinked shot glasses. I sipped my orange juice and watched him experience the combo for the first time. He smacked his lips. “Pretty damn good. Thanks for the tip.”

“Thanks for the drink,” I said, reaching for my purse.

“I’ve seen you in here before. I just haven’t been brave enough to approach you,” the Brick said.

I glanced over to where his left hand rested on the bar, noticing the white tan line in place of a wedding ring.

He ran a hand over his buzz cut as an excuse to flex his biceps. I pressed my lips together to suppress a laugh. Over the last couple of years, I’d learned a lot about the antics guys use to impress women. When one took a moment to dissect them, they became outright hilarious.

“Can I order you another round?”

Photo by Miguel Andrade on Unsplash

“No. I have to get back to work.”

His eyes bugged a little. “You get to drink on the job?”

“I work for myself.”

He nodded like he got it, but I doubted he did. Next thing I knew, he was setting one of his meaty paws on my forearm. Despite its size, his touch was gentle. “Look, I can’t let you go before I ask you something.”

“Shoot.” I was pretty sure I knew what was coming. This wasn’t my first rodeo. In fact, these moments were what kept my HOA fees paid and expensive bags on my shoulder.

“I’m a personal trainer.” That explained the muscles. “And to keep up on what’s new in the industry, I go to conferences a few times a year. There’s one in Chicago next weekend.” He kept his eyes on the thumb stroking my arm. Aw, he was nervous.

“Anyway, I would love it if you came with me.” With the words out, he felt brave enough to look me in the eye.

“Is that so?” I arched one of my expertly waxed brows. Had his wife attended any of these conferences?

A flush spread across his cheeks, and he moved his hand to my hip. “Yeah.”

My phone dinged, signaling a new text message. I glanced at it. Mrs. Mendoza was ready for her delivery.

“I’ll think about it,” I said. “Do you have a card?”

While I paid for my first two rounds, he whipped out his wallet and eagerly slipped a card for a well-known meathead gym into my hand. “Call me.”

“Oh, I will,” I said, turning so his hand grazed my butt. I gave my hips an extra little wiggle as I left the bar. He’d hear from me, but Mrs. Brick would hear from me first.

The Collection

Think twice before you slip off that ring, boys.

Arriving at her parents’ house for an impromptu visit, Jenna Ray gets her own surprise when she finds her father lip locked with a strange woman. Then, her brother-in-law defiles her sister’s car with a waitress in a parking lot. Jenna Ray snaps the night she discovers her mentor with his receptionist wrapped around his waist and proceeds to dump the guy in nothing but his boxers at his wife’s feet. Discovering her hidden talent to seduce, Jenna walks away from her IT career and reinvents herself as a vigilante seeking justice for women who are too tired and hurt to stand up for themselves.

A side effect of the job is losing her ability to trust any man. So, when she finds herself getting lost in Thad Benson’s hypnotic blue eyes, Jenna fights the attraction with all she’s got. But Thad’s a patient man, who’s up to the challenge of taming Jenna.

With a cast of quirky friends, clients, and family, the Jenna Ray Stories will have you laughing and cringing at Jenna’s predicaments.

Get it on Amazon.

Kayla Dawn Thomas

has been telling stories since she could talk, telling her wild tales to a jump rope until she learned to read and write. Her mother was relieved when she made the transition to paper.

Today Kayla writes contemporary romance, weaving her experiences growing up on a cattle ranch into her work as well as whatever is striking her funny bone or curiosity at the moment. When Kayla isn’t writing she enjoys swimming, reading, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Learn more about Kayla and her books at her

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