I’m so excited to finally share this scene. I’ve missed these two so much! I hope you love seeing the gang as much as I loved bringing them to you.
If you haven’t read Consolation & Conviction be sure to check out The Consolation Duet Page for information on the series.
Copyright © 2016 Corinne Michaels
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or publisher.
“Sweetheart? Could you come in here?” Liam calls from the living room where he’s supposed to be putting up the tree. This can’t be good.
“What the hell?” I gasp as I walk into the room. Only him. Only my husband would have the tree roped to the ceiling and tied to the leg of the couch and the piano. “Liam! It’s not a tent! It’s a tree.”
“It kept falling, so I fixed it,” he beams with pride.
I don’t even have words to explain the idiocy that resides in this otherwise gorgeous, talented, and actual genius of a man. I mean, really? He tied the tree up?
“Fix it again! How can you think this works? Aarabelle is going to trip over the ropes, not to mention your son who puts everything in his mouth!” I shake my head in disbelief.
He crosses his arms and looks over his handiwork. “It’ll be fine. It’s upright, which it wasn’t fifteen minutes ago. Plus, I didn’t even have to use tape.”
My life with Liam is always full of surprises. He keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure. It’s Shane’s first Christmas and we’ve gone all out. We were in Arkansas visiting my parents, then we flew up to Ohio to see his dad. Luckily, we were able to get home to have Christmas under our own roof. But that meant that we got the last tree on the lot. It was two feet too tall for our ceiling, and they cut it down, but it’s still too big.
This is just ludicrous. “You can’t be serious, Liam! No. There’s rope practically nailed to the ceiling!”
I start to walk out of the room before I say something stupid—holiday cheer and all that—but his strong arms wrap around my torso. As much as I want to fight it, I can’t. His touch causes my heart to swell, and my anger to ebb. Everything about our time together is special.
“Lee,” he murmurs in my ear. “There’s a chance I won’t be here next Christmas. Do you really want to spend this one pissed about a tree?”
My head lolls to the side as his scruff rubs against my neck. “Why do you make it so easy to forgive you?”
“Because you love me.”
“And yet you piss me off constantly.”
“Athair!” Aarabelle runs in the room, greeting Liam with the Gaelic for “father” and stops, looking up at the tree. “Uh oh,” she says as she turns to Liam.
We both laugh and he kisses my neck. “Go make us a plate for Santa, woman.” He slaps my ass, gently pushing me towards the door.
I turn and glare at him. “You’re lucky you’re so hot.”
I head into the kitchen and arrange the plate of protein bars—apparently Santa needs to refuel at our house, and no one was letting me bake…they’ve been to that shitshow—then grab a beer. These were Liam’s demands—Santa needs a “man snack” because “That cookies and milk bullshit ain’t gonna keep him going. He’s got shit to do.” So, we’ll apparently teach our children that Santa likes health bars and booze at our stop.
“Lee!” Liam yells. “Get your butt out here!”
Our house looks like a bomb went off. Things are strewn around every room, bags clog the hallway, it’s a death trap. I grab the plate and Sam Adams and head into the living room.
I almost drop the plate.
I’m actually shocked that I don’t drop the plate.
The tree is still hog tied. However, he now has Aarabelle tangled up in the lights, and Shane is banging together two ornaments that have miraculously not yet shattered. Liam is on a ladder with the net lights. “Did your parents ever put up a tree?” I ask as I head over to the kids. “How in the five minutes I was gone did you manage to make this worse?”
“Mommy!” Aarabelle turns around tying herself up further. “Pwetty lights!”
“Yes, baby.” I start to untangle her, and take the glass ornaments away from Shane. Once I have them both safely away from their father and his mess that is our tree, I head over to try to help.
Liam throws the lights to the ground. “They won’t go around the rope.”
“You mean the rope nailed to the ceiling?” I roll my eyes. “How did you make it through BUDs? Don’t you guys have to build things and survive with a pack of matches and a stick?”
Liam throws a twig at me. “I’m not MacGyver. Or Chuck Norris?”
“No,” I smirk. “He would have had the tree up, level, and had a fire started in the fireplace at Shane’s age. He could’ve made the tree put itself up while he grilled a side of cow and downed a bottle of whiskey. Chuck Norris is a bad ass.”
“So you have a thing for Chuck Norris?”
“I have a thing for men who can fix things. Unlike my jackass husband who requires rope or duct tape.”
Liam climbs down from the ladder with a gleam in his eyes. His envelopes me as he pulls me close. “I fixed you.”
“I didn’t know I was broken,” I smile.
But he did fix me. He fixed all of us. His love, patience, and persistence are what kept me whole. Liam filled the gaps I didn’t know were there. Now, he’s the glue that holds us all together.
“Not broken, just cracked. Maybe dented a little too.” He leans down and presses his lips to mine before I can retort.
“I’ll give you dented.”
“You could just give me a kiss,” he suggests.
I lean back and let out a heavy breath to toy with him. Liam squeezes me tight and rubs his scruffy chin on my throat. “Liam!” I protest.
“Kiss me,” he demands.
My hands grip his face as I crush my lips to his. He holds me close as his hands glide up my back keeping me against him. The tree tied to the ceiling, the kids wrapped in lights, the mess, and the crazy all fade away. While the kiss is brief, it’s passion mixed with adoration. I lose myself in Liam until someone pulls on my leg.
We break apart with a laugh.
“Mommy! Santa coming?”
I crouch down, tap the tip of her nose, and smile. “Yes, princess. Let’s get ready for bed so Santa can come.”
“I miss the days when she didn’t have some kind of radar for whenever I touch you.”
I laugh. “She just hates when you’re not paying attention to her.”
“Is that so, Aara?” He swoops her into his arms. “Is that it? You want my attention?” he says playfully. She giggles as he tosses her in the air and catches her. I grab Shane as the sounds of her giggles fill the air.
Once we get the kids to bed, Liam starts to bring down all the gifts from the attic. Oh, the joys that are coming when he has to put together Aarabelle’s dollhouse. I’m half excited, half terrified.
“Did you buy the entire toy store?”
“When they’re little it just seems like a lot. Stop bitching. Think of this as a workout. Which by the way, your abs are looking a little less … firm?”
“Funny.” His eyes narrow at my jab. Of course, this is the furthest thing from the truth. Liam works out every day, even if he can’t get to the gym. It was a sight to see him doing push-ups with Aarabelle on his back. A damn sexy sight.
“I thought so.” I shrug, giving him my best innocent smirk.
He stalks forward. “Let’s not forget what happened the last time you insinuated I was fat.”
My mind flashes back to that night. The night when things shifted in our friendship. The night I really saw him differently. I shake my head, “Not this time, Dreamboat. You’ve got work to do.”
His face falls. “Work?”
“Who do you think is going to put together that dollhouse?”
“You’re fucking kidding me.”
“Nope. Get busy.”
He grabs the beer off the table, shoves the excess rope and lights to the side while I attempt to decorate the tree. The next few hours pass as I curse Liam and he curses the toy companies.
Liam throws the screwdriver and the directions over his head. “I swear to God! The people who make these things are evil. They know fathers around the world are up all night trying to figure out where piece J34 is because it’s a screw that looks like all the other damn screws!”
“You use any kind of ‘fixing’ apparatus on that dollhouse and you’ll never get laid again,” I warn.
“You can’t resist me.”
He grabs the paper and gets back to work. After another two hours and countless beers, the dollhouse and Shane’s play gym are put together—correctly, with only a small pile of leftover mystery parts that he conveniently drops in the trash as I put on the bows. We head upstairs, hoping for just a few hours of sleep. I head to the bathroom to get ready, and stop to stare in the mirror. I swear I didn’t have these crow’s feet yesterday.
In the mirror I see Liam leaning against the door. “You look beautiful.”
“You’re perfect, Lee.” He stands behind me and pulls me against his chest. “You have no idea how much I love you, sweetheart.”
I lean back, resting my head against his shoulder. “I have a pretty good idea, but it doesn’t come close to how much I love you.”
We stay like this, letting the moment linger as long as possible. Between our jobs, his absences, two kids, a house, and just life … they’re few and far between.
“Now,” Liam’s husky voice echoes in the room. “I want to open my present.”
His lips find purchase right below my ear. “Do you now? Have you been nice?”
“Very,” he kisses me again.
“Maybe you’re on the naughty list.”
Liam’s tongue glides down my neck as he slips off the strap to my camisole. “Only with you.”
His hands move up my stomach as he cups my breasts. I let out a moan, tilting my head back as he massages and pulls. He grips my hips and spins me. Without a heartbeat passing, his lips find mine. Our tongues slide against each other’s as he holds the back of my head and my ass. We kiss as if we haven’t had each other in months. Our breathing is heavy as he breaks away from me. His eyes lock on mine and he doesn’t have to say anything. I know what he needs—me.
Liam leaves soon, and it’s been weighing heavy on both of us. Another deployment. Another sacrifice of our time from each other, but this is our life, and I knew it was coming.
“I love you. So much.” I let him know the only thing in my heart right now.
“I know. And I love you. Now, shut up so I can show you just how much.”
I press my lips together and Liam lifts my top off. Lucky for me, he’s just wearing his boxers so I have easy access. I roam my hands over every inch of his chest. I marvel in the ridges and planes of his body.
God, I’m a lucky woman.
He hoists me up and places me on the sink. The cold granite causes me to gasp. Liam drops to his knees, pulls my panties off, and throws my legs over his shoulders. My head falls back, hitting the mirror as he swipes his tongue against my clit.
I moan as he continues to drive me to the edge. My hands grip the counter while Liam devours me. He moves in a rhythm that’s both maddening and intoxicating. “Liam,” I beg. “Please, I need you.”
He bites down and I fall apart. I cry out his name as he relentlessly circles and sucks. He stops, removes his boxers, then pulls me to the edge. “Merry Christmas, sweetheart,” he says before entering me slowly.
“Best. Present. Ever.”
After we finish making love, Liam helps me to bed. His arms open wide and I tuck myself into the crook of his shoulder. While cuddling isn’t his favorite thing, he knows how much it means to me. So many nights I’ll spend cold and alone in this bed, so when he’s home, I need his warmth.
We drift off, wrapped up in each other.
“Mommy! Athair! Mommy! Santa tame!” I swear I literally just closed my eyes.
Liam lifts Aara into our bed and pulls her to his chest. “He did?”
“Come see! Come see, Athair! Santa tame!” She squeals as he tickles her.
“Well, let’s go see!” Liam is more excited than anyone. Then again, after putting together a dollhouse for four hours, I can imagine he wants to see the look on her face.
Aarabelle hops down from the bed and runs into Shane’s room. “Wate up, Shane! Santa tame!” She pokes his side through the rails.
I lift him up, and we follow Aarabelle downstairs, her lovely curls fluttering out behind her as she flies.
A knock on the door halts us both. Even still my heart stops a little. That sound takes me back, no matter how hard I try to stop it. I know it’s crazy. I know that Liam is safe right now, but being notified your husband is dead, is something I’ll never forget.
“Expecting someone?” he asks.
“No, are you?”
We haven’t seen anyone while we we did the tour-the-country thing. So I have no idea who could be here at six o’clock in the morning.
Aarabelle rushes to the door, abandoning the presents. Liam scoops her up as I go to get Shane’s bottle. He doesn’t care about anything but his food. My eyes practically bug out of my head when I enter the living room. They’re all here.
Every last one of them.
Jackson, Catherine, Mark, Aaron, and Quinn. At six o’clock in the morning, they’re all here.
“Mommy!” Aarabelle screams as her “uncles” pass her around. “Santa tame to everybody’s house!”
“Merry Christmas! I’ve come to bestow my divine wisdom on this Holy holiday. Give ol’ Father Mark a hug, huh?” Mark heads toward me with his arms wide.
“You’re an idiot. Now when does that ordination expire again?”
“You love me,” he retorts.
He takes a second to take in the scene and starts laughing hysterically. “Dude, you’re a little special you know that? But nice work with the rope.”
I groan. “Do. Not. Encourage. Him. What are you doing here?”
“We missed you, Sparkles.”
“No, seriously, why are you all here?”
Catherine puts her arms out for the baby. “Because we’re family and we wanted to spend Christmas morning with our family.”
Jackson encircles his arm around her waist as she holds Shane. “Liam arranged it. He knew you’d want this Christmas to be special.”
I look over at my husband who is on the floor with Aarabelle. She runs between Mark and Liam, basking in the attention overload. Aaron and Quinn sit on the couch laughing and shoving each other. Catherine and Jackson are in their own little bubble as they gaze at Shane and the dreams for their future. Liam continues to give me things I never knew I needed. He planned this morning for me. Surrounded by the people I love. Sure, they’re a little crazy, but that’s what makes it so perfect. He knew this would be the only gift that mattered, and once again—he gave it to me.
Liam catches my eyes and winks. I head over to him and he pulls me close. “Happy?”
I gaze into his blue eyes, “I’m happy with you.”
“Good,” he kisses my nose. “Merry Christmas, sweetheart. This is only the beginning.”
If you enjoyed the Consolation Duet, be sure to grab DEFENSELESS (Mark!) which is AVAILABLE NOW in Kindle Unlimited. As an author’s note … Mark is my favorite. I loved him in BELOVED, but getting into his head was the most fun ever. He’s cocky, funny, sarcastic, and definitely the most … sexy ;).
Jeryl Witek says
This was awesome!!! Thank you for sharing!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!! ♡♡
Kelli Jo says
Loved this, beyond amazing, you never disappoint 🙂
Cathy King says
Love and family at Christmas time is always awesome to have near.
I have read all your books now, and loved them all
This was absolutely perfect! Thank you so much for this! 🙂 Happy Holidays!!!
Karie Gibson says
Once again I’m swooning for all that is Liam aka my Dreamboat
Oh my God! you know how to set a heart on fire and melt with all the love. This is the best scene. Thank you for being the amazing and best author ever! Merry Christmas!!!
LOVED IT!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING AN AMAZING WRITER
Omg this was such a great treat! Thank you so much I love Liam and Lee!
Sandy Whitmer says
Thank you. I loved this. Liam and Lee story makes me smile and laugh
I love it ♡
Thank you so much for sharing!
Val Forness says
Such a fabulistic story!! Loved every line!! Thank you for writing it!!! ????????????????????
donna weaver says
Perfect….just like your other books…thanks so much for adding me!
Judith Lattin says
Ahh, love this so much!!! Thank you Corinne. Happy Holidays to Everyone! <3 <3 <3
Aline Pack says
Very Nice want to read book
Jackie Brochu says
OMG I love this so much. It made we laugh and cry. I want more. I love them all. The tree situation reminds me of my husband and I. Great job on Corrine.
Jackie cuthbert says
That was awesome but now I want a more ……..can’t wait for mark thanks
Absolutely perfect! Loved it! Thank you!
Aww!!! See you do know how to write sweet caring things not just rip your heart out and stomp on it agony! 😉 I love this and I love you!!
Omg Corinne I love that they were all together oh my heart❤❤❤ and the kids so darn cute. Tysm for this little story.
Wonderful! Thank you so much Corinne. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.
The line – “I fixed you.” Love that line 🙂
Shannon Burdsall says
Loved it! They are the best together and Liam always makes me swoon!
That was the best Xmas present ever!!!! ❤???????????????? You always leave us wanting more❤????
Jen M says
This was awesome!! Thank you ????
Love it and thank you. Liam and Natalie are my favorite couple and your holiday scene was the one that I was the most looking forward to reading.
Absolutely love this! Thank you so much for giving us a nice long look into our favorite Seal family! ❤❤❤❤❤❤Merry Christmas to you and your family!
That was awesome. Thank you !
Laura Lovejoy Brunk says
Awesome excerpt ! Thanks !!
Loved it!! And the whole gang is here too!! Father Mark hahaha
Loved it!!! Perfect ending with the whole crew show up!!
Loved it. I always love to get a look at Liam and Lee. Can’t wait for Twilights book
Oh Corrine this Christmas scene was amazing! My heart is bursting with love for this family!
Liam and his logical, but completely illogical way of fixing things cracks me up. I’d like one Dreamboat for Christmas please. LOL Thanks so much for sharing this gem! 🙂
Marilyn Jang says
What a wonderful story. Love how Liam comes up with things to make things stay in place.
Mary Jane Cornett says
OMG Corinne…I loved it! I can just picture Liam’s crazy tree in my head. LOL! I loved this little look inside their lives. I have missed them. I would love to see another book written about them. I love all of your books but Lee and Liam will always be my favs. Thanks for the scene. Happy Holidays to you and yours! 🙂
Debbie Rice says
Oh my oh my thank you Corrine for sharing this I absolutely loved it!!
Stacie Christensen says
Wow!! Loved it!! Thanks so much for this 🙂
Steph B says
What a great surprise. You are such an amazing writer. Very kind of you to share. Merry Christmas!
Absolutely loved this!! Thank you for sharing!! Merry Christmas!!!
Absolutely loved this!!! Thank you for sharing!! Merry Christmas!!
OMG I LOVE THIS! I need more ????
Sandra Pigott says
Perfection! The scene was wonderful and it was good to see all the players back for this scene. Thank you Corinne. Love Liam and Natalie.
Cassandra Dahlin says
Absolutely beautiful! Thank you!
Karen Sabyan says
This was just perfect. Made my day. I have enjoyed your books immensely! Wishing you a joyous Christmas & thank you!
Donna Wolz says
I fell thoroughly in love with Liam when he used duct tape on the diaper! He is by far my favorite book boyfriend. I loved the Consolation Duet! It was a joy to get this extra peak into their lives. Liam and Lee are the perfect couple!!
I can’t wait to read Defenseless!!
This was so awesome I love the Consolation Duet this was like an early Christmas present for me. I swear I have read this duet at least 3 times. Merry Christmas to you and your family
Amie Moore says
DAMN YOU Corinne Michaels♡♡♡ You did it again and made me fall MORE IN LOVE with Liam and Natalie…. This was an AMAZING CHRISTMAS GIFT that only you could deliver♡
Thank you for bringing us along for the ride! HAPPY HOLIDAYS to YOU and your FAMILY♡♡
Girl, you made my day! It was like I was in the same room with them and enjoy their moment as well as them. I love Lee!!! She deserves happiness and Liam is her happiness, as their kids, no matter what.
Thank you so much for the sharing!
P.S. Please think about to continue their journey somewho, in the future. Liam & Lee are one perfect couple to read about.
I would love to read more about Liam & Lee and their Seal family.
What a way to start off the holidays, loved it!! Happy Holidays and Thank You for my Holiday Read!!! Merry Christmas!!
I loved this, perfect for Christmas! I’m so glad you gave us a little of the guys especially Mark! 😉
Lisa Icard says
I missed these couples!!! Thanks for writing this!
Kelly Bell says
Lovely to catch up with Lee n Liam again. Thank you Corrine ????????❤️
Please tell me there will be another book
Love these characters! Sweet story…thanks
Shantella Benson says
Sue Miller says
Loved this!!!! So awesome!!!
Tricia Zerbe says
Thank you! This is what was needed!!!! I needed a little Liam taste!!
Merry Christmas and thank you for taking us back to Liam and Lee
Elizabeth Swain says
Liam still makes me swoon! I’ve missed these two. Thanks for the bonus! Merry Christmas!
Elizabeth hayes says
God I miss them!!!
Lydia A says
Loved this .. Liam and Lee are perfect couple with their kids.
Thank you for sharing this with us. Merry Christmas.
Erin Dover says
Oh my heart!! I absolutely need more from these characters!! I fall deeper and deeper in love with each story. Amazing! Thank you for sharing ?
Kandis Redman says
Love this. Liam and Lee where my favorite books in the series. I have recommended this series to several people. Thank you for this little Christmas short story.
Linda Cook says
I loved this Christmas tale.
This story*sighs* I feel like my heart is going to burst, it’s so beautiful.? God! I love both Liam and Lee and I will forever? One of the BEST series I’ve ever had the pleasure to read☺
A big thank you for sharing this with us Corinne?
And Merry Christmas ?
OMG! Loved this look into there Christmas. Liam and Lee are the BEST! I would love another book about them.
Thanks for sharing.
Shelley Keller says
I just love all these characters. Thank you for sharing a piece of Christmas with us. I absolutely love your books.
Viviana Varona says
This was wonderful. Thank you Corinne.
Rhonda Fortner says
Well I am going to buy this like now even though I have a ton of books to read…..LOL It got to me, this is so good ! I LOVE ! And I never read any of your books yet ❤ But I will be now !
Maria Francisco says
Love Liam and Natalie’s love story, thank you , but my favorite is still We own b Tonight
Maria Francisco says
Love you r books specifically We Own Tonight
Joy Taboh says
This is literally the best book I have read in a really long time it has so many emotions I really loved it like huge thumbs up I read this books in 4 days I was so addicted I really it.