Excerpt from Dear Santa…I Want A MAN For Christmas by Marianne Stephens

Copyright © Marianne Stephens, 2014

Nick turned quickly to move to the side, and I nearly fell as he bumped into me. Those same muscled arms immediately curved around my body and steadied me in place. I was held tightly in a bear hug by a gorgeous man whose aftershave wafted through the air and alerted all my senses to concentrate on the body heat radiating between us.

“Are you okay?” he asked, without releasing his hold.

“Yes,” I said breathlessly.

“I didn’t know you were standing so close to me. Anxious to see him?”

I stared into Nick’s eyes, and wondered how many other women had been mesmerized by their color. “Sorry. I was just taking a peek and got too close.”

He didn’t move and neither did I. He stood a few inches taller than my five-feet, seven-inch height. Our bodies remained pressed together, and I could feel his heartbeat thumping as fast as mine.

When had I wrapped my arms around his waist? And, tightened my grasp?

“Are you sure you want Rex?” he whispered and then nodded toward the opened box.

“I-yes,” I answered, but still kept my arms around him.

“Then, if you let go, I’ll unpack him for you.”

Embarrassed by my flight from sanity, I dropped my hands and stepped back. Heat careened up my face.

Nick turned back toward the box. Curious, I asked, “How do you know his name?”

Nick didn’t look at me, but continued to pull bubble wrap out of the box. “Says so on the forms.”

I tried to remember what I’d written down when ordering Rex, but there had been tons of papers, disclaimers, and forms. Hell. I’d practically answered every question except what color underwear I liked. I shrugged. I’d probably named him on some paper during my buying process.

Nick startled me out of my confusion. “Here he is.”

I gazed at Rex for the first time. Face-to-face. My man doll. The man of my dreams.

“Want me to show you how he works?” Nick asked with a hint of humor coloring his tone.

“Uh, yes.” Then, without thinking, I asked, “Do you do this often?”

Nick’s laughter filled my room. “I’m actually the inventor and designer. I took this delivery because I don’t live too far from here.” He leaned closer to me. “I modeled this one after me,” he offered in a whisper.

I gulped. I looked from Rex to Nick. Hell. The facial features, body shape, and uniform were the same. If everything was the same, then that meant… “He’s you? All of you?”

“Every inch. All the extras you ordered for him are exactly like me.” Nick balanced Rex so he stood on his man-made feet and then scrutinized me from head to foot.

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