The Christmas Ballet
By Constance Bretes

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About The Christmas Ballet:

Laura Hemmingway cut herself off from men and her family when the man she loved married her sister. She moved across the country and was doing just fine until she received a devastating call to return to New York. She had to face the death of her sister, her sisterโ€™s little girl, Maria, and Mariaโ€™s father, Stefanโ€”the man she had once loved. She figured she would pay her respects and leave as soon as possible. She never anticipated on the beautiful little girl stealing her heart. And she never expected that seeing Stefan again after twelve years would stir up old feelings.

Stefanโ€™s life was complete. He had a successful career as an attorney, a beautiful wife and an adorable six-year-old daughter. Although he and his wife had been married in name only for the past several years, he cared for her deeply. Then her unexpected death brought him face-to-face with his former lover, and the guilt heโ€™d carried for years.
Stefan is still in love with Laura and wants to give her everything she deserves. He and Maria are racing against time to convince Laura to stay with them in New York.

Can a little girlโ€™s love, and the true magic of Christmas, help Stefan convince Laura to stay and give their relationship another chance?

Content Warning: contains some sexual content
Genre โ€“ Contemporary Romance
Heat Level – Hot

Excerpt fromย The Christmas Ballet:

He smiled as he thought about the look on her face when heโ€™d stroked her. Maybe she was more interested in him than she either believed or cared to be.
Then he thought of something. โ€œOne more thing, Laura,โ€ he called out to her, and she stopped at the door and turned around.
โ€œOn the nineteenth, the law firm is hosting the annual Christmas party. Itโ€™s quite grand and lasts all evening long.โ€
โ€œYou want me to be sure to be available to babysit Maria,โ€ Laura said.
โ€œNo. I want you to plan to come with me.โ€
โ€œWhat?โ€
โ€œRemember that beautiful, green, velvet dress we saw at Macyโ€™s? I want you to get that dress, and the accessories to go with it, and attend the party with me.โ€
โ€œStefan, really. You know I donโ€™t go to those types of events, and I donโ€™t wear those kinds of clothes. Iโ€™m not comfortable with either of those things.โ€
โ€œYou need to get comfortable.โ€ He smiled.
โ€œThis is not a part of a job for the nanny and teacher. Itโ€™s out of the range of the job description. You need to get Ginger to go with you. Iโ€™m not going.โ€ She gave him a defiant look.
โ€œLaura, I want to take you to this event. Iโ€™m not taking no for an answer. I will arrange for Rhonda to take you shopping to help you get what you need. You will charge all the purchases to a credit card I will give you thatโ€™s for your use only. This is the first of many social parties you will be attending.โ€
He watched her as she clenched her hands into fists and released them.
โ€œWho do you think you will get to care for Maria on theseโ€ฆoccasions?โ€
โ€œUsually Lillian is available.โ€
โ€œStefan, itโ€™s my job to care for Maria, not be your date to your parties. I donโ€™t like being told what I will or wonโ€™t do. I donโ€™t like social parties, and I donโ€™t like wearing expensive clothes. Itโ€™s not me, and youโ€™re not going to change me.โ€
โ€œI donโ€™t want to change you. I want you to attend an event by my side. It wonโ€™t hurt you to have some beautiful clothing to show your feminine side. I want the world to see the beauty I see. Be glad I want to show you off. Some men might decide they donโ€™t want others to see what they see.โ€
โ€œFlattery doesnโ€™t work with me. You can tell me what to do as far as Maria is concerned, but my personal life is off limits to you.โ€
โ€œThatโ€™s good to know. At least I know you wonโ€™t get carried away and escape my grasp by someone making flattering remarks to you. Your personal life interests me.โ€
โ€œStefan, you just donโ€™t get it. I am not going to this party,โ€ she said, enunciating each word slowly and carefully. โ€œBesides, your mother would be horrified to see me walk in with you.โ€ Her face hardened as she stared at him.
โ€œLook at it this wayโ€”youโ€™d be doing me a big favor.โ€
โ€œHow?โ€ She raised an eyebrow.
โ€œIโ€™m not interested in the other women that come to this social party looking for an eligible bachelor. With you on my arm, it would send a clear message to all the others that Iโ€™m taken.โ€
โ€œGod, youโ€™re impossible. Ginger is more than capable of providing you that kind of service.โ€
โ€œI donโ€™t want Ginger. You have the grace, quiet beauty, and finesse I want in a date, and I will not take no for an answer. After Mariaโ€™s recital, you and Rhonda will set a shopping date. And one more thing. When you get your hair done, Iโ€™d like you to wear it down.โ€ He smiled at her.
โ€œThis is not going to happen.โ€ She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
โ€œIt will. Iโ€™ll just have Maria work on you.โ€ He eyed her.
โ€œWhat?โ€
Stefan grinned. โ€œYou heard me. Youโ€™d never turn down anything from Maria.โ€
โ€œGrrrr.โ€ She growled and stomped up the stairs.
He laced his hands and put them behind his head. Oh yeah, itโ€™ll be a night sheโ€™ll never forget.

About the Author:
Constance Bretes is an author of contemporary romance and suspense. Her romance books are often set in different parts of the country, but her favorite site is Montana. She retired from the State of Michigan after 38-plus years of service and now writes and researches full time. She is married to her best friend and has recently moved from Montana to Alabama. Her hobbies include basket weaving, sapphire digging, and checking out old ghost towns.

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