Once Upon a Christmas Moon
By Authors: Christine Young, C. L. Kraemer, Genie Gabriel
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A collection of stories about the magic of romance at Christmas time.
TWELVE DAYS TO LOVE
When Archer Steele shows up at Calanthe Durand’s failing plantation with an alligator over his shoulder, Cali thinks she’s never seen a more handsome man. During the war she had to defend herself and her servants from both union and confederate soldiers. Independent and self-sufficient, she vows to never marry. But Archer Steele has different ideas. The first time Archer sees Cali in town, he feels an instant attraction. He decides he will do everything and anything to convince the beautiful Miss Durand he is worthy of her love. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, he gives her twelve gifts in hopes she will fall in love with him.
BOOTS AND BLADES
An ancient evil from the old country has arrived in the high desert of Oregon. Gnome children are vanishing then re-appearing, showing various stages of traumatization. Tiamoon, warrior gnome, will put her skills to use alongside Killian, a handsome warrior, also in need of a cause.
With their world destroyed and their space ship malfunctioning, the dogizens of Planet Canid have little choice but to crash land on Earth. They face tortuous experiments at the hands of the Geeks in Green…or they can trust an eccentric inventor and his zany family to deliver the Canine Queen’s puppies and help them celebrate new lives.
Enjoy Excerpts from each story!
Twelve Days to Love
Near New Orleans October 2,1867
“Sam! Close the shutters on the back landing. I’ll get the front. Hurry. There’s a storm coming.” Calanthe Durand felt the small hairs on the back of her neck rise and shivers run down her spine. A big storm was on its way, probably a hurricane. Energy and fear poured through her like the pounding rain and flooding that accompanied high winds. Closing the house to the storm was imperative.
Cali took a moment to smile. She’d heard Sam grunt. He didn’t talk much, but she wouldn’t have survived the war or these last two years without Sam and his daughter Daisy. Both sides, the North and the South, had occupied their home. Daisy and Sam were family, the only family she had. She’d do whatever was necessary to protect them. Even with emancipation, life wasn’t easy for blacks in the south.
“I’ve got them, Miss Cali.” Daisy rushed past her and out the door. Wind whipped her hair and tugged at her dress. Branches torn from trees landed on the porch.
Cali followed, the storm swirling around her, her hair beating against her face. Her breath was ragged, and fast as her heart thundered. She pushed and tugged at her skirt, trying to detangle the fabric from her legs. “Get inside!” The tempest raging around them swallowed her voice.
“Not until we’re finished here.” Daisy fastened a shutter before moving on to the next one.
They worked together to protect the windows from the storm on the raised porch which stood five feet off the ground as wind howled around the eaves. A steady rain poured from the black sky, and lightning slashed the darkness.
Cali pushed dripping strands of hair that had slipped from her chignon away from her face. “I’ll light the candles. It could get dark here pretty fast.”
“Horses and livestock are safe for now.” Sam stepped beside her. “Hope it’s not a big one.”
“Hello up there. Hello, bonjour, anyone home?”
Hearing the voice from below, Cali left the protection of the house to lean over the porch railing. Below her a man stood, with cupped hands to his mouth and a dead gator slung over one shoulder a quiver filled with arrows on the other. “Hello. Can I get shelter from the hurricane?”
“Don’t know if it’s a hurricane.” Terrified of unknown men, Cali didn’t want to do the charitable thing. She pursed her lips, thinking, but all that came to surface was memories of troops commandeering her home. Good lord but she’d had to hollow out a bedpost to hide her jewelry. The soldiers had taken everything they could see. Sometimes she felt as if the war had ripped her soul from her body.
“Maybe not a hurricane. Could be just a bad storm, but I don’t want to be on the swamp right now. The water’s rising.” A loud roar and a thunderclap followed his pause. Behind him an old Cyprus tree crashed to the ground, uprooted by the wind. Read the rest of this entry »