Not Just For Christmas…

Now that everything has returned to normal, with drudgery – I mean work – becoming the norm again and spring on its way (hurry, please!), Christmas has become a distant memory. Not that I’m bothered by that as I am not in the least bit religious or materialistic, but it was a special one for me as it was the first one in which I wrote a story with the season as the theme.

 I have always tended to avoid seasonal themes, as the limited shelf life is unappealing. However, I decided to take the plunge during Christmas of last year and had Future Present published by Phaze. I was, and am, proud of the story and was pleased to get a good review for it in March by Fallen Angel Reviews. Quite appropriate for the female lead character of the story, I might add!

“This story was interesting to read because it was the boyfriend who initiated the encounter. Anna’s boyfriend must really have loved her to give her another man as a gift, not many men would do that. One thing I did like about the story is that Anna’s love for her boyfriend never faltered, even when the passion of another man consumed her.” The full 4 Angel review by Pam S can be found here.      

It is nice to know that great reviews are for life, not just for Christmas. Further, as a lovely little early spring gift, an excerpt from Future Present follows…

  Focused on a mature tree in the manageable distance, close to a fence of wooden horizontal slats, she was determined to make it there. An encounter with Harris would be delayed by reaching the tree before turning back. Raising her feet high made for an ungainly stride through the snow, but she felt increasingly relaxed as she got further from the house. 

The crunch of footsteps behind her stopped her heart for a moment. An ominous cold swept through her that had nothing to do with the weather. Stopping to look over her shoulder, she confirmed her fear before continuing to struggle along her chosen route. Harris continued to follow.

“No welcome party?” he asked after several silent paces.

Yards from the tree, Anna turned and held him with a stare laced with as much scorn as she could muster.

Harris responded with a malevolent grin, remaining as he shook his head gave an exaggerated tut. “I’m disappointed, darling.”

“Don’t call me darling,” she growled, through clenched teeth.

His expression darkened, his eyes narrowing slightly as the muscles in his jaw tightened. “No problem.” He smiled. “Good afternoon, Ms. Weston. How are you?”

His greeting sounded genuine and made her heart pound, pumping a rhythm to her nipples that stiffened beneath her layers despite her surprise that he knew her surname.

She looked past him to see only an expanse of white leading to the redbrick house. “Where’s Jodie?” she demanded, ignoring his question and the treachery of her body.

“We broke up,” he replied bluntly. 

Anna watched him closely, suspicion mingling with pity to prevent her offering comfort. She couldn’t shake the thought that it was a lie designed for manipulation. “Sorry to hear that,” she finally affirmed in a level voice.

He shook his head dismissively, a crooked smile curling his lips. “It means I’m free for you whenever you like.”

 

What’s Christmas Without a Bit of Menage? Win an ebook

I’m blogging over at Long and Short Reviews to celebrate the recent release of my latest offering, Future Present.  

Set over the Christmas period, Future Present is the story about Anna and her relationship with her boyfriend, Robert. However, the stress of Christmas and the arrival of Robert’s charming colleague threatens to derail them completely. 

Stop by LASR to read an excerpt and for your chance to win.

The Gift of Giving

With the approach of winter comes the inevitable joy/chore (delete as appropriate) of Christmas and all the steps that must be undertaken in preparation.

I’m sure that no small length of time is spent on choosing gifts, researching prices and making the purchases. The presents are all important, after all.

I have reached a stage where it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a decision about what to get for any of my family and friends. Whether it’s corny, something I previously bought or simply unsuitable, I find myself having to spend more time thinking and researching in order to get the ideal gift. I like to know that the recipient likes it and will enjoy it.

This desire raises the idea of the ultimate gift and what form this would take. Of course, it would vary according to who it was for, whether they were selfish or altruistic. Some people want to be able to give someone what they want, even if they don’t know they want it or would never admit to – what a boon to be able to give that gift. It takes some imagination and skill, as is possessed by the hero, Robert, in my Christmas tale, Future Present, which is published by Phaze.                                  

Robert is in love with Anna, even if he doesn’t always show it as she would like. What he does know is how to give great gifts and how to surprise her with them.                

     Waking to the faint shuffling of gentle movement, Anna turned to find Robert getting dressed. “Where are you going?”

     “Ah, you’re awake.” He smiled, too cheerful for the hour, pushing his arms though the sleeves of a jumper. “Good morning.”

     “Morning.” Eyeing him closely, she only returned the salutation to make him answer her question.

     “I’m just popping down the road to get some supplies.”

     “What supplies?” she almost wailed. “We have everything we need.”

     “No, we don’t,” Robert replied, his voice calm compared to hers. “The wine won’t last and we forgot cranberry sauce.”

     “Who cares about cranberry sauce?”

     Running his fingers into his hair, he rubbed vigorously and checked his reflection before turning back to her. “I care.”        

     Twisting beneath the sheets, Anna turned to study him curiously. 

     “I have to go now,” he insisted, responding to her expression after she turned to look at the clock. “Most places are only open half day on Christmas eve.”

     Scowling at him, Anna sought a position from which to argue that she had yet to offer.

     “I want to get everything to make this a perfect Christmas.”

     Looking into his expressive eyes, she could think of nothing to say, powerful guilt showing her an image of his eyes if he discovered she had already ruined his perfect Christmas. 

     “Hurry back—I’ll be waiting in bed for you.”

     Anna lifted her chin expectantly as he returned to her side. His kiss made her mouth tingle with a touch of mint, soapy clean scent complimenting the warmth from his lips. “Of course I will.”          

As part of the Blog Hop Spot, I offer my own gift to one lucky reader this Christmas in the form of a free ebook. All you have to do is leave a comment confirming what you would love to receive, or what you would like to happen, this Christmas.

Are the Geese Fat Yet?

Just in case you weren’t aware, Christmas is coming.

Well, I thought I’d remind those that had been residing under a rock.

You couldn’t fail to realise that Christmas was on its way with a look at the lovely cover for my latest title with Phaze, Future Present. Before you ask, it’s supposed to be a play on words – present meaning current and gift…Christmas theme…to be given in the future. Hmm, I was going for something, but titles are not my forte. Let’s not dwell on it, not when there is a lovely cover to look at.

It’s a lovely distraction amongst those that Christmas can bring. Anna, the heroine, is very easily distracted…

 Thinking about loading the dishwasher before serving coffee, Anna was lost in thought until footsteps drew her attention. Carrying dishes she intended to go back for, Harris smiled warmly. “I thought I’d offer a helping hand.”

A frisson caressed her back, mild excitement remaining after surprise dissipated. He filled his suit differently than Robert, his broad frame immediately dominating the room and silently demanding attention.

“Thank you.” Taking the load, her fingers brushed his, feeling surprisingly warm. “That’s kind of you.”

“It’s nothing. Can I help with anything else?”

Though grateful, Anna would never ask a guest for help. Yet, she was in no hurry to encourage his departure. They exchanged pleasantries for a while, and the room temperature seemed to rise though the oven was off. 

His dark skin had a light sheen, prominent on his cheekbones, like burnished copper. Watching his full lips as he spoke, Anna smiled when he did, revealing his gleaming white teeth. 

When Harris took his leave, Anna felt a strange quiver in the pit of her stomach.

The only black man amongst Rob’s colleagues, Anna briefly considered whether she was focusing on him for this reason as she loaded the dishwasher with crockery, going overboard in ensuring he wasn’t neglected. Quickly deciding it was far from the truth, she concentrated on her chore to finish quickly. A strong sensation made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end, interrupted her musings and preventing a conclusion.

Looking up, she met Harris’ gaze, watching her from where he stood outside the dining room. At an angle, his shoulder was slightly pulled back as if he posed intentionally. Watching her through lowered lashes, his smile turned his eyes into glistening half-moons.

Smiling shyly, Anna averted her gaze. He was gone when she looked up.

Come back soon to find out how to win an ebook copy of Future Present, which is available now at Phaze.

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