Millionaire Under The Mistletoe
It’s so nice when he’s naughty
Stella Jackson would rather stab herself in the eye with her own stiletto than return to England. Especially in winter. But to fulfill her grandfather’s last wish, she has to spend Christmas at the estate she inherited from him…with the one man she wishes she could forget.
Self-made millionaire Evan Foss wants one thing from Stella—her estate. But thanks to their rocky past, he’s the last person she’ll sell to. So when she takes him up on a bet, with the estate as the prize, Evan can’t believe his luck. The only problem is that seeing her now, sexy and all grown up, tempts Evan to finish what started years ago between them.
"With the beauty of a white Christmas, some funny encounters, and a little holiday magic, MILLIONAIRE UNDER THE MISTLETOE is a charming romance that will warm you up this Winter. " - Books of All Kinds
"MS London never fails to bring out the strength and love between a hero and heroine and this one had me smiling..." - RBH Contemporary Reviews
"Stefanie London has once again created a charming, sweet story that sucked me in right away...if you’re just looking for a good book, pick this one up. Then go up pick the rest of Stefanie London’s stuff. You can’t go wrong with her." - Smut Matters
A white Christmas in the English countryside might be a dream come true for some people, but to Stella Jackson it sounded about as appealing as a threadbare sock. Snow might look pretty on the front of a Christmas card but she knew the finger-numbing truth. England was wet and cold and miserable.
Sighing, she leaned back against the plush first-class recliner and tried to relax. In two and a half hours she would be freezing her butt off. And, if the prospect of snow wasn’t bad enough, she was missing the busiest part of her work year and a good chunk of the festivities back home on the Gold Coast. A month without sunshine and surfing sounded like pure torture to her.
But she couldn’t refuse a man his dying wish.
Darkness clouded her thoughts as a deep ache settled into her bones. The feeling was familiar. Constant. She curled her hands around the armrests of her seat, letting her fingers bite into the plastic and leather until she felt grounded again. Until the great, gaping chasm in her chest had shrunk down to a mere crack.
Stella drew a breath, tilting her head from one side to the other as she practiced the breathing exercises the therapist had taught her. It was only a month. Just thirty-one days. Seven hundred and forty-four hours.
She could manage. All she had to do were three simple things:
Spend a month on the estate
Find the perfect buyer
Get the hell back to Australia in time for the new year
The objectives were printed neatly inside the leather-bound organizer that went everywhere with her. She’d even drawn a picture of a stick figure standing next to a surfboard so she knew exactly what would be waiting upon her return. Not that there was any chance of her staying a moment longer than necessary.
Balance restored, she reached for a copy of Vogue Living she’d stashed in her oversize handbag. Pretty pictures would be the perfect thing to keep the bad thoughts under control while she tried to waste away the next two and a half hours of her life. Thankfully, the long part of her journey was already over.
Flipping through the magazine’s glossy pages, she admired the elaborately styled party scenes. Every table setting matched the one next to it, cutlery sat in the correct position, and everything was in its place. Yes, this was just what she needed right now.
Something brushed against her arm and she jerked her head up.
“Excuse me.” The rough voice with a strong English accent was a heart-stopper, and the owner had a set of shoulders to match.
Curiosity piqued, Stella leaned out of her seat to watch as he strode through First Class into the Economy area. The guy walked like he was on a mission. Yet, he dragged a comically small, canary yellow suitcase behind him. It was almost enough to distract from his long legs and trim waist, but not quite. When she noticed the elderly lady wearing a matching canary-yellow scarf following several paces behind, Stella caught herself smiling.
A true gentleman, how many of those are left in the world?
He stopped at the first row and popped open the overhead compartment before hoisting the small suitcase as though it weighed no more than a pillow. After helping the older woman into her seat, he turned back toward First Class.
Stella snapped her head to the seat in front of her, but not before she’d seen the flash of a thousand-watt smile in her direction. Busted. She buried her face in her magazine.
“Surely you didn’t think that was my suitcase?” The man settled into the seat across the aisle from her.
“It crossed my mind until I saw the luggage tag.” Stella watched him from the corner of her eye, but avoided direct eye contact so as to discourage conversation. Rule number one of airline travel: don’t get trapped into small talk. “You don’t look like a Gertrude.”
“That would have been rather cruel of my parents.”
His husky laugh sent a ripple of awareness through her. It reminded her of something long-buried, something she couldn’t put her finger on.
You’re just looking for a distraction.
When she was confident Mr. Sexy Brit had turned his attention away, she risked a glance in his direction. Fitted denim hugged his long legs like a dream and floppy chestnut hair obscured his face. The hard line of his jaw made her eyes linger. He had the kind of features that demanded attention. Arresting features. In an alternate universe she might have broken her “no small talk” rule to flirt with him. On paper he ticked all the boxes for an ideal travel fling. Sexy accent? Check. A body made for keeping warm? Check. A mega-watt smile worthy of holiday snaps? Double check.
But Stella didn’t flirt. Nor did she have flings—of the holiday variety or any other variety. Returning to her magazine, she lost herself in the stylish perfection. As soon as the final check and the safety demonstration were complete, she was going to stick her headphones on and block the world out.
“Miss?” Mr. Sexy Brit leaned into the aisle to get her attention. “Have we met before? You seem familiar.”
Stella laughed. She’d heard that one before and it was disappointingly unoriginal. In her fantasy universe, his pick-up line would have been much wittier. More Hugh Grant-esque. She turned to give him a polite but firm brush-off, and saw his face up close for the first time. That flawless, fair skin, those glacial pale green eyes, full lips curved into a curious smile. Features that she knew could turn to stone in an instant.
He stuck out his hand. “I’m E—”
Recognition slammed into her hard and fast. Like a bucket of ice water, it shocked her system and stunned her into speechlessness. How had she not seen it straight away? His eyes were ever so slightly down-turned and crowned with heavy brows. She knew them well because she’d stared at those eyes for hours as a young girl. She’d stared into them as she’d unbuttoned her blouse…
Oh God, she was going to be stuck next to him for the whole flight without escape.
Blood rushed in her ears, roaring like an ocean of panic as her confidence evaporated into thin air. This was not how things were supposed to go down.
“Stella?” He studied her face.
Suddenly she was a girl again, gangly-limbed and all kinds of awkward. He’d had the same effect on her back then. One ice-cold glance and she was powerless to communicate with anything other than the bob of her head.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you until you arrived at the estate,” he replied, his head cocked. She could already sense the cogs turning in his mind. No doubt he would be trying to figure out how to twist this situation to his advantage.
She would’ve had her game plan sorted by then. She would have gone in as the hard-nosed, savvy businesswoman she’d become and told him where to shove his proposal. This time she would have rejected him. And she would’ve done it while making him regret the day he sent her marching out of his apartment. Her stomach fluttered.
No, this was not how she’d intended to reunite with Evan Foss.