UPDATE: The winner is…Pansy Petal!
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Once upon a time in a land about 150 miles from where I live now, I had a big, beautiful house and I used to decorate for the holidays. I spent hours twining garland and white lights around the railings in the front. More hours trying to remember how to put my pre-lit Christmas tree together and hanging my many accumulated-over-the-years ornaments on it. It took years before I’d part with the money to buy an appropriate angel to go on top, but when I did she looked beautiful watching over our holiday activities. I shopped and wrapped and shipped and stressed. I bought Christmas dishes (at Target’s after-holiday sale) and I’d use them for the family meal gatherings. I threw parties for my family and friends. I traditionally drank too much at my husband’s work Christmas party. We went to the country club for New Year’s Eve. That all happened in another lifetime.
Now I walk by my neighbor’s house and see her many Christmas lights and I think I see at least two lit trees in her house. Turns out she has three. Her yard is filled with holiday decorations and lights hang from every tree and eaves of her tiny home. I tell her that makes up for me not having any because I’m too lazy. She says, “No. It’s because you still work.”
It’s true, I do work part-time at my day job and the rest of the time I spend writing. And really? If I have a choice between twining lights around trees and hanging Christmas ornaments, I would rather spend that time writing. If I asked, my husband would hang up some lights so it would at least look like we’re participating in the season, but this year I told him not to bother.
I’ve narrowed my holiday-ing to what’s really important to me at this time in my life. My small circle of close friends. My husband, my children and their spouses and my siblings. I don’t need the outward trappings, which really have nothing to do with the reason for the season as I am reminded by the numerous signs throughout my neighborhood. (Although there are lots of lights and decorations right next to the signs!)
As I’ve aged I’ve narrowed my focus. Time has taken on new meaning. I realize how much time I’ve spent doing things that didn’t need to be done. Of course, when my children were young, I tried to create holiday traditions for them and there was value in that. But nothing made me happier than when my daughter was old enough to take over the decorating. In her teens, she and her boyfriend would do it all while I stood back and admired their efforts. My only condition was that they’d also take it all down.
So if you drive by my little house and you don’t see lights and a tree and an angel smiling down from above, don’t think I’m not celebrating. I am. I’m probably inside tapping away on my keyboard working on my next book. And I’m thanking the reason for the season every day of the year for everything and everyone I’ve been blessed with. And that includes the chance to write and publish the kind of books I love and for all of the romance novel fans like you.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Do you love to decorate? Why or why not?
I’ll give away a digital copy of FANTASY MAN to one lucky commenter on this blog. Winner chosen by January 15, 2016. Happy New Year and Happy Reading!
One lie of omission could turn her wildest dream into a world of hurt.
Quinn Fontana never thought witnessing two murders would lead to her first taste of freedom. But when her overprotective brother puts her on a plane for L.A. to hide until it’s time to testify, she can’t stop the shiver of anticipation.
If her life is going to be cut short, she plans to live it to the fullest. And that includes seducing her intended protector—her brother’s best friend and star of her private fantasies.
When security consultant Reif Callaghan awakens after a rowdy night out with his coworkers to find a warm, willing woman in his bed, he’s almost past the point of no return when he realizes it’s Quinn. And he’s come way too close to debauching his best friend’s little sister.
Her enticing offer—one night, no holding back, no regrets—is a temptation he can’t resist. Until he realizes she’s been hiding a piece of vital information that could cost not only their one chance to turn fantasy into reality, but their lives.
Warning: Contains fantasy-come-true sex, get-it-out-of-their-system sex, angry-as-hell sex, and on-the-run sex. Also, accidental ferret-napping. Asthmatics are advised to load up on antihistamines before reading.
“How do you choose a mattress?” Quinn asked. “I’ve never done it before.”
Reif wondered if that comment was intended as some kind of double entendre, but he doubted it. She was pushing down on one of the mattresses when she said it, seeming as confounded by the array of choices as Reif was.
“This one feels hard,” she said. She pushed down on the mattress again. “Really hard.”
“How hard is it?”
“I wouldn’t mind sitting on it for a while, but I wouldn’t want to sleep on top of it all night.”
Reif chuckled, pretty sure they were still talking about the mattress.
He trailed her down the aisle as she tested each one with her hands. Every time she bent over he couldn’t help but notice the sweet curve of her backside, covered by the short skirt. He decided he might be falling in love by the time he reached the backs of her knees and the few inches of thigh just above.
“How about this one?” She stopped in front of a pillow top mattress, bent over and pressed down. “This feels good,” she decided. “Firm, but not too hard. Just the way it’s supposed to be. Let’s try it out.”
She sat down on the edge, laid back, kicked off her shoes and swung her legs up. She brushed her arm up and down the fabric, as if she were making half a snow angel.
“Lay down. See what you think.”
“That’s okay. I trust your judgment.” Reif had sworn to himself that he’d never find himself in a bed with Quinn again. He wasn’t about to break that promise within a matter of hours, even if it was a purely innocent situation.
“Yeah, but you’re the one buying it. You’ll have to live with it even after I’m gone.”
“I don’t imagine I’ll be sleeping in the guest room often.”
“You should at least try it out.”
To placate her Reif leaned over and pressed down on the mattress once, then quickly backed away. “Feels good to me,” he said.
“Oh, come on. I’m not going to bite you. Besides, you can’t tell from that. What if you have two guests sharing it? You ought to see how it is with two people instead of just one. Maybe there’s no support and they’ll be rolling into each other all night.”
He supposed she had a point there. He sat down and then lay back, letting his feet dangle over the edge. He wasn’t going to take his shoes off as she had.
The mattress was much smaller than his king. He was sure he was taking up more than half of it and Quinn was awfully close to him. Too close. She’d curled on her side facing him, arm tucked under her head. “What do you think?”
On the pretext of testing the mattress he turned on his side as well, which put them face to face just inches away from each other. What did he think? He thought he should never get horizontal with Quinn ever again. He could too easily imagine himself in this much smaller bed, on this much smaller mattress, with fewer clothes, lights and no other shoppers around them.
He could imagine, no, he could remember the silky texture of her skin, the taste of her, her response to him. She’d be looking at him with that mischievous glint in her eyes and he’d find her impossible to resist. Then he’d hate himself in the morning. He made a sound in his throat.
“It’s not too hard, is it?”
“Oh, yeah. Um…not too hard.” But if he didn’t get off this bed right now, the same wouldn’t be true of him. Frankly, he didn’t need anything else to be embarrassed about today.
FANTASY MAN BUY LINKS
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fantasyman-1918851-149.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27304311-fantasy-man