This is probably the favourite time of the year for many people, while others dread it for various reasons. But, one thing remains clear, Christmas is a huge part of most childhoods, and we bring all of our memories and joys with us into our adult years. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the holidays, loving some aspects of it intensely, while other parts forever left me feeling out in the cold.
So, I decided one of the fun ways to make the holiday a bit more interesting was to begin my own personal holiday tradition–and I’ve been doing this for several years now, just for myself. I write a
Holiday fantasy. Most
years I don’t publish it, even on my blog, but maybe this year it’s time to
In keeping with Nicole’s Blog Hop, this year’s flash fiction is actually an excerpt from a work in progress novel called GOLD RIDGE:
Silence was the first impression to register on her mind when she woke. Deep into the night, the wind had howled and raged as the small cabin shook in the backlash of nature’s wrath. She’d endured storms before, caught in rain and snow, both. Nothing could ever have prepared her for the fury of a blizzard in the
above Gold Ridge. Sheets of white hell had repeatedly blasted the house,
swirled away in a tornado of frosted air, regrouped, then launched again into
the next wave of the assault. Colorado Mountains
The battle raged well into the night, and she had been helpless to do more than contain her terror and hide in the relative oblivion of the bed. It wasn’t until Matthew’s arms had encircled her, and his rough, sweet voice purred reassurances next to her ear that she’d broken, and was able to release the tension and weep away her fright. Exhausted, she’d fallen to sleep afterward.
Hours later, sunlight streamed in through the windows, and peace had settled over the mountain. Matthew was gone from the bed and she knew he’d opened the shutters and built the fire that was slowly spreading warmth through the small cabin house. She listened, but there was nothing to be heard but the soft, serene quiet that was left in the storm’s wake. It was Christmas Eve, she thought with a smile as a flutter of excitement woke inside her. She hoped Matthew would like the gift she had for him.
She rose, pulled on a dressing gown, and went to the window. Her heart lurched wildly, even as her breath caught in her throat at the spectacular vista laid out before her. The glorious sunshine poured over the altered terrain, making it a glittering landscape shaped by white dunes. Like ripples in a pond, each perfect drift was ridged and topped by the cap of a wave. And, like the ocean it resembled, each breaker was of a unique height and the curled tip varying in length and sharpness.
The stark, unrelenting whiteness was painful to the gaze, and tears began to fill her wondering eyes, blurring the landscape, washing it to a hazy blaze of blinding lightness. She’d been in
crossed through the desert-like sands, and been awed by the barrenness, and the
underlying power that lurked in the ground itself. She’d felt alone,
inconsequential and insignificant. She felt that way now, gazing out at the
desert of snow dunes. The radiant beauty and vitality of nature reminded her,
sharply, of how petty the plagues of human existent truly were. Arizona
Wiping her eyes, she breathed deeply, shivering at the chill tainted purity of the air. Diminished, yet vibrant with energy, as well, she turned away from the window and walked into the main room of the cabin. There was snow inside the door, and she knew Matthew had made his way to the small barn to check on the animals. She began the process of preparing breakfast, her mind still filled with the splendor of the world on the other side of the door.
* * * * *
Hours later, with the midday sun riding the clear blue sky, Jason Walker arrived. He was like a dark ghost against the stark white landscape. Evangeline went into the small bedroom to dress properly, leaving Matthew to discover what had brought his former Deputy into the mountains so soon after the storm.
Evangeline heard Matthew's voice rise in volume, though she couldn’t discern what it was he said. The rancour was easily read and it made her nerves jangle anew. She stared at her hands as though she no longer knew them as her own; her fingers shook so badly she couldn’t do more than frustrate herself trying to connect the hooks on her corset. Her vision turned watery again and she bit her lip to force the tears to subside. She tried to connect another eyelet and hook, tore a cut in one finger, and cursed softly─words she’d heard Matthew mutter under his breath when he was annoyed and didn’t think she was listening to him.
She sucked on her bleeding finger and closed her eyes. A minute later she yelped in alarm when Matthew’s arms wound around her waist and he kissed her shoulder.
“What’s wrong, Evie?”
She turned in his arms and pressed herself tightly against him, hiding her fears as she snuggled closer to his neck.
Matthew felt the tremors she was attempting to conceal, and he drew her head away enough to look directly at her. The misery in her deep green eyes angered him all over again.
“I don’t want to go back into town, I know what they think of us, Matthew. Why in hell did Jace come up here?” Her voice was thick with the unshed tears.
Matthew bent to capture her mouth with his and the kiss was pure, sensuous hunger. Evangeline started to draw back and he pulled her closer, moulded their bodies together as he deepened the caress further. His hands slid over familiar curves, arousing and reassuring in equal measure. When he finally released her, his breathing was slightly strained.
“I love you, Evangeline,” he told her, his voice a low, husky drawl of sensuality.
She nodded, twined her arms around his neck, and caught his lips in another breath-stealing kiss. As their tongues stroked and explored, Evangeline’s hips thrust against him in blatant longing. Matthew’s body answered her desire, and his hands brushed leisurely over her breasts, thumbs circling hardened nipples, his touch teasing them to greater sensitivity.
He eased away a step and they looked intently at each other, vague smiles and shallow breaths a shared reaction to their reawakened passion. Matthew’s eyes swept over her, and stopped on the straining buds that crested the rounded swells of her breasts. He smiled, slipped the straps of her lacy camisole off her shoulders and down her arms until she was bared to his gaze. Evangeline took his hands and placed them over her naked flesh before she kissed him again, long and intimately.
The misery of minutes earlier was forgotten and distant, as Matthew’s touch created the thrilling, euphoric happiness that she’d never known before him. Evangeline started to walk backward to the bed, drawing him along with her as they kissed and caressed in frenzied fervour. She pushed open his shirt and let her hands wander over the well-known contours of his body as her mouth searched his neck with soft, wet kisses.
Matthew knew if he didn’t put a stop to their present play, he=d be making love to her despite the man who waited in the next room. Her fingers glided lower, found the hard ridge of his erection, and stroked feathery brushes of touch over him.
She went still against him and looked into his eyes.
Matthew gulped in a much needed breath, and leaned forward until their foreheads were touching.
“Jason wants us to go back to town, your husband’s not as popular as he thought,” he said, voice rough with denied need.
Evangeline=s face turned scarlet and she backed up in such a hurry that she fell on the bed.
“Jace is still here?” It was gasp of utter shock and disbelief. She was mortified, despite the lack of reason in her reaction.
Matthew looked down at her, his entire body still caught in the throes of desire. She was more naked than covered and her voluptuous curves all the more enticing for the thin garments that clung to her. At that moment, Matthew wanted her more than he=d ever wanted any woman. He leaned over her and his fingers expertly unhooked the partially fastened corset, then he stripped her of the silken undergarments. A second later his clothes dropped to the floor and he was crawling onto the bed.
Evangeline made a single effort to stop him, then clung as he slid into her, quickly and with fierce hunger. Her moan of pleasure muffled in his shoulder, and her hips rose to meet the ardent rhythm of his thrusts as he moved against her. She shuddered long minutes later, her body arching upward as the blaze of passion peaked. Matthew=s low groan of ecstatic release made her shiver again and she held him tightly as he collapsed over her.
“I can’t believe we did this,” she mumbled after several minutes of near-silence gave them back their breath.
Matthew chuckled softly, and lifted his head from her shoulder.
“I don’t think Jace would be too shocked, darlin’.” He grinned.
“No, probably not,” Evangeline whispered.
“I do love you, Evangeline,” he said quietly, his look suddenly sombre.
“I know you do, Matthew,” she nodded dreamily. “And I love you, with every breath I take.”
“Do you want me to send Jace back to town?”
She smiled, then shook her head. “No. He’s right. It’s time to go back and face the town.”
* * * * *
Now that Thanksgiving is past and the temperature outside is dropping I think we owe it to ourselves to turn up the heat and burn off some of those
dinner calories. If you've found yourself on this page, I already know we're of
like minds in that we love a steamy tale to singe our fingertips as we turn the
pages. Whether we're reading or writing, we can always find some sexy stories
to give us a tingle and warm us up in all the right places. So, please join me
and my lovely co-hosts (Tammy Dennings Maggy, Amber Lea Easton and May Water)
for some Hot Hoppin' on cold winter nights. We will be giving away a grand
prize worth over $100 in value, which includes 11 eBooks and $60 in eGift
Certificates and you MUST include your email address in your comment to be eligible for this wonderful Grand Prize: Turkey
$50 Amazon Gift Card
$10 Bookstrand Bucks
eBook prize package including:
A PDF copy of RETURN TO LOVE, an Historical Western, soon to be released in Audio format, and a set of 7 laminated bookmarks.
RETURN TO LOVE
Historical Western - sensual romance
COMING SOON in Audio
Clay Butler is a man who rules the quiet town of Cedar Springs with an iron will, and a code of honor that defines all he is. But the past haunts him, and the loss of a woman who was his second chance at happiness weighs heavily on his over-burdened mind... Little does he know that with the arrival of the next stage, love is returning to his world hoping for a second chance, and understanding...
If you like the romance of the Old West, I think you'll love Clay Butler and his lady.