A Canadian Holiday
Worth the Risk was written in response to a submission call looking for stories with a Canadian theme. Since, I’m a Canadian, I figured, hey, I can do that. I can even throw in a few “eh’s” and “aboot’s” (just kidding, we actually say “about” like everyone else ).
The underlying premise of my story was inspired by something that happened to me more than a few years ago. But, no spoilers are being given away here, so instead I thought I’d provide a little history lesson around the Canadian weekend during which Worth the Risk takes place.
May 24th, or the Monday before May 25 is officially known as Victoria Day.
The holiday, named after British monarch – Queen Victoria – gave royal assent to Confederation. She was born on May 24, 1819, ascended to the throne in 1837 and ruled until 1901 – holding the longest reign in British history. This is also how the term Victorian era was coined, a period of significant change in many areas for the British Empire. Parliament declared her birthday a statutory holiday in 1845.
When Victoria died in 1901, the day officially became known as Victoria Day. Through the years, however, the birthdays for the reigning King or Queen was also celebrated. That’s a lot of cake! Apparently, continuous improvement and process efficiency are not new ideas, for in 1952 a decision was made, and proclamation passed, to declare the Monday before May 25th as the official day to celebrate both Victoria’s and the current reigning sovereign’s birthdays. Party poopers.
Today in Canada, May 24 signifies a few things. Winter is over, and summer is just around the corner. We can start planting our veggies and flowers without the risk of frost. More importantly, it’s the traditional long weekend when we open camps and cottages, and for those in the north, it signifies the start of summer Blackfly season. Believe me, they are horrible little bugs that get in your hair, your eyes and they love to feast on little children.
The reference to ‘two-four’ rather than ‘twenty-fourth’ is a Canadian inside joke referring to the obligatory case of 24 bottles of beer. Provincial parks and camp grounds begin officially accepting visitors, and community parks and outdoor patios are thriving. You’ll see fireworks in all major cities, and many small communities. The barbeques are hot, friends and family are near, and the pool is being prepped.
We’ve got nicknames for it: May Two-Four, May long weekend, May Long or even Firecracker Day. But for most Canadians, this particular weekend starts things rolling for the next few months. And regardless of the weather (cause quite often it’s cold and wet), WE DON’T CARE! It’s time to party!
So, here’s Worth the Risk. I hope you enjoy your weekend!
Even the hottest sex might not be enough to ease the pain of the past…
Molly Simpson arrives at a beautiful provincial park, ready to spend the May Two-Four holiday camping with friends. This weekend is the highlight of her year—or it was, until Tanner Daivies showed up. Her high school crush is all grown up, sexy as sin, and he’s demanding answers—answers Molly isn’t sure she can give him. She had her reasons for leaving him all those years ago, but now, sex with Tanner is scorching, and when they’re together, it’s clear they were never meant to be apart. But the past doesn’t want to stay buried, and Molly isn’t sure reliving it is worth the risk…
Excerpt: (if you’d prefer – just use the hyper link which goes back to my site)
It was really him. Curiosity got the better of her, and she glanced back over her shoulder. Memories assaulted her as he removed his six-foot-plus frame from the car to stand in the center of the welcome circle. Her friends were all talking at him, their voices filled with excitement. Judging by his glazed expression, their reaction left him a little overwhelmed.
Ten years. She rubbed her chest, thinking back to the invisible ache that had bothered her earlier on the drive here. She’d struggled the entire two hours to keep her focus on the road and not on painful memories from her past.
She flexed her fingers. Maybe the cause of her earlier distress was the fact that this year served as a milestone. Ten years since graduation, ten years since she last saw Tanner, and ten years since…fuck. When did she start counting? Molly searched the area for possible escape routes.
Colleen’s gentle shake brought her back to the moment. “Brad texted me earlier and said he took the afternoon off. He also said he was bringing a surprise with him. He’s been dating somebody new. I just assumed—”
“Um…yeah. I wouldn’t have expected Brad’s surprise to be Tanner either. It…ah…caught me off guard. That’s—” Oh, crap. “I just need a few minutes.”
“You’ve got no color in your face. I’m sure it will be OK. Awkward, yes, but probably fine.”
Molly’s heart palpitated. Colleen’s mouth moved, but the buzz in her ears drowned out the words. She swallowed hard. Air, she needed air.
“Besides, the others won’t let him cause a scene. You’re the one we’ve stayed close to over the years, not him. Our allegiance is to you, honey.”
Molly swung her gaze to where her childhood friends had gathered around the car, effectively pinning Tanner against it. Sam and Olivia, a couple since they were in diapers, were married now, and both glowed like beacons.
Violet, a transplant from Toronto when her parents divorced, hovered close, waiting for her turn to say hi.
Brad and Tanner had been best friends through grade school and high school. Brad had been pissed when Tanner left town without a word to anyone. Looked as though he got over it.
Molly had never told anybody why she and Tanner broke up. She’d stressed over it at the time, deflecting comments from friends about him disappearing days before graduation. She hated the thought of being subjected to the pity she’d see on their faces if they knew the truth. Everybody just assumed the breakup had been his doing. She never corrected them, just implied she’d agreed with his decision.
Colleen’s words began to cut through the insistent noise. Molly nodded. “Thank you. That means more to me than you know.” Unshed tears burned her eyes. She opened her mouth and sucked in a shaky breath, but at least she had oxygen in her lungs now. “You’re right. It will be…fine.” She gulped. “Why don’t you go over and say hi?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m going to wait here for a few more minutes.” She began calculating the odds of sneaking past her friends and making a quick getaway before any of them noticed. She made a mental note to back her car in next time.
“OK.” Colleen gave her a final squeeze and walked over to join the others.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Molly closed her eyes, wishing for a paper bag. A really big one. She so did not need this in her life right now.
Anne Lange grew up with a love of reading. In fact, if you take a close look, she’s got a book with her where ever she goes, and will usually sneak in at least a chapter or ten whenever she can spare a few minutes. She reads many genres of fiction, but prefers to write sexy romance with attractive men, strong females, and always a happily ever after.
While embarking on a career as a romance author, Anne juggles a full time job and a family. She grew up in Southern Ontario (Canada), but now makes her home in Eastern Ontario where she lives with her husband and three children, and Rocky the bearded dragon.
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